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Archive for the ‘All things food’ Category

You’d have to be living in a bubble to not know tis pumpkin season!  Our pumpkin season started quite early as I had planted a couple of Hokkaido pumpkin plants in the polytunnel this year, and they gave us lots and lots of fruit.

Just as well we like this pumpkin… and by the way, it stores really well in a cool, dark press… if it gets a chance to.

As we had a busy time through September, and even into early October, with B&B guests this recipe featured quite a bit.  It is definitely a keeper!

The original recipe from Olive Magazine features butternut squash, but let me tell you it works just as well with pumpkin.

If you are carving a pumpkin this weekend, try this out with your dinner.  It is totally yum.

Creamy Pumpkin Gratin

Ingredients:

  • Hokkaido pumpkin – peeled and thinly sliced (I use a mandolin)
  • 300 ml cream
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 clove garlic – crushed
  • A bunch of sage leaves – chopped

Method:

Heat oven to 180 deg. C

Prepare your pumpkin.  Grease an ovenproof dish, and arrange your pumpkin slices.

In a small saucepan heat the cream, milk, mustard, chilli, garlic and sage for a few minutes.  Stir well to incorporate the mustard.  Pour this liquid over the pumpkin.

Bake for 20 minutes or so, take your dish out of oven and press the pumpkin down into liquid (I use an egg flip for this).  Return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

You can leave the gratin to sit for a few minutes before serving.

 

 

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Marinated Courgettes

Who plants courgettes/zucchini, and then ends up wondering what to do with all the produce?  Is there a person in the world who has got the balance right on how many plants to grow for their family?

If you grow them, I can put money on it that someone in the house is saying ‘not courgettes again!’

When I shared the Courgette Scarpaccia a couple of years ago, lots of you tried it, and I know it has become a favourite in this house and in many others.

Well folks, I’ve another courgette recipe to share with you.

It too has become a welcome favourite in this house, and it works on so many levels.

The original recipe came from Olive Magazine, but as always it has evolved and changed here in Redwood.

Marinated Courgette/Zucchini Salad

Ingredients:

  • A medium courgette
  • Olive oil – plenty of it
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Clove of garlic – bruised

Method:

Cut the courgette into slices of 7 to 8 cm long, and half a centimetre in thickness.  Heat a griddle pan to high.  Brush one side of each courgette slice with olive oil and place oil side down on pan.  Griddle for 4 to 5 minutes.  Brush upper side with oil, and turn over for a further griddle.

Arrange your slices in a nice shallow serving dish.

Mix the rest of your ingredients together and pour over your sliced courgette.

This is all best made ahead, and left to sit for an hour before serving.

(Note:  I do tend to warn people about the lump of raw garlic in the dish… it is not something I’d like to bite into!)

Give it a try and let us know if you enjoy!

 

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We offer guests the option of joining us for dinner when they come stay.  If they decide to take up this offer I ask about food likes and dislikes.

The most usual answer to that question would be that they don’t eat ‘offal’.  Now we do, but I don’t think I would ever randomly serve it up to guests.

Then there are the people who don’t eat fish. Those who only eat ‘white’ meat …. pork seemingly comes under that classification!!! (What kind of pork are they used to???)

We’ve had some interesting challenges in the food department.  There’s been the nut, dairy and egg free challenge.  The latest was dairy, sugar, salt and red meat free diet… that was somewhat of a challenge but we managed it.

More and more people are saying that they’d like something ‘traditional’.  Now here’s a question for you…

  • If you are Irish what do you classify as a ‘traditional’ Irish dinner?
  • If you are not Irish, but travelling to Ireland, what would your expectation of a traditional Irish dinner be?

I think it is fair to say that Alfie and I really don’t do much that is ‘traditional’ Irish food. We have on occasion done ham (usually finished on the bbq!) with the potatoes and vegetables.  I’ve also done stuffed pork steak with vegetables as a ‘traditional’ option.

As Irish as it gets here

Summertime traditional?  I don’t know.  My childhood memories would be of salad plates with lettuce, ham, tomato and probably a hard-boiled egg.

Give us your answers….

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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!

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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!

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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?

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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!

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