On Cooking in Ireland

In our past travels for The Perennial Plate, we went out to eat three times a day, or ate at the homes of those we were filming with.  It was wonderful.  From eating in Modena, Italy at what is now rated the world’s best restaurant; to a cave in the mountains of Morocco; to a ramen shop in Tokyo where you eat alone in a booth — there was always an incredible food experience to be had.  We don’t do that anymore.  James happened.  As many of you know, eating out with a toddler doesn’t have the same appeal as eating out with a friend or your partner.  It is worth doing from time to time, but to eat out three times a day would be madness — especially if you want to feed your child healthy food (if anyone orders french fries at the table, all other options go out the window).

In Ireland, instead of eating out, we are shopping for great local ingredients, and eating from home.  We do however have one large advantage: our airbnb happens to have an acre-sized kitchen garden, a dozen apple trees, and alpine strawberries growing in the cracks of the various pathways.  So we go out and shop, but rarely for fruit or veg. For that we pick from the Burton House gardens 20 minutes before dinner… not bad. Our food is also supplemented by the wonderful places we film. Whether it is bringing back a few crab from a fishing trip or some beef shin from a butcher story, there is usually a little extra something that makes the food go even further.

I’ve been pretty happy with the meals we’ve been making, so I thought I’d post a few pics of the garden and dishes derived from idea recipes in case you want to try them out.

First we have an amazing way to finish off the last of summer flavors that lead into fall.  Mirra made a tart crust (just flour, butter and water) that we baked on its own.  Id added the filling. For the base of the tart I mixed the amounts I had left of creme fraiche and chèvre along with minced shallot, tarragon, parsley and salt.  Then I just stuck raspberries and halved tomatoes at random into the tart until it was packed tight.  Garnished with the many edible flowers in the garden along with a drizzle of olive oil and some Maldon salt.



Below are the gardens that we harvest from… and Dermot, the head gardener.





Hakurei turnips that i seared in butter then added some thyme and  dry apple cider from a local orchard, then baked in the oven for about 20 minutes.


A collection of salads, my favorite of which was blanched green beens tossed with sauerkraut, lemon juice and bean flowers, also roasted potatoes with yogurt and fennel seeds/flowers.


Couscous with radishes, herbs, raw torpedo onions and apple.



Chickpeas with apple cider vinegar, shallots and summer squash.


James enjoying just picked and roasted carrots:


And squash from the garden:


James feeding Hunter.