The Daily Spud

...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Category: Dinner (page 4 of 30)

Spud Sunday: A Farmer And A Gentleman

I was very sad to hear of the untimely passing, the other day, of David Tiernan, one of life’s true gentlemen, and the maker of Glebe Brethan, one of Ireland’s finest farmhouse cheeses.

I interviewed David, who was in his mid 50s, a few months ago for a piece on Irish farmhouse cheese which appeared in the Sunday Times last December. He was warm, helpful and generous with his time, a dairy farmer first and foremost, whose life, for the last 38 years he said, had been, simply, ‘wake up and milk the cows.’ He had a real connection to the land and the food that came from it and, for three or so months during the summer, would, in addition to milking his Montbéliarde cows and working in the yard, make two 45kg wheels of glorious Comté-style raw milk cheese a day. He loved the pleasure that his cheese gave to others and – never short of an opinion on the issues facing farmers and small scale food producers – he was familiar to many in Irish food circles, not least when it came to opposing the proposed ban on the sale of raw milk here.

When asked in an interview published in the Irish Times last April to describe himself in six words, David said simply “just very happy to be alive.” Sadly, that is no longer the case and the Irish food landscape is all the poorer for it.
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Spud Sunday: A Bake Is Born

It started simply thus: I had cauliflower in my fridge and potatoes on my mind.

My ponderings on what to make using said combination lead me first in the direction of this yellow, coconut-milky curry which, in turn, drew me to an old Thai-style favourite. The ever-present desire – nay, duty – to mix things up, potato-wise, took those thoughts and translated them into a bake, layered with potatoes and cauliflower and a coconut-milky sauce. And it was good, maybe very good, even. But my tastebuds told me that, while the cauliflower was fine, some aubergine would be even better. I, naturally, took my tastebuds’ advice.

Potato and Aubergine Bake

Potato Aubergine Bake

So here it is then, the net result of my potatoey thought processes – not a cauliflower to be seen but, nonetheless, with cauliflower to thank for the initial inspiration.

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Spud Sunday: Cheese & Roasties

Normally, at around this time of year – and in a post that has become almost as predictable as Christmas itself – you’d find me waxing lyrical about the fine art of roasties.

I’ve had a lot to say on the subject over the past few years: there’s my comprehensive 12-step roastie program, my deliberations on the best choice of potato for your Christmas roasties (that, in my opinion, being Golden Wonder and, according to an article in this week’s Irish Examiner, I am not alone in this choice). I have also examined the (not entirely advisable) practice of freezing partially prepared potatoes ahead of time and, last year, found myself and my roasties featured in the Irish Farmers’ Journal Country Living magazine, not to mention being interviewed on the topic by an online Christmas radio station.

Phew!

Can there really be anything more to say? Not much, perhaps, though I did note an addition to the Christmas roastie scene this year, with Keogh’s, ever the spud innovators, bringing out their Rudolf’s Roasting Potatoes. There’s no magic roastie trick here, just some attractive and clever packaging, with recipe included, of a couple of kilos of Rooster potatoes. They will indeed make for perfectly acceptable roasties, as will any Roosters you care to buy.

Keoghs roasting potatoes

In other news, and for those of you who may have been perusing today’s Irish edition of the Sunday Times, it was cheese, rather than roasties, that were my concern (though, come to think of it, there’s no reason why those two things cannot come together…). An article I wrote on the impressive breadth and quality of Irish farmhouse cheese made the front cover of the ‘Sunday’ section – woo! – featuring a picture of the legendary Veronica and Norman Steele, creators of Milleens cheese, the original of the Irish farmhouse cheese species. Due to an unfortunate sub-editing error – boo! – my name, however, did not appear as the article’s author. That, I’m afraid, is the black-and-white of life in the printed world.

Sunday Times Cheese cover

Today's Sunday Times 'Sunday' cover

As the content for the article lives somewhat inconveniently behind a paywall, I can’t even direct you to a readily accessible online copy. For those interested in Christmas cheeses, however, do check out this extensive guest post by Glynn Anderson, one of the authors of Farmhouse Cheeses of Ireland (and which, for the digitally inclined, is now available for the Kindle), wherein he has plenty of timely advice on putting together a festive Irish cheeseboard. Between that and the roasties, I reckon your Christmas is well sorted. I know mine is.

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