I participated in a very interesting ‘cookalong’ last week. The theme this month was ’20 mile cookalong’ where all produce used was to be sourced and produced within a 20 mile radius of where you live. Now, had I been of the supermom persuasion I would have done some research, planned ahead and sourced what I needed with a few roadtrips. It is without apology that I state that I am not cut from that cloth.
I was in a situation recently where I was discussing the source of the ingredients I use and that while I aspire to buy locally produced product that is not always possible. The conversation finished and the person I was speaking to went on to contribute on a speaking panel where almost the first words out of her mouth were ‘There is no excuse for not buying local.’ I sat in the audience feeling rather like the slapped child who had the chair pulled out from under them and I wanted to stand up and say ‘live my life for a week honey’ or ‘step into my shoes and you might think differently.’
I am a regular consumer with a big interest in food and I come across people all the time whose lives revolve completely around food; the growing of it, the processing of it, the producing of it etc. But I am not one of them, I am the purchaser.
Like a lot of people, earning the crust that will pay for the food comes ahead of actually buying the food and work zaps a lot of our time. Time gets sucked up in numerous other ways too; school runs, bank runs, post office runs, sports runs, music runs, housework etc. Time gets divided up in a piecemeal fashion and there is precious little left over.
So instead of visiting vegetable farms or going the few miles it would have taken to source some locally produced chocolate I ended up doing my usual last-minute thing and pushing a trolley around my local supermarket.
Now, I am lucky to have a fantastic supermarket on my doorstep (Quish’s SuperValu) and my task of buying ‘local produce’ was made a whole lot easier by their ‘Locally produced’ signs displayed in the store. The signs are subtle and you need to seek them out but they are there.
The task of cooking using only local produce limited my choices but it was possible and below are the contents of my shopping trolley. (a couple were packaged not produced locally e.g. salt)
The products and suppliers (All purchased via Quish’s SuperValu Ballincollig) were:
Butter – Bandon Co-op
Dubliner Cheeses – Carbery, Ballineen
Ardsallagh Soft Goats Cheese – Carrigtohill
Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese – Carrigaline
Martin’s Dairy Whipping Cream – Martin’s Dairy, Inniscarra
Clona Dairy Products – Milk & Buttermilk – Clonakilty
Rooster Potatoes – Grange Farm, Ovens
Swede – F Gleeson Ltd., Grange, Ovens
Onions – Francis Hayes, Clonakilty
Eating & Cooking Apples – Ireland
Honey – 2 local suppliers – Castlegold Honey & Healy’s Honey
Jams – Ballymakquirke Fruit Farm Kanturk
Eggs – Country Pastures Mega Eggs
Flour & Oatmeal – Macroom
Salt – packaged by Going Healthy Mallow
Ice-Cream – Corrin Hill, Silver Pail Dairy, Fermoy
Sweets – packaged by Robert McGowan & Sons, Cork
Fillet Steak (cut in Kepak, Watergrasshill) served with Creamy Cheese & Onion Potato Bake and swede sweetened with drizzle of honey.
Crumble surprise made with Irish Apples & Jams and topped with Macroom oatmeal crumble
Oatmeal biscuits made with Macroom Flour & Oatmeal, Bandon butter served with Carrigaline Farmhouse and Ardsallagh cheese.
My oatmeal biscuits need a little bit of work before I can share the recipe as they were a bit too crumbly. I’m posting the Creamy Cheese & Onion Potato Bake recipe below and apologise in advance for the poor quality photograph as it was getting late in the day and I was in a rushto eat it!
Creamy Cheese & Onion Potato Bake:
You will need:
Approx 10 medium potatoes
2 small onions
Large knob butter and extra for greasing
400ml single cream
50g grated cheese ( I used Dubliner Cheddar)
Small handful fresh parsley
Pre-heat the fan oven to 170 / Gas Mark …
Peel and boil the potatoes for 3-5 minutes until the outside is starting to get tender.
Drain and cool the potatoes for a couple of minutes.
Peel and thinly slice the onions. Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat and soften the onions for 5 minutes.
Lightly grease a baking dish with a little butter.
Cut the cooled boiled potatoes into slices and place in the baking dish.
Add the milk and cream to the softening onions in the pan and turn the heat up and allow to just come to the boil before taking off the heat.
Pour the creamy softened onions mixture over the potatoes with half of the grated cheese and stir gently to coat the potatoes without breaking them up too much.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and cover the baking dish with tinfoil.
Bake covered with the foil for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 20-30 minutes more until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden.
Serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley.
Enjoy. ’til next time, Sheila
p.s. to view other Cookalong contributions pay a visit to ‘Irish Foodies Cookalongs’ on Facebook
p.p.s. not all suppliers are strictly within 20 mile radius of me, but sure what’s a mile or two more…