When I heard of Honor Moore’s recent passing I was deeply saddened. Somehow one felt that this doyenne of Irish food writers would always be with us. I didn’t know Honor very well but remember her support, when I started the Ballymaloe Cookery School and her encyclopaedic knowledge of traditional Irish food. I particularly remember a long conversation about boxty when I was doing research for my traditional food book.
Honor started to cook in an evacuee camp in the North of Ireland in the early 1940s under a chef from Gibraltar who by all accounts didn’t think much of her ability, apparently he advised her to give up all thoughts of being a chef and fortunately she didn’t heed him.
Soon after she started to write articles on food for the Belfast Newsletter under the nom de plume ‘Housekeeper’ and continued until 1968. She went on to write a weekly column in the RTE Guide for many years and also developed a loyal following as food editor of Woman’s Way magazine. She also did an occasional piece for the Farmer’s Journal and then started to work on a book about her life called A Cooks Tale.
Honor had many hats. When her husband Sam died suddenly in 1965, she had to take over the running of his PR (Public Relations) business. She knew nothing about PR but, through necessity, learned in double quick time. Within days, she was representing the interests of Marathon Oil, Irish Base Metals including the Tynagh Mine, Tara Exploration; The Irish Shoe Federation and many more.
Honor also made several appearances on TV with both Tom Doorley and on the Late Late Show.
As one of the founding members of the Irish Food Writers Guild she was highly respected by her journalistic colleagues. The Guild chose her as their President and she was re-elected every year since then, unopposed. In 2005, Eurotoques, the European Community of Chefs presented her with a special lifetime achievement award.
Throughout her 90 years she brought Irish people along with her as she introduced new ingredients and ideas and was always warm and supportive to young chefs, cooks restaurateurs and food producers.
Honor will be sadly missed and warmly remembered by all of us who knew her.
Honor Moore’s Smoked Fish Chowder with Carrageen
450g (1lb) smoked fish, cut in cubes
15g (3/4oz) butter
1 onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced
600ml (1 pint) fish stock or water
300ml (10 floz) milk
good pinch carrageen
freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: Dried dillisk.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, potatoes, and leeks, cook over a low heat, stirring, well until softened. Add the stock and milk. Simmer until the vegetables are soft. Season to taste; add the fish and the carrageen. Simmer gently for 7 to 10 minutes more, to cook the fish. Serve with toasted rolls.
Honor Moore’s Fougasse
Makes 2 loaves
500g (18oz) strong white flour
3 tsp dried yeast
2 ½ tbsp olive oil
extra flour for kneading.
Sieve the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Dissolve the yeast in warm (not hot) water. Pour the mixture into the flour and add the olive oil using a wooden spoon. Begin mixing in the lukewarm water and continue until the mixture forms a loose dough. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Add the salt and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the clean bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out on to a lightly floured surface. Knead for a minute or two and divide in two and flatten them into two large ovals. Transfer to a large baking sheet and using a pair of lightly floured scissors cut diagonal slashes right through the dough. Using your fingers open up the slashes until they At least 2 ½ cm wide. Transfer to a baking sheet. And Put the baking sheet into a warm place and leave to prove for 30 minutes. Either drizzle little olive oil over the top and sprinkle with rock salt or scatter with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 450ºF -230ºC – gas mark 8 for 15 to 20 minutes. Wrap in a clean tea towel and serve.
Honor Moore’s Chocolate Orange Bread and Butter Pudding
Unsalted butter for greasing
10 thin slices of white bread, crusts removed
good quality chocolate spread
1 tsp grated orange rind
4 large eggs, beaten
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
3 tbsp cocoa
600ml (1 pint) whipping cream
300ml (10fl oz) sieved orange juice
1 tsp cocoa
1 tsp golden caster sugar
Grease a shallow ovenproof dish about 26cm by 18cm by 7cm. Cut the bread into triangles and spread with butter and chocolate spread. Arrange neatly in the prepared dish. To make the custard whisk the egg, cream cheese sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the white chocolate pieces and set aside. Return to the dark chocolate mixture; whisk the caster sugar and eggs in another large bowl. With the whisk still running, gently pour in the melted chocolate. Carefully fold in the flour with a metal spoon. Pour half the dark chocolate mixture into the brownie tin, and then pour over the much runnier white mixture, dollop in the rest of the chocolate mix evenly over the top. Using a wooden spoon handle lightly stir the contents of the tin, making large swirls
Bake for 35 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.
Franny’s Pickled Ramps (Wild Garlic)
Makes 2 cups
450g (1lb) late season ramps (wild garlic) with well-developed bulbs
112mls (4fl oz) white wine vinegar
55ml (2fl oz) moscato vinegar or (see note)
Trim the hairy roots from the ramps. Separate the bulbs from the greens; reserve the greens for another use. Rinse the bulbs under warm running water and pat dry.
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegars, sugar and salt and bring to a simmer. Stir in the ramps, reduce the heat to low, and return the liquid to a simmer.
Let stand, stirring occasionally until cool.
Transfer the ramps and liquid to an airtight container; the pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to three months.
Note: For a cheater’s moscato vinegar substitute, whisk together 112mls (4fl oz) apple cider vinegar, 2 ½ teaspoons honey and ¼ teaspoon balsamic vinegar.
Learn classic cooking techniques, over the years we’ve had many requests from busy people who want us to create a course to teach everything from basic knife skills,from jointing a chicken to making the perfect salad dressing. During the two and half day course of three demonstrations and two hands on sessions, you will learn the essential skills that will make cooking easy and fun. Classic Techniques – Wednesday, 24th to Friday 26th July 2013 Ballymaloe Cookery School – phone 021-4646785 to book a place.
Ross Golden-Bannon, busy editor of Food and Wine Magazine has been hatching up a fun new dining experience. He’s teamed up with chef Gareth Mullins of the Marker Hotel in Dublin to create a pop up restaurant in the Hibernian Club on St Stephen’s Green. The six course menu will celebrate the food of many fledgling artisan food producers, craft brewers and natural wine producers. The first dinner was yesterday, to catch the next one check out www.guerillagourmetclub.evenbrite.ie
Elderflowers are in full bloom along every lane and hedgerow in Ireland at present. Pick them on a dry day and make elderflower syrups, cordials, granita and fritters. The season isn’t long, maybe another 2 or 3 weeks. Remember elderflowers grow on small trees and not by the road side and must not be confused with cow parsley or giant hog weed. You’ll find new seasons elderflower cordial at the Midleton farmers market very Saturday morning 9 – 2pm www.midletonfarmersmarket.ie
Dates for your Diary
The 37th Kinsale Gourmet Festival tickets are now on sale with some events almost sold out already I’m told. The festival takes place in Kinsale 11 – 13 October – Tickets available for purchase from 021 4773571 and further information on www.kinsalerestaurants.com
Kenmare, Co Kerry will hold its second annual Kenmare Food Carnival from 12th – 14th July 2013 – see www.kenmarefoodcarnival.com