Category: Travel

2

New Zealand flavours

Flowers on a feijoa tree at Stafford Lane Estate when we visited on a wine tour of the Nelson area. Feijoas are very popular in New Zealand, I loved them when we were living here, but it’s the wrong time of year for the fruit. You can, however, get a little of the tropical flavour from the fleshy petals of the flower. Evilly dark long blacks, with steamed milk on the side at the Alpine Lodge Café . My coffee of choice when we’re in NZ. This is an especially good example of the genre – just look at that crema. Avocados growing on the trees in the Husband’s Mother’s veggie garden behind the house. Even better than bananas for convenient baby (and mama!) feeding. Op shop bargains. When we lived here, there was little in my kitchen that didn’t come from one or other of the charity shops nearby. Since we’ve been living back in Ireland, I’ve carried home a variety of finds, including bundles of bone-handled knives, battered baking tins, cute little salt pigs and hand-embroidered tablecloths. This time I was rather restrained but I still couldn’t resist an old potato masher (the Husband killed ours while making...

read more
5

Have spork, will travel

Spork

Last year, on a trip to London, I picked up a spork – a light plastic utensil which features a spoon at one end, fork at the other and serrated knife edge on the fork side – in a kitchenware shop and I’ve rarely been without it since. The last quarter of 2008 was taken up with train trips to Dublin as I worked on the Foodtalk documentary series and, food on the train being what it is – or isn’t – my spork was invaluable.

read more
3

Little Missy in London

London A-Z with Little Missy's spatula

Tablefuls of tapas, full English breakfasts, bags of cherries, good coffee aplenty, savoury bacon baps and decadent brownies – just a few of the things that Little Missy enjoyed, albeit second hand, while in London at the weekend. After a hissy fit at Cork Airport – yes, we were that couple carrying a screaming baby through the plane as the other passengers turned their heads, hoping that we wouldn’t sit near them – she settled into enjoying her first trip abroad.

read more
Gone to France 2

Gone to France

It will be quiet around here this week as I have abandoned the Irish summer for some time soaking up the French sun with the Husband, the Teacher and the Tax Advisor. We have taken ourselves camping in the Vendée and Charente-Maritime regions on the Atlantic Coast for ten days, staying in small campsites and spending plenty of time investigating brioche and pain au chocolate, moules, abricots, glaces and galettes, along with cheese and wine of every description. Time now, perhaps, for another café au lait in the sunshine before we hit the beach. I can’t cope with the French keyboard any longer!

read more
Sunny birth days 0

Sunny birth days

The perfect birthday? Take a day off work – this is always nicest if done midweek! – and book a night away in Gort na Nain, a vegetarian guesthouse near Nohoval outside Cork city, run by the welcoming Lucy Stewart and Ultan Walsh, vegetable growers and suppliers of vegetables to Café Paradiso, amongst other Cork restaurants. Drive there after work the day before your birthday, picking up the Husband en route, and arrive just in time for your pre-booked three-course dinner. Relax and savour Lucy’s fabulous cooking, using fresh-picked vegetables and fruit grown by Ultan, with the other (very entertaining) couple that happen to be staying there that night. Take a long walk to see the sea before tucking yourself into a large, comfortable bed in an bright and spacious room.

read more
A few days in London… 5

A few days in London…

…in which Bibliocook pays a quick visit in the rain to Blackheath Farmers’ Market, picking up a log of goat’s cheese on the way, has dinner in a rather nice private room at The Punter in Cambridge, eats breakfast in Baker and Spice (while admiring the enormous rectangles of butter and jars of jam for sharing in the middle of the communal table, wondering idly how long it takes before the display is irretrievably destroyed) dashes into The Hummingbird Bakery to take a peep at their cupcakes, walks all the way from Richmond train station to Skye Gyngall‘s tea house at Petersham Nurseries only to discover – oh tragedy – that it is shut on Mondays, cooks dinner (a gnocchi dish, with Gubbeen cheese and chorizo imported by Caroline, very much adapted from an idea in this month’s delicious.) for the London-based Brother and his partner, pays homage – once again – at Books for Cooks and catches up with a former Ballymaloe classmate over dark Americanos, Mushrooms and Goat’s Cheese on Brioche and a Chocolate Loaf Cake at the Grocer on Elgin. Phew!

read more
Transition Time 2

Transition Time

Transition from a full-time journalist’s job in Dublin to country-based student life is more than just packing a car, cleaning out the old flat and shifting down to the cottage. Mindless routines – the 45-minute stroll to work, a computer-based eight-hour stint, walking home mentally preparing supper, deciding whether to call into one of my favourite shops on the way (Mortons, Donnybrook Fair, Taste of Italy, Al-Khyrat) – suddenly become more precious as the days speed towards leaving the city. Only one thing to do: sidestep the whole situation by flying off to Girona in Spain the day after the move!

read more