Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fantastic Fifty

Fifty Days! I woke up to a glorious morning and wrote in our sitting room with the french doors wide open and the sunlight flooding in. Overall, it was a fantastically uneventful day. I managed to get down to the Ballycotton Cliff's for a powerwalk at dusk, and it was gorgeous as usual.

Here are some overflow tips that I couldn't fit in last week's posts:

- November's seasonal foods? Pears, apples, red cabbage, celery, pumpkin, butternut squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, onions, celeriac, walnuts, partridge, guinea fowl, pheasant, rabbit, woodcock, venison, goose, grouse, mussels, oysters, plaice, pollock, scallops, hake, turbot...

- 80% of wine produced in Australia is controlled by 4-5 multinational corporations. The same is true for Chile.

- Pork loves sage, rosemary, thyme, cumin, coriander... it can take on a lot of strong flavors.

- If you are making sourdough bread, and you want it to taste really "sour" (in a good way), add less starter to the dough. It seems counterintuitive, but the more starter, the faster the bread will rise, and the shorter length of fermentation. If you add less starter, the fermentation period will be longer because it will take longer for the bread to rise (the active yeast in the starter is what makes the bread rise). So, less starter, less yeast, slower rising, more fermenting.

- Wheat germ is what producers take out of flour so that it doesn't go rancid (wheat germ spoils easily). Feel free to add some back into your flour when you're baking bread (for flavor).

- According to the Ballymaloe Sour Dough recipe, you should start on Thursday night in order to have bread for Saturday morning. Thursday night, take your starter out of the fridge and give it a "feed" (some flour and water). Friday morning, give the starter a second "feed" - this will ensure a happily active starter. Friday lunch, make the dough (and add a portion of your starter). Friday evening, knock back the risen dough and shape into loaf. Saturday morning, bake!

- "Sweet wedding cake and dry champagne is a match made in hell" - Colm McCan, Ballymaloe House sommelier. Instead, try something like ice cold Moscato d'Asti. It's light, sweet, and slightly sparkling, and goes much better with rich cake!

- Trying adding some frozen raspberries to a glass of Prosecco (or frozen cranberries on Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve!)


  1. Thank you for the sour dough tips!!

  2. Interesting, I never would have thought as scallops as a November food. My Dad, well versed in the art of grilling scallops, throws this crazy Hoboken Eddie's sauce on those bad boys. Mighty tasty goes well with a bed of Goya Arroz Amarillo (yellow rice en espanol).