Monday, July 4, 2011

Slow Food Weekend, on Clare Island, Ireland

The Cove, Clare Island, looking across to Achill

Before time blankets the vibrant tastememories of last weekend’s Slow Food Galway visit to Macalla Farm, on Clare Island, let me tell…

Macalla Farm is home to the artisan, the sustainable, the innovative, regarding food and all aspects of living.  A crowd of twenty or so mainlanders boarded the Pirate Queen or another intrepid sea-faring vessel for an experiential couple of days in the ‘midst of the Macalla household.  Of course.  Of course, when the East of England was baking in temperatures of around 34C, Clare Island was shrouded in a heavy fog, interspersed with deluges unthinkable in an apparently “temperate” climate.  Indeed, the island has been battered now since April with storms ranging up to Force 12, interminable deluges, plagues of Sawfly and the like.. whilst we in the East have been begging for a drop of rain… and the gardens, although abundant were not as bountiful as previous years – the apple trees had lost not only their blossom, but their leaves… a sobering sight for those hoping to be self-sufficient.

Despite the weather, and the garden bereft, a fine show was put on for the Galway Slow-Fooders, the outline as follows:

Saturday Evening

Kir Royale (home-squeezed Blackcurrant Juice with Elderflower Champagne)

Beetroot Soup (with Coconut and Ginger), Sourdough Bread and curls of Bernie’s Island-made Butter
Swiss-Chard, Wild-Rocket and Sheep’s Cheese Tart (with Duck Eggs and home made Ewe’s cheese)
Puy Lentil, Broad Bean, Tomato and Courgette Warm Salad (using the garden’s somewhat scant offerings)
New Potatoes (variety: Sharp’s Express)
Dill Sheep’s Yogurt Dressing
Green Garden Salad, with Nasturtiums and Calendula

Blackcurrant and Strawberry Frozen Yogurts
(Blend 1lb Fruit, 100g Raw Cane Sugar, 500ml Homemade Sheep’s Yogurt.  Then place in the ice-cream maker until frozen)
Ciara’s melt-in-the-mouth Snowball Cookies
(must get hold of a recipe for these)

Lemon Verbena Tea

-- Rye and Spelt Sourdough Breadmaking Demonstration --

Sunday

Breakfast

Tonka Bean and Hazelnut Porridge
Buckwheat and Sheep’s Whey Pancakes
Rhubarb and Blackcurrant Compote
Sheep’s Yogurt
Blackcurrant and Apple Juice
Rye and Spelt Sourdough
Water-Mint Tea

-- Dairy Demonstrations – Making Sheep’s Yogurt, Kefir and Soft Ewe’s Cheese --
-- Visit to the Gardens and Polytunnels --
-- Lacto-Fermentation demonstration – making Lacto-fermented Beetroot, Cauliflower and Carrot Kimchee --
-- Visit to Ballytoughey Loom --

Buffet Lunch

Brown Rice and Seeds Salad with Lacto-Fermented Courgettes and Cauli Greens
Tabbouleh with Garden Herbs (Wild Rocket, Marjoram, Lemon-Balm, Water-Mint, Parsley, Savoury, Oregano, Chives and Borage Flowers)
Potato Salad with Lacto-Fermented Sea-Spaghetti, Chilli and Onion Greens
Courgette Antipasti
(Courgettes macerated in Olive-Oil then Grilled and stored in Oil, Herbs and Garlic)
Tzatziki (with Garden Cucumbers, Garlic, Water Mint and Sheep’s Yogurt)
Stuffed Macalla Vine-Leaves
Wild Rocket and Wild Garlic Pesto
Herby Soft Sheep’s Cheese

Strawberry and Blackcurrant Muffins
Ginger and Cardamom Tea

-- Visit to the Island Farmer’s and Craft Market --

The Cabbage Patch


Christophe and Ciara will be hosting a “Food Matters” course towards the end of August this year, on beautiful Clare Island.  This will be a chance to take part in hands-on workshops and to learn about the myriad aspects of sustainable living as well as enjoying informal discussions as to why food does matter in the current climate. 

We much look forward to seeing you there.

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