Food Blogs

The science of mixing mind-blowing cocktails

Guardian Food Blog - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 11:06
A guide from 1948 still contains the best advice about cocktail-making but modern mixologists use plenty of 21st-century science, too. Is all that effort worth it?

David E Embury was a lawyer, cocktail enthusiast and all-round stickler. Incredulous that people thought they could serve "any haphazard conglomeration of spirituous liquors, wines, bitters, fruit juices, sugar, milk, eggs, cream and anything else that happens to be leftover from last week's picnic supper", he wrote a book called The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks to address the issue. This was back in 1948, but today it is still considered by mixologists such as Dick Bradsell and Tony Conigliaro the key literature for their craft.

The book's introduction nods to why I'm wary of cocktail-drinking as a pastime (other than it being a prohibitively expensive way to get drunk). Embury's generation learned to make drinks in the prohibition era with harsh bathtub gin, therefore "the primary object in mixing a cocktail became the otherwise emollient and anti-emetic ingredients to make it possible to swallow a sufficient content of alcohol to ensure ultimate inebriety". Cocktails remain a fancy method of making hard liquor extremely palatable. Overpriced alcopops, if you will.

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Fight Back Friday August 15th

Food Renegade - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 04:21
Welcome to another Fight Back Friday! Today we are bringing together another collection of recipes, tips, anecdotes, and testimonies from members of the Real Food Revolution. Who are they? Why, they're the Food Renegades. You know who you are -- lovers of SOLE (Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical) food, traditional food, primal food, REAL food, the list goes on. I believe that by joining together, our influence can grow, and we can change the way America (and the industrialized world) eats! So, let's have some fun.

Whatever happened to the British food revival?

Guardian Food Blog - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 12:45
A few years ago, modern British food was on the up. Now we're eating American and south Asian, and the high street is still full of Italian, Japanese and Mexican chains. What went wrong?

What happened to that great revolution in British cooking we all heard so much about a few years ago? There has been an invasion of pimped-up American fast food, trendy pulled pork baps, south Asian street food, kimchi with everything, Peruvian, Nordic, New Mexican the next wave is always around the corner, and always from a different part of the globe.

"If you try to open British, you'll be elbowed out of the high street," says Trevor Gulliver, the co-founder of St John in Clerkenwell, London. With its offal-oriented dishes, this British-centric restaurant, which opened its doors in the early 90s, is probably the inspiration behind every pub that attempts to cook ox heart. "The people opening restaurants aren't foodies, they are businessmen," he continues. "To create a good British restaurant will take about two to three years to find your groove. That kind of commitment is bonkers these days, as people just want an instant franchise."

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How to cook the perfect vegetable lasagne

Guardian Food Blog - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 08:00
Can a veggie version rival lasagne alla bolognese, do you use one vegetable or a range, should they be chunky or pureed and how cheesy is too cheesy?

How to make the perfect arancini
How to cook the perfect osso buco
How to make the perfect tiramisu

Lasagne, to me, means meat. Indeed, lasagne alla bolognese, as the ragu and bechamel sort is properly known, has been absorbed, kicking and screaming, into the British canon albeit with a few common modifications (I'm not sure how much gooey red leicester they use in Emilia-Romagna, for example), so it was a bit of a revelation when I discovered that in Italy, almost every region has its own lasagne-based speciality.

In Liguria, they eat their lasagne with pesto, while in Naples lasagne with meatballs and hard-boiled eggs is a festive treat, and in Tuscany they traditionally make the pasta from chestnut flour and serve it with leeks and lard. Indeed, Marcella Hazan defines lasagne only as: "several layers of delicate, nearly weightless pasta spaced by layers of savoury but not overbearing filling made of meat or artichokes or mushrooms or other fine mixtures".

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Adulterated coffee? Better than a flavoured frappuccino

Guardian Food Blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 14:48
The news that coffee is being padded out with twigs and mud is far less troubling than the rise of sweetened, flavoured brews. Will anyone stand up for the hazelnut frothy iced latte?

Twigs and dirt hidden in your coffee! Latte with extra mud! Show me an alarmist headline about adulterated coffee reaching our shores and the first horror that comes to mind is a Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino from Starbucks. I'm troubled far less by unwanted fillers than undesired flavours and unwelcome sugar messing up my brew.

Don't get me wrong. Under no circumstance would I condone surreptitiously adding corn, barley and soya beans to coffee, not even if those additives made for a more palatable drink than the ground coffee in question. But I'm not going to lose sleep over it either partly because I wouldn't be personally affected, grinding my beans at home like all true coffee geeks, but mostly because I've always just assumed fillers were added to coffee by unscrupulous exporters whenever the price of coffee rose or its supplies dropped.

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Seasonal eating: does it matter?

Guardian Food Blog - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 13:40
A BBC poll has revealed that fewer than one in 10 Brits know when some of the UK's most well-known fruit and vegetables are in season, and supermarkets do little to help. But would a strawberry at the Christmas table really be so out of place?

It's always five o'clock somewhere, goes the sot's adage. This sound principle may also be applied to the seasonality of fruit and vegetables. These days, the year-round availability of everything from Peruvian asparagus to Dutch tomatoes is pretty much ubiquitous in UK supermarkets. Such disregard for British growing seasons has become something of a cause célèbre for foodie types, and a new survey by BBC Good Food Magazine has found our knowledge of the seasons to be pitiful.

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Mango Guacamole

Food Renegade - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 23:20
Whoever thought to cut open an avocado and a smash it into a dip was a genius. It's creamy, cool, and tastes so good once it hits the lips! However, I will do you one better...I added fruit to it, creating a flavor component that is out of this world.

Long Table Dinner

Darinas Saturday Letter - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 16:40

Every year we have a thanksgiving feast in the greenhouses towards the end of July – A Long Table dinner for 100 people in the midst of the tomato vines and scarlet runner beans. Virtually all the food comes from the farm and gardens,   the floury British Queen potatoes from Willie Scannell’s farm in Ballyandreen and the fish comes from nearby Ballycotton. It’s a magical evening – a celebration of the work of the gardeners  and farm lads and an opportunity for the guests to get a glimpse behind the scenes of a 100 acre organic farm and gardens, which grows a wide variety of crops –  fruit, veg and fresh herbs. We also have lots of hens, several sows, heritage breeds that snuffle about outdoors all their happy lives. The home-made butter, cheese, yoghurt and buttermilk is made from the milk of our Jersey cows and the beef from the Aberdeen Angus, Kerry and Dexter cattle.

This was the third year . People came from Alabama, Arkasas, Los Angeles, North Carolina, Copenhagen, UK and Ireland, many were return guests who joined us in former years. The event raises money to support the East Cork Slow Food Educational project which links in with nine local schools to teach children how to grow and cook. We deliver a chicken coop to each school with two hens so the children can learn how to look after poultry, you can’t imagine the excitement when the hens lay their first eggs. The chicken manure goes onto the compost heap in the school which helps to enrich the soil so the children can grow more beautiful fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit in the school gardens.

Rory O Connell, my brother and co-founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School devised the menu, planned the event, cooked the meal with Ballymaloe Cookery School team of teachers and full supporting cast who wouldn’t miss the buzz for anything.

This year we had the first fresh figs and grapes from the greenhouse as well as sweet heritage cherry tomatoes and baby cucumbers for our guests to taste.

It’s a big operation which takes several months to plan. After the crop of early potatoes come out of the ground in April,  Haulie sows ‘lawn seed’ in one of the bays to provide a green carpet for the long table. The one acre green house is a legacy of an earlier horticultural enterprise originally created by my father-in-law Ivan Allen in the 1940’s. The greenhouse provides us with a one acre protected garden that enables us to grow a myriad of crops from tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, peppers, chillis, beans, sweetcorn, salad leaves, herbs, beetroot, chard, kale, even peaches, nectarines, grapes, kiwi and pomegranates.  Lemon grass, lime leaves and epasote grown in a dry corner at the nursery end so we can have fun with Asian and Mexican dishes.

So there’s lots of beautiful produce to choose from. The gardeners plant some tall flowers between the dollies to frame the green lawn and a day or two before the event screens are erected to screen the field kitchen from which all the food emerges.

Guests arrive at the cookery school around four o clock in the afternoon, Sommeliers Colm McCann and Fionn Little are waiting with a bio dynamic fizz and several cordials. This year had lots of fizz of fresh mint, so we also served Syrian lemonade, a recipe I brought back from a visit to Damascus in 2009.

The starters are served family style , guests help themselves and each other, Jack Mc Carthy from Kanturk cured the hams from, our own Saddlepork pigs, Rory served them with Ballyhoura mushrooms which Lucy Creegan herself delivered earlier in the day. Anna Leveque’s beautiful handmade Triscal goat cheese was served with Rory’s plum membrillo and summer purslane. Emer Fitzgerald had foraged earlier on Shanagarry strand for the sea lettuce, marsh samphire, sea rosemary and sea purslane that embellished the starters.

After the guests have enjoyed an aperitif, we walk them through the farm, gardens and dairy past the hens, Saddleback pigs and heritage cattle grazing in the fields. Eventually we pass the herbaceous border and the shell house, and wend our way through the wildflower meadow under Dusto’s butterfly graffiti arch into the field vegetables. Here guests can see Jerusalem and globe artichokes, seakale, asparagus, rhubarb, runner beans, several types of brassicas, beets and potatoes. There’s also a strip of wheat destined for milling into flour for the Autumn 12 week course students to experiment with. Eventually we arrive at the greenhouse which resembles the Garden of Eden at this time of year. The Gardeners are playing music, Rupert Hugh Jones on the tin whistle, Sean Kelleher on guitar & vocals, Eileen Healy on fiddle and Coleman Kelleher on drums.

The Long Table has been covered with a white linen cloth and there’s a marigold peeping out of the top of each starched napkin. It all looks so beautiful in the midst of the vegetables and fruit and the feast begins.

The Gardeners play a tantalising mix of compositions and traditional a totally enchanting event raising money for an incredibly important cause – East Cork Slow Food Educational Project teaching local children how to cook and grow some of their own food.

 

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Melon and Verbena

 

Serves 8-10

 

1 large cucumber organic if possible

8 fl ozs (225ml) light cream

4 fl ozs (110ml) natural yoghurt

1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar

1/2 or 1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon finely chopped gherkins, optional

1 tablespoons finely chopped mint

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon very finely chopped verbena

 

 

Garnish

1 Charentais or Ogen melon

Fresh verbena leaves

 

 

Grate the cucumber on the coarsest part of the grater. Stir in all the other ingredients. Season well. Taste and correct the seasoning.  Serve chilled in shot glasses or small bowls garnished with a few balls of ripe Charentais or Ogen melon and fresh verbena leaves.

 


Salt Hake with Spiced Aubergines and Rocket Leaves

 

Serves 8

 

1 x 1-1 1/2lbs (450g – 675g) hake

1 1/2oz – 2oz (40 – 50g) salt

3 fl ozs (75ml) cream

2 fl oz (50ml) olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Spiced Aubergines

500g (1 lb 2 ozs) Slim Jim aubergines

250ml (8 fl ozs/1 cup) approximate extra virgin olive oil

2 inches (5cm) cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

12 large cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely crushed

110ml (4 fl ozs/1/2 cup) water

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) cumin seeds

700g (1 1/2lbs) very ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped or 2 x 400g (14ozs) tin tomatoes + 1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoon) freshly ground coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like)

sea salt

 

 

Rocket

 

First make the spiced aubergines.

Cut the aubergine into 3/4 inch (2cm) thick slices.  Heat 175ml (6 fl ozs/3/4 cup) of oil in a deep 10-12 inch (25-30cm) frying pan.  When hot, almost smoking, add a few aubergine slices and cook until golden and tender on both sides.  Remove and drain on a wire rack over a baking sheet.  Repeat with the remainder of the aubergines, adding more oil if necessary.  Alternatively brush generously with extra virgin olive oil and cook on a hot pan-grill.

 

Put the ginger, garlic and water into a blender.  Blend until fairly smooth.

 

Heat 3 tablespoons (4 American tablespoons) of oil in the frying pan.  When hot, add the fennel and cumin seeds, (careful not to let them burn).  Stir for just a few seconds then put in the chopped tomato, the ginger-garlic mixture, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the spice mixture thickens slightly, 5-6 minutes.

 

Add the fried aubergine slices and raisins, and coat gently with the spicy sauce.  Cover the pan, turn the heat to very low and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Keep aside.

 

Next, salt the hake.

Nowadays we salt to preserve fish in the short-term or to enhance flavour so there’s no need to use so much salt or salt for so long as years ago.

 

dairy or sea salt

thick, unskinned cod, hake, haddock or ling fillet

 

Sprinkle a thin layer of dairy or sea salt over the base of a lasagne dish or plastic box.  Put the fish fillet on top. Cover loosely and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut into pieces, cook in boiling water for 3-4 minutes depending on thickness, lift out carefully and drain.

It is now ready to be cooked.  Salt cod can keep for up to a month if heavily salted, but we normally lightly salt it and use it within a couple of days or a week.

 

Put the fish into simmering water for 4-5 minutes depending on the thickness.

To Serve

Bring cream, olive oil and garlic to the boil. Drain the fish and remove the skin. Put a portion on a warm  plate, spoon a couple of tablespoons of garlic cream over the fish. Top with some warm spiced aubergine and garnish with a few rocket leaves.

 

 


Smoked Pollock with Marsh Samphire

 

Serves 8 as a starter

 

1-11/2lbs (450g- 700g) warm smoked Pollock

4-5ozs (110g- 160g) marsh samphire

2 red and yellow peppers

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Roast the peppers in a hot oven, 250C/475F/gas mark 9. Put the peppers on a baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes until the skin blisters and the flesh is soft.

Put a wire rack over a mild gas jet, roast the pepper on all sides. When they are charred,  remove.  When roasted, put pepper into a bowl, cover tightly with cling film for a few minutes, this will make them much easier to peel. Peel and deseed and cut into strips. Next cook the samphire. Put the samphire into a saucepan of boiling water (not salted), bring back to the boil and simmer for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain off the water (refresh in cold water if serving later).Toss in extra virgin olive – no salt because samphire has a natural salty tang.

To serve:

Divide the smoked Pollock into nice pieces, arrange on a serving platter with strips of red and yellow pepper and sprigs of samphire on top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground pepper and a few flakes of sea salt.

 

How to hot smoke fish

 

You don’t need any special equipment – even a biscuit tin will do.

Lay the fish fillets flesh side up on a tray, sprinkle the unskinned Pollock with salt as though you were seasoning generously.

Leave for at least an hour but not more than 3 hours. Dry the fillets with kitchen paper, place on a wire rack and allow to dry in a cool, airy place for 30 minutes approx.. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sawdust (we use apple wood)  on the base of a rectangular biscuit tin or smoking box (www.nesbits.ie) . Put a wire rack into the tin and lay the fish, flesh side up on top. Put the box on a gas jet over a high heat for a minute or so until the sawdust starts to smoulder. Cover the box. Reduce the heat and smoke for 6-7 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to sit unopened for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from the box and serve as you like.

 

Syrian Laymoun bi-na naFresh Lemon Juice with Mint

 

 

Freshly squeezed juices were widely available everywhere in Damascus and Aleppo – in restaurants and on street stalls, lots of orange and pomegranate of course, but we particularly enjoyed this refreshing lemon and mint drink.

 

Serves 6

 

 

juice of six lemons
300ml/10fl oz/ (½ pint) stock syrup
300ml/10fl oz/ (½ pint) cold water
2 fistfuls of fresh mint leaves

 

Squeeze the lemons, pour the juice into a liquidiser, add the syrup, fresh mint leaves and iced water. Whizz until mint is fine and the drink is frothy. Pour into a tall glass, drink through a straw while still fresh, divine.

 

 

 

Summer Bombe with Fresh Strawberry Coulis

 

J. R. Ryall, pastry chef at Ballymaloe House decorated the Bombe with fresh cherries from Tourin Farm and mint leaves.

 

 

Serves 12 – 16

 

1 x stainless steel or enamel pudding bowl, 4 pints (2.L/10 cups) capacity

 

Vanilla Ice Cream

4 ozs (110g/1/2 cup) sugar

8 fl ozs (250ml/1 cup) water

4 egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence

2 pints (1.1L/5 cups) whipped cream

 

Blackcurrant Ice Cream

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) sugar

4 fl ozs (120ml/1/2 cup) water

1/2 pint (300ml/1 1/2 cups) blackcurrant, puree

1 pint (600ml/2 1/2 cups) whipped cream

 

Strawberry Ice Cream

2 lbs (900g) very ripe strawberries

1/2 lb (225g/1 cup) castor sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon

juice of 1/2 orange

1/2 pint (300ml/1 1/4 cups) water

1/4 pint (150ml/generous 1/2 cup) whipped cream

 

Decoration

1/2 lb (225g) whole strawberries

whipped cream and fresh mint leaves

 

First make the vanilla ice cream. Put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy (keep the white for meringues). Combine the sugar and water in a small heavy bottomed saucepan, stir over heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove the spoon and boil the syrup until it reaches the ‘thread’ stage, 106-113°C (223-226°F). It will look thick and syrupy, when a metal spoon is dipped in, the last drops of syrup will form thin threads. Pour this boiling syrup in a steady stream onto the egg yolks, whisking all the time. Add vanilla essence and continue to whisk until it becomes a thick creamy white mousse. Softly whip the cream – it should just hold the print of the whisk. Measure and make sure you have 2 pints (600ml/2 1/2 cups) of whipped cream. Fold the softly whipped cream into the mousse. Put the pudding bowl into the freezer for about 10 minutes, so that it will be icy cold. Line a bowl with the vanilla ice cream in an even layer, put it into the freezer and after about 1 hour take it out and improve the shape if necessary.

 

 

 

Meanwhile make the blackcurrant and strawberry ice cream.

First make the blackcurrant ice cream. Make as the previous recipe to the mousse stage. Add to it a semi-sweet blackcurrant puree. This fruit can be raw and sweetened with a thick syrup or cooked in a syrup. Taste for sweetness after adding to the mousse adding more syrup if necessary. Fold in the cream. Set to freeze.

 

Next make the strawberry ice cream.

Dissolve the sugar in the water, boil for 7-10 minutes, leave to cool. Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender, sieve. Add orange and lemon juice to the cold syrup. Stir into the puree, fold the whipped cream into the puree. Freeze in an ice-cream machine or alternatively freeze in a freezer until slushy. Fill the strawberry ice cream into the middle of the bombe, cover the bowl with a plastic clip on lid or cling film and freeze sold, Leave overnight if possible.

 

To Serve

Unmould the bombe and decorate with fresh strawberries, rosettes of whipped cream and fresh mint leaves. Serve with a strawberry coulis.

 

Strawberry Coulis

 

16 ozs (450g) fresh strawberries

2 1/2 ozs (70g/1/2 cup) icing sugar

lemon juice

 

Clean and hull the strawberries, add to the blender with sugar and blend. Strain, taste and add lemon juice if necessary. Store in a fridge.

 

 

Hot Tips

 

The Wild Atlantic Way

John & Sally Mc Kenna were quick to support the brilliant marketing strategy . The Wild Atlantic Way which highlights the myriad of attractions from Donegal to Kinsale. The new Mc Kenna Guide on where to eat and stay on the Wild Atlantic Way is so full of gems that it was all I could do to resist the temptation to jump into the car and head for Innishowen. I thought I might start at Harry’s restaurant to get a taste of Innishowen and if I made it for Saturday morning I could taste the Slow Food Co breads fresh from the woodfired oven at Harry’s Saturday market – tempted …..

 

Categories: Darinas Blog

In-flight meals take off as airlines give more thought to food

Guardian Food Blog - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 12:43
Tired of mystery meat or the vegetarian alternative to cake rubbery melon? Well, from fish and chips to chia seeds with mango, airlines are overhauling their onboard catering. Soon you may be able to upgrade your food along with your seat

Many things are frowned on at 35,000ft. A flying chippie might well be considered one of them. But last week, British Airways threw caution to the wind and unveiled its "Flying Fish and Chip Supper", complete with vinegar and tartare sauce (though sadly no word on mushy peas).

Remarkably, the result has not been the flabby-battered disappointment many surely expected, and thanks to precision-timed preflight frying has even earned the approval of Stuart Fusco, proprietor of the legendary Quayside fish and chip restaurant in Whitby, North Yorkshire (Best in Britain at the National Fish and Chip awards). Praise indeed.

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Fight Back Friday August 8th

Food Renegade - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 04:18
Welcome to another Fight Back Friday! Today we are bringing together another collection of recipes, tips, anecdotes, and testimonies from members of the Real Food Revolution. Who are they? Why, they're the Food Renegades. You know who you are -- lovers of SOLE (Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical) food, traditional food, primal food, REAL food, the list goes on. I believe that by joining together, our influence can grow, and we can change the way America (and the industrialized world) eats! So, let's have some fun.

Stressed are the cheesemakers: anger at campaign for less salt

Guardian Food Blog - Thu, 08/07/2014 - 12:30
Consensus Action on Salt and Health wants reduced levels, but industry leaders argue: 'too little salt makes bad cheese'

"This really is the most stupid thing I've heard in a long time," rails Juliet Harbutt, international cheese guru and chair of the British cheese awards. "Who are these people? What on earth do they eat?" She's livid about a new paper by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) that argues cheesemakers are not going far enough in cutting levels of salt in their products. You may be familiar with the shtick. A couple of years ago a study bellowed that some cheeses contained "more salt than seawater!" and other tabloid-friendly soundbites. Now the anti-salt brigade are back to upbraid us once more. Perhaps they're miffed about all the attention the anti-sugar lobby is getting.

This latest study, which brings little new information to the table, reckons salt content to be considerably lower in supermarket own-brand cheddar and "cheddar-style" cheeses than in their branded equivalents. This, they inform us with the sort of dreary lack of appetite you'd expect from a group such as Cash, "demonstrates that it is technically possible to produce cheese with less salt in it".

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How to make the perfect bagels

Guardian Food Blog - Thu, 08/07/2014 - 08:00
Real bagels are a traditionally Jewish chewy delight that were imported to the US. Should you roll or poke, and what should you serve them with?

Judging bagels in the company of Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich of Honey & Co, and Poopa Dweck, a Jewish food writer from New Jersey, in front of an expectant kippah-clad audience, is as I discovered recently at Gefiltefest, London's annual Jewish food festival a nerve-wracking experience.

Bagels are in fact an eastern European import to the States and a recent trip to New York reminded me just how good they can be. A real bagel, that is, not the shiny bread rolls with a hole in the middle that pass for bagels in the UK. OK, the ones we were tasting, from London's Jewish bakeries, were decent, but if your postcode doesn't start with NW, frankly you don't have a hope of scoring a fresh one. Unless you're prepared to roll up your sleeves and bake them yourself, that is. (Note: this recipe is for the smaller, chewier form of bagel that pre-dates the fluffy behemoths more popular today.)

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Morito Cookbook

Darinas Saturday Letter - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 10:10

 

It’s a long while since I came across a cook book where I wanted to cook virtually everything in the book and it didn’t even belong to me, I  borrowed the new Morito cookbook from my daughter’s kitchen three weeks ago and I still haven’t given it back, I even ordered my very own copy. Morita is the baby sister of Moro, Sam & Samantha’s Clarke’s restaurant in Exmouth Market in London. If you haven’t eaten at Moro put it on your London list right away.

Sam and his lovely wife spent several years cooking in the kitchens at the River Café. In 1997 they opened Moro to cook the food they loved  and to introduce their guests to the lesser known flavours of the Mediterranean.  They were newly married and had returned from a camper van research trip through Spain, Morocco and the Sahara, – an enthusiastic young couple on a mission to discover the tiny details that make food taste authentic and not appear to be cooked by an Anglo Saxon.

They also wanted to demonstrate  how the different combination of spices one chooses can add the magical flavours of different continents. They installed a wood burning oven, made their own sour dough bread and yoghurt, set up an allotment, forged links with farmers and producers and built up a super loyal following. They continue to explore,  experiment and play.  In 2010  Morito was opened next door, Sam and Sam describe it as the little noisier more rebellious sibling of Moro, it was greeted with joy and anticipation by their many devotees.

Morito serves a wide selection of tapas and mezze and little plates to nibble and share. The secrets are in Morita cookbook published by Ebury Press. Here is a tantalizing taste of some of their summer salads.

 

 

Radish and Pomegranate Salad

 

This pretty, peppery salad gives sweetness to your table and is excellent alongside fish, chicken or a rich vegetable dish. We slice the vegetables on a mandoline, the thinner they are, the better they absorb the dressing.

 

Serves 4

 

Pomegranate Dressing

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 large pomegranate

1 tablespoon Forum Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar or a good quality aged red wine vinegar with a pinch of sugar

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

 

Salad

150-200g long white daikon (mooli) or black radish, thinly sliced

5 red radishes, sliced into very thin rounds

1 golden beetroot, peeled and very thinly sliced (optional)

1 small kohlrabi, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced

1 bunch of mint, finely shredded

3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

 

The make the fresh pomegranate juice, cut the pomegranate in half and take out the seeds, discarding any bitter skin or white pith. Put the seeds in a sieve and press them with the back of spoon to extract all the juice, discarding any skin or hard seeds. Put all the dressing ingredients into a jam jar with a lid, season with salt and pepper and shake well.

To make the salad, put the radishes, beetroot, if using, and kohlrabi in a bowl, add the mint and pomegranate seeds and pour over the dressing. Mix everything together and serve immediately.

 

From Morito, Sam & Sam Clarke

 

 

Cauliflower, Pine Nuts, Raisins and Saffron

 

The cauliflower becomes soft and rich from absorbing the flavoursome oil.

 

Serves 4

 

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 Spanish onion, sliced

1 small cauliflower, leaves and stalk discarded, separated into florets

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

A large pinch of ground turmeric

½ teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and roughly ground

½ teaspoon coriander seeds, roughly ground

4 tablespoons pine nuts

3 tablespoons raisins, soaked in hot water till plump, drained

15 threads of saffron, steeped in 100ml hot water

1 small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

 

Heat the oil in a large, wide saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft, golden and sweet.  Add the cauliflower florets, garlic, spices and another pinch of salt. Cook over a medium heat for 10 -1 5 minutes, stirring often.

Now add the pine nuts, raisins and the saffron-infused water. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Stir in half of the chopped coriander and remove from the heat. Serve with the remaining coriander scattered on top.

 

From Morito, Sam & Sam Clarke

 

Grilled Onion Salad, Pomegranates and Mint

 

If we are proud of anything in our books, it is making people think about vegetables in different ways and all their possibilities. This recipe is a good example of that. Charred onions have a beautifully smoky taste and a wonderful velvety texture. Please do try this dish.

 

Serves 4

 

4-6 red or white onions

12 quantity of Pomegranate Dressing

Seeds of 1 large pomegranate

2 tablespoons shredded mint

 

Grill the onions whole and unpeeled over a hot barbecue for 20-30 minutes, until black and charred all over. This method will impart an aromatic smokiness to the dish. Cook slightly, peel and cut into halves or quarters.

Alternatively, if roasting in the oven, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Place the whole onions on a baking ray and cook for 35-40 minutes or until  they have some give but are still slightly firm. You don’t want them to become mushy and lose their colour. Remove from the oven and cool a little. Peel and cut the onions as before and place on a baking tray under a hot grill or on a hot griddle pan and leave until lightly charred.

To serve, transfer the onions whilst still warm to a bowl, pour over the dressing, season with a little salt and pepper and mix gently but make sure the onions are well coated. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and mint.

From Morito – Sam & Sam Clarke

 

Beetroot, Almonds and Mint

 

At Morito we often serve this salad with a few think slices of cecina (Spainish cured beef) or Pastirma. However, it’s so delicious on its own that it is difficult to stop eating.

 

Serves 4

 

3 tablespoons blanched almonds or roasted Marcona

700g raw bunched beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated

1 quantity of Pomegranate dressing

2 tablespoons shredded mint

2 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds

 

If using blanched almonds, roast them in the oven at 150C/300F/gas 2, until golden brown. Cool and roughly chop.

Place the grated beetroot in a bowl. Pour the dressing over, then add the almonds, mint and pomegranate seeds. Mix well, taste and serve.

 

From Morito – Sam & Sam Clarke

 

Steamed Aubergines with a Peanut Dressing

 

 

Serves 4-6

 

Madhur Jaffrey introduced us to this delectable aubergine recipe from Northern China. It can be served as a starter or as an accompanying vegetable or as a salad. It goes particularly well with cold meats. Madhur urged us to seek out long slim variety of aubergines rather than the larger seedy ones.  We’ve been growing them ever since – the variety is Slim Jim – Look out for them at the Midleton Farmers Market.

 

560g (1¼ lb) aubergines

50g (2oz) raw peanuts, roasted and ground to a paste in a clean coffee-grinder or 3 tablespoons freshly made peanut butter from a health food shop

50 ml (2fl oz) Chinese light soy sauce

25 ml (1fl oz) Chinese red vinegar (use red wine vinegar as a substitute

15 ml (1fl oz) sugar (use a bit more, if needed)

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine

15 ml (1fl oz) sesame oil

15 ml (1fl oz) garlic, peeled and very finely chopped

15 ml (1fl oz) fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped

2 tablespoons green coriander, very finely chopped, both leaves and stems, plus a few extra green coriander sprigs for garnishing

 

If the aubergines are the long, slim variety, quarter them lengthways, and then cut them into 7.5cm (3inch) long fingers.  If using the more common, fat aubergine, cut it into fingers that are 7.5 x 2.5cm (3inch x 1inch).  Steam over a high heat for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, combine all the remaining ingredients except the green coriander in a bowl and mix well.  This is the sauce.

When the aubergine pieces are tender, lift them out carefully and arrange them neatly in a single layer in a large platter.  Stir the sauce.  Add the green coriander to it and mix again.  Pour the sauce evenly over the aubergines.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.  This dish may be prepared ahead of time, covered and refrigerated.  Garnish with the green coriander sprigs just before serving.

 

 

Rachel’s Raspberry Upside-Down Cake

 

Rachel makes this upside-down cake at least every couple of weeks. I love the way the dish starts off as a delicious dessert, ideal for rounding off a family meal. Then the next day (if there’s any leftover!) it turns into the perfect coffee-time treat, to be enjoyed in company or just on your own.

 

Serves 6–8

50g (2oz/1/2 stick) butter

125g (4 1/2oz/generous 1/2 cup) caster sugar

250g (9oz) fresh or frozen raspberries

 

For the sponge

150g (5oz/1 1/4 sticks) butter, softened

150g (5oz/generous 1/2 cup) caster sugar

3 eggs

200g (7oz/scant 2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted

 

25cm (10 inch) diameter ovenproof frying pan (diameter measured at the top)

 

Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.

 

Place the butter in the frying pan and melt over a medium–high heat. Add the caster sugar, stirring to mix, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, then scatter the raspberries into the pan so that they cover the base in a single layer. Leave to sit while you make the sponge.

 

In a large bowl, beat the butter until soft, then add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the flour. Alternatively, place all the ingredients in a food processor and whiz together briefly until they come together.

Spoon the sponge mixture over the raspberries in blobs, then carefully spread it out to cover the fruit in the pan.

 

Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes or until the sponge feels set in the centre – a skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean. Allow to sit for 2 minutes, then place a serving plate on top of the pan and, clasping the plate firmly against the pan, carefully flip it over. Lift off the pan to reveal the pudding – now upside down on the plate, with the raspberries on top. Serve warm or at room temperature with perhaps a little cream.

 

Note

Any leftover cake will keep (covered with a cake cover or an upturned bowl so as not to squash the raspberries) for up to two days

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Tips

 

Clotilde’s Fruit Compotes

fruit purees in tiny pots from Ballyhoura are worth knowing about – my little grand-daughter Tilly Bird ate a whole pot with her fingers recently. You can buy them at Douglas Farmers Market and some supermarkets  www.atasteofballyhouracountry.com

 

Seek  out the Rocket Man HQ.

Jack Crottys many fans from Mahon Point, Douglas and Wilton Farmers Markets will be delighted to know about his new enterprise – a salad and juice bar in Princes Street, Cork (alongside the English Market) . www.therocketman.ie

 

Kids in the kitchen

there was a terrific response to last year’s classes so we are offering another whole series of hands-on cooking courses for kids. They have brilliant fun rustling the pots and pots while they learn a whole repertoire of yummy dishes. For dates and details see – www.cookingisfun.ie

Categories: Darinas Blog

Oxford Food Symposium

Darinas Saturday Letter - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 10:06

The Oxford Food Symposium is a weekend long conference held as one would expect in Oxford. It brings together over 200 international scholars, journalists, chefs, scientists, sociologists, anthropologists and enthusiastic amateurs for serious discussions on food, its culture and its history. This year the theme was Food and Markets, papers presented were asked to examine “the historical, sociological and practical aspects of the economic exchange between producer and consumer through which food arrives on our tables. Not forgetting the pleasure of marketing: the excitement of discovering new ingredients, watching the skill of a market cook preparing a dish to order; the sheer enjoyment to be found in the peace, charm and sunshine of wandering around an open air market in an unfamiliar (or familiar) part of the world and learning how people live”.

The first Oxford Symposium  was held in 1981, the brainchild of Alan Davidson and Theodore Zeldin, chaired by food writer and journalist Paul Levy and Claudia Roden.

34 years later Paul and Claudia and many of the original symposiasts are still in the helm, I hadn’t been for many years because the dates clashed with exams here at the Ballymaloe Cookery School but this year, I was invited to give the Jane Grigson Memorial lecture – for me who so loved and admired Jane Grigson, a joyful honour. I spoke on the revival of the markets in Ireland from the original farmers market in the Cork Quay started in 1996 to the 160+ farmers markets around the country today.

The latest Farmers Market to open to queues on the first day is held at Wilton Shopping Centre in Cork on Tuesdays from 10am to 2.30pm.

The whole weekend was wonderfully convivial with a variety of intriguing presentations on markets and market related issues including a fascinating insight into the behind the scenes in food markets in Russia, by Anya von Bremzen, author of six books including her latest one “Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing.

Other papers explored World Street market food in India and Mexico, San Francisco and Southern Vietnam.  Doug Duda, from the US explored Why markets are booming while cooking crashes.

At the market was Renee Martous subject What does ‘fresh’ mean at the market was Noehal Bursa painted a vivid picture of the powerful scents at The Egyptian Bazaar in Istabul, the pilgrimage to El Balour. Others explored left overs and waste from the markets while Janet Beizer gave a fascinating insight into The Emperors Plate: Marketing leftovers in 19th century Paris.

Sadly I missed Samantha Martin McAuliffe’s from Wicklow presentation on Feeding Dublin but this  paper and all the others will be up on the Oxford Food Symposium website (www.oxfordfoodsymposium.org.uk) for everyone to access before too long.

The weekend was hugely enjoyable, informative and convivial, the food completely delicious. Gastronomic dynamo, Allegra McEvedy cooked a Market Dinner on Friday – the starter was a celebration of the fresh produce from the market, peas and broad peas in the pod, radishes, sweet and delicious tomatoes,  cured black olives, sheep’s cheese, fresh herbs, dukkah and manaqush flatbreads. The main course was porchetta rolls with salsa verde with crispy pig ears and crackling and dessert was summer strawberry, nut and hibiscus jelly cups.

Karina Baldry and Katrina Kollegaeva, Russian Street Food,  was equally intriquing, they shared their cold beetroot soup recipe. On Saturday night Trine Hahnemann cooked a Nordic Summer Banquet of Danish home cooking yet another feast of Danish home cooking – loved the lamb stew with fennel and fennel seed, white wine and elderflower cordial.

I’ve already popped the dates for next years, July 3rd-5th 2015 Oxford Food Symposium in my diary.

Hope I’ve whetted your appetite. Had to rush to catch my plane so I sadly missed Joseph Pepe Patricio Market Leftovers Lunch on Sunday.

 

Katrina & Karina’s Cold beetroot Okroshka soup

 

Serves 8-10 portions

 

Soups to Russians is like a good Sunday roast to Brits – part of our cultural dna. We wither away without a daily helping of a soup of some kind.  Mothers tell their offspring that without the soup they won’t grow healthy and strong!

 

In summer cold soups make appearance on tables across the whole of Eastern Europe. Okroshka (from a Russian verb kroshyt’, or chop finely) can be made with kefir (fermented, yoghurt like, dairy drink) or kvass (non-alcoholic beverage made with rye) with addition of potatoes, peas, and even ham. But I prefer this version – impossibly pretty and zingy. And converts those who don’t like either kefir or beetroot in an instant.

 

Note on kefir – we use organic kefir made by Bio-tiful dairy in the west of the country.  But you can buy kefir in many Eastern-European shops or substitute for natural yoghurt and add a little bit of sourcream.

 

3 small beetroots, each about the size of a tennis ball (around 400 gr)
4 eggs

2 tsp of Dijon mustard

2 tbsp grated horseradish (if using creamed variety,  use more)
about 80 gr mayonnaise

1 tsp of sugar

a good pinch of salt

1 small cucumber

 

500 ml of kefir

about 200 ml of ice-cold water (optional)

2 chopped spring onions

2-3 tbs of dill/parsley

lemon, to taste

salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

optional sumac  for serving
1. Wash the beets, boil for about 45 minutes, until cooked through (test for doneness by piercing with a sharp knife). Cool completely, then peel and puree.
2. In the meantime hard-boil the eggs, then cool under cold water and peel.

 

3. Mash the yolks of one half of the eggs with mustard and horseradish, then add mayo, sugar and salt. Mix well.

 

4. Dine finely the remaining yolks and egg whites and put aside for decoration.

 

3. Wash the cucumbers, cut into small dice. Chop spring onions and herbs (keep some dill aside for decoration).

 

4. Take a large bowl, slowly add kefir to the egg and mustard mixture, whisking. If you prefer to soup to be less thick, then add water and whisk until frothy.

 

5. Throw in the beets. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for diced eggs. Mix well.

 

6. Taste again for seasoning – you may want to add more salt or pepper, or lemon juice.

 

7. Chill for at least two hours but best overnight. Serve very cold in chilled bowls. Sprinkle a line of chopped egg whites, another line of chopped yolks,  a line of chopped dill and sumac over the top of each soup.

 

 

Trine Hahnemann’s Lamb stew with fennel, fennel seeds, white wine and elderflower cordial

 

 

Serves 6

 

1 kg lamb cut in cubes from lamb shoulder or leg

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

3 leeks

2 fennels

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp fennel seeds

2 bay leaves

10 sprigs of tarragon

50 ml elderflower cordial

500 ml white wine

salt and freshly ground pepper

Serving

2 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves

 

Heat butter and olive oil in a big sauté-pan and brown the meat on all sides. Do in two batches if necessary. So you make sure to brown the meat and not boil it.

Chop the leeks into slices in 2 centimeter, cut the fennel to slices of 1 centimeter.

Add the garlic, fennel seeds, bay leaves and tarragon to the sauté-pan and mix well, now add 2/3 of the leeks and fennel, leave the rest for later. Mix into the meat, let it sauté for a few minutes, then pour over the elderflower cordial and white wine, sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir well together and bring to a boil and skim any froth that rises to the surface, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 45-55 minutes.

When the lamb is tender, add the rest of the leeks and fennel and let simmer for 5 minutes more, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Before serving sprinkle the fresh tarragon leaves over.

Serve with boiled pearl barley, boiled potatoes or mash.

 

 

Allegra’s Orange Blossom, cashew and semolina cake

 

 

I have to say this is my favourite: a truly stunning cake with the most incredible,

crumbly texture. All the ingredients bring something to the party – semolina

for colour and consistency, cashews for moistness and all their good oils, and

orange flower water to keep the whole thing fragrant and light. Really stunning

on its own, or makes a fab pud with a bit of fruit and a blob of crème fraîche.

Yellow cake like you’ve never had it before.

 

serves 6+

 

for the cake

200g butter (at room temperature)

250g golden demerara sugar

250g ground cashew nuts,

raw and unsalted

3 eggs

zest and juice of 2 oranges

110g fine semolina

1 level teaspoon baking powder

a good splash of orange

blossom water (about 2 tablespoons)

salt

for the rosemary syrup

15g rosemary, in little sprigs

2 tablespoons caster sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/gas 3.

Cream the butter and the sugar together with a mixer until light and pale. Mix in

the ground cashews. Add the eggs, one by one, waiting until each is fully incorporated

before adding the next. Stir in the orange zest and juice, followed by the semolina,

baking powder and a pinch of salt.

Grease a 25cm cake tin with a little butter, then dust lightly with flour. Shake the

flour all round the inside so that there is a fine dusting, and then tip out the excess.

Spoon the cake mix into the tin and then put into the oven on a tray to bake for

around 11/2 hours. (The reason for the tray is that when I did it some of the mixture

oozed out of the bottom of the tin – it could just be that my tin was broken, though it

didn’t look it, but it’s better to be safe than on your knees scrubbing the oven.)

When the time is up, do the skewer test to check it’s cooked through. If a little bit of

the cake mixture sticks to the skewer, pop the cake back in for another 10–15 minutes.

When it is done, cool in the tin while you get on with the rosemary syrup.

Put the rosemary sprigs in a small pan with the sugar and 5 tablespoons of water.

Cook over a very low flame for 5–10 minutes until the rosemary has softened and the

sugar has turned into a thick, clear syrup.

Now sprinkle the orange blossom water over the cake. Then loosen it around the

edges of the tin with a knife and transfer it to a wire rack. Wait 5 minutes and then brush the rosemary syrup over the cake and dot the candied rosemary sprigs across the top.

Shelf Life: Up to a week and, believe me, it just keeps on getting better.

Best Kept: Uncovered, at room temperature.

 

From Allegra Mc Evedy’s Colour Cookbook

 

Allegra’s strawberry VESUVIUS

 

A gorgeous summer drink.

 

To drink the right thing at the right time is just as important as the eating side

of things. Here are three tastes of summer, all swirling around together with

the express mission of making you feel lovely and drunk. Just a little

something to liven up your party – sunshine in a glass.

 

serves 6

 

300g strawberries, hulled

70g caster sugar

300ml Pimms N°1

1 bottle chilled Prosecco/

Champagne/Cava/

sparkling wine

 

Triple Sec (optional)

 

Put the strawberries, sugar and 300ml water in a saucepan and gently cook down to a compote for about 10–15 minutes.

Once the strawberries have cooled, pour into a blender, add the Pimms and blitz. Pour the thin purée into the bottom of your champagne flutes – about 60ml in each.

Gently top up with the fizz of whatever kind, going nice and slow to avoid a messy pink eruption, or fast if you want to see how this cocktail got it’s name. I recommend Prosecco, but of course Champagne is the winner, but a little redundant with all that other gear in it; Cava is fine too; and then there’s always good old sparkling wine to fall back on.

Serve with a swizzle stick.

Shelf Life: Purée in the fridge 5 days; freezer 1 month. Best Kept: Purée in

the fridge, or freeze in ice-cube trays…

 

From Allegra Mc Evedy’s Colour Cookbook

 

Hot Tips

Have fun in the kitchen – We’ve some brilliant short courses coming up at the Ballymaloe Cookery School  during the Summer, 1 day, 2 1/5 days, week-long … The afternoon cookery demonstrations are open to the public every day – check out a Weeks Worth of Menus, a super course from 28th – 30th July. www.cookingisfun.ie

 

Burrata, a beautifully tender Mozzarella infused with cream – used to be impossible to get it in Ireland but IAGO in Paul Street in Cork now imports it freshly every week. Sublime with some heirloom tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil leaves or baby broad beans and rocket leaves.

 

Taste of  Cavan – August 8 – 9th  in Cavan Town. Now, in its third year, the two-day festival of food has more than 60 exhibitors, from artisan cheesemakers to ice-cream producers. Visiting chefs include Neven Maguire and Richard Corrigan.   www.thisiscavan.ie

 

Date for your Diary:

East Cork Slow Food Event –  Have fun and learn how to Forage for Edible Wild Foods with Emer Fitzgerald at the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Wednesday July 30th at 7pm.

Slow Food Members €6.00

Non Slow Food Members €8.00

Enquiries to 021 4646785 or email slowfoodeastcork@gmail.com

Categories: Darinas Blog

Obesity

Darinas Saturday Letter - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 10:03

The ever more alarming obesity figures are spooking governments all over Europe, the US, India, China…..

As yet experts can’t seem to agree about the root cause or indeed the remedy. Meanwhile, the public are completely bamboozled by conflicting messages but even more serious is the situation that many busy people find themselves where they cannot access nourishing food easily. The Americans have long ago coined a phrase – food desserts, the definition of which is a geographic area where affordable and nutritious food is difficult to obtain, particularly for those without access to a car or local transport.

Desperation forces us to think outside the box and the results can be encouraging. When the bread in the US because so mass produced that it was virtually inedible,  artisan bakeries bubbled up . When food became so processed and ultra fresh nourishing food was virtually unavailable a few ‘desperately seeking’ souls started the first farmers market.

The same with beer and cider, as those drinks became increasingly chemical laden and mundane, a demand for craft beer and cider was created.

So what to do if you live in an area with no choice but to buy your food from a multinational discounter which offers no fresh produce?

Well faced with a crisis the human spirit tends to come up with a variety of mini solutions,  Guerrilla gardening allotments and urban farming are at an all-time high in cities from, LA to Shanghai.

There’s yet another initiative that has really caught peoples imagination particularly in the US, Grow Food not Lawns.

This movement was started in 1999 in Eugene, Oregon by a group of avant  – gardeners including Heather Flores who wrote “Grow food not lawns – how to turn your yard into a garden and your neighbourhood into a community” in 2006.  This initiative gradually inspired a global community  www.foodnotlawns.com.

There are many related initiatives here in Ireland – GIY and OOBY  has caught the imagination and enhanced the life style not to mention the nourishment of many. www.giy.ie

Growing some of our own food gives us an appreciation of the work that goes into producing beautiful nourishing  food and one rarely complains about the price of food again, not only is the food fresher but it tastes so much better when one has tended the garden for months on end – enough to savour every delicious mouthful.

The simple message from the Food Safety Promotions Board for children to drink water rather than juice is brilliant and empowers parents.

 

Radish Leaf Soup

 

Most people are unaware that radish leaves are edible and delicious. They need to be fresh or course.

 

Serves 4

 

11/2 ozs (45g/generous 1/4 stick) butter

5 ozs (140g/1 cup) peeled and chopped potatoes

4 ozs (110g/1 cup) peeled and chopped onion

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 pint (900ml/3 3/4 cups) water or homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock

1/2 pint (300ml/1 1/4 cups) creamy milk

5 ozs (150g/3 cups) fresh radish leaves, chopped

 

Melt the butter in heavy bottomed saucepan, when it foams, add the potatoes and onions and toss them until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and sweat on a gentle heat for 10 minutes.

 

When the vegetables are almost soft but not coloured add the stock and milk, bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes and onions are fully cooked. Add the radish leaves and boil with the lid off for 4-5 minutes approx. until the radish leaves are cooked. Do not overcook or the soup will lose its fresh green colour. Puree the soup in a liquidiser or food processor. Taste and correct seasoning.

 

Variation

Radish Soup with Chervil Cream

Make the soup as above.  Serve with a blob of chervil cream on top of each bowl just before it goes to the table (see recipe below).

 

 

Chervil Cream

 

Serves 6

 

large bunch of chervil

250ml (9fl oz/generous 1 cup) full-fat crème fraîche

salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Place the crème fraîche into a bowl.  Simply chop a large bunch of chervil very finely and mix with the crème fraîche. Season with some salt and a little freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

 

Smoked Mackerel Salad with Beetroot and Horseradish Sauce

 

Serves 8

 

4-6 fillets of smoked mackerel

a selection of baby salad leaves

pickled beetroot

horseradish sauce

 

sprigs of dill

 

Cut the smoked mackerel into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces and the pickled beetroot into 1cm ( ½ inch) dice.

 

To serve

Strew the base of a white plate with a mixture of salad leaves.  Put 5 or 6 pieces of mackerel on top.  Scatter with some diced beetroot and top with a few little blobs of horseradish sauce.  A few sprigs of dill add to the deliciousness.

Serve with Ballymaloe Brown Yeast Bread.

 

Pickled Beetroot

 

Serves 5-6

 

1 lb (450 g) cooked beetroot

8 oz (225g/1 cup) sugar

16 fl oz (475 ml/2 cup) water

1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced (optional)

8 fl oz (250 ml/1 cup) white wine vinegar

 

Dissolve the sugar in water and bring to the boil.  Add the sliced onion and simmer for 3-4 minutes.  Add the vinegar, pour over the peeled beetroot and leave to cool.

Note: The onion may be omitted if desired.

 

 

Beetroot Tops

Young beetroot tops are full of flavour and are often unnecessarily discarded; but if you grow your own beetroots, remember to cook the stalks as well. When the leaves are tiny they make a really worthwhile addition to the salad bowl, both in terms of nutrition and flavour. This isn’t worth doing unless you have lovely young leaves. When they become old and slightly wilted, feed them to the hens or add them to the compost.

 

Serves 4

 

450g (1lb) fresh beetroot tops

salt and freshly ground pepper

butter or olive oil

 

Keeping them separate, cut the beetroot stalks and leaves into rough 5cm (2in) pieces. First cook the stalks in boiling salted water (1.8 litres/3 pints water to 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt) for 3–4 minutes or until tender. Then add the leaves and cook for a further 2–3 minutes. Drain, season and toss in a little butter or olive oil. Serve immediately.

 

Variation

Beetroot Tops with Cream

Substitute 75–125ml (3–4fl oz) cream for olive oil in the recipe above. A little freshly grated nutmeg is also delicious.

 

Strawberry Soup with Mint Chantilly

 

A simple and absolutely delicious Summer dessert.

 

Serves 8-10

 

Strawberry Soup

450g (1lb) ripe strawberries

225ml (8fl oz/1 cup) syrup (see recipe)

1 lemon

1 orange

 

Mint Chantilly

15 mint leaves approximate

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) lemon juice

150ml (5 fl ozs/generous 1/2 cup) cream

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

icing sugar to taste

 

Garnish

mint leaves

 

Macaroons (optional)

 

Hull the strawberries, purée with the syrup, freshly squeezed orange juice and lemon juice. Put through a nylon sieve. Taste. Cover and chill well.

 

To serve divide the strawberry pureé between 6 soup plates or glass bowls.  Add a blob of mint Chantilly and some shredded mint leaves – serve immediately.

 

To make the mint chantilly.

Crush the mint leaves in a pestle and mortar with the granulated sugar and lemon juice, add the cream and stir, the lemon juice will thicken the cream.  If the cream becomes too thick, fluff a little with a whisk, taste and add a little more icing sugar if necessary.

 

 

Hot Tips

The Cottage Market, Ladysbridge, 10.30am – 12.30am – at the old cottage on the corner of Knockgloss Hill. Have a cup of tea or coffee while you chat and browse through the stalls – fruit, veg, salad, eggs, flowers, cakes and bread, jewellery, cards etc….   for details – Karen 086 2312899

 

Achill Island Festival of the Sea 18th – 20th July

While you are there on the Island check out Achill Island Lamb and Achill Island Sea Salt. The Atlantic Ocean’s rich harvest means fish has been a staple of the island’s  dining experience for thousands of years. Foraging sessions, boat trips, seafood tastings, seaweed safaris and a harbour market ensure a strong maritime theme.  www.Feilenamara.com

 

Thai By Night  – what a delicious surprise – The West Cork Gourmet Store in Ballydehob turns into a Thai restaurant in the evenings from Wednesday – Saturday.  Joanne Cassidy cooks and her lovely daughter Sophia  brings the food to the table . Joanna loves Asian food and it shows she lived in Hong Kong and Bangkok and makes regular visits to catch up. We loved the Thai fish cakes with sambal oleck and cucumber pickle, Skewered prawn sate with lime, Fragrant Thai green curry and Creamy chicken massaman curry with coconut milk, potato, onion, cinnamon and bay and Pan fried , marinated pork chop with lemongrass and coriander pesto,  and much, much more…….   Telephone: Joanne  087 9263255

Categories: Darinas Blog

Drink up, then eat the glass the trend for edible food packaging and tableware

Guardian Food Blog - Tue, 08/05/2014 - 12:34
New technologies are being used to make edible packaging for food and drink. It could reduce what we send to landfill, but will it taste any good?

Picture the scene. You're at a party, drinking a cocktail. Once you've sipped, you eat the glass. Sounds a little on the wild side, but this is the image Loliware wants us to play in our heads.

The US start-up founded by Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker, who trained as product designers, has launched a "biodegredible" biodegradable and edible cup. Frustrated by the amount of disposable packaging discarded at events, the pair spent some time experimenting in a lab with several materials. They were looking for one that would allow them to create a cup that looks like a glass and also tastes good (the current flavour on offer is pink grapefruit and yuzu). They settled on agar, a seaweed-based gel.

Continue reading...

Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93M for Poisoning Town

Food Renegade - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 19:50
Big wins can happen in small places. The West Virginia State Supreme Court finalized a big blow to the biotech giant Monsanto this month, finishing a settlement causing Monsanto to pay $93 million to the tiny town of Nitro, West Virginia for poisoning citizens with Agent Orange chemicals.

What Jamie Oliver's Brazilian gaffe tells us about our deep emotions over food

Guardian Food Blog - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 12:30
The chirpy TV chef shocked his fans in Brazil with a forthright opinion on the local confectionery, but over-emotional attachments to odd national dishes are universal

Love him or hate him, there's no escaping the fact that Jamie Oliver is a global success, and no less so in Brazil, where you only have to switch on the TV or stroll past a bookshop to see the multimillionaire chef's face grinning out. He was all up in my Instagram feed, too, last month in Rio de Janeiro. Jamie watching the sunset over Copacabana beach, Jamie hugging local chefs, Jamie at the Maracanã; the sort of social media group hug that Brazilians love to "like".

But things turned ugly when, appearing on local TV show Saia Justa, he was asked to sample a tray of local foods, and made the PR gaffe of giving an honest reply. Frozen açaí-berry and sugar-cane juice were "delicious", while the popular confectionery brigadeiro, quindim and beijinho emotive and historic treasures, the very essence of Brazilian childhood nostalgia he dismissed as "all a load of old shit, fuckin' 'orrible". Viewers watched in abject horror. It was car-crash telly, the second blow to national pride in less than a fortnight.

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How to make beer first take a brewers beard

Guardian Food Blog - Fri, 08/01/2014 - 13:33

Its not just food thats found in mens beards. Now brewers are rummaging around in their face hair to find wild yeast for brewing

Wet horse blanket, farm yard and funky are not the most enticing culinary terms. But these are just some of the peculiar aromas and flavours a new breed of experimental brewers crave as they embrace wild yeast harvested from the likes of brewers beards and rotting fruit.

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#ScotFood Chat 4 August, Edinburgh & Lothians

Lonely on a Sunday - Fri, 08/01/2014 - 07:18


I'll be co-hosting the next #ScotFood Chat on 4 August, which this time focuses on Edinburgh and the Lothians. If you're interested in chatting about what's good, new and interesting about food in this area of Scotland, get on Twitter and meet some fellow foodies to discover more.

It's a great way to promote your event, business, product, blog or just to find out what's happening in Scottish Food and Drink.

It's simple to get involved, just respond to the questions below and join in. The chat goes quickly, so you can schedule your answers first to send time and then interact with others and post photos or links. Don't forget to use the hashtag #ScotFood.

#ScotFood Chat starts at 9pm, 4 August, hope to see you there!

  • 9:00 Q1 Introduce yourself, first part of your postcode, reason for joining #ScotFood chat
  • 9:05 Q2 Name one restaurant in Edinburgh you haven’t yet eaten in, but would like to, and why? #ScotFood
  • 9:15 Q3 There are lots of great food events during the summer in Scotland. Tell us about some you’ve visited. #ScotFood
  • 9:25 Q4 Where would you suggest to someone looking for a Foodie Hidden Gem in Edinburgh? #ScotFood
  • 9:35 Q5 Tell us about your favourite food market and what do you buy there? #ScotFood
  • 9:45 Q6 Anything else about the Scottish Food & Drink scene you’d like to share this month? #ScotFood
  • 10:00 #ScotFood ends for this month.  Next month Glasgow, Central Scotland & Clyde valley host on 1 September 2014 with @Eat_Scottish

Check out these pages if you’d like some more information about how to host or how to participate.
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