May 26, 2009
I am sitting in our plush, spacious and funky new office above the cookery school and attempting to write something coherent for the first time in three years. In truth, the office is not the testament to luxury I am making it out to be but it is an unimaginable improvement on what we used as an office/wine store/changing room/storage which was in total no bigger than our king size beds in the guesthouse. This new office is above the cookery school and overlooks our garden which has become an endless money pit but is finally starting to give us something in return for all the cash and effort being lavished upon it.
My friend, Tim Yorke, is overseeing the whole project and patiently travels from West Cork every week to give advice and help Michael Hodnett our “man on the ground” with help and day to day advice on the care of this particularly needy baby. Nevertheless, I am almost more excited about the existence and prospects of the garden than I am of my fabulous new kitchen. I love showing people around this unique space. It is, as you know, a walled garden slap bang in the middle of Dungarvan town – this does not crop up very often.
The lettuce, rockett, mizuna, chard and baby kale appeared in abundance last month. The baby cucumbers, broadbeans and herbs will come any day now to be followed by the tomatoes, five varieties no less! Courgettes, soft fruit and ratte potatoes soon after.
Conor, our amiable and canny local fruit and veg man is now buying ou salad and will take surplus of anything we dont need. This is a comforting arrangement – for the first time the garden is generating an income, albeit a modest one. This, together with the garden supplying us with 60% of our vegetables over the summer will start tomake some financial sense at last.
This hard nosed fact is of course only one side of the coin. I am practically getting weak at the knees at the prospect of cookign food and creating dishes in such an – well – organic way. It just seems so right and so natural. For all my cooking life, the process of menu design and cooking food has always been seasonal, but step one was to order an ingredient when in season and plan a dish around it without even looking at the ingredient. Now I have got a plan for the broad beans, the parsley, potatoes, soft fruit, tomatoes and everything else that will shortly make a welcome appearance. I impatiently check every day to see when I can order the lobster to go with the broad beans or Fingal Ferguson’s salamis to go with the potatoes. Its like waiting for numerous babies to be born and I am the father of them all!! I am genuinely more excited to be cooking the produce from our garden than I have been about cooking anything in years – it has given me a new lease of life and I think has been worth every bit of the trouble. Now if only I could convince my wife of that……
May 26, 2009
National are just a fantastic band.
Right now we are thinking about music a lot in our house because we are putting together a playlist for a significant birthday party – I am not saying whose birthday it is or indeed what decade we are entering. Anyway my brother has been given the not unimportant task of getting this music absolutely right – no pressure there Sham! Whilst perusing our extensive eighties catalogue, we have come across some brilliant old favourites. I have been told that the playlist is changing from contemporary with a sprinkling of eighties to a full on eighties mullet extravangnza – Limahl wig optional!! Rather harsh I thought; Anyway, there are some songs that are simply not suitable for the occasion and this is probably one but is such a brilliant song I think you should all listen. The
May 26, 2009
The man himself is coming to host a night in The Tannery Cookery School on Friday 14th August. Richard will demo the food that made him famous and then all sit down together to be regaled with stories of memories of Richard’s time in Soho and his beloved Lindsay House. Richard is now cooking up a storm in Corrigans Mayfair. This evening with Richard is booking very quickly so I think it is wise to get in very quickly. Book now.
May 24, 2009
Well the day finally arrived and Tamasin Day-Lewis arrived in Dungarvan for a demo in the cookery school. It was very interesting. Tamasin is a truly original cook. She cooks from the heart and there are ABSOLUTELY NO SHORTCUTS!! Paul thoroughly enjoyed being her “Sherpa” for the day and for those of you who did the course I am sure you will cook some of those recipes over and over.
Tamasin in action
May 22, 2009
9am this morning – this bodes well for the summer!
May 22, 2009
Its always great when we get feedback, particularly good feedback, so when a regular customer that knows us and trusts us with their special night out enjoys their night so much – it make our jobs worthwhile – honestly! Food isn’t a science and sometimes it doesn’t all go to plan but when it does and the company is good, the night can be perfect. Please have a look at Lorenzo’s blog where you can see beautiful images of not only their night at the Tannery but also their travels.
May 16, 2009
Last night was one of the most exciting nights we have had in The Tannery for years. Michel Roux, arguably one of the greatest chefs in the world was in for dinner with his dining club from London. He was a true gentleman, so easy to please, so warm and interested in us. For us it was such an honour to be complimented by this wonderful man. M Roux was staying in Ballymaloe and thoroughly enjoying his trip to Ireland.
May 13, 2009
Just noticed on my Hello Mag that it is celebrating its 21st anniversary. Dont think I have missed an issue in 20 years! Wednesday wouldnt be Wednesday without Hello. Saturday is for Grazia – dont ever say that I am not shallow! So on this weeks Hello number 1072…. v v v unflattering photo of Liz Hurley at The Met’s Costume Institute Gala. Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham, What were you thinking?? Renee Zelleweger – I think time to get over the Carolina Herrera – is now boring on you. The winner in my humble opinion – Gisele
ps – has anyone ever notice that recipes in hello can be rather good. This week there is one for a strawberry, cream cheese and honey sandwich – anyone?? Have seen Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall do this with white bread, butter, thinly sliced strawberries and castersugar sprinkled before sandwiching. Will try one out in due course and report back.
May 13, 2009
We have been collecting cookbooks now for probably 20 years and so have quite a library. I ‘d say we probably have about 400 between the house and work so how is it that I only actually cook from two or three of them. What makes a cookbook so good that you go back to it time and time again. For me, its easy recipes that are tasty…. Some cookbooks I just read, simply for the pleasure of reading them. Probably the best cookbook I have ever read is Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson. If you are at all interested in food, I urge you to go out and buy this book. It will make you laugh (unusual you have to say for a cookbook) and want to get into the kitchen and cook. I think its probably out in reprint. Try Amazon
May 13, 2009
Paolo Nutini is my new man. A Friday night tradition in this house is to stay up after work and watch Jools Holland – obviously wine is involved here. Last Friday night I heard my Paolo for the first time. Brilliant!! So, off I went the next morning, into the shopping centre with my money in my hand to splash out on his cd to be told that its not out until June. So onto youtube and this is what I have been listening to all week – love, love, love this song.