Personal and undiluted views
Darina Allen

1574 days ago

Photo Article: My signature dish: Portuguese three pig & two bean stew

This is my signature dish. Whenever the Mrs has friends around this is what I prepare. Everyone loves it. Where do we start? With two large onions which are finely chopped and sweated with olive oil in a large pan.

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1612 days ago

Photo Article: Four Christmas Puddings almost ready - thank you Darina & Myrtle Allen

You are meant to make your Christmas puddings six weeks before Christmas to allow them to age and mature and so, leaving it to the last possible moment I have now just done that. The recipe is from a cookbook from the Queen of Irish cooking the amazing Darina Allen although she says that it is from her mother in law Myrtle, the founder of Ballymaloe. I think that Myrtle is still with us though she must be 92 by now and I am lucky enough to have visited the famed cooking school near Cork several times.

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1704 days ago

Photo Article - summer pudding improvisation with a hat tip to Darina Allen

I noted in my culinary bible that is a Darina Allen tome a recipe for summer pudding without raspberries. Darina uses cake as her padding I stick with the traditional white bread. Armed with the last of the blackcurrants from Shipston as well as the last of the dessert gooseberries I started to improvise. Having cooked both fruit until they popped in sugar water the overwhelming taste was blackcurrant. The juice was like concentrated ribena. But cripes there was not enough mixture for both bowls.

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2029 days ago

What do you cook for a nutty Vegetarian such as Malcolm Stacey?

I have invited Getafix Stacey and his charming wife over for lunch. But have received three stern warnings from the druid.

First up he lives in remote West Wales, drinking at the Punter’s Return, seeking out the Money Tree and looking after “my precious” – his stash of Advanced Oncotherapy share certificates. Malcolm says that he and his Mrs sometimes go to Cardiff but he cannot bare to be away from his precious for too long so rarely heads further east. But he promises that he will make the trek over to Bristol soon.

Second I am warned that Malcolm’s Mrs is even more of a mad lefty than he is. I am used 

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2221 days ago

My father and I are sent to purgatory by St Peter – thoughts on the rugby

The great day of reckoning arrives and as I wander along the road towards the Pearly Gates I catch up with my father who with his stick and poorly knee has been making slow progress. We chat and before long we meet up with St Peter.

Inside heaven we can see that it is just like Donegal in the summer. Green, wild but stunning. There is Brian O’Driscoll chatting away amiably with Darina Allen who is cooking up an amazing supper for all. Seamus Heaney is reading poems to Michael Collins. It is a free land. But St Peter shakes his finger and says that my father and I have been found wanting. I think that it is a bit harsh on the Old Man but accept that I have sinned and St Peter ushers us down a little path with a sign marked Purgatory.

As we prepare to enter Purgatory we can hear from inside drunken fools baying about Chariots while other imbeciles belt out the greatest hits of Max Boyce. I feel a tap on the shoulder and it is St Peter.  Fear not he says, suffering the unbearable crowing of both English and Welsh rugby supporters on the same day will not last long. You are only in purgatory for a short while. I smile. But then St Peter adds, it will just feel like eternity.

In the days of my youth

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2333 days ago

Tom Winnifrith's Saturday BearCast 8 November

A few interweb problems here in Eire, so I have nipped up to Darina Allen's Ballymaloe house to book supper for tonight - a mega culinary treat for the Mrs and myself and to upload another hard hitting recording. On the agenda is Quindell and how soon its shares could be suspended for the Equities First Holdings LLC farce. Also a discussion of the whole issue of suspension and where the AIM casino will go post this scandal. There are some hard questions here for many. Then I also look at African Minerals (target price 0p).

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2350 days ago

Off to Ireland for the Weekend – Ballymaloe beckons

I have never hidden my admiration for Darina Allen, the High Queen of Irish cooking. As a cook and as a person she is pretty amazing and has borne certain domestic issues with a remarkable stoicism. It is perhaps her photogenic daughter in law Rachael who is better known but it is Darina who is the real deal as a cook and as a late birthday present for the Mrs we are off to see her this weekend in Cork, in the “The Old Country”, that is to say Eire.

It was Darina’s mother in law Myrtle Allen who started the phenomena that is Ballymaloe. It is a stunning country house – now containing an amazing restaurant – near Cork. Up the road is the cooking school which is surrounded by acres of organic gardens in the style of an old Country house. The fish comes in fresh from the sea at nearby Ballycotton and Darina is a champion of all things organic and locally produced. Natch that brings her into conflict with the regulation mad Evil Empire – Brussels edicts are the death of the small scale producers of foods such as cheese.

I’ve done a couple of courses there and one day shall shock you all

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2857 days ago

Nigella Lawson and that “playfull tiff” – what is it with the husbands of celebrity cooks?

The photos of Charles Saatchi grabbing domestic goddess Nigella Lawson by the throat are pretty shocking. He has apparently dismissed it as a “playfull tiff”. Hmmmm.

I have always had a soft spot for Nigella although I cannot say that her recipe books are the most thumbed in my library. I am very much a Darina Allen man. She too had a few problems with her other half when he was done for possessing er…inappropriate images, on his computer. I wonder if domestic goddesses always hook up with the wrong sort of man?

Naturally I do not count Delia in this category as my bookshelf would rather be seen containing hard core pornography or the collected works of Polly Toynbee than anything produced by the not so sober chanteuse from Norwich.

As for Miss Lawson? Well it seems that Mr Saatchi has manhandled her before in public. No doubt that was also a playful tiff. But I kind of think a true Goddess could do better. Okay, the guy might be very entertaining and absolutely minted but he does appear to be a total brute as well as a bit of a haggard old man. And at 97 or whatever the old dog is, he is not going to change his ways. Nigella is a good looking bird ( if perhaps she has eaten one too many of her 3 zillion calorie recipes), she seems quite sharp and I am sure she could do better.

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