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Autumn’s in the kitchen

While Ireland is currently in a second lockdown, we are trying to keep positive, do things that we wouldn’t have time for otherwise and slow down appreciating simple pleasures every day.  What is keeping your spirits up during these times?

Autumn time is here, the air is getting colder, the weather is unpredictable and we are starting to get cosy and warm for the winter. Autumn in Kerry is usually quiet, now it’s even more quiet. We would start to rest and take a break after a busy season. 2020 has shown that nothing is taken for granted and anything could happen and change our plans. We didn’t run any tours this year, and it feels sad: we have missed meeting new people around delicious food. Better times will come and we can’t wait to welcome you all back again in this beautiful part of the world.

As if a global pandemic wasn’t enough, our beloved dolphin Fungie is missing since about two weeks. He came to Dingle in 1983 and had never left. He found his cosy place and was swimming in the waters of Dingle Bay since, becoming a good friend of many. The whole community is heartbroken as he had become part of Dingle, the locals and the tourists who came to meet him. We hope he made it to a nice place…

We have a few good reasons to get cosy during this dark lockdown and cook up some real comfort food. It’s time to enjoy what we love most and appreciate small pleasures. Cooking can be so therapeutic, I find. So, tonight I made a pumpkin risotto, it’s pumpkin season. To be honest, this Halloween was working on renovating our kitchen, so didn’t have much time for cooking and I’m getting to eat those lovely pumpkins just now.

All you need for a great risotto is good risotto rice – I used Arborio rice – and a lot of patience. Here’s what you need:

  • One small pumpkin
  • Onion, celery and carrot finely chopped
  • Olive oil and butter
  • Stock – used vegetable stock
  •  Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Have your stock cooking away – simply use an onion, some carrot and celery, garlic a few small tomatoes and some bouillon and bring to the boil in plenty water. In the meantime, chop your pumpkin and cut in small cubes to either boil or steam – I like to steam eat and then mash it.

Once stock and pumpkin are ready, heat up a pot for the rice. Cook onion, celery and carrot in butter and olive oil. Add the rice once your ‘’soffritto’’ is ready and stir in well. Add some salt – and then add a small amount of white wine and let it evaporate after a good stir. Now add your mashed pumpkin and some of your stock, keep cooking on low heat and don’t stop stirring. Keep adding stock to reduce until the rice is cooked. Grate some Parmesan cheese and add some more butter and stir it all in to finish up the ‘’mantecatura’’. Make sure your rice is not overcooked and still has a bit of bite.

I love to cook up something nice to relax and unwind.

Feeling so lucky to live where I live, Kerry in lockdown is so peaceful and beautiful. It feels so good to get out for a walk in rain or sun and get all that fresh air in and enjoy the views. Hope you are getting to enjoy these little pleasures every day too!

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