Wed 9 Mar 2011
As I mentioned in my previous post, a lot has happened since I moved to Ireland one year ago. And through my adjustment to this country and its culture, there have been a number of people who’ve helped along the way. One of the most noteworthy is a lovely group of foodies who now have a name (Irish Foodies) and an official website: The Irish Foodblogger Association.
It was in May of last year that we gathered together for the first time, though back then we were all coming as individual food bloggers and not as a group. Bord Bia and Donal Skehan organized the first-ever meeting of food bloggers in Ireland, and though I had emailed with a few in the months leading up to the meet I had never actually come face-to-face with anyone but the Daily Spud (both being big sushi fans, we’d met up earlier for a Yamamori dinner). The first new face I would see was Kristin of dinnerdujour, who offered me a lift after she heard I lived nearby. Together we trekked up the M1 to Dublin to meet up with our foodie peers.
As we walked into the offices of Bord Bia, we saw about 35 other food bloggers all politely trying to read each other’s nametags without staring too long. The tags had our real name and our blog name, which was helpful considering few of us knew each other’s actual names! Instead of, “Hi, I’m Roseann,” it was more like, “Hi, I’m LikeMamUsedToBake” or “Hello, I’m An American in Ireland!” We spent the day watching a variety of cooking demonstrations and eating a beautiful lunch and getting to know each other. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it felt like the start of something significant…though I’m not sure any of us could have articulated what at the time.
Well fast-forward 10 months later and this little group has expanded into something beyond our wildest foodie dreams. Thanks to Kristin and Caroline (who writes the excellent blog Bibliocook), we are now the Irish Foodies. There are organized events on a regular basis and monthly cookalongs via Facebook and Twitter and now a weekend-long food festival of sorts that’s making the national papers. In a short amount of time, a virtual community has evolved from a small tribe and the friendships I’ve formed through this community have become an important part of my life here. Whether it’s ICanHasCook? taking me out for an introductory night-out-on-the-town in Dublin (with help from AdventuresInVeg and The Runcible Spoon) or I Married An Irish Farmer hosting me out on the farm or The Food.ie meeting up for a 5:30 AM coffee at Dublin Airport, the people in this group have gone out of their way to welcome me and to offer their friendship. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Served with a spread of Guinness mustard/gerkin/mayo, Irish barbecued smoked salmon and sliced red onion = noms!
This month’s Irish Foodies Cookalong is Traditional Irish, so I decided to bake up a batch of Irish Beer Bread for my submission. I can honestly say this is the easiest bread I’ve ever made and it’s absolutely delicious! It has a moist crumb and isn’t stodgy or heavy in the least. You can use whatever Irish beer you choose; I used a bitter ale for this particular batch and the flavor was hearty and lovely. Oh, and while we’re talking Irish Foodies, don’t forget to buy your raffle tickets for the upcoming draw during the foodies weekend in Donegal. There are some AMAZING prizes, and you do not have to attend to win. Simply go to this website and buy some tickets!
This bread also makes for great croutons! Simply cube and toss in a pan with hot olive oil until crispy.
Irish Beer Bread
I’m also submitting this for Daily Spud’s Paddy’s Day Food Parade!
180 grams plain white (cream) flour
240 grams wholemeal flour
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
60 grams brown sugar
12 fluid ounces of Irish beer (whatever kind you’d like!)
3 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat the oven to 190 C. In a large bowl, sift in the white flour and baking powder. Add the wholemeal flour and brown sugar and whisk together until incorporated. Add the beer, and mix ONLY until the beer has fully moistened the flour mixture. Do not overmix!
Pour into a prepared, greased loaf pan and drizzle the butter on top. Bake for about 50-55 minutes until golden brown. Let rest at least 15 minutes before slicing. It’s great toasted as well!