The obligatory spud shot:
potatoes getting their grow on under glass this weekend at the Ballymaloe Cookery School
The Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine should come with a health warning: attending this event may leave you lost for words. This turns out to be a somewhat debilitating state of affairs when faced with the prospect of scraping together a few Spud Sunday syllables, which come to you here in a delayed Monday form (for which delay said LitFest can also be blamed). It is also testament to the world class calibre of this weekend’s line up which – with a Madhur Jaffrey here, a Jancis Robinson there and a Claudia Roden seemingly everywhere – gathered together the great and the good of food and wine writing and served a beguiling pick and mix of demos, tastings, walks and talks in the beautiful surroundings of Ballymaloe. With topics ranging from foraging to fermentation to food writing itself, there was no shortage of stimulation for both creative and digestive juices, and I expect I’ll be digesting what I’ve seen and heard for quite some time to come.
Darina Allen watches as Madhur Jaffrey seasons potatoes
for Aloo Gobi
And of course (before you ask) there were spuds. Whether it was learning from Madhur Jaffrey the secrets of Aloo Gobi (which she described as a most beloved North Indian dish) or applauding Matthew Fort as he decried the use of humble to describe what is, after all, the most noble of vegetables, there were spud references aplenty. For those, it seems, I am never at a loss.
There is nothing subtle about red.
It reaches out, grabs your attention and makes you look.
Perhaps that’s why it is the colour of the ribbon which is the international symbol of support for people living with HIV, and why Angela from Spinach Tiger asked us to remember World Aids Day earlier this week by cooking red.
Cooking red on red
I was confused earlier today.
As to what I should eat for dinner, I mean.
Of course, it’s not an uncommon dilemma. Much has been written about the complex web of issues that can underlie the seemingly simple question of what to eat. In this case, however, it was merely a case of indecision brought on by the weather. I mean, if the weather can’t make up its mind as to what it is doing, then how, dear reader, can I?
See, first it was warm, unseasonably warm and gloriously sunny for days. Then it started cooling off, before the temperature then decided to take an outright nosedive, accompanied by whipping winds and a biblical downpour that pummeled everything that remained out of doors. Eventually, the deluge abated but it was still cool enough outside that I wasn’t up for ditching my trusty fleece layer. And today, there was sun again and, despite the earlier chill breeze, a bit of warmth in the afternoon.
All of this has played havoc with my internal menu signaling system. I can’t tell – is it time for a summery salad or a wintery stew?