Fri 1 Apr 2011
Twinkling lights of downtown Los Angeles
I’ve been a bit MIA for a while, and for that I apologize. Things have been crazy busy around here lately, and though I’m not ready to reveal everything just yet I can say that big changes are afoot!
One of the changes that I can talk about is the launch of my new website, The Hollywood Craic. It’s basically an entertainment news and gossip blog that brings the best of Hollywood news to the Emerald Isle. I decided to branch back into entertainment journalism simply because it’s been very difficult selling food and travel-related stories here in Ireland, so I needed to expand my repertoire.
Back in Los Angeles, I used to freelance for People magazine and TV Guide and other ent-related publications. I still seem to know a lot about what’s going on in Hollywood because, to be frank, most of my friends are somehow involved in the business (believe me, it seems everyone in LA works in the industry!). While I thoroughly enjoy writing food and travel features, the cold, hard truth is that there isn’t much of a market for that kind of writing in Ireland at the moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still pitch those types of stories and I’m still writing for US magazines, but my main focus here will be The Hollywood Craic. I’ve booked a regular radio segment on Saturday mornings at 10:15 a.m. on 4FM, where I’ll be going over the week’s best Hollywood scoops on the Anything Goes With Gareth O’Callaghan show. As many of you might know, Gareth is a radio legend (or “ledgebag” as they’d say here!) and a super nice guy, so I am thrilled to be doing this segment for his show.
It’s been a difficult year work-wise, and while I don’t really love to admit it I promised to always be honest with this blog so there you go. With the economy and job market in rapid decline here, there are more freelancers on the market than ever before. While I dream of writing a food and culture memoir and have fantasies about being paid to travel, the bottom line is that I need focus on whatever’s in demand. And I’m incredibly lucky that I have the connections and experience in entertainment to make something out of The Hollywood Craic.
In a word, it’s been mad. Absolutely mad! I am writing anywhere between 9-14 stories per day and making phone calls and checking with sources and all the while pulling my hair out! But it’s been nice to get back into the groove of daily news writing (I started my journalism career at a newspaper many years ago) and it’s forced me to be more disciplined. Some days I hardly have time to eat but I know with a lot of hard work and persistence, it’ll pay off.
There are a couple more major things filling my time at the moment, but more on those later! All I can say is that they are both very good things and that I’m quite happy and excited! And NO, I am NOT pregnant!! 🙂
Chicken Farro Bake
Hectic weeks are made a little easier by making a big batch of something on a Sunday so I can have leftovers all week. This dish is one of my favorites and it’s healthy and filling to boot. Farro, also known as pearl barley, is a whole grain and very nutritious. It satisfies a lot longer than white rice or pasta, so it’s my go-to for dishes like this. I’m being a little loose with measurements because you can really use as much or as little of any of the ingredients as you like.
300 grams of farro (pearl barley)
2 small, cooked chicken breasts, cut into pieces
A big handful of cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
140 grams of frozen peas
3 tablespoons of natural yogurt
100 grams of shredded cheddar cheese
110 grams of shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Following package instructions, cook the farro. The process takes roughly 30-40 minutes. Drain the farro and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the farro, chicken, cherry tomato, peas, natural yogurt and cheddar. Mix thoroughly and then put mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top with shredded mozzarella and bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot!