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.
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.
Ever since Louise Sowan of Sowan’s Organics put me on to Cork Coffee Roasters I’ve been a fan. Their full bodied Rebel City Espresso is a fixture in my kitchen and I rarely manage to go past their stall at the Mahon Point Farmer’s Market or events like the Mallow Food Festival without getting my hands on a caffeine fix. The Sister is even worse. She is luck enough to live around the corner from the Cork Coffee Roasters café. As a result, weekend phone calls between us are punctuated by her frequent stops at CCR to order yet another cappuccino. Meanwhile – especially since Urru Mallow closed down – I’m stuck in the sticks with nothing to comfort me except my stove top espresso maker.
Since Little Missy arrived on the scene, the breadmaker has been working at full tilt. The loaves aren’t the most beautiful but, then again, looks aren’t everything and the convenience and flavour more than make up for it. A few mornings a week, before the Husband heads out the door to work, he loads it up with the ingredients for a Fennel-Aniseed-Caraway Loaf and, as Little Missy and I snooze away, it kneads, proves, knocks back and bakes a loaf of warm, sweet-smelling bread. At least, that has been the routine.
I’ve been getting out and about a good bit recently – Little Missy always in tow as she doesn’t like to let her food source out of sight for too long – and I’ve noticed that lunchtimes have suddenly become more complicated. It’s not as easy to hop on a bus and head down to Cork as I used to do regularly, meeting up with one of the Sisters or the Small Brother for lunch at The Continental (Ballymaloe-style food, never as busy as it should be), Annie’s gastropub (the walk up to Sunday’s Well will work up an appetite for their fantastic food) or The Liberty Grill (close to UCC for the Little Sister, with enough big burgers and chunky sandwiches to keep any errant student happy).
My latest baking project – one that even takes longer than the three-day Sourdough Bread-making event! – is almost completed. All going well, the Husband and I hope to welcome a small new inhabitant to the cottage early next month, to join our family of two humans, three hens and one cat (yes, we’re back to one again – sadly the road by the cottage claimed Large, our big tom cat earlier this week).