Thursday, December 16, 2010

Have a 'Merry' Christmas

Here's my donation to your consumpton of a tipple or two this Christmas....My Jewelled Mulled Wine Jellies....why stop at drinking the stuff when you can eat it too?!

Find the recipe here as it appeared in The Time's Magazine last weekend.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snowy Supper

So it's a snow work day! Sounds great in principle and brings back amazing memories of being sent home from school because of burst pipes, but in reality missing work because of it now means for me the diary being thrown into all sorts of disarray. I'm furiously trying to get work done for upcoming jobs so that I can free future days up to give back to the postponed jobs.

Anyhow, at least it's all happening in the comfort of my PJ's and bed hair (something I never normally do when working from home, promise!). It also means I can sneek some time to catch up on some blogging (once and for all) and most importantly cook lots of comforting snowy suppers. Here's a favourite recipe from the new Superquinn cookbook (which is now reduced instore to about E15 I think and so makes an excellent christmas pressie!) as promised. This is delicious just on it's own even!

Irish stoved potatoes with vintage Cheddar

This is a variation on the traditional way of cooking potatoes in a cast-iron frying pan over an open fire. They’re delicious on their own with just a salad or try serving simply with grilled fish or a steak.

(c) Harry Weir

Serves 4

675g (1 1/2lb) potatoes
knob of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
100g (4oz) vintage Cheddar cheese, grated
maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel the potatoes and slice thinly on a mandolin or with a very sharp knife.

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-based frying pan that is about 20cm (8in) in diameter and about 5cm (2in) deep. Remove from the heat and cover the base with a layer of the potatoes.

Add a layer of onions over the potatoes and another of grated cheese, seasoning generously as you go. Continue these layers, finishing with a layer of potatoes and a sprinkling of cheese.

Cover tightly with tin foil and cook over a very low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour until potatoes on top are just cooked through with pierced with a sharp knife.

Preheat the grill. Uncover the stoved potatoes and place straight under the grill for 2-3 minutes to brown. Serve straight from the pan.

Chef’s top tip –Choose firm-fleshed potatoes for this recipe such as Roosters or Maris Piper as they will keep their shape during cooking and don’t break up. Of course this recipe could also be baked in the oven if you’d prefer.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Superquinn Cookbook

Firstly, big sorry for the lack of posts. I've truely been missing in action, so plenty to catch up with. I have tales from London, New York & well, Cavan. It's all glamour-glamour round here isn't it? Well actually, I don't think so. Here are some behind the scenes snaps showing as usual the far from glamorous affair that is my foodie world.

This time, I was delighted to come home from a trip to see the new Superquinn cookbook on their shelves. I told you about it here. Congrats to everyone involved, particularly my good friend Orla Brodrick who wrote the book & basically kept the whole thing afloat. She deserved the fab review in last Sunday's Times Mag, so well done.

Anyhow, I'll keep it short (& will be back with some finished shots & recipes soon). Here are some snaps of the food's adventure in making it onto those pages...

see? it looks all fancy-schmancy on the pages but not so glam in reality!

desperately trying to cool some bread down very quickly waving it about outside while a yoga class moved into the studio at the end of the day!
photographer Harry checking out the shots on screen.

Harry loved those shots from a dizzy height! a sweet little dessert in not such a pretty setting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just Splendid

Have you seen the new Splenda commercial on tv lately? I worked on the ad a couple of months ago with the talented team Reelgood and Bonfire. It's always amusing to work with a hand model and check out how perfect their hands are and how well they look after their money makers. I most certainly wouldn't get the job, what with all that washing up I do. My dear hands did get to do all the very controlled Splenda sprinkles from out of shot though. I'm good at Splenda sprinkling me. Well, after rather a lot of takes.

Commercial story board

Director Aidan keeping tabs on the strawberries with body doubles lined up in the background ready to be sprinkled on.

Hand model doing her thing


Monday, June 21, 2010

The Food of The Tudors

I see The Tudors is back on our screens. Here are some snaps from my food file archives from working on Series 1.

Also, here's a blog post from Delicious magazine about food in film. Two well known and respected film food stylists in the UK, Debbie Brodie and Katherine Tidy are quoted in it. I had great pleasure in assisting them when I was 'growing up'. I worked with them on movies like Cleopatra, Tenth Kingdom, The Golden Bowl, Man & Boy, Family Tree, The Visitors and The Golden Bowl. Sadly all in the day when I wasn't a nutty 'photographing everything that moves' blogger and tweeter so I have no photographic evidence. They would have been so amazing too with stunning sets, costumes and of course food.

I have my memories though, with the most memorible food for film moment being at Shepperton Studios in London at 6.30am in the morning, with a stinking cold and having been up since about 4am to get there on time. Then, wait for it, being handed a box with a wild boars head in it, which had just been freshly 'done' (yes, as in, beheaded) the day before, so yes, warts, fur and all. I had to rinse every last drop of blood 'through it' (from cut throat & through nostrils) to get it ready to present on a platter. Nice. See? It's not all glamour glamour around these parts!

Anyhow, speaking of glamour, Katherine didn't take me with her to the set of 'Sex & The City' in Morocco I see! Lucky Lady eh?! Must try and get some behind the scenes gossip from her...

Anyhow, in the meantime, enjoy Season 4 of The Tudors!

UPDATE: Yes, hot and flushed tweeters I can confirm that JRM is a total up close but sadly not personal. I did chat to him briefly, but I imagine the smell of Tudor food from me most likely put him off!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pecha Kucha turns Foodie

Huge group hug for the 20 speakers at last weeks final Pecha Kucha. What a great, inspiring, good feeling, one big happy family event! As I said in the previous post, PKN6 was to be the last, and in total about 70 'creatives' had their 6 minutes and 40 seconds on their soap box over the last year. So by the last night everyone in the audience was extra supportive because they had either been up there themselves or their nearest and dearest had.

The evening started with a very funny, dead pan presentation from Artist Teresa Nanigian and ended on a very hilariously weird, but high all the same, taped head performance from 'cool guy' Hugh Cooney. In between we had lots of fun learning more about the weird and wild creative past of Illustrator Steve Doogan, stylish things that rock stylist Angela Scanlon's world and what it's like to be cute little people like daydreamers, Arsheen & Anahita. See? A weirdly wild and ecclectic mix and that wasn't the half of it!

I threw some food into the mix and made myself right at home while chit chatting by doing my usual 'cooking at any opportunity'. A bit of a departure for the PK stage I gather. Thankfully, the end result of what I was making wasn't too important, as it was certainly a multitasking challenge to speed talk to slides and cook at the same time (I know, I didn't think that would be too much of a challenge for me either, but it was!). There was flour flying everywhere and by the end I had got so over-excited, I was jumping around clapping that everyone in the audience was going to get a 'chewy chilli chocolate chit chat cookie'!! Check me out (& go easy on the comments!)...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fabulous Foodie Fixtures

Summer is a great time of year in foodie diaries. The country is brimming with abundant Farmer's Markets and Food Fairs and Festivals. Did anyone make it to Sheridan's Food Fair last week, the same day as the launch of The Point Village Market or the bank holiday weekend's fabulous Bloom in the Park? Bloom had a great 'Love Irish Food' area exhibiting some of their member brands. Speaking of which, there are also some great food initiatives going on now too. So, this is a bit of an all encompassing foodie round-up I guess.

The 'Love Irish Food' campaign has really taken off with more and more Irish Brands coming on board. They have a powerful message.. "Did you know that if just one third of households in Ireland (that’s 400,000) spent an average of €1.67 more on an Irish item each week for a year we would generate €35 million for the Irish economy". I remember the 'Guaranteed Irish' campaign launching in the 70's having a strong impact on me (and at such a tender young age!), something that is engrained in me ever since so it's good to see this surge or Irish pride and support for our own (struggling) economy once again. Just like old times eh? By the way, you can print off recessionista money off coupons on their site here.

Also, of course it's still not too late to grab tickets for next weekends Taste of Dublin. Check out their site for exhibitor and restaurant listings and chef demo timings also. Superquinn are sponsors of this years event. Check out their demo area where I believe you will be able to preview some of the snaps I worked on for their new upcoming cookbook.

Some Foodie campaigns going on at the moment include Bord Bia's Fish, Surprisingly Simple campaign. Hit the link to check out some fishy recipes. Also, their Best in Season competition for strawberry week is underway. Send a photo of you enjoying strawberries and you could win a €500 all for one voucher. The Irish Heart Foundation have linked up with Safefood and the HSE for their Healthy Heart Eat Out month this June. Their main message this time is 'small portions' (something I must admit I'm not great at but will be more mindful!). Participating eateries nationwide, which you can find listings of here, are encouraged to provide heart healthy choices on their menus. sounds like a very exciting prospect hopefully coming your way soon, unless you are in Cork, where the site has kicked off already. You can have a wide selection of local produce delivered to your door within 24 hours for €7.95. The service hopes to expand to other counties soon. Check out their site for more details.

'My chef at home' is a new to me website with contact details for the likes of chefs, cookery school, event suppliers and also artisan producers. Apparently they are going to put together a list of food bloggers also! Check it out. Also, check out the newly launched Kilkenny Food Trail for perhaps an Irish holiday this summer?

The Slowfood Sugar Loaf Club has organised a movie viewing on Sunday 27th June at 4pm at the big screen in Brookhall at Macreddin Village. "One food documentary, one food movie, together with slow nibbles, slow wine and slow friends". Contact to reserve tickets which are €10 for members and €15 for non-members.

Finally, are you all set for Streetfeast on the 18th of July? It sounds like a fantastic concept, organised by a group of young volunteers, to bring communities together through the medium of food! You can join one or organise your own, have it in a car park, community centre, your garden or well, a street. I'm loving the idea and am dreaming up decorating banquet tables with pretty fabrics, hanging bunting from the trees and of course...the food. Click the link for the lowdown.

Do you know of any other upcoming 'fab foodie fixtures' that I've missed out on?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pecha Kucha Night 6, Dublin

click to make bigger & see the full listings

This coming Thursday (3rd June), the final Pecha Kucha looks like it's going to kick off the bank holiday weekend with a bang. It will be the 6th PKN put together by the talented guys at The Small Print and The Irish Architecture Foundation. The event actually started in Tokyo in 2003 with a gathering of creatives and designers as a bit of networking. It has since travelled the world in a simple format where creatives 'chit chat' (the meaning of Pecha Kucha) to their 20 slides for 20 seconds each. The idea is that it stops people from talking too much and just getting to their point. Good idea!

So, speaking of talking too much, this is where I come in. I'm one of the chosen few (well ok, 20) being put to the test of cramming in as many of my 20,000 daily allowance of words into the 6 minutes & 40 seconds. Yes, my name is in lights with the creative movers and shakers of the design community here in Dublin. It's going to be an exciting night with a collection of photographers, fashion journalists, art directors, architectures, designers, jewellery designers, illustrators, artists, daydreamers and of course little old me banging on about...well, food. For fear of potentially boring myself and an audience of 300 (eek), I have a little multi-tasking performance up my sleeve. Never one to make things simple for myself me.

Anyhow, hopefully you can make it and join in the fun! See you at the Sugar Club, 8 Lower Leeson St. Entrance €5...Doors open at 7pm with kick off at 7.30pm.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

National Fish & Chip Day

Chish & Fips in Country Living Magazine (c) Jack Caffrey

Happy National Fish & Chip Day! It's officially our first here in Ireland and what perfect timing with such fantastically sunny summery weather. Chish & Fips (as they are called in our house) are half price today from the 190 members of the Irish Traditional Italian Chipper Association. Phew, thats a bit of a mouthful! I know what I'll be tucking into later...what about you?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gathering of Food Bloggers

food, photos, bloggers, butchers, pigs & swag

We will have to come up with a portmanteau (get me! it's the posh word for joining two names, mainly celebrity couples, together) for the recent gathering of foodie bloggers. It is such a great and enthusiastic group of people with a shared love and interest in all things, well, food.

The event was hosted by Bord Bia and was organised by the faces behind their tweets, Maeve and Klara along with the one and only, good mood food blogger Donal Skehan. The day kicked off with bloggers and tweeters brief shreeks at each other as they put faces to names (or in my case, got completely bamboozled with real names, tweeting names, blog names, faces...). Then we all settled down to David Owens presentation where he spoke on behalf of Bord Bia on all things Irish pork and the Quality Assurance Mark. Our pork industry took a hard knock in 2008 with the dioxin scare, but Bord Bia have since been doing an amazing job rebuilding consumer confidence within Ireland and throughout the world.

They didn't have to do much to persuade our room full of fascinated foodies as we drooled over Maura Dufficy's cooking. Maura cooked several pork dishes, but the one that got my tummy rumbling was the marinaded pork belly which thankfully we were served at lunch time. Yes, they fed us too. These gorgeous people at the Food Board (which is the translation of Bord Bia by the way, for any non Irish speakers) know how to throw a party! You can see some snaps of the food we ate over at the consumed foodies blog. I was quite clearly too busy eating to take any.

Douze points goes to the toughest presentation slot of the day given to Damien Mulley of social media fame. He had to keep our attention while the tongues were hanging out of our heads from the tantalising smells of all things Pork. He did a great job giving us top tips on how to feed our egos with increases in new followers, general admiration and the attention we all expect and deserve (!). Then once our tummys were full, we also gladly listened to Eoin Purcell, a publishing industry analyst. Eoin got our pig tails wagging about becoming the next big thing in the food book world. He was frank about us not being able to necessarily retire on our scooped earnings here in Ireland and the fact that the publisher obviously hoped that they would (!).

Two other presentations that were actually in very stark contrast to each other, were Lorraine from Blazing Salads who is a shine to all things fabulously vegetarian and then the GMIT butchery lecturer, Pat Conway. My god, is this man a butcher?! He could cut you into 6 or 8 different parts in under five minutes. Thankfully he used Mr Porky to demonstrate. Check out some photos of him in action over at The Daily Spud.

Finally the day ended on a high with a food styling and photography presentation from Erica Ryan and Jocasta Clarke. As I said before, I hadn't ever met fellow stylist Erica, so it was lovely to meet her at last. I think she did a fantastic job and had lots of oohs and aahs from the audience on the day (and ever since with lots of tweeting going on). It's funny that you forget what you do on a daily basis is actually fascinating to other people. Erica had put together a comprehensive list of food styling tips and secrets, and likewise, reading through I thought, oh yeah, I guess this is impressive. Even though Erica and I have never met and both picked tips up as we went along I imagine (rather than doing the same course or anything), it's funny how we seem to do all of the same things (yes, kitchen roll and cotton buds are my best friends too).

Anyhow, as if we weren't overwhelmed by all that we had been pampered with already, we turned to leave to find tables brimming with what has been endearingly tagged as 'food swag'. I came home with a gorgeous rosemary plant from Living Flavour (which I have already used over on my home blog), some yummy looking smoked trout from Goatsbridge which I have yet to feast on, chutney from sheridans cheesemongers (I was one of those unfortunates who missed out on the cheese sadly though), lovely shoots from Good4u which I have been nibbling on non-stop and a delightful oat and ginger cookie from fabulous blogger Lilly Higgins, who totally standard pushed with ultra cool, machine sewn packaging!

So my head is still spinning from it all. A really fab day, packed full of pork, info, tips, recipe ideas, food swag, all round good feeling and of course lots of great new foodie friends. I have updated my blogroll over on the right (and will do so over at friendly cottage soon also) to include as many irish food bloggers as I could steal in a hurry from the great list Donal compiled. Let me know if I've missed you out! I promise to follow you all too...

...and a portmanteau? floggers? boodie floggers? foodles? bloodies?...Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

For the Love of Pork

I'm very excited about the food bloggers event coming up this Thursday. The fabulous Donal Skehan has organised it on behalf of Bord Bia - you can read all about it on his blog. An army of food bloggers and tweeters will be attending so it will be exciting to put faces to names. I am also really looking forward to catching up with food photographer Jocasta Clarke and meeting fellow food stylist Erica Ryan for the first time.

Bord Bia sent out pork packs to the first of the attendees who have been busy cooking, eating, blogging and tweeting about Pork since the weekend. Here is my offering from a feature I styled for Food & Wine Magazine. Recipe by Hugo Arnold & Shot by Cliona O'Flaherty.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Superquinn Cookbook

Superquinn turns 50 this year and are publishing a fab new cookbook as part of the celebrations. I have just finished working on the shoot for the book where we shot 50+ recipes. And yes, ate them all too. I was in good company with friends Photographer Harry Weir and Writer Orla Broderick. Together with our new BFF's from Superquinn, Bruce & Alison and David the designer from the publishers Harmonia, we had really great fun.

It has been a tough few weeks though...think 12 hours of food shopping, 40 dishwasher loads, 15 crates of props & equipment and I'm not even going to think about the calories consumed! The shoot days were ultra busy so we didn't even have time to take many behind the scenes shots. You'll get the picture with the few we managed to snap the other day though. So anyhow, as I tweeted, it's been emotional...

On my knees praying and checking my biccies aren't burnt.
Lovingly tending to some luciously lovely leeks.

Harry being happy from a height.
checking out the goods on the big screen.

Orla, David, Harry & Alison tucking into pies for breakfast.
Me unknowingly snapped in action.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wexford Food Fair 2010

Keep the diaries free for Wednesday May 19th for the second Wexford Food Fair. The exhibitors list is brimming with Wexford pride with companies like Thai Gold, Wexford Home Preserves, Phelim Byrne's Cookery Academy, Greens Berry Farm and a couple of neighbours of mine down home, Stable Diet and Zanna Foods.

Yes, being a Wexford lass, ok yella belly as we're called, I'm proud to promote and be part of it. In fact this year I'm hosting fun interactive food workshops with 8-10 year old local school children (God help me!) on behalf of Safefood, which I am really excited about. My cutsie morning slot getting down with the kids is going to be big news and no way will I let it be overshadowed by the evening demonstrations from celebrity chefs (& friends) Neven Maguire and Phelim Byrne. Put down the milk lads, the apron is on and the knives are out!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Homemade Jammy Dodgers

Uuummmmm...This is Neven Maguires recipe for Homemade Jammy Dodgers. I tested them for his latest book and got to make them again recently for a Country Living magazine shoot.


Makes about 16-18


73g (3oz) plain flour plus extra for dusting

25g (1oz) icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

Finely grated zest of 1 lime 50g (2oz) butter, softened


100g (4oz) raspberry or strawberry jam

Quarter tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp crème de cassis

To make the shortcake, sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in the lime zest. Then beat in the butter with a wooden spoon to give rough crumbs. Bring the mixture together with your hands to form a soft, smooth dough. Wrap in Cling flm and chill for at least 30 minutes.

To make the jam flling, place the jam, vanilla extract and crème de cassis in a small saucepan and simmer over a low heat for eight to 10 minutes, until melted and slightly thickened. Allow to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 3mm (one eighth inch). Stamp out about 32- 36 circles using a 4cm (1.5 in) fluted cutter and arrange on baking sheets lined with non-stick baking paper. Using a 1cm (half in) plain nozzle (metal is best) stamp out holes in the centre of half of the circles. This will allow the jam to show through later. Bake the biscuits for eight to 10 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden.

To assemble, spoon a teaspoon of the jam mixture onto the centre of each unstamped shortcake. Dust the remaining shortcakes with icing sugar and then place on the jam-topped biscuits, pressing down lightly so that the jam squeezes out just a little bit through the hole. Arrange on plates to serve.

me making shortbreads.
photographer jack caffrey shooting the boxed up jammy dodgers.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Supermarket Sweep

I spent a whopping 4 hours shopping in the supermarket on Monday. One supermarket. In one go. Head went into melt-down so I had to leave for a few hours and come back and finish off for another couple. Spotting these packs made me happy though. Even had the store manager (my new bessie mate) round to have a look. Poor man.

I know. Talking about Denny yet again.

While on the Denny subject...Take a trip over to visit our fabulous friends at Wonderland WPA where they have a put together a case study on the packaging overhaul (scroll to the right when on the page). Can I just confirm that I did not food style that last plate of breakfast in the top right! I can only guess that was on Creative Director Nik's desk when he was putting the page together.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Irish Restaurant Awards 2010

Congratulations to my parents, Ciaran & Anne (Mr. & Mrs. H) for scooping the best Gastro pub award for Co. Wexford for their seafood bar & restaurant, The Lobster Pot. The Irish Restaurant Awards held their Leinster awards on Tuesday evening at a glitzy affair, which I attended on behalf of the oldies (who couldn't make it as they were quite clearly too busy maintaining their high standards!). It was a great night and all the better for winning the award of course....never mind that I went on stage to Lady Gaga blaring out....rock on! I'll post the full winners list once it's published (can't remember due to wine brain). Everything is crossed now for the Award finals to be held on the 9th of June...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Denny bang on trend

Denny are bang up to date with connections on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube and with an army of followers to boot. To top that though, you can download this hilarious (in a 'going out of your mind' kind of way!) app to your iphone for free...

Another app I hear is well worth the few euros it costs to download is Jamie Oliver's. With easy recipes to follow with step by step instructions with photos and even a shopping list you can tick off too. Man-proof apparently!

Anyone know of any other fun foodie apps?!

UPDATE 20/APR/10: Nigella launches her new iphone cooking app today, Nigellas Quick Collection. Thanks to Pacific TV's tweet for the tip off!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Death by Easter Feasting

If you are not already keeling over from all the Easter Feasting then these chocolate squares are sure to tip you over the edge. This recipe is a great way to use up all that Easter chocolate (if there is even any left at this stage!). Mind you, definitely a heart attack warning on this one with 6 small Mars Bars melted in all that butter AND another 250g of chocolate on top. Sooooo naughty but soooo nice.


6 x 65g Mars Bars
200g butter
200g Rice Krispies
250g milk chocolate

Cut the Mars Bars and butter into small chunks and place in a saucepan. Put over a low heat, and stir with a balloon whisk until melted. Add the Mars Bar mixture to the Rice Krispies in a large bowl. Stir well, until all the ingredients are combined. Put into a lined tin and press down with the palm of your hand, until firm. Melt the chocolate. Pour over the rice Krispies, spread evenly and leave to set. When set, turn out onto a board and cut into squares.

Photo: Jack Caffrey
Recipe: Neven Maguire for Country Living Magazine
Styling & Eating: Sharon Hearne-Smith

Sunday, April 4, 2010

More Easter Feasting

Photography: Cliona O'Flaherty
Styling: Sharon Hearne-Smith
Assistant: Aoife Herrity
Recipe: Hugo Arnold for Food & Wine Magazine

I hope you're having a fun and food filled Easter Weekend. Here is a really delicious recipe for melt in the mouth lamb....


1.5kg leg and shouler of lamb (Ask the butcher to bone out the shoulder part)
olive oil
12 garlic cloves
3 sprigs rosemary
200ml white wine
salt and pepper

Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large casserole dish and brown the meat evenly. Add the garlic cloves and rosemary to the hot oil. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the white wine.
Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Turn the heat to very low and cover. Cook slowly for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falls off the bone. You will need to turn the meat occasionally. If the liquid looks like drying out, add a glass of water. When the meat is cooked allow to rest, and pour any juices in the pan over the meat.