Opportunity of a Lifetime: 365 Meals in 365 Days in Richmond, Canada

Readers! I have just been shortlisted for the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to go to Richmond on the West Coast of Canada for a year, and write about the food there every day. I would be housed, paid and I would be in Canada, a country that I have visited several times, and will visit again next week – *waves at Montreal*. Rumoured to have some of the best Asian food outside of Asia, amongst many other lovely things, I would absolutely love it.

Yes, I know, I have been very lucky. 1500 applied, and I am in the final 12. But, those Canucks have the edge on me, for I have little votes. So, please, take a minute and click VOTE on Facebook. That is all you have to do. You can vote once a day until May 1st when the competition closes. Then it is on to the final leg.

Why? Well, did I mention that I would get to live in Richmond in Canada for a bit? And think of all that great content, the chance to explore an entirely new place, the huge adventure. Think of all of the inspiration from the hundreds of restaurants I will visit. Then there is all of the time that I will have to cook and all the recipes I will be able to share with you. I might even get to start my second book! It would be a dream come true, in truth.

So please, help a gal out, and help send me to Richmond. I promise I will come back at the end of it :)



Waterford Festival of Food 2012: Angela Harnett; Brewer, Blogger & Baker Pop-Up and Farmer’s Market

It's a human BLAA! Giant and on legs (search this site for blaa if you don't know what I am talking about :)

I think I am only just recovering from an intense work hard / play hard week, recently at home in Ireland. Irish people know how to party, no surer thing, but we are also handy with a stove and we can make lots of delicious things like fine cheeses, great beer and lots more. Some fantastic food and drink was served up over the 3 day festival.

Highlights were:

Angela Hartnett at The Tannery: a really fun evening, and actually the first time I got to try Angela’s food. I loved the wild garlic suppli and parmesan fritters and the stellar desserts.

Angela Hartnett at The Tannery menu

Wild garlic suppli

Our Brewer, Blogger & Baker pop up, where three of us took over the local civic offices and converted it to a restaurant. No small feat. We fed and watered 80 people. There was live music, and both Eunice and I contributed to the menu using exclusively local ingredients (where possible). Claire of Dungarvan Brewing Company looked after the guests and made sure they had enough to drink, including a cocktail, her beerini.

POP UP! :)

Bacon jam for the guests on arrival

Local smoked salmon and potato cakes with pickled cucumber from my book, Comfort & Spice, to start

Eunice's beef with wild garlic aioli

Chocolate Mouse with Honeycomb, from my book Comfort & Spice for dessert


The Farmer’s Market on Sunday is always a terrific event. The whole square is rammed with producers and people enjoying it, with live music and lots of chatter.

Farmer's Market - Piggy Blaa!

Busy at market

The Surf & Turf Demo with Paul Flynn and Martin Shanahan was a fun event, with Paul and Martin cooking up turf and surf, in that order. I am all about the turf so Paul’s dish which included two of my favourite things black pudding and chorizo was a winner for me. They are filming at the moment and I believe the show will be on tv on this side of the water too, I will let you know when to look out for it.

Surf & Turf: Paul Flynn & Martin Shanahan rope in Ireland's Masterchef judges as commis chefs

Voting time! Surf or Turf?

I stayed with my culinary partner in crime, Eunice Power at Powersfield House. I stayed there last year too. It is a beautiful small guest house with a cracking breakfast and comes highly recommended from me.

Further details on Waterford Festival of Food are available on their site. I highly recommend it for next year. It is one of the least commercial food festivals that I have ever been to (it reminds me a lot of wonderful Abergavenny in Wales), and is a lovely expression of the area, which is also my home, and I am very proud of it.

More photos on flickr

1 comment

Come to Selfridge’s tomorrow: I will be cooking with Jack McCarthy!

Jack McCarthy - demo in Selfridge's tomorrow & I will be cooking, while Jack is curing

Folks, it is short notice but I have been away – again. And I had no time to write as I was too busy eating bulls tail (rich and delicious, makes ox tail look wimpy), goose barnacles (look like a dinosaur foot and like it might hurt to eat but taste delicious, briney and delicate) and drinking sherry (Alfonso Oloroso, I salute you!).

But I am back in London now and cooking in Selfridge’s tomorrow with one of my favourite butchers, Jack McCarthy, from 12 – 3. I have cooked with and written about his terrific black and white puddings several times. Tomorrow I will be serving up my black pudding croquettes with chipotle ketchup and puddings made from 3 bloods – pig, cow, lamb – while Jack will be curing bacon 4 ways (spiced, sweet, traditional and organic nitrate free).

Black Pudding Croquettes with Chipotle Ketchup

Come down and have a taste of Cork! It will be fun and definitely delicious. There will be lots of other Irish producers there too.

Take a peek here


The Brewer, the Blogger & the Baker at the Waterford Festival of Food

The Brewer, The Blogger, The Baker (AKA Claire Dalton , Niamh Shields & Eunice Power) Waterford Festival of Food, Dungarvan. (Photo Karen Dempsey)

It is only 2 days to our pop up at the Waterford Festival of Food: The Brewer, the Blogger & the Baker. We sold out in one day so the pressure is on!

Dungarvan, my hometown and also home to the Waterford Festival of Food

The menu is decided and the ingredients bought. We start cooking tomorrow.  Two full days of prep and cooking await us and then we take over the civic council offices for one night and cook up a storm. The cooks are local, the food (and beer) is local. We intend to do Waterford proud.

Local cheesemaker, Wolfgang, and his terrific Knockalara cheese which will be included in our menu at the pop up

The menu stays secret for now – you will have to come back to see what we had.Hope to see some of you on Saturday! If you couldn’t get tickets, Richard Corrigan is cooking at the Tannery and there is lots of other wonderful stuff happening too.

A happy discovery of lots of three cornered leek, part of the wild garlic family and perfect for our menu :)

More details:


Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter

Chocolate Peanut Butter

I went through a bit of a peanut butter phase recently. I am not sure why. I was gripped by a mania and wanted to roast / peel / shell all types of nuts and whizz them in my magimix, adjust the oil contents, play with salts, and see what I got. It was a lot of fun and made for great toast at breakfast.

There was plain peanut butter which was a joy, pistachio and almond butter a disturbing green but really delicious and my favourite of all an oozing chocolate peanut butter.

Roasted peanuts

Getting this right was quite the task. I wanted chocolate in there but getting the consistency right was difficult. I wanted the butter to drip indecently off the end of my knife. I wanted it to taste of peanut and chocolate in equal measure and to have a flavour so big that it would bounce off my slice of toast. After several versions, I found out that the best result was not with chocolate but with a good cocoa powder, giving it a richness and depth without actually affecting the texture much at all.

Making homemade nut butter is incredibly easy. All you do is shell them (if required), lightly roast them, blitz them for up to five minutes until the oils come out and they form a paste. The add enough groundnut oil or similar – if required at all – to get it to the consistency that you desire.

If you want it chunky, blitz some more nuts separately, until you get the size you want, and add it to your paste. It is really fun to play around with different nut combinations to get something new and striking all of your own too.

Simple really isn’t it? Really delicious too. Plus you can console yourself that it doesn’t have lots of crap in it, like lots do in the shops.

Note on the recipe: This really is easiest with a fierce food processor like a magimix, but to test I also did this in a blender (as per the pic). If using a blender you will need to occasionally manually push the ingredients back down with a spatula and it may take a little longer – depends on your blender really.

Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter


200g peanuts (with skin on and no shell)
1 tsp salt
100ml groundnut oil
125g cocoa (I used Green & Blacks, widely available in supermarkets)
50g icing sugar

sterilised jar or glass to store


Roast the peanuts in their skins spread out on a large roasting tray on greaseproof paper at 180 deg C for about 10 minutes until starting to darken.

Allow to cool then remove the skins. The quickest way to do this is to rub them in a clean tea towel until the skins come off and then remove them by spinning them in a salad spinner or by using a small fan to blow the skins into a rubbish bag (tips from twitter followers!). You can do it manually too but it is slow.

Whizz them in a magimix or blender for approx 5 minutes until you get a paste.

Add the other ingredients and whizz again.

Taste and adjust if necessary. Store in a sterilized jar or glass.


April Goings On: Comfort & Spice Published in the US & Canada, Cooking at Waterford Festival of Food, Recipe in Delicious Magazine and Interview in the Irish Examiner

Hello there folks! I have a few things to update you on from the land of Eat Like a Girl and Comfort & Spice. It is really four posts in one – adopt the brace position folks! :)

Comfort & Spice Published in the US & Canada by Lyons Press

Comfort & Spice - now out in the US & Canada!

Most excitingly, and first out of the blocks, is that Comfort & Spice has been published in the US by Lyons Press. HUGE and exciting. It was published last week and it has been Americanified. No blood pudding, now blood sausage. Not one courgette to be seen, just lots of zucchini. No grams but a lorra lorra cups.  I do hope you like it. It has a different cover too!

You can buy it in bookshops or from the following websites:
Amazon Barnes and Noble Indie Bound Books-A-Million Powells Globe Pequot

Pop Up Restaurant & Demo at the Waterford Festival of Food

Waterford Festival of Food

The Waterford Festival of Food is back. One of my favourite food festivals, and in my hometown, this year I am cooking at The Baker, The Brewer & The Blogger Pop Up (it sold out really quickly when announced – apologies), and I will also be doing a demo on Sunday afternoon. Signed copies of Comfort & Spice will be available of course. There are lots of other fabulous happenings, including Angela Hartnett cooking at The Tannery. See you there!

More info on the Waterford Festival of Food site

My post from Waterford Festival of Food last year: A Postcard from the Waterford Festival of Food

My Grandmother’s Swiss Roll Recipe in Delicious Magazine

My Grandmother's Swiss Roll Recipe in Delicious Magazine

Delicious magazine asked me for a hereditary recipe for a feature for the magazine. I spoke with my mother and we decided on my grandmother’s swiss roll, which was one of her favourites. It almost was her sponge cake recipe as she always told my mother that she made the best one (out of eight children!).

It was lovely to write and submit this piece, particularly for my mother as her mother passed away just over two years ago and it was a nice tribute to her.

Interview in The Examiner, Ireland

Finally, I was interviewed recently by The Examiner in Ireland about blogging, food writing and all of the other things that encompass my random foodcentric existence right now. (A correction from my side: I actually said I had never had advertising because I was worried it would be compromising, but had decided to put some on as I don’t think it is now!).

Read the interview here


BA2012 Olympics Pop Up with Simon Hulstone


Somethings I cannot resist. One is an invite to dine in a fake plane in Shoreditch with Simon Hulstone at the helm.

Eh? I know.

Simon Hulstone at Flight BA2012

Simon Hulstone is a Michelin starred chef whom I first came across at the Bocuse D’Or last year. He is clearly very talented, he got to the last stage of the Bocuse D’Or which involved competing in an extremely intense two year long competition, all of which he did while running his restaurant Elephant in Torquay. Lots of chefs take the two years off and dedicate themselves to the competition. I followed the journey but have never tried his food. I really want to.

BA2012 - dining room

Now, I still wasn’t going to get to try Simon’s food per se – certainly not like I would get in his restaurant – as this pop up is a showcase of food that British Airways will serve on their flights this summer to celebrate the Olympics. The menu was developed by Simon with Heston Blumenthal’s support. The event sold out in 3 hours. I wasn’t alone in my curiosity then and I went to check it out.

Flight BA2012

It is a really fun concept. Google Maps and my own lack of internal compass sent me wildly astray but I eventually found it. I entered, got my boarding pass and proceeded to the bar for a glass of champagne, complimentary for every diner. The bar is lined with an art exhibit and there are videos with Heston & Simon discussing the food and their inspirations. A dj is playing music, which I actually found a wee bit too loud, but I am more a frequenter of wine bars. We popped into the little cinema to watch the short film and by the time that was done, it was time to dine.

Smoked Salmon Amuse Bouche

Airline food? Well sitting in a fake plane to dine is ridiculous but lots of fun. We really enjoyed it. The menu, influenced by the British Airways menus dating back to 1948 (the last time the games were held in the UK), is minimal – there are two starters and desserts and three main courses – and classic with a few twists. It isn’t a menu that is designed to challenge but to comfort and enjoy. Which as a frequent traveller, seems just about right to me for a plane journey.

Real stewards greet you (I asked), and when you are seated an amuse arrives. Forman’s smoked salmon tartare with pickled cucumber ribbons, radish salad and crème fraiche was light and very bright. A tiny portion, it was enough to tickle the palate.

Golden Beetroot, Peppered Goat's Cheese and Elderflower Dressing

I had the golden beetroot with goat’s cheese and elderflower dressing starter – classic, lovely, light and fragrant with an elderflower twist. I hadn’t combined elderflower with goat’s cheese or beetroot before, the elderflower was maybe a little too subtle but overall the dish worked very well.

rillette of mackerel dressed on a pickled cucumber carpaccio with sour dough croutes

I envied my friend’s rillette of mackerel dressed on a pickled cucumber carpaccio with sour dough croutes. A little taste and I wanted to grab it. I behaved and ate my own.

Braised Beef

Main courses were braised braised beef, grain mustard and horseradish mash; sustainably sourced fish pie with a warm tartare sauce and duck egg with roasted onion consommé lemon thyme, gruyere cheese and tapioca.

Fish Pie

Duck Egg

No complaints here from any of us, we were pleasantly surprised. Especially the vegetarian option, which was intensely savoury and rich, and an unusual vegetarian choice. It was hard to believe that this was airline food. I wondered if BA could pull if off when delivering it in larger numbers this summer.

Desserts were chilled chocolate fondant with a salted caramel centre which I didn’t order but regretted tasting as I didn’t want to move on to my own. I had the lemon curd cheesecake with a raspberry and basil compote which was lovely but lacking the oomph of the chocolate fondant.

Chocolate Fondant


Coffee and petits fours finished a really fun evening. Short film, bar with dj, dinner in a fake plane, and solid fare from Simon Hulstone.

Petits Fours

There are no dining tickets left but access to the bar and cinema is free and you can order the starters and desserts there which I recommend that you do. The mackerel in particular is a stunner, and finish with that divine chocolate pudding.

Flight BA2012 is open weekdays (except Easter Bank Holidays) until April 17, with a dining lounge, cinema, gallery and bar for guests to experience. For more visit


Scotching Eggs with the Egg Boss

Easter had almost passed me by. Normally I would be carving chocolate plans, dying eggs, pickling eggs, trying all the different eggs I could try. Last year I had turkey, goose, rhea, ostrich and many more. This year, nothing. Easter had crept up on me with stealth.

So, I tweeted on Thursday morning that I was a little disorganised, only to receive a swift reply from a man calling himself the Egg Boss.

Tweeting the Egg Boss

Ostrich egg? From a man who scotches? Well, I was intrigued.

I replied:

Tweeting the Egg Boss

And that is how I found myself on the bus to Camberwell on Good Friday morning.

Now, maybe it is not too clever to arrange to meet a random stranger – even if he is the Egg Boss – in an industrial unit in a part of London that you don’t know at all. But, I had faith. He is a friend of The Rib Man you see, whom I have met and chat to all the time, and we were going to use his terrific and slightly crazy hot sauce and his rib meat to scotch one of the eggs.

We started with dessert. A creme egg, coated in peanut butter and jam, blast frozen then coated in coco pops and smoked sea salt. Deep fried until crisp, I couldn’t resist a chomp while it was till warm. It reminded me of the star bars of my youth, but with that smoked sea salt to lift it. Really filthy as eggs go, but a must if you get a chance to try it.

Scotching the creme egg

Scotched creme eggs

Inside the scotched creme egg, photo courtesy of Florian Siepert, @siepert

A savoury break to try the black pudding scotch egg and the holy f**k one (it is hot, and is spiced with The Rib Man’s sauce). Terrifically savoury, runny yolks, crispy shell, I loved them. Egg Boss brown sauce on the side, I had to stop mid way egg two, I needed room for the ostrich one.

The Egg Boss with his scotch eggs

Ostrich Scotch Egg

So on to the ostrich egg. We cooked it for 50 minutes, just a little too long for a perfect runny yolk, but it wasn’t overcooked at least. This 2kg monster was cooled in ice and water before we packaged it in a meaty sarcophagus. Then we rolled it in many hens eggs, breadcrumbs and more eggs. Over and over until we had a perfect crumb coating.

Ostrich Scotch Egg

Ostrich Scotch Egg with a hens egg piggy back

Then we fried it. 170 deg C for approximately half an hour. Seán sat it in greaseproof paper as it fried so that we could gently roll it around. A gentle probe with a thermometer confirmed it was cooked.

Scotched Ostrich Egg

Scotched Ostrich Egg

Scotched Ostrich Egg & Me

A quick photoshoot for the egg and it was ready to taste. The ostrich white is an odd translucent but it tastes, well like an egg as you would expect. A little stronger but not by much. The sausage was terrifically spiced with The Rib Man’s sauce and the crumb crisp.

Egg Boss with his Scotched Ostrich Egg

I just had a little bit and then I was off. That was egg number four for that me morning, and an enormous one at that. What a brilliant day! Lots of fun, lots of scotch eggs of varying tastes and sizes. I highly recommend you try some – catch the Egg Boss at his stall every Saturday at Brockley Market.

Scotched Egg Collection: Ostrich Egg, Goose Egg & Hens Egg

Egg Boss
The Rib Man
Brockley Market


Recipe: Black Pudding Croquettes with Chipotle Ketchup

Black Pudding Croquettes with Chipotle Ketchup

Black pudding. Well I love it and you know that already don’t you? I grew up on the stuff and in my long gone vegetarian years it was the thing I missed the most. Not bacon, black pudding.

We would have it on toast by the open fire and mash it in so it was almost part of the bread. Half black pudding, half white pudding, all mashed into the toast with crispy bits from the pudding mingling with crispy bits of the toast and lots of mushy delicious bits, all in the roaring heat of the fire. With the rain lashing outside no doubt and the wind howling. That is what I loved and that is what I missed.

Now I can have as much as I want and I often have too much, but with such a good thing it is difficult to be measured. Irish black pudding is different to the black pudding from anywhere else, it has oats and spices and a rich depth to it that is like Pavarotti in your breakfast. White pudding is like a soprano that has possibly smoked too much and maybe they shouldn’t be together but they are the perfect match.

I wander.

There is so much that can be done with black pudding. Often it sits forlorn at the edge of a breakfast plate like the one never asked to dance but should you dare to you will be so happy that you did. I like to spice it’s smoky depths and give it some fruitiness with tomato. My Spaghetti Corkese which I blogged recently has just this.

For this, I used a recipe from my book for black pudding croquettes. I don’t toy with the black pudding at all as I don’t want to dilute the flavour or texture. I just leave it as it is and breadcrumb it, or in this case cover it with oats. Fried till golden, I serve them up with homemade chipotle ketchup. And gobble them all down.

I used my favourite black pudding from Cork here, Jack McCarthy’s. It is a small scale artisinal production and is difficult to come by in the UK (Irish people you can buy online and you should) – unless you are in Selfridge’s on the 22nd April from 1 – 5 when the man himself will be there. Clonakilty Black Pudding is widely available at large Asdas and Budgen’s and works well too.

The ketchup is also terrific with the black pudding in possibly the best toastie ever. So do make extra. It will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks or more.

Recipe: Black Pudding Croquettes with Chipotle Ketchup



250g black pudding
50g flour – seasoned with a little salt
100g uncooked oatmeal
1 egg

Chipotle Ketchup

2 x 400g tins good tomatoes
5 chipotles en adobo (I got mind online from Hot Headz)
1 red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
50ml cider vinegar
5og dark brown sugar


First make your ketchup. Sauté the red onion in some light oil over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until soft but not brown. Add the garlic for a minute further before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Cook over a low hear for up to an hour, longer if you have it as tomato based dishes always benefit from a low slow cook. Taste and season. Blend and leave to the side.

Cut the black pudding into 2cm thicknesses, roll in the seasoned flour, egg and then oatmeal. Do a second time if they are not completely coated. Fry them – deep frying is best – until golden.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot on a bed of hot or cold chipotle ketchup – up to you!



Lunch with Claudia Roden and her Recipe for Raisin & Sweet Wine Ice Cream

Claudia Roden in her garden

Claudia Roden has long been an inspiration for me. My first forays into Middle Eastern cuisine quickly led me to her door, and I devoured her books A Book of Middle Eastern Food  and Arabesque. I was obsessed with ful medames and was desperate to recreate it at home. When I became curious about Jewish cuisine I quickly purchased The Book of Jewish Food following which I discovered her other books (the full list on Amazon is here).  Discovering Claudia Roden felt like I had fallen down a culinary rabbit hole.

So when I spied her at the OFM Awards last November, I was overcome with shyness and couldn’t say hello. I also didn’t want to be annoying and invasive. Later in the evening, Claudia came over to say hello and to congratulate me on my award. I was delighted and borderline dumbstruck: how lovely of her!

The Food of Spain

I knew that Claudia had been working on a new book The Food of Spain for the past 5 years and that it would be out soon. It is always exciting to know that one of your favourite authors is working on a new book. Thrillingly then, recently I received an email asking if I would like to come over for lunch and to talk Spanish food.

Claudia Roden, making Spanish hot chocolate in her kitchen

So, on a beautiful sun scorched March afternoon, I found myself knocking on Claudia’s front door. Not long after I was sitting in the sun with a glass of thick glistening Spanish hot chocolate. Claudia shared stories of Spain, Spanish culture and food. All about the regional variations, all about Spanish food including the influences of the Roman, Visigoth, Muslim and Jewish populations over the centuries. Really fascinating and peppered with many charming anecdotes of the 5 years that she spent researching and travelling Spain, it was a wonderful afternoon.

Claudia Roden

There were tales of coca – a pizza style tart that appeared at around the same time as pizza did, and maybe influenced / inspired pizza itself. Nobody seems to know for sure. Naples was part of Spain at that time so it is possible. There were tales of fiestas in Seville and beautiful large bowls of tomato with eggs and tuna. There was a beautiful platter of fried aubergine with salt and honey. We sampled the dishes as we chatted about them and finished with raisin and sweet wine ice cream and walnut cake with brandy.

Spanish lunch

Claudia’s book The Food of Spain is as informative and charming as I expected it to be. I am still over the moon that I got a chance to sit down with her and chat about it, while eating some of the food too.

Walnut & Brandy Cake

I will leave you with Claudia’s recipe for Raisin & Sweet Wine Ice Cream. She made it like a large round cake and served it in slices. I recommend you do the same as it is a bit of a show stopper. For ice cream, it is a fabulously straight forward recipe that does not need an ice cream machine or regular beating by hand.

Raisin & Sweet Wine Ice Cream

Recipe: Raisin & Sweet Wine Ice Cream
Helado de pasa y vino dulce

Serves 10 or more


100g raisins
100ml sweet Pedro Ximinez sherry plus more to pass around (love that!)
700ml double cream
300 ml whole milk
1 small cinnamon stick
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 large egg yolks
100g caster sugar


Put the raisins in a small bowl and pour over the sherry. Leave to soak for an hour or longer.

Heat the cream and milk in a large saucepan with the cinnamon stick and vanilla extract until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and leave fir half an hour to infuse before removing the cinnamon stick and reheating.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a pale thick cream with an electric mixer. Add a ladleful of the hot milk and beat well, then pour this egg and sugar cream into the saucepan, off the heat, beating vigorously to mix well. Now return the pan to a low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until the mixture thickens. Do not let it boil or it will curdle (if it does, you can save it by beating it thoroughly with the electric mixer until smooth).

Pour the custard into a serving bowl and let it cool, then cover it with cling film and put it into the freezer. After about 3 – 3.5 hours, when it has firmed enough but is not yet hard, take it out of the freezer and thoroughly mix in the raisins together with their sherry. You must do this before the ice cream becomes too hard to mix but when it is firm enough so that raisins remain suspended evenly and do not sink to the bottom. If you do not mix thoroughly there will be little white lumps in the ice cream, but that too is lovely. Return to the freezer and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Take the ice cream out of the freezer 10 – 15 minutes before serving, then cut it into slices. If it proves difficult to dislodge the slices from the bottom, dip the bowl in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds.

Pass the bottle of Pedro Ximinez around for everyone to drizzle a little over their ice cream.

Raisin & Sweet Wine Ice Cream