Summer is hectic isn’t it?
I mean this year in particular, because we are blessed with all this sunshine, so it’s off to the beach with a picnic at the drop of a hat.
We are secretly afraid it might take another 25 years for summer to come back to our island; We are soaking it all up (with factor 50 +++ of course).
Before I delve too deeply into what is on my mind I need to ask you for a huge favour.
Can you please have a look at this project and pledge towards it? It will cost you nothing if the project does not get off the ground, but if it does, I can promise you a hugely entertaining read because this lady knows how to engage an audience with her words.
I would not ask, normally, but this lassie is so much braver than I. She is one of those risk takers. The kind that believes in a project and makes it happen. The kind of woman I don’t have the balls to be half the time. I need hers to work out so I can be braver. Go on. Please. For me.
Now. Down to the crux of the matter.
We are kid-central here at the moment. My brother has dropped off his off-spring for three weeks. The rules are lax and the lovin is easy.
At the market this morning I caught the two wee fellas (my young fella – Jack age 8 – and my nephew – Raemonn age (almost) 6) holding hands whilst waiting for hot doughnuts.
Then it dawned on me. They have grown up so bloody fast – and are now looking out for each other.
This time next year, there will be no need for hand holding.
They got their doughnuts, shared the napkins and meandered through the market.
They did not ask or beg for anything. No one needed to go to the toilet. They all waited patiently while we chatted with our friends …
We had to stop along the way to pick up something for supper…
But due to sharp knives and slick fishmongers that only took 36 seconds of slicing and slivering.
And when we told them all it was time to head back to the van to go home to make lunch …
Like little ducks – they lined up and headed back to the van. No one grumbled. They were content.
And that’s when it hit me ….
We are all done with the babies and toddlers.
That phase – that we seem to have been smothered in for ten years now … has finally passed.
Life is zooming by at breakneck speed.
I hope you are making time to stop and smell the roses. I know I am.
On a side note, and because I can’t be seen to rest on my laurels too much ya know … I am über excited about a project we are working on with the folks over at Galway.com
I stumbled across their site last summer and remember saying to one of my friends ‘when I grow up I want to work for these guys’.
Imagine my SQUEAL of delight when they emailed me a few weeks ago, right after I finished my exams, (coincidence? I think it was fate!) and asked if I could do a bit of work for them.
Almost not able to sleep at night here with the excitement on this one so stay tuned – in the meantime have a mooch around on their YouTube channel.
Ciao for now guys n’ dolls. We are entering into Race Week here in Galway so if you are headed West to the City of the Tribes be sure to hit us up for a cup of coffee/tea or a pint!
This week … I learned how to make (blitz) Puff Pastry from scratch.
He is always giving out that I buy the crap in a box.
But lets face it – I have been busy guys.
I have not had time to mix and roll and fold and chill.
I have not had time to wait in between each thirty minute spell . . the stuff outta the box is fine, I said. It’ll do.
What’s a busy Mum to do?
The lesson was for me … but I think I should share it with you.
Because, truth be told, it ain’t that hard to do.
Our weekly feature in The Sunday Times this Sunday (21st July) will feature three excellent recipes using puff pastry. If you have a wee bit of free time, why not try to whip up a batch at home?
What you will need
450 g plain flour
450 g cold butter
7 g salt
300 ml ice water
The mixing of those ingredients will deliver you a beautifully soft ball of puff pastry dough.
WiseTip: Freeze the butter then grate it into the flour. Use ice cubes (even though they are slated for your Gin & Tonic) to chill the water. It really does make a noticeable difference.
Then the rest is all down to rolling, folding and chilling. Something we are all trying to do a bit more of these days, what with the Irish heatwave we are experiencing.
Roll out the dough onto a cool (marble slab if you have it) surface. Roll it thickly, and try to keep it in the shape of a rectangle.
Keep your hands cool and floured. Work fast and do not over knead the dough.
Once it is the correct shape and seems fairly pliable it is time to start folding.
Fold one third of the pastry inwards ….
fold the other piece inwards.
Once you do that, fold it ‘bottom end up to top’ making a two-fold piece of pastry. But hold on – and fold it again because you need a four-fold.
It is also recommended that you roll each fold as you go.
Once you have your four-fold piece of pastry ready to go, it is time to set the timer (for 30 minutes) and set about distracting yourself from the task at hand. I find this is always a good time to reflect on the pile of laundry that sits washed, dried and carelessly strewn in the downstairs (unoccupied) bedroom.
OR you might succumb to an ice-cold drink that you found laying shamelessly on its side in the fridge. Either way, stay alert because you have to repeat that four-fold process two more times, rolling and folding and chilling
and three more ciders in order to get the pastry ready for its final three-fold.
And even after you get to the final three-fold you then have to chill the pastry for an hour. Now, I know that cider was involved, and the days are nice and long, but can we just check our watches here and wonder how many hours of this day did we actually devote to making puff pastry?
The final three-folded piece has an amazing smoothness. Soft as a peach.
So we made a peach pie.
And the recipe for this will be in the Sunday Times later in July or early in August.
“T’is all fun and games around here these days folks. My four children (and four of their cousins) are eating, sleeping, swimming and dreaming all over the place. The noise levels are ferocious and fabulous.
I hope you are having a delicious summer where ever you are.
Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,
Morans on the Weir
(091) 796 113
Ok. Stop everything that you are doing right now and get your butts to Moran’s on the Weir if you have never been.
That is all.
Alright … I might manage to eek out a few more words then. How many restaurants have several tables reserved by 11:30am on a bank holiday Monday? Anthony Bourdain taught us something to live by a few years ago, when he penned one of our favourite foodoirs Kitchen Confidential, where he advises customers to never order fish at a restaurant on a Monday because it won’t be fresh.
I have broken that rule only once; It was on a Monday a few months back. I regret my decision greatly and have sworn never to sway again. Unless of course I am eating at Morans on the Weir, where the fish are always fresh … hell, sometimes even still alive!
We have eaten here countless times, and more frequently in the last few months due to a massive surge of friends coming to visit us from abroad. This is one of our favourite places to hide-out, away from the hustle and bustle of Galway city. Morans on the Weir is very much a step back in time, and I for one hope it stays planted firmly right where it is.
If it ain’t broke … don’t fix it.
Dating back more than 300 years, Moran’s of the Weir is now run by Catherine Moran – the 7th generation of the Moran family to get stuck in and manage this iconic restaurant-by-the-sea.
Her brother Michael, holds the crown for both the International and World Oyster Opening Championships, taking the phrase fastest gun in the west to a whole new level. His father has held both of these titles too. In addition to being talented and this place exceeding all our (high) expectations when it comes to the customer service and food offered – this is one of the hardest working hands-on family in the restaurant business in Ireland today.
I want them to get an award for this alone!
Bold splashes of colour painted on doors, windows, walls and stairs greet you as you meander through all the nooks and crannies in the restaurant. Guinness pours perfectly – as it should – and it is the best place to hide out alone, just the two of you, or reserve a massive table for you and your friends, in the back room, and stay all night.
You might arrive hungry, but after dining on their exquisite (mostly) fish menu, you will be well sated when you leave.
You will be spoiled for choice with the menu options they offer and will not be able to choose one over the other. We have eaten ALL THEIR menu options. You can’t go wrong. Bring friends and share all the platters.
But make sure you do go … and especially try to get there during the summer months when you can sit outside on their benches right on the Weir. Or traipse over there early in September when the native Galway Oysters are plump and perfect. I have yet to meet a person who’s face does not light up when I ask them if they have ever eaten at Moran’s of the Weir.
Hell, even Seamus Heaney penned a poem about eating oysters at Morans and it is (handwritten) hanging on their wall!
Here’s the first (of five) stanza from the poem :
by Seamus Heaney
Our shells clacked on the plates.
My tongue was a filling estuary,
My palate hung with starlight:
As I tasted the salty Pleiades
Orion dipped his foot into the water.
If you can wrangle a few more lines from this poem and leave it in the comments section below you will be entered into a drawing to win one of two €50 gift certificates we have to offer our readers, to enjoy a bit of grub at Moran’s on the Weir. Remember, as with ALL giveaways on our blog, you must be a bona-fide regular reader-commenter of the blog and be signed up to receive our updates via email right here.
The lucky winner will be chosen at random on Thursday July 4th in the evening.
If you win, PLEASE invite me to join you for dinner!
Those are all the WiseWords I have for today.
AND (finally) the winners ARE :
Ladies – please contact me with your home postal address so I can pop these in the post to you.
Thanks and congrats to you!
Before we get started into the nuts and bolts of my latest life crises … we should take a moment to reflect on the past 400 blog posts.
Yes folks .. I have (now) written 401 blog posts.
Wayhay! Where the heck does the time go?!
… ‘What will you do next?’ …
’tis the most asked question I get these days.
I am struggling to come up with a real bonafide answer, so have thrown together a few random suggestions for y’all to ponder on and if you have time, why not offer me up a few suggestions – because I’m plum out of ideas myself.
A friend of ours back in Cincinnati, Ohio helped us clean up our act and designed a brand spanking new logo for us. We were looking or something that was a bit girlie (for me) and a bit manly (for the chef) and this is what our good friend Tommy Sheehan of TommyInk came up with.
What do y’all think?
I got a lot of
‘it reminds me of Jack Daniels‘
‘it looks kinda like the Coca-Cola‘ logo.
Both of those guys marry quite well together and are doing alright … so we are sticking with it.
Because Tommy is a true artist, and a gentleman to boot, he threw in a few fun designs to give us something to think about depending on what we decide to ‘do next’.
I am loving some of his ideas ….
How easy would this be … maybe we will sell our eggs. Gawd knows we have a boat load of them and Dr. Doolittle, aka the Chef, is getting ready to hatch a few goslings so I need to come up with a way to keep the eggs moving!
Or how about we get into product development and do a bit of Sausage making? You have no idea how good these sausages are. No promise of lovely and lean here. Just real chicken meat and real real duck fat – which makes them exceptionally delicious.
Perhaps we will brew some beer?
OR bottle and sell some of my Rhubarb Cordial?
I’d even save a few for you, my loyal readers.
This gorgeous and bespoke Moleskin notebook would be on my Christmas wish list, on my anniversary wish list, my birthday wish list, my valentines day wish list … you get the picture. I’d be wishing for this.
So you see … we have lots of options; and we are doing a lot of thinking. Working for The Sunday Times keeps us busy so whatever we do take on, it will be secondary to that.
I have a lot of ‘giveaways’ slotted for the summer. Just the other day I got an email wondering if our readers would like a new tea kettle or toaster? Once we get the blog post released from the drafts folder I will alert you to this one. Aren’t they gorgeous!
On a side note … regarding the giveaway posts. I have received a few emails from disgruntled readers who hate ‘giveaway’ blog posts. I am truly sorry to hear this. Ron and I get A LOT of crap to review here at Chez Wise and most of it is so bad it never makes it on to the blog. Occasionally we get a book that is a real gem or experience a sleep over that leaves a lasting impression. So when we get these treats we like to offer them to our readers. We could keep them for ourselves, but we choose to share them with you. It is our way of saying THANKS for all your support. I am not sure if I ever told you this, but almost 70% of our blog readers have bought our book (the hard copy) and another 35% have bought the ebook.
If you want to work with us promoting your book or hotel or food product, then feel free to contact us right here.
But it will cost you. A girls gotta eat!
Ok – so in order to answer the question I posed at the start of this blog post of mine …
What will I do next? ……… now that my college career has come to a close and I will graduate (with honours) in the Autumn ……
My answer is this …
Haven’t I already done enough?
Ok … maybe not exactly nothing … we will be selling Texas Chili to the masses at The Galway Garden Festival at Claregalway Castle (in our neighbourhood) on July 6th and 7th 2013 from 11am – 6pm daily.
Stop by for a bite!
Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,
Quick update : the winner of the book Apron Strings by Nessa Robins is Lorna Sixsmith of Write-on-Track blog!
Congrats Lorna – the book is on its way to you at Garrendenny Lane!
Apron Strings by Nessa Robins
New Island Press. May 2013
You might begin to think that the Irish cook book market is becoming a little over-saturated with ‘blog to book’ deals if you scoured through all the Irish Food Bloggers that have managed to land book deals. I’d love to say I agree with you but every one of them are churning out beautiful, personal gems, and not one of them has the same look or feel to it.
Bespoke … is how they appear.
A glimpse inside the personal lives of Irish food writers and I can’t get enough of it.
If this makes me sound nosey – it’s because I am.
A few months ago, Nessa sent me a personal email inviting the Chef and I to come to her book launch in her hometown of Moate, County Meath. At the time, I was gearing up for my exam finals at NUIG (which I passed with honours!) and I did not think we would be able to make it, but as it turned out, we were able to steal away for the evening; and I am so happy that we did.
I asked Nessa if I could interview her for our Wise Words blog because I think she is an amazing strong, funny, down-to-earth woman who’s company I love to be in.
In other words … she’s great craic!
How Nessa managed to find the time to write and photograph this gorgeous book whilst parenting 4 gorgeous and busy children, taking care of her father (who passed away shortly after she submitted her manuscript,) keep her floors clean and chickens fed at the same time, is a credit to her life-management skills which are evident throughout the book.
Tips and tricks to save you time and money filter effortlessly through the chapters in her strong yet soft voice, making you want to keep reading to reveal the delicious recipes she sustains her family with.
Her training as a nurse pours on to the pages too, in the gentlest way, with sections titled ‘In the family way’ or (my favourite) ‘Home Nurse’.
Anyway – enough about the details of her book. We have one author-signed copy up for grabs and I will post it anywhere in the world, so leave me a comment in the box below if you would like to be in with a chance to win, fellow food blogger, Nessa Robin’s first book, Apron Strings.
Nessa drove over to have a spot of lunch with me last week and the hours few by us so fast. We have so much in common – I was sad she had to race back home to fetch her kids from school (as did I!) and can’t wait to get together with her during the summer months.
Now on to the interview …
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with the story?
When I was writing the proposal for Apron Strings I wanted it to seem like a natural progression from the blog. It was the personal aspect of sharing family stories which gave me my voice in blogging, so I wanted to expand on some of these stories in the book. I find it easier to write from the heart, so no matter what the recipe I could normally link it to some personal story or other.
How did you become interested in food writing?
I had been teaching children’s cookery classes and while I was pregnant with Millie, and due to illness, I found myself unable to continue with my work. I still wanted to maintain my connection with food. For my classes I would type out hand-outs which included the recipes and some nutritional info etc. The blog let me continue this, without actually conducting the weekly classes. As the months went by I realised how much I enjoyed this form of writing.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Most of my recipes and stories are drawn from my own experiences. I have a great love for old cookbooks as most not only share a recipe but often take give the reader a detailed tutorial. Some of my old cookbooks were my mothers and grandmothers, but in recent years I have sought some out in auctions. My Dad passed away just five weeks after I submitted my manuscript. He was a wonderful help to me as I searched for ideas for recipes and introductions. I actually conducted interviews with him all about his own childhood memories. I then used some of what we chatted about in the book. Thankfully I recorded these and they mean so much to me now.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Since I work from home, and to make the most of a working day, I must ensure that the children are completely sorted. Therefore most of my writing occurs on my husband’s days off. I stick to around a 9-6pm sort of day, with a few breaks dispersed throughout the day. On the days that I have a deadline and my husband is working, I generally get up quite early and write while the rest of the house is asleep.
I have a workstation set up in the spare room where my computer, reference books and many piles of notes are located. While I was writing the book I would have a daily and a weekly target for writing, recipe testing and the photography. I rarely met them but found them essential for keeping me on track.
What is the hardest part about writing Nessa?
A blank computer screen before all the words have come together in my head. Once I ‘m a few lines into my day’s writing I normally feel much better about the entire process.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
I suppose the sense of accomplishment and worth. In the past every so often I would receive an email or message from someone who has enjoyed a blog post, but I’m honestly over-whelmed by the amount of positive feedback I’ve already received from the book. I also love that forever more my own book will be on my bookshelf to share with my children and family.
What are you working on now?
I’m still busy with my columns and naturally the blog. Even though I’m not working on anything definite, at the moment, I’m continuously jotting down ideas for new recipes and stories.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Be true to yourself and write from the heart.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
As cookbooks stand there are many that I cherish but I especially love any of Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall. I also love Nigella’s books, due to the personal introductions before each recipe.
My favourite Irish author is Roisin Meaney. She’s a wonderful story teller and her books are full of interesting characters.
If money were no object, and you could have any one piece of cooking equipment, what would it be?
Most certainly an Aga.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had and where?
As a family we rarely go out for meals, as often I can find it more hassle than it is worth. In the past couple of years I have eaten some great meals out and of course at home, however one meals stands out above the rest and that would be one that my husband and I enjoyed in Ballymaloe House two years ago. The setting was beautiful and the meal, which was simply presented, tasted sensationally. Every single element of it was in season. I must also mention that this meal was the first that my husband and I had enjoyed out alone in seven years. Would that have something to do with it?
What are your favorite memoirs by food writers, chefs, or anyone else, for that matter?
I’m totally fascinated by memoirs. I expect it comes from having an inquisitive side and finding out about how others live. I must say, and not just because you are interviewing me, that I really enjoyed The Chef & I. I found it very touching.
A couple of years ago I read Julia Child’s My Life in France. She was a lady who had such a great drive and an amazing passion for food. The story of her food journey is heart-felt and inspiring.
My husband Ron ‘never eats the same meal twice’. As a chef he believes that if you want to be knowledgeable about food, you need to experience it yourself. Do you agree with this statement?
I certainly would, however while cooking for the children familiarity is often most welcomed and less waste is guaranteed. Many of our family meals are long standing favourites, but I would often introduce different ingredients and flavours thus encouraging a more varied palate. Agreeing with Ron’s statement, whenever I’m dining out I will always order something that I wouldn’t necessarily make at home and try not to order the same dish twice.
Nessa – thank you so much for taking the time to come to Galway for the interview. I had so much fun chatting with you and can’t wait for a picnic with the kids and husbands during the summer. Móna x
Y’all can buy Nessa’s book right here … or here … and if you want your name in the hat for a free copy then please leave a comment below please. I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to support women like Nessa who take ‘Working in the Arts’ very seriously and her book is a true celebration of Irish recipes from the heart of her family home – the kitchen. Also, if you would like to read another review of her book you can have a peek at Georgina Campbell’s review right here.
This should go without saying but all these gorgeous photos are styled and shot by Nessa or her husband Diarmuid.
What a team!
Those are all the Wise Words I have for today.
(I am so delighted to be free from the clutches of academia and back to blogging, reading and writing for fun!)
Clyde Court Hotel,
Wednesday, June 12th 2003.
She who made me a Mama … who we call Rory Belle ………
You handed her to me with care, she ………. but the size of a sugar bag.
Her teeny tinny little self, just squeaked occasionally, when something was to be had.
Snuggling in to me real close, she took to her Daddy too,
I never thought I could love so much … her, …. and even you.
I think of you so often, and am thankful for this child I call my own.
I hope the years have been kind to you, and far from yours, you have not roamed.
She has your fiesty nature, and even the same glint lights up her eyes,
and sometimes I catch streaks of red hair, and close my eyes with happy sighs.
She’s Mama’s little helper, but don’t let this photo fool you so,
because, like me, she’ll instruct you see – and make sure the BOSS everyone does know!
Her cheeks turn rosy red when colder weather comes around,
and no matter what the climate is, she’s never far from her hoodies … always laying on the ground!
Because we fed her early,
only four months old and she was eating well,
her appetite for lovely food,
will continue to grow as well.
And as I scoured through my files,
looking for photos to share with you,
you’ll notice that in many of them,
she’s never alone … there’s always two.
She loves her little bubby,
she is never far from his side,
and many times I have to separate them,
and the two of them I’ll chide.
Her other love is animals,
especially her puppy Pearl.
I cannot ever imagine her without
animals in her world.
And of course it always warms my heart,
so see the crazy messages she leaves for me.
Sometimes they are on the chalkboard,
for all the world to see.
But the thing I love about this girl,
and have done from the start,
is that you gave her willingly to Ron and I,
a huge piece of your own heart.
(and in our case … two large pieces!)
So know this lovely lady,
that your girl is safe and well.
Know that every day of these past ten years,
with love our hearts do swell.
Happy TENTH Birthday to our gorgeous funny bold brassy belligerent beautiful bossy baby girl – Rory Belle.
We have been parenting for ten years … isn’t that an accomplishment in itself!
Adoption (or fostering) is not for everyone; I get that. But if you have room in your heart and home for kids, then the funniest ones might just end up on your doorstep looking for a place to call their home. Be open to the wonderful way of building a family that is adoption (or fostering).
On a side note, we are parents of 4 kids but the HSE does not allow us to share photos of the other two. It’s a right bummer and I struggle with that particular rule – but it is a child protection law so we respect their wishes as it is in the best interest of the kids. Now you just have to use your imagination and picture two gorgeous red-headed and fair skinned freckled girlies that are as cute as buttons, growing like weeds and blissfully happy to be part of our wonderful weird Wise family here in Galway.
Those are all the Wise Words I have for today – off to help the Chef make a cracker of a birthday cake for our baby girl - Rory Belle.
In a few weeks …. our children will all be home for eight long lazy weeks of summer.
By the third day of this deliciously long summer holiday, I will have pulled out most of my (already short) hair and will be wondering, come August, why the teachers won’t take them back a week earlier than expected .
We have the world of respect for teachers here in this house. Mostly because they help shape the minds of our offspring whilst we work or study, but also because they have our children under their watchful eye for several hours a day – five days a week. We do not, for one second, worry about our children when they are at school.
We do, however, worry about the teachers; Our four alone would drive any teacher crazy.
Before school wraps up this year we will be making a gorgeous Rhubarb tea cake to share with the teachers at our children’s school.
You should give it a whirl too.
It’s just that good.
First, before the recipe … I have a small recipe for how to roast your Rhubarb. Use the roasted fruit for cakes and cheesecakes and the leftover syrup becomes the best base for one of my favourite summer cocktails or it is also excellent when poured liberally over pancakes.
Roasted Rhubarb Cordial
Cordials or syrups are an excellent way to preserve summer fruits and can make for a thoughtful house warming gift, or a welcome surprise in a student’s care package when the time comes. If you do not have a square of cheesecloth (or muslin) then best to invest in a piece as it comes in quite handy when dabbling in drinks and cordials in the kitchen. I am a dab hand at dabbling in drinks. It is what I do best.
What you will need
2 bunches of Rhubarb
200 g caster sugar
150 ml water
125 ml orange juice
2 vanilla beans, split
3 cardamom pods, bruised (or Star Anise would work fine too)
How to prepare it
Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC. Cut the rhubarb at an angle -about 6 cm in length. Place on a roasting pan and sprinkle with caster sugar. Add the water, orange juice, vanilla beans and cardamom pods. Roast in pre-heated oven, turning once, for 20 minutes or until rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape. (Although, it does not matter if it loses its shape). Remove from heat. Transfer the cooked Rhubarb to a bowl and pour the syrup into a pot and cook over a medium heat until the syrup thickens. Drizzle over the roasted rhubarb and place in the fridge to cool completely. For best infused taste, leave in the fridge overnight. Remove from fridge and strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. (If your syrup has set up a little thick then you can heat it for a minute before pouring into strainer).
The cordial can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two months and is delicious poured over a stack of buttermilk pancakes or a piece of French toast and also works excellently in summertime cocktails. The left over roasted rhubarb can also be stored in an airtight container for two weeks and we love to use this as a topping for baked Rhubarb cheesecake too. (email me for the recipe at monaANDron@Sunday-Times.ie ).
A quick rhubarb whisky cocktail can be whipped up in a minute. Crush some ice and pack tightly into a medium sized glass. Mix the juice of one orange, half a lemon, 2 oz of whiskey, 2 oz of rhubarb cordial and a spring of mint and a dash of bitters in a glass. Pour over crushed ice and garnish with a slice of orange.
Ok – now that you know how to make the roasted Rhubarb … you can move on to this recipe and make the cake!
This is what the roasted Rhubarb looks like …. but the recipe calls for it to be baked into the cake so it looses some of its hot-pinkness when baked.
Don’t we all … heh heh!
- For the fruit
- 60 ml lemon or orange juice (2 lemons)
- 120 g light brown sugar
- 40 g cornstarch
- 3 Tbsp water
- 450 g Strawberries, hulled and cut in quarters
- 450 g Blueberries
- 450 g Rhubarb, roasted
- For the streusel topping
- 90 g flour
- 120 g light brown sugar
- 150 g whole almonds, crushed
- For the cake batter
- 275 g butter
- 360 g flour (we like to use Spelt)
- 150 g light brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 360 ml buttermilk
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Scrapings of a whole vanilla bean pod
- Preheat the oven to 175º/350F. Brush a 9 x 12 x 3-inch baking pan with butter, and set aside. Make the fruit sauce: Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the blueberries; cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until it begins to bubble. In a small bowl, mix the cornflour with 3 Tbsp cold water and then pour into the blueberries, mixing with a spoon until it is well incorporated. You will notice the liquid has thickening after a few minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the strawberries, already quartered; let cool. Use the spears of roasted rhubarb too – but leave them aside until it is almost time to put the cake in the oven.
- Make the crumb topping: Combine 90g sugar and 90g flour in a medium bowl. Melt 30g butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Drizzle the butter over the flour mixture; using your hands, mix until crumbly. Add in the crushed almonds and set aside.
- Make the cake batter: Whisk together the remaining flour and sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Grate the chilled butter into the flour mixture and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles coarse meal. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla essence and vanilla pod scrapings. Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture; stir to combine.
- Spread half the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan. Top with all the fruit mixture, including the roasted rhubarb too. Top with the remaining fruit sauce. If there is too much liquid, save some for pouring over the cake later after it has baked. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
- Bake for 1 hour at 175ºC until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched in the center. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares.
Ok … a smooth enough re-emerging of sorts back in to Blogtopia. I have just finished up four years of college and one of the hardest years of my life … Thanks for all the well wishes and flowers and presents etc. I am back on my feet, taking long strides again, kicking ass and taking names.
On a side note, and because many of you have been asking me, my next blog post is going to be titled ‘What comes next’ …. so stay tuned.
That’s all folks … back on the bandwagon!
14-16 Churchyard Street
Tel: 091 564 829/564 832
What’s not to love, right?
Before we kick off here .. most of these images (except for the last one) were taken by Galway’s fabulous photographer Reg Gordon and he – being a total gent – gave us permission to use them.
From their website :
Sheridans Cheesemongers is run by its’ owners – Kevin Sheridan, Seamus Sheridan and Fiona Corbett. The company was founded in 1995, when brothers Seamus and Kevin started selling Irish farmhouse cheeses at the Galway market. Shortly after we opened a shop in Galway with Irish farmhouse cheeses piled from floor to ceiling. Fiona joined in 1997 and Dublin markets and a shop on South Anne Street in the city centre were established that year. The Irish cheeses were quickly joined by their European cousins as well as a huge range of other artisan foods including olive oils, cured meats, condiments and pasta sourced during travels in Europe.
Sheridans is more than just your ordinary cheesemongers. Sheridans is where the locals go to have a glass of fizz before dinner and a snifter of Port wine before bed. A place where tables and chairs mesh together at the sound of footsteps climbing the stairs to the wine bar – right above the cheese shop. A place where you go when you are hungry and will be sated when you leave thanks to the food, but more so, thanks to the company you will keep.
Sheridans … go there … Eat cheese and drink wine … you’ll feel like a Galwegian instantly.
Although they have been in business since 1995 (read all about how they got started) I did not get to know Seámus Sheridan until late 2008 when I moved back to Ireland after having lived abroad for almost 15 years. We had heard about the shop from my Mum (a self acclaimed cheese addict) and popped in to fill our tummies with as many Irish cheeses we could sample. We were only too delighted to find the wine bar above the cheese shop and felt like we were well and truly ‘home’.
Everyone feels like that when they visit Sheridans; Not just the locals.
Seámus was ranting on about something that night from behind the wine counter. All of it making sense and all of it serious rantings too. It was about the importance of supporting our local farmers and producers. It was about eating dinner together as a family; it was about how delicious a plate of thick cut Irish chips are (french fries) and how they were one of his favourite things to eat. This is an image that is burned in my mind … Seámus describing the heat and grease of a plate full of chips all salted and vinegared … (I know vinegared is not a real word .. but I am telling the story here).
I am still licking my fingers, almost five years later, pining for that plate of chips.
Seámus Sheridan is a story teller like no other and his passion and ethos for food is commendable. Not only does he run a tight ship (with the help of his brother Kevin and their other business partner Fiona Corbett), Seámus has taken his ethos that little bit further and is giving back to his community. Something we should all do more of.
Several years ago, a young (and seriously talented) chef by the name of David Gumbleton, all the way from Darlington Australia, began working at Sheridans Cheesemongers.
’ … ”What I learnt was that, with food, it’s not what you do to it, it’s best what you don’t do to it,” he once said. … ‘
Seámus set about forming the David Gumbleton Memorial Prize, established in 2005, which from then until 2012 was awarded annually to an outstanding young chef in the Culinary Arts Degree Programme of the DIT Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin. The g Hotel and the event organisers are now very proud to announce the extension of this award to include students of the GMIT Culinary Arts Degree. This is excellent news for Galway culinary students.
The 2013 recipient will receive a travel bursary and the unique opportunity to work with some one of the world’s best restaurants including Tetsuya Wakuda and Noma – two of the best restaurants in the world and after that the young student will be aided in finding a job. An incredible opportunity for a young and budding chef. (or older mature culinary student too!)
The g hotel, one of Ireland’s leading five star hotels, is delighted to host a gala dinner to announce this year’s recipient of the David Gumbleton memorial prize.
The event, which takes place the evening of Wednesday, 1st May, 2013, will be see a unique and rare gathering of some of David’s oldest friends and Irelands best known chefs including Kevin Thornton; Ross Lewis of Chapter One; Denis Cotter of Café Paradiso in Cork; Enda McEvoy (formerly of Aniar); and Pauline O’Reilly of the g Hotel. The chefs will all speak during the evening, along with the evening’s MC and close friend of David, Seamus Sheridan. The finale of the night will be the presentation of the David Gumbleton Award to this years and last year’s recipients.
At the gala event, guests will be treated to a drinks reception in the hotel’s Grand Salon, followed by a seven course meal, designed especially for the event by The g’s head chef, Pauline Reilly in conjunction with Enda McEvoy, all ensuring that the menu reflects the type of food and ethos that David strived to achieve.
Tickets for the event are priced at €95 per person and are available to purchase through The g Hotel www.theghotel.ie or 091 865 200.
If you are living in Galway and up for a delicious evening then this one’s for you. Also, if you are a culinary student, or the parent of a culinary student, this is a unique opportunity to meet, and learn from, a few of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the industry. They are coming to share their expertise with us and we are fortunate that Galway gets to host such an incredible line up of talented chefs.
We are never too old to learn.
Hope to see you there.
Turn away now of you do not want the goodies OXO Good Grips has up for grabs.
This is a sponsored post.
I do love OXO kitchen gadgets.
And they love me. See evidence of that in previous blog post.
A few weeks ago, due to a persistent back pain I have been tortured with … my doctor told me I shall never again ‘hoover’ … (that’s vacuuming for all y’all back in the US of A).
Imagine receiving a diagnosis like that!
I complained mildly about this on Twitter and a few days later I received a few helpful products in the post from our friends at OXO Good Grips UK.
Now, all I needed was the motivation to start Spring cleaning … and seeing as Spring seems like it will never arrive … I had to enlist a few helpers.
It is safe to say that the folks at OXO know what they are doing because they have developed a line of stuff that kids (and husbands!) like to use around the house, be it kitchen gadgets or clean up kit.
Although I have been given a reprieve from hoovering … I can still manage to hobble about with the dustpan and broom – but thankfully now I have to ‘wait my turn’ because so many of my wee helpers would rather play with the new toys.
Dinners could be eaten off the floor around here these days.
The lovely folks at OXO Good Grips UK have given us a goody bag of spring cleaning kitchen kit with a value of £50 (almost €60) to offer to one of our readers.
No songs or dances on this one … just finish the sentence please in the comments below ….. ” I want to win the Spring cleaning Kitchen Kit from OXO Good Grips because ….. “
and you will be in with a chance to win. You can double your chances by liking their Facebook page too!
On a side note … we have four kids and all four of them have daily chores and are expected to help out around the house on a daily basis. Sweeping, mopping, laundry, mucking out hen coops etc.
You name it … they can do it. Please do not send me an email complaining that I am over exposing my children by using their images on the blog and using them as little slaves to help out around the house.
They are well fed and quite happy to live here and hope to have their own blog someday to get their own back.
Ok – get cracking on the comments folks. I will pick the winner myself on Easter Sunday.
… ” I want to win the Spring cleaning Kitchen Kit from OXO Good Grips because ….. “
Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
About the Chef
You can't find the Chef here.
You might as well just come visit.
He prefers face to face communication.
Buy the Book
SHE WRITES, HE COOKS, THE KIDS MAKE A HUGE MESS