Our last Bibliofemme bookclub – for The Rum Diaries by Hunter S Thompson – was held at my flat on a rapidly-darkening autumn evening. The previous evening had been cold and dreary as I walked home from my webmaster course so I decided to start a soup, leave it sit overnight, and then finish it off as the girls arrived. I’d recently come across a Julie Le Clerk‘s version of Harira in an old copy of Cuisine so this was a good opportunity to try it out. I had made a meatless version of this last year in Christchurch but this time I was going to make a meal in a bowl, stuffed with lamb, lentils, chickpeas and, after a look at Claudia Roden’s version of the fast-breaking soup, haricot beans.
In Berlin most of this week to present the Other Voices website at the Prix Europa internet competition. A total of 22 sites are nominated for the Exploration award, each of which has to give a half-hour presentation. Our area of the competition is fortunately limited to three days – long, intense and tiring but also incredibly rewarding. It’s not often you get the chance to sit down with your professional peers to discuss and share concepts, ideas and inspiration from all over Europe. As for getting to see Berlin, forget it. The most I’ve seen so far is through the window of the bus that takes us to Potsdam every morning or from a taxi speeding through a hushed late-night cityscape. I’ve a free day on Saturday though – perhaps time to explore some markets and discover Berlin – and, of course, have some close encounters with German food – for myself.
Well, after years of searching plus 2½ never-ending months of frustrating to-ing and fro-ing with mortgage providers, solicitors and auctioneers we have finally managed to take possession of a little country cottage, our Irish bach, in North County Cork. It is a typically small Irish cottage with a pair of small bedrooms upstairs. It could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be described as roomy although the current lack of furniture does make it feel slightly more spacious!
In yet another of my infrequent series of alerts about Irish food programmes, a new RTÉ Radio 1 show called Boiled, Baked and Basted started on Saturday night. It features chefs talking about the favourite and most inspirational cookbooks in their collection (Bibliochef, perhaps?!) and the first show has Paul Flynn of the acclaimed Tannery Restaurant in Dungarvan talking about books by Marco Pierre White, “scary hero” Elizabeth David, the esteemed list-topping Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson and two books that speak directly to my love of Middle Eastern food – The Moro Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark and Arabesque: A taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon by Claudia Roden. If you, like me, are interested in cookbooks (in my house you’ll find piles of cookbooks by the bed, on the dining table, in the living room, and a row to reference on the kitchen counter) you’ll find this programme very interesting.
With the onset of cooler weather, the amount of cooking and baking in my house has increased, if not the recent writing about it. It’s no longer torturously hot in our tiny kitchen if the oven is on and, as a result, I’ve gotten back into baking old reliables like Brown Soda Bread and our favourite Chocolate Flapjacks as well as trying out new recipes for Bill Granger‘s Coconut Loaf (especially good toasted), Peanut Butter Cookies (very moreish) from current favourite cookbook, Comfort by Michele Cranston and a zesty Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf that I decided to make in homage to the tasty muffins that I usually get in Dún Laoghaire from the California Market Bakery.
caroline hennessy, blog, food, cooking, baking, cookery, food, new zealand, kiwi, ireland, Irish, cookbooks, Christchurch, dublin, Saha: A Chef’s Journey through Lebanon and Syria by Greg and Lucy Malouf, Savour New Zealand, Australian chef Greg Malouf, Green Beans Slow-Cooked with Cumin and Tomatoes; Grilled Tiger Prawn Shish Kebabs with Spicy Cracked Wheat Salad and Tomato Dressing; Crunchy Sesame-Pistachio Biscuits, Roman remains at Baalbeck and Palmyra, the legendary desert kingdom of Queen Zenobia, photographer Matt Harvey, Mezze Dips and Meat Mezze to Sweet Treats and Beverages, desert truffles, mastic, barberries, Greg’s yoghurt recipe, Israeli invasion, Moorish by Greg and Lucy Malouf
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!