Monthly Archives: July 2010

Fraughan Good

On what turned out to be a gloriously warm Sunday in July. A merry band of pickers headed off to gather fraughans. All that was missing was a quick rendition of Pooh Bear’s “hey ho for the life of a bear, hey ho for the expedition. 

  

And what an enjoyable expedition it turned out to be. When secret location no. 1 was reached the group spread out into a sea of ferns and fraughan bushes. At first it was hard to spot them. They like to hide under the top cover of foliage, but once you become accustomed, spotting them becomes easier and so the picking begins. And so does the eating for it is impossible not to pop a few into you mouth as you go. And there were plenty of little gatherers around to help lighten your load as well. 

Founder and younger loafers gather together

 

And what an enjoyable expedition it turned out to be. When secret location no. 1 was reached the group spread out into a sea of ferns and fraughan bushes. At first it was hard to spot them. They like to hide under the top cover of foliage, but once you become accustomed, spotting them becomes easier and so the picking begins. And so does the eating for it is impossible not to pop a few into you mouth as you go. And there were plenty of little gatherers around to help lighten your load as well. 

Fern's, Fraughan's and a few people too!

 

Some managed to make it back to the picnic spot where they were whipped up into a quick and simple fraughan fool by Ed and Biddy. It tasted absolutely wonderful. 

Freshly picked fraughans, whipped into some cream and vanilla sugar, scoffed under a warm July sun, who could ask for more. 

As we al gathered round there was some ooh’s and aah’s at the impressive bounty of some gatherers. 

Who would be crowned Fraughan Queen or King for 2010 would have been hard to call on the day. 

But one thing is for certain, the title will definitely be up for grabs next year! 

Fraughan FoolContender for the title?

Slowmotion… or The Sunday Mat’n’Eat

Watching " End of the Line"

A scorching June Sunday, and a world cup soccer qualifier vied for the attention of Sugarloafers and some very welcome Dubliners at the innaugural screening of our food-related flicks. Sunk deep into comfy couches the assembled group of 25 relaxed in Brook Hall, and enjoyed this movie double-bill.

First up was the thought provoking The End Of the Line, which outlined the curent state of over fishing in it’s global context, and where we are headed as a result of unsustainable policies.  At interval we discussed the relevance of the movie in an Irish context, and took a “sun-break” to enjoy fantastic canapés, and a glass of wine by the river.

Stalwarth Ciarán introducing his choice movie

External Interval

Sweet Treat

The second movie was the choice of stalwarth member Ciarán Kearney, a welcome lighter billing…

Lamb..mmm

Marsh Samphire

Although not within sight of the Sugarloaf Mountain, some ‘loafers recently had the good fortune to come across some delicious Atlantic Marsh Samphire whilst swanning around the south coast…In the marsh!

This fab sea vegetable is in season for the next few weeks, and is widely enough distributed in  salty marshes along the South and Southwest coasts.

Seen here “in flower”, you can just about see the single red stamens at the tip of each fleshy segment. Most of the plants we came across were between 6-8″ high and indiviual plants, but it can grow up to 1 ft tall and be quite bushy.  

Previously it was taken with the root attached, but ( sensibly) now it is recommended to cut or snip with a scissors a few of the fronds, leaving most of the plant intact. This will allow re-growth, and some for the next foreshore forager lucky enough to come across it!Cut with a sharp knife... leaving most behind on the stem!

We nibbled some of the smaller shoots just as they were, in the marsh and again, back at base. A little salty to taste initially, but very moist, fleshy and with a hint of iodine! We then weighed our two hours forage, and prepared to cook some!The Haul

A gentle boil in fresh water for 8 minutes left the Samphire a deep green colour with it’s texture somewhat softened. Drained and scattered with nibs of butter, the technique involves pulling them through your teeth by the stem, and this strips the luscious fleshy body from the slightly stringy stem.
Although often referred to as ” The Poor Man’s Asparagus”, we found it delicately spinnachy in flavour, with a hint of iodine and a very refreshing taste of the sea.Think of it as a sea vegetable souvlaki...  A Summer treat not to be passed on if you get the chance!