Category Archives: Inspiration

First, snap your asparagus

There’s nothing I can think of right this minute more satisfying than the snap of fresh asparagus as it’s being prepared for a quick steambath. There are a few reasons asparagus is such a treat: obviously taste is top of the list… but like the strawberries of my youth, part of aspargus’s allure is that its relatively short natural season means the arrival of a local bounty signals that summer is finally here. Read the rest of this entry

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Avante-garde Paddys

I recently received an email from an American journalist from Kansas City who was writing a piece for the House & Home section of her local paper. The piece was about entertaining for St Patrick’s Day, and she wanted to know what would be all the rage here in Ireland for our national festivities. You know, what do we always cook up to impress our mates here on Paddy’s Day, what avant-garde table settings are we all about today, the parlour games we love to play – that kind of thing. Read the rest of this entry

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Today I think I’ll burn a cake

This is not the kind of thing one normally wakes up thinking.

Hmm, today I think I’ll go waste my money buying all sorts of ingredients which aren’t already lurking in my over-stocked dry store cupboards, and then I’ll spend way longer than necessary mixing them all together, and then – when I go to put them into my pre-heated oven with the desire that alchemy will transform said ingredients into a moist, warm, almond-dense appley cake over which I’ll pour my very posh home made ginger crème fraiche as friends applaud in wide-eyed, sugar-hungry anticipation – then I’ll notice that my ‘pre-heated’ oven is cool, and so I’ll fiddle with oven knobs until the fickle on-off light comes on and then I’ll wait another age and then I’ll put my cake-to-be into the now-hot oven, and then I’ll go do something else while this thing of potential beauty burns. Read the rest of this entry

Filed in Baking, Cooking fish, Inspiration | 3 Comments

Thinking inside the pizza box

There’s a time for take-away pizza. And when you find a good operation, you’d better treasure it. I did the other night. It was late, and raining, and I rang my local pizzeria, Il Caffe di Napoli on Westland Row, … Read the rest of this entry

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EVENTS: DIY charcuterie anyone?

WHAT? Home Butchery, Charcuterie and Sausage-Making Masterclass

WHEN? Saturday 26th March, 9.30–17.00
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My guilty spicy secret

Do you have a guilty kitchen secret? No, I don’t mean dodgy coleslaw and Tayto sandwiches. They’d be guilty pleasures. I mean a secret skulking in your kitchen. One that induces real pangs of guilt whenever you encounter or even … Read the rest of this entry

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Day Twenty (or, savouring sweet parting)

…what better to eat on the day after the night before than that most casually indulgent meal of them all – brunch – cooked together as one last communal activity.

We grated potatoes and fried them off in little rosti pans, regulating the heat to get the perfect colour, as had now become second nature. We whisked yolks with water over a bain marie, drizzled in melted butter and seasoned our now-Hollandaise sauce with lemon and cayenne pepper… Read the rest of this entry

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Salad of butterbean, bulghur and greens

It’s a grey day, and so it called for a brightly coloured lunch: Butter beans and butter-coloured bulghur wheat, seasoned with bright yellow and nutty-flavoured Donegal Rapeseed Oil. Slivers of red onion and slices of sun-dried tomatoes, tossed in extra … Read the rest of this entry

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Shaking up a salad

Today was a long day so tonight I wanted something quick but satisfying and healthy too, cheering food rather than comfort food. A tin of Ortiz tuna brought as a dinner gift by a very clever guest* was winking at me from the countertop where it had been suggestively lingering all weekend. (Quick, ticked, and cheering too.) Some spuds from Jenny McNally’s north county Dublin organic farm went into the pot and some broccoli into the steamer on top while I rinsed Jenny’s peppery leaves and a handful of baby spinach. (Healthy, ticked.) Read the rest of this entry

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An Irish heroes’ breakfast

Fingal Ferguson’s smoked Gubbeen streaky bacon, fed on whey from his mother Giana’s brilliant cheese and flavoured with juniper and herbs grown on Co Cork family farm by his sister Clovis.

Fried organic egg from Connolly’s in Co Monaghan.

Tomato ketchup made by Jess Murphy, the brilliant (and award-winning) Kiwi chef heading up the Galway dockside gastropub, Bar No 8… Read the rest of this entry

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