A bag of butter beans on the kitchen shelf was the inspiration for this month’s Irish Foodies’ Cookalong. Soaked overnight, then thrown into the pot by themselves – or with some onions, carrots and celery – for about an hour the next morning, the beans needed little attention other than checking the water level every so often. And that’s the hard work done for this Greek Bean and Tomato Stew, which is based on a recipe by great Australian cook Jill Dupliex. The rest of the prep just involves making a simple tomato sauce, adding the beans and serving with some feta sprinkled over.
This has been the summer of the poached chicken. It started when the weather got hot in June and I had a chicken to cook. It wasn’t exactly turn-the-oven-on time so I landed it into a big pot, covered it with cold water, threw in some vegetables and herbs and let it barely simmer away for an hour. The chicken, after cooling in its cooking broth, was moist, juicy and beautifully flavoured. We ate it for dinner that night, with lots of salad, new potatoes and a bowl of homemade Tarragon Mayonnaise, devoured leftovers in sandwiches for the next day’s lunch, and the remnants made their way into a risotto, made with the cooking broth.
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).
It was dough at the ready for the first Irish food bloggers Twizza Party (think Twitter plus pizza plus party) last Thursday, organised by Reindeersp of Musings of a med student. A gang of newly acquainted bloggers dementedly (or maybe that was just me!) cooked, photographed and tweeted an assortment of delicious pizzas over the course of the evening.
In our house we really like pizza, especially when the parents aren’t about and the cottage turns into the Sunday lunch stop for the Sister, Little Sister and Small Brother. It’s easy to make the dough and sauce ahead of time, leaving the final assembly for when everybody turns up. That way they also get to choose their own toppings, which keeps everybody happy. This is how it works:
Pancake Tuesday came early at the cottage this year. I always love to have friends come over to eat pancakes but with the Husband getting home from work late and a Little Missy who is decidedly not at her delightful best in the evenings, lunchtimes are a much better time to entertain. Sunday became our Pancake Tuesday so we were able to invite our three Rockmills Neighbours and, as one of the Husband’s English Engineer friends was staying with us for the weekend, he – as well as doing a lot of washing up! – also got fed.
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.
This is the soup that I cooked at the Glenroe Ladies’ Club demonstration – it is something that I make regularly as it has a great flavour, doesn’t take long and is really good for freezing. The smoked paprika is fabulous with it, giving a real depth to the soup. Perfect for warming your hands while you sip it out of a large mug.