Fall has come to Ireland with a burst of beautiful colors. After 3 months of rain the skies are sunny, the fields are glistening and the leaves are changing into spectacular reds, yellows and oranges. The Farmers markets are plentiful with seasonal vegetables and loads of varieties of apples. The air is crisp and the nights are cold and dark by 7:00. I sold at my last Kilrush Farmers Market and have given Coming Home To Cook to Dave Smith, Cheesemonger to sell at the University of Limerick Farmers Market on Tuesdays, Kilrush FM on Thursdays and Ennis FM on Fridays. Eva Hegarty will be selling it at the Ballyvaughan Christmas Market and Steve and Toby will be selling it at the Doolin Christmas Market, see www.doolinmarket.blogspot.com for updates. Also, Eason’s has decided to pick it up for distribution to their shops and others and Natural Life will be distributing it to Health Shops for me. I’ve loved being on the road meeting everyone who has taken me and the book in but it’s time to move on so I can work on the next one. Keep reading for updates on Coming Home…..part two. Meanwhile, I’m linked to www.greenme.ie and www.olivermoore.blogspot.com , two good blogs that support sustainable living,particularly in Ireland. I had a great radio interview with Patricia Messinger on Cork C103FM last week. Always good to be talking about the book on the home turf. More radio and press coming up soon, stay tuned…….
It was a wonderful weekend in Dingle at the 2nd Annual Dingle Food Festival. I judged on Friday, see www.icecreamireland.com for all the winners of the Blas na hEireann National Irish Food Awards. I was happy to see that all my favorites in the Healthy Division were chosen as winners. The top price in this category was awarded to Just Food – Organic Food for Life, a family run Cork business that submitted their Cranberry Nut Muesli. I met Deirdre Hillard and family at the Farmers Market. It’s good to see such hard working, down to earth people with a good product get the recognition they deserve. Other winners in this category were Foods of Athenry for their spelt bread and sugar.dairy free brack and Largo Foods for their truly satisfying Tayto Velvet Crunch. On Saturday I gave a Book Signing at the Dingle BookShop followed by a very succesful cookery demo. I made the Tofu Cutlets with port wine, rosemary and mushroom sauce, maple squash and broccoli with sundried tomatoes and fresh basil. Maybe it was the atmosphere of the lovely little St. James Church, the professional setup and/or the audience that made me feel totally comfortable, but I had a blast and the comments from everyone who came up to sample the food and buy a copy of Coming Home To Cook said I was “very entertaining.” There was a great craic in Curran’s saturday night, as well as a singing session. On Sunday I sampled some of the delicious foods on the Taste Trail and at the Farmers Market Stalls. I met Valerie O’Connor, a Limerick based food writer and photographer who took a book home to try a recipe and review the book. Check out her blog www.valskitchen.com.
The Dingle Food Festival www.dinglefood.com. is this coming weekend, friday thru sunday, 03 -05/10. I have been asked to be one of the Judges for the Health and Well Being Food section for the Blas na hEireann National Food Awards. These awards are given to Irish commercial food producers. Thanks to Kieran Murphy of Murphy’s ice Cream for giving me this special opportunity. www.icecreamireland.com On Saturday at 3:00 I will be having a Book Signing at the Dingle Book Shop on Green St. followed by a cookery demo at 5:00 at James Church on Main St. Join me, it’s going to be a great weekend!
I had a great time doing a cookery demo at the Seed Savers Apple Harvest Day last Sunday. www.seedsavers.ie It was another glorious sunny day and the gardens and orchards were sparkling! This is their annual event and it was their biggest crowd to date. I collected the veggies, herbs and apples on friday and headed home to whip up some more all Clare vegetarian dishes (see post on Harvest Banquet). Using only the produce Peter gave me and organic ingredients from the Grainery I made Apple Currant Tart, Apple Crisp, Stuffed Rainbow Chard,and honey mustard viniagrette for the salad I would make on sunday. At the demo, I cooked the potato quinoa cakes from Coming Home To Cook and made applesauce. which I served with Seed Savers honey. I will post the recipes for all these under recipes. The fun part of this was creating delicious dishes using all Clare produce and products. I made a poster that listed all of the varieties I used in each dish so folks could buy the plants and seeds from Seed Savers. For example, I used Keswick codling apples and Mrs. Perry apples for the applesauce and a combination of Ballyvaughan seedlings and Crimson Bramley apples for the tart and crisp. Everyone enthusiastically sampled everything and there was lots of questions about vegetarian cooking and local produce. Mary from Ennis read in the paper that I would be there and came with her copy of Coming Home To Cook that she bought at the Ennis Book Shop for me to sign. So sweet, thanks Mary. Following up on this, I was one of the presenters at the 1st Ennis Transition Town Forum on Monday night. Their first meeting was “Feeding Ennis”. There were many presenters there from the Clare farmers markets, Linnane’s Ice Cream, Seed Savers, St. Tola’s Cheese and many more. I made a soup from, once again, all Clare vegetables and gave out samples, talked about the demos I’m doing, the book and creating recipes using local, seasonal vegetables. There was a great turnout and lively discussions on how to shop locally, bringing Ireland back to growing it’s own vegetables, being less dependent on foreign imports and thus, oil. Community gardens, supporting the farmers and producers, setting up Transition Towns in other communities in Clare were all relevant topics.