Just when I was finding a nightly rhythm with documenting my eatin' and drinkin', technology came along and screwed it all up. The site went down late last week and threw me for six, I had lost all my discipline for doing up this here blog and I'm only getting back to it now. So anyhoop, here's what I munched on for the rest of my Don't Eat Any Irish Week.
BREAKFAST ON DAY 4,5 + 6.
After hearing from Aisling about how hard it was to get Irish flour, I took a punt on a bagel with some French cream cheese. It would appear that our demand for flour outstrips what we can actually produce in this fair land. That means that even Irish made bagels can often have bugger all Irish ingredients. After knowing that fact, I couldn't really enjoy that bagel.
Friday morning I decided to go further afield and enjoyed some frozen wholemeal parathas with pickled gourd. The parathas are made all the way in Malaysia, you cook them in a dry pan. They come out crispy and deadly. It's kind of annoying that food that has to travel this far, tastes so good. A guilty pleasure.
I smothered them in pickled chilli gourd, it's a kind of spicy chutney from Pakistan. Again my local Halal shops on Clanbrassil St helped out a lot here. Not for the faint of heart, this gear really gives you a kick in the goolies. But I actually love a bit of spice in the morning. It's underrated.
Brekkie on Saturday and Sunday took on a big Polish vibe. Mushroom and Sauerkraut pierogi pan fried and served with sour cream on the side and the next day, pan pan fried potato dumplings with an onion roll.
The dumplings and pierogi come in once a week, already steamed and packaged from Poland. All that's left to do is to pan fry them. Whereas most Polish or Eastern European Shops sell only frozen ones, the Polish shop on Cork St sells the fresh ones. I actually love them. And you can also buy their ridiculously 18% fat sour cream for just €1. The pierogi are only €2.50 and you get a good dozen or so. I am beginning to see why foreign nationals don't like to shop in our supermarkets, they are too fucking dear for them.
LUNCH ON DAY 4,5 + 6
Thursday's lunch for me was the best of the week. Recently, I discovered that the Shopeasi Halal shop on Clanbrassil Street (so ironic that this was an area once called Little Jerusalem) started flogging Halloumi for only two quid a block. As you may know this is a cheese that is exceptionally salty, but at the same time very creamy and meaty. It needs freshness, spice and a bit of sweet to cut through it all. So one day I started fooling around with some chipotle powder, date syrup and some other bits and bobs and came up with this recipe for a halloumi salad.
Had a northside meeting for 1 on Friday so I grabbed some smoked mackerel and herring from the basement food hall on Moore Street. The herring was nice but even for a smoked fan like meself, the mackerel was too bloody strong. Cunnilingus with an ashtray, not recommended. Saturday's lunch was Moroccan pancakes with roasted peppers and harrisa. Sunday was a falafel out in the People's Park in Dun Laoighre. If the CIA or MI5 were following my dietary habits this week they would probably think that I'm an Al Qaeda sympathizer.
DINNER FOR DAY 4, 5 AND 6
Not being able to eat any Irish meats has been the only hard thing about this week. When Aisling and I were on Tom Dunne's radio show, she said the first thing she was going to eat after Eat Only Irish Week was some chocolate. I was just dying for a big fuck off burger and some hand cut chips. Every now and then, I was tempted to eat a chicken fillet sarnie or burger from some cheap ass food joint, as most of these gaffs stock Thai and Dutch reared chickens, but I just can't be arsed with those kinds of practices anymore. It really pisses me off to see that kind of bogey food malarkey, just to sell chemical/hormone filled shite.
In fact the only meat I ate during this period came from sausages - Polish pork and merguez made with British lamb, and that was only here and there. I cut down my meat in take this week dramatically by abstaining from chicken, beef and non sausage meat pork. If you're a veggie, not eating any Irish would be a doddle. I for one can't wait to get down to see Ed or Bren Hick this Saturday and stock up on the good shit I've been missing out on.
Anyhoop, Thursday was the Eurovision semis and Mom came over to watch it with us. We laughed and screamed through our spinach and feta filo bake. Friday evening's weather held enough for me to barbecue some merguez and Pakistani green beans.
On Saturday I knew I was going to be in for a mad one with the GCN crew as they were hosting a wild Eurovision party in the club. Before I went into work I had a double helping of Chang Mai mince that was made with Polish sausage meat. Not the ideal key ingredient but it satisfied the carnivore in me.
And it may well have been a world first. Thai holy basil mixed with Polish sausage and oyster sauce?
On the 7th day, Aisling and I both decided we needed a bit of a break, well more so for me actually. She had ordered a wicked a wild boar ham from Cork and I wanted in on that action. I brought along a big tub of my walnut dip which was devoid of any Irish ingredients and she happily tucked into that, but there was no way I was missing on that ham that she glazed in rhubarb and mustard. It was fucking amazing and the perfect meal to get me back on the Irish again.
VARIOUS SHIT THAT I'VE LEARNED THIS WEEK
1. There are so many amazing foreign delis and food stores out there that have too few Irish customers. I didn't even get a chance to tell you about the Korean place on Little Ship St, the Slovakian shops on the quays, the Hungarian shop behind the UGC cinema on Parnell St. Do yourselves a favour and check them out. Don't be afraid to approach the staff.
2. So much of the food is really cheap in these places. For some things, you can see why, ie heavily processed crap. But for most purchases it is cheaper because labour, insurance, production, fuel, transport costs are so low in the countries from where they import. Seeing how cheap they are, even when sold over here, only highlighted how expensive everything in Dublin can be.
3. Breakfast needn't only be toast, cereal or porridge. I have definitely started a new habit after last week's culinary adventures. Really enjoyed that and will definitely endeavor to find out more about who eats what for what should be the most important meal of the day.
4. I fucking love Irish butter and rashers, lamb, eggs, pudding, sausages, beef, corn fed chickens. Probably a little more now.
5. Aisling Rogerson is an exceptionally competitive young lady. I had no idea she wanted to turn this whole week into a contest. The next time she suggests anything of this ilk ever again, I shall be fully prepared and show NO MERCY!