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.
As we come out from our 2nd lockdown, my lockdown has taken me back to school, yes I did a few courses during the 1st lockdown but they were ones I needed to update and refresh. To further to my jogging/running I’ve gone back to the basics of cooking at home, making bread, stock and sauce, I’ve always bought whole chickens, just decided to make use of the carcass instead of being lazy about it. I bought a duck to break and render for stock and taken the fat for roast potatoes for myself and my wife. Its a “healthier” fat than vegatble oil.
I plan on making spring rolls from the legs wings and breast. Making them is very easy, all you need is the pastry, filo will do the technical one is filo de brick, the method is very simple, make your filling of vegatables, sweat them together till they are tender allow to cool and mix in cooled duck meat, season to your liking with salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, whatever you like.
The pastry if you are using filo you will need to cut it in 2 as it is too long, if you get the spring roll pastry just place a damp towel or cloth over it so it won’t loose moisture,
Place 1 sheet of pastry on top of the other rotating the top piece to make a star shape on the table.
Place your duck and vegetables in the middle of the star and fold over the 2 sides (left and right) Then roll the bottom point over the top of where the left and right are and tuck it in on the far side. Once tucked in roll over to the end to make it into your spring roll.
Bake at 180 for approx. 15 mins or deep fry until golden brown. Serve and enjoy.
As always stay safe and follow my journey @chefpaulc on all social media
As we are now in the middle of level 5 restrictions I find myself once again at a loss, though I’ve maintained a day or 2 a week work I feel more at a loss now than I did at the height of the last 1. Shortly after moving house while walking my 2 dogs, I walked a path alongside a river and decided instead of turning back on myself I’d continue on and walk home the rest of the way roughly the same distance as the walk, and that I’d jog a part of the leg home. Running was a vent for me as a teenager to clear my head focus and keep fit. Alas I was sadly mistaken as to how far I could run, I struggled with around 200 meters, shocking wake up call I assure you. In my teens I thought nothing of 5k or 10k runs.
I averaged approx 20, 000 steps on a day that I was working I figured a mile of a run may not have been out of my range, my legs, lungs and heart however had other ideas, “good idea kid, but no not doing that”. A week later now I’ve just completed a mile and a half jogging, my legs now feeling it.
I suppose the moral of my story, excercise in increments, not on a whim. I now plan to continue until I can successfully run 10k who knows maybe a marathon. All help and advice is appreciated.
As always stay safe, support local. follow my journey @chefpaulc on all social media.
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.