New Year’s resolutions are a bit like cooking a perfect soufflé, lots of thought and preparation go in to the making but the result is often less than hoped for. However, on the assumption that some good might come from said resolutions, then it is perhaps worth putting pen to paper. I am listing here some which might be worth consideration and also my fantasy resolutions for 2011.
• Get fussy about fish; by this I mean you should try to make fish a part of your main meal on at least two days a week. While deciding what fish to buy it is worth considering which fish are farmed and also which fish are being over-fished in our oceans. There is no longer a difficulty in finding fresh fish as Galway city and county has never had a more plentiful supply of fish shops and some excellent mobile fish trailers at country markets.
• Grow something edible, even if it is only one or two herbs. It is now cool to grow your own, a bit like speaking Irish. If you do intend to cultivate a small vegetable plot in the garden, do not be over ambitious. Try growing some lettuce, scallions, carrots, parsley, chives, and potatoes. If you want to do it the easy way then buy the small seedlings, however there is very little satisfaction in that. A few packets of seeds scattered in little trays will give you all the seedlings you need at a fraction of the cost.
• Buy less processed foods, the only processed food I could not do without is frozen Birds Eye peas; after that everything is better fresh. Why not make dinners in small batches? It is just as easy to make Bolognese for 10 servings as for three or four people. Freeze what you don’t need in take-away plastic containers and you will have your own home-processed food. The same can be done for stews and simple pasta sauces. Just look at the explosion of pasta sauces on the supermarket shelves and it is obvious what a huge profit generator they are for the makers, so save money and make your own.
• Buy Irish; in fact buy County Galway, the more the local the better. When I see the figures published for the tonnage of potatoes and frozen chips that we import I am stunned. Unless you are a fan of the waxy type potato, Irish potatoes are the best in the world. Just have a quick look at ‘country of origin’ when you are buying your next bag of potatoes. As part of your buy local resolution try to only buy in-season; strawberries, for example, taste wonderful when you have not eaten any since the end of the previous summer.
My fantasy resolutions
• Visit the top 20 restaurants in the world and order the chef’s tasting — dinner with wines selected to match each dish. This would of course be an academic exercise for the benefit of Galway Advertiser readers.
• Have a workout each day with my personal trainer to ensure that I weigh the same on 21/12/2011. Taking on projects like the above is no easy matter and will require sacrifices.
• Learn to bake cakes and pastries to a level that I will no longer have to visit the Gourmet Tart Co and Le Petit Delice every time I go to Galway. Finish my training by working in a top Paris patisserie for three months.
• Do an in-depth review of every hotel with a Michelin starred restaurant in the world, all details to be reported in Bia Devil.
Happy New Year and be sure to email me if you are a local producer with any new products in 2011, [email protected]