My first introduction to Ursula Ferrigno was through a book called Bread (published by Dorling Kindersley) that she co-wrote with Eric Treuille, the owner of London shop/haven Books For Cooks. It’s an eminently useful publication with, as is the Dorling Kindersley way, plenty, almost too many, illustrations. This became a much-used publication in my kitchen – especially when the Boyfriend appointed himself official bagel-maker! – and so it was with great interest I turned to Ferrigno’s latest book, Trattoria: Food for Family and Friends.
Before I left Ireland in 2004 I heard great reports about a new Vietnamese restaurant in Dublin’s Temple Bar. As it happened, the Boyfriend and I were hoping to visit Vietnam while either journeying to or from New Zealand but this never happened. Since my return, the regular mentions of in the cookbooks, magazines and websites that I read have piqued my interest so I jumped at the chance to take the Boyfriend to dinner in Hô Sen last night.
Seeing as both Darina and Rachel have recently been assuring the readers of their cookery books that it’s become very fashionable to entertain at home instead of going out – that, and the fact that the Boyfriend and I finally have somewhere to call home – we had some friends round last week after work for hot chocolates. It was a bitterly cold evening as I made my way home from work so I decided to supplement the hot chocolates with some soup.
Ilva at Lucullian delights – an Italian experience tagged me for the Common Cold Remedies Meme. This was started by Raquel over at Raquel’s Box of Chocolate when she asked what people do when they have the sniffles – and to pass on any remedies. This is a particularly good time of the year to be investigating ways of killing a cold but – fortunately – I’ve not had this problem yet. That doesn’t mean that I don’t know what to do, however…
You can read about and vote for your favourite macaroon around the world at Glutton Rabbit‘s brilliant round-up of Hay Hay It’s Donna Day #2 – Macaroons. It’s all illustrated with nice pictures (making my macaroons look even more cow-pat-like in comparison to all the others!) and it is interesting to see how different people interpreted the idea of macaroon-making.
While the internet has undoubtedly simplified the matter of finding holiday accommodation, it’s never at hand (unless, of course, you’ve got your portable internet device nearby) when you’re on the road, looking for a decent bite to eat and somewhere to stay at short notice. Situations like these that make you thankful for having a guide book into the glove-box of your car and Georgina Campbell‘s guides to Ireland are useful tomes for such eventualities.
Last weekend – the macaroon-making one – I was down home cooking dinner for my mother’s birthday. As we farm beef cattle, roasts are a regular part of life at home so, as the kitchen was in my hands on Saturday, I decided that it was a good opportunity to make something completely different. On Friday night I dug out the cookbooks that haven’t yet made it to Dublin – they’re the ones that got co-opted by my little sister – and started leafing through them, looking for inspiration. One of the Avoca books had an interesting-sounding Beef and Guinness Stew so I bookmarked the recipe for consultation the following day.
It’s been a while since Maman Poulet – sorry Suzy! – tagged me for the Weird Meme. For this meme I have to write five weird things about me. Well, one person’s weird is another person’s absolutely normal so I’m not sure how weird (or sane) these are going to appear to anyone else. I just know that they’re things to do with cooking and food that people have pointed out as being somewhat strange.