On Friday night two friends were arriving in from Cambridge in time for a late supper. They didn’t arrive until after 9pm, fortunately, as the previous night at Mackerel and an after-work engagement party ensured that I didn’t get home until around half seven. Walking home from town I nipped into Spiceland to pick up some pita breads and a tin of dolmades (rice stuffed vine leaves) and together with a few house basics – potatoes, carrots, chorizo, eggs – decided on a simple tapas-style meal with a Mediterranean flavour.
Last weekend – the macaroon-making one – I was down home cooking dinner for my mother’s birthday. As we farm beef cattle, roasts are a regular part of life at home so, as the kitchen was in my hands on Saturday, I decided that it was a good opportunity to make something completely different. On Friday night I dug out the cookbooks that haven’t yet made it to Dublin – they’re the ones that got co-opted by my little sister – and started leafing through them, looking for inspiration. One of the Avoca books had an interesting-sounding Beef and Guinness Stew so I bookmarked the recipe for consultation the following day.