|Thursday 19th Dec||8am – 7pm|
|Friday 20th Dec||8am – 7pm|
I came across The Bowler at an event in the UK earlier this year. He’s part of the street food movement that’s been growing over the past few years. He makes gourmet meatballs using meat, fish and vegetables and serving them all from an eye catching grass covered van, affectionately known as the ‘lawn ranger’. It’s a sight to behold, never fails to raise a smile and the meat balls are stunning. I’m a particular fan as The Bowler (real name Jez Felwick) learned to cook at Ballymaloe and I love that Irish connection.
I’m shouting again, but with good reason. When will we realise that real food is a huge part of our overall health? The endless scientific studies on food that are released on an unsuspecting public have created an insecure population that feels it just doesn’t know anything anymore, but we do! Often times the information appears in conflict to a previous study or a previously held belief but sometimes if we drill down into the origin of the report we will find that it has been paid for by some vested interest. This naturally makes us suspicious of all reports and so the mire of misinformation, half truths and utter fiction gets even murkier. All we really need is common sense.
When it comes to food and things food related, honesty is important. I love it when someone introduces me to something I’ve never heard of before; a new method of cooking, an interesting ingredient or a great recipe. Not for me is the feigned jadedness of the ‘know it all’ foodie. I believe that no matter how long we reside on this planet, there will always be something new to learn about food from each other, how to eat it and how to prepare it, and it’s in that wonder, lies the joy.
Following the successful launch of our first butcher shop in Dublin, at Avoca Monkstown in 2011, we are delighted to announce that we are bringing our craft butchery excellence and expertise to the new Avoca Food Market in Rathcoole.
Any kitchen hero usually masters the basics of stirring and frying early in their careers. The frying will initially yield a few crispy edged eggs or a blackened sausage but it will be mastered quickly. Stirring is perhaps even more fool proof but marry the two and we have trouble. There is the general assumption that the Chinese have cornered the market on the stir fry. We lament that we’ll never be able to make Chinese food at home that tastes like the local restaurant. Mind you we’ll never really make fish and chips at home that taste like the local takeaway; you’ll never make pizza at home that tastes exactly like a pizzeria; you may never make a pasta dish the same way as your favourite Italian restaurant ……….and so on.
We worry far too much. Even if there are no more hazards for humans today, we seem to believe the environment has become extremely dangerous. With all our progress, life has become more deadly at every turn and we are constantly inventing things and ways to protect ourselves from ourselves. Taking a cursory glance at the world of the parent and child the safety ‘stuff’ needed in this century is phenomenal. (Now I’m not against safety, I’m merely making an observation.)
I was a little disturbed recently to read of all the various tomato shortages around the world. They are not necessarily linked, but apparently the US is suffering quite badly, the Argentines have just this month been asked as a nation to ‘go easy’ on tomatoes for a while so the crops can catch up and a British supermarket chain recently announced a shortage in their tomato supply as their grower in Spain had been affected by disease. (The crop of tomatoes was affected by disease that is, not the actual grower!)
If I had a euro for every time a customer in the shop described the last few weeks as just like “being in Spain”, I’d have enough for a flight there myself. It did indeed feel like the Mediterranean for several days and apparently, the forecasters would have us believe, it’s not over yet. In order to cope with the warmer weather it’s important that we shift slightly in how we live. We generally don’t have the clothes, the homes or the lifestyles for such prolonged glorious sunshine but we can make small adjustments that will make it easier. Particularly when it comes to food we need only look to our Spanish neighbours for some handy tips and hints.
James Whelan Butchers is an established retail butcher brand with shops in Clonmel and Avoca, Monkstown – www.jameswhelanbutchers.com. We are currently looking to recruit a driven Product Manager with a food background and a can do attitude. Career building opportunity for a fully qualified chef with a proven trade record in NPD and NPI. The successful candidate will report directly to the Managing Director and will work cross functionally with both marketing & sales to boost the product portfolio. This role is best suited to an avid food lover who has experience developing concepts and new products.
I’ve recently been enjoying the joys of mozzarella cheese again, as I tend to do every summer. This light, mild white cheese is a great warm weather staple for the fridge. A few tomatoes, some mozzarella and a little basil can create the most wonderful salad that goes really well with chicken or steak. Slice it and melt it on a wonderful homemade pizza, stuff a homemade burger with a lump for a meltingly gorgeous surprise once cooked or chop it into squares and use it as part of an interesting tower of topping with a little chutney, for a chicken breast. Mozzarella cheese is great hot or cold and there’s always have a ball or two lounging in the fridge at this time of year, ready to whip out the moment the sun shines.