…you just might find there really is such a thing as a free lunch. Discover wild mushrooms, or berries for a juicy jam in the untimate foodie treasure hunt. By Caroline Hennessy for The Irish Mail on Sunday on Sunday 13 September 2009.
There are days when nothing but a loaf cake will do. When I’m calling round to a friend or heading to stay with a cousin, I like to bring something with me and these days I’m going through a phase of loaf cake making. I normally make a pair so there’s one to take and one to eat at home – otherwise the Husband might just starve to death!
I’ve only managed to go to the cinema twice since Little Missy arrived on the scene, an enormous drop off when compared with the four or five films a week I might go to see when I reviewed films for the RTÉ entertainment website. I used to go see those films during the day, and for free. That was a Very Good Thing – even if the films were bad, and some were really, truly horrendous.
As a child, autumn was one of my favourite times of year. Going back to school was much eased by the fact that there were blackberries available for eating on nearby hedges, crab apples down the fields to be gathered and plenty of field mushrooms to be picked. This year, Little Missy in her sling for our daily walks, trying to grab any bramble that comes near her, we’ve been keeping an eye out for plump sloes and watching as the elderberries ripen, while eating lots of blackberries.
The details of the 2009 Blas na hEireann food awards have just been announced and the organisers are looking for entries from Irish food producers.
A mixture of stories and demonstrations around the theme of Irish pork made up the afternoon workshop at the Mitchelstown Food Festival on Friday. Carol O’Brien spoke about her pig farming family’s experiences of the dioxin scare and how this incentivised them to become involved with the setting up of Truly Irish. A national cooperative, Truly Irish represents pig producers from the entire island and products – rashers, sausages and ham – sold under the brand will be sourced in Ireland. Truly Irish will be officially launched at the Mitchelstown Food Festival producers’ market on Sunday and the products are available from Superquinn, Centra and SuperValu outlets around the country.
My Clonmel Cousin has been getting into the gardening gifts lately – and I’ve been the lucky recipient, getting a cheerful pink petunia and fuschia pot for my birthday and a Christmas present of a hazel tree with a pair of blueberry bushes. We had tried blueberries in the garden previously but they’re big fans of acidic soil and I don’t think we added enough peat moss into the spot where we planted them. This time round, when I was planting the bushes, I landed plenty of peat moss into the hole – with good results.
The Mallow Food Festival may be over, but the local focus on food continues. This year’s Mitchelstown Food Festival will take place this coming weekend, Friday 28, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 August and the theme is, very appropriately after last year’s pig-meat debacle, Bringing Home the Bacon.