Archive for October, 2009

home grown

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

irish-babyThe Irish autumn has been full of warm, sunny days and crisp cool nights.  After a busy summer of cooking and struggling through another rainy season it’s been a pleasure to get out and visit good friends. This beautiful, very robust girl of only 10 months is the best example of a vegetarian diet that I’m sure I will ever see! Reared on fresh homegrown vegetables, fruits, grains and irish dairy products and the west of Ireland’s fresh air she is the picture of good health and activity, interested in everything around her. A real tribute to both of her parents for such good cooking, love and care. So, if you any doubts about whether a vegetarian diet is a healthy one for babies, take another look at her! If you know the right combinations of foods and diversify your menu to make it tasty and nutritious it can be done.

These two cuties are also reared on homegrown veggies and a healthy diet, surrounded by geese, chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, goats and cows on their small farm in  Clare.  Free to roam, they are full of spirit and adventure and love to help out in the garden and sell the veg from mom’s roadside stand.oct09-015As I drive around Ireland, finishing up this season’s book business, visiting shops that are selling Coming Home To Cook I hear a lot about the hard times we are facing here and it’s sad to see a country that had such  recent boom sink back into poverty yet again.  The world wide recession hits a small country especially hard, as does the greed of big business.    But, I’m seeing a lot more polytunnels in the yards, more land being rented as community gardens and hear a lot about getting back to basics and keeping it simple.  I wonder what Ireland will be like a year from now?

Hedgerow Hips

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

sept-09-263I noticed these bushes of gorgeous rose hips as I was walking past Rooska in Lisdoonvarna the other day.  sept-09-275I remember picking them on a beach in Rhode Island many years ago with my sister Joanne who made tea from them. They are loaded with vitamin C and can also be made into  jam, jelly, syrup and cold soup. Annaliese dries the leaves for her organic Burren tea blend which I sell at the markets.  I started out making a Swedish cold soup, which I decided since it’s not really cold soup weather in Ireland (is it ever?) it would work better as a dessert sauce, so I added a little more potato flour and boiled it down to a nice thickeness. sept-09-256So, pick 4 cups of rose hips. Take off stem, wash and add to 2 qts. boiling water. Cover and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or sieve. Put hips in a bowl. Measure water to 2 qts. You will have to add cold water as some of the juice will have evaporated.  Put hips and water back into the pot, add 3/4 cup of white sugar. Take a little water out and in a small bowl mix in 3 Tbl. of potato flour. Whisk until smooth. Add to pot. Simmer until thick. Let cool and refrigerate. It also freezes well. I served it with plain yogurt for a healthy dessert.  Enjoy!