Month: May 2011

Recipe: Smokin’ Hot Red Eye Ribs

Now I loved that bacon jam. And it opened my eyes to using coffee in a marinade. Why not? It worked so well there it was bound to be a winner. Then a friend told me about red eye gravy, a coffee gravy served over ham in the American deep South. Coffee and pork are two of my favourite things in this world. The die was cast. Pork ribs are a much under valued and underused cut of meat. So cheap, so full of flavour, I expect it must be because people don’t know what to do with them. (fyi – in response to a comment below – I am of course referring to the UK & Ireland here. I know they eat lots of them elsewhere). Marinaded ribs are wonderful on the BBQ but also great cooked low and slow in the oven until the meat teases slowly from the bone. Then, and only then, are they are ready to eat. The secret to all marinaded meat recipes is time, so make sure you …

Modern Vintage: Classic Voices in Food From Quadrille

I come from a large bustling Irish family and, as a result, spent my childhood creating random outfits with clothes handed down from my older cousins, which I think has contributed to my eclectic sense of dress today. Equally, I had cookbooks from my aunt and old ones from the library, and this has inspired a fondness and near obsession with gathering vintage cookbooks for my groaning cookshelf. One of my most prized possessions is my Grandmothers old cookbook. The problem is that, generally, they are difficult to come by today. Our modern attitude that only current or new is valuable is really depressing so I was delighted to discover that Quadrille have started a new series of books – Classic Voices in Food – where they are publishing sometime forgotten but highly respected books. The first two are Modern Cooking for Private Families by Eliza Acton first published in 1845 and Madame Prunier’s Fish Cookery Book first published in 1938. The books arrived bright and early with the postman at a startling 7.30am and …

Recipe: Ricotta Frittata with Tomatoes & Fiddleheads

Life is busy. Life is crazy busy. I’ve left my job and written a book (I am so excited to even type that!). It all happened in 6 months. In the middle of this my Dad has been seriously ill and I have been going home a lot. I have also been travelling elsewhere more than before. I have moved flat too. I’ve chosen this life, and I love it, I wouldn’t change a thing. Working doing what you love means that work never stops, and being so busy does take a toll. I have been ill more than is normal and I am growing pretty tired of it. I hate being ill at all. So today as I sat here coughing and wheezing with a scratchy throat, I felt depressed. I needed to eat something that would make me feel good and really wouldn’t take any time to cook or much effort to source the ingredients. I dragged my carcass to the local Waitrose and my face lit up when I spied there on …

Video: Making Fiddlehead Soup & Pickling Fiddleheads (Canning) in New Brunswick, Canada

So, we picked the fiddleheads and washed them (as per the video in my last post). We then brought them back to O’Donnells Cottages and made a delicious fiddlehead soup for lunch. We preserved some of the rest and took a jar back home with us. I am saving mine for dirty fiddlehead martinis. Yes you did read right,and yes, isn’t that genius? I got the idea from a lovely lady in New Brunswick. Apologies for the camera flash in the middle of the pickling video, I didn’t spot it until I rendered it and am struck down with a chest infection so can’t face doing it again. Hope you like!


Video: Fiddlehead Foraging in New Brunswick, Canada

A fun little video for you from our fiddlehead forage in New Brunswick last weekend! Recipes and more soon. fid·dle·head [fid-l-hed] –noun 1. Nautical . a billethead having a form similar to the volute carved at the upper end of a violin. 2. the young, coiled frond of various species of ferns, eaten as a vegetable. for·age [fawr-ij, for-] 1. the act of searching for provisions of any kind. 2. to collect forage from; strip of supplies; plunder: to forage the countryside. 3. to supply with forage. 4. to obtain by foraging.

Farewell New Brunswick!

I am on my way back to London now and very sad to leave Canada behind. It was a wonderful trip, a perfect combination of catching up with old friends and doing fun things with them in Nova Scotia, to a terrific food trip around New Brunswick centred on the humble twisting fiddlehead. I need to adapt and already as I sit in the airport reality is starting to nip, deadlines are shouting at me, I am wondering about how I can do x, y & z. It’s just like Sunday night before school when you don’t want to do your homework. Hey-ho. I will miss a few things after my 2 week trip here. The people, well they are as nice as everyone says, they’re funny too! It has been lots of fun. The seafood is sensational, the lobster, mussels and scallops particularly so. I’ll miss those darn fiddleheads! I’ve taken to it here and have even started sticking an odd “eh” at the end of my sentences. I must really stop doing that …

A Postcard from New Brunswick

Greetings once again from Canada! This time from New Brunswick where I have been on a food trip. We started the weekend foraging for those fiddleheads that I love. We sped along the river to a little island where the ostrich ferns had just peeped their heads up. We snapped the heads off and bagged them for soup, dinner and jarring later. Violent, me? Only with fiddleheads. Other highlights are listed below with, as always, more details soon.