As the photos below show , spending time in the garden, setting it up for the seasons ahead, adding new beds, we’ll I removed old smaller beds and added large beds as I totally relay out the garden it was ad hock developed over the last few years, but now I’m pulling it all out and laying it out in a better more organised way, as well as laying stone footpaths throughout it ,
Irish food culture
After leaving and working outside of Ireland for a while now, I have discovered a few things about the perception of the Irish food culture.
1) We don’t have a bold rich historic food culture, so people are ignorant to our views and some of ours foods. (you try to compare dishes or explain similar ingredients and people just don’t want to know)
2) People think we belong to the UK (united kingdom), this really irritated me as Ireland has its own culture, and its own presence in the food world we certainly do not need to piggy back off the UK
3) Beer – so aside from being associated with the UK for food if you’re Irish while living abroad or associated with an Irish establishment, people straight away ask about beer and whiskey.
As I sit here at my desk writing these stereotype discoveries, I ask myself what I can do as a chef to showcase Irish food culture. The only solution for me at this moment is to cook even if just for one person at a time, if only just one person opens their mind and learns a little about a different culture then it’s all a success, as food is always enjoy therefore a culture never dies.
@leagh_farm and @mannaorganicstore both have amazing rainbow Chard in season right now. Its so visually stunning and really easy to cook with. For Easter Sunday I made a tartlet with it. Here’s the recipe:
1 roll flaky pastry, 200g sliced chestnut mushrooms, 6 stalks of rainbow Chard thinly sliced, 1 diced onion, 2 crushed cloves garlic, 150ml stout (beamish or @guinness), knob of butter, salt, pepper. Wild garlic pesto, carmelised onions or use relish and grated parmesan cheese.
Sautee onions, garlic, Chard and mushrooms until soft, add a little butter, salt and pepper to taste. Add stout and bubble to reduce liquid right down.
Roll out pastry onto a baking tray, cut into 6 or 8 squares and separate to give them room to rise. Use the rim of a glass to lightly imprint a circle in centre of each square. Prick the circle with fork so the centre won’t rise. Put mushroom Chard mix on top, add dollop pesto, carmelised onions or relish version and grated parm. Brush edges of pastry with oil or beaten egg. Bake 200 degrees for 12 mins approx.
Serve with green salad topped with my favourite 12 yr old balsamic dressing from @therealolivecompany
So easy, so tasty, perfect lunchtime dish!
TAG us if you make it 🙂 enjoy!
saltysoulscafe #surflife #healthykerry #chard #eattherainbow #lunch #vegetarian #kerryfood #kerryvegetarian #organic
Christmas 2019 I received an amazing gift from my girlfriend, a book that some chefs would call the bible, Escoffier
– Le Guide Culinaire. I have
used this as a solid reference point since especially when finishing my college
course and cooking meals for special occasions.
Just recently I realised that so far this year I have
used 2 Escoffier recipes in 2 months, so I plan to continue this process and do
12 in 12 months. The first recipe I used was on New Year’s Day.
Saumon Ecossaise – Salmon Ecossaise
This dish is so deceiving in how delicate and light it is. The marriage between the poached salmon and the hollandaise sauce is just as beautiful and as elegant as the pairing of the buttered stewed vegetables and duchess potatoes.
After cooking this particular it easy to see why so many people loved when Escoffier did fish, without even talking about the skills of the various cooking methods, just the share flavour he got from the food is amazing. The man was a wealth of knowledge and knew and did things others at the time could only dream of.
My second dish of the year I cooked on Valentine’s Day.
To say this dish is fit for a king is an understatement, a prime cut of beef nicely seared and served rare with a stuffed mushroom filled with foie gras and parmesan cheese. A veal jus and Potato dauphine to finish. I would lie the ingredients are a little bit of a luxury and this is not your everyday type of steak dish, but I will the flavour alone is worth it. With the first bite of the beef it is almost like travel through history but with food, eating the very meals royalty did so many years before, and being able to reproduce than is not only a privilege but a culinary honour.
As February draws to a close it is time to take out the bible again and I am starting to look towards what to do in March, I think I will do something poultry-based this time.
During a time where working in a restaurant is near impossible for most chefs, I just want to use this time continuing doing what I love, while somehow still being inspired. So with that, I want to thank chef noel for being my mentor and giving me the skills needed. And secondly, my girlfriend who gave me the bible. And here’s to cooking in March
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.
As always stay safe, support local
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.
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.