She’s also been a great source of advice for me personally. As a nervous beginner cook, it really is great to have someone like Aoife on the other end of Twitter to question about flour types, pastry fails and how to achieve the perfect mashed potatoes.
It’s been a year now that I’ve been eating vicariously through her Daily Spud pictures, after we met at last year’s Blog Awards wherein she won Best Irish Food Blog. But in all that time, although I’ve promised myself many times, I’ve never actually gotten round to cooking anything from her blog. Well, that all changed this morning for Sunday brunch.
Obviously, I had to go for a potato based recipe, and what is better on a Sunday than Potato cakes, or And So I Watch You From a Farl as Niall has dubbed them.
Moving on non-consecutively and purely randomly down the Food & Drink Blog longlist (sponsored by Bord Bia) for The Irish Blog Awards, I spotted these delicious looking Flapjacks on Val’s Kitchen. I knew I’d have a bit of time to get these together on a Saturday afternoon, as well as having all the necessary ingredients in the house!
This flapjack recipe was flawless. It was my first time making flapjacks, and as my regular readers will know, my history with baking disasters could have certainly taken the flap out of the jacks.* I followed Val’s recipe exactly – except I only put them in my oven for 15 minutes as it is like the centre of the earth in there, so hot – and they turned out perfectly. FYI I used honey instead of golden syrup and I used light muscovado brown sugar.
One of the best things about The Irish Blog Awards, in my opinion, is how it helps all of us bloggers/blog readers to unearth new blogs that we may have been unaware of. It’s a chance to discover new favourites and a way of seeing how active the Irish blogosphere really is.
Instead of relying on my small library of cook books and the BBC Good Food guide, for the next few weeks I’m going to try to work my way slowly but surely through the longlist of the nominated Food & Drink Blogs. There are quitea fewthatIlook at regularly, but I realised I’ve only ever drooled over the photos, without actually making proper use of them. And so, let’s keep it local from here on in!
I can’t promise that I’ll be able to work through the Drink blogs – the fact that I’m taking a break from booze for the time being may hinder me in that respect – but I’m going to start on my little journey through some of our Irish foodie blogs withThe Good Mood Food Blog.
The Good Mood Food Blog is run by Donal Skehan. Donal, secretly Jamie Oliver’s long-lost son, is an inspiration to us all as a case-study of pro-activity. Not only has he released his own cook book, he’s had number 1 singles with his band Industry, he ran against Dustin for a chance at The Eurovision, and even played Peter Pan in a Panto. And he was born in, like, 1995 or something. Well, ok, maybe he’s not that young. But still, he makes me feel like an unproductive old betty. In a good way, of course, heh heh
I was in the mood (sorry) for something warming this Friday night as it’s been chilly here the last few days, but I also wanted something super simple after a busy week. In the end, I went for Donal’s Hungarian Goulash.
Well, let me tell you. It is super hard to get six people plus a neutral judge and his other half together for a Winner’s Announcement meal. We had hoped to go out together to The Hop House on Parnell Street for one last meal and a divulging of scores. In the end, we were all together last night for Colette’s birthday, and our brilliant neutral judge @fensterdj texted us the results, bit by bit!
We had marked each other’s nights out of ten for five separate categories: Starter, Main Course, Dessert, Presentation and Ambience. Here’s how we got on…
Ah, deadly! I Can Has Cook? has made it to the long list for Best Food & Drink Blog at this year’s Irish Blog Awards. They’ll be taking place in Galway on Friday the 27th of March. The sponsor of the Food & Drink category is Bord Bia and word up to Damien as always for getting the show on the road. And of course, thank you to whoever it was who nominated this blog! I’m chuffed.
Below is a link to all the other Food & Drink Blogs on the long list. Hook them up with some hit-love, yo!
I felt today that enough time had passed for me to lift my self-inflicted ban on the BBC Good Food site. I had such a hankering for fish today, and I spotted the below recipe. Man, I’m glad I did. This was a lovely and easy supper, hugely flavoursome while being light at the same time – a perfect meal after which to head out to a gig.*
I got my Sea Bream at Kish Fish near Smithfield Square, a great city centre fresh fish shop that I am truly delighted to live so close to. In conversation on twitter today, Catherine @backpedalling told me about the weekly draw they’re currently running at Kish Fish. Every time you buy something, you can enter your name in a draw. Every Saturday, a name is picked, and that person gets €50 worth of Kish Fish to take home. WANT!
I was distracted by the size of the lovely Bream that I picked up, and so, alas, I’ll have to get there again next week to enter myself in the draw.
Here are a few notes from my experience with this recipe:
I used Kalamata olives, which are technically purple rather than black, but mannnn, they were amazing in this.
I used curly parsley and it was perfect. What is the difference between curly and flat leaf parsley?
On the site, it suggests serving with spinach, and although this would be lovely, it was totally a meal in itself, with the added bonus of only having three items to wash-up. This means a lot to me. Hate cleaning up. Of any kind.
I’ve realsed that I really like a lot of Barney Desmazery’s recipes on BGF – they’re usually for totally unpretentious and simple food, my total favourite. Have a look through them for yourself!
Uncooked fish on partially cooked potatoes. That fish does not look happy.
I feel like I’m cheating at food blogging linking to other sites but, for realz, I’m not at the stage to be making up recipes, and if I shared some of my own creations, this would not bode well for your tums, seriously.
I mentioned we went out to a gig after dinner tonight. Twas to Yeasayer in The Academy and it were brill! Follow the link to their track O.N.E. on Hype Machine.
COOKIE and PASTRY FAILS - not safe for human consumption.
It has indeed been a pleasure to share my food fails of the last year with you all. Although this particular tale begins with a food fail, it thankfully ends in a food win, with a little help from my friends. Well, with the help of The Dublin Cookery School, that is.
Before Christmas, I attempted to make some cookies, as a little treat for friends and c0-workers. Alas, as you can see from the above photo, this was not to be. It was on the presentation of this squalid tray of molten cookie mixture that Niall had the perfect idea for a Christmas present – a one day Baking Course at The Dublin Cookery School with Lynda Booth. Thanks to The Daily Spud for the recommendation!
Off I trotted last Saturday, filled with the trepidation that anyone who’s ever failed at baking knows all too well. There was no need to fear. My baking demons were to be well and truly conquered.
Now. This could turn out to be much like a trip to the hairdressers. You know the way you can never get your hair to bounce like it did as you left the salon? Perhaps my cakes won’t have quite the same bounce when I attempt to make them without the watchful eye of Lynda and her two helpers.
Throughout the course of the day, myself and the 25 or so other baking students worked through a series of recipes, some of which we ate at Little Break, some of which we munched at lunch, and the rest we got to take home and stuff our faces in private. Oh, yeahhhh.
The whole process worked with Lynda making everything before we did in her presentation kitchen, giving us tips and answering our baking fear-related questions. Then we were led with our recipe booklet in hand to work in pairs in the beautiful naturally lit hands-on kitchen space, where Lynda’s assistants had already weighed out all of the ingredients, for us to just put together. Wish I had someone to do that for me every day, let me tell you. They baby-sat our baking goods while they cooked, making sure that they all turned out perfectly, with not a Bake Fail in sight.
Here are a few pics of what we made throughout the day. I would thoroughly recommend a course at The Dublin Cookery School, for yourself or as a present for the foodie in your life. A fantastic way to spend a day, and it has left me with a quiet confidence that, one day soon, I will bake. Oh yes, I will bake!
We started off with Brown Bread, which we sat down to eat with delicious jam for our Elevenses.
Alongside a host of other bakers, I’ll be providing some of the cakes and cookies and muffins and fudge slices and an array of other delicious baked goods to be on sale on the night as part of the fundraising initiative.
It’s 10 euro in, starts at 7pm and will run through til 2am.
Eggs Benedict with my rather runny homemade Hollandaise Sauce
Man, I just love Sundays. A perfectly lazy day can be made even better with a ludicrously delicious brunch and a copy of The Observer Food Monthly. I’m so happy right now.
In Alex James’ column in OFM, he mentions Kate Moss’ mantra “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.” Having once been rather slender (and infinitely hungrier) I can sort of understand where she’s coming from. However, this fleeting feeling of sisterhood with the famous waif evaporates once I remember that her comment is inherently wrong, if not completely mental. What the hell is she talking about?
She has clearly never eaten Arancini, gobbled a Monte Christo sambo or made her own Hollandaise Sauce. Of course, it’s lovely to fit perfectly into all your clothes and to never have to hide bumpy bulges behind flowing tops. However, I’m of the opinion that the satisfaction of feeling slim can in no way compare to the feeling you get when something you’ve cooked has made you and your partner/friends really, really happy.
But, of course, it’s all about balance. Obviously, you don’t want to be eating Egg’s Benedict every other day, as it’s full of artery-clogging-heart-bashing butter. But one should allow oneself to enjoy it once in a while, without thinking of the consequences to one’s backside.
Anyway, I made my own Hollandaise Sauce this morning to make my Egg’s Benedict complete, using Antony Worrall Thompson’s Cheat’s recipe. It has a lottttttt of butter in it. But what the hell, you only live once. I’d prefer to be content and plump than thin and miserable, any day. So take THAT Kate Moss. Heh heh.
After an unexpectedly late (and rather too much fun) night mid-week at The State Social in Shebeen Chic, we were in need of some severe health intakes come the weekend.
I had picked up some lovely beetroot in the Temple Bar Market last Saturday and it needed eating. I’d had Lucas Hollweg’s recipe for Beetroot, Lentil and Feta Salad in my head since it appeared in first Sunday Times magazine of 2010.
Beetroot is a funny one. It’s so intrinsically linked – to me at least – to bad school food and brine. Although I enjoyed roasting the beets, peeling away the skins and watching as the Feta was taking on a delightfully pink hue, I’m not sure if I’m terribly into beets. Perhaps too much damage was done by the pickled Chef variety (blurregghgh) in my childhood for me to ever come to terms with the thick texture and somewhat tinny taste of this rooty veg.
In saying that, this recipe is a lovely way to take in the rich nutrients that the Beet provides. The Beets take 2 hours to roast but other than that it’s just a case of getting all the ingredients together in a bowl and mixing it around, before plopping a pile of health onto your plate.