Friday, 2 September 2016

Day 5: Mackerel (ahem... frittata), fennely red-wine red-cabbage, cinnamon parsnips and baby potatoes.

The last day of Feastival was not exactly what it was supposed to be. After trying to catch a few delicious mackerel for the past two afternoons I (Andy that is) successfully managed not to catch any mackerel. But all was not lost, we replaced the fresh mackerel with a green pepper, kale and thyme frittata.

We had a really good ratio of home sourced to shop bought ingredients again today. In the plus corner was kale, potatoes, red cabbage, red wine (made by booze hound Brianán), green peppers, parsnips, chives, fennel, thyme and nasturtiums flowers and on the minus side just eggs and cinnamon (and what would turn out to be secret illegal cheese).

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It's Kale. Wait, did he say Kale? He did, that's what I thought he said. Weird. 

Before I go on, I've got to talk about kale. Kale is a proper super food. Not because it kills cancer, reverses aging or makes sure you never miss an episode of Emerdale, but because it grows in Ireland in the winter. It grows in Ireland in the winter! So find yourself a spot and plants it. It will do your heart good to go pick some during your 15 minutes of sunlight on some horrible January day.

This dinner was supposed to challenge the taste buds a little with the wine and fennel of the cabbage playing off against the earthier flavours of the frittata and the almost Christmastimey parsnips. This only kind-of worked but was worth for the experiment. This dinner was one of the most colourful of the week.

This is what it looked like.

This is what we looked like.

Claudia favourite part of the dinner was
 probably making a new friend out of
potato and nasturtium flowers.
Alíona's favourite part of the dinner
 was probably laughing at Claudia.

Brianán's favourite part of the dinner was
 probably not having to study stupid accounting.

Alíona: 2 out of 5 stars I like the parsnips and the spuds but generally this was not my sort of thing - because I'm not really into eggs. I'm going to Barbados.

Brianán: 4 out of 5 stars That was very tasty. I was dissapointed not to get the mackerel but it was delicious frittata and I really liked the experimental flavours of the veg.

Andy: 3.5 out of 5 stars I liked the parsnips but I was a little disappointment with the frittata (expecially because I cheated and put in some cheese - for shame). Overall it was good but did not blow my shoes off.

Claudia: 2 out of 5 stars I think it was very nice. I didn't expect this dinner but that is okay. I really liked the spuds, I think that they were my favourite.

This is the last official day of The Feastival but we may have a few super-extra-bonus-blogs to share in the days to come... Watch this space.






















Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Day 4: Yellow Potato, Mega Stir-friend Veg and Spicy Tarka with yogurt.

Anyone who knows me (Andy) knows that I love spuds and hot food. So this was really the perfect meal for me. But what is really great about this dinner is that almost (really, really almost) everything in the meal was produced by us. This dinner had a million different ingredients and except for some spices, which we can't grow in Ireland, and some ginger, which maybe we can, they all came from our gardens.

 Our ingredients, shop-bought & homegrown:

I just love this picture. On the home grown side we have tomatoes, garlic, chilies courgette, carrots, green pepper, potatoes, beetroot tops, kale, broccoli and red cabbage (plus I forgot to include coriander, chives and yogurt). And on the other side just ginger and spice. 

I started off (naturally) with the potatoes which were sliced in cubes, microwaved a little to take the edge off (you know what spuds are like) and then fried them really slowly in spices - mustard seeds, cumin and turmeric.

Then there was the Tarka. We've had an interesting time with our chilies this year - because a lot of them seem quite mild (for chilies) but every once and awhile we get one with a lot of heat. I put one and a half green chilies in this, alongside garlic, ginger, tomatoes and a load of spices, and it was hot enough to do some serious damage. Delish! 
Claudia helped with chopping for the stir-fry. 
Her knife play has really improved since the start of Feastival.

This is how it looked:

This is how we looked:

This is what we said: 

Alíona: 5 out of 5 stars I think it was so delicious, I just wanted more. I wish I could give it six stars.
Brianán: 5 out of 5 stars That was delicious and very spicy. I would have eaten even more of it, especially the broccoli, any day of the week.

Andy: 4 out of 5 stars I really liked the spices, especially our super-hit chili. The Tarka worked great with Brianán's yogurt.

Claudia: 5 out of 5 stars I liked the flavours of the spuds. It was nice and crunchy. I loved the spicy sauce a bit. It was very spicy. And the yogurt.

Coming up tomorrow - we join forces to blog about fresh macheral (hopefully), red-wine red-cabbage, cinamin parsnips and baby spuds.

Hi, this is Claudia on the radio! 

The dinner was pizza and I really liked the sauce. There was sundried tomatoes and I really liked those too.It was really fun making the dinner and I really enjoyed the whole lot of it. Some things I didn't have of it- but the pizza was still very nice. I didn't eat the courgette and chillis or the beetroot salad, but I had another salad.
I did jobs to help Mammy make the dinner. I helped with kneading up the pizza dough and chopping up the tomatoes. And I got lettuce from outside and a bit of spinach and rocket. 

This is gonna be a long sentence if you're ready for it: we made homegrown sundried tomatoes and courgettes and lettuce and rocket and spinach and chillis and tomatoes (for the sauce) and herbs and green pepper and Mammy made the fake Mozzarella cheese! 

The pizza dough was very hard but it was still very nice. I'm not sure if it was my favourite dinner yet this week but I would give it 5 stars out of 5 stars. 

 I liked making the dough too - it was very fun mixing all the things around and kneading it. And really fun putting the toppings on in the pan. 

After this we are gonna have banana frozen yoghurt which we made too but it was very short because we made other yoghurt before and just mixed the banana together.
That's all I have to say. Bye Bye!

 Alíona: 5 out of 5 stars Sauce was very rich and delicious I think it was lovely and the beetroot salad was the sweetest I have ever tasted!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Day 2: Stir-fry with noodles and plenty of veg .

 Our ingredients, shop-bought & homegrown:

Your reading my (Alíona) thoughts about our feastival meal for today, which was a great success with very few hiccups along the way. WARNING there may be some very cringy jokes. Today's dinner was a veg stir-fry using a few special ingredients including beansprouts which we sprouted following instructions from the excellent book " Grow your own Vegetables" by Joy Larckom.
Our delicious beansprouts
And green hazlenuts which we collected like this: Hazlenut heaven . . . .today!! Now is the perfect time of year to try this.

Growing the beansprouts was a new and fun experience for us, it was quite interesting  to see how the beansprouts could grow so strong that they could lift a bowl.
It was quite literally uplifting 

Ha Ha! Get it?

Please excuse the bad joke I couldn't help it. The hazel nuts were as always delicious but before eating there was the laborious and tedious job of cracking open the shells of Nuts.

I think we did a cracking job.
Along with these magical ingredients we used our fair share of veg to make this colorful and delicious meal.

This is how it looked:

This is how we looked:

This is what we said:

Alíona: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars "I thought it was delicious but would have preferred more spice".

Brianán: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars "If I were making this again I would use soy sauce instead of sweet chilli- then it would be 5 stars.

Andy: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars "I really liked the textures especially the beansprouts, but would have liked it a bit more spicy- Boom shake the room " .

Claudia: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars   "It was a bit hot, but very nice, that's all i can say .

Monday, 29 August 2016

Day 1: Refried beans, salsa, tortilla wraps, green salad & yoghurt

This is the first dinner in our challenge and we decided to stick with a tried-and-tested family favourite; if you've ever been for a visit you've probably had some part or version of this meal handed to you!

However the substitution of broad beans in the re:fried beans is a bit of a wild experiment. I (Brianán) thought that the strong flavour might be complemented by the earthy spices and I hoped the texture might be similar, once the tough skin was chopped up.(spoiler: it was not)

 Our ingredients, shop-bought & homegrown:

Claudia and I worked on the wraps and, at the last minute, decided to add a big dollop of our homemade yoghurt to the mix, that really worked out, they were soft and well flavoured, I will do that again!

Claudia is now excellent at rolling out wraps , which is brilliant because rolling them AND cooking them is too much for one person (Brianán). Alíona shelled all the broad beans and I prepped the salsa ingredients:

I sautéd all ingredients, adding tomatoes and lime juice at the last minute to get a "chunky-not-saucy" salsa.
I finely chopped the broad beans (super boring) and steamed them for 2 mins in the microwave, before using in the re:fried beans recipe. It's usually kidney or pinto beans that would be used.

This is how it looked:

This is how we looked:

This is what we said: 

Alíona: 4 out of 5 stars The wraps were soft and awesome, but I didn't like the juice from the beans, I found it very bitter.

Brianán: 4 out of 5 stars The broad beans did not get soft and "beany" but I really enjoyed them anyway.

Andy: 4 out of 5 stars Delicious and spicy, the broad beans were very meaty and the salsa super-flavoursome. The yoghurt really brought all the flavours together.

Claudia: we forgot to get Claudia's review from her before she went to bed, so we'll add that tomorrow. (But she ate it all up ...)

Coming up tomorrow- Alíona will take over blogging about the dinner and I'll share a recipe for homemade yoghurt! 

Feastival - The Beginning

As a family, we all love food. We are also into sustainable living, gardening and doing stuff from scratch. (And then showing it off!)
 So, for the next few days, we are having our own little experiment to see if we can feed ourselves as much as possible on foods we have grown or foraged ourselves.
August is the perfect time for this attempt, with the majority of Irish crops in now in harvest. Not to mention the crazy crap going on in the hedgerows!
We have a small garden at our house in Galway, and a larger garden of drills in Clare, where there's also a polytunnel.
We don't just want to eat, we want to eat well, so we will use some of our favourite recipes to make this a delicious, mostly vegetarian, experience.
 Detail of our first dinner - refried beans, salsa, wraps, yogurt and green salad - will be posted in the next few hours. Wish us luck!
Brianán, Andy, Alíona, Claudia and Simon (the dog).

All pictures by Alíona Hamilton