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!
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.
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:
Thursday was a searingly hot day in Dublin and, even come evening time, there was little respite from the heat in the city center. Sun-warmed crowds pooled outside bars and restaurants, Mediterranean-style. It was not an evening to be indoors so, when the Boyfriend and I arrived for a 7.30pm booking at Grafton Street fish restaurant Mackerel and I spied seats outside on the narrow balcony, we grabbed them as soon as we could hot-foot across the room.
Ireland has recently been going through a spell of glorious weather with near-constant sunshine and temperatures in the mid to late 20s and so I’ve not stepped near the kitchen for the last while. Cooking is mostly out of the question and baking has been abandoned for the moment – very little Brown Soda Bread gets made these days! – as our kitchen is just too small to cope with the heat of the cooker and/or oven. Meals at home are mostly light salad affairs or, given half a chance on these long, warm evenings, consist of picnics eaten while sprawled on the grass in one of our local parks.