20 Mile Cookalong

Joanna Schaffalitzky — 

The 10th of June marked the latest in the monthly Irish Foodie Cookalongs. June's challange was a particularly difficult one too as we had to source 3 or more of our ingredients from within a 20 mile radius of our homes.

Living in Dublin made this very hard as within 20 miles of where I live in Dublin there is mainly just more Dublin and sea. So started my epic quest to find a meal sourced the area marked on the map below. Just as an extra challenge to myself I thought I would try and make 3 courses from local produce.

My first thought was of fish since a lot of my 20 mile radius was water, there must be somewhere I could get fish landed in Howth. I found out too late that if I went down to Bullock Harbour in Dalkey I might be able to get fresh crab and lobster, alas that was not to be!

In the end I asked my local fishmonger in Morton's of Ranelagh and he told me that the cod they sell is landed at Howth. So now I had one ingredient for one course.

Luckily, I had just purchased a jar of Ed Hick's bacon jam at Bloom. Now if you're wondering what bacon jam is, it is a delicious relish made out of bacon and lots of other magic stuff and tastes amazing!

I decided that this delicious ambrosia would pair very well with the cod and a little horseradish, which while not local itself, was bought in Mortons, a local business. Now I had my starter; little cod and bacon jam canapés, garnished with grated horseradish. A very tasty beginning.

For my main course I really wanted a piece of meat and Ed Hick helped me again by recommending that I go visit Farrelly's Butchers in Delgany. So off I went, on a bit of a wild ride as I took the wrong exit and took the route over the mountain to get to the shop, rather than coming directly off the motorway.

I had a great chat with the guys in Farrelly's. They were very knowledgeable about their produce and was able to tell me the name of the farm where the rib of beef I choose to buy came from. They also informed me that there were no longer any abattoirs in Dublin and that they were the only one left in North Wicklow. I went away feeling very happy with my purchase, not just because it was a beautiful piece of meat but because I knew how well it had been looked after both in life and death. I will definitely make the trip out to their shop again, even though it is a little disconcerting to be able to hear the sheep and cows out the rear while you are buying the meat.

I decided to slow roast the beef and served it with horseradish mash made with potatoes from Keogh's in Oldtown, Co. Dublin and fried courgettes from Marc Michel in Kilpeddar, Co. Wicklow. Both of the vegetables were being sold in Mortons, so no major trekking was needed for their purchase. I also had a simple green salad with the beef which was made from lettuce from a work colleague's garden, picked fresh on the morning of the cookalong. I've never had such fresh lettuce.

To drink with the meal I asked my dining companion for the evening to pick up a couple of bottles of David Llewellyn's delicious Double L cider, since it was being sold in a shop near where she work. It was a great accompaniment to the beef.

For dessert I had also received a large bundle of rhubarb from the same work colleague who gave me the lettuce. I decided to make a rhubarb fool, mainly because I'd not had one in ages.

I tried to get some honey from inside my 20 mile radius but that wasn't possible so I settled for one from Wexford. Not quite local, but still a great Irish product.

I also used Glenisk cream in my fool, again not exactly local, but a great Irish product.

So there you have it my 20 mile meal ended up being quite a feast despite the difficulty I first envisioned in getting anything local. Next year I hope to be growing some of my own veg that will make eating local much easier.


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