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With Christmas just around the corner, preparations are coming into full swing and kitchens everywhere will be a hive of activity in the coming weeks. This miscellany of seasonal dishes is from some of the best new cookbooks - and there are ideas a-plenty among them to make this Christmas a very special food celebration, both on the day itself and throughout the festive season.
With autumn comes the harvest, and so many treats to be enjoyed. This miscellany of seasonal dishes is from Irish Country House Cooking, The Blue Book Recipe Collection - inspiration perhaps for some relaxing travel while the country is at its best.
The Gathering is one thing - the sort of get togethers that are pre-planned and organised to within an inch of their lives - but there’s no time like high summer for ‘unexpected guests’ to turn up on the doorstep looking hungry.
It’s a great time to look for wild fruit in the hedgerows and heathland - finding wild strawberries to pick and enjoy while you amble along quiet laneways in sunny areas is the stuff that summer holidays are made of, and it’s also well worth seeking out some bilberries before the birds get them.
Chicken is - for many reasons - one of the best examples of the disconnect that exists between the food on our plates and its origins. All of our foods have their natural season but we’re so used thinking of chicken as an all-year product that seasonality doesn’t come into it any more.
It seems an incredible amount of money but, according to recent figures from Bord Bia, Irish shoppers spent €3.5 million on fresh hake last year – which is a staggering an increase of 83% on 2011.
Popular author and TV chef Edward Hayden is well known from his appearances on TV3's 'Ireland AM' and perhaps even more so from his classes and demonstrations in a cookery schools and venues around the country, where his cheerful nature and relaxed presentation goes down a treat.
In last month’s review of Biddy White Lennon and Evan Doyle’s book Wild Food Natures Harvest: How to Gather, Cook and Preserve (O’Brien Press), I promised to give some of the recipes in April when (it seemed reasonable to suppose) the countryside would have lost its bleak late winter look and be in the full spring mode that tempts us all to venture out and explore.
Trust has become one of the most important ingredients in food production in Ireland today, according to the Irish Food Writers’ Guild (IFWG). “If we can’t have full faith in what is on the label, the reputation of the food sector in Ireland could be seriously jeopardised,” said Chairperson of the IFWG Myles McWeeney, who was speaking at the Guild’s annual Food Awards which took place recently, in Dublin.
This time of year is always deceptive, the days are getting longer and everybody starts talking about spring but it’s often the coldest time of all. What’s needed in the kitchen is recipes for some fine big meals with plenty of good Irish meat and vegetables to keep out the cold.