Ham on Rye



“And that is how it ended; I went back to my desk,
Shooting Morse codes at Jupiter
Knowing fine well,
That the taciturn
Never rings


I am not going to lie, I find Christmas day very long, filled with deep personal loneliness, trying to keep everything bottled in, and whatever is in a bottle out. I keep busy, I cook all day, even if my body is still wrecked from very cold long busy days at work. I made a simple organic roast chicken, and for dessert, some chocolate mousse…

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Smoked Halloumi and roasted Brussels Sprouts

Smoked Halloumi and Roasted Brussels sprouts

I think I have made a new friend ( my young colleague “Chelsea” calls it “Bromance”…). I am not joking; we all need pals in this crazy world. I try very hard not to mix work and leisure on this blog, but unfortunately it is such an intricate and indivisible part of me, I even wonder who I am anymore. That is why I run away sometimes, away from the acting, away from my daily mask where I keep my true character alive. There is a common denominator though, a link between the two personas that very few understand. I have been preaching for a long time about the importance of good music in retail, it is a tricky exercise, using feelings, understanding what you do to create the perfect atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong; what I play in the shop is very different to what I listen to in my car; even if what I listen in my car will motivate me to the day ahead.; I know, it’s complicated. The reactions are incredible, but the best are when customers don’t say a word and everything falls in some form of [sorry for the pun] harmony.

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Smoked Mackerel Terrine with Teff Pan Cakes

Franck aka Hungry Breton and Sally Barnes from Woodcock Smokery

I met Sally for the first time 16 years ago; somewhere in 2000. It was quite a day really, the launch of the “Slow Food” movement in Ireland. Three Italians had just landed in Dublin to promote the franchise and a press conference was being held in a newly opened and brave wine bar, just off Stephen’s Green. “Ely”, on Ely’s place and still running and going strong. A fresh idea always passes the test of time in my book, as long as you stay faithful to your idea. My cheese bosses sent me over to make a display of the best Irish produces the island had to offer. Giana Ferguson from Gubbeen cheese and Sally Barnes from Woodcock Smokery were there to help and represent their products. The food critics were gathering downstairs, sharpening pens and licking fingers for an adequate and professional flick on the yet blank notebook leaves. I liked Sally straight away, cracking jokes with her other West Cork friend, their candour unintimidated by the approaching  journalists, ready to feast on a still under confident Ireland. One of Sally’s friends from South Korea spent a great deal of time making beautiful smoked mackerel sushi, just to be nice, just to be different and also to show how cool and open Ireland had become. A sweet over middle aged lady ( or at least that’s what I thought), with a sober Mac and a black leather handbag hung inside her elbow, approached the table and ate one of the Sushi; she looked at me with squinting eyes, while our young Korean friend bowed to her in a thankful and deferential respect. Then “The Lady” opened her gob:

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