This week I’ll be eating… courgettes, before the first frosts hit them. I like to pick them small and, using a potato peeler, cut them into very fine strips that can then be tossed together with, say, lemon juice, olive oil and some sea salt or maybe a dressing made from a little soya sauce sauce, fresh ginger and roasted sesame oil. I also like them sliced thinly and cooked gently for a minute or two in plenty of butter with some very finely chopped garlic and finished with some parsley.
Marks & Spencer are introducing some special cheeses for autumn and have looked far and wide to come up with a range that’s certainly different. There’s a tangy mature goat’s gouda from Holland with a toffeeish taste and crunchy texture, the intense Westcombe Farmhouse Cheddar from a small farm in Somerset, Western England, the creamy sheep’s cheese Brebiget from southern France and Golden Cenarth, a Camembert-like cheese from Wales.
On October 6 at The Ice House in Ballina there will be a Harvest Dinner cooked by head chef Anthony Holland, pictured, using veg and fruit from the kitchen garden at Enniscoe House. When I first visited as a teenager 40 years ago, the walled garden there was a wilderness. Many years of hard work has gone into rescuing it and its unique micro-cilmate. It’s now an organic market garden. €55 per head is great value and includes wine pairings. You can stay overnight, with breakfast, for €320 for two. theicehouse.ie; enniscoe.com
Ashbourne butcher Hugh Maguire, pictured, makes his celebrated smoked black pudding from fresh pig’s blood, something that is now very rare. Most black pudding in Ireland is made from imported dried cattle blood. At the Great Taste Awards he won the Golden Fork for the best award-winning product from Ireland. Making black pudding the traditional way is hard (and often discouraged by environmental health officers) which makes his achievement even impressive.