This past week I had 2 fun radio interiews. The interview by David on Mid Day Cork – C103 was a lot of fun and I got some PayPal orders on my website www.marysheehan.com for Coming Home To Cook the same day! We talked a lot about the Cork connection and the reality of vegetarian cooking in Ireland, which is becoming very popular here. On my way around the country, checking books on my last trip before the holidays, I stopped in Longford to be on the Joe Finnegan show on Shannonside and Northern Sound Radio. These 2 stations cover 6 counties. Joe’s introduction went like this” this time of year we are sent 100’s of books but this one really caught our eye (must be that cover again!) and we know you will all love this book!” Joe had really done his homework and sent the book home with some of the producers and folks who work there to sample cooking some of the recipes. The comments and questions posed were infomative and fun and I had a blast! Thanks to David, Joe and the producers for seeing the value in this little gem of a book. Slan, Mary
Had a lovely breakfast with Val O’Connor at Sage’s Cafe on Catherine St. in Limerick. Val is a professional photographer who has a popular food blog www.valskitchen.com We met at the Dingle Food Festival and she is writing an article about me and Coming Home To Cook in the November 19 issue of the Limerick Independent. www.limerickindependent.ie The book is now for sale in Eason’s and O’Mahony’s in Limerick. It was fun talking to another “foodie” (hate that word – can anybody come up with another one?) about the Irish food movement, gardening and vegetable growing. Val shared with me that she had made the carrot cake recipe from Coming Home To Cook substituting courgettes (zucchini) for the carrots and added a little lime juice and lime zest to it, as well. She said it was delicious and gone in a flash! I love it when people make the recipes their own, if anyone out there has other variations share them! Slan, Mary
Just had a nice chat with Peter and Birgitta Curtin, owners of the Burren Smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna. check out www.burrensmokehouse.ie. for info on their products, the shop and to order online, particulaly their beautiful hampers for the holidays! The smokehouse has won 5 awards this autumn for their honey,whiskey and fennel organic smoked salmon, which I ordered to take home to NJ for holiday parties. Peter and Birgitta also own the Roadside Tavern, next door to the Smokehouse, a traditional pub that has been in Peter’s family for over 100 years. check out www.roadsidetavern.ie. I’ve spent many memorable nights there listening to really good trad. The craic is great and this time of year when it’s just us “locals” barman Billy Archbold lights the open fire creating a welcoming, warm atmosphere. The Smokehouse is selling Coming Home To Cook and I restocked for holiday shopping. It makes a perfect present, colorful, useful, good stories and light weight for shipping. Now that Eason’s has picked it up, it’s even more available countrywide, just ask your local bookstore for it. Biodh la deas agat (have a nice day) Mhaire.
As an American living in Ireland I am thrilled by the victory of Barack Obama. It’s been hard talking to Europeans about all of the positive things about America when so much has gone so tragically wrong in the last 8 years. I was moved when I heard Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, in her press conference, talk about the billion dollars they need to feed the hungry in America. Maybe the new President, Congress and Senate will make the changes necessary to eliminate the choice between heating your home and feeding your family. Up America, we’re back!
Stuffed Rainbow Chard – gluten free
- 12 large chard leaves, washed and trimmed, take off stem
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 large courgette, diced
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 Georgian chestnut squash, steamed
- 4 large waxy potatoes, peeled, diced and steamd until tender
- sprigs of fresh thyme, sage and oregano
- 1 cup chopped basil
- 3 apples, diced
- 12 tomatoes
- 4 Tbl. olive oil
- 1 cup grated hard goat cheese
Saute the onion, garlic and courgettes in olive oil. In a large bowl add them to the steamed potatoes, herbs,chopped basil and apples. Sprinkle with sea salt and ground black pepper.
Georgian chestnut squash has a very thick skin but the “flesh” cooks very quickly, steaming until done takes about 15 minutes. It will fall out of the shell. (The shell would be beautiful for stuffing and displaying on a holiday table). However, any squash can be used for this recipe. Steam until done, scoop out of shell and mash until creamy. For this recipe I left it plain for the demo and the possibility of various diets but you can add 3eggs and 1/2 cup light cream to make a mousse.
On a flat surface, lay out a leaf of rainbow chard. Spread a heaping spoonful of squash evenly, covering the leaf. Towards the wide end of the leaf drop a dollop of the vegetable mixture and roll.
To make a tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes boil water in a saucepot. Drop in the tomatoes. When you see the skins beginning to pucker, (about a minute depending on size) take them out with a slotted spoon and drop in very cold water. The skins will peel off, then core and dice. In a Tbl. of olive oil add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 diced shallot until soft. Add tomatoes and your herbs of choice.
Lay the sauce in the bottom of a rectangular baking pan and top with the stuffed leaves, covering with the grated cheese. Bake in a 180 degree oven for 40 minutes.
You can’t get any easier than this! This is a great snack or dessert for kids. Add your sweetener of choice. The sweeter the apples, the less sweetener needed.
Makes 3 cups:
- 8 apples, peeled, cored and chopped.
- 1/2 cup water.
Place apples in a heavy stock pot and add water. Simmer until apples break down. Mash with a fork or potato masher.
Experiment with ground cloves, fresh minced ginger, cinnamon or grated nutmeg for something extra special. Usie ground spices or place whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and chopped ginger in a cheesecloth and add to apples while they are cooking. While cooling, leave the bag in the sauce until cool then remove.
Honey Mustard Viniagrette
- 1 cup light olive oil
- 1/2 cup spring water
- 2 Tbl. white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbl. spicey Irish mustard
- 1/2 Tbl. honey
- herbs of choice: tarragon, fennel or dill are nice in this recipe.
Whip all ingredients together until creamy and smooth.
Apple Crisp or Crumble
- 8 apples, peeled, cored and chopped.
- 2 Tbl. plain flour
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- Mix all of the above. Place in a buttered baking dish and top with this delicious crumb topping that can also be used to top a tart. It’s on page 76 in Coming Home To Cook.
- Crumb Topping:
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup plain white flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 8 Tbl. cold, chopped butter
Mix all together, place over apples and bake at 180 degrees for 35 minutes.