Clodagh’s Homemade. A Book for All Seasons

Clodagh’s Homemade. A Book for All Seasons.
Homemade! Not much good having a great cookbook unless you put it to good use. CL couldn't wait to try Clodagh's Baked Ricotta Cake on page 92. And not just any ricotta. The cheese for this came from Friday's visit to the remarkable Toons Bridge Dairy near Macroom. The few raspberries were salvaged after the raids of the greedy back garden blackbirds. Clodagh says this cake lasts for ten days. Wanna bet? Yum!

Top chef Clodagh McKenna presented a full meal of dishes from her recipe book Homemade at a packed Crawford Gallery Cafe last Thursday evening. From the delightful opening dips to a sweet tooth satisfying dessert, the meal was gorgeous. Great company and great food. What more would you want? Well, maybe a copy of the book. No problem, as that was included in the fee.

In these well illustrated pages, you’ll find everything from the everyday snack to the special occasion meal. Here too you’ll discover a great variety of styles drawn from Clodagh’s experiences from living, cooking and eating in Italy, France, New York, Cork and Dublin.
Originally from Kerry Pike (County Cork), she is now of the leading Irish chefs (two restaurants of her own), and also one of the leading food writers (four books of her own, guest editor and columnist in prestigious magazines). In addition, she enhanced her burgeoning reputation recently by revamping the Aer Lingus food offering, designing all their menus.

Pesto Ricotta Tart at The Crawford
The very pleasant evening started with three dips, the spicy Egyptian Dukkah, the Moroccan Zaalouk (aubergine based) and my favourite the Tuscan influenced White Bean Dip (Cannellini beans).

Moved on then to the Pesto Ricotta Tart, beautifully presented. She learned this in Italy. This is “also great for lunch or as a starter served with a green salad. Seasonal too as you can use different vegetables in the autumn”. By the way, many of you can now get your hands on that delightful buffalo ricotta by Toons Bridge Dairy and yes Clodagh has quite a few ricotta recipes included in the book!

Next course was her Spicy Crab Linguine. Looked innocent enough but it did pack a good punch of flavour, the spice provided by red chilli. “It’s fantastic if you can get fresh crab, but there are also great companies selling vacuum-packed cooked crab.”

Dessert at The Crawford Gallery Cafe
The Apple stuffed loin of pork also went down well and then it was time for the eye-catching dessert of Rose Water and Raspberry Jellies. Conversation were getting livelier all the time as the enjoyable evening drew to a close with a cup of excellent Golden Bean Coffee.

Just time then for some book signing by Clodagh. It is quite a comprehensive book and includes a section devoted to the Divine Dinner Party. But there is also a Simple Everyday section that includes how to make a homemade ketchup, jams, and tips for your lunch-box. The main section covers Food for Family and Friends with everything from a Relaxed Sunday Lunch to a Cosy Fireside Supper covered. Lots of tips too on buying food, this practical book costs €19.99. Read all about it here.

Well done Clodagh. And well down too to Sinead and her team at the Crawford Gallery Cafe. If you're in town and looking for a snack or lunch, why not check them out.

Clodagh, Yours Truly and CL