Farm Fresco

07 Jun 2010

Ahhhh yes, the new season has arrived on our idyllic Irish farm.  And each year when the long winter gracefully grows into Spring, I can’t help but feel nostalgic as I ponder the contrast between my former frenzied life in the city and our sublime quiet life in the country. Ok so maybe nostalgic is not quite the right word..perhaps it’s more like agonized. Yes, agony is definitely more like it….

So, ahem…{now wiping the crocodile tears away}

Greener than green grass growing at breakneck speed, new potatoes cropping up in the garden and mummy cows constantly calving are certainly a stark contrast to the citified symbols of Spring that I used to indentify with…..and frankly, could even say I adored. For it’s at precisely this time of year that my heart longs for convertible cars (well, specifically mine I suppose) buzzing about with their tops surreptiously peeled down, busy city sidewalks aflurry with freshly pedicured feet nestled into open-toed shoes and the absolute best bit of all: dining al fresco after work with girlfriends, sipping cocktails, noshing on salads and sushi all whilst in true Bill Cunningham style–watching all the fashionable women and men trotting down the street in their best Spring hues. An invite to do this on any given night = simply irresistable.

So terrrrribly irresistible that I am constantly trying my best to emulate that experience here by creating more of a relaxed and “countrified” version of my old ways. It goes a little like this:  after a long day of working on various projects, I will change into a powdery little tee, a pair of my favourite Gap white capris and flip-flops and put on my new Cath Kidston apron. I will then proceed to make a huge Summery salad to start out our dinner. This salad will inevitable include the following (mostly locally) grown ingredients: mixed greens with plenty of rocket and watercress, red onion, vine ripened tomatoes, cucumber, steamed asparagus, grated carrot, goat’s cheese, roasted walnuts and poppyseed sprinkles tossed with one of my secret-agent vinagrettes*.  Then, I will take out anything from (again mostly locally sourced) prawns to fish, chicken or steak which has been marinating in another one of my secret-agent concoctions* all day and throw them on the BBQ.  As this protein is sizzling away on the grill, I will then make a pitcher of citrusy margaritas, Bootlegs, or G&T’s for R and I (and any visitors we are lucky enough to have) to sip on after our little boy is in bed. On dry and warm evenings we sit on our terrace taking in the absolutely stunning sunset behind the Shanid castle ruin on the hill, watching as the light changes and our trees slowly morph into those gorgeous die-cut images that seem to be everywhere these days. I call it “Farm Fresco” and though it’s not the same as those bold and bustling city evenings, it can nearly be just as satisfying…..

This Spring we welcomed a sweet preemie calf. His mum was not well so R had to induce her 4 weeks early and she produced a little boy whom we have named “Bogo”. Normally calves are up and walking in an hour, but Bogo struggled for a couple weeks before he would finally stand and now he’s up and walking, stronger than ever. Perhaps I too am like Bogo….when I came here I was nearly paralyzed by the change. Now…a few years later I am slowly, but surely, adapting to this new life and each day Ireland and the countryside are becoming more and more like home to me.

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

*olive oil and a form of vinegar, crushed garlic and lemon juice or other fruit juice then close my eyes, choose some spices and hit pulse on the food processor.

photo courtesy of The Daily Telegraph

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9 Responses to “Farm Fresco”

  1. Tara says:

    Hi Imen, I love ur post today. I feel like part of this sound familiar to me. Minus the calf and beautiful view on the deck. Moving from MPLS to RI what a big big change and I missed just about everything. It wasn’t until I had Olive that I started to walk like Bogo. I am learning to marinate and enjoy where I am. Your blog makes it easier. Miss cutting ur hair. Tara

  2. sharon says:

    really lovely writing Imen. Loved the way you weaved food through your lovely story. s x

  3. niamh says:

    Sounds like you’re getting the balance right though? And I’m sure most of the city livers would love a meal like you described! What a fab photo too

  4. Ann says:

    I grew up on a farm in midwest Kansas and moved to L. A. for 20 years as a young professional. It took me many years to enjoy spring in the city; so conversely I get where you are coming from.

    We live in Indonesia now, and I pine for any “spring” whether in L. A. or Kansas.

    Sounds beautiful where you are at by the way: )

  5. Clare says:

    I can relate so much to this post. I miss the warm spring nights, bustling city streets and sidewalk cafes of Los Angeles. It’s been too cold here to even wear open-toed shoes, so mine just sit in the closet waiting (and probably praying!) for me to take them out for a spin.

  6. barbara says:

    This is such a lovely scene. Your evenings sound delightful.

  7. MissChicago says:

    Hi Imen: Love that you have a counterpart wardrobe for the farm … when in rome as they say. 🙂 and yes, I think Cath Kidston’s aprons are cool.

  8. Joanne says:

    I just found your blog through Nan’s Letters from a Hill Farm and can’t wait to read all about your life in Ireland!
    Yeah!
    Joanne in Ontario

  9. Wonderful post…I know the feeling..!

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