It is an awful pox, on a lovely summer’s evening like this, to be stuck indoors, knocked sideways by the lurgy and devoid of energy and appetite. Thankfully, I have some beautiful music, peppermint tea and a pile of reading material to hand. If I can’t eat good food, I can at least read about it.
I had been cooing over Penguin’s Great Food series for months before finally getting my hands on a couple of the wee gems a few weeks ago. They’re beautiful books, spanning four hundred years of food writing, with kitchen wall-worthy cover designs by Coralie Bickford-Smith.
So far, I have chuckled over Agnes Jekyll’s chapter on “Luncheon for a Motor Excursion in Winter”, gawped at Hannah Glasse’s descriptions of unbracing mallards, dismembering herons and allaying pheasants, and drooled dreamily over Alice Waters’ seasonal dinner menus. And now, thanks to the benevolent Fairy Hobmother, I’ve received another handful of books from the collection. I can’t wait to get stuck in.
Ever generous, the Fairy Hobmother is extending her bounteousness to you, dear readers. For the chance to win something from her bag of magic tricks, simply leave a comment below – winners will be chosen at random. Good luck!
Although a confirmed city dweller these days, I am a country lass by birth and breeding. Growing up on the outskirts of Drogheda – then a smaller, sleepier town – there wasn’t nearly as much in the way of choice as there is now, with spots like Traders Cafe and Andersons popping up in recent years. By far, though, my favourite place to eat when “up home” these days (aside from the mammy’s kitchen, that is!) is the Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill, now in its third year of operation.
We visited, en famille, for the umpteenth time last Friday evening, for a last gathering before my photographer sister leaves for Blighty next week (sob!) Our meal got off to a lively start with a couple of bottles of prosecco courtesy of the foodie uncle, who just so happened to be sitting at the next table, and well-buttered doorstop slices of crusty salted seeded bread. Then began the tricky task of perusing the recently-revamped menu (which now features an entire A4 page devoted to the restaurant’s suppliers, including several from Louth and Meath – lovely to see).
It doesn’t feel much like June today, does it? Incessant rain, murky skies and chill winds abound and I am wrapped in a hoodie, clinging to the radiator and a cup of coffee, vowing to stay indoors. The magic words “bacon jam toast soldiers” were just enough to rouse me from under the covers, and, alongside tomatoey baked eggs, they are just the ticket for a day like this.
As I type, the tents are being deflated, the bars dismantled, the poor sunburned piglets shooed into a trailer, the walled garden gates closed. The fifth edition of Bloom – and my first – has come to an end. My travels have kept me away from Dublin every June bank holiday weekend until this one, and I was delighted to finally have the opportunity to attend the festival, thanks to Bord Bia.
After a somewhat breathless uphill cycle through the park on Saturday morning from the all-new Runcible Spoon HQ (of which more anon), myself and himself made a beeline for the food side of the festival to scout out some treats for a picnic lunch in the sun. Himself picked up a selection box of Corleggy raw milk cheeses, while I queued for Lolly and Cooks’ delectable sausage rolls, (where the lovely Lucy now works!).
An assortment of sausage rolls by Andrew and Freddie - wish we'd had a chance to try 'em all