Basketcase is back. Yes, this is a picture of Rachel Allen in some kind of cupboard. More on that later.
Firstly thanks for all the nice comments and good wishes on our new arrival - our little baby is finally home. Life now revolves around four hour feeds and a pair of very small blue eyes which would melt your heart, and all is well in the Campbell/Boucher-Hayes household.
While I'll be taking things easy over the summer and doing lots of bringing not one but two small creatures to visit the lambs next door, there's some food events coming up which I'll flag and keep you up to date on. And as I can't ignore what's going on in the countryside outside my window; the farming year to follow and delicious food to cook and eat.
In my short absence a small food hiccup seems to have taken place in Germany. As the crisis there develops it's clear that the emergence of Ecolis with lethal, fatal consequences looks to be something that we're going to see more of in our food environment. As of today, the outlook for the 664 sufferers is a pretty poor one. Many of the victims who ate contaminated food will face life long health problems from the HUS (Hemolytic uremic syndrome) which the ecoli brings with it. This means the possibility of kidney dialysis and renal failure, and an usually high probability of a fatal outcome. It's a horrific disaster with concrete details of where the contamination came from still unclear. But more on that again.
The next few days will be a busy period for me; Philip and I are speaking at Taste of Dublin in Iveagh Gardens this weekend. The Chef's Table tent at the event features interviews with chefs and foodie people - Philip and myself are appearing on Saturday at 6pm; we'll be talking What's Ireland Eating?, how they get the figs into the fig rolls and other such mysteries about the stuff that goes into our mouths. The Chef's Table tent schedule (which is actually a kind of yurt - looking forward to yak hair rugs etc) is at http://www.tasteofdublin.ie/ and follow the link with the Rachel Allen photo above. Rachel plus chefs such as Kevin Thornton, Gino D'Acampo, Conrad Gallagher, Nevin Maguire, Antony Worral Thompson, Catherine Fulvio and Derry Clarke will also be doing question and answer sessions in the tent; really looking forward to that.
Then on Tuesday next I'm down in Limerick to chair Bord Bia's National Organic Conference. For food producers, organic farmers or those interested in organics this is a pretty essential event; the line-up of speakers is an impressive array from the UK, France, food marketing, food trends and artisan food arenas. There's actually so much taking place on the day and great workshops in the afternoon that I'll have to sprint very fast round the conference centre at LIT to catch all the acts that I'm interested in - I'll need my music festival game face on. More info on the conference is at http://www.bordbia.ie/
I've also an upcoming investigative piece in the Irish Times which is due for publication this weekend. This piece was written a while back and has taken some time to research and bring to this stage. Investigative stories like this are always a lot of hard work but I think a lot of Irish consumers may take a deep breath when they read the piece. It involved myself and an Irish journalist based in Kenya delving into allegations of sexual harassment made by women who work for one of Ireland's most successful branded products.
This was and still is a tricky story; it took a while to get to the bottom of and the allegations may put some people off their breakfast. That's all I'm going to say. Ciao for the moment and happy eating x (bet you're all worried now)