Some weeks things work, at other times my attempts to fill the tins with sweet treats for work falls flat. This time I have a not very successful variation on Almond Honey Squares from a neat little Woman’s Weekly Simple Slices book that the Husband ordered for me recently. I think he’s trying to ensure his supply of different nice things to take to work – before I started making these weekly variations, it was a consistent diet of Chocolate Sesame Flapjacks and variations thereof.
For those of you who are, like me, without television – or simply without Irish television – you can watch Trish Deseine‘s first programme, Trish’s Paris Kitchen, online from the RTÉ website. Although the first show includes lunchtime cooking classes at L’Atelier des Chefs, a visit to Clotilde’s favourite cookware store, E. Dehillerin, and several recipes, it never quite lifts off and is curiously flat. In the meantime – I’ve been resisting temptation for way too long! – I’ve Trish’s chocolate cookbook on order. I think it was the thought of these Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Cookies…or maybe it was the Gâteau au chocolat fondant de Nathalie?
With Irish cheeses and handmade terrines, fresh-shucked oysters, champagne and plenty of spiced beef, the launch of the Taste of Cork festival took place last Thursday in the English Market and it’s shaping up to be something well worth checking out.Although I was rather underwhelmed with my experience at the first Taste of Dublin, the teething problems – portion size, rain shelter, muck underfoot – seem to have been ironed out and, for the event’s Cork debut, the organisers have chosen the historic surroundings of the Cork City Gaol (or Jail, depending on where you grew up!) for the weekend of Friday 27 to Sunday 29 June. The restaurant line up includes Jacobs on the Mall, Seamus O’Connell’s Ivory Tower, the very familiar Ballymaloe House, and Mallow’s representative – Longueville House. We’re planning on a family day out – time to book those tickets!
Gradually getting through the Observer Food Monthly – it’s like very good chocolate for me, not something to be gobbled down but, rather, to be savoured slowly! – and just came across a feature on Bill Hogan and Sean Ferry of the West Cork Natural Cheese Company, makers of the superlative Desmond and Gabriel cheeses. The cheese-making partners have been in conflict with the department of agriculture since 2002, when their cheeses, all made from raw, non-pasteurised milk, were impounded. They eventually won their case – but it was not without much difficulty and hardship. Read the whole story – The revolution will not be pasteurised – here and then take yourself down to your nearest cheesemonger and buy a large slice of Desmond and Gabriel in tribute to a couple of cheesemakers who fought back.
Trish Deseine is a familiar name in the food blogosphere – particularly to anyone who reads Chocolate and Zucchini – and this Ulster-born food writer is also very well known in her adoptive France. Last year’s publication of Nobody Does it Better: Why French Home Cooking Is Still the Best in the World, was her first major foray into the English-speaking world – her Boudin Noir aux Deux Pommes (Black Pudding with Apples and Potatoes) is one of those useful ideas that is cooked regularly in my house. Now her debut television series, Trish’s Paris Kitchen, starts on RTÉ One tonight at 7.30pm. I don’t know if the programme is going to be broadcast online just yet, although 4oD has completely spoiled me for watching TV on the web (thanks Suzy!), but you can catch Trish being interviewed on Corrigan Knows Food from last June and she was also being interviewed on Monday’s Today With Pat Kenny – scroll down and click on Shows from the past week on the right hand side.
Sometimes you start with one particular recipe and end up going off on a slightly different tangent. That’s what happened with these Chocolate Hazelnut Squares. After a comment by Sarah on my Lemon Traybake, I wandered over to Val’s Kitchen and took a look at the Hazelnut Caramel Slice that she made from a Rachel Allen recipe, dug out the book and started baking.
If you’re anywhere in the Mallow area this coming Saturday, 5 April, you can catch the first Mallow Farmers’ Market in the wee courtyard outside URRU – the culinary store, deli and café where I work – from 10.30am to 1pm. Stalls that will be there include my favourite Fermoy Natural Cheeses, smoked fish from Geraldine Bass’ Old Millbank Smokehouse and herbs from West Cork’s Gairdín Eden, which supply the fantastic salad leaves that we sell in URRU. Hopefully the weather will stay fine!
Since I first wrote about the McDonnell’s Good Food Cookbooks I have had several emails asking for recipes that people remember from their childhood or enjoyed years ago but have since lost. The latest request, from Renee who wants to make the cake for a family occasion, is for the Tea Brack recipe from the first cookbook. This is one of our family favourites, a much used recipe, but – as I well remember from frustrated occasions searching for it – annoyingly filed under the name Irish Tea Brack in the Irish Tea Time Favourites chapter, just across the page from Gingerbread.