I’m not very good at cleaning. There was absolutely no reason for me to think that Niall would want a tidy house when he came home but I’d got it into my head that it would be a good idea to scrub up the place nice and proper for when he came home from SXSW in Texas.
In the end, I developed a bit of a ‘flu’. In truth, it was a scarily long lasting hangover from Saturday night’s exploits, which was unaided by Monday night pints with previously featured lovely friends who are heading off to London for EVER next week. Egad, it’s so far away, I may never see them again, so YES let’s have pints. Heh heh.
So I got home from work yesterday feeling far away from good, and I found myself nestling a berocca (they have new ones with guarana in them, amazing stuff) and then somehow wound up in bed with a few creme eggs and America’s next top model. Well, when nialler got home at around 9 this morning, needless to say the flat was still in a bit of a mess.
It seems there was a risotto-state-of-mind around last weekend. English Mum made what looked like a yummy version for Ma’s Day and the Observer Food Monthly had a recipe in the Sunday magazine which was pretty close to the one I made following my good friend the BBC Good Food site.
I had those lovely leeks to use and wanted to have another go at cooking a risotto. My lovely sister Niamh got me some great pressies at Christmas time, all food related, in anticipation of myself and Niall moving into the new flat. I got a HOIGE pepper mill and a really brilliant risotto set – a great pan, spoon with a hole, some arborio rice and some dried porcini ‘shrooms. I made a mushroom risotto the first time my siblings visited us in the flat and it out worked pretty well. I had tried to make it a few years before to disastrous results so it was kind of like conquering a food fear.
Risotto’s fun to make. It seems a bit intimidating at first because you have to watch it a good bit, but once it sinks in that all you have to do is keep stirring and adding stock and then add 8,000g of butter and 9,845 g of parmesan cheese into it, you realise there’s not too much to it.
2 leeks, finely chopped, in a very ladylike manner
4 spring onions, like the leeks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
750 ml veg stock
25g Parmesan cheese
25g of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Bring on the coronary – wwwhhoooooooo!
It’s not for the diet friendly folk among us, but fuck it, it tastes soooo good. And as my dinner guest Jocelyn said, butter is a good fat. It’s our friend. I’m inclined to believe her.
I doubled this recipe – in a way. I was feeding Jocelyn and my little brother Lorcan, and I had four leeks in the fridge. I only had four spring onions though. So I chopped up that amount together, doubled the rice, the garlic, the butter and parmesan (but don’t tell anyone coz that’s really bold) and used around 900ml or maybe more of the veg stock. But I used the same amount of oil and wine. I figured it was better to double the stock rather than the wine.
You melt the oil and half the butter in the pan and add the leeks and spring onions and garlic to it. There’s something so yummy about cooking with butter. I genuinely think vegetables really like it. They look really happy anyway when they’re soaked in butter and just starting to sizzle.
When they’re at that happy stage, pop in your rice and give it a good stir so it’s all coated in oil and butter and leeks and spring onion. Add to the delirium of the veg and throw in the glass of wine. Keep it stirring til the wine is bubbling, and eventually evaporates. Then you just stand over the pan adding about a ladelful of stock until the liquid evaporates, all the while stirring, and keep adding the stock and stirring the rice until it looks and tastes ready. It’ll be about 30 minutes but you’ll definitely know. The description on BBC Good Food was ‘oozy’ and I think that’s a fairly good food landmark to aim for.
When it’s looking nice and oozy, add the parmesan and the other half of the butter. Let’s face it, even if you’ve overcooked the leeks, it doesn’t matter if you put that much butter and cheese into anything – you’re saved. Ommmmmmnomomomnom…
The main difference to the Good Food risotto I made and the Observer Food Monthly* was that the Observer one added a few slices of pancetta to the mix. That would have worked very nicely indeed. Fry the pancetta up in a separate pan and serve them chopped up stirred in to the cooked risotto or just sitting over the top of the risotto like they did in the Observer. I would have most definitely added it if I’d seen the recipe the day before as I was worried the risotto would be slightly bland with just leeks and spring onions. I shouldn’t have worried, it was yum, but the pancetta would have been extra decadent.
Myself, Jocelyn and Lorcan listened to a number of things while I cooked and we ate. After the meal and two very yummy bottles of Proseco, we were heading out and I decided to drop some Ponytail on them. Ponytail are a band from Baltimore (yup, same place as Dan Deacon and Animal Collective. I want to go to there.) who specialise in mad, mad art rock. I’ve seen them twice in the last year, both times in Whelan’s of Wexford Street. The singer is this crazy little chick who doesn’t really sing so much as yelp and smile. Check out this video on Niall’s site of them playing live in a laundromat.
If you happen to see that they’re playing a venue near you, please go see them. You’ll be astounded by the crazy face on the lead singer but also by her sheer energy and love of playing as well as the kick ass drummer who plays with no shoes (ouch), the screaming guitar player and the bespeckled other guitar player who sings the only coherent lyrics throughout the whole gig – ‘Oh no! I’m Late for School!!’ This is that track, taken from the aptly named Ice Cream Spiritual, which the band released last year. Go buy.
* A note on the Observer Food Monthly. I love it very much. (Although Sunday’s wasn’t as good as usual because it was the awards edition and I didn’t know a lot of the British awardees – no doubt there’s lots of great stuff there though. And holy pyjama bottoms, there was a recipe for some amazing looking choccie biccies in there.) I also love the Observer Music Monthly.
I despise the Observer Women’s Monthly and Observer Sport Monthly. Niall is ok with the Food Monthly but he really likes the Music Monthly too. We’ve been buying the Observer on Sunday for about a year or so now but not regularly enough that we know which magazine it will be when we go to the shop. So it’s either like ‘YES! Music Monthly!!!’ or ‘Whoop! Whoop! Food Monthly!’ and off we hop with our breakfast goods or it’s ‘Ah sheeee-it it’s the bleedin’ Women’s Monthly. Handbags and token interviews with female artists – fook off!’ or ‘Sport!!! I haaaate sport!’ etc etc.
How lovely. I love spring. If I ever live in a house with a big enough garden, it would be lovely to have one of these fellas in it.
This is the cherry blossom tree on Father Matthew’s Square near our flat off Capel Street. Sure, it’s only gorgeous. I took that on the way to buy some ingredients for the risotto I cooked last Saturday night. Details of that to come!
Once again, Aoife Mc’s attempts at food photography fail fairly miserably. Help Loreana!!
I was pottering around the flat this afternoon, listening to music and reading blogs, when I began to feel a bit peckish. Might have had something to do with the fact that I was perusing this beautiful blog. Thanks to Catherine for the heads up on that!
I had some creme fraiche in the fridge that needed using, two wee spuds, some nice dill, and some leftover smoked trout from this very nice salad I made yesterday. So I decided to throw it all together slightly following Jamie Oliver’s Potato Salad with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Creme Fraiche from Jamie At Home.
What you need for Aoife Mc’s take on Jamie Oliver’s Potato Salad with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Creme Fraiche
A few nice new potatoes
Smoked salmon/smoked trout (enough for how many folk you’re having over for lunch)
1-2 tablespoon horseradish sauce (depending on how spicy you like it, innit)
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
juice of half a lemon or thereabouts
red wine vinegar
a few wee capers
some fresh dill
Obviously this can be really easily adapted for however many you’re feeding. Just make sure you have enough potatoes, salmon/trout and make enough dressing and sauce by doubling up if you need to!
Boil up the potatoes for fifteen minutes or so. While they’re cooking, make the dressing for the potatoes by mixing the lemon juice with the same amount of red wine vinegar, plus three times the amount of olive oil, finally adding a teaspoon or two of capers. Jamie says you should put the dressing on while the potatoes are still warm as they’ll absorb the flavours more. And by gum, he was right.
While your potatoes are drinking up the dressing in the bowl, you can make up the cream. Mix the creme fraiche, horseradish sauce and a few chopped up sprigs of dill. It’s easy peasy. Get your cooled, dressing soaked potatoes and toss them in a bowl with the dill.
Arrange your smoked salmon/smoked trout on your plate, put the potatoes in the middle and dollop some of your nice creme fraiche/horseradish sauce over the lot. You can even throw a few more dill leaves over the place.
I had mine with some toasted ciabatta, and I thought the trout worked well. I’ll make it with salmon the next time and follow the recipe more closely and let you know how I get on.
I totally would have had a glass of cheeky afternoon white wine too only I drank the last of it last night!
I was listening to British dance punkster’s Friendly Fires self titled debut album which was released last September. It’s v good. I’ve posted a remix of one of the tracks from the album called Skeleton Boy. The remix is by a Swedish duo called Air France. I’d say that name has caused at least two annoying incidences in the band’s history.
Incidentally, this track featured on the last Nialler9 podcast, of which I am the mouthpiece. Myself and Niall do a podcast once a month where he picks the tracks and I do the talky bits. It’s really fun because we get to do it together and even though sometimes I’m a bit of a grumpy diva, most of the time we have a laugh doing it. It also helps us to remember how long we’ve been together as we started it after we’d been going out for about a month. You can download the March Nialler9 Podcast by right-clicking here.
For the inaugral outing of the new pot it seemed only right to do a French kind of dish. Granted, perhaps the only thing French about the Toulouse sausage and butter bean casserole I made is that it has the name of a place in France in the title. I couldn’t find any Toulouse sausages and just got some chipolata sausies instead…so…it’s still a bit French ain’t it? I mean, it’s a casserole, right?
The organic leeks I bought were gorgeous – they’re in season at the moment – in both colour and smell. All the recipe involved really was a bit of chopping and then putting everything together in a big pot.
First up you have to brown the sausages (seriously, I still don’t know what this means and would really like if someone could clarify it for me. Should I put them on a high heat for a while so they go really brown, like cooked brown on the outside and then add them to casserole to cook on the inside? Please advise!). Once they’re ‘browned’ you set them aside and chop them up when they’ve cooled a bit.
In the meantime, you get the bacon going in the same pot, and when it’s beginning to cook you add the leeks and garlic too until they’ve softened a bit. Now it’s time to add the chicken stock, white wine, pinch of chilli, butter beans, and pop the sausages back in. Then you should simmer it for about fifteen minutes.
Ooooh look at the new pot go. Bless it, it’s totally slumming it in my kitchen.
As per usual, I overcooked it, which meant the leeks lost a lot of their colour and the sausies were a bit on the rubbery side. I’m very bad at timing things to be ready at the same time, and as I was making these yum creamy mash potatoes, I got a bit distracted and left the casserole on too long. Which is why it eventually ended up looking like this gloopy mess:
Honestly though, it tasted really good, I have to say. I’m delighted to report that my dinner guest and I had to go back for seconds. It was great with the mash and the M&S olive bread toasted was perfect for mopping up the lovely juice from the casserole. I’m going to try and make it again, maybe when Niall gets home, and hopefully I’ll get the timing right and the gorgeous leeks won’t lose their lovely colour.
As I was preparing this casserole, I was having a listen to Amadou & Miriam’s 2008 album Welcome to Mali. Damn, was it hard to pick my favourite track to post up here. I went for this one because you can’t help yourself but have a bit of a dance. And sure why not?
Amadou & Miriam are sometimes known as The Blind Couple from Mali, as they met in Mali’s Institute for the Blind. They seem like an awesome couple and their music is great. Check out their back catalogue as well as getting your paws on Welcome To Mali.
You….are…..so….beautiful….to…..meeee! My first Le Creuset pot sitting next to my little butter dish (which is a fairly handy copy that I got for a fiver in All Rooms on Liffey Street. Rock it!)
I don’t mean to gloat but I’m too excited about the above pot that I had to share it. Of all people, I know the foodies will appreciate the pot. Along the same lines of what English Mum said here, this is my version of the designer handbag.
I turned 27 last weekend, and lo and behold, that is still young enough to receive birthday cards from your granny and your auntie with a few quid in it. Surely I should let them know that I have a job now and am no longer a skinny starving student living on pasta and pesto. Perhaps I’ll leave off discouraging them until I’m at least 32.
So anyway, I got a few quid for my birthday and I decided that this year I would put it towards investing in something that I really would have forever. True, I have the semi-clear memories of drunken birthday nights out but those memories will fade, whereas the beauty of this, my first Le Creuset pot, never will.
The thought crossed my mind that a beginner cook like me purchasing such a kick ass bit of kit was kind of like someone who has just started learning the guitar buying a Les Paul. On reflection though, I think my passion for cooking might just outshine my passion for playing guitar, and while my two guitars stare forlornly and lonelily (it is SO a word) on, I reckon my Le Creuset is soon going to covered in the glorious stains of a very healthy cooking life.
I used the pot for the first time last night and made this recipe. I’ll be posting up details and a few pictures in a bit.
Beautiful day, isn’t it?
This is the perfect soundtrack to a sunny day, and indeed any day. I’m having a listen to it as I type. Jamie Lidell is this young dude from England who I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live twice. He started out a few years back making obscure electronic music until one day he opened his mouth and a whole lotta soul came out. His 2008 album Jim is full of feel-good soul tunes that will definitely make your wedding party playlist.
Go buy Jimhere and keep an eye when he’s back in Ireland (he played in ALT in Dublin last week!) and try to catch his live show, whether it’s his solo show in all its beatboxing looping glory or with his kick-ass six piece band. Both promise to be memorable occasions.
I know this blog is called I Can Has Cook and not I Can Has Arrange Things From M&S Nicely On A Plate but I enjoyed preparing and anticipating my lunch so much I took a picture of it. I wanted to send it to Niall who is in Austin, Texas at the moment for the SXSW music festival. There are around 2,000 bands playing over the next week. I’m so jealous!
Anyway, I thought the picture turned out ok, and even though I posted an almost identical snack a few days ago, I thought you’d appreciate my new plate of which I purchased two for 2 euro in a Capel Street charity shop. And I think the picture does my Paris Place Mat Map justice too. I made the Jamie Oliver oil, red wine vinegar, grated garlic and chopped chili dressing again, twas lush. That bread is the green and black olive ciabatta from M&S. It kicks ass.
At any rate, it’s a good excuse to talk about Animal Collective. I’ve been listening to the Baltimore collective’s ninth album Merriweather Post Pavillion on repeat for most of 2009. It’s amaaaazing. (By the way, I don’t have a great ammunition of adjectives when it comes to music I’m afraid. It’s either amazing or absolutely brilliant. Or rubbish, of course. Hope that’s ok.)
The best song on this album (in my opinion anyway) is My Girls, which was written by one of the lads about his wife and his young daughter. Some choice lyrics are:
I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things like a social status / I just want four walls and adobe slabs for my girls.
Adobe slabs are those nice terracotta roof plates you get in Spain and Portugal, I think. How sweet is that? I love it.
If I wrote my own version of that line it’d be:
I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things like a social status / I just want four walls and a giant big kitchen that gets masses of sunlight all day long with an Aga like my granny’s and a HOIGE kitchen table full of hungry friends and an island for chopping herbs and a full set of Le Creuset pots for me and my boy.
You should go buy the album, which boasts a psychedelic magic eye cover which turns into a pyramid type object if you cross your eyes when you look at it. They’re playing a sold out show in Dublin’s Tripod at the end of March, can’t wait.
As regards Paddy’s Day, I’ve been having a lovely time spring-cleaning, which should be an oxymoron but it’s been nice. I went down to Henry Street at around 2pm earlier – it was mad. Mad. I scuttled home as soon as I had the mozzarella and Parma ham for my salad. What a wimp! I did have a glass of beer with my lunch though, so…pfff.
Now. I’ll be the first to admit that the above sauce looks alarmingly like something the streets of Dublin may well be covered with by this time tomorrow night. It looks like vomit.
No, no, it’s okay, you don’t have to say otherwise. It does look like vomit. But, you know what – the above dish actually tasted a bit beautiful.
I guess I’m feeling a bit insecure about my ability to cook and to take photos of food after having a look around the irish food blogs. I mean, check this guy out! And look at the picture of the brioche and fougasse from this girl! The bagels! The cakes! Can I get a WOO WOO for this yumminess?
Food blogging is so fun.
So, I know the chicken cacciatore above doesn’t look that nice, but it is such a simple dish to make when you’re having mates over. Because I’m still getting used to cooking again after my three years of not being arsed, it still slightly stresses me out when people come over. Now, this has not stopped me from having at least two dinner dates a week, because I love having people over and feeding them. But I’m just saying that I still have to pace myself and keep it simple, until I get a hang of things again. If you know what I mean.
This version of chicken cacciatore is from the incredible BBC Good Food website. Since I started the food blog, it’s been all Jamie this, Jamie that, bish bash bosh. But in fact, I have been a zealous BBC Good Food fanatic since just before last Christmas. I’ve made approximately twenty dishes from the website since then, and only one of them didn’t go to plan but it still tasted pretty good. A lot of this food blog will most definitely be in reference to the BBC site. Get on it if you haven’t used it yet.
I made the above version last week – it was the third time I had made this dish and it was for my lovely sister and one of my lovely brothers. Said brother is heading to Florida for two years today to train to be a pilot. Thank goodness I’ll finally have a rich relative to cadge off. Just kidding. I’m really excited for him as he’s wanted to be a pilot since before he could speak, although I’m going to miss him a lot when he’s gone. Good news is he’s a twin so I still get to keep the other one, who is equally fabulous. So basically, I wanted to cook something really simple but yummy for my siblings, so I could chill out with them between cooking times.
Serves six – if you’re only having four people make the same amount of sauce and just put less chicken in. (I can has maths! Whoop whoop!)
1 onion finely chopped
2 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tins of tomatos (it says tinned cherry tomatos but the normal ones do the job)
4 tbsp of ‘mazin mascarpone
bit of basil
6 chicken breasts, skin on (you can throw in a few chicken legs and whatever bits you like I’m sure)
This is soooooo simple and stress free to make. In our apartment we have one of those open plan kitchen/living room spaces, which I love because you can chat away while you’re cooking and stuff. But that’s why I need to keep it simple with the dinner party recipes because I don’t want my guests to feel completely stressed because I’m trying to make a ban maray or whatever it’s called out of a bit of tin foil and a fork, while burning my fingers on various utensils and pans, screeching ‘WHERE THE FOK IS THE TRUFFLE OIL?!?!?’. It’s not cool to freak out in front of your guests. Am I right?
So anyway, this is great because you just fry the onion and garlic together in a nice deep saucepan until they’re a wee bit cooked. Like three minutes. Then you pop in the two tins of tomatoes, give it a bit of a stir, and literally leave it there for about 15 or 20 minutes to thicken up while you sit down and take on the role of the most together hostess ever. Martini anyone? Awesome.
Depending on your oven, you can pre-heat it for around 170 – 190 C. I always say depending on your oven because mine is an evil f*cker. Seriously. Not only is it a bit old and has the inevitable irremovable crust of the previous tenants on the hobs, but it keeps randomly turning off and it’s driving me mad. Because we’re renting, it’s not like we can demand a new oven on the premise that I’ve just started a new food blog and I want to bake some bread. *sigh*
Back to the cacciatore. So, you preheat the oven and meanwhile brown the chicken a bit. When I read that on the BBC site, I was like…brown the chicken, you say? Like…how brown? What does this mean? The first time I made the cacciatore, I browned the chicken to the point of it being cooked, and then after the following roasting required, it was like yucky school canteen chicken that tasted like a rubber shoe. The last time I made it, I just whitened the chicken. Literally two minutes on each side of the breast.
As it’s whitening/browning, you can take the nice thickened tomato sauce off the heat, and mix in the 4 tbsp of mascarpone which makes it go the lovely creamy colour. Throw in a few torn basil leaves as well for that extra yumminess.
Then you can put the whitened/browned chicken into a roasting dish and pour the tomato sauce over the top so everything is nice and covered. I threw in a few cherry tomatoes as well as some left over asparagus spears. Then you put it in the oven for about twenty or twenty-five minutes depending on how you like your chicken.
I served this with the very yummy orzo pasta which takes less then ten minutes to boil. Incidentally, I bought some rather neat place mats last weekend in Avoca. A complete impulse buy but 100% worth it. There are 50 place mats in one packet and basically you have a choice of four – you can either eat in Manhattan, Tokyo, London or Paris. Because the place mats are maps of those cities. I’m such a sucker for shit like that! I love them.
My sister has quite shocking taste in music and maintains an incredible talent for mixing up band names. She once asked me if the song playing on the radio was that band ‘the Arcade Monkeys’ – she either meant Arcade Fire or The Arctic Monkeys, I’m still not sure which. She always calls Super Extra Bonus Party Super Furry Bloc Party. Which is a good name. I’m not doubting her talents.
I’m going to post this mp3 for my little brother Peter who will be a trained pilot in a few years. He’s also a really talented bass player and I hope he won’t give that up entirely. I remember one time, nearly ten years ago, when I was at the family home in Saudi Arabia (long story) for the summer. I was in University in London at the time and was around 18 and had just discovered loads of old amazing music. I was playing The Specials when Peter came home from rollerblading or something and he was like ‘Whhhaaa??? Who’s that??’ I always felt really pleased that I had turned him on to such a great band.
So Peter, this song is for you. I couldn’t find an mp3 of this track and I lost my Best Of The Specials album about four moves ago so this ‘video’ will have to do. Sorry it ends so abruptly. Such a great song. I’m going to Road this week to buy some Specials on vinyl. It seems like the right thing to do.
Look at that. Green, white and gold. My Paddy’s Day plans are as follows: on Monday night I’m going to see the hilariously offensive piss-take Limerick hip-hoppers Rubber Bandits in Eamon Doran’s of Dublin. After that, I’m getting the hell out of dodge. I don’t like Paddy’s Day that much. Although I’ve had loads of fun ones involving drinking early in the day at friends’ houses, I dunno…I think I’m kind of over it. I don’t like walking around town in the afternoon and feeling like I’m in Shawn of The Dead.
I hate to sound hypocritical because I’ve definitely been a zombified drunk more than twice in my 27 years. One Paddy’s Day, for reasons I can’t remember now, I had a net bag of grapefruits with me at the start of the day. By 8pm, when I was blethered and singing some patchily vaguely oirishy song while hanging on to my bar stool for dear life, I realised that I only had one grapefruit left in the bag. I often wondered after that – could I have retraced my steps or found my way home after a day of Paddy’s Debauchery by following a trail of sad, squashed grapefruits? What had become of the grapefruits? Years later, it remains a mystery.
This year, I’d like to avoid putting grapefruits into the realm of harm and I’m just going to chill at home. Our flat is in the city centre so I might be able to hear the distant mumbling of the parade which would suit me fine.
Anyway – this salad is a combination of my friend Satu’s butternut squash recipe put together with some kind of salad that I must have had at Cornucopia or some such yummy eatery. I made it for the first time about two years ago so I can’t remember the exact origins.
Butternut squash is a delight. A few years ago, I discovered the sweet potato and really thought it was ‘the shit’. But, fickle as I am, once I had been introduced to the butternut squash, my love of the sweet potato faded in an instant while I became acquainted with my new friend. Poor sweet potato!
1 small butternut squash, deseeded and chopped into nice chunks
1 clove garlic
splendid spinach leaves
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
1 red onion
like, a handful of puy lentils
My friend Satu – a vegetarian who has a better diet than most carnivores I know -gave me this lovely tip for roasting butternut squash. You chop up the butternut squash into manageable chunks, leaving the skin on. This goes so yummy and crunchy through roasting. Slice the garlic and scatter it around the roasting tin with the butternut squash. Sprinkle a generous amount of cumin seeds over the squash and add a dollop of balsamic vinegar, around a tablespoon amount. Mix that all so everything is nice and coated.
Pop that in your oven at the usual veg roasting temperature. The squash needs at least 40 minutes to cook through, so what you can do as that starts to sizzle is chop up the peppers and red onion. I’d add them to the butternut squash after about 20 minutes.
Once you’ve got the veg in, you can start boiling the puy lentils.
Oh…lentils…how I love thee. I love all pulses in fact, but lentils are so brilliant because they don’t take, like, eight days to cook like the contrary (but thoroughly delicious) chickpea. Puy lentils just need about twenty minutes boiling time and they’re good to go.
So, the veg should be all nice and cooked now. It’s up to yourself how crispy or crunchy or soft you like them. Mix in the cooked lentils with the veg. It would be delicious if you spent a few minutes toasting the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan over a low heat, in anticipation of sprinkling them over the top of your beautiful salad. I actually forgot to do that this time around and the pumpkin seeds were still very nice untoasted.
You can now arrange a few spinach leaves on your plate and spoon on a big heap of your butternut squash, pepper, red onion, lentil and pumpkin seed mixture over the top. It’s really nice with a bit of bread too. Yum scrum.
I made this salad last week when our friend Co came over to get Niall to fix his laptop. Niall gets that a lot. Here’s an mp3 from Co’s band Super Extra Bonus Party, taken from their remix album Appetite for Reconstruction which was released as a free download last year as a follow up to their deadly debut album Super Extra Bonus Party, which won, like, some prize or something. Their new album is scheduled for release in May of this year so keep an ear out.
Mushie Shake is my favourite track from the debut and this is a remixed version of that track by one of my other favourite Irish artists The Vinny Club, also known as the bass player of the mighty Adebisi Shank. Yes! I mentioned three of my favourite Irish bands in one sentence. By Jove, I was born to be a DJ.
My old flatmate Ben, whom I mentioned in an earlier post, is a severe foodie. It makes sense seeing that his mother is Italian-American and his dad is full on Greek. When we shared a flat together, he always amazed me by creating the most fantastic dishes on a shoestring budget. Not one to look at recipe books much, he’s a wonderfully instinctive cook. Everytime I see an artichoke, I think of him. To most people that would seem bizarre, insulting even, but I know Ben will be quite pleased with that.
Anyway, something Ben said to me a few years ago really stuck with me. As an American living in Dublin, he thought it was so wonderful that you could go to any random crappy chain corner shop and you could come out with beautiful Irish cheese. Irish food in general has such a bad reputation – but we do have some lovely stuff. Cashel Blue, gorgeous cheddar, and our salmon which truly is spectacular.
I saw Clodagh McKenna’s TV programme Fresh From the Farmers Market for the first time this morning when I was recovering from a birthday induced hangover – how lovely is she?? She’s all like ‘oh goodness, the smells, that’s wonderful, there’s nothing better than caramelised apples’. I love cooks like that who are just excited by the smells of food, and excited about using local produce to get the best out of what is very readily available to us. I’ll be tuning in again for sure.
So, last week, M&S had a sale on some really delicious Irish smoked salmon. For five euro, I got enough to stuff a party of twenty full of canapes. Not that I had a party of twenty – I shared it with my sister and brothers and niall.
I put a slice of it on soda bread, scrunched a bit of lemon over it, lolloped some creme fraiche on the top, and added a few capers which were both delicious and decorative. Nothing new but it was yum.
The link from my salmon to my track for this post is slightly tenuous. I can’t remember what I was listening to when I got this little snack together was but I could very well have been listening to Dan Deacon’s new album Bromst which is amaaazing. Dan Deacon is my top top all time favourite favourite live act. You can check out my reaction to this first time I saw him play here. The connection between Dan Deacon and this post is that the first time I saw him play he started his set off with Under The Sea from Little Mermaid. See what I did there??? Sea? Salmon? Yeah?
Anyway, Dan Deacon is playing in Dublin again in the wonderful Andrew’s Lane Theatre on the 3rd of June. Only three months to go!!