I realise that I often write (and talk) about food and describe recipes that I cook. However, I rarely describe a full day’s worth of meals. When I post a sweet recipe or picture it’s likely that it’s the one sweet recipe I’ve cooked in the week. So in an effort to share my honest day’s cooking I’m confessing all. This is what we eat in a normal day. Read More
It has been a hectic few days but I always have to go to work at the allotment. I sometimes feel embarrassed answering the phone and confessing that I’m at work because the truth is, this doesn’t feel like work. Growing our own food, showing the children how to fend for themselves, animal husbandry (we keep free range pigs), and all that we do is a way of life. I spent the past few days in Dublin city centre and there is nothing more grounding than going up to the plot to get work done. Read More
Last year I wrote about the things we don’t buy anymore but I just realised that it’s due an update. Although I talk a lot about what I buy, what we eat and how we live, maybe what is missing from the list might be interesting. This afternoon I was working through my shopping list and figuring out what I want to get for the week ahead and it struck me. So here’s a list of some of the things I don’t buy anymore and the reasons why (if any): Read More
In late 2014, Michael Kelly got in touch to see if I’d like to review his new book; Grow Cook Eat. So I owe him an apology for taking so long to get this review done. Sorry Michael!
Mind you, it’s about the right time of the year to start considering growing your own food. I know that the weather is cold, it may be snowing where you are, but in food-growing terms many of us who like to grow our own food are busy tending to our crops that last through the Winter, and have started to chit potatoes, and propagate seedlings for the Spring. Read More
Bacon ribs don’t seem to be as popular in modern Ireland as they were in my Grandad’s youth. He likes his bacon ribs boiled with cabbage until both are tender, then served with a pile of buttery mashed potatoes. Ribs were far cheaper to buy 80 odd years ago than they are now but they are still a frugal cut of bacon to enjoy for a family meal.
Mam remembers this dish being prepared as she was growing up (Grandad will turn 99 this year, Mam obviously is an awful lot younger!). She absolutely detested it, she said that the smell of the boiling cabbage would linger in the hall when she got home from school and she would have to eat a mound of slimy, over-cooked cabbage because that was the way Grandad liked it.
I find it very interesting that my husband’s family always ate their bacon ribs in a completely different way. I wonder if Mam had been exposed to their way of eating the ribs when she was growing up, would she be persuaded to try them nowadays?
Well it seems that quite a number of people searching on the blog remember I made some Irish food predictions in January last year about what I thought would be in store for Irish Food in 2014.
In 2014 said that I thought that group dining/Sunday Roasts would be making a comeback. The Exchequer has been doing it for years, but I also believe that newer establishments such as the Brookwood have started doing a roast dinner. This trend will continue to increase in 2015.
Juicing was my trend to watch and I was pretty much bang on with that too. There has been an explosion of juice bars in the Dublin area that I’ve noticed. The price of tropical fruit has remained static enough but this could be down to the slump in fuel prices, more so than lack of demand.
Increase in Ottolenghi/Middle Eastern/Lit-Fest inspired dishes across blogs in Ireland in 2014? I’ll stick a firm tick beside that one.
I mentioned how the food bank system would struggle unless the major retailers stepped up to the plate – go figure, between the Bia Food Bank & Food Cloud the amount of food that is being redistributed has increased significantly. So I’m happy to report that while food banks have increased demand, they also have more food to hand out.
I’m putting the diseases related to nutritional deficiency to one side – as I’ve not had a chance to research this thoroughly (I’m a bit laid up at the moment).
Now to 2015. Read More
I’ve trawled the shops and found a couple of budget gifts for food-lovers that you might be interested in. They are all for under €10 and available pretty much nationwide. Here’s a wee video for you see exactly what they are and I’ll pop details of the stockists and prices below.
Call this post a review of sorts, in effect it is. This is a review of a year in the life of an Irish food blogger, but it also a way of sharing some food bloggingtips and tricks I picked up along the way. This blogpost was originally written in December 2012, now 2 years later I’m updating some of the information. Read More
I’ve lost 17lbs since the start of September. This is a lighter October than last year or the year before.
I’ll rewind to a point last Summer where I watched “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead“; at the time I thought it was a great film (it’s available on Netflix) but I didn’t connect Joe Cross’ lifestyle to mine. After all, I’m “Wholesome” and I eat healthy food; why would I need to watch what I eat more closely? Then we went to the Aran Islands and I struggled with the climb up to Dun Aonghusa. I was out of breath, and then when I looked at photos we’d taken up the top I realised I couldn’t share them on the blog or social media.
I am so upset with myself. I am the only one who is in charge of my health and I let things get this bad. Read More
If you buy your meat at the supermarket you can clearly see where the meat has come from. Plain meat with no sauces or “value added” to the package. If you go to a decent supermarket, you’ll be able to see which farm reared the animal that the meat is from, or which county it’s from. That makes it really easy for those of us who go into the shops to choose whether or not we want to buy Irish meat.
Irish meat labelling can be confusing but at least you can be confident that if you buy a whole Irish chicken in a supermarket that it’s been raised on the island and within the 32 counties. It’s peace of mind you want to support Irish producers and normally a great guarantee of quality.
I buy my meat from a local butcher. He’s a Craft Butcher and this is meant to suggest that the butcher is top of his craft and you can be sure of great service when you purchase from him. I know that he has an Irish-Only policy and any meat I buy from him is Irish.
ACBI encourages consumers to look for the CraftButcher logo to be sure of having the very best, traceable, traditionally prepared meat available. Meat from a Craft Butcher is sourced, slaughtered and prepared locally and so reduces Food Miles (helping our carbon footprint), and also eliminating stress to the animals. Transporting animals long distances before slaughter has a detrimental effect on the meat quality. By supporting your local Craft Butcher you can be sure of the highest quality produce.
There’s another local butcher who is also a Craft Butcher. Their shop is brightly lit and clean, it looks great from the outside. There are huge signs facing out saying positive things like “Irish Lamb” and “Quality Irish Beef”. From the outside it looks fantastic.
There are no signs on their chicken or chicken products about the origin. Nor are there signs on most of their pork products including ham and bacon products like ribs and sausages.
So I asked where their meat came from.
Go figure, the majority of their pork and chicken products are not Irish in origin. Yet they carry the Craft Butcher logo.
It’s not the only butcher in my County that doesn’t display origin on all their meat even though they are affiliated with a great organisation. It’s deceptive because they’re omitting where the meat has come from.
If you’re not confident that the meat you’re being sold is Irish, then ask.
Bord Bia have a scheme for restaurants called ‘Just Ask‘:
Just Ask! is a public awareness campaign that aims to encourage consumers when eating out to look for information on where the food (particularly meat) on their plate comes from and to encourage chefs to provide this information on their menus. With so many fantastic and great value restaurants right on your doorstep, eating out is still on the menu.
I’d love to see this rolled out for butchers nationwide because it may be the encouragement that some craft butchers need to display the information more prominently. It would also be a chance to commend those who are outstanding in their field.
As regular readers will know, I’m going through a bit of a declutter at the moment. I’m trying to make space for other things in the house and I have a considerable list of books that I’m willing to give away, providing you can cover the cost of the postage! When I mentioned last night on my Facebook Page that I may have some books to give away I never expected to get such a big response!
Due to the huge demand, I’m listing the books below for everybody to get a chance to have a good read through and see if they’re interested in anything. I will bundle books together but no more than 3 books to any one person. I can only post to ROI I’m afraid. Read More