BibliocookA Paradiso Year: Autumn and Winter Cooking by Denis Cotter **** (9.12.2005, 10:38 UTC)
To my sorrow I must admit that I have only once eaten in Denis Cotter's award-winning Café Paradiso restaurant in Cork. But that one time, nearly ten years ago now, was mostly memorable for my first taste of polenta. My sociologist student friend felt it was deeply ironic that I should be writing my thesis on the Irish Famine at the time and eating what was known in 1840s Ireland as "Peel's Brimstone" - the Indian meal imported by British Prime Minister Robert Peel to help the starving Iri...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookA trip to Galway (7.12.2005, 12:39 UTC)
Last weekend I was in Galway to visit my school friend and her husband and, almost as importantly, to see their new kitchen! They had moved into their house some time before I went to New Zealand but the kitchen remained to be sorted out. I heard that this had been completed while I was away and last weekend was my first opportunity to see it for myself. It is gorgeous - all granite work surfaces and light painted woods with dual ovens and a large five-burner gas hob - and I got a chance to take...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 2
BibliocookJenny Bristow: A Taste of Sunshine ** (5.12.2005, 04:50 UTC)
Northern Irish cookery writer, radio and UTV television presenter Jenny Bristow has chosen to concentrate on Mediterranean food in her latest book, A Taste of Sunshine. With an emphasis on variety, simple ingredients and cooking meals from fresh raw unprocessed ingredients, Jenny comes firmly down on the side of healthy cooking. She doesn't go overboard, though, and the recipes certainly don't suffer. Clear and concise, the food is inspired by Mediterranean influences and fresh local Northern...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookAn unexpected treat (3.12.2005, 10:39 UTC)
I have always been a fan of Bonne Maman's delicious range of jams and preserves. It's the taste and lovely runny texture that sold me - no surprise that it bosts 45g of whole fruit per 100g of jam. In distinctively shaped jars, topped with a homey-looking imitation-gingham lid, I have worked my way through their range over the years, apricot, blackcurrant and peach being particular favourites. And the jars themselves have also come in handy, housing many of my range of spices and herbs. So, i...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookRachel's Favourite Food for Friends by Rachel Allen *** (30.11.2005, 23:02 UTC)
First there was Myrtle Allen who was responsible for raising the profile and quality of Irish food through her work abroad and in her country house hotel at Ballymaloe. Daughter-in-law Darina backed her up, beginning the Ballymaloe Cookery School and, with her Simply Delicious television series and books, started pushing the message through to the wider public in Ireland. Now it's the turn of a third generation and Rachel Allen is successfully following in the television footsteps of mother-in-...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookBad coffee at Verona (28.11.2005, 23:05 UTC)
Last Friday night in Dublin was miserable. Cold and raining, it was a night for staying by the fire but, with an impromptu cousin get-together happening, we were all out in town looking for a place to find a bit of food. A booking in Frank's Bar and Restaurant had to be abandoned when our party acquired another two people so these hungry wanderers made their way to the new food centre of George's Street. With a variety of restaurants lined up on both sides of the road, there had to be a place wi...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookIrish farmers' markets (25.11.2005, 14:35 UTC)
In the twelve months that I spent in New Zealand, most weekends of which were involved in exploring a variety of markets, there seems to have been a mushrooming of farmers' markets in Ireland. Or maybe it's that I'm more aware of it now! Last Saturday, after just two days in the country, and my mother suggested that we go to the Fermoy Farmers' Market. Although we only had the directions "it's down by the river" - and there are four sides to the river in Fermoy - we didn't have too much difficul...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookGoodbye to New Zealand (24.11.2005, 03:45 UTC)
Well, all good things come to an end at some stage. I've left New Zealand - not without many regrets - to return to my job in Ireland. I will continue writing about food from this side of the world with, perhaps after my 12 months away, a new perspective on what I may have formerly taken for granted. Nor have I abandoned New Zealand totally. I intend to go back at some stage in, I hope, the not-too-distant future and today I paid for a subscription to my beloved Cuisine magazine. I'll need somet...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 1
BibliocookChickpea and Chorizo Stew (22.11.2005, 03:20 UTC)
Coming across some raw chorizo sausage recently at Verkerks' butchers I decided to try out one of the recipes from the Mediterranean Café's Tapas Evening. I also wanted to try out the Spanish smoked paprika that Chef Nik had used with such success that night but, naturally, the recipe sheet had disappeared. Still, if I've something in my mind, I don't normally let something small like the lack of a recipe dissuade me. I assessed the situation. I had the aforementioned chorizo and smoked p...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 1
BibliocookLast Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World by Gina Mallet **** (19.11.2005, 22:53 UTC)
Although cursed with an uninviting cover, Last Chance to Eat, with its investigations into the history and eating of a variety of foodstuffs, is a fascinating read for anyone with even the barest interest in food. For foodies, it should be essential. Toronto-based Gina Mallet uses her particular memories - a post-WWII childhood in egg-less Britain, life in a Connecticut fishing village, dates at a New York steakhouse - to expand on the universal food issues. The daughter of a food-loving Eng...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 1
BibliocookFast-breaking soup (18.11.2005, 11:06 UTC)
The Middle Eastern soup Harira has cropped up in several of the different cookbooks and magazines that I've been reading lately. It's a thick, near solid, nourishing soup (it can be so thick that it's close to getting called a stew!) which was traditionally served to break the Muslim fast during the month of Ramadan but what drew me to it was the fact that it combines both chickpeas and lentils - two of my favourite ingredients. Most recipes also include lamb but, due to my lack of funds when I ...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookA one-pot meal for a wet and wild day (16.11.2005, 03:23 UTC)
There are days in winter - and spring, and autumn - when you wake up to wet and wild mornings and the only thing to do is spend the day indoors, with occasional rain-coated excursions for walks to avoid claustrophobia. Digging through Tamasin Day Lewis' Weekend Food on one such day, I discovered a recipe for Pork Hock and Bean Casserole that made me go digging in the freezer to find the cheap, but meaty, pork hock that I'd purchased last month. This is a good dinner to get started directly aft...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookUnwrapped: Green and Black's Chocolate Recipes edited by Caroline Jeremy **** (14.11.2005, 06:36 UTC)
Since I first saw this book in our local Oxfam shop in Dublin I've been having lustful thoughts about it. Green & Black's produce fabulous organic Fair Trade chocolate - their spice/orange Maya Gold bar heading the list of my all time favourite chocolates - and the photos that I saw on a brief browse through the book were mouth-watering. It's taken some time but I finally bought my own copy and my first impressions did not deceive. Unwrapped, subtitled From the Cacao Pod to Muffins, Mousses a...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookIrish Brown Soda Bread revisited (12.11.2005, 00:23 UTC)
I put a recipe for Irish Brown Soda Bread on this site several months ago after the first time I cooked it and since then it has become part of our staple diet. Of course, the more I cook a recipe, the more I end up fiddling with it so here is my latest variation. The first change to my basic recipe was when my mother said that she always uses self-raising flour instead of plain flour as it ensures a good rise. It also enabled me to simplify the recipe, reducing the bread soda and cutting ou...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookMexican moments (11.11.2005, 03:36 UTC)
I've been having more than a few Mexican moments lately with my chocolate and chilli experiments and I've also cooked several Mexican meals. The first was for a pot-luck dinner for eight in our house when some of the Boyfriend's college friends and their wives were about. This was only arranged that morning and when the Boyfriend asked what we should cook, I figured that it was the perfect time to try Nigella's recipe for Cornbread-Topped Chilli. It's been years since I had a good chilli - I ...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookFoccacia - the lazy way (7.11.2005, 20:40 UTC)
Looking at Sunday's entry about flatbreads and foccacia, I just realised what was missing - I forgot to write up my foccacia recipe! What I give here is just the basic recipe but there are countless variations. You can always add different herbs or some crushed garlic, top the dough with caramelised onions or roasted peppers or, indeed, stuff it with cheese and bacon for a ready-made sandwich. When the dough is ready for removal from the Breadmaker, I often knead in some cooked red onion - yo...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 4
BibliocookFlatbreads and foccacia from the Breadmaker (5.11.2005, 23:58 UTC)
Even though I haven't been mentioning the Breadmaker very much recently, it does get a regular workout. Every so often we're out of Brown Soda Bread and it's just too much hard work to go down to the shop so I just throw ingredients into the Breadmaker bowl and it makes one of its little square loaves - which are, incidentally, the perfect size for the toaster. Where the Breadmaker really has come into its own, though, is when I use it to make dough rather than finished bread. Take away all t...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 1
Bibliocook2005 World Food Media Awards winners (2.11.2005, 22:36 UTC)
I was delighted to see that a New Zealand book that I've written about here - Taste: Baking with Flavour by Dean Brettschneider and Lauraine Jacobs - took gold in its category (Soft Cover Recipe Book under US$25) at the 2005 World Food Media Awards in Adelaide last weekend. Stephanie Alexander received honours on home ground for her revised and updated The Cook's Companion, tying with an American book, The Breath of a Wok by Grace Young and Alan Richardson, for the Best Food Book award. Barbar...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 1
Bibliocook2005 World Food Media Awards winners (2.11.2005, 22:36 UTC)
I was really delighted to see that a New Zealand book that I really enjoyed and have written about here - Taste: Baking with Flavour by Dean Brettschneider and Lauraine Jacobs - took gold in its category (Soft Cover Recipe Book under US$25) at the 2005 World Food Media Awards in Adelaide last weekend. There was stiff competition in that area and I thought that Mary Contini's blend of memoir and recipes, Dear Francesca, might have taken the prize but it's great to see such an approachable book ...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookSimply Irresistible French Desserts by Christelle Le Ru (31.10.2005, 23:48 UTC)
Why is it that recipe names look so much more evocative when written in French? Gâteau au chocolate et à l'abricot seems so much more sophisticated than just plain Chocolate apricot cake. Still, from the look of this slice of this moist dark cake pictured in Christelle Le Ru's Simply Irresistible French Desserts I don't think that anyone will complain if you set it in front of them, no matter which name you use. But Carrés à la noix de pécan and Crèmes chaudes aux ...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookPeter Gordon's Tomato and Chilli Jam (30.10.2005, 05:53 UTC)
Before I came to New Zealand I had only vaguely heard of Kiwi chef Peter Gordon. From articles that popped up every so often in the English newspapers that I read, I knew that he cooked at The Sugar Club (still, I think, a truly brilliant name for a restaurant) and that he was designated king of what became known as fusion cuisine. That all changed when I made my first batch of his Tomato and Chilli Jam. Now he is known as the person responsible for coming up with the recipe of this addictive a...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookStarbucks Challenge (27.10.2005, 00:22 UTC)
After some discussion about Fair Trade goods, green LA girl challenged me to take the Starbucks Challenge. In their policy document - Starbucks, Fair Trade, and Coffee Social Responsibility - they say that "Fair Trade Certified coffee has been promoted by Starbucks as a brewed "Coffee of the Week" and can be brewed by coffee press during store hours upon customer request." The challenge was to ask for a cup of Fair Trade coffee in Starbucks and see how easy it was to get served. Last Thursday ...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookA tale of camping food and missing sleeping bags (26.10.2005, 01:45 UTC)
Last weekend being a long weekend, the Boyfriend and I decided to abandon Christchurch and open our personal camping season with a trip to the small town of Geraldine. For me, camping is a challenge to see what I can cook with limited ingredients and resources and this, the first camping trip of the year, was an opportunity not to be passed up. The night before we took off, I dug out Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food - the perfect camping cookbook - and started studying the recipes. So intent was I ...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 1
BibliocookCup conversion issues (25.10.2005, 03:34 UTC)
Although I'm not a huge fan of her bare basics books, Delia Smith's website is a very useful reference point. She has a helpful table of conversions here that are especially good when you're trying to convert a recipe using American cup measurements to metric but, alas, there are no references to the New Zealand or Australian cup. I didn't initially realise that these measurements were different - a cup is a cup is a cup, right? - but apparently not. Apparently the US standard cup is smaller t...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookBrilliant But Basic by Genevieve McGough *** (22.10.2005, 22:12 UTC)
It's not often that chefs can manage to simplify techniques so that they are both intelligible and useful to those of us who confine our cooking to the home kitchen but Auckland-based Genevieve McGough has managed it in Brilliant But Basic. In this slim publication she deals with a total of 19 different techniques, teaching formulas for useful cooking basics such as meringue, risotto, slow-cooked meats and cheesecake. Each section starts with an explanation, a basic recipe and then the cream ...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookBeer and food matches (20.10.2005, 03:52 UTC)
One night a few weeks ago the Boyfriend and I accompanied our Scottish physiotherapist housemates to a celebration of International Physiotherapist Day. Now, going to celebrations of other people's careers is not something that we would normally do but, as this was taking place at Christchurch's Canterbury Brewery, we decided to make an exception - just this once, you understand. Canterbury Brewery, now owned by the Australian based company Lion Nathan, is pretty old. First named Ward's Brew...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookA self-sufficient lunch (19.10.2005, 00:25 UTC)
Last year, while still in Ireland, the Boyfriend and I attended a cheese-making weekend workshop at Rossinver Organic Farm in County Leitrim. My knowledge of cheese-making had previously been limited to a school outing during primary school. A schoolmate's father, Glenroe's Matt O'Brien, used to make a wonderful farmhouse cheddar called Glenosheen in the eighties. Sadly, Glenosheen Cheddar no longer exists but that was my first taste of a real cheese and, even to a pre-teen palate, it was quali...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookA decadent solo supper (18.10.2005, 03:02 UTC)
Asparagus is very much in season at the moment in New Zealand with signs hanging by the roadside offering freshly picked spears of this gloriously upright vegetable and quantities of it available in greengrocers. Despite the plenty, I must admit that the Boyfriend and I have been slow off the mark this year and have only had a couple of feeds of it - so far. We need to hurry up and feast before the season ends. Our favourite way of preparing asparagus is to simply roast the slim spears with ...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
BibliocookThoughts on cookbook collections (16.10.2005, 04:57 UTC)
Just looking up Margaret Costa's Four Seasons Cookery Book - a friend loaned it to me the other night and I was wondering how much it would cost to get my own copy! - and I came across this article by pedant in the kitchen, Julian Barnes. I thoroughly enjoyed his debate about and efforts to cull his collection. His "certain words of advice, all of it paid for in money" are worth taking a look at, especially number 5 - "Never buy a juice book if you haven't a juicer" - apropos of the book that ca...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
Bibliocook23/5 Meme (14.10.2005, 03:29 UTC)
A couple of days ago I got tagged for the 23/5 Meme by my favourite Melbourne Plum. Unlike the last meme I was involved with, it is not a difficult one - you just have to go digging around the archives, find your 23rd post and ponder on the meaning of the 5th line. Hmm... Finding my 23rd post wasn't too difficult. I had just discovered this wonderful New Zealand fruit and was pretty eager to tell people all about it in Feijoa Frenzy. My 5th line? "The hallmark of the feijoa, apparently, which h...
Link | Author: Caroline | Clicks: 0
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