Whether you’re in Dublin or Christchurch, New Zealand this weekend, there are plenty of Slow Food-organised events taking place. The Christchurch branch have their second “how to survive when ship-wrecked” morning by the sea taking place on Saturday 23 September. Led by Slow Food member, amateur botanist, professional fishing guide and enthusiastic forager Peter Langlands, participants will spend the morning gathering seaweeds, shellfish, crustaceans and fish from Canterbury’s shoreline at Port Levy. Information on species identification, harvesting and cooking techniques will be combined with some cautionary notes. Car pooling will take place from the CPIT car park at 9:30am. You can email Convivium Leader Bill Bryce for directions and hopefully you’ll avoid what happened to me last year – a frustrating hour spent waiting in the wrong CPIT car park!
Last weekend saw the Boyfriend and myself travel down to my parents’ place in North Cork. As a result of the warm, damp weather over the past few weeks, I have received constant reports from my mother about the abundance of mushrooms so, with a Beef and Guinness casserole bubbling away in the oven, we off headed for a pre-dinner ramble down the fields with our eyes firmly fixed on the ground.
I’m not a fan of RTÉ’s Late Late Show but there was a debate about Irish food on last week’s programme which you can watch from this page. An aggressive and rambling Richard Corrigan doesn’t come off very well but Derek Davis manages to defuse the situation, while still managing to get his points about Irish food – and they’re not complimentary – across.
For all those Rachel Allen fans out there – and I know that there are lots of you! – she returns to RTÉ One next week with a new television series called Rachel’s Favourite Food at Home. A hardback cookbook to accompany the series is published by HarperCollins and it’s difficult to walk into any Irish bookshop at the moment without tripping over a stack of them!
I was in the heart of County Wicklow yesterday, listening as the Irish branch of Euro-toques, a European-wide community of cooks and chefs, debated the idea of Ireland as a culinary destination. Held at the lovely Brooklodge Hotel in Macreddin Village, this was Euro-toques Ireland’s fifth National Food Forum. Chaired by Peter Ward of Country Choice delicatessen in Nenagh, the panel consisted of Colman Andrews, former editor-in-chief of US food magazine, Saveur; John McKenna, the man behind the Bridgestone Guides; artisan butcher, market trader and sausage-maker extraordinaire Ed Hicks; editor of The Dubliner, Trevor White; and John Mulcahy of Failte Ireland, who provide training and development services for the tourism and hospitality industry.
For the last round of European Blogging by Post, I decided to make some Dukkah to include in my parcel for Petula in Italy. An Egyptian blend of coarsely ground nuts, spices and salt that you eat with pieces of crusty bread dipped in olive oil, I had never come across Dukkah before going to live in New Zealand last year. There it is often available at the many weekend markets dotted around the South Island and many food producers – Wild Country, elgani, Attitude Foods – make their own particular variation.
Life – in the form of friends’ weddings, new babies and house buying – has gotten in the way of updates here in the last while but, even though I haven’t been cooking or baking very much recently, it hasn’t stopped me from either eating or investigating interesting new food products. While the Boyfriend and I were down at home in County Cork last weekend, I managed to squeeze in a quick trip to my beloved English Market and Quay Co-op in Cork city and these are a few of the things that I’m trying at the moment: