Hog roast from Gubbeen was on the menu at the Waterford Food Fair farmers’ market in Dungarvan yesterday. Cooking started on Grattan Square at 5.30am so appetites were well-stimulated by the time Fingal Ferguson and his staff started serving blaas stuffed with roast pork to a hungry crowd around 1pm. It wasn’t the only food on offer at the market – think Chocolate Brownies from Tara’s Cookies, Baldwin’s farmhouse ice cream, O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausages that I often pick up in the English Market, apple juice from Killowen Orchard and the Crinnaughtaun Juice Company – but, with waves of pork-infused smoke wafting through the square as it cooked, it was definitely the most spectacular.
Some weeks things work, at other times my attempts to fill the tins with sweet treats for work falls flat. This time I have a not very successful variation on Almond Honey Squares from a neat little Woman’s Weekly Simple Slices book that the Husband ordered for me recently. I think he’s trying to ensure his supply of different nice things to take to work – before I started making these weekly variations, it was a consistent diet of Chocolate Sesame Flapjacks and variations thereof.
With Irish cheeses and handmade terrines, fresh-shucked oysters, champagne and plenty of spiced beef, the launch of the Taste of Cork festival took place last Thursday in the English Market and it’s shaping up to be something well worth checking out.Although I was rather underwhelmed with my experience at the first Taste of Dublin, the teething problems – portion size, rain shelter, muck underfoot – seem to have been ironed out and, for the event’s Cork debut, the organisers have chosen the historic surroundings of the Cork City Gaol (or Jail, depending on where you grew up!) for the weekend of Friday 27 to Sunday 29 June. The restaurant line up includes Jacobs on the Mall, Seamus O’Connell’s Ivory Tower, the very familiar Ballymaloe House, and Mallow’s representative – Longueville House. We’re planning on a family day out – time to book those tickets!
Gradually getting through the Observer Food Monthly – it’s like very good chocolate for me, not something to be gobbled down but, rather, to be savoured slowly! – and just came across a feature on Bill Hogan and Sean Ferry of the West Cork Natural Cheese Company, makers of the superlative Desmond and Gabriel cheeses. The cheese-making partners have been in conflict with the department of agriculture since 2002, when their cheeses, all made from raw, non-pasteurised milk, were impounded. They eventually won their case – but it was not without much difficulty and hardship. Read the whole story – The revolution will not be pasteurised – here and then take yourself down to your nearest cheesemonger and buy a large slice of Desmond and Gabriel in tribute to a couple of cheesemakers who fought back.
Trish Deseine is a familiar name in the food blogosphere – particularly to anyone who reads Chocolate and Zucchini – and this Ulster-born food writer is also very well known in her adoptive France. Last year’s publication of Nobody Does it Better: Why French Home Cooking Is Still the Best in the World, was her first major foray into the English-speaking world – her Boudin Noir aux Deux Pommes (Black Pudding with Apples and Potatoes) is one of those useful ideas that is cooked regularly in my house. Now her debut television series, Trish’s Paris Kitchen, starts on RTÉ One tonight at 7.30pm. I don’t know if the programme is going to be broadcast online just yet, although 4oD has completely spoiled me for watching TV on the web (thanks Suzy!), but you can catch Trish being interviewed on Corrigan Knows Food from last June and she was also being interviewed on Monday’s Today With Pat Kenny – scroll down and click on Shows from the past week on the right hand side.
If you’re anywhere in the Mallow area this coming Saturday, 5 April, you can catch the first Mallow Farmers’ Market in the wee courtyard outside URRU – the culinary store, deli and café where I work – from 10.30am to 1pm. Stalls that will be there include my favourite Fermoy Natural Cheeses, smoked fish from Geraldine Bass’ Old Millbank Smokehouse and herbs from West Cork’s Gairdín Eden, which supply the fantastic salad leaves that we sell in URRU. Hopefully the weather will stay fine!
In the “I wish I was still living in Dublin” category, check out the forthcoming evening of Italian food, wine and song organised by Greatfood.ie and the Italian School of Cooking for this Saturday night (29 March). Tickets for that are on sale at Greatfood2buy.com. Independent wine blog Sour Grapes – well worth taking a look at for some decent wine reviews – is organising a wine tasting event at Fallon & Byrne for 15 April. Sign up at Sour Grapes here.