Month: December 2011

More of that 2011 Stuff – Argentina – it was a BIG trip

I didn’t go to bed after I wrote that last post. I had planned to but then Beverley Hills Cop came on and I am powerless in the face of that. It’s 10am now and I am in the airport on my way back to England, so it is time to continue reminiscing / reviewing 2011. So, that last post was busy wasn’t it? The first five months of 2011. But you know what, that was the quietest part of my year. You see all that time, I was working like crazy writing / cooking / testing recipes for Comfort & Spice. It went to press in May, and there was nothing more I could do about it. Brave New World, I could relax-ish, and work a little less hard (Jan – May was a super intense time), and I could really focus on travelling and eating some more (outside of my kitchen – I was so sick of the inside of my kitchen by then). So, what’s a girl that has worked too hard …

2011: Wham Bam, Thank You Mam!

And what a blast it was. I knew going into 2011 that I was going to be writing and publishing my first cookbook, and I had lots of travel plans. It was so much more than that though, and as I sit here and recap, all I can do is grin, and be very grateful. There were down sides – so many of my personal belongings were stolen – my camera and lenses (worth over £1000 with memory cards and memory sticks), my iPhone, my iPod, my bicycle and more at varying points BUT you know what, I didn’t even think of that until almost at the end of the post. All of that was horrible but there was lots of good stuff to balance everything out. Weirdly, as I look through earlier posts, they seem like they are 2 years ago, rather than one. But that was 2011 for ya! I crammed a lot in. As always, thanks for reading. — all photos link to the associated post … and I am going to stop …

Favourite Food Books (Some from 2011 and Others that Deserve a Mention) – Conclusion

And *drrrrumrrrrrrooooolllllllll* – the concluding part of my favourite food books mini-series. I heartily recommend them all, so go on, strain your cookshelf, and fill your January with joy and cooking. This year, several bloggers were published (including myself), I’ve included my favourite books from those bloggers that published here.  I have included Scandilicious in an earlier part of my round up, Sig would be here otherwise. I’ve also included a chef and restaurateur, who is really well known for his restaurant, Ottolenghi, and books, but less well known for his blog. His books are really terrific and need no promotion from me having won awards and gracing bestseller lists. It is lovely though, and I do highly rate it, so it is here. I have also included Jake Tilson, who isn’t a blogger but I know him from twitter so…. at a (large) stretch, it all kind of ties in! Cooking Without Recipes by Philip Dundas Cooking Without Recipes is a generous and charming book that takes apprentice and novice cooks through everything that they would need to know …

Favourite Food Books (Some from 2011 and Others that Deserve a Mention) – Continued

And onto the second part of my favourite food books post, the first part is here if you missed it. In this post, I am including some gorgeous cookbooks from my part of Ireland – Waterford (where I was born and raised) and Cork (where I studied and lived for many years). Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me; A Chefs Stories and Recipes from the Land by Denis Cotter  I spent my university years in Cork. Money was tight, but when we had cause to celebrate – birthdays etc – we went to Cafe Paradiso. Cafe Paradiso is a vergetarian restaurant, but it is imaginative and delicious. I have not found anywhere (yet) that can match it in the UK. Denis Cotter has written 4 lovely cookbooks, his first, Cafe Paradiso is very much restaurant food, the second, Paradiso Seasons home food, and the third, the one I am writing about here, is a beautiful book full of stories and recipes, often using foraged ingredients. I must get my hands on his fourth, For the Love …

Favourite Food Books (Some from 2011 & Others that Deserve a Mention)

Books are such a pleasure. The best grab your attention and transport you away, whisking you to a kitchen or urging you to go to yours in the case of a cookbook. Food travel books should take you to distant lands and foreign tables and make you run to find unusual ingredients and recipes. Memoirs allow you a generous peek into the life of the author. Food memoirs share with you the authors own story, their earliest food memories and often recipes. As much as I love books, this year things are different as I am also now a published author. This changes my perspective as I now know how difficult it is to write a book, no matter how much you have to say or how much you love writing and cooking. It’s a very introspective, isolating process and the course of delivering a manuscript is a journey from agonizing to joyful, and over and back again. It is worth every moment and every tortuous pang though, and I hope to be delivering another …

Merry Xmas Everyone!

Merry Xmas everyone! I wish you all health, happiness and wonderful dinners. I was searching for a Xmas-y photo and I remembered the one on the Wall of China that was taken only 3 weeks ago in the snow – perfect! I am midst cooking xmas dinner. We’re having a rib roast of beef this year, from McGraths butchers in Lismore, a terrific eighth generation local butcher that farms their own beef and has a little abbatoir at the back of the shop (I’ve written about them before here). On the side we’re having crispy roast potatoes, a bounty of veg and black pudding croquettes using a wonderful black pudding from McCarthy’s in Kanturk. There will also be hot ports and mulled wine to ease me through the process – delicious. So, I best get back in to the kitchen but have the finest of Xmas Days all. *raises a glass – cheers*