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Rory O’Connell has long been one of my favourite chefs, and he was our Chef of the Year in 2002. Although not as well known to the general public as his sister Darina, he co-founded the Ballymaloe Cookery School (where he still teaches as well as giving bespoke classes at his own farmhouse home nearby), and his many achievements include a memorable ten year stint as head chef at Ballymaloe House - where he originally trained, under the guidance of that other great teacher, Myrtle Allen.
This month Lucy Madden’s ever-questioning eye lands on the thorny subject of Diets…some timely observations, just as we’re all trying to address the perennial problem of the tightening winter waistband...
'Free-from' foods have never been more in demand than now and the term covers everything from specific exclusion of additives such as the infamous E numbers or just keeping it simple, and cooking with fresh, natural ingredients (a wise policy) to the more complicated issue of dealing with particular health problems.
Some alternative recipes for Christmas or any other special dinner. Vegetarians can also visit www.veggiechristmas.org for the Vegetarian Society’s range of appealing meat-free dishes from around the world.
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.