ArchiveSeptember 1, 2014

Dillisk Restaurant

 

The hottest restaurant ticket this summer wasn’t in Dublin, Cork or even Galway. It’s  a little pop-up restaurant in Aughrusbeg out in the wilds on Connemara.

 

It’s in an old stone cottage which was used as a boat house on a sand dune close to the waters edge. The bright young chefs behind the project are Jasper O’ Connor and Katie Sanderson, (past Ballymaloe Cookery School Students) who last Easter gathered some pals around and started to renovate the fisherman’s cottage from an advanced state of dereliction. They scrubbed and white washed merrily, planted the garden, foraged and pickled. The tables and benches were assembled from old pallets, the candle sticks from wooden banisters and recycled wood. Salt and pepper is served in mussel and cockle shells. The resulting upcycled look is chic and contemporary.

The restaurant opened on 26th June and is booked out till the end of August. Lucky guests pay €50 – €55 per head for the 5 course menu which in reality is about 7 courses and includes a welcome drink. Guests can bring their own wine or craft beer.

 

Getting there is part of the adventure,- an enchanting drive through breathtaking Connemara. As you wend your way through the narrow boreens towards Claddaghduff.  Montbresia, ragworth, loosestrife and fluffy meadow sweet are in full bloom in the hedgerows  – a profusion of orange, yellow, purple and cream.

You’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for a tiny painted sign on drift wood for Dillisk. From the car park guests walk past Jasper and Katie’s raised vegetable and fresh herb beds. The little lean-to green house is brimming with ripe Sungold and ? tomatoes, then we wander on through the long grass to the stone cottage where the lovely Emily greeted us with a beetroot gin and tonic sprinkled with marigold petals. Katie and Jasper, who love to forage, pickle, cure and smoked change the menu almost daily. Outside the kitchen door Sam Gleeson was grilling sprouting broccoli spears over Jaspers homemade Tandoor oven before he went on to cook the tiny Naan breads for guests to nibble with the aperitif. These were topped with chopped home grown tomatoes and freshly snipped basil. Japser passed around another board with beetroot cured mackerel wrapped in slivers of cucumber. Already there was a palatable sense of excitement and anticipation among the 32 dinner guests all of whom felt they’d won the lotto to have secured a seat at the long table. The view across the white sandy beach to the Twelve Pins in the distance in the early evening light was truly magical – reminiscent of a Paul Henry landscape.

When the breeze became brisker we wandered in to take our places at the long upcycled candle lit table. Little night lights were tucked into tiny niches in the stone wall. The food began to arrive,  some served family style, other dishes were plated. First there was a smoked dillisk broth with Aitor’s garden greens, then bowls of freshly picked cockles with lovage, an extra treat that didn’t even appear on the hand written menu. Tandoori cooked fresh Pollack with fennel and sea beet from the boats at nearby Cleggan harbour came next with an oyster leaf (Maritima ) ? on the edge.

 

Cucumber snow with goat curd and Dingle Gin came next to flit across the tongue and clear our pallets. Main course was Achill Island lamb, both slow cooked shoulder and belly with sleabhac (seaweed) and bowls of roast new potatoes and aioli.

Honey carrageen moss, chocolate soil and wild sorrel, another inspired combination continued the foraging theme. But that wasn’t all there were two more surprises, a play on the American ‘pickle back’,  two little shot glasses arrived, one with pickle juice, the other with Teelings whiskey and last but not least home made marshmallows with flaked almonds, a wild strawberry and a sorrel leaf to pop into your mouth all in one go completed the feast.

 

The guests were a mix of locals, holiday makers artists, farmers, restauranteurs , teckies, sailors, golfers, lawyers and  musicians, among them sean-nos  singer  Norin Ui Riain and her equally gifted son Moley of (Owen & Moley) who jumped up spontaneously towards the end of the meal and sang an ode to Katie and Jasper and all their lovely friends who worked so hard and cheerfully to produce a feast from their tiny kitchen and a truly memorable evening and food experience for all of us.

 

Ireland surely needs more imaginative and talented young people like Jasper and Katie and their full loving imaginative friends to give our visitors a real taste of the local and foraged food of that place

 

Where did Katie and Jasper pop out of ?

 

Katie is already known to many through her previous creative projects – Living Dinners,  the Hare Café at IMMA in Dublin.

Jasper honed his skills at Town Bar and Grill, the Cake Cafe, Ard Bia and an exciting stint in the US.

 

www.dillisk.com

 

Beetroot Cured Mackerel with Courgette and Lemon Crème Fraiche

 

50 canapes, approx..

 

4 mackerel fillets

4ozs (100g) sugar

4 ozs (100g) salt

8 ozs (200g) raw beetroot, finely grated

3 small fresh courgettes

6 ozs (150g) crème fraiche

Grated zest of  2 lemons

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

 

Gut, clean and fillet the fish making sure that all the bones have been removed.

 

Mix the salt and sugar together, sprinkle 1/3 on the base of a small shallow dish, choose one just wide enough to hold the fish fillets.

 

Smear both sides of the fish fillets with the grated beetroot,  then lay 2 fillets skin side down on the cure. Dust with more of the cure, then lay the other two fillets on top, skin side up, then cover with the remaining of the cure.

 

Cover the dish, refrigerate to allow the fish to cure for anywhere between 1 and 3 days depending on how strong you like it.

 

To serve:

Grate the lemon zest into the crème fraiche, season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Slice the courgettes lengthwise into paper thin slices. Cut the mackerel into 1/2inch wedges. Dab with lemon crème fraiche and wrap in a thin slice of courgette. Serve as a simple canapé on some crackers or in a summery salad.

 

 

Ham Hock and Parsley Broth

 

Serves 10 -15

 

 

2 mild cure ham hocks

2 onions, quarterd

1 stick celery

2 carrots, roughly chopped

1 sprig thyme

1 sprig rosemary

parsley stalks

 

2ltr well flavoured chicken stock

handful of Dillisk

 

1 kg parsley

 

Garnish

Broad beans

Crispy pig skin

Sea rocket flowers

 

 

 

Put all the vegetables, parsley stalks and the ham hocks into a large pot, cover with cold water, cover the pot and simmer for 6 hours or until the meat is almost falling from the bones. Strain the liquid, separate the meat, tear into small bite sized pieces and reserve some of the liquid.

 

Heat the chicken stock and pour over the dillisk and allow to cool. Season with black pepper and the ham hock cooking liquid.

Pick all of the parsley leaves off the stalks, blanch in boiling water for a few seconds then refresh in iced water. Blend in a high powered food processor until smooth.

To serve,

Mix the parsley purée with the chicken and dillisk stock, add the ham hock and warm through. Season.

Jasper and Katie garnish the broth with broad beans, crispy pig skin and sea rocket flowers or fried cabbage.

 

 

Honey Carrigeen Mousse with Wild Sorrel Juice

 

Serves 25 – 30 people

 

2 ozs (50g) dried carrageen

½ cup water

1 Jar of Locally sourced Honey ( we used Cleggan  Honey)

6 egg yolks

3 whites

18 fl ozs (500 ml) cream

3 1/2oz (100g) castor sugar

 

 

Wild Sorrel leaves

Spinach leaves

1 green apple

1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum

 

 

In a small saucepan, heat the carrageen with 200ml  water, simmer gently for 25 minutes.

Pour the contents into a sieve and press the jelly like carrageen  into a bowl  with your fingers or a spoon. Warm the honey in a pot and on a low heat  for a minute or two to loosen.  Whisk the cream and half the sugar until stiff and keep aside.

Meanwhile,  whisk the egg yolks with the other half of the sugar and beat until pale and thick.

Mix the warm honey and carrageen  together and pour slowly into the egg yolk mixture.

Whisk the egg whites to a stiff peak, fold into the mixture with sweetened cream. Cover and put into the fridge to set for minimum of four hours.

 

To serve

Juice a handful each of wild sorrel  and spinach plus a green apple. Add some lemon juice if it needs more acidity. Blitz a 1/8 of a teaspoon of Xanthan gum into the juice (this will brighten and thicken juice). Serve the Honey Carrageen Mousse  with sorrel juice and edible flowers.

 

 

 

 

Hot Tips

The Autumn  12 Week Certificate  Course at Ballymaloe Cookery School is now over subscribed but check out the golden ticket raffle on the GIY website www.giyireland.com  for details of an opportunity to win a place on the January 12 Week course. Draw will take place at the GIY gathering in Waterford on September 13th, 2014.

 

 

Irish plums are now is season – contact Kristen Jameson at Tourin, Cappoquin, Co Waterford – phone: 087 2361984. They freeze brilliantly and make delicious jam, compotes, desserts and sauces.

Blackberries and Brambles

 

Wow, there’s going to be the hughest crop of blackberries this year so I am gearing myself up for lots of blackberry picking expeditions. We’re also planning a myriad of delicious ways to use them, not just the usual jams, jellies and cobblers but wine, liqueur and cordials. I’ll throw some fresh blackberries into smoothies and scones and scatter them over a layer of softly whipped cream to fill a feather light sponge.

A few juicy berries combined with chunks of ripe melon and shredded mint make a delicious starter and even a dessert.

I’ll also get to make that sublime blackberry trifle I tasted at Dock Kitchen, London last Autumn or even a simple blackberry and sweet geranium puff. I’m also planning to pop some in the freezer, they keep brilliantly particularly if one takes the time to tray freeze first before putting them into good strong plastic bags or boxes. Blackberries come from the Rubus Genus, the Rosacea family and there are lots of different strains, some are small, others fat and plump. Apart from being juicy and delicious, they are packed with vitamins, minerals and trace elements. They’ve got lots of fibre and antioxidants and are particularly rich in vitamin C  Vitamin – the healing vitamin.

However, they are low in pectin so jam and jelly makers will need to use jam sugar unless they combine the blackberries with tart cooking apples or crab apples to increase the acidity.

I am systematically reducing sugar by 20% in all my recipes because of my observation that the sugar we now have access to is more intensely sweet than the Irish sugar beet sugar that my original recipes were based on. However, sugar is the preservative in jams, jellies, cordials et al so be careful not to reduce too much or the preserves won’t keep.

Picking Tips

Blackberries should be selected at the peak of ripeness, unlike many other fruits they don’t continue to ripen after they are picked. Inspect each one as you pick them, the centre should be white and unblemished, if it appears stained or inky it usually indicates that the fruit has been infected by little worms.  Its worth togging yourself out with a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt and a leather glove to clasp the thorny brambles. When the berries are ripe they come away easily in your hands without any resistance.

 

Blackberry and Cinnamon Scones

 

Makes 18-20 scones using a 7 1/2 cm (3 inch) cutter

 

 

900g (2lb/4 cups) plain white flour

3 heaped teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

50g (2oz/1/4 cup) castor sugar

175g (6oz/1 1/2 cups) butter

110g (4oz) blackberries

3 free range eggs

450ml (15floz/scant 2 cups) approx. milk to mix

 

For glaze:

egg wash (see below)

55g (2ozs) granulated sugar for sprinkling on top of the scones

½ teaspoon cinnamon

 

First preheat the oven to 250ºC/475°F/gas mark 9.

 

Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a large wide bowl. Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour and rub in the butter until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the blackberries. Make a well in the centre. Whisk the eggs with the milk, add to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board.  Knead lightly, just enough to shape into a round.  Roll out to about a thickness of 2cm (1 inch) and cut or stamp into scones.  Transfer to a baking sheet – no need to grease.

Brush the tops with egg wash and dip each one into cinnamon sugar.

 

Bake in a hot oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack.

Serve split in half with butter and serve.

 

Egg wash:

Whisk 1 egg with a pinch of salt. This is brushed over the scones and pastry to help them to brown in the oven.

 

 

 

Pan Grilled Duck Breast with Blackberry Colcannon

 

Serves 4

 

4 free-range duck breasts

sea salt

 

Blackberry Colcannon

 

450g (1lb) Savoy or spring cabbage

900g – 1.35kg (2-3lb) ‘old’ potatoes, e.g. Golden Wonders or Kerrs Pinks

250ml (8fl oz/1 cup) approx. boiling milk

25g (1oz) scallion or spring onion, optional

salt and freshly ground pepper

50g (2oz/1/2 stick) approx . butter

110g (4oz) blackberries

 

First make the colcannon.

Scrub the potatoes, put them in a saucepan of cold water, add a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil. When the potatoes are about half cooked, 15 minutes approx. for ‘old’ potatoes, strain off two-thirds of the water, replace the lid on the saucepan, put onto a gentle heat and allow the potatoes to steam until they are cooked.

 

Remove the dark outer leaves from the cabbage. Wash the rest and cut into quarters, remove the core and cut finely across the grain. Boil in a little boiling water or bacon cooking water until soft. Drain, season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a little butter. When the potatoes are just cooked, put the milk, and the finely chopped scallions into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Pull the peel off the potatoes and discard, mash quickly while they are still warm and beat in enough boiling milk to make a fluffy puree. (If you have a large quantity, put the potatoes in the bowl of a food mixer and beat with the spade.) Then stir in the cooked cabbage and taste for seasoning. For perfection, serve immediately in a hot dish with a lump of butter melting in the centre.

 

Colcannon may be prepared ahead up to this point and reheated later in a moderate oven 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4, for 20-25 minutes approx. Cover while reheating so it doesn’t get too crusty on top.

 

Meanwhile score the duck skin into a diamond pattern.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.  Put a pan grill on a low heat.  Cook the duck breasts very slowly and gently for 15-20 minutes on the fat side, by then the fat should be rendered out, (pour off the excess and save for duck confit), and the skin will be crisp and golden.  Season the flesh side with sea salt and turn over, continue to cook until to your taste.   I personally like duck breast medium to well done, not fashionably rare, which frequently results in the meat being tough and stringy.

 

Just before serving, fold the blackberry gently into the soft colcannon.   Put a dollop on each plate and top with a whole or sliced duck breast.

 

 

 

Blackberry Trifle

Recipe Stevie Parle, Dock Kitchen

 

The combination of port and blackberries with the custard and sponge seems to really work in this trifle

 


Cook time: chill in fridge for 2 hours

Ingredients:

200g/7oz sugar

275ml/½ pint cheap port

450g/1lb blackberries, plus a few extra to decorate

A squeeze of lemon juice

600ml/1 pint double cream

200ml/7fl oz whole milk

1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped

1 egg, plus 3 egg yolks

200g/7oz stale sponge cake, Madeira cake or Savoiardi biscuits

A handful flaked almonds, toasted

 

 

Place half the sugar and half the port in a pan and simmer for a couple of minutes until the sugar dissolves. Drop in the blackberries, add a squeeze of lemon, stir gently once, then take off the heat. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the custard. Over a low heat, bring half the cream and all the milk to a simmer along with the vanilla pod. Whisk the egg and yolks with the remaining sugar for a couple of minutes until they begin to look paler. As soon as the milk is about to boil, slowly pour it over the eggs, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and stir slowly over a low heat with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon, about three minutes. Transfer to a chilled bowl and allow to cool.

Spoon the fruit into your trifle bowl and return the syrup to a low heat for two minutes to reduce; pour over the fruit and leave to cool. Slice the cake into 1cm-thick slices, or cut the Savoiardi biscuits in half.

 

Blackberry and Rose Geranium Cordial

 

Keep a bottle of this handy to serve over ice cream, carrageen moss pudding or panna cotta. Alternatively, dilute with hot or cold water or sparkling wine to make a delicious drink. Rose or sweet geranium (Peloganium Graveoleans)  and blackberries are a marriage made in Heaven.

 

Makes 1.5 litres (2 1/2 pints)

 

2.5kg (6lb) fresh blackberries

10–12 sweet geranium leaves (depending on size)

600ml (1 pint) water

sugar

juice of 1–2 unwaxed lemons (depending on size)

 

Put the blackberries, sweet geranium leaves and water into a stainless-steel saucepan.

Cook for 15–20 minutes or until the blackberries are completely soft and juicy. Crush with a potato masher. Strain through a jelly bag or tie in a square of muslin and allow to drip into a bowl. Measure the juice and allow 500g–700g (18oz – 1 1/2lb) sugar to every 600ml (1 pint) of juice. Add the lemon juice, stir to dissolve.

 

Hot Tips

A Week at Ballymaloe Cookery School Organic Farm and Gardens,  1st – 5th September

–  Students on this course will – Sow a seed, learn the basics of organic growing and how to make compost  – Make a cheese right from the beginning starting with adding rennet to the milk, you will turn it yourself through the week. How to work with a glut, what to do when you’re growing is too successful! Learn many recipes to make with wonderful produce and lots,  lots more ………. For further information www.cookingisfun.ie

 

 

Iskeroon is enchantingly off the beaten track – a couple of miles down a steep meandering boreen not far from Caherdaniel in Co Kerry.  The views looking down over the sea and islands would quite simply take your breath away. David and Geraldine Hare’s chic  self-catering apartments are close to the oceans edge so you can fish, swim, sail or surf, its also a walkers paradise. If you’d just prefer to relax you could curl up on the sofa and read –  and for supper scramble some lovely fresh eggs from their happy lazy hens. – a rare and special find.  www.iskeroon.com

066 9475119

 

 

Date for your diary

Ballymaloe Garden Festival 30 & 31 August, another weekend full of garden workshops, walks and talks in the grounds of Ballymaloe House, specialist nursery stalls selling rare plants, seeds, garden equipment and much more. Entrance €5 per adult, children free, workshops and talks priced separately please see www.ballymaloe.ie for more details http://gardenfestival.ballymaloe.ie/

Gardening – Fruit and Veg in Abundance

For gardeners who grow vegetables and fruit, this is the time of abundance, a period of joy and frustration in equal measure. At last the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of all that digging and hoeing but often there are simply not enough meal times to use up every last scrap.

I feel horribly guilty if any gets wasted, although inevitably despite my best efforts some of the produce goes over the top. It cheers me up to know that at least it ends up on the compost heap and eventually goes back on to the earth to make the soil even more fertile  for next year’s crops.

I keep adding to my store of preserving recipes, jams, pickles, chutneys, jellies, cordials, alcohols, flavoured vinegars, fruit cheeses…..

So many exciting options, our repertoire of basic recipes are fine but the fun begins when one starts to experiment by adding spices, fresh herbs and chillies and playing around with flavour combinations.

I recently across came across Diana Henry’s book Salt, Sugar, Smoke – it’s really good, fab photos and lots of irresistible recipes using salt, sugar and smoke. So as the title promises there are lots of salted cured and potted dishes, jellies and jams of course but there are also cordials, fruit and chilli alcohols, lemonades and sherbets as well as chutneys, relishes and pickles and simple smoked foods.

Diana has a growing fan base from her earlier books, Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, Cook Simple and Food From Plenty. She was named cookery writer of the year by the UK Guild of Food Writers on two occasions for her column in the Sunday Telegraph Stella Magazine.

Try the Moroccan spiced chutney or the Apple and Lavender Jelly with the first of the windfall apples.  Anyone who grows gorgeous white peaches in a green house or tunnel knows how difficult it is to pick them without bruising. It’s usually a feast or a famine but if you have a surplus you can discard the bruised bits and try the white peach and raspberry jam recipe. I loved it and added some fresh mint but it’s delicious on its own.

 

White peach and raspberry jam

Lovely to look at as it’s being made and, of course, fragrant as the scent of raspberries and white peaches blend. You can make it with yellow peaches, but it’s not as good. This jam has less sugar than is traditional, so is fresh, fruity and tart. You can add a sprig of lavender or lemon thyme.

 

Fills 9 x 225g (8oz) jars

 

900g (2lb) white peaches

600g (1lb 5oz) raspberries]

1kg (2lb 4oz) granulated sugar with pectin

(‘jam sugar’)

juice of 2 lemons

 

Plunge the peaches, in batches, into a pan of boiling water for one minute. Quickly remove them, run cold water over and peel off the skins. Halve, stone and cut each half into slices.

 

Put the peaches into a preserving pan with the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice. Gently heat, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Once it has dissolved, whack the heat up and bring to a boil. Boil steadily until the setting point is reached (check on a sugar thermometer and do the wrinkle test as

well, skimming off any scum that rises.

 

Leave to cool for about 10 minutes, so the seeds end up well distributed, then pot in warm, dry sterilized jars, cover with waxed paper discs and seal. This keeps for a year; refrigerate once opened.

 

 

Apple and lavender jelly

Apple acts as the basis for many flavoured jellies, both sweet and savoury. They are so high in pectin that they produce a jelly that is easy to set, and their flavour doesn’t dominate when you mix it with other things. You can make plain apple jelly, but herbs and spices mean you have a whole array of flavours to use with different meats: lavender and rosemary for lamb, sage for

pork, for example. I prefer savoury apple jellies made with cider vinegar (so they have a sweet acid tang) but some people prefer them sweet. Properly sweet ones to be served with muffins and scones (like the Fireside Apple Jelly below and the Rose Jelly, see page 54) are made with water (add enough just to cover the apples) rather than vinegar.

 

Fills 7 x 500g (1lb 2oz) jars

 

2.5kg (5lb 8oz) cooking apples

3 sprigs of fresh lavender, plus small sprigs

for each pot

1.3 litres (2¼ pints) cider vinegar

about 1.3kg (3lb) granulated sugar

1 Cut the apples into chunks – no need to peel or core them, though remove any bruised bits – and cover with 1.5 litres (2 pints 13fl oz) of water. Add the lavender. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the apples are completely soft (about 45 minutes).

 

2 Add the vinegar and cook for another five minutes. Pour the mixture into a jelly bag suspended over a large bowl, and leave overnight. Do not press the apples or you’ll get a cloudy jelly.

 

3 Measure the liquid. For every 600ml (1 pint), you will need 450g (1lb) of sugar. Put the liquid into a preserving pan with the sugar and heat gently, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Bring to a boil and boil until the setting point is reached on a thermometer (and do the wrinkle test, see page 11).

Skim off any scum.

 

4 Ladle into warm, dry sterilized jars. Put a sprig of lavender in each. Cover with waxed paper discs and seal. While it is setting, shake it so the lavender doesn’t stay at the top. This keeps for a year; refrigerate once opened.

 

Moroccan-spiced apricot chutney

For years I’ve made a chicken dish with apricots, honey and orange flower water. This is that sauce as a chutney. You can omit the flower water, but it lends a touch of the voluptuous east…

 

Fills 2 x 500g (1lb 2oz) jars

 

500g (1lb 2oz) dried apricots, chopped

500g (1lb 2oz) cooking apples, peeled,

cored and finely chopped

250g (9oz) tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

300ml (½ pint) white wine vinegar

100g (3½oz) sultanas

juice of 1 lemon

juice of 1 orange

3 tsp ground ginger

1 cinnamon stick, halved

3/4 tbsp cayenne pepper

250g (9oz) golden granulated sugar

7 tbsp runny honey (preferably orange blossom)

1 tsp orange flower water, or to taste

1 Put everything except the honey and flower water into a pan and bring to a boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Reduce the heat and cook gently for one and a half hours, stirring so it does not catch.

 

2 Stir in the honey and cook gently for 15 minutes. Add the flower water, then taste. You might want more but don’t go mad, it should be just a fragrant whiff. Pot in warm, sterilized jars, cover with waxed paper discs and seal with vinegar-proof lids. This keeps for a year.

 

Loganberry or Raspberry Cordial

 

 

1½lb (700g) loganberries or raspberries

10oz (300g) castor sugar

Juice of ½ lemon

1¾ pints (1litre) water

 

Put the fruit, sugar and water into a stainless steel saucepan over a medium heat, add the freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the loganberries soften and disintegrate.   Remove from the heat, cool.

Pour through a nylon sieve.   Rub the pulp through and discard the pips.   Pour into sterilized bottles.   Seal and store in the fridge.

 

 

Hot Tip

Revelation of the Week

Guess what I discovered this week – dahlias are edible.

At Glebe restaurant in Baltimore, my green salad was scattered with bright orange and wine coloured flower petals. The lovely waitress confided that they were dahlias and Jean Perry – gardener extraordinaire shared a further nugget of information – apparently the Mexicans grew them originally for their tubers – can’t wait to taste some when my dahlias stop flowering.

 

The Holistic Gardener:

This book is a little gem with tons of tips on how to stay safe and deal with accidents in the garden. It is published by Mercier Press and comes from the knowledgeable and witty co-presenter of Dermot’s Secret Garden on RTE 1, Fiann O’ Nuallain,  Watch out for Fiann O Nuallain speaking at the Ballymaloe Garden Festival, August 30th  – http://gardenfestival.ballymaloe.ie/

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