Imen McDonnell, writer, filmmaker and farmer’s wife
I haven’t always been a farmer’s wife. . . I used to spend my days flannelling about on production sets and studio sound stages.
Love brought me to Ireland. . . where I traded in my Weitzman’s for wellingtons.
It has sometimes been tough adjusting to the changes. . . learning how to be a bona-fide home cook and gardener after years of living on dinners out and airline/hotel/production food.
But some things make it all worthwhile. . . I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are few things more rewarding than growing and harvesting your own food, or churning fresh butter and ice-cream direct from the cows grazing outside your window.
It has led to other projects, too. . . I write a weekly food column for the Irish Farmer’s Journal and have just produced and directed a short documentary-style film on Irish food called Small Green Fields.
My plans for the future include. . . more food writing and photography collaborations, as well as producing and directing a feature-length film celebrating Irish food artisans.
It gives me a buzz when . . .people tell me that they loved a recipe I’ve shared, or were entertained or pleased in some way by something I have written.
The best advice I’ve ever been given. . . was when a high-ranking television executive in New York told me that to succeed you must “always have an opinion”.
If I wasn’t doing this . .. I’d be working in television in New York, or possibly teaching yoga on a beach some place warm and sunny.
My dream dinner party guests would be. . . Ellen DeGeneres, Tina Fey, Trish Deseine, Tamar E Adler, Ella McSweeney, Jonathon Gold and Woody Allen.
And I’d cook them . .. Irish crab, accompanied by piles of freshly cut chickpea chips dipped in creamy lemony, garlicy aioli while sitting under a tree in our garden on a hot summer’s day.
Five things I always have in my larder are. . . farm honey, cinnamon, Kilbeggan porridge, Macroom flour and applewood smoked sea salt from a friend in Seattle.
If I only had a tenner to go shopping with . . .I’d buy some smoked bacon lardons from a local farm, a chunk of Parmesan and bucatini pasta to go with fresh eggs and cream I have in the fridge. I’m craving a big bowl of carbonara.
I really care about . .. being a good parent: it’s the most important task in the world to me.
I wish I was better at. . . those fancy fondant birthday cakes “all the good mums” seem to be doing.
Not many people know this about me. . . although I am American, my ancestors are of north African and Scandinavian descent. Also, I can play the drums.
My guilty pleasure is. . . thick slices of Betty Crocker Devil’s Food layer cake and a tall glass of cold, cold milk.
Imen McDonnell’s blog is marriedanirishfarmer.com
In conversation with Marie-Claire Digby