Christmas at Douglas Farmer’s Mkt

After a week of nocturnal childherding a sickening Daddy’s Little Girl, I handed her over to Mrs Swashbuachaill at 8 of the A.M. and repaired to the boudoir for a couple of hours shuteye. Which meant I reached Douglas Farmer’s Mkt, where the bulk of my weekly shopping is done, well after 12pm to a market that closes at 2pm on the last weekend before Christmas. Bedlam in the shopping centre and car park around the market but, within, a little haven for me to practice coffee drinking and yapping on an industrial scale. There are a lot more fabulous stalls than those featured but I had to do a little shopping as well including securing the bones of my Christmas Dinner so more pics will have to follow at a later date. There’s one more market on next Saturday, Christmas Eve, and many of the same stallholders are also in Mahon Mkt on Thursdays. Bear with me on the technical front – it’s the first time I’ve tried to do any class of moving image thingamajig. Anyhoo, click back and have a look and do, please, let me know what you think including advice on how to make it better! Happy Christmas!

Brassica Galactica: Further Adventures with Cabbage

Red Cabbage with some of its brassica brethren, the infinitely less threatening Brussel Sprouts softening the impact of that ugly red head.

I had passed the morning in the office, feigning work but, in reality, exchanging recipe ideas and generally hymning the praises of chorizo with Aoife @icanhascook and Kristin @edibleireland. At one point, I even confessed to being Half Man/Half Chorizo.

Continue reading “Brassica Galactica: Further Adventures with Cabbage”

Cabbage Brings Home the Bacon

My heart's desire - The Green Cabbage

I adore cabbage in all its myriad forms, but love most especially that solid bowling ball, layers, thick as leather, turning their backs on the elements and clinging onto each other for dear life — the green cabbage.

That statement in itself is quite a wonder for deep within I bear many cabbage-drawn scars. Dear Old Sainted Mother (DOSM) Swashbuachaill thankfully never really strayed into Bacon and Cabbage territory (overly complex for her culinary abilities) any time she got lost and accidentally wound up in the kitchen. No, boarding school is where the real damage was inflicted.Continue reading “Cabbage Brings Home the Bacon”

Porcini Dust – the new sundried tomatoes?

Fresh chanterelles from Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms

A few weeks ago, as I was leaving Mahon Farmer’s Market with little Isabel under my arm, racing off to collect Hector from playschool and already 15 minutes late, I spotted a tiny stall selling mushrooms. Lucy Deegan and Mark Cribbin are the owner/operators of Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms and this – on the community stall, a class of guest spot each week at Mahon – was one of their first real forays into the market world.Continue reading “Porcini Dust – the new sundried tomatoes?”

(A lot) more on the Belling West Cork Artisan Food Awards

Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery

On a mid-afternoon in early December, winter-weak light already fading and a damp cold sucking the life out of bones, you’d imagine any right-thinking folk would have taken to the fireside with a pile of logs, a stack of papers and a nice hot toddy. But, no, through the doors of the West Cork Hotel, in Skibbereen, they flowed in an unwaveringly steady stream until the large reception hall was nicely full, buzzing with life and laughter.

By 4pm, the place was jampacked, collars were opened, coats discarded and some serious inroads being made into wine, cava and highly toothsome nibbles courtesy of chefs Mickael Viljanen of Gregan’s Castle, Co Clare and Rory O’Connell of Ballymaloe – all in all, the equal of any cosy fireplace and a helluva lot more stimulating than the Sunday papers.Continue reading “(A lot) more on the Belling West Cork Artisan Food Awards”

Belling West Cork Artisan Food Awards – The Winners

Just a quick post to detail the winners of the inaugural winners of the Belling West Cork Artisan Food Awards, announced this afternoon at a ceremony in the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen.

Veronica Steele (Pic: John Carey)

Veronica and Norman Steele’s Milleens Farmhouse Cheese, of Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula, and Madeleine McKeever’s Brown Envelope Seeds, of Turk Head near Skibbereen, were each awarded the 2011 Belling Trophies (Milleens for the Originals category and Brown Envelope for the Newcomer category), along with a cheque for €5,000, the biggest prize in Irish food.

Madeleine McKeever (Pic: John Carey)

More on this tomorrow, particularly the down and dirty on some stunning food prepared by guest chefs Mickael Viljanen of Gregan’s Castle and Rory O’Connell of Ballymaloe.


Storming the Castle

Castle Café, Blackrock Castle. (Pic: Miki Barlok)

After a great deal of finagling and an almighty amount of shenanigans, we managed to get my (actually quite ill) brother and his wife through the doors of the Castle Café (, in Blackrock Castle, last Saturday night for a surprise joint 40th birthday party. Despite my poor brother looking and acting as if he would have been better off dining (come to think of it, he couldn’t eat a thing!) in O’Connor’s funeral home, he enjoyed himself enormously. My sister-in-law, who wasn’t remotely sick, said that the night ranked right up there with her wedding day, high praise indeed! The choice of venue was agreed by one and all to be a major factor in making the night such a success.Continue reading “Storming the Castle”

Getting Totally 3FE-d!

A recent trip to Dubland yielded a rare old treat when I tracked down 3rd Floor Espresso’s ( operation in The Twisted Pepper on Middle Abbey St. Following a most stellar recommendation by my Swami of the Bean, Marc Kingston, of Cork’s Golden Bean Coffee Company, I just had to check the place out – what the Swami says, I dutifully does.Continue reading “Getting Totally 3FE-d!”

Fruits of the Sea

I do hope, like me, you find this pic of an open scallop truly exquisite and not suggestive of something coughed up on the pavement after a night on the Majors. A trophy from last Thursday at Mahon Point Farmer’s Market, it tasted every bit as delectable as it looks.Continue reading “Fruits of the Sea”

Eat the Library

Gillian Nelis, Assistant Editor of The Sunday Business Post, put out a tweet today looking for cookbook suggestions for a Christmas round-up – that was all the excuse I needed to drop all efforts at earning a buck to feed the childer and indulge myself a while with a little trawl through my collection. I grabbed a pile at random – on another day, I might well have picked an entirely different set of titles, save the couple of ‘essentials’ that have been with me for years.

Hector cooks the books

Continue reading “Eat the Library”

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