When artisan preserve-maker Theresa Storey of The Green Apron first set up stall at the Limerick Milk Market, geese were still being killed and plucked to order and there were always piles of feathers in the corners. This was in 1977 and she was there helping her mother, the family’s first “jam lady”, on her stall. Now, more than thirty years later, Theresa’s children regularly work on her own stall and the market itself has been transformed with the recent unveiling of a giant canopy that covers the traders. As someone who regularly gets lost in the surrounding maze of streets, I realised on Saturday that it makes the market much easier to find: as you approach, the canopy – looking for all the world like a circus tent – pokes out over the surrounding buildings and gives you something to aim for.
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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.
Kitchen arrived at the cottage just before a recent weekend where I was the kind of unwell that makes you want to curl up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book. I picked up Kitchen – carefully, I didn’t want to drop the hot chocolate, and it is a Big Book – and it was the perfect antidote to a few miserable days. I reveled in Nigella’s exuberant and extensive descriptions of Cheesy Chilli, Guinness Gingerbread and Marmalade Pudding Cake. Never mind the comfort eating: this is comfort reading at its very best.
It was all about buying local at last night’s Tipperary Food Producers Cookery Extravaganza in Clonmel. Tipperary produce – local cheese, preserves, meat and fruit – was used for the elegant nibbles on offer at the start of the night, during the cookery demonstrations and for the rapidly hoovered up deserts which finished off the evening.
“He burns his nuts, I bake my rocks”
Sharon Hearne Smith on the tricks (and Donal Skehan’s occasional mistakes!) of the food styling world.
Belatedly, my presentation from the IFBA launch at Savour Kilkenny‘s FoodCamp. I thought, on the eve of our second launch in Dublin (come meet us in L. Mulligan Grocer tomorrow night, Saturday 6 November!), it might be a suitable time to let you know the thinking behind Kristin and I setting up the IFBA.
Tweets and trends, coffee and conversation, information and inspiration: all in the mix at Savour Kilkenny‘s first Irish FoodCamp last Friday. It was a full on day. Not only were Dinner du Jour and I presenting a new Irish blogger resource but the schedule was crammed with talks on a variety of food-related topics.