21 Jun

Beetroot and Feta salad

My biggest battle with food at the moment is finding a dish that’s simple to prepare and light to eat. The life of a freelancer can be a bit unusual in that I have to roll with the work when it comes in. The past couple of weeks has been particularly jam-packed in terms of jobs-on-the-go, and while I always have a slow cooker meal underway for the kids, eating a full meal after 8pm at night is always going to be a challenge for me.

In the past 7 days I’ve worked with 2 separate TV crews, and there’s more to film this evening with TG4. Tune into Nationwide on Monday evening for a peek at the allotments and my tiny kitchen (yes it is that small, and yes that is where all my recipes are developed). The work with TG4 I’ll let you know when the airing date is confirmed! Read More

30 Apr

Blog & Allotment Update 28 April 2017

The month of April has been a sprint from start to finish for me, and I want to explain. It’s not that I haven’t had the time to update the blog. I’ve actually sat down and started typing most days. It’s just that there is something major going on in the background that I can’t talk about quite yet. This time next month it will all be in the open and you will probably understand why I’ve been sitting on my hands. Normally I hate when people put up vague updates about ‘exciting things’ but I promise that it will be public within the next month so feel comfortable explaining that I’ve been preoccupied (understatement).

As part of this new ‘thing’ I’ve been working on I was privileged to have Cathy Dunne take some work photos of me last week. As full disclosure, Cathy is my cousin. When I heard I needed professional photos I knew I wanted to worth with her as she has incredible talent, eye, and understands what I love and do perfectly. The photos she took were taken using natural light (no flash photography at all), and with minimal editing. The eagle-eyed amongst you will spot that this is not my kitchen; it’s the kitchen in my parents’ house which was perfect for us on the day.

So the allotment! I started saying I had an allotment update!

As you probably know, there were bad frosts last week and yes we did lose some of the grapes but not all. We are still hoping for a decent harvest. We had elected not to fleece because of our proximity to the coast (it’s literally 200 m away from the polytunnel). Foolhardy I know. This is variety ‘Flame’ which we got from Ken Muir in the UK 3 years ago. We are hoping for a good crop of blush seedless grapes this year.

Some of the tomatoes aren’t doing so well with the cold and I’m not sure that all the tubs are draining well either. However the tumblers in the basket are flying along despite the frost last week. There are oodles of yellow flowers which are a good sign of the crop to come.

The strawberries, which are outdoors, don’t seem to have been affected by the frost at all and there are quite a few blossoms, each of which will become individual strawberries (fingers crossed).

The shallots, onions, and garlic have ‘jumped’ over the past fortnight or so and are thriving. We don’t harvest them until the Autumn and they have a long way left to grow yet anyway.

I’m at the guilt-fest that comes with having buckets of work and not enough time to spend at the plot. Look sure it’ll all balance out in the end. I hope. I still need to plant carrots, fix raised beds, weed EVERYWHERE, and support the peas and beans. It’s been on my to-do list for at least a fortnight at this stage.

Finally the new herd of bainbh (Gaelic for bonham or piglet) have arrived and are happily wandering around the paddock looking for bits to eat. The cycle begins again.

I promise I’ll be back soon to fill you in on that ‘thing’. đŸ˜‰ Have a great May Bank Holiday weekend.

CaitrĂ­ona xxx

02 Apr

Allotment Update 2 April 2017 #Ad

We’re not long back from the allotment after another gloriously sunny Sunday spent in my happy place. I took the big camera down today and had great craic documenting all the new life that’s popping up all over the place. If you follow me on Facebook you’ll know that I’ve been sharing regular updates from the plot using Facebook Live video and I hope you’re enjoying the news.

Have you spotted this week’s Lidl brochure yet? I’m delighted to say that my homegrowing tips and advice are free for you to pick up this week to go along with the seedlings and produce that will go on special tomorrow morning (Monday 3rd April). Some of the items that will go on sale I got 10 days ago so I wanted to give you an allotment update and show you how the products have come along since I planted them at the allotment. This post is picture-heavy, you have been warned! đŸ™‚ Read More

27 Apr

The Best Rhubarb Crumble

This is the best recipe for rhubarb crumble that I’ve ever made. I was brought up to make crumble the classic way using white flour, with the addition of wholemeal flour sometimes, then every now and again adding in oats. This is radically different because this rhubarb crumble recipe ditches the classic flour altogether and uses a different type of flour altogether.

Yes, it is very simple and uses the bare minimum of ingredients. You can add more flavours/ingredients if you like, but rather than overloading your palate with so much, why not dial it back a bit and enjoy the simplicity? Also, there is sugar in the recipe; if you’re watching your sugar content then you will want to take a smaller portion. Use sugar replacements if you like, but rhubarb works best with plain sugar or honey I’ve found. There is a slight duplication in the ingredients but that’s because they’re listed in the order of use. Read on to get the recipe, advice on how to prepare rhubarb and notes on this naturally gluten free bake. Read More

15 Jan

Slow-Cooked Pork Cheeks In Apple Sauce

I’m under-selling this recipe by describing it simply by its ingredients and method of cooking, but I can’t really call it “eat with a spoon pork dish that will warm you from the inside out”, can I? It is however the perfect antidote to Storm Rachel.

I first made a variation of meat cooked in an apple sauce when I was 14. We had a French Appreciation Day in school and I volunteered to cook a dish to serve to students and staff. After doing some research, I decided to cook Poulet A La Normande which meant I got to raid the drinks cabinet for calvados and use cider in the sauce as well. The original recipe is quite complicated, so I’ve simplified how I cook this dish to reflect the great ingredients we have grown, prepared, and raised. Slow-Cooked Pork Cheeks - Photo 1

Read More

28 Oct

Allotment Tour

I’ve not been out running this week. Since I smashed my record time at the Park Run last weekend, my left knee hasn’t been right so I have had to rest it. I figured for the vlog this week instead I’d give you a bit of a tour of the allotment. I’ve trimmed the video a bit because I didn’t realise how windy it was on Sunday morning! Also the 6-year-old displayed some pretty spectacular comic timing with the water hose about halfway through. Messer!

Some background information for you: Read More

21 Oct

Temptation Everywhere!

I dropped the 6-year-old to school and I walked home with the small boy; like we always do.

Yesterday I had to nip into the Supermarket for some messages on the way and my heart sank. Right at the front door there was floor to ceiling displays of sweets and chocolate based on a Hallowe’en theme. It was a couple of metres long and I have to walk past it to get to the fresh fruit and vegetables. Couple that with the massive aisle ends of chocolate (most popular brand in Ireland), also of fizzy drinks, and the cash register gauntlet of sweets and chocolate it’s difficult to say no. My boys know not to ask, but it’s not that easy for everybody. Read More

%d bloggers like this: