Food news: My 10 new year food resolutions
If you've given up on the detox, how about some sustainable resolutions? These are mine:
1. I'm going to buy as much food as possible from the farmers' market and support local family businesses. Luckily, there are three (Leopardstown, Temple Bar and Dun Laoghaire) within easy reach of me, and the McNally Family Farms' stall is the one that is the cornerstone of my cooking for the week. I'm going to buy whatever I like the look of, and figure out what to do with it when I get home. This is part of a plan to eat more vegetables, and to have more plant-based meals. At home, we are making an effort to eat less meat and, when I'm in a restaurant, I'm going to order the vegetarian option more often, on the basis that if more of us ask for vegetarian food, we will challenge chefs and the quality of the offering will improve.
2. Also at the farmers' market, I'm going to buy Irish apples whenever they are available.
3. I'm buying my meat from the butcher and my fish from the fishmonger.
4. I'm only buying bread made by members of Real Bread Ireland.
5. In the supermarket, I'm going to become more rigorous about buying Irish (and, failing that, European), whenever possible. That means taking the time to read the labels properly, and being prepared to switch from one vegetable to another depending on where they come from. We've all read about the fake farms that some supermarkets refer to on their labels to hoodwink consumers, but that doesn't just apply to meat. Some vegetables grown outside the country are marketed in packaging decorated with shamrocks. How cynical is that?
6. Also in the supermarket, I am going to avoid excess packaging and buy loose whenever that's an option.
7. I'm making an effort not to waste food. I'll eat leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day, and I'll do a proper audit of the fridge before I go shopping. I'll check the spices before I go and buy more cumin seeds.
8. I'm going to try at least one new recipe each week.
9. I'm going to up the number of things that I grow in the garden. So far, I'm only self-sufficient in thyme, sage and rosemary, which is pathetic, even for a small city courtyard.
10. I'm going to stick it out with the kefir and fermented foods, and pay attention to my gut biome.
VERY G VALUE
Gigi's Restaurant at The G in Galway is offering a 20pc discount on food bills from Sunday to Thursday this month, bringing the price of the two-course set menu to €23.60pp. Chef Jason O'Neill has a new menu of winter warmers celebrating seasonal ingredients. Advance booking essential. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 091 865200.
NITRITE-FREE BACON PART 1
Jane Russell's sausages and bacon (available in selected branches of SuperValu and Dunnes Stores as well as good independent retailers across the country) are nitrite-free - and have been ever since Jane began making them 14 years ago, because she uses only premium pork. janerussells.ie
NITRITE-FREE BACON PART 2
M&S has teamed up with Northern Irish artisan supplier, Finnebrogue, to produce nitrite-free bacon for its stores. Available as both streaky and back bacon, M&S says it is the first retailer to introduce an own-brand nitrite-free bacon, which is flavoured with natural fruit and spice extracts.