Author: Caroline


Sweet Treats for Work: Hazelnut and Apricot Flapjacks

Honey Flapjacks When I was a little girl, one day during our summer holidays in Youghal, I caught sight of a Ladybird book called Learnabout…Cooking. I remember wanting to ask my mother to buy it for me but she had already left the shop. Fortunately, her youngest sister, at that stage still unmarried and able to come on our extended three-generation two-week holidays by the sea, whisked it off to the cash desk and I walked proudly home with my first cookery book under my arm.


Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop

With the 2008 Olympic opening ceremony taking place today, enigmatic China is at the center of attention. Fuchsia Dunlop’s Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper uses food and cooking to successfully delve beneath the surface.

sharksfin.jpg Chef and cookbook author Fuchsia Dunlop’s memoir of her time cooking and eating in China is an enthralling read. In 1994, at a time when China was still very closed off from the outside world, this young Englishwoman moved to Chengdu, in the Sichuan province. Ostensibly, Fuchsia was there to study the Chinese policy on ethnic minorities but food was a strong motivating factor – as she filled out her application form, it was with the Chinese sugarplums of chilli bean sauce, Sichuan pepper and frilly pig’s kidneys dancing in her head. Despite Fuchsia’s early disorientation, she plunged into life in Chengdu, learning the language and finding her way through the bold and interesting flavours of Sichuan food. Before long, she was taking lessons at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine and was subsequently invited to join a three-month professional chef’s training course – an unprecedented invitation for a Westerner.

Irish winners at the Great Taste Awards 0

Irish winners at the Great Taste Awards

Congratulations to, who won three gongs at the recent Great Taste Awards in London with their chutneys and relishes. These awards are considered to be the Oscars of the foodie world, with 2021 producers entering almost 4800 products this year to be judged in a wide variety of categories.


Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking

Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking What do you read while travelling in France? A stack of novels, a French phrase book – and Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking. My holidays normally involve dragging at least one cookbook of the country about with me, often with a relevant Lonely Planet World Food guide. World Food France is out of print, unfortunately, but I grabbed the last copy of the ED book at work as I ran out the door on the last day.


Le vinaigrier

Le vinaigrier For me, few trips abroad are complete without some kind of local food or kitchen accessory purchase, although flying does tend to put the skids on most shopping. Getting the ferry to France this year meant that life was very much easier when looking at things to bring home. The Husband went over with the intention of picking up some equipment for his nascent home-brewing career, giving me a chance to look round kitchen equipment with an eye to actually being able to bring something home. Mr Bricolage proved to be the perfect place for us both. He picked up a 40 liter plastic keg and a variety of other beer-making paraphernalia; while I was hemming and hawing over a stoneware vinaigrier, he grabbed it for me and legged it to the cash desk. A vinaigrier is a vinegar maker, an urn-shaped pot with a wide, lidded mouth to slosh in your left-over wine and a little tap to let you pour off the resulting vinegar. Mine also came with the cutest little stool, I presume to allow more air circulation.

Clonakilty market launch 0

Clonakilty market launch

If you’re a farmersmarket fan and in the Clonakilty vicinity next Friday, 8 August, watch out for the launch of the town’s market at Spiller’s Lane Car Park (by the Credit Union).The market kicks off at 8.30am and Darina Allen will be doing the official opening honours at 12.30pm. According to the Friends of Clonakilty Market, “the very finest local and seasonal foods will be available, including organic vegetables, fresh fish, locally baked breads, rashers and sausages, olives, dips, sun-dried tomatoes, jams, chutneys, sushi, farmhouse cheeses, freshly brewed coffee and much more…”


Morning eggs

Eggcups for Ballyvoddy While we were away in France, we were lucky enough to have my Naas Cousin come to house- and chicken-sit for a few days. Not only did she take extraordinarily good care of the place and livestock, she also left us a gift of the cutest pair of dozy bear eggcups. Boiled eggs will simply never be the same again. Thanks Elaine!