First published on Irish Country Living. The first time I visited Belfast was back in 2002. I took the Enterprise from Dublin’s Connolly Station on a wintery Friday night to meet my new Kiwi boyfriend; we...
Some might say that it is too late for Christmas shopping but, as the Little Brother informed me this morning, there’s loads of time yet. Which would be fine if he wasn’t supposed to be buying for me – my family does Kris Kringle so that you only have to buy for one person – and most of the things I want are online. My fault for not telling him in time, apparently! Oh well…if there are any similarly challenged little brothers out there, they might find this list useful. Here are, in no particular order, a selection of review books that I’ve enjoyed this year. You can also find a few more in the Cooking the Books index.
I miss Arbutus bread. One of the great advantages of working in URRU Mallow was having regular access to good quality bread – I used to eat the sesame seed-encrusted brown crusts for work breakfast (you can’t sell them but I think they’re the nicest piece of the whole loaf), regularly bringing home spelt or rye loaves or, for a particular treat, one of the tomato and basil breads or a couple of croissants, to be heated up for the following morning’s breakfast.
Don’t forget Pancake Tuesday tomorrow! I’m looking forward to trying out a new product from Sowan’s Organics – two organic pancake mixes, one with unbleached white flour and a spelt variation, which I’m particularly interested in. Both come fortified with organic vanilla, a great addition to savoury dishes – when I’m making Nic‘s Buttermilk Pancakes, I flavour them with some vanilla extract before adding the crispy bacon and maple syrup. If you have to buy a mix, best stick with something organic but, if you’re interested in making your own pancakes, you’ll find my standard recipe here with a useful dish for Pancake Tuesday – Ricotta and Spinach Pancake Bake. For more ideas check out Greatfood.ie‘s pancake special.
British organic and Fair Trade food chain Fresh and Wild teamed up with organic expert Ysanne Spevack, editor of online organic food magazine organicfood.co.uk, to produce this cookbook. It’s both worthy and worthwhile, but sometimes Spevack’s party political broadcasts on behalf of Fresh and Wild do get a little tiresome, especially when there’s only a limited amount of the shops to go around.