I'm suffering from mild hyperventilation at the moment because it's finally arrived: the Dingle Food Festival starts tomorrow and that means that today is officially my busiest day of the year. I ought to be mixing batters and baking and icing cakes now but the reason I'm sitting at my computer is because I've got so much work to do, I don't even want to start.
Those of you who've been reading my blog for a while will remember that I was ambitious for last year's festival and made ten different types of cupcakes as well as my ever-popular brownies.
Well, this year I'm going one better. I'm making eleven kinds as well as a range of cake pops - which are new to my stall and, as I haven't practiced them very much, may end up looking so unpresentable that they'll go into the bin - a possible but hopefully avoidable outcome!
This year's flavours are:
White chocolate and raspberry
Cookies and cream
Black Forest Gateau
Guinness and Baileys
Chocolate and coffee
Chocolate and peanut
Ginger and lime
And mixed berry cheesecakes
My cake pops will include a Madeira cake base and a chocolate cake base flavoured with orange, Baileys, raspberry or coffee covered in either dark or white chocolate and topped with rose petals, pollen, chopped hazelnuts, candied orange peel or chocolate shavings. If they work out, they'll look fabulous. If not, then the bin it is!
There's so much to look forward to at this year's festival - if you're lucky enough to be a visitor and not a stallholder. If I'm able to break free from my stall or the stove for any length of time, here's what I'd like to go to:
- Some of the workshops, which include chocolate making with Benoit Lorge; rearing and curing a pig with Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen Farmhouse Products and Ted Berner and Ivan Wheelan of Wildside Catering; hen keeping; foraging; and 'coffee from around the world' with Mark Kingston from the Golden Bean.
- For Food's Sake: a series of thought-provoking talks, film screenings and discussions - all about food.
- Come Dine with the Penguins: a seafood feast served in the penguins' enclosure at Oceanworld Aquarium.
- And, finally, the wonderful taste trail where 55 businesses in the town play host to some of the area's food producers and serve creatively cooked local food. There's seafood in Curran's Bar, a kangaroo BBQ in Finn McCool's Surf Shop, Píog pies with a pint in Hannie Agnes' Bar, Terayaki salmon skewers with warm sake shots at Fish at the Marina and so much more.
So, who is coming to Dingle this weekend? If you are, do call by and say hello. I'll be manning my stall at the market on Holy Ground from 9am to 2.30pm tomorrow and from 11am to 4pm (ish) on Saturday and Sunday. The rest of the time, I'll be breathing - or should I say baking!