Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘cooking’

What We’ve been Cooking at the School of Food


Teaching how to make Citrus Curd

I started teaching an 11-Week Commis Chef Training course at Thomastown’s School of Food almost nine weeks ago and, I keep saying this, but I feel like the weeks have been flying! We got so lucky with an amazing group of diverse, very cool students from all walks of Irish life. They are really passionate about food and have made teaching an actual pleasure.


Dermot giving a steak demo at our BBQ in Inistioge


Most of the class (plus Dermot) in Inistioge


Sylvia and her gorgeous citrus meringue pie, Inistioge

Dermot Gannon, my co-tutor, and myself have been teaching the group everything from how to use a knife to how to ferment. We’ve spent days helping the school’s garden caretaker, we’ve gone outside to make wood-fired pizzas, we’ve packed up the school’s massive BBQ and cooked lunch for visitors, locals and even some Failte Ireland reps at the park in Inistioge and we’ve visited some really inspirational food producers.


Janine Vine-Chatterton taught the class about Kombucha and Kefir


Mags Morrissey (Hedgehog Bakery) taught the class about sourdough and fresh yeast breads


Ballinwillin Wild Boar Farm, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork


Pat at Ballinwillin


Wild Boar and Venison products at Ballinwillin


Caroline Hennessey giving a tour at Eight Degrees Brewing, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork


Beer and Cheese Pairings at Eight Degrees Brewing

At the end of our course, the students will put on a food fair at the school. Over the past few weeks they have excitedly been developing, pricing and marketing a food product to sell. I am really looking forward to the market, but I’m also NOT looking forward to it – it will mean the end of the course, and saying goodbye (for now, at least) to these wonderful human beings who haven’t just been great students – they’ve become our buddies.


Mozzarella-stuffed meatballs


Winner for best wood-fired pizza!


Marian and her prize pizza


Fresh-made Brioche


Gateaux Basque


Kimchi-Brisket Sloppy Joes


Carrot Sesame Salad


Fresh Hake Goujons


Oatmeal Spice Whoopie Pies

Is it weird to love your job this much?


Planting pea shoots


Doing something really important


Taking pride in their work.


Great, local Camphill produce


Getting their hands dirty


Making life-long friends



A(nother) Week in Dinners


A while back Sinéad from Bumbles of Rice shared some of her family’s real life dinners and asked other mama bloggers to do the same. I shared a post several months ago when she had her last linky and now we’re at it again! I love this, partly because it’s a great way to get simple weeknight dinner ideas, but mostly because it shows the real side of bloggers’ lives – the side you don’t get to see too often. I’ll admit, I’m not proud of many of these dinners, but I work full time, mother full time and write when I can grab a spare moment. By 5 pm I simply don’t care what we eat, as long as we eat!

I am proud that there’s a lot less fast food this time around – I’d say that also has to do with living on the farm and not having any nearby fast food outlets (aside from one chipper in the village – and that’s really a once in a while thing).

I’m less proud of the lack of sunlight at 5 pm these days, making my photos not-so-enticing looking.

So here it is: my honest, barefaced, truthful week in dinners:

Last Sunday:


I made this awesome Sriracha Meatloaf as I had mince in the fridge. We had it with creamy buttermilk mashed potatoes and a spinach & arugula salad. Maeve wouldn’t touch the green stuff but she loved the meatloaf. Patrick had seconds and then took leftovers for lunch.


We had a smorgasbord. Hummus (shop bought), salad, cold chicken, leftover pizza from Saturday night (spinach & tomato), fruit & scones from work. A nice, hot cup of tea. Bliss (and so easy; I need easy on a Monday).


I was in Dublin all day for a Bord Bia conference and didn’t get home til 7:30 – neither did Patrick, who works in Waterford. Maeve was with our (saintly) childminder til then, and we were all exhausted and starving. We had a quick meal – leftover meatloaf & mash from Sunday, beans and an egg. It was not a proper meal (not one veggie!), but did the trick.



On Wednesday Patrick worked from home, making my life slightly easier. Know what’s not easy, though? Trying to remember what I made for dinner Wednesday night.

I’m pretty sure it was the aloo gobi, though (I might have mixed up Wednesday and Thursday). I made a really easy, healthy curry with cauliflower, chickpeas, green peas and potato. The base is one large onion (sauteed in clarified butter), fresh ginger, garlic and chili, 2 tsp garam masala, 2 tsp basic curry powder, 1 heaping tsp turmeric, 2 tins of tomatoes, 2 cups vegetable broth (or just water, you don’t have to be fancy), salt & pepper and the veggies and chickpeas. We had it with basmati rice. Everyone loved it.



So this is either the aloo gobi or this pasta I make once a week. It’s cheap, cheerful, easy and tasty. Pork mince, onion, mushrooms, spinach, pesto, a bit of butter, grano padano & spaghetti. Maeve’s favourite dish (she’s started saying “pash-ta”).


I had a staff dinner at Parker’s Restaurant in Holycross, so before I left I made ham, cheese and coleslaw sandwiches. Patrick gave me a ride in and got chips for himself on the way home. I gorged on halloumi tartlet, striploin steak with onion rings & peach crumble (oh, and a little bit of wine).



What a crazy busy day Saturday was. We had our first calf the night before so there was lots of work to do on the farm to get ready for all the other babies coming our way. Also, it was a nice day so we spent lots of time outside and played. Maeve and I did the weekly shop in the morning and when her dad & granddad came in later that afternoon I made pork schnitzel (boneless loin chops flattened, breaded & fried), roasted new potatoes and frozen mixed vegetables. It was just what the doctor ordered.

So there you have it; my truthful week in dinners. Frozen veggies, pre-washed salad leaves and, when in doubt, a tin of beans are truly my best friends these days. How about you? If you want to read more weeks in dinners, click on the badge at the top of the post! There are lots of great ideas out there for quick, healthy meals for parents and kids. Thanks Sinéad!

%d bloggers like this: