My lovely friend Anna is visiting us for the week and she shared this amazing AH-MAZING recipe that she makes with her fella (also our brilliant friend) Ben a lot in their home of Stroud, Gloucestershire, England.
Apart from this recipe, some other things Anna brought over to us from Stroud were her homegrown yellow tomatoes – which we used in the dish – as well as the words yumbo scrumbo and cooly-wow. Both of which you should expect to see a lot more on this blog in the future.
Yeow! The winds are changing and the mornings are getting nippy. It’s about that time that we start whipping out the comforting bakes.
One of the best things about the move into autumn and winter is the food you get to eat. Porridge in the morning, soups in the afternoon and lovely comforting stews and bakes and pies in the evenings.
This recipe for a one-pot lemon and chicken dish from Delicious Magazine caught my eye last week. I adapted it a bit to bulk up the flavours and I added a creamy mushroom sauce, to use up everything in my fridge before I went to Berlin. The result was a keeper and I know I’ll be making this or a version of it in the coming months.
Here is another laughably simple pasta dish to put together, for those times when you’re too wrecked to spend more than 15 minutes in the kitchen.
This is a little pasta dish I whip up on many a mid-week evening, originally inspired by this lovely Jamie Oliver recipe. My version takes about 8 minutes to make, depending on the type of pasta you choose.
It uses courgettes as a kind of sauce, as they release a lot of moisture when they’re cooked. Now, it’s not a wet pasta dish by any means, so if you feel it’s a little dry for your taste, add a dollop of crème fraiche at the end of the cooking process to make it a bit more saucy.
Courgettes are of course available year round but they are at their best in the summer months. Give this dish a go in the next week or two to squeeze the last of the loveliness out of those sleek and slender squashes.
Seeking out good places to eat in a new city isn’t just a way to fill your belly with yummy things while on holiday. Travelling around trying to find delicious eateries can be a great way to discover hidden parts of a city as well.
That’s my excuse, anyway.
Myself and Niall were in Berlin over last week for the Berlin Festival at Tempelhof Airport. We first visited the city last year, and we did a lot of the touristy sight-seeing as well as squeezing in a hilarious meal at Unsicht-Bar.
This year we felt more free to be pure food tourists. Have a look after the jump to find out what we discovered.
I was very sensible this year and rented a cottage about 8 miles away from the festival site. Coming home to a warm cottage with duvets and tea and slippers and an actual shower and a fridge was a joy each night.
What’s worrying is that, even with all those creature comforts, I still managed to arrive home in a bit of a heap yesterday afternoon. Nothing a bit of sleep and a Pasta Tuesday couldn’t sort out however.
It was Kristin from Dinner du Jour who first brought my attention to the fact that Spaghetti alla Puttanesca roughly translates as Whore’s Style Spaghetti. Charming.
It seems the dish wasn’t given its name because it was an instant favourite of ladies of the night when it first appeared in the south of Italy in the 1960s. Instead, the name seems to be more of a statement on the kind of lazy-arse person who would whip up such a simple yet delicious dish without even having to go the market for ingredients.
Baking will most probably be forever shrouded in a mystical cloak of reverence for me. As I’ve gotten more confident with cooking, however, I find myself less amazed when something actually works for me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still thoroughly and completely pleased with my achievements. But the same wide-eyed wonderment that I haven’t had a kitchen disaster has, thankfully, been cooked out of me.
In saying that, what still really fills me with glee is when I find a recipe that is so stupendously simple to put together, yet returns so much when put upon the plate. This recipe for Spiced Indian Potato Wraps was one of those recipes. I tweaked it a bit, and added Niall’s famous Harissa and Mint Yoghurt Sauce, and ba-da-bing ba-da-boom, I had a flipping gorgeous Wednesday night dinner. And it was totally vegetarian.
Like pretty much everybody else, the start of the week is always a little hectic in our house. On Mondays, we tend to eat light suppers after (more often than not) over-indulging on the weekend.
When Tuesdays come around, we can sometimes still feel a little wiped. In need of comfort food, but craving something healthy.
And so it was that a while back we came up with Pasta Tuesdays. Making a 15 minute dinner suits our energy levels and schedules, while the tasty things we pack into them usually push us gently back on to the road of feeling good again.
Here’s a recipe I threw together one Tuesday which uses Rainbow Chard, possibly the prettiest vegetable of them all. A taste-cousin of spinach, this variety of chard get its name from the beautiful colours splashed about its stalks.
It’s available at the moment from Denis Healy’s stalls at The Temple Bar market and I’d imagine you’d get it in most farmers’ markets or good vegetable shops. If not, you could substitute it easily with using kale or some lovely big grown-up spinach. As opposed to the baby kind.
There’s something about the combination of chili, garlic, lemon and chard here that makes this taste surprisingly good – hmmm, perhaps it’s the bacon? – so do try get your hands on the rainbow or the plain variety. Minimal effort and maximum results. My kind of mid-week supper.
As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I grew up with my mum, dad, sister and two brothers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Every summer, we travelled home to County Monaghan and spent the summer with our grannies and extended family.
One thing we always longed for was our Nanny B’s home-grown potatoes. And her home-grown rhubarb, which she made into tarts. And her gravy that she made slowly over her aga in the front room. Basically, we really looked forward to eating at Nanny B’s. (FYI, Nanny McElwain was less about tarts and more about what a bad ass independent lady she was, driving around everywhere in her little Ford Fiesta until a golden old age.)
My sister and I especially loved Tea Time at Nanny’s. This was an informal supper served in the evening, and consisted of a platter of cold meats, an array salads and some home-made brown bread.
My sister Niamh lives in San Francisco now but was home recently for a visit. I thought I’d treat her to an old fashioned summer Irish Tea to welcome her home.
The Butcher’s Board in The Eastern Seaboard, Drogheda. Ah. Maze. Ing.
Ever thought starting a food blog would turn out to be a great way to see a country? Nah. Me, neither. Turns out having a food blog, or even just an interest in food, can lead one on travels near and far, in search of the next delicious discovery for your taste buds.
I spent last Saturday in County Louth. You might be forgiven for thinking that Louth isn’t exactly the hub of deliciousness and food production in Ireland. I’m pretty sure I was of that opinion myself at one point.
Okay, so it’s still not the hub of food production in the country but it’s a sign of the wonderful things to be found – and consumed – in seemingly unlikely spots around Ireland. I know I’m having a ball finding these pockets of wondrous food scattered around, guided by the knowledge of my fellow Irish foodies and bloggers. I will never be a size 10 again. It’s a worthy sacrifice to make.