Archive for April, 2009

And the winner is….

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Awesome detective work by Paul of  the cool veggie blog Eat Like a Rabbit. mary-rainbow-chard-resized2 He got a link to my posting  – Win a Cookbook – on Twitter from a blogger in Australia! He stuck with it and through Google maps and some other search engines discovered that I was at the Fairway Market in Red Hook, Brooklyn on a recent trip back to the states. Congratulations Paul, enjoy the recipes, stories and photographs in Coming Home To Cook.

Win a Cook Book

Monday, April 27th, 2009

nyc-061The first person who guesses the exact location of where I am in  this picture wins a copy of Coming Home To Cook.

Here’s some clues: I am eating a potato knish…I am technically in a harbor…..an Irish Immigrant built the warehouse behind me  in the mid 1800’s, where coffee and cocoa beans can still be found in the cracks of the floorboards…it was taken today, April 27, 2009.

Let me know by going to comments. I will confirm and send out a signed copy asap.  Good Luck!

Spicey Tofu Wedges

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

tofu1When I give cookery demos, I’m always surprised at how few people have  cooked tofu, although they admit to liking it. It seems to have the reputation as a bland food. Yet, it’s so simple and good for you, and, given the right recipe, is tasty and satisfying.  I cooked up these bite size wedges for lunch the other day. The recipe is the one from  my vegetarian cookery book, Coming Home To Cook

Spicey Tofu – gluten free.

Drain tofu  so that it is somewhat dry. Cut into 1/2 and then into 4’s, making triangles.  Heat 1 Tbl. of canola oil in a skillet. Add tofu and cook, turning for a few minutes. Add a sprinkling of your favorite dried herbs, I like thyme,oregano, basil, dill, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Cook til well coaed. Add a generous sprinkling of Nutritional tasty yeast and grated parmesan cheese. Cook until it is well coated.

Nutritional Tasty Yeast  is a yeast product that is high in B complex. It is sold in Health shops and has a long shelf life.  And, it’s great on popcorn. So, another healthy snack for you and/or the kids!

This tofu recipe is good over a mixed green salad at lunch with my house dressing, also in Coming Home To Cook or as a hot entree with your favorite veg and starch. Enjoy!

A light spring supper

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

What? Quiche is light? Isn’t it filled with eggs, cheese, cream and butter?  Only if you want it to be! You can make a delicious, low fat sundried tomato, basil, broccoli quiche and not blow your calorie intake for the day.  A 10″ pie cut into 8 wedges has only 6 eggs. In this recipe I substitute cream with 2% milk and use only a little cheese. The sharper the cheese, the better. Get to a FarmersMarket and pick up some local cows or goats cheese.            I keep the same pastry crust recipe as in Coming Home To Cook but roll it out very thin so you’re getting a minimal amount of butter. This is a good meal for spring as you are using lots of fresh vegetables and herbs. Serve this with fresh salad and a light dressing, steamed seasonal veg. and pan roasted potatoes for a satisfying, nutritious and tasty supper.

Broccoli Cheese Quiche

Preheat oven to 350 or 180.  Chop 1/4 cup of each – shallots and basil and set aside. Soak 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in boiled water until soft. Drain well and slice in half. Steam 2 cups chopped broccoli with the shallots. Mix well: 6 eggs and 2 cups 2% milk.  Lay a pastry crust in a 10″ pie or tart pan.  Layer broccoli, shallots, tomatoes, basil.  Shred 1 cup of your favorite cheese.  Sprinkle with ground black pepper and sea salt. Pour in egg mixture. Grate whole nutmeg on top and bake until brown on top, about 30-40 minutes. Let sit for 20 minutes and serve hot.  Sona ag cocaireacht! Happy Cooking!

Burren Slow Food Festival

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

I am on the committee for the Burren Slow Food Festival and I will be doing a vegetarian cookery demonstration on Sunday, cooking 3 recipes from Coming Home To Cook.   Come to Lisdoonvarna and enjoy the craic!

Burren Slow Food Festival 2009 Friday 15th May thru Sunday 17th MayPavilion Theatre Lisdoonvarna, County Clare.

go to www.slowfoodclare.com for all the latest information

In addition to the various weekend events, Slow Food Ireland is hosting their quarterly meeting in Lisdoonvarna for Saturday 16th May 3.30pm, bringing Slow Food members from around Ireland to the Festival and adding further to the National exposure of the Burren Slow Food Festival 2009.

As you may know, the Slow Food Movement focuses on several aspects of food & culture – from the social aspects of taking time to eat with others/the Community; from understanding the link of food on the table to the agricultural practices that produce it; to the artistic, historical & environmental heritage of the places people eat & shop; to educate ourselves as consumers and to educate the palate through sharing knowledge of taste/experience; as well as topics of biodiversity & sustainability are important elements of Slow Food internationally.

(Carlo Petrini, from Slow Food: The Case for Taste 2001)

location location location

Thursday, April 16th, 2009
Map of IrelandI recently received a query from an American who asked where exactly I am located in Ireland and suggested I post a map to help her out. So, here I am in the Burren on the west coast between Limerick and Galway. I can walk an hour west of my flat and be looking out over the Aran Islands.  Here’s some pictures I took on a gorgeous spring day on a road above Doolin.  A falcon was wind surfing around the castle and the ferry from the islands was coming in to dock. A perfect day!

Tourism and Food

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Ireland still has a “sketchy” reputation for food despite the advances in local restaurants serving fresh, seasonal foods sourced from local producers. Farmers Markets are bursting with interesting foods from farmers, cooks and from the demands of our diverse population As I travel the country promoting Coming Home To Cook and doing cookery demos I meet all kinds of people who are interested in new recipes and different ideas for cooking from our spectacular bounty of produce. Ireland has a long growing season, recently extended by the emergence of tunnel gardening.  Allottments are on the rise, giving those of us living in flats the opportunity to grow our own. And, new restaurants are opening in West Clare that are committed to serving fresh Irish foods. So, if you’re a tourist coming to Ireland for a holiday, search out the little local restaurants and Farmers Markets for the real experience in Irish food. And, look for the Food Festivals, there’s loads of them around the country from now through October. For some helpful sights in Co. Clare, go to Clare Focus and Slow Food Clare Check out Irish Seed Savers for news about native Irish plants and what’s in season (and it’s a great place to visit) and keep checking back here for updates and see my links for Irish food sites as well as Irish sites. For food news around the country check Good Food Ireland and Discover Ireland The most comprehensive Farmers Market list can be found at Bord Bia which is the website of the Irish Food Board.

Berry Good Dessert!

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

I made this delicious dessert for Easter dinner.  In Coming Home To Cook, I use the crumb topping with a strawberry rhubarb tart. But, I had beautiful organic blueberries, blackberries and strawberries so I used them and made a crisp or crumble, depending on what country you’re eating it in!  The following portions are for a 9×13 inch pan which serves 12.

Spring Berry Crisp

Carefully mix together 1 1/2 cups of each: blueberries, blackberries and strawberries with 1/4 cup plain white flour and 1/4 cup white sugar. Drizzle with the juice of 1 lemon. set aside.

Crumb topping: Mix together: 1 cup chopped walnuts, 1 cups light brown sugar, 1 1/3 cups plain white flour , 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 cup oats (not instant!)  Cut in 16 Tbl. small pieces of cold butter and mix together until crumbly.

Preheat oven to 350 or 180.  Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan.  Spread fruit evenly into pan. Cover fruit with crumb topping. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until topping gets brown and crispy. Serve hot with a dollop of whipping cream or your favorite vanilla ice cream.

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Ennis Cookery Demo!

Friday, April 10th, 2009

On Friday May 8 at 1:00 pm I will be doing a vegetarian cookery demo at Crisdare Home Accessories and Cookware Shop on Market St. Ennis, Co. Clare.  This demo will be a promotion for the Burren Slow Food Festival  taking place in Lisdoonvarna the following weekend, May 15-17. I will be cooking 3 gluten and dairy free recipes from Coming Home To Cook. There’ll be plenty of fresh, local veg for me to use which I will pick up at the Ennis Farmers Market right down the street before the demo.  I will be talking about the recipes, the nutritional properties of the foods I use, the ethos of slow food, cooking seasonally, locally and with organic produce. There’s lots of tasting and I will sign and sell Coming Home To Cook.  I’m really looking forward to this particular demo because I will be using Sheila’s fabulous cookery utensils on sale in Crisdare.  So, save the date and see you in Ennis.  Yeah Spring!

Wild Garlic!

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Wild garlic is another edible plant that is out there for the taking.  While in the Burren, I picked the leaves to turn into pesto. The leaves are tart and I hear the flowers are sweeter so I’ll be experimenting with them soon.  The leaves can also be used in salads for a real punch of garlic!  Part of the beauty of living in West Clare is the access to the farmers who produce gorgeous cheeses. What made this pesto special was the tasty hard goat cheese I got from a local goat farmer and cheese maker. If you don’t have access to really good hard goat cheese use a nice aged parmesan.  Use fresh toasted nuts, a good quality olive oil and your favorite sea salt. Here’s my recipe for Burren Pesto – gluten free and so simple:

Puree: 1 cup wild garlic, 1/2 cup grated hard cheese, 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts. Drizzle in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper.  Blend until smooth. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

This can be used as a base for sauces, spreads and dips.  I made a sauce for pasta. For every tablespoon of pesto add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, blend well, heat and toss with hot pasta. I sprinkled chopped red sweet peppers, more grated cheese and a sprinkle of fresh parsley from the garden.  I’m hooked! I will definetly be using this recipe for my 2nd cookery book. check out Coming Home To Cook for more vegetarian recipes that you can use with this pesto.    Sona ag cocaireacht! Happy Cooking!