Life – in the form of friends’ weddings, new babies and house buying – has gotten in the way of updates here in the last while but, even though I haven’t been cooking or baking very much recently, it hasn’t stopped me from either eating or investigating interesting new food products. While the Boyfriend and I were down at home in County Cork last weekend, I managed to squeeze in a quick trip to my beloved English Market and Quay Co-op in Cork city and these are a few of the things that I’m trying at the moment:
As a child, I was an avid cookbook reader and collector. Of course, growing up in a small town in the middle of the countryside, there weren’t too many opportunities to actually buy many new cookbooks so the few that I did have were well-treasured. One of my most loved books, judging by the ingredient-encrusted pages, was a cookbook devoted to chocolate. Although the book itself has long since disappeared, it did leave a legacy behind – my beloved Chocolate Brownies recipe.
Things have been a bit mad around here lately so I haven’t unfortunately been able to participate in last two Hay Hay, It’s Donna Day events – and , hosted by Clare at respectively. Due to a traffic accident, Clare hasn’t been able to do the round up so Barbara, the HHIDD instigator, with Bron’s help, has put together a round up of the imaginative cookies that emerged from that challenge at . Barbara also met Ms Hay at the recent and you can read all about that on the same post
Being the last day at work before a Bank Holiday weekend, Friday was terribly busy – but considerably brightened up by the arrival of my Euro Blogging By Post parcel from Sweden! Once goods inwards got round to delivering it to my desk, I resisted the temptation to open it immediately and tucked it safely under my desk (sneaking looks at it all the time!) until it was home-going time…only to discover that it was too heavy to carry for 30 minutes on a too-warm summer’s evening. Luckily, the Boyfriend and I were able to call into the office on Saturday morning before we headed down the country for the weekend. I ended up opening it at home with the Little Sister, who got me out of my digital camera-not-working dilemma by using her phone to take the photo of “Swedish summer treats” illustrating this post.
One of the (very) many events organised by fellow food bloggers is a series of regular parcel exchanges. Last year in New Zealand I thoroughly enjoyed participating in Blog By Mail 2 and now I’ve gotten involved in Euro Blogging By Post #5, this round of which is being run by Jeanne over at the London-based Cooksister blog. Jeanne picked “The Taste of Summer” as her theme so I’ve assembled a parcel along those lines with a (slight) emphasis on Irish products.
There’s no nonsense about Judith Tabron. Starting in the restaurant industry as a 16-year-old apprentice, she worked her way up to become the co-owner of Soul, an acclaimed, successful bar and bistro situated at the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland. On stage at last year’s Savour New Zealand – she co-presented Greg Malouf‘s class on Middle Eastern Magic – her straight talking, take-no-prisoners attitude was very refreshing. She is, as she says herself, a leader rather than a follower, and her interest in new trends and different cuisines came through strongly at the symposium as it does in this, her first cookbook.
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.
Thursday was a searingly hot day in Dublin and, even come evening time, there was little respite from the heat in the city center. Sun-warmed crowds pooled outside bars and restaurants, Mediterranean-style. It was not an evening to be indoors so, when the Boyfriend and I arrived for a 7.30pm booking at Grafton Street fish restaurant Mackerel and I spied seats outside on the narrow balcony, we grabbed them as soon as we could hot-foot across the room.