Paul talks foraging during covid

Covid picking 

Since lockdown began at the start of wild garlic season picking was slim, beaches off limits even slimmer pickings I’ve always had hedgerows to pick from fraughans are beginning the fruiting process at the moment so they are small green berries now when ripe they will look like small blueberries and wild strawberries are ripe for the picking at the moment get them while they are ripe as birds love them and have infinitely more time to grab them than you. 

Also fushia nss elderflower coming in thick and fast with the beautiful weather best to get them early in the morning to keep the best of the goodness before the bees take all the goodness. 

Some people say it smells like cat pee in the evening, I’ve never picked it in the evening so no comment here. 

I’ve always adored the smell of elderflower and this year I have acquired some water keifer from a friend to make some elderflower drinks fotr the year with a little fizz. Big Mason jar at the ready. Stay tuned for results. This could work amazingly or fail miserably. Fingers crossed. 

A recent wander in ballyseedy woods revealed a number of pheasant back mushrooms or Dryads saddle mushrooms tasty mocerls I dried the larger ones that I found and had some for dinner myself. 

How to cook them. You cook them the same as any regular mushroom, it just has a stronger “mushroom” flavour. 

How I dried the larger mushrooms I hear you ask. After cleaning using a damp cloth and a light rinse of water to flush out any bugs I sliced as thin as I could and placed them on some parchment paper and into a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes and then turned it off. When I turned it off I opened the oven to release the steam that will build up. 

Check in the morning they should snap quite easily if they bend they are not done. Repeat the procedure once more if necessary. 

Our shop has now gone live tralee culinary gangsters t shirts, beanies and vegtopia books availablr for sale. 

https://traleeculinarygangstersltd.bigcartel.com/ 

As always stay safe, support local

Lockdown life

Lockdown ramblings 

Since all this started, I like many of my colleagues across the industry and in general the public have been afforded an opportunity to evaluate life, and the work life balance. Many people will have experienced this differently to what I did. 

I’m fortunate in a sense that I live in the countryside, far from town and near to forestry walkways. 

My wife has adapted to her new learning from the college i.e online classes and exams quite well with a nice set up in the kitchen. 

All exams passed with flying colours. 

For me I need to get out to and into a kitchen as they seem to be the only place my life makes sense I don’t know why it just does for me. I get to kill 2 birds with one stone I get to give back to the community and get out of the house and build a network for myself for the future. I’ve known my kitchen comerades Paul and Karl for a while but never really got to know them. 

By providing meals on wheels for SVP I have learned that we are still a community at heart something that many believed myself included non existent previous to lockdown. The community approach to this has been fantastic across the country and the rural community ramped up production on their existing efforts in the rural centres for Irish life. Yes, I’m referring to villages and small towns with senior groups or aid groups for the community prime example my own village Knocknagoshel already providing meals laundry etc from the community centre added extra delivery and shopping from the village and they deserve a massive thank you. 

Now as it eases and “normality” resumes now I hope that this community sprirt and local support continues. I now myself have had time to think and contemplate what aspects of what I want the new normal to be. I now have rearranged my priorities and I needed a kick up the backside to see what everyone has always said to me and others no doubt in my shoes since the dawn of time, choosing family over my career is now to the forefront of what I want and desire. Honestly I always believed it myself and was going my own way about it by putting in the work for my life to enable an ease of life later. Seems logical to me, not any more thankfully.

Apple charolette

INGREDIENTS

1 lb (450 g) apples – half Bramley and half Cox’s if possible

1 tablespoon caster sugar

4 oz (110 g) butter

6 slices bread from a large loaf, about 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick with crusts removed

1 egg yolk

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples first of all, rinse them in cold water and put them in a saucepan with the sugar and 1 oz (25 g) of the butter.

Cook them over a low heat until they are soft enough to beat into a purée. Beat them and leave on one side to cool. Meanwhile melt the remaining 3 oz (75 g) of butter gently, and cut each slice of bread into rectangles.

Next brush each piece of bread with melted butter (both sides), being careful not to leave any unbuttered patches, then line the pudding basin with approximately three-quarters of the bread (or as much as you need). Don’t leave any gaps between the pieces – overlap them and press firmly.

When the apple purée has cooled, beat the egg yolk into it and fill the lined basin with the mixture. Finally seal the top with overlapping slices of the remaining bread. Place a suitably sized ovenproof plate on top of the pudding and weight it down with a 2 lb (900 g) scale weight. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).

After 30 minutes place the basin (with the weight still on it) in the oven to bake for 35 minutes. Then, with an oven cloth, remove the plate and weight, and bake the pudding for another 10 minutes to brown on top. Leave the pudding to settle in the basin for a minute after removing from the oven, then carefully invert it on to a warmed plate to serve.

Food alerts, David thoughts

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Ok there is something that has been kinda bothering me as of recently, and that is the growing number of recalls of food within supermarkets and local shops due to malpractice with the so called product being produced. We all heard about the frozen food being recalled about being contaminated with Listeria. Well here’s a wee little lesson on Listeria for you. Listeria is a foodborne bacterial illness that can be very serious for pregnant women and people with impaired immune systems. Listeria is most commonly contracted by eating improperly processed deli meats and unpasteurized milk products. Listeria bacteria can survive refrigeration and even freezing. That’s why people who are at higher risk of serious infections should avoid eating the types of food most likely to contain listeria bacteria.

Symptoms

If you develop a listeria infection, you may experience:

Fever
Muscle aches
Nausea
Diarrhea

Symptoms may begin a few days after you’ve eaten contaminated food, but it may take as long as 30 days or more before the first signs and symptoms of infection begin.

If the listeria infection spreads to your nervous system, signs and symptoms may include:

Headache
Stiff neck
Confusion or changes in alertness
Loss of balance
Convulsions

9 people died from this particular foorborne illness in the past month alone, and as much as it scares me. I just keep seeing more recalls no one is questioning the big corporations. People are literally dying or being left really I’ll and hospitalised. How is it that these big corporations are not responsible for such things. I know as being a chef we have a duty of care to make sure every customer has a plesent meal and in no way gets sick or harmed by eating that meal. Does that always happen. No. And we unfortunately get blamed and have to suffer the the consequences. So why are the big corporations different.

Just as of yesterday morning (27 july) the Pepsi co had to recall a multivitamin juice due to fermentation. Fermentation is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat found mainly in the making of beer and other alcohol products.

And that’s just yesterday if i go back towards the start of the month (6th july) there was a massive recall on dunnes and spar own brand pesto for contamination due to salmonella.

Salmonella (salmonellosis) is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces. Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food.

Typically, people with salmonella infection have no symptoms. Others develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps within eight to 72 hours.

Now with this particular recall I have a few issues.
1- dunnes and spar both claim to be Irish and do Irish food – well why would then have to buy in pesto from Belgium to mask as your own
2- as a junior chef who works in kitchen where a lot of foraging takes place pesto is frequently used. So what blows my mind is where in the **** do you get salmonella from basil oil and pine nuts.

It defiantly makes me wonder. WHAT IS IN OUR FOOD?