Category: Lovely Lunches

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
0

Lunch in Cork: Crawford Art Gallery Café

Crawford Art Gallery, Cork

I’ve had a sneaking fondness for the Crawford Art Gallery Café ever since I spent a Saturday working there while on the Ballymaloe Cookery Course and have returned several times since. The Husband and I were on a rare Saturday trip to Cork at the weekend, made all the hungrier for lunch by some cheese nibbling at our local Killavullen Farmers’ Market, courtesy of Gudrun at Fermoy Natural Cheese. Despite the crowds in the café, we got a table quickly, which was just as well as I had already spotted lamb’s liver on the menu.

read more
5

Warm Chickpea Salad with Parmesan

Warm Chickpea Salad with ParmesanOne of my major perks, on days I work from home, is having the opportunity to make myself something really good for lunch. If those days also happen to feature me making chicken stock or reconstituting a big bag of dried pulses – these things happen in the kitchen without me having to think about them – there’s more of a treat in store. A couple of scoops of chicken stock get siphoned off to make a gutsy noodle broth, infused with slivers of ginger, garlic and chilli and eaten with relish. Freshly cooked butter beans can easily find themselves tossed with a sundried tomato dressing and some of the left-over roast pumpkin from last night’s dinner.

read more
Leeks from the garden: Minimalist Leek and Potato Soup 0

Leeks from the garden: Minimalist Leek and Potato Soup

The veggie garden is looking a little sad at this stage in the year. Just a few scraggly kale plants, as-yet-unformed purple sprouting broccoli – but we still have some leeks, when we remember to cook them! We’ve recently been having a cold snap so I’ve been making lots of soups and, one day when I happened to remember that we still had to use up the leeks in the garden and actually had some potatoes in the house, I made a version of Clothilde’s minimalist Leek and Potato Soup, which she in turn had adapted from Sophie Brissaud‘s recipe. As I was just after a stock-making session, I used chicken stock as well as water in the soup for more depth of flavour, and finished it off with dollops of ever-present yoghurt. This is very much an approximation of the recipe – I just didn’t want to get out the weighing scales!

read more
Simple Tomato Sauce 0

Simple Tomato Sauce

This is the most useful recipe to have in your repertoire. I use it – sometimes with the addition of broccoli, chorizo, bacon or chilli – with gnocchi, pasta, cannelloni and polenta, as a topping for pizza and even when baking pancakes. If you can track down some decent Italian plum tomatoes, it’s all the better for that; if you can’t, just keep tasting and adjusting the flavour with sugar if it’s too bitter, red wine or balsamic vinegar if it’s too sweet, tomato purée if it needs more body, water if it’s too thick. If you have fresh basil, add it at the end to lift the flavour of sauce. I often use thyme – fresh if I have it but sometimes dried – if I want the sauce to have a herby tinge.

read more