Friday, June 28, 2013

Adventures in markets, Act I

The first Sligo Flea Market was a success! I am thrilled with the feedback, and am still on a sort of high after it! That being said, there were a few hiccups on the morning itself. You're dealing with a diverse group of people - sellers of all ages and personalities. Some are trying to sell bric a brac for the day, while for others this is a business.

I managed to spill hot tea on myself the day before so I couldn't go in the evening before and assign tables as planned. This made for a bit of a clumsy start the next day as people arrived earlier than I had advised and already bagged tables. So I scrapped the plan, and flexed my diplomacy muscles, I had some chocolate, wore my brightest smile and made sure everyone was happy. I didn't relax until a couple of hours in. My friend Linda was selling some seriously tempting kitchenalia and homewares, and she was great for support on the day. There were some craft and jewelery stalls, there was a dedicated record area, and lots of rails selling vintage and second hand clothing.

There was a great atmosphere around the venue for the day. There's something about selling vintage and craft goods that seems invites conversation with the sellers and leads to unexpected friendships! Everyone and everything has a story to share.

Social media is a brilliant tool for sharing these stories. I'm lucky that Sligo has a vibrant social media community already, and people are very keen on micro-blogging and spreading the word about Sligo and its secrets!

Over the course of the day I got plenty of excercise, simply by walking about the market, snapping pictures, tweeting, updating facebook and dipping in and out of conversations, as well as looking at all the stalls and resisting temptation. Until the last hour at least! I purchased a beautiful 1960s crepe dress, from a woman who had bought it in Rome when she was my age. You just don't get the same history from a piece of high street mass produced clothing. I also purchased a pair of 1950s gloves, a 1970s belt and the beautiful beaded evening bag below, which I reckon must be 1950s.

Five years ago, I had just finished secondary school. I was so shy, I would never have had the courage to do something like this. I've developed some great friendships and interests over the past five years. I've meet some wonderful (and some woeful) people, and all these experiences have changed me. In the past three years especially, I've been learning that if I want something, I should do something about it, and try not to be so afraid of failure. This market brings something a little different to Sligo, it unites a diverse amount of people together in one community for a day, and for me to engage with such interesting people, is an absolute pleasure. Events like this are something I would certainly love to be involved with in the future, so I'm grateful for the opportunity to be able to run something like this for the first time, and receive such a positive response in return.

All the photographs of the day were kindly taken by Anna Leask, and the instagram pictures are my own.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Snapshots of Summer

Between one project and another I've been too distracted to resume regular posting. I experience a lot of self doubt with things I intend to post, real things I'd like to write about, and I inevitably end up not sharing them at all. Otherwise, these past few weeks have been pleasant on the whole. I've been enjoying the sun when it shines, and wearing a lot of prints (see above).

Treating myself - Prosecco al fresco at A Casa Mia / Buttermilk ice cream and raspberry sorbet from Murphys Ice Cream / Yuppie tea and chats at the Twisted Pepper

The Bugle Babes at Film Fatale's screening of Notorious / Walking around Clontarf / The interior of my friend's house in Stoneybatter, Dublin

I've been devouring Broderick's treats, made here in Ireland, with some seriously cool, cheeky contemporary packaging / I'm still scouting the charity shops when I have a spare moment, I picked up these two 1970s Carriagaline cups to add to my collection, when I was last in Dublin / I wore my 1950s beaded handbag for the first time, despite having picked it up in a Glasgow charity shop two years ago.

After following it enviously for the past couple of years, and having attended their Sligo screening, I finally made it to a Film Fatale night in the Sugar Club, Dublin! The theme was 1940s, so while I brought a suitable dress in my bulky bag, but it was one of the best evenings of the year (so far! crossing my fingers) so instead I wore my new 1970s cotton dress from Enchanted Vintage. Jean outglamours me in dress, and demeanor, doesn't she look fab? Guess who was shy about getting their photo taken, the expression says it all!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sligo Suppers in the shadow of Benbulben

Carol Anne, Sligo girl, globe trotter and food blogger at Carol Anne's Kitchen completed her 10 week course at the world-famous Ballymaloe cookery school in April. Before she returned to South Africa, where she lives with her boyfriend, she hosted two special culinary gatherings in Grange, north county Sligo. I was thrilled to help her out and be a part of her first experience of catering for a large group (25 people). Although it all happened at the last moment, Carol Anne managed to pull off two successful, fully booked supper clubs, over two subsequent Friday nights. She's some woman, for one woman!

All the vegetables were organic, sourced in the Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co. Leitrim.

Menu 1 (May 10th)
Butternut Squash Soup
Harissa Roasted Chicken
Green Buckwheat Salad
Tzatziki Yogurt Dip
Orange and Fennel Salad
Put lentil stuffed courgettes
Rhubarb fool with vanilla shortbread

The menu of the first supper club had a mediterranean feel to it. Vegetarians and carnivores were generously catered for. Courgettes are probably one of my favourite vegetables, and in common with most veggies, I adore puy lentils (the caviar of the lentil world). I was able to help myself and scoff some of the food between courses!

Carol Anne's delicious sourdough bread made an appearance on both nights. She picked up the recipe at Ballymaloe, and we were privleged enough to enjoy it with some of her mother's homemade Irish butter, delicately flavoured with paprika and garlic. I was a vegan for a couple of months until I moved back home. Soda bread and Irish butter is manna from heaven, if you're Irish.

Menu 2 (May 17th)
Poppadoms with mint chutney
Vegetable Pakora and mango relish
Slow cooked spiced lamb korma
Roasted vegetable coconut curry
Both served with lemon rice
Coriander flatbreads and Raita
Carrot and fennel salad
Cardamon infused panna cotta topped with rosewater infused pomegranate seeds (agar was used instead of gelatin for the vegetarians)

The vegetable curry was divine, much better than I've had in some Indian restaurants. The richness of the coconut milk in the curry really came through, combined with the delicate heat of the spices and the moreishness of the butternut squash, parsnip and sweet potato.

My favourite dish of the two nights was the sublime, cardamon infused yogurt with pomegranate seeds that had been soaked in rosewater. Incredible doesn't cut it! The warmth of the cardamon cuts through the creaminess of the yogurt and your palate was refreshed by the fresh burst of the pomegranate seeds. Quite unlike any dessert I've had in a restaurant before.

The atmosphere was jovial, many of Carol Anne's friends and acquaintances had come for the evening, as well as curious foodies who'd heard about the night on twitter! The evening sunset lent a twinge of romanticism to the evenings as the setting sunlight illuminated the glasses and plates, as people had animated conversations between courses. Benbulben looked curiously like Ayers Rock from the north of Sligo, as the sun set.

Pictures 1 & 3 via @ladydotty & 2 of Carol Anne in her chef's whites via @carolanner