Category Archives: Ireland

Cold plate warms the heart

I finally got out of the house on Saturday, which was a good thing as cabin fever was starting to set in. I had to go up to Lismore in Co Waterford, to do some interviews at the Immrama festival.

Got the interviews out of the way in the morning and having wound up the second one about quarter to one, I suddenly felt very hungry indeed.I knew I would be in Lismore all day – I was going to the sessions of the writers I’d interviewed – so I figured I’d have dinner later in the newly refurbished Lismore House Hotel.

No point in eating there twice I thought so I wandered down the street and went into the first pub I came to – Eamonn’s. Eamonn was behind the counter. I always take it as a good sign to find the person whose name is over the door is also the person dishing out the drinks, whatever about the grub.

Eamonn’s is a proper pub, not very big, kind of old-fashioned but without bicycles hanging on the wall and what I can only describe as all that shite you sometimes get in both rural Irish pubs and mockeeyah Oirish pubs.

“Have you any sandwiches?” I asked Eamonn. He regarded me dolefully. I half-expected him to say “No”. I smiled encouragingly at him. “We have soup and sandwiches,” he said before taking a deep breath and rattling off the full menu.

“We have soup homemade mushroom soup sandwiches toasted sandwiches cold plates you know cold plates with chicken and home-cooked ham or smoked salmon cold plates tea coffee and sweets.”

I don’t know when I last heard anyone refer to dessert as “sweets”. It was rather endearing. I opted for a chicken and ham cold plate and took a seat in the corner.

Maybe it was my copy of The Guardian, my too-trendy glasses or the overall cut of me but Eamonn had his doubts. He came over with cutlery.

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New (to me) Irish food blogs

Answering some comments here reminds me I’ve been remiss in adding some of the newish Irish food blogs I’ve come across to the sidebar. (Cannot bring myself to use the word blogroll. That is one ugly word.)

First up is Deborah, aka the Humble Housewife, who is a lovely lady (NOT an American!) living in Offaly. I like her blog a lot and don’t think she should be humble at all. I am also in awe that she is even contemplating buying a fresh truffle.

Next is Abulafia at Eat Me Drink Me. Like that Alice in Wonderland reference although you’re putting the likes of me to shame by curing your own bacon!

And then there is Laura at Eat Drink Live, who is a baker in Limerick. Damn, some of her creations look good, including the Chocolate & Guinness muffins with Irish Whiskey Cream.

There is quite a merry band of food bloggers in Ireland now. Some day, we shall have to have a food bloggers’ convention and all eat lots of cake. Yay.

Patrick’s Day tips for Epicur(ious)eans

Goodness, just realised that I’ve gotten a lovely shout-out from Tanya at Epicurious.com. I’ve been visiting that site for years so I’m most chuffed with the mention. Hello to anyone who has arrived here from there. As it’s quite likely you might be American, I thought I’d give you a few tips for March 17th.

First of all, and I hate to be the one to break it to you, Irish people do not eat corned beef and cabbage. That’s an Irish-American thing. We eat bacon and cabbage, although we don’t necessarily do so on Patrick’s Day. I seem to remember we used to have roast lamb (meltingly tender Irish spring lamb, of course) for Patrick’s Day when I was a kid.

Neither do we consume green beer, green cake or any other green stuff on St Patrick’s Day, apart possibly from peas, broccoli, cabbage or other things that are supposed to be green, like the mint sauce for the lamb.

Furthermore, we do not dye the rivers green or dress entirely in green. Surprised? To see how odd the American version of Patrick’s Day seems to us, have a look at this article from one of yesterday’s Irish newspapers on the bemusing experience of being Irish in America on March 17th.

I can’t think that we eat anything else special on the day, although as children we were always given a day off from our Lenten fasting so we used to chow down on lots of sweets and chocolates. I don’t do Lent any more so that’s immaterial.

What will I eat on Saturday? Probably some lovely Irish salmon with spring vegetables and new potatoes, so the plate will be vaguely green, white & orange. Well, I have to make some sort of effort to honour the national holiday…

A little history of Irish food

I still have the January blues but I am perking up greatly at the thought of starting Regina Sexton’s short course in UCC tomorrow: A little history of Irish food. Regina, Ireland’s leading food historian, will take us through the eating habits of the Irish over the past 10,000 years. Food and social history all wrapped up together – it couldn’t be more up my alley. I’m looking forward to learning plenty and meeting a few kindred souls. Be sure and say Hi if you are going too. 🙂

Roundup of Irish food blogs

Kieran over at Ice Cream Ireland is appealing for more Irish food & drink blogs so fingers crossed a few people will be tempted to dip a toe in the water. Maybe a finger in the pie would be a better hackneyed metaphor to use in this case.

Anyway, between Kieran’s post and the comments, there is a pretty extensive roundup of Irish food blogs. Must update my blogroll to reflect this lovely smorgasbord of recipes and observations.

Incidentally, read all about smorgasbords here.

New Irish food magazine

Irish foodies have a new magazine to look forward to, it seems. Intermezzo is set for publication shortly and, according to this thread on the ForknCork forums:

“It’ll be available nationwide in good newsagents, also some of the gourmet food shops, deli’s (sic) and we’re working on having it at some of the food fairs and farmers markets as well. We have John McKenna, Martin Moran, Ernie Whalley, Caroline Hennessy, Eurotoques and many others all contributing to the magazine. We’ll be doing features on Irish produce, International food, Irish chefs, cooking schools here and in Europe, wine, spirits and there’ll also be at least 50 proper chefs (sic) recipes in each issue.”

I wonder if it has anything to do with this Intermezzo magazine, which seems to be an American publication…the two certainly appear to have the same cover art.

Update:
The two magazines are indeed linked. According to this press release, the founder and publisher of the US Intermezzo “has entered an exclusive publishing arrangement with Dublin’s Beehive Media Ltd. to launch Intermezzo Ireland. The premiere issue is scheduled to hit the newsstands in Ireland on November 5”.

If the Irish version has hit newsstands this week, I haven’t seen it yet. Will be intrigued to read it when it does appear. Background on Roseann Tully, the US publisher here.

Spam, spam, lovely spam

Now spam doesn’t really come under the remit of RandomGrub, unless it’s this sort, which I really must try out and report on at some point.

Still, it’s worth drawing attention to the lovely Damien Mulley’s complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner about spam from a PR company and events that have followed it.