Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘All things food’ Category

The most important meal of the day.

Certainly one I enjoy, I would rather be late for an appointment than skip breakfast!

Now that we are doing bnb, breakfast has become even more important.  The guests’ breakfast that is.  Ours on the mornings we have guests staying may never happen!

I was listening to Georgina Campbell who runs the annual Irish Breakfast Awards on radio some months back, where she was asked ‘how can you go wrong with breakfast?’.  I loved her answer!  ‘Let’s start with the orange juice’!  And how right is she?  Another guest on that radio programme who I think was a chef at a hotel, pointed out that you can give guests the best dinner in the world, but if they stay overnight and have an awful breakfast… that is going to be their abiding memory.  Again how right?

Here at Oldfarm, I am generally the breakfast cook.  Not everyone wants a ‘cooked’ breakfast, but we always offer freshly squeezed juice, homemade granola and homemade yoghurt.  Then if a guest wants there is the ‘cooked’ option

I never start cooking breakfast until the guests come down stairs.  Is there anything worse in the world than breakfasts that have been kept ‘warm’ somewhere!!!  Yuck!

This is what an Oldfarm breakfast consist of …. take all, some or none!

 

Freshly squeezed orange juice

Homemade granola with homemade yoghurt

Fruit and Yoghurt

seasonal homegrown fruit – fresh or stewed

Poached Egg

Eggs – any which way – from our own hens

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

Sausages and/or bacon (subject to availability) from our own pigs

Potato Cakes

homemade jams and marmalades, and maybe some of our own honey

Homemade Breads

Selection of homemade organic breads

Tea and/or coffee – real tea (with leaves) and real coffee (French press or Keurig)

Our guests enjoy their breakfasts…. well so they tell us!

When are you coming to stay?  We promise a damn fine breakfast!

Read Full Post »

It has been a while since I shared a recipe.  Sorry!

However, this recipe is definitely worth the wait.  It is not mine.  It is a recipe of Trish Deseine’s that was published (I think) in the Irish Times last summer.

I made it numerous times for guests over the course of Summer 2017.  They all asked me to share the recipe, and it is only now I am getting the chance to do so.   Apologies to all!

Trish has very kindly given me permission to share it on here for you all to enjoy.

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 170 g butter (at room temperature)
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 150 g dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 210 g flour
  • 120 g cocoa powder
  • 2 teasp baking powder
  • 170 g buttermilk
  • 1 teasp Fleur de Sel

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.  Grease and line 22 cm sandwich tin.

Beat butter and sugars until mixture becomes foamy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating and scraping down sides as you go.  Add vanilla essence.

Sieve half flour and cocoa into bowl and mix in with spatula.

Add buttermilk and mix again, before adding remaining flour and cocoa and flour de sel.

Pour batter into tine and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Test with skewer.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes before tipping out.

Serve with cream and berries.

Note:  This cake also freezes well, if you are planning ahead!

Read Full Post »

Little did we know when we moved to the Midlands that it would be so difficult to get fresh fish.  Ireland is an island after all, so you’d expect to be able to get fresh fish anywhere, right?  Even here in North Tipperary it is only an hour to the coast.

Well you can’t.  Local supermarkets stock a very limited amount of fish, and I’m sorry to say of dubious origin.  They may have some salmon and a little bit of white fish.  We have had van salesmen call selling ‘fresh’ fish…. however, it is all frozen ‘square-shaped’ fish, drenched in some god awful sauce.  Not buying that.

For the past 15 years we’ve just got into the habit of buying fresh fish on every trip to Galway.  We invested in a plug in fridge for the car.  This is not an ideal situation, we buy lots of fish, then come home and freeze it, but at least we know it was fresh (and where it was from) when it went into the freezer.

THEN…. along came #eatmorefish, the brain-child of Gannet Fishmongers in Galway.

Since late last year we can now order fish weekly, and it is delivered to the Organic Store in Birr for us to collect each week.  We order by mid-day Wednesday, and it is delivered (by post – this fascinates me!) to the shop for us to collect on Thursday afternoon.

Of course, the first week we ordered we went completely overboard on the amount we bought.

We’ve now got the hang of it, so order 2 or 3 meals per week … on average about €20 spend per week.  The system has encouraged to try different types of fish that are available, and, of course, try out new recipes!  In recent weeks we’ve had clams, mackerel, and red mullet.  We are looking forward to trying lots more.

Mackerel with salsa

This is why the statistic from Thursday night’s What Are You Eating programme that on average Irish people spend 84 c per week on fish, just shocked me!

Do you buy fish?  What would your weekly spend be?

Read Full Post »

Home-made Yoghurt

I first posted this recipe up here way back in 2011.  I’ve simplified the system since… thus reducing the amount of wash-up!

There have been quite a few discussions lately with various bloggers about making yoghurt and whether it works with raw milk v pasteurised milk.  I’ve made it, using this method, with both raw and pasteurised, and it works!

To start with you will need to buy some yoghurt, but after that just remember to save a teaspoon to carry on your ‘culture’.

Oldfarm Yoghurt

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pt. Milk
  • 1 teasp. of natural yoghurt as a starter.

Equipment needed:

  • Wide saucepan
  • Milk Saver – I used upturned saucer!  See explanation following.
  • Thermometer
  • Wide necked flask.
  • Wide bowl/basin.

Method:

Put your milk in a wide saucepan with a ‘milk saver’. I use an upturned saucer!  Seemingly the ‘milk saver’ is to prevent the milk boiling over!

Bring your milk to the boil.  Then let it simmer for about 30 minutes until it has reduced to about two-thirds of the original amount.

Place saucepan in basin of cold water.  Wait for temperature to drop to 49 deg. F.   This takes about 5 minutes.

Add a teaspoon of natural yoghurt to your flask.  Pour in a little of the now cool milk and stir well.  Add the rest of the milk, stirring continually.

Seal flask and leave for a least 6 hours!

And then enjoy it for breakfast with some banana pancakes!

Read Full Post »

There is a story behind this recipe!

Sometime late summer of 2016  Mag Kirwan of  Goatsbridge asked if I would submit a recipe for a cookbook she was compiling in aid of Hospice Africa Uganda. I immediately said ‘yes’…. thinking of some of the nice fish recipes I have.  Then, of course, all hell broke out!

Alfie went and had the heart attack.  Fish recipe was not top of my list of priorities as you can imagine.

Denise over at Goatsbridge sent me an email at some point to remind me.  I went yeah, yeah, yeah… I’ll get that done.

Forgot about it again.  To make a long story short, by the time I got around to submitting my Fish Pie recipe, they already had one.  Plan B, I’ll send my kedgeree recipe… yes, you guessed it, they had one!  Now panic was setting in.  I just didn’t have time to work on something new.

Then I remembered this recipe for smoked trout, or smoked salmon, pate that my Aunt Eileen had given me many years ago.  I didn’t even have time to make it and take a photo to go with the recipe, but at least I did fulfil my promise.

Last summer (2017) one of our AirBnB guests was looking through the Fishwives cookbook, and declared that I was a ‘published author’.  Now that may be a bit of a stretch of the imagination…. but I did take brief pleasure from the accolade.  And as an aside the Fishwives cookbook went on to win the Best Fish & Seafood Book at the World Gourmand Awards last year.

So here’s the recipe.

Goatsbridge Trout Pate

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz/100 g smoked trout
  • 2 – 3 oz/60 g soft butter
  • 1/4 tsp. chopped dill
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 clove garlic crushed.
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz!  How easy is that???

Enjoy 🙂

 

Read Full Post »

My cointreau recipe has been getting much attention recently…. so I thought some of you might also like to try your hand at making Limoncino.  There’s still time to make a batch before Christmas.

Oldfarm Limoncino

I have a plan to try to make a coffee liqueur too… will keep you posted as to how that goes.

Once again this recipe is taken from Paulo Tullio’s book.

I’ve already made one batch this year, and the second batch is ‘brewing’ away.

This does improve with age.  However, it never lasts long enough to ‘age’ in this house.

I make extra bottles to give as gifts, and then keep a supply for ourselves!

Ingredients:

  • 6 x large lemons (rind only)
  • 500 ml Vodka or poitin
  • 200 grams sugar
  • A little water

Method:

Peel rind from well washed lemons avoiding the bitter pith.

Put the lemon peel into a jar with a lid.  (I have used an empty screw top wine bottle.) Cover with the half litre of vodka.  Store for 21 days, giving it a shake every few days.

When the time is up, strain the vodka from the bottle.  Dissolve 200 grams of sugar in as little water as possible over a low heat.  Add the sugar syrup to the strained alcohol and bottle it sterilised jars.

Store in a cool place.

When ready to serve chill and enjoy.

Read Full Post »

I’ve mentioned before how I am a girl who just can’t say no!  Yes, that is the title of a song…. and I am that person.

Despite being hectically busy over the summer with AirBnB guests, and Alfie in and out of hospital, when our friend and neighbour, Margaret Hickey, asked if we’d help with some recipe testing we jumped at the idea.

Margaret has written a book on the history of food in Ireland from the perspective of the ‘peasant’ food.  I must say we love the title : Ireland’s Green Larder

The first lot of recipes we were asked to test were scones, ‘curranty’ cake,  boxty and a boiled fruit cake.  As it happened we had AirBnB guests staying who were delighted to jump in and work with us on the scones and ‘curranty’ cake.  The boiled fruit cake was easy to do too.

I’m afraid we let the side down on the boxty recipe… we just ran out of time.

Boiled Fruit Cake

Then last week, in the final moments before the ‘go to print’ button was pushed, Margaret asked if I’d test a tea brack recipe.  Again ‘no problem’.

However…. I made a bit of a mess.

The recipe called for the fruit to be soaked in scalding hot tea and left overnight. As I headed to bed I wondered why ‘scalding’ hot tea?  Any time I make tea brack, it’s just tea leftover in the pot that I use.

It pays to read the instructions properly!!!

The reason for the ‘scalding’ hot tea was that you put the sugar in with the fruit! Doh!

Day 2, recipe test 2.  This time I did put the sugar in with the fruit, and of course, the reason for the ‘scalding’ hot tea was so blatantly obvious!

So over one weekend – we had two tea backs – just as well we had a couple of food bloggers visiting who were more than willing to ‘taste test’!!!

Margaret’s book, Ireland’s Green Larder, is a history book.  It is not another recipe book.  However, there are some recipes scattered throughout.

Ireland’s Green Larder

If you are interested in the development of the Irish food culture and how our eating habits have changed, you will love this book.  For instance, in the not too distant past offal was way more popular than it is now.

Did you know that the pig was referred to as ‘the gentleman who paid the rent’? There are many other interesting facts and stories.

Margaret is into the final few days for you to ‘pledge’ your support for her book. Check out this video where Margaret tells you more about her book, and while there you can pledge from as little as €15.00.  Pledging closes at midnight tomorrow, 27th.  The book will be published between March and May next year.

Another great idea for a Christmas gift for the history buff or foodie in your life?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »