During the three months that I spent at Ballymaloe Cookery School, I saw Kenwood mixers – the workhorses of the kitchen – put up a lot of punishment. Mixing cakes from morning to night? Not...
Eat Only Irish? Why of course, when you can pick up the most amazing Irish buffalo mozzarella in Cork’s English Market. The Real Olive Company stall has just started selling the creamiest balls of...
This baking event was a long time in the planning. Little Missy and I had been sent a Doodle Bread kit to try out before Christmas and, after watching the super-speedy how to video online, we were dying to try it out. The cold weather, however, combined with a non-centrally heated cottage meant ridiculously slow bread rising times. This is why we normally use the bread machine. But, with the recent arrival of warmer days, we decided to get stuck in.
A winter warmer? It’s just got to be Sloe Gin. The first time I tasted it was in 2002 when the then Boyfriend and I were staying with the IT Specialist near Cambridge and an unlabeled bottle was produced late at night. I savoured every last drop and remembered enough the next day to ask our friend for his grandfather’s recipe. As I remember, it was along the lines of “half fill a bottle with sloes, add sugar and gin. Shake every day and then strain through a gorse.” A gorse? I hear you ask. Well, Chinese whispers meant that there was something lost in translation between the English grandfather and the Irish girl demanding the recipe. I thought he must have some kind of “traditional” knowledge and quietly determined to use a sieve myself. It was only months later that we discovered that he had meant gauze rather than an actual branch of a gorse bush. So much for traditional knowledge.
Any trip to Kanturk is a good excuse to call into McCarthy’s Butchers and see what new treat Jack McCarthy has dreamed up for his many meat-loving customers. I can’t resist the air-dried Sliabh Luachra Beef scattered over big bowls of salad leaves with shavings of parmesan and the North Cork Pancetta makes a great savoury blanket when wrapped around fish or even chunks of haloumi cheese before baking.
I started growing my own vegetables when I was about 11. After a long winter hording my pocket money, poring over seed catalogues and haunting the seed display in our local hardware shop, I bribed my younger brother to help me dig a few beds in the overgrown back garden. An early adopter of raised beds, my growing spaces were enclosed with random pieces of wood that we filched from around the house when our mother’s back was turned.