Category: Food for Friends

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Cooking with Irish pork: Pork Loin with Fennel, Rosemary and Cider

Pork Loin with Fennel, Rosemary and Cider

When Bord Bia gave me a gorgeous pork loin recently at the Irish Food Bloggers Event, I took one look at the size of it and divided it into two. After all, there are only two and a half meat-eating people at the cottage (that was before we acquired our latest rabbit hunters, a trio of cats who, we hope, will have a longer life span than their five predecessors. But we’re not entirely optimistic).

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Winter Warmers: Moroccan Lamb and Apricot Tagine

Moroccan Lamb and Apricot Tagine

When I lived in New Zealand, cooking was my way of getting to know the (then Boyfriend, now) Husband’s family and friends. Three of his sisters lived nearby in Christchurch and they, together with a boyfriend and various cousins, were regular visitors to our house. When I look back on the recipes that I gathered in those days, they rarely were for dining à deux; instead I cooked roasting tins full of Chicken with Garlic and Lemon, made overflowing pans of Beef and Chorizo Pie and baked large dishes of Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding.

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In season: Rhubarb Rosewater Cake

Rhubarb Rosewater Cake

When I was small we grew rhubarb in the back garden. Whatever variety it was – we had sourced the crown from some friend or relative so there were no labels – it grew gigantic stems, as thick as a baby’s wrist, topped by enormous leaves that we thought looked like child-sized umbrellas. I was never a fan: it was so stringy that it had to be peeled before cooking and I was always extremely dubious about any fruit or vegetable that did such a good job of shining the inside of the saucepan in which it was cooked.

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Blackberry picking: Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Blackberries

As a child, autumn was one of my favourite times of year. Going back to school was much eased by the fact that there were blackberries available for eating on nearby hedges, crab apples down the fields to be gathered and plenty of field mushrooms to be picked. This year, Little Missy in her sling for our daily walks, trying to grab any bramble that comes near her, we’ve been keeping an eye out for plump sloes and watching as the elderberries ripen, while eating lots of blackberries.

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Student treats: Caramel Squares 4

Student treats: Caramel Squares

When we were in college, the Brother’s Housemate came from a catering household. His mother used to make hundreds of superb Christmas cakes and puddings each year, cook for parties and events and, most importantly to us, make the best Caramel Squares known to students.Living on an unbroken biscuit diet of Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers – our habitual study food (oh, the excitement when a white chocolate variety came on the market) – these were manna from heaven. Every time the Brother’s Housemate was able to sneak or was given (we never knew, never asked) a box of them, we would descend on his house like a plague of biscuit-seeking locusts.

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