We are an Irish family who love to cook, bake, hunt and eat. We live in Drogheda Co. Louth, right in the centre of the Boyne Valley. We are very passionate about food and all that involves with sourcing it and we will travel as far as it takes to get it. In the past we have rented an allotment where we raised livestock and grew vegetables for the table. All done to help us gain the experience of becoming farmers with a strong passion for food. I forage for seasonal ingredients for our recipes, be it crab apples for jam or hops for beer. I also hunt for some of the best venison this country has to offer. I have recently become a beekeeper and am now managing a number of hives. All of our recipes and photographs are my own. Follow my Irish Food Blog and be kept updated with my journey as I try to become self reliant on our own farm someday. I hope you get inspired by my quest.
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My name is Rob Fitzgerald. My interest in food started at a very young age. My Mom always baked and my Dad loves to throw a good dinner party. Every meal was homemade. This is where the start of my passion for food began. When I was sixteen I would watch television cooking shows for inspiration on my next meal. BBC’s Ready Steady Cook was the best and stood out. I can still hear the theme tune today. Seeing what James Martin, Ainsely Harriott and Antony Worrall Thompson could cook with £5.00 worth of food really amazed me. My Mom was a midwife and often worked nights and my Dad was a secondary school teacher who taught after school classes. Being the eldest of three, dinner was often left for me to prepare. And so my food adventure began. It was at this stage when I got my confidence experimenting with different ingredients and cooking styles. As I got older the interest in food grew. One of my first jobs was a kitchen porter in The Pepper Canister in Stillorgan. The heat and bustle in a working kitchen is intense and a little addictive, the adrenaline rush of having to be alert and ready to go, this may very well have prepped me for my current job as paramedic. I also worked as a waiter in Roly’s Bistro in Ballsbridge for a short while. The interest in food was never really too far from me. I met Davinia in 1999 and I am convinced I wooed her with a picnic at Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow. Food is a powerful thing. It draws up so many emotions. They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and for a vegetarian it’s through his vagina. Culinary school never came knocking though. After a brief start in graphic design I ended up studying to become a paramedic and have been working in the emergency services for the last 18 years.
I started hunting around 12 years ago. The idea of providing for my family and honing in on my husbandry skills really appealed to me. I hunt deer and almost all game birds. I prepare and butcher all my own meat. The whole concept of field to fork has to be one of the most rewarding parts of my cooking. We have used an allotment where we raised livestock such as pigs and geese to gain experience as hobby farmers. There we also reared a dozen chickens that laid eggs for our baking and cooking needs. We also grow a huge variety of vegetables in a poly tunnel in our back garden during the finer months. We will pickle, preserve and ferment most of these vegetables so they can be used in future dishes.
I have a vey big interest in prepping and all things survival related for the moment WTSHTF (when the shit hits the fan). Learning new skills like husbandry or gardening can really help take care of you and your family. Not having to rely on anyone is a very fulfilling feeling. Needless to say, but The Walking Dead is very popular in our house. The kids are too young to watch it but when they are old enough I will enjoy every episode with them. The lessons in this show are unbelievable. Forget about the zombies for a moment and try and see that in a real apocalyptic situation its humans that are the real worry. Being under prepared can kill you. My full-time job exposes me to very stressful encounters on a near daily basis. With 18 years experience dealing with life threatening emergencies I am able to keep a calm head allowing me to deal with the situation very capably. This experience alone has given me the phycological head start when everyone else is flapping and being distracted when things get tough. Take a mass casualty situation for instance. Which can be absolute chaos. The first thing you want to do is protect your family. Well, if you’re freaking out and losing your nerve then you have already put them at risk. So get ready for that possible day with a little preparation.
Back to cooking. I have always wanted to create a family recipe book that I could hand down to my children. I didn’t like the idea of a scrapbook that would eventually end up being held together with sellotape or worse destroyed in an unfortunate accident. With the help of WordPress I decided to create one virtually as a foodblog. On the 19th March 2013 I made it happen, with the support of my beautiful wife of course. And it has been an amazing food journey so far.