Unicorn With a Cape Nov 28th 2013

 

On one of those beautiful sunny evenings during the heatwave in June of this year I attended a performance in an unassuming venue in Ballydehob in West Cork. It changed the way I look at men and women, and what makes us men and women, and what makes us different as men and women.

 

This is an incredible story.

 

Having lived as a straight woman, lesbian, transgendered, transsexual gay male, transsexual straight male and finally genderless, Marcus Magdalena will bring an often controversial topic to the forefront. Augmented by experiences of addiction, homelessness and depression, Marcus Magdalena’s story, Unicorn with a Cape, is a theatrical medium of advocacy for the rights of all.

 

Each of us IS the power of impact, whether through fear or love, as an individual or a community. And, there comes an instant, where the moment goes past the point of choice, directly to the truth of instinct – to the place of who and what we really are.

This is a real story, a real life story……of a Unicorn, and their cape.

 

Thursday Nov 28th

€10/€8

Food and drink on sale

Doors 7pm

Peruvian Diaries IV

 

 

Traveling for roughly eight weeks in Peru at a rate of three meals per day works out at one hundred and sixty eight meals. That’s a lot of food. Of these, perhaps 50% or so will be shared, leaving roughly eighty meals to be taken solo. A further 10% falls into the category of food eaten in transit (therefore with limited or no choice); travel meals so far have ranged from sweet bread with bitter olive paste eaten in the dark (probably for the best) to a bag of miniature apples chomped down desperately in a bypass in the Andes. Many dry crackers and emergency chocolate also fatten up this category.

The experience of eating while traveling is roughly 50/50 in terms of food and setting; my most delicious breakfast so far has been at a Hare Krishna eco village – wholegrain sandwiches with dulce de leche, mangos and bananas from trees roughly ten metres away from the table and sugarcane-sweet Ayurvedic tea made from rosemary, ginger, chamomile and anise, all grown on-site. Also, there was a fuzzy two-month old puppy sleeping in my arms as we ate; I think this qualifies it as the best breakfast ever? Unless we’re counting fried egg sandwiches at an altitude of about 5000 metres, that’s pretty cool too.

 

 

When eating out alone, my approach is usually to order the things on the menu that I can’t translate. There are pitfalls (tripe broth – not unlike a rancid slipper in a bowl) but there is more treasure to be had! It is through this method that I have learned about Peru’s wealth of soups – aguadita, caldo de cordero, caldo de gallina, etc. The latter is best eaten with a squeeze of lime and an audience of giggling children – nothing is funnier than watching a gringita slurp her way through her noodles! I have become accustomed to being the only gringa in the village; a father slowed down his car yesterday and told his kids in hushed tones to look at me. An old woman came up to me in the market and rubbed my belly and pinched my cheeks. Another old woman flagged down and refused four taxis on my behalf because they were trying to take advantage of my blue-eyed naivety. I have finally learned how to haggle, with only a couple of weeks to go; I can’t wait to try it out on Dublin taxi drivers when I get back.

In the name of research, I am about to go in search of a King Kong – a famous caramel treat from Chiclayo. I think this is well deserved; I spent an arduous morning by the Pacific, trying to quiz fishermen with my fairly horrendous Spanglish. They still use traditional wicker fishing boats here on the north coast of Peru; brave men! The waves here are some of the best in the world for surfing; I’m not sure I would feel happy tackling the swell in a basket! But they are extraordinary men; all tough and briny from years at sea, and still happy to chat to a gringita half-addled from equatorial sunburn.

I’m taking an overnight bus to Chachapoyas later, a place famous for both the giant stone fortress of Kuelap and jungle-herb-flavoured artisan liquors. An interesting combination, watch this space… Love from the other (and upside-down) side of the pond! Xx

 

Fumbally MK 4

Another Coffee update from our man Ger:

A few weeks ago we changed over blends as the Central and South American coffees came back into season. We’ll be seeing a lot more in the coming months on the retail shelf and in the hopper as single origins and filters..

What I wanted to do with this blend, as with the last one, was to really exaggerate the flavour profiles of the origins we used. With the last blend, for example, we had that BIG fruity sweetness that we find in most African coffees. This time, we’re all about Chocolate and nuts! Guatemala is known for its “orange and chocolate” flavour profile, pretty much across the board and El Salvador is known for its milk chocolate base, and complex acidity. As espresso, this blend has an amazing mouthfeel; like melted dark chocolate but with a beautiful, citrus-y, milk chocolate flavour all over your tongue before turning its attention to its lovely, sparkling acidity and aftertaste.

I really love this coffee, and I’m excited about what we can do next. We have some really beautiful Central/South American coffees coming in so please make sure to taste what you can!

Here’s a few notes from Steve (Has Bean) about The Fumbally MK4

Guatemala Sebastian Bourbon Pulped Natural 50%
El Sal Argentina Mangos Washed 50%

Guatemala Sebastian:

Owned by the Fallas Family, this is one of the most organised and professional farms in the area. From agronomy right through to the picking and processing, every stage is closely monitored. These coffees are grown between 1,500 and 1,950 meters above see level on the soil and the edges of the Acatenango volcano, and it’s a huge farm. San Sebastian’s owners know that every coffee grown there is not specialty and are very careful to access the quality and cup profiles of each lot, in order to find only the very best lots to be marked with their name.

The farm was founded over 100 years ago and now is in the hands of the 4th generation of the Fallas family, Estuardo Fallas Castillo, who is the great grandson. He has been taking new trends in coffee, maintaining the quality and expanding it over the years.

On San Sebastian you have always been able to find very good, clean, washed process coffees, but over the last couple of years they have begun to experiment with pulped natural and natural coffees, also with the varietals Bourbon, Caturra, and Pacamaras, and separate lots. It’s this progressive approach to farming that makes San Sebastian stand out.

In the cup expect a smooth and balanced cup. Milky Way meets Galaxy chocolate, and you’re halfway there. This is thick and gloupy in its mouthfeel, and a real delight.

El Salvador Argentina Mangos –

El Salvadors are renowned for their milk chocolate base, good body and smoothness which this all has, I chose this particular lot as it has amazing acidity complexity, whilst staying under the radar. I get (on top of the body and chocolate) tropical fruit, clean and silky front and back end, but most importantly of all a balance. This works with the Sebastian as it has a common theme of sweetness, but the Los Mangos adds all of the complexity you get in the cup.

But where it also works is in the mouth-feel, they are both so viscous and gloupy it just adds to mouth feel over-dose.

World Collaborations – REIJSEGER FRAANJE SYLLA – Nov 23rd

“An Atheist, a Vegetarian and a Mussel Man”

Ernst Reijseger – Cello
Harmen Fraanje – Piano
Mola Sylla – Vocals, M’bira, Xalam, Kongoma

A world class trio of energetic, spiritual and incredibly talented musicians. This is one not to be missed. Myles O Reilly made a beautiful documentary on them which you should take the time to watch if you can.

Tickets €25 on sale from The Fumbally only. (ask at the till)

This includes a plate of food on arrival

Craft Beers and Wine on sale.

Peruvian Diaries III

Traditionally, Andean communities recognised two types of health – the health of being well and the health of living well. A community is not in good health if one of its members is unwell, similarly a person cannot be considered fully well if they are not living well within the community. Of the physical illnesses, most stem from emotional or spiritual upset or from a physical imbalance, and are treated holistically (usually food plays a huge role here). The idea of duality (very similar to yin and yang) is very strong, and balance must be achieved in all areas if an individual is to be well and to live well, and therefore be in good health.

The more time I spend in Peru, the more I realise that it is impossible to do simple food and recipe research here – everything is bound up very tightly in a holistic and almost superstitious approach (at least outside of Lima, which is meanwhile buying into gastropubs and nouveau-andina cuisine – things I will happily try for research purposes!). Things we now consider ‘superfoods’, such as quinoa, maca, etc, have long been recognised in Peru for their health-giving benefits. The thing is, the respect for pachamama is so great and still so active here that natural foods in general are given huge respect. It is an interesting thought that we (as a culture) start to drum up interest in these superfoods only after their benefits have been proven, whereas Peruvians have a real and living link to them; they have never lost the idea of food as medicine.

 

 

Natural medicine is everywhere here; a travelling salesman hopped on my long bus journey from Ayacucho to Andahuallyas (both very traditional Andean towns) and began a spiel on the importance of good health, complete with a crackly headset and wild hand gestures. He managed to sell health-boosting tea and a eucalyptus and cats-claw balm to at least 75% of the passengers (including yours truly…!) I find it quite beautiful (when i rein in my skepticism…) that people here trust the history and legacy of their food and still engage properly with the idea of man as nature. In any kind of illness, natural relief is the first port of call – potato juice for stomach upsets, mate de coca for everything from altitude sickness to the common cold, herb poultices and animal fats for skin disorders, and many many more. More exhaustive list to follow!

 

 

 

 

In other news, I had my first Peruvian ceviche last night. Mind blown. About 300 metres from the pacific, we found a cebicheria decked out in football scarves, family photos and fluorescent lighting. We had about a pound of fish each, all zingy and gorgeous and so so fresh, washed down with some clove-heavy chichamorada. Delicious. The best place to eat fish is definitely where you can taste the ocean-salt in the air. My next few weeks of travel will involve staying close to the coastline, so it is with a light heart and eager belly that I vow to continue my research!