Category: Do

The Fergusons of Gubbeen 3

The Fergusons of Gubbeen

While looking at the RTÉ website the other day I came across a piece on the Nationwide programme about the Ferguson family of Gubbeen, outside Schull in West Cork. Tom and Giana Ferguson have worked Gubbeen Farm for more than thirty years, starting to produce their delicious prize-winning Gubbeen Cheese in 1978.

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Ladies who lunch @ Café Paradiso, Cork

Fabulously enjoyable and imaginative food at a reasonable price After my appetite had been well whetted by Denis Cotter’s A Paradiso Year: Autumn and Winter Cooking, I decided that it was time to return to Café Paradiso itself and last weekend I went down to Cork. All my nights were tied up but Saturday lunchtime was designated Paradiso-time and who better to share it than my Sister, who lives in Cork, and the Canadian friend that I met in New Zealand. Both the girls are waitresses – one in the nearby Liberty Grill, the other in Cork’s famous Jacobs on the Mall – so Café Paradiso wasn’t getting the most uncritical audience.

Winter Food on radio 2

Winter Food on radio

Back at work in Ireland, I have access to a much faster internet connection than I was used to – meaning lots more scope for radio listening! I’m still tuning in regularly to Eat Feed but it is particularly nice to discovered an Irish radio show called Winter Food. It’s presented by Slow Food activist – and editor of the very useful Slow Food Ireland Guide to Producers – Clodagh McKenna and I’m listening to her fascinating Irish farmhouse cheese episode, including a pasteurised versus un-pasteurised debate, at the moment. The whole series is archived online and it’s well worth a listen. You’ll also find an article by Clodagh McKenna on Farmer’s Markets here.

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Rachel Allen on RTÉ

The lovely Ms Allen herself After all the debate about Rachel Allen, I felt that I just had to watch her show! Last night I was home alone at my lovely friends’ house (being a bag lady makes you realise how good your friends are) and I decided I was going to take the plunge and actually turn on the television for myself.

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Chocolate from Limerick

Chocolate bars from Cocoa Bean While I was meandering around the Galway branch of Sheridans on my recent trip to the capital of the West, I came across some beautifully packaged chocolate from a Limerick company called Cocoa Bean. The blocks first caught my eye as I thought they looked more like gorgeous notebooks than chocolate bars. And then I looked at the flavourings…oh, they were truly mouthwatering! From spice, rose and pistachio to star anise and earl grey tea, they just sounded like my kind of (dark) chocolate. But, what with the chocolates not having any prices on them (always a bad move, when you’ve to actually ask the price of the product) and having to purchase food for dinner, I forgetfully managed to leave without grabbing a few bars to test drive.

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More chocolate testing

Green & Black's Maya Gold A couple of days after I arrived back in Ireland my foodie cousin called round with a thoughtful bag of kitchen basics for me. Pasta, rice – my favourite basmati – olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a bottle of wine and, piling luxury upon practicality, two bars of Green & Black’s organic Fair Trade chocolate.

A trip to Galway 0

A trip to Galway

Last weekend I was in Galway to visit my school friend and her husband and, almost as importantly, to see their new kitchen! They had moved into their house some time before I went to New Zealand but the kitchen remained to be sorted out. I heard that this had been completed while I was away and last weekend was my first opportunity to see it for myself. It is gorgeous – all granite work surfaces and light painted woods with dual ovens and a large five-burner gas hob – and I got a chance to take it for a test drive when the school friend and myself cooked dinner for nine on Saturday night.

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An unexpected treat

I have always been a fan of Bonne Maman’s delicious range of jams and preserves. It’s the taste and lovely runny texture that sold me – no surprise that it bosts 45g of whole fruit per 100g of jam. In distinctively shaped jars, topped with a homey-looking imitation-gingham lid, I have worked my way through their range over the years, apricot, blackcurrant and peach being particular favourites. And the jars themselves have also come in handy, housing many of my range of spices and herbs.