Fermentalist with a fetish for fatty foods. Don't listen to those looneys telling you that fat is bad for you. Love your gut, eat real food. Writer at Irish Examiners on Saturdays and Irish Independent and Sunday Times, Food and Wine Mag and Tourism Ireland
Fermenting foods is one of the oldest ways of preserving food. Not only does this ancient method of preservation keep food fresh tasting and vibrant for months, the lacto-fermentation process also generates powerful probiotics in your food which feed your good gut flora and boost your immune system. In a modern world that is riddled with new auto-immune disorders and food allergies, we can take responsibility for our own food and health by supporting our digestive system and helping our body to heal and enjoy better health. Eating small amounts of foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir can boost your digestion which eliminates bloating and constipation, reduces symptoms of IBS, fermented foods are said to help regulate hormone production which helps with mood stablization and sleep patterns.
Fermentd foods can be enjoyed by all age groups, kids love kombucha and spicy kimchi as well as pickled crudités and water kefir.
In these three classes I will cover various areas of good foods for your gut, many featured in my third book Val's Kitchen.
I am creating the tickets for the first class here, at a knockdown price of €25 each to attract food lovers who are interested in better health, to come and see the newly re-located Urban Co-op, no situated on the grounds of Tait House on Collins Avenue. The Co-op is a one stop for picking up some of the finest locally grown organic vegetables, raw milk and bone broths, sourdoughs and other healthy, delicious treats.
Schedule as follows:
November 8th : Bone Broth, Kimchi, Sauerkraut and fermented veggies: learn how to make delicious bone broth, soothing for your gut and warming to your soul. Bone broth is the new superfood and is easy to make from everyday ingredients. Kimchi is rated as one of the worlds healthiest foods and is a powerful aid to digestion that no Korean would be without, Irish love it too! Sauerkraut is one of the best known fermented foods and goes with lots of other foods like cheese and duck. I will show you other easy vegetable ferments too.
November 15th: fermented drinks, learn all about kombucha and meet Mister Scoby - a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that is responsibe for making this delicious, fermented fizzy drink. Water kefir makes fruity fizzy drinks too and milk kefir is one of the most popular fermented foods. I will also show you easy Kvass, said to help reduce inflammation, aches and pains.
November 22nd: easy gluten free breads and butter making. Let me show you some easy to make breads from my book Bread on the Table, oat bread, nut bread and more plus a butter making demo for fun times at home in the kitchen. Butter is easily made into ghee, a must for anyone avoiding dairy in their diet.
If you can't book online, email me to make other arrangements.
If you would like to book all three classes, the balance can be paid on the night
September 29th - Hook and Ladder, Limerick city - details and booking here this class covers all about why we might get int fermenting, from the basic convenience of having a store of always ready fermented veggies, to the benefits of eating these tasty superfoods and of course I show you how easy it is to make them at home. I will make spicy kimchi, beet kvass, sauerkraut, fermented ketchup other veggie ferments to sample. All recipes to take home too.
Saturday October 1st 4pm - Dingle Food Festival - a one hour food fermenting workshop for the princely sum of only €10.00
October 22nd - An t'Ionad Glas, the Organic College, Drumcollagher - will post details asap
October 30th - Lisdoonvarna Food Fayre, turn up and pay on the day, all about Kombucha, from coffee to tea and all flavours in between, explody fun likely!
Inis Mór (big island) is the largest of the three islands of Aran, off the coast of Galway and North Clare. The big island, with a population of about 800, gets thousands and thousands of visitors in high season, the smaller island get fewer visitors but are somehow more highly regarded. Inis Mór has, of recent years fallen prey to a bizzare system of day tripping. People come to island off the boats and get on a bus tour that takes them on a whistle stop tour of the main attractions of the island, usually culminating in some kind of traffic jam up near Dun Aonghus. The day trip syndrome means that the island gets fewer and fewer overnight stays, this is a great pity for visitors who never really get to feel the true sense of the place. As someone who has been to Aran several times over the past few years, usually staying at least a few days or at most, a week, I am only a newbie. If you think Inis Oirr is more fun in the evenings, it's because people are staying over and everything is in the one place. Then again visiting a place isn't always only about craic. If you wait on Inis Mór for the last boat to leave you might feel a different feeling, as the island 'drops it's shoulders' and exhales, magic hour sneaks in and cloaks everything in it's warm glow. This is when the good stuff happens, this is the time to go swimming off the pier and walking along the cliffs. Instead of being that tourist jumping out of a bus to take a photo for snapchat of the peaceful beach, go and lie on the beach. Instead of seeing Dun Aonghus, and it is special of course, cycle and walk to the other side of the island to Dun Dubhcathair, the black fort and get a real feel of the wild atlantic and the power of the place. Think about who built the forts, who were they? How did they do this?
Inis Mór is full of spiritual places, pilgrims come here and islanders practice sacred rituals that are secrets unto themselves. For the number of times I've been here, there is always something I've never seen or felt before. Things are different, there are no shops telling you that you need to buy things (other than wooly jumpers). There are great places to eat and drink and sit and pubs to meet the people who actually live on the island. It takes resilience and determination to make a life on these islands work, children will all have to leave to go to college and services are few. People have to pay big money to travel back and forth to the mainland and generally have to make the best of an economy which is controlled by very few. So next time you are planning a visit to the West of Ireland, bring your self and your euro and stay a while, it will do you the world of good and you just might see things differently.
My top ten reasons to visit Inis Mór, in no particular order
Community - on and island people need each other and their doors are always open, it's almost impossible to get arrested, I know, I've tried.
The open air, being so exposed, there are few trees, you can see so far around you
The cliff walk to Dun DubhCathair, or anyway you can get to it. This ancient fort has a powerful vibration that just grounds you, not to mention mind blowing views. Stay a while
Tigh nan Phadai, who recently won best cafe in Ireland, was a secret until then but this cosy cafe also serves the people of the island with tasty dishes like beef and Guinness stew and carrot cake by an open fire.
Seaweed harvesting, if you don't know what you're doing the buy some ready dried and packaged from Blas na Mara at the shop opposite Tigh Nan Phadai.
Walking anywhere, did I already say that?
Swimming, so many places to swim, Kilmurvey, Killeine, Kilronan, but the best one has to be jumping off the pier with the kids
Sangria at the Bayview on the harbour. Mary and Byron have taken over this restaurant and make amazing food, but sangria folks, sangria!
A pint in Joe Watty's pub, prepare yourself for colourful language :)
A visit to Gabriel's goat farm, a walk to Bun Gabhla, the seven sisters, Dun Eoghanacht, and a wealth of places and things I don't even know about.Gabriel's Goats of Aran Islands Goats Cheese
Smoke Salmon Salad at Teach nan Phadaí Reasons to stay 1.The water isn't fluoridated (so I believe, and it tastes amazing) 2. Everyone who lives there looks at least ten years younger than they are, 3. If you know the right people, fish, fish and more fish, or you could just fish yourself. 4.No bullshit.