Saturday, March 12, 2016

Imen McDonnell’s modern Irish recipes from The Farmette Cookbook By Darina Allen

As the whole world (it seems) gears up to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, have a good root through your cupboards and pick out your very best ‘greenery’ to don on Thursday next. Let’s all have fun and get into the emerald vibe. The Irish diaspora from New York to Shanghai are in high spirits. Tourism Ireland recently announced this year’s additions to the Global Greening initiative where famous sites and monuments throughout the world are illuminated in green to mark our National Holiday. It’s a totally brilliant initiative to focus the whole world’s attention on Ireland. This year the 7 World Trade Centre at Ground Zero in New York, the famous Big Wheel on Place de la Concorde in Paris, the City Hall in Tel Aviv and Munich’s Hofbräuhaus and the Amazon Theatre Opera House in the midst of the Amazon Rain Forest are among the newest sites to join the Sydney Opera House, the Colosseum in Rome, the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, the Empire State Building in New York and Auckland’s Sky Tower. Here in Dublin, disability rights campaigner Joanne O’Riordan from Millstreet has been chosen as Grand Marshall of the St Patrick’s Day Parade. At 19 years old, she’ll be the youngest ever to lead the celebrations. Well, back to the kitchen, to plan a feast. For me, St Patrick’s Day is all about bacon and cabbage and parsley sauce with a big bowl of champ and a generous lump of Irish butter melting into the centre — the ultimate comfort food. Despite the atrocious weather, our rhubarb is growing enthusiastically, so it’ll be a juicy rhubarb tart for pud with lots of soft brown sugar and Jersey cream. But if you’d rather ring the changes how about St Patrick’s Day bacon and cabbage pot stickers with soy dipping sauce. This is just one of the tempting recipes in Imen McDonnell’s new book Farmette Cookbook which documents her recipes and adventures on an Irish farm. Imen will be very familiar to the Irish Farmers Journal readers for whom she’s written a food and lifestyle column for many years. She’s also a contributing editor to Condé Nast Traveller and Irish Country Magazine. In a former life, she spent her days working in Los Angeles, happily going about her business in a successful broadcast media career. Then fate intervened, she met a dashing Irish farmer in Minneapolis and fell instantly in love. In short order, Imen found herself leaving behind her career, her country, her family and friends, to start a life from scratch on a centuries-old family dairy farm in County Limerick. When she’s not cooking, writing, weeding or photographing, you’ll find her in the farmyard with her husband and son, milking cows, feeding calves and chickens, or looking after their two donkeys and amusing Airedale terrier, Teddy. Imen highlights farmhouse skills such as butter and cheesemaking and the use of local, wholesome ingredients. Here are a few of Imen’s modern Irish recipes for you to enjoy from The Farmette Cookbook published by Roost Books. Irish Examiner Photo