Archive for May, 2009

Doolin Market Opens 2nd season

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

doolin-001I am a vendor at the Doolin Saturday Crafts Fair and Farmers Market, now on every Saturday through August. It was a busy Bank Holiday weekend with lots of tourists from the states, Germany, France and Dubliners down for the weekend. The sun is shining on Co. Clare, the hottest sunniest summer day so far. From the Russell Community Center you can see the sea and the Cliffs of Moher.  This is a fun market and I’m glad to back selling a full menu for a delicious veggie lunch. Fresh green salad garnished with edible herbs and flowers, tabouli, quinoa with cranberries, tofu paddys, hummos, 4 kinds of salad dressings and Coming Home To Cook.  I had a delightful conversation with a couple from Maryland who stayed at my cousins, John Curran’s Greenmount House in Dingle.  Always a small world connection here!   This is a unique market as it combines new and traditional crafts with  baked goods, cheese, homemade waffles and ice cream and my veggie lunch offerings. Stop by!  doolin-004

Fresh veg = great salads

Friday, May 29th, 2009

kilrush-and-kerry-128Finn and Biddy Hedderman own Rahona Roots in Carrigaholt which produces gorgeous vegetables and plants. Big lush tomato and strawberry plants,  french beans, mixed bags of lettuce, spinach, cabbage, beetroot, spring onion, herbs, free range eggs and a delicious salad dressing from Murphy Black’s Restaurant in kilkee are some of the offerings ever Thursday at the Kilrush Farmers Market.  Biddy gave the chocolate chip cookies from Coming home To Cook a great review in the 2008 season – see reviews.kilrush-and-kerry-127I bought some spring onions and fresh herbs from Finn and sundried tomatoes and olives from Cora, a wonderful cook with big baskets of brown bread, tomato fennel bread and a delicious array of pastries, veggie empanadas and hot soup. Bridget supplied the edible flowers: nasturtium, borage, chive flowers, marigolds and  beautiful feathery fennel. With this fresh veg, herbs and flowers I decided to make Tabouli,  a light summer salad, this time full of the fresh flavors of Co. Clare. Here’s the recipe:                     Put 1 1/2 cups cracked (bulghur) wheat in a bowl. Pour over 2 cups boiling water. Chop 2 medium spring, whites and greens, 2 coves garlic, 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes and 1/4 cup spicey black or green olives and set aside.  When the bulghur wheat has absorbed all the water, let it cool then doolin-045add the chopped veg and olives. Squeeze the juice of 1 large lemon and mix with 1/4 cup extra virgin   olive oil. Pour over tabouli, add sea salt and cracked black pepper.  Add 6 oz. of feta cheese and mix all together.  Serve over a bed of greens.

Irish Mushrooms

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

baby-bellasThere’s a new vendor at the Kilrush market. Schiele McDonald Mushrooms is a mushroom farm in  Tipperary. They sell gorgeous baby bellas, 4 different sizes of button mushrooms and packages of big stuffed ones, veggie or with meat.  The tastings Nicole passed around were mouth watering.

Here’s a recipe of mine for stuffed mushrooms, that I perfected years ago. It makes a light hors duevres as it has no bread crumbs, only a little flour. If you are gluten intolerant, substitute corn or potato flour.

12 small button mushrooms,  3Tbl. butter, 2 Tbl. chopped scallions (green onions),  1/2 Tbl. plain white flour, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 3 Tbl. chopped fresh parsley,  1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese, salt and pepper.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Clean mushrooms, separate stems and chop fine.  Combine stems with scallions and saute in butter on low heat.  Add flour, it will be lumpy and thick. Slowly stir in cream until thick. Whisk until it is smooth. Add parsley, salt and pepper.  Rub a lttle oil or butter on a baking sheet and place mushrooms on it. Fill caps with cream mixture.  Place cheese over each mushroom. Bake for 15 minutes in a 190 or 375 oven. Serve immediately. mushrooms

Organic Matters Review

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

ireland2009-0011Coming Home To Cook celebrated it’s one year anniversary with a full page review inthe May/June edition of Organic Matters Magazine – Irelands’ Organic Magazine.

Here are highlights from it:

Clear Layout The recipes in this cookbook are clear and concise, ideal for novice cooks. Mary’s enthusiasm for food and cooking permeates the book and will inspire anyone keen to improve and expand their vegetarian recipes. She explains unfamiliar ingredients and gives detailed instructions in a simple and clear way as if she were there with you in the kitchen. There are recipes for soups, salads, main courses with side dishes and breads and pastries. In the main meal section she has included a number of recipes uing tofu and succeeds in spicing up this most bland of ingredients. Anyone cooking for restricted diets will be delighted with the recipe for a gluten free, dairy free yeast bread. Also included are recipes for vegans.  These include chocolate cake and pumpkin pie.

Ancestral Stories The book highlights Mary’s dual citizenship. There are stories which she was told by her grandfather about his grandmother – traveling fifty miles to the Cork butter market during famine times; his journey to America, etc.

She uses cup measurements and Fahrenheit which are standard in American cookbooks, but can be slightly confusing in Ireland. Luckily there is a handy conversion table at the back of the book. Better still, if you buy the book, I would suggest you get some cup measurements for yourself. Once you have them, you’ll be looking for other cookbooks that use them.  Coming Home To Cook is a welcome addition to any cook’s bookshelf.

Recipes

Then she gives my Indian Potato Cauliflower Soup  and Chocolate Oatmeal Nut Cookie recipes.

Go to Coming Home To Cook to order or run out to your local health shop or bookstore to get this lovely book.  Thanks Kate and Cait for a great review!

Food & Wine Profile

Monday, May 25th, 2009

mary-rainbow-chard-resized3I am thrilled to be featured in June’s edition of Food and Wine Magazine – “Ireland’s food and drink bible.”  With this picture of herself and fresh picked rainbow chard  it reads as thus:

MARY SHEEHAN

Mary Sheehan is a modern Irish woman if there ever was one. So modern that she has only held citizenship since 2005 and has only lived here full time since 2007, exactly 100 years after her grandparents emigrated to the U.S. This story explains the title of Mary’s book, which she is currently busying herself promoting and selling at various farmers markets and food stores around the country. Coming Home To Cook is both a love song to the land of her forefathers (where her great grandmother used to walk a monthly 50-mile round trip to the butter market), and the culmination of a lifetime of cooking in such diverse settings as her own cafe in New York to a resort in Belize. A committed vegetarian, Mary has been relishing the opportunity to broaden the dietary horizons of the farmers and shoppers in markets such as Kilrush (Thur.) and Doolin (Sat.), many of  whom have never tasted tofu before, and certainly not tofu steaks with rosemary, port and mushrooms. Mary sells the likes of quinoa salad at her weekly stalls along with the book, and gives monthly cookery demos. The demos are a chance for people to learn how to pair local seasonal vegetables from neighbouring market stalls with whole grains from local food stores to produce highly nutritious gluten and dairy free meals that are tasty too. see her blog www.vegetarianireland.com for dates of upcoming demos.

Coming Home’s Anniversary!

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

cover1It was a year ago this Sunday that I launched my vegetarian cookery book Coming Home To Cook. Wow! What a year this has been.  I’m celebrating one year of success with a full page review in Organic Matters – Ireland’s Organic Magazine and a profile in Food and Wine – Ireland’s food and drink bible.  I just helped to organize one of the best Slow Food Festivals in the country and I’m looking forward to a summer  at my local Farmers Markets where I sell my book and food that I make from the recipes in it . So,  how did I get from sitting in my flat a year ago, an unknown chef and author with 55 boxes of  book staring at me to now?  There’s  a few boxes of books left,  a year of radio interviews, newspaper and magazine reviews,  well attended cookery demos, people actually recognize my name (ok,there’s several hundred Mary Sheehan’s in Ireland!) and they recognize the book – gotta love that cover!  You can read all about it under Pages –  About – Radio and Print and Reviews and a year of blog postings for all the nitty gritty.  But this year of success is about so much more. It’s about living in Ireland and the generosity of the people I have embraced as friends and those I have  educated about healthy eating through the book and demos. It’s about the simplicity of the book, the family stories that make people feel good and the beautiful photographs. It’s about my family and friends in the states who have supported and encouraged me every step of the way. It’s about the magnificent landscape that keeps me going, even through 2 summers of rain! It’s about the gorgeous array of fresh vegetables, herbs, plants from the land and sea and the farmers and gardeners that makes cooking creativity so easy! And, it’s about believing in myself and my product, working hard and having fun with it all.   Go raibh ma agut. Thank you!

Fantastic Festival!

Monday, May 18th, 2009

festival-0791festival-056festival-052festival-0581festival-0631festival-0571It was lashing rain in Lisdoonvarna for the Burren Slow Food Festival this past weekend. But that didn’t make a bit of difference for the throngs of visitors whose cars crowded the massive car park and flowed out onto the streets of Lisdoon. They came by the hundreds from the Burren and all over Clare, Limerick, Galway and beyond to buy all the freshest and most creative that  County Clare has to offer.  As I was on the festival committee this year, and I live in Lisdoonvarna, I have been asked over the last few months, by numerous people, “what is slow food?” I hope this local, grassroots festival answered that question. It’s about connecting. Connecting the farmers and producers with the individual consumers. Connecting local businesses and producers with each other and facilitating the notion that we are all part of the same community with the same issues, economic, political and personal. Slow food in Ireland is what has been here for centuries, people growing their own food – good and healthy straight from their own garden and from their own animals. Slow Food is about getting back to that idea – know what you’re eating and where it’s coming from.  I was thrilled to see so many people from my community turn out for an event that has sometimes seemed “alternative.”  I think this weekend was a good stepping off point for changing attitudes and raising the issues connected with Irish food production, whether it be supporting community gardening, traditional ways of farming,  the critical issues of exporting and importing,  organic farming and dealing with our economic crisis.

The inspirational welcome address was given by Darina Allen of Ballymaloe Cookery School and John McKenna of Bridgestone Guides. Cookery demos, a huge Farmers Market, gorgeous local pottery, cultural displays, a BBQ,  a cafe, art gallery, childen’s events, a vintage car rally and traditional music was enjoyed by all. See slow food clare for a full listing of events in the brochure. I gave a cookery demo on Sunday to a packed audience, cooking 3 recipes from Coming Home To Cook. It was great craic, a very special community effort and event. A huge thanks to all who volunteered and to all the vendors and participants who gave their all and made the whole weekend so much fun.  Slan go foill. Up Clare! dscn5109

Foraging

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

germander-speedwellmilkwortgreat-horsetailoxeye-daisiesrusty-back-fernsunday-walk-035I spent the last few gloriously sunny, warm summer like days  out in the Burren and on the roads around Clare looking for wild edible plants, particularly wild garlic from which I will make pesto. The fields and roadways are full of edible plants, including nettles and dandelions, just ripe for the picking . I found hearty flowering wild garlic along the stream in Doolin, by Fisher St.  Beautiful wildflowers, ferns,  the strange looking great horsetail and the call of the cuckoo bird make the Burren a special place for walking or cycling, especially under a cloudless sky!cycler

Cookery Demo

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

crisdare-demo-0651I had a great time at the cookery demo at Crisdare Home Accessories shop in Ennis last Friday. I did this as a promotion for the Burren Slow Food Festival taking place next weekend in Lisdoonvarna. I cooked 3 recipes from Coming Home To Cook. About 25 people attended who asked lots of questions about vegetarian foods and cooking, tasted and loved the samples  bought my book and were informed of the Festival, which is going to be great craic! Before the demo I was a guest on the Morning Show on Clare FM. After that I shopped at the Ennis Farmers Market for the herbs I used in the dishes. I bought gorgeous organic rosemary,tarragon, thyme, marjoram, fennel and flat parsley. It’s always amazing how much better everything tastes with the right combination of herbs. My next post will be on 2 recipes I made highlighting these flavors. Stay tuned!

Kilrush Farmers Market

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

crisdare-demo-034crisdare-demo-036It was a wild west clare day at the Kilrush Farmers Market last thursday.  The marquee was pounded with alternating bouts of  wind and rain. My early morning drive  from Lisdoonvarna was magnificent as I made my way through the seaside villages of Lahinch and Quinn where I caught glimpses of the Atlantic surf  roaring in. What a commute!  But, as is typical in Ireland, the sun mixed in making the fields glisten and on the way home I saw a rainbow. Ok, enough romanticism, but it really is like this here which makes Ireland such a special place, nothings predictable and all is magical.  The market is coming into season with lots of vegetable and flowers for planting,  new cabbage, a wide variety of lettuce, edible flowers, herbs, spring onions, beets and turnips. We bundled up and enjoyed the craic.  Several vendors bought their lunch from my stall  Here’s bridget enjoying a tofu patty, pasta pesto made with my wild garlic and red quinoa salad with fresh herbs, all served over her beautiful new lettuce. The tofu patty and quinoa salad is fromcrisdare-demo-044 Coming Home To Cook and the pesto is here under the wild garlic post.  I sold out of everything and gave out brochures for the Burren Slow Food Festival coming up next weekend.  If you’re on Facebook you can see more of my pictures  under Kilrush Farmers Market. Enjoy!