Posts from the ‘Food’ Category
Lots of us are dreaming of growing edible fungi at home. Not the magic kind but the gourmet kind (though there is a bit of magic in the process of growing shitakes!) These Shitake mushrooms have been grown by homesteaders Rob Doyle and Mairead Higgins in the Leitrim hills of Ireland. Oh they are lucky!!! Shitake mushrooms have health giving-properties. We we want to grow mushrooms too.
Radio Dreaming, Episode 1: Dreams, Food and the Edible Landscape.
- August 20th – 27th, Radia broadcasts on 24 Radio stations around the world at www.radia.fm
- Tuesday, 21st August, 1 pm GMT – SoundArt Radio, 102.5 fm Dartington and live streaming at www.soundartradio.org.uk
- Friday, 31st August, 8:30 am MDT – KRZA, 88.7 fm, Alamosa/Taos and live streaming at www.krza.org
- Listen to the entire Episode 1 anytime HERE!
Montréal, Berlin, Dublin, Melbourne, London, New York – During the week of August 20th Radia FM listeners around the world will be tuning into Radio Dreaming Episode 1: Dreams, Food and the Edible Landscape. One year ago contemporary artists Anna Keleher (English Riviera Geoopark, Devon, England) and Claire Coté (New Mexico, USA) were busy “DREAMING PLACE” at Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark in Éire and Northern Ireland. Now, an international audience can share their sonic adventures via a series of radio broadcasts woven from their experience. Based on an ancient Celtic tradition that the land remembers everything, Radio Dreaming explores how the land speaks through dreamers.
“DREAMING PLACE is about deepening and illuminating our relationship with Place and we are excited to be sharing our project with audiences around the globe. Radio is an exciting medium that enables artists to reach people in their own homes or cars, in cities, small towns or very rural settings,” says Claire Coté.
In this first Radio Dreaming episode, listeners are invited to join Anna and Claire wild camping, eating, drawing, walking and kayaking their way through the Geopark to meet its people, places, creatures and things. Episode 1 features stories, conversations and soundscapes of dreams, food, and edible geopark landscapes.
“Our broadcast gives protagonism to the diverse voices of these Geopark homelands. We really hope that Radio Dreaming will inspire others to listen and share stories in their own homeplaces,” says Anna Keleher.
This summer Geopark Artist Anna Keleher has been gathering stories closer to home. Funded by National Lottery through Arts Council England, her film short The Ballad of Berry Head may be enjoyed at the Guardhouse visitor Centre projection room, Berry
Head National Nature Reserve. Anna began her successful international collaborative partnership with Claire in 2007 at Dartington College of Art on the innovative MA Arts and Ecology. Together they continue to make audio journeys, radio broadcasts, drawings,
sculptural installations and performative events, transcending the miles through internet technologies. The only thing they can’t share is a pot of tea!
Radio Dreaming Episode 1 is broadcasting on Soundart Radio (Dartington) and Riviera FM (Torbay) Devon, as well as KRZA Radio (Colorado/New Mexico) USA and twenty-four Radia FM stations around the world.
Listen to the entire radio program here.
This first episode of our Radio Dreaming series will debut on air in the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark on Cavan Community Radio 97.4 fm, today, Thursday 21st of June at 2:40 pm, GMT. Other broadcasts are also scheduled for this summer. If you can’t catch the program on air, we invite you to listen to the entire radio program here at our blog.
Many thanks to all the people, places, creatures and things at Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark for teaching us about DREAMING PLACE. And special thanks to those that contributed to this program and helped make it possible in a myriad of ways.
Please let us know of any radio stations that might be interested in broadcasting Radio Dreaming! More Radio Dreaming episodes are in the works so stay tuned….
Ice houses are to be found in the grounds of many of the old country estates in these Northern lands. Here is Claire at the Crom Estate in Northern Ireland inside the belly of an ice-house.
About Ice houses – Ice cut in winter was stored right through the year in stone icehouses across Europe supplying numerous big houses with fresh produce and keeping guests happy with novel sorbets, icecreams and crushed ice for cocktails and bumps or sprains got while out hunting the stag!
Today fridges are present in every kitchen – well almost. When I lived in Spain we didn’t have a fridge; we are vegetarians so it was easy. The micro-organisms in plain yogurt keep it fresh for weeks and the cool tiles and wooden shutters protected the veg from decay.
In the last century before the advent of the fridge, many families used cool boxes or chests packed with ice to keep meat and fish. The pantry or larder had marble shelves to keep dairy produce and cold meats fresh as long as possible. My mum tells me the cooling properties of her mother’s larder were enhanced by covering the milk jug with a wet cloth. The milk was kept cool via evaporation. In Spain water kept in unglazed “porons ” keeps spring water fountain fresh even on the hottest days. When camping beers maybe kept cold by hanging them out of the window in wet socks! Or submerging them in the stream.
Margaret Gallagher, of Mullylusty cottage just outside Boho in the Marble Arch Caves Geopark lives off grid all year round. She tells us that a wheelie bin makes a wonderful off grid fridge which keeps hungry animals out in winter-time. But can the wheelie bin be as effective as a giant crock? Kept wet a ceramic jar will keep milk and other foods fresh in hot climates again by evaporation. Buried underground it could be used to store root vegetables like potatoes and turnips.
Margaret tells us how her family used an ordinary chest to preserve meat. After the pig had been butchered the pieces were packed into a wooden chest with salt and buried in a surprising place. The place of choice at Mullylusty and other cottages was usually the dung heap or midden . We didn’t ask Margaret why this was so, but archaeological evidence reveals middens as natural insulators, valued for their properties of conservation. Evidence from Skara Brae in Orkney shows the homes were actually built inside an enormous midden!
BOG BUTTER – Not sure if all of you know this but past peoples apparently buried butter in wooden kegs in bogs. But how far back in prehistory was it that the original peoples of Ireland first used bogs as fridges. Who first understood that bogs can preserve fats? Micro-organisms that cause food to go off can’t dwell inside a soggy shroud of bog turf as they need oxygen to survive, this is why a bog performs as a brilliant off grid-fridge. In Ireland much ancient bog butter has been found over the years and some of it is still edible, if a bit cheesy.
This blog has been a long time in a comin´ and that’s because I grew it.
To grow my potato blog I followed some basic steps. the rest down to luck, weather and patience. It’s taken quite a while to get to this point , mainly ‘cos of all that hard work and the waiting. I had to……..
7. earth up
A long time ago a Slovenian man called Franci, a student of Mark’s suggested I apply my novel research techniques to”the potato”. It is still really important to Eastern European cultures and I am a researcher of the agency of things. Let me explain a bit more about how that might work.
The humble potato is a masterful at affecting human behaviours; it gathers culture around itself in a big way, as does say “alcohol” or “the sea”. The potato is the perfect thing he said to study. So far I have not done more than to scrub a potato, cut it up to boil or bake it. I love to eat it whole or mashed with olive oil and black pepper. But who knows. In Ireland as everyone knows the potato is very important and no-one on the island can ever forget the terrible consequences of the potato blight.
In Ireland we ferried potatoes around in the car back and forth over the border and dipped our fingers into glasses of poitín, the infamous Irish hooch. I feel a new blog coming on…. but I’ll leave it for another day.
Upside of underground
Eat in heaven
Not just a Nugget
Food became central to our adventure and led to sometimes profound thoughts – in this case about animals dreaming.
A good way to discover more about prehistoric life in Marble Arch Caves Geopark is to focus in on the edible elements of place. You can learn a lot, from ingesting, observing and dreaming with plants and things. As a Northern European its a fair guess to say that my ancestors learnt a lot from their interactions with the land. I know it’s obvious, but its easy to forget that plants have actually helped shaped our cultures. Claire’s family is also of European decent, but she was born in New Mexico where prehistoric peoples have also eaten acorns, piñones and hazel nuts. Claire and I look, listen, experiment and dream to find out more about our prehistoric ancestors and their worlds. We kicked off our
collaboration while studying at Dartington with a “Eating Time Taming Food” a wide ranging adventure into prehistoric Dartmoor Food ecologies. We gathered, prepared, cooked and shared wild foods. It was really challenging for us as we were trail blazing our a new Arts and Ecology practice… .. but what d’you know while we were out collecting acorns and worms were gathering in our leaching sacks, Ray Mears was doing the self same thing on Telly, imagine that….Out of the BLUE! processing acorns for food after hundreds of years of culinary neglect!
Neither Claire nor I had telly and we didn’t know about Ray Mears ’till friends and neighbours told us. Only difference was we were making ART and gathering audio sounds! We ended our acorn harvest with a grand tea party at The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World in Haldon forest Park, where our guests feasted on acorn and honey cake spread with butter churned using the motion of our gait and other ancestral foods.
In DREAMING PLACE at MAC we crunched hawthorn leaves at Shannon Pot, made wild garlic pesto and when Hazel reached out and attracted our attention, we whittled its flexible boughs into knives. Hazel is as full to bursting with dynamic potentials which Claire and I are eager to explore. And Hazel’s story is many patterned, it helped with the invention of tents, looms and snow shoes. The first people’s living in these northern climes after the great ice melt collected its tasty fruits to store for the winter months and Hazel protected and sustained them.
What baskets were woven to carry the canny hazel nut and what futures did it predict?
Listen here to Biodiversity Officer, Rose Cremin enthuse about hazel culture
I saw EELS in my minds eye while dreaming on the shores of our first campsite on the shores of Lough MacNean. I actually saw EELS and I saw TURTLES and I recorded what I had seen on our Dreaming Place Dream cloud data sheets.
That day I decided we should fish for EELS. I am vegetarian, but I’d like to fish for eels, just to trap’em, look at ’em, say hello and put ’em back. Id’ like to try Humane eel fishing. Claire was very enthusiastic when I told her, for she has fished for eels in New Zealand and it was fun. New Zealand eels she told me are absolutely enormous. They’re ” As fat as your arm” over there, she said.
To trap EELS like this we’d need a horses head like in ” The Tin Drum” or at least some tuna and a sock. But oh I don’t think that would be fun and a sock with a dead mouse in it is about as far as we’d like to take this… so we went for a cycle ride hoping to find a dead mouse that had died ” a natural death”!
Anyway, the eel fishing stayed as a vision like the one I made in our dream cloud.
I also drew the TURTLES I’d dreamed on another dreaming place data sheet. Claire has a special relationship with turtles, so I showed her my dreaming place postcard straight away. When we were at college Claire brought a small stone turtle with her to give her inspiration. Claire moves very fast and does a lot, so her turtle inspires her to take life at a slower pace. In her home state of New Mexico there has been a tradition of eating the turtles as they gather in the wetlands.
” TURTLE TIME / TEA TIME”
Turtles would have been “tea” over many thousands of years for the “original peoples” of the MAC Geopark home waters and the other myriad loughs of counties Cavan and Fermanagh. Turtles might also have provided a tasty treat for otters, lynx, seals, golden eagles,bears, wolves, fox, fish and badgers.
Bees are a kind of ancient technology, nature’s tireless messengers between worlds. They gather cultures around them and help propagate crops and ideas. Texting and twittering are the great-grandchildren of bees.
The future of our species is inextricably linked to that of bees, so if they don’t survive, even our phones will cease to buzz. (Interestingly, our “buzzing” mobile phones is stressing out hives – learn more here.)
Listen below to bumble bees living in the doorway of Alan’s cottage:
In the Marble Arch Caves Geopark bees continue to ply defunct smugglers routes with bags of valuable honey, even now that the borders between “north” and “south” are open. Honey is a rich prize guarded fiercely by the bees, but even now there are people who happily risk their wrath once or twice a year to steal it from them. Farmer, Ignatius McGuire, shares his family townlands with wild bees and in summer the temptation is sometimes just too great.
Listen to Ignatius McGuire describe the delights of honey from the field here:
Or ponder the importance of bees dreaming with Kaylynn TwoTrees in her article, “Nature’s Dreaming”………..
“Regeneration comes from dreams, where the energy from a sense of possibility is stronger than the fear of the unknown. So even today, as the bees are struggling for survival and hives are collapsing, a taste of honey or the hum of bees in my garden re-enlivens my belief that the sound of nature’s dreaming is the hum of bees and the audible activity of the hive…..”
Looking for the beesong audio to share with you I discovered this file of Susi playing her violin while we washed up. Lucky us…. So here it is. Click here and you will understand why it belongs to this post:
Bees are also extraordinary architects, the makers of honeycomb, which forms their hive. Honeycomb is a product of the living system of the beehive, a collection of hexagonal wax cells built collaboratively by honeybees in their nests or hives to cradle their young and store honey and pollen for winter. We are intrigued and inspired by the geometry of the bees and often spot honeycomb hexagons along our journey. This game of “Honeycomb I-Spy” actually began several years ago on another journey…..to hear and see more click here.
Making and sharing tea is an important tradition in many parts of the world. And Tea culture is very much alive both at Marble Arch Caves Geopark and in our own arts practice. Tea has even taken protagonism in our Exchange project. And hey wasn’t Asterix’s magic potion TEA?
Tea leaves are also used as an oracle; to tell the future. On the Crom estate in Marble Arch Caves Geopark there lives an old lady who practices the art of reading tea leaves.
Listen here about this 90 year old fortune teller.
In own projects tea is always drunk a lot (redbush mostly). Likewise in the territories of Marble Arch Caves Geopark tea is drunk heartily on both sides of the now invisible border. What stories does our lovely second hand shop Teapot have to tell?
And the potency of Tea? We think some of the potency resides in the water used to make tea. This golden water from a spring already looks like tea. Water straight from the earth is called “Slap Water” in Northern Ireland, used to wash dirt-covered potatoes just harvested on the way in to the house (described to us in a conversation with a local farmer).
And of course TEA is a strongly uniting factor. Many activities in Eire and Northern Ireland happen around mugs of steaming tea. Forget Irish Whisky and Guinness! Tea gives rise to good chat and hell, it gives rise to some proper good craic.
This magic frog prince tea cup came from Germany. It changed raspberries into tea when ordinary tea was accidentally left behind on our Exchange project field visit.
Being an artist is thirsty work sand there is nothing like a cuppa to turn a new campsite into home. We usually fill our thermos with hotwater for later a comforting cuppa in the day. Our essential tea kit as illustrated below consists of:- bikes for fetching water, table for brewing, kettle, soya milk, insulated cup, camping stove. How much regalia. And a bowl for washing teacups.
We were invited into this narrow boat for tea at Derryvore jetty near Belturbet, Eire. Find out more about this craft, its people and animals via The puzzler blog.
Oh and this is the kettle that lives in MacGrath’s Cottage, at Killykeegan nature reserve, on Marlbank Scenic loop close to Marble Arch Caves. It is a small visitor centre with a hearth and a turf fire. Bit dusty but sure it will still make a good cuppa
And in the rain there is nothing so good as a cuppa tea.
Life without tea would be faster, but it would stop being extraordinary.
While inhabiting the MAC Geopark, we’ve chosen to keep our accommodations simple. However, cooking on a camp stove and eating out of storage bags and boxes has not cramped our culinary style. Good food (especially good veg) is one of the luxuries that we have chosen to sustain during the project. (Some of you who’ve been following our blog closely may have already surmised this!) In fact, we believe that culinary choices deeply affect our experience of place on several levels: 1) the physiological affects of different foods on the body; 2) the experience of place while cooking and eating out of doors instead of inside a house or restaurant; 3) the experience of eating food grown or produced in the local proximity……and there are many other levels I’m sure.
How does food affect, create, or influence your experience of place?
Hot and thirsty from our bike ride between Dowra and Blacklion, we happened upon the most hospitable old lady. She scuttled around the back of her cottage when she saw us; we were worried we had frightened her.
But in a moment the front door swung open and we became her privileged guests. We stepped over the threshold into her world of radio, scrubbed flagstones and a dresser packed with tea things and Easter cards.
Would we like biscuits, sandwiches, fairy cakes? Listen to our adventure by clicking play below for tea with an old lady. For us this was a fairy story….of hospitality to strangers.
It’s true that Elderflowers make wonderful fritters.
We made these for breakfast during our stay at Helen’s National Trust cottage on the Crom Estate, Marble Arch Caves Geopark. Our very special batter from chickpea flour was fermented overnight with Kefir, (our kefir is fed with soya milk) which is a bit unusual and means it is suitable for vegans. It is also wheatfree. Fried in red palm oil, our fritters have a light dusting of icing sugar. The plate is Helen’s.
Click here for recipes for Elderflower fritters.
Myriad lakes, rivers, canals, drainage ditches, streams and rivers meet together in the counties of Cavan and Fermanagh to form a truly extensive watery network linking these ancient lands to the Atlantic Ocean at Donegal bay.
Today inward and outward flow of people, animals and things mostly happens by road, rail and air. The axis of the world has shifted.
We gather wild garlic for pesto and the four of us (artist/musicians Susan and Alan and Claire and Anna) stand on the wooded shores of Lower Lough Erne chatting.
The evening lake is quiet, but tomorrow we’ll take to the lough in Alan’s double kayak, a flotsam score washed up on the shore. There is a round crannog type island we want to visit. We must tie a scarf onto a tree or we’ll not find our way back to the slipway of a ruined monastery. Alan tells us to head straight out then let the breeze blowing in from the west whisk us around the back of the island. It sounds so easy. Susan says the island vegetation is very dense and it’s not easy to enter the woods. For us it is a place of dreams.
Since the end of the last ice age some ten thousand years ago this waterway has brought international traffic and trade creating a rich infusion of culture, peoples and things. We try to imagine the hustle and bustle of the waterway in a different time as we stand on the shore of the lough on an early Christian slipway made by monks as part of their shoreline monastery. Today this slipway gives access to a pristine waterway, seemingly deserted, more scenic view than international trade route. However now, this beautiful lough is at the centre of a farsighted cross border initiative that will revitalize these Geopark homelands.
From the beating heart of Ireland boats, tourists, places and things will help to re-float the economies of Eire and Northern Ireland. It is a glorious shared vision or aisling (Irish Gaelic for dream).