Friday Foodies: Farmette


In a couple of weeks I’ll be hopping on board a big BA jet out of London and heading home to Sydney. It’s kind of weird to have this holiday looming up ahead of me. It’s a strangely emotional push-pull kind of thing. Am I going to love it? Is Sydney going to live up to the Sydney I have stored in my mind like a hidden treasure? Am I ever going to want to bring my kids back to a dark, cold, snowy UK winter? Hmmm.

It’s hard to work out where exactly you belong in the world: here, there or everywhere? Or indeed, whether you really have to belong anywhere ….. Anyway, while my head is full of all that, the kind of foodie blogs that appeal to me at the moment are those where women share my experiences of relocating and raising families in countries, kitchens and campsites (!!!) that aren’t the same as those in which our parents raised us. Farmette is right up my alley. Here’s me tossing and turning over the London/Sydney thing when Imen McDonnell went from a career in tv, film and advertising production in New York and LA, to falling in love with an Irish farmer and moving to a farm in country Ireland! Talk about a life change! (I tell you, these hearts of ours ….. don’t turn your back for a minute!) Blogging is her way of recording and working through her former life and identity being “replaced with a new set of circumstances complete with a pair of wellies.”


Her food, which pulls heavily from newly mastered Irish traditions mixed with the odd American influence, really makes your mouth water. Like these hot-smoked wild Irish salmon tacos. Seriously yummy, right? Read the recipe here.


farmette_13Or her wild Irish damson, kale and grapefruit linguine, which just makes me want to experiment when I’m camping next spring with whatever I can find around the campsite, like fresh wild garlic or elderflower.

farmette_14farmette_15McDonnell takes her own pictures, which are fabulous as you can see, and she has a really charming, friendly, natural tone. Her blog is a great read and just to warn you, you WILL begin to fantasise about heading to the Irish countryside and finding yourself a handsome farmer…

But best of all, while there are plenty of savoury dishes to fill you up and get you cooking like this wild chanterelle, caraway and buffalo cheese tart  (which would be divine to make ahead and take with you to devour while putting up tents and gathering firewood, no?)….

Farmette_1…her real love seems to lie in satisfying everybody’s sweet teeth. I’m seriously going to make these Ballymaloe Balloons on our next camping expedition. They couldn’t be simpler, and what a great mid-morning treat to get everyone through a long, fun day.

farmette_8And I’ll bake-and-take a coffee swiss roll ….



There’s a book, working title Farmette: Adventures and Recipes from Life on an Irish Farm, due out in 2015 which will be worth the wait no doubt.

I love the way McDonnell has embraced her new life and really jumped in with both feet. There’s a lesson there for all of us whose lives have taken a drastic turn for love! And while I’ve truly settled the country/city debate for myself, (we all go through it right? Especially with three boys: The space, the freedom, the big house with the even bigger garden!!!)... But really, I need a city. I know I do. The galleries, the cafes, bars and restaurants and plenty of people around. But it certainly hasn’t meant I don’t enjoy mentally dipping my toe in the idea that a life in the country would be like a year-long camping trip with benefits – like heating and hot baths. So I’ll be reading Farmette just to dip my wellies in some mental Irish mud every now and again! You should too. I highly recommend it.






The moke is back!



Is there another car that has ever embodied the absolute joys of being young, having fun and enjoying some great weather than the Mini Moke? This car has the power to take at least 20 years off your life, pretty much by just looking at it! If I could take one of these with me every time I went camping, I’d unzip my tent at the first sign of light, jump in and set off exploring every day with a smile plastered on my face.

The Moke beach buggy is relaunching later this year in Sydney, on Bondi Beach. Thankfully resuscitated by cool designer Michael Young in time for it’s 50th birthday, the first batch has already been produced. And already completely sold out! No surprises there, right.


“The Moke has always been a unique car, it’s a folly of the best kind but it does take a certain type of user to drive one,” Young has said. “It always draws attention on any street in any country, so in this sense it is a design success, despite its playfulness and market.”

The original components of the Moke are no longer available so Young’s team 3D-scanned the vintage parts they could get hold of and redesigned others. “The car is totally new,” said Young. “Even though it looks like the original, it’s not.”



The new Moke does have some fabulous new features to show off: an ice cooler in the boot for wine and food, a clip on the dashboard for magazines or a dog lead and nets instead of a glove box to store stuff.

My birthday’s coming up people……

A little camping inspiration


Don’t you just wish this was you right now …..

Kombi, was taken by Eugene Tan, owner of Aquabumps, an ocean photography agency. He hits Bondi Beach in Sydney almost every morning year-round to capture and document the ever-changing, always-stunning conditions, light and colours.

“I love the composition of this shot and the lone Kombi early one morning at Bondi, curtains are drawn and no doubt some travellers are tucked up in bed still sleeping as the sun comes up,” says Tan.

Happy Sunday campers …. where did you wake up this morning?