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

Spud Sunday: One Look Forward, Many Looks Back

I give in. It’s the fifth day of leftovers and the umpteenth day of cake. It must surely be time to write that end-of-year blog post, if only to keep my hands busy with something other than the TV remote. So here, without further ado or fanfare, I give you 2012, the spuds-eye view.

Dad, April 2012

So long Dad, and thanks for all kinds of everything

If there is one event above all others that marks 2012, it’s the loss of my irrepressible, irreplaceable Da. I miss him every day and presume fondly that heavenly consumption of both spuds and Guinness has skyrocketed since he got there. I also presume that he would have been pleased about the many notable things that have happened during the past Daily Spud year, most of which I didn’t get to tell him about in person, and here’s hoping that 2013 will bring even more things for him to be pleased about, wherever he is.

Potato menu

An all potato menu at The Clarence, just for me:
it was a very good way to start 2012

Sunday Times Sunday Cover

Spud goes national

2012 saw me writing features on food for the Irish edition of the Sunday Times. Predictably enough, my first article was about spuds (though bread, cheese and coffee have since, among others, been fair game). It’s been quite an experience so far.

Irish Times Save Our Spud

The Irish Times magazine goes large on spuds

Of course, I wasn’t the only one writing about the potato in the national press. It was, to my mind, a hot topic this year – the Irish Times went all out on the subject for St. Patrick’s Day – and yes, they did ask me for my opinion while they were at it.

Irish food guide 10th edition

Irish food guide 10th edition

It was (and is) a huge honour to have, this year, become a contributing editor for John and Sally McKennas’ legendary Irish Food Guide. This has meant eating – for the benefit of those who read the guide, naturally – at places from The Eastern Seaboard in Louth to The Cottage in Leitrim. Cue an extremely satisfied sigh.

Electric Picnic 2012

Working with the McKennas during 2012 also meant a trip to the Laois village of Stradbally at the end of the summer to assist with the judging of the Electric Picnic Food Awards. That, I would have to say, is very nice work indeed.

Crisps with a conscience

Crisps with a conscience

Speaking of the Electric Picnic, it was my very great pleasure to present an E.P. food award to Kaethe Burt O’Dea of SPUDS.ie. SPUDS (Sustainable Potatoes United Development Study) was founded in response to the decision by Teagasc to conduct field trials on potatoes genetically modified to enhance blight resistance, a move which was, by far and away, the spud story of the year (I certainly talked about it here, here, here and a few other places as well). SPUDS aim is to conduct community-based research into the viability of naturally blight resistant potato varieties and potatoes that might otherwise have been rejected because of shape or size were used to create “Crisps with a Conscience” which, in turn, help to fund their work. A fine example of feelgood food.

Food and wine hot 100 2012

Still a hot potato…

It may be cold outside now but Food and Wine Magazine thought I was hot stuff this year. They included The Daily Spud in their Hot 100 list, while Woman & Home Magazine listed la Spud among their 100 best food blogs. Nice and nicer.

Irish Times: Goodall's Modern Irish Cookbook

Goodall’s Modern Irish Cookbook (and moi) as featured in the Irish Times

This year did, at times, feel like the year of the cookbook – at least judging by the number of new Irish cookbooks that came my way – and it was more than lovely to have a recipe of mine appear in the Goodall’s curated Modern Irish Cookbook, which featured a collection of recipes from Irish bloggers.

2012 daily spud travel

Potato bread at the Firehouse Bread School on Heir Island in West Cork, freshly cropped basil
(and lots of it) in northern Italy and apples orchards in Tipperary

There was, you may have noticed, a fair amount of blog-related gallivanting in 2012 – including, among others, a whirlwind couple of days in Italy to see what goes into those jars of pesto, a trip to remotest West Cork and the Firehouse Bread School on Heir Island for a most memorable day of bread making and a visit to Con Traas and his wonderful apple farm in Tipperary. Lucky, lucky me.

2012 daily spud recipes

Chocolate potato cake, potato milk jam (top) and pasta alla Genovese (bottom)

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Daily Spud if there weren’t at least a few potato recipes knocking about. Among them, this chocolate potato cake was a keeper and pasta alla Genovese proved both that potatoes and pasta can co-exist and that it’s a classic for a reason. The most unusual recipe award, meanwhile, would have to go to Heston Blumenthal’s potato milk jam. It had to be made, once at least.

Shamrock crisps

Paddy’s Day crisp special: Shamrock and sour cream crisps

And last, but not least for 2012, were the spudly creations of others – memorable were shamrock crisps made by the innovative Keogh’s crew; some more than pleasantly surprising potato and white chocolate macarons in The Greenhouse on Dublin’s Dawson St.; and the bliss of simply jacketed spuds at Moloughney’s of Clontarf. My Da would have especially liked those.


  1. brian@irelandfavorites

    Happy New Year Spud! Should olde acquaintance be forgot? Never. So, here’s to new projects, ideas, to the prosperity of spud and all,
    New years wishes again to you and yours Aoife,

  2. Daily Spud

    And a very Happy New Year to you too Brian – your comments throughout the year have been much appreciated! Let’s hope that 2013 bring lots that is new and good and – of course – plenty of spuds :)

  3. Tim

    A very fine roundup of a bittersweet year. Here’s to a happier, healthier, and spuddy new year!

  4. Daily Spud

    Amen to all of that Tim

  5. Ange

    Great to read your highlights Spud. You have honoured 2012. Looking forward to more Spudly adventures in 2013.

  6. Daily Spud

    Well, I guess I’ve done my bit for the spud. Am looking forward to more in 2013 & glad to have your assistance in Spudly adventures too!

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