The Daily Spud

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

Tag: cheese (page 1 of 6)

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.

Spud Sunday: New Books On The Shelf

I think, perhaps, that the nice people at Gill & MacMillan must have known that my (blog) birthday – which came and went on Friday – was approaching. In the past month, they have sent me not one – and, no, not two – but three newly published cookbooks. Honestly, if they keep this up, they’ll need to send new bookshelves along the next time, and maybe a bigger kitchen too (I am nothing if not an optimist in that regard).

The truth, of course, is that the enjoyment of a new cookbook doesn’t warrant an upgrade to kitchen accommodations as much as it does the availability of a good armchair from which to peruse and plan, followed by a willingness to try something even just a little bit different from your usual fare.

My newly acquired books, written by three lovely Irish ladies, have provided plenty to browse through, and make me wish that I could spend more time cooking than has seemed to happen of late. And if the kindling of the desire to head kitchen-ward is the first, and most essential test of good cookbook, then – before an apron has been donned or an onion chopped – these books have passed with flying colours.

Eat like an Italian

A stylish Catherine Fulvio looking all Audrey-Hepburn-like
on the cover of Eat like an Italian

I open Eat Like an Italian at a random page. I find a recipe for broad bean and Pecorino salad on one side and sorrel flan on the other. That’s it, I’m sold. No two ways about it.

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Spud Sunday: The Why Of Cookbooks

So why, exactly, do we buy cookbooks?

The simplistic answer, of course, is that we buy them for the recipes, but in reality, it’s almost never that simple.

We may buy a cookbook because we’ve seen the corresponding series on TV. We may have come to like or, even better, to trust the chef-author based on past cookbooks, through a blog or by way of an associated food business. We may want to try our hand at a particular cuisine or we may want to learn the basics. We may be dedicated followers of foodie fashion or we may just like the pictures, and there’s no doubt but that good photography and styling helps to sell.

Increasingly, photography in cookbooks is used, not only to show what the food should, in theory, look like but also to convey a representation of the lifestyle associated with eating that food. Whether we are subsequently disappointed when our dishes (or our lifestyle) do not turn out “like in the pictures” is another matter entirely. And while it can be helpful to see what a dish may look like at the end of our endeavours, some of my most trusted and well-used cookbooks (take a bow, Madhur Jaffrey) have little in the way of glossy pictures and are no less loved by me for that.

In the end, while the pictures are nice, it is the words that count. My favourite cookbooks are the ones that are worth reading not just for the recipes. Give me Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery and an armchair and I will curl up happily. Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater I like as much for their writing as for the style of their recipes. It’s important too, though, that the recipes work.

Pieminister

The Pieminister Cookbook

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