Hello and welcome to my food, wine and travel blog. I’m a publisher and freelance food writer focusing on local producers, food innovation, product comparison, food topics and book reviews. My interest in food over the years has led to the natural accompaniment – wine – and I have spent many happy hours in vineyards with the single-minded, passionate, hardworking grape growers and winemakers who provide such pleasure to enrich our meals. This has led to travel which allows me to visit some of the most beautiful regions of the world for my perfect combination of food, wine and travel. Judging at wine competitions in Italy and South Africa has been a pleasure, but a pretty tough assignment. Having seen what it takes to have integrity in the awarding of gold and silver medals at such events, I have become somewhat cynical about the random application of gold stars by organizations set up as a marketing exercise which have little substance. The equivalent of a selfie. Food and wine producers deserve recognition, but are badly served in the long run when they are not encouraged to have the kind of high standards required by genuine awards. I’m a columnist with the Irish Examiner (irishexaminer.com for fortnightly food surveys) and a former broadcaster with RTE. I contribute to most of the national newspapers from time to time. I work as a food consultant retooling menus, doing restaurant critiques for owners who want an objective opinion. Sometimes love hurts, but menus transformed often give chefs a new lease of life.
In my work running a small publishing company On Stream (www.onstream.ie), the team of freelance designers, editors and photographers as well as the authors I work with, constantly enrich my life. We recently helped a transition year class produce a book which got them into a national entrepreneurship final. A satisfying project. In my position as National President of Network Ireland (Women in Business) in 1996/97 I thought we had come a long way in promoting equal rights for women in the workplace and in business. These days it seems we still have a long way to go, but seeing these young women work together, I saw great hope.
Many of the books are about food and wine, but last year we explored another genre with Ghost of Shandon, a graphic novel written and wonderfully illustrated by a young artist, Alan Corbett. To see a burgeoning talent get to the printed page was a privilege. Life is not dull. The Lettercollum Kitchen Project in Clonakilty was a terrific success as was the book I wrote about the Macroom Mountain Dew festival which was Ireland’s first outdoor rock festival way back in 1977. This further underlined by interest in music and I wrote about it as much as possible.
Macroom Mountain Dew – Memories of Ireland’s First Rock festival
Food and wine publications include:
My Goodness – easy, wholesome food, by Liz Nolan Ist in Ireland Gourmand Award winner
Our Daily Bread – a history of Barron’s Bakery, by Roz Crowley 2nd in World Gourmand Award winner
A Kingdom of Wine – a celebration of Ireland’s Wine Geese, by Ted Murphy 1st in World Gourmand Award winner
The Health Squad Guide to Health + Fitness, by Paula Mee, Padraig Murphy + Karen Ward (RTE)
Simple recipes. Wholesome ingredients. Delicious meals.
Vegetarian cooking doesn’t get better than this. Liz Nolan developed her passion for healthy and nutritious food at the Wholemeal Café in London and she now works as a nutritional therapist in Health and Herbs in Galway.
In My Goodness she has brought together her favourite easy-to-cook vegetarian recipes for every meal of the day. So whether it’s an apricot and oatmeal scone for breakfast, a butterbean and coconut soup for lunch, or a chickpea and red lentil curry for dinner, this collection has something for you. Plus there are breads to bake, yoghurts to blend and, of course, dessert.
It’s time to embrace the goodness. Be inspired.
For more information about the author and to buy directly from her website:
A lavishly produced hardback with a cover the soft feel of a loaf of bread, this book feels as good as it looks.
Relating the history of an Irish bakery, it is also a social history of the town of Cappoquin and its environs. The book gathers together interviews with over a hundred residents of the area including the oldest 96 year-old customer. He is one of many who survived wars and remembers flour and petrol shortages. All have vivid memories of going to the bakery to collect bread, some having it delivered by pony and trap. They conjure up the warm bakery scents wafting through the streets, the jars of sweets in the shop, the trays of bracks, Chester cake and the marking of the seasons with sweet treats.
The book is a testament to the tenacity of Joe Barron (1904-1980) and his daughter Esther and her husband Joe Prendergast who developed the bakery to its full potential while keeping the original Scotch brick ovens, the only in Ireland still in use. These ovens, along with time-honoured hand-moulding of favourites such as their plain loaves (turnovers) with the traditional rounded top and a crust loved by many when it is almost burned to a toffee crispness. There are also cobs, round hand-shaped loaves, seed loaves, blaas, soda bread and spotted dog and Irish barm brack.
Today, though suffering some of the ill-effects of the current recession, Barrons bakery thrives and this book is its celebration of 125 years in business in the current premises and over four generations.
The book includes charming old photographs and others taken during a night in the hectic, hot bakery. The photographer is emerging talent and award winning Arna Run Runarsdottir who captured the essence of the process of producing a wide range of delicious breads while the rest of the town sleeps.
Recipes for how to use up leftover bread, along with Mrs Barron’s popular recipe are also included.
For style with substance, pure, good cooking with flair and without pretension, this is the recipe book to please. While Head Chef Tim O¹Sullivan goes to endless trouble for his guests at Renvyle House in Connemara, his recipes are so simple it is easy for the home cook to impress without fuss. Recipes can be dipped into, used in many different ways and adapted for everyday use.
For those who appreciate the essence of good food it is a treat. For cooks who like to enjoy what they cook, At Home in Renvyle is the perfect gift.