Movember: Getting my Mo On with a Cook Off [Video]

Remember , remember the Mo of November. Moustaches aren’t just for hipsters, you know.

Movember has swung round again, and while I can’t grow a moustache to support them – quiet down the back! – I did get involved in the #mofoodfight, a fun video cook off to generate interest in and awareness of Movember, and their new book Cook Like a Man: The Ultimate Cookbook for the Modern Gentleman (priced at a ridiculous £5.98 on Amazon right now, and a very reasonable £9.99 in the shops).

I dragged my carcass to a studio at way too early o’clock of a morning (hey! I am self employed, I don’t get up before 7am, you know), and it wasn’t long before I was cooking on camera with Pete Brown, maestro of beer and cider and all things in between.[Read more]


Video: Truffle Hunting with Ezio in Piedmont

I have just come back from a whistle stop tour of Piedmont & Liguria in Italy. I went truffle hunting with a wonderful truffle hunter Ezio, and his fabulous little dog.

I shoot a lot of video but rarely get the time to edit them, so I forced myself to turn this around really quickly this time. I normally shoot them on my DSLR but it committed hari kari recently, so I filmed this on a swish Samsung S4 which I was sent to review.

The results are pretty impressive for a phone – the S4 can’t do ought about my still scratchy voice (5 weeks of coughing takes its toll!). I would like a little tripod / stabiliser thing to do something about the shaking, but otherwise, I am pretty happy.

Enjoy! Here are some photos that I took with the phone also. The timing could not have been more perfect.

Sunset in Piedmont

Sunset in Piedmont

Ezio and his fabulous truffle hunting dog

Ezio and his fabulous truffle hunting dog

… more soon!

I travelled to Piedmont & Liguria and Tra Arte e Querce as a guest of BITEG & the tourist board


Greetings from Grenada! And Now for Something Completely Different: MONKEYS

Greetings from Grenada folks! Gre-nay-dah! Not Greh-nah-dah! In the Caribbean and not in Spain. I have been explaining that a lot. When my Irish accent meets Grenada, everyone thinks I am in Spain.

I am on the Spice Island. There is nutmeg everywhere, cinnamon too. Pimento, and in season cloves. Bay everywhere. Larger and more luscious waxy leaves than what we know. Bergamot scents the air occasionally. Mangos, papaya, so many bananas. Rich flavours, colours and smells permeate the air, and the Atlantic washes the coast every few seconds. My Atlantic from Ireland but the other side of it. The warmer bit.

I have done so much, I am very tired as I type. Hundreds – actually thousands of photographs in – video too. I take video on all my trips but never get the time to edit it. Rather I am never that inclined to. I am forcing myself to do that now. My little craptop, which is missing keys and has others that refuse to work gets me by, but is very whiny when I edit video.

I did though. And here it is. My first one from Grenada is not about food, except that it features bananas. More importantly it features monkeys. Mona monkeys from Grenada. How could I not?!

Now just to warn any newbies – I shoot and edit this myself, so it is well – not BBC standard. But I hope you like it anyway. I had fun.

Enjoy and back soon with lots more spice, seafood and chocolate talk.

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VIDEO: on Danish Channel TV2 at the Nordic Food Lab and Copenhagen Cooking

Feature on Danish National TV2 at Copenhagen Cooking – click to watch it

I have just spent a terrific weekend in Copenhagen for Copenhagen Cooking, an annual festival focussing on the best that Copenhagen has to offer. There are so many things to love about Denmark, one is that a food blogger in Copenhagen is a MADBLOGGER. For mad is Danish for food. Wonderful.

Out of the blue, I got a call from Danish national TV channel TV2 on Saturday, asking if I would film with them at the festival. It sounded fun so I said yes. But then I didn’t hear from them again. So, I forged on with plans dining at Silver Spoon Under the Sea on Saturday night, a fun and delicious guerilla dining event in the outskirts of Copenhagen at the fish market.

We had lots of fun and didn’t want the evening to end, so we went to a very-late-bar to end our evening. All I had to do the next day was go visit Torvehallerne food (or mad(!)) market, eat, enjoy & fly back home. So, no problem. Right? Just another side of Copenhagen to explore and enjoy.

But then, Danish channel TV2 called me again unexpectedly at 10am on Sunday and asked if I could still film at the Nordic Food Lab (where we would sample the innovations from René Redzepi’s lab)  and Nordic Taste (featuring food from Restaurants all over Denmark and Sweden).

So, I did.

I look fairly sleepy but otherwise it was a fun experience. As was Copenhagen Cooking.  Unfortunately I can’t embed the video but click on the picture above to be taken to it on the TV2 site. It is in Danish but my bits (obviously) are in English.

Also, it is now confirmed that it is impossible to look graceful eating on camera. But, what of it? Life is too short to worry about that now, isn’t it?

Lots more on Copenhagen Cooking and the Nordic Food Lab and Nordic Taste soon.

LINK: Feature on Denmark’s TV2 at Copenhagen Cooking last weekend: Niamh Shields: MADBLOGGER


Update on Shrinking Attempts & Video Interview with AT Culture

One of the things I positively hate about living my life through the internet is how visible things are. An image search reveals more than I can bear, with that now well documented book-weight-gain. I swear it was worse than the baby weight most of my friends gained. My book was my baby.

My post on this very topic is still getting many comments. Most of them are expressions of relief or of shared exasperation. Many of you have emailed too. So I thought that I should update you again.

It took me a while to get started but attempts to shrink back to normal in the last 6 weeks have yielded great results and I am well on track to being back to my old slim self. Which makes me very happy.

All I have done – honestly – is walk for an hour whenever I can and get out and about. 3 times a week is probably what I have averaged on the walking. I want to increase that to 5 and try to do it every day.

I always walk with music playing on my iPod and no internet to distract me. It has been very healthy for my head and really beneficial for work, coming up with ideas and planning my day too. I don’t think I could bear the gym but I have started to get out dancing again, as this is the best exercise ever and I really love it.

With regard to food, I eat out less and try not to snack, unless I am really hungry and need to eat. I used to snack because I wanted to taste something before. I still eat the fatty stuff like pork belly (how could I not?!) but I have a much more balanced approach overall, and I find that as I feel better I want to eat healthier stuff. So, no strict diet but moderation and balance. I feel great for it.

Which brings me neatly to this interview which in part discusses it (and lots of other random stuff). When I watched this video interview with AT Culture I was squirming. It was the an incredibly hot day, I had gotten lost and flustered for 45 minutes immediately before filming, and I was sitting in a window. In algebra terms that equals a BIG RED FACE.

But then I thought, HEY, look how much weight I’ve lost since then? That is fantastic and encourages me to keep going. As do my two favourite red vintage dresses in my wardrobe which should hopefully fit soon. So, it is entirely possible for you too. Just do it, and feel better. Give it time too.

I think it is a nice interview, if you discount the redness and the extra kgs. Maybe just listen to it, and don’t watch (for me?!).

I hope you like it! Thanks Ashleigh & AT Culture.


Video: An Afternoon with Ferran Adria, at Google HQ London (Part 1)

A Chat with Ferran Adria of El Bulli

A Chat with Ferran Adria of El Bulli

I know, right? *Pinch* Ferran Adria, at Google HQ. For a geek who is into food that’s a pretty dreamy combination.

Ferran was visiting to promote his book – The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria – and was cooking lunch at the Google London HQ Canteen. It started badly as I got lost, which was frustrating, and that is all too regular an occurrence too, but an hour later, I found myself in a room with Ferran Adria, with an unexpected opportunity to interview him.

Ferran Adria's New Cookbook - The Family Meal

Now, I never expected this so I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t even know how to change the setting on my camera so that the video could be in colour. I had had a few too many glasses of red wine the night before. BUT, an opportunity to interview Ferran Adria, I couldn’t refuse. It was more of a chat really.

What a lovely man he is and he is hugely inspiring. PLUS, he gave us an exclusive. As part of his new initiative, the el bulli foundation, he is organising a conference in Spain that will gather food bloggers from all over the world in October at his first Gastronomy & Technology Day. His innovative brain stretches beyond food, and he will be publishing his research at the foundation online daily. So he wants to have a conversation with us.

It will be in Spanish but he was very encouraging. I will go if I can. As a technologist before food writer, and scientist before that, I am hugely interested. It also kicks off a series of events leading up to the launch of the el bulli foundation. Here’s hoping he hosts one here too.

Video chat with Ferran Adria with May of Slow Food Kitchen follows.

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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.

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.

[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.


Getting to know me: A video interview with Trusted Places

Recently, Walid from Trusted Places got in touch about doing an interview for The Trusted Places Blog. If you don’t know Trusted Places, you should. It’s is a community based reviewing site that allows you to post reviews, setup your own community of reviewing friends and it indicates people with similar tastes as you which can be really good if you are scouting new bars and restaurants! It has received fantastic acclaim in the press and has been listed in the top 25 UK startups in the Register, the Top 10 British Dotcoms to watch in the Guardian, the 50 Best Travel Websites and website of the week in the Times Online and on and on.

I really like it, I tend to look there for reviews of new places (as well as blogs of course!) and I’ve been a member and user of their site for a while, so, I thought that it might be fun to go down and meet them. Here are the results!

Important ps. My time/money comment followed a discussion about high end restaurants and how I’d love to go to more of them every week. That’s edited out so out of context it sounds worse than it is. So, please don’t worry, I am not impoverished and do treat myself ;-)
It’s a dreadful phrase that seeped in from my project management day job. Sigh.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.534454&w=425&h=350&fv=] from the Trusted Places Blog