The Sheep’s Head Food Company is an idea I had a few years ago for a cheese shop in Birkenhead selling, amongst other things, the cheese, sausages and smoked fish they make in such abundant good quantities in West Cork and which we eat for the few weeks we spend every summer by the sea on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula.
Look on a map of Ireland and it is the second tongue of land that sticks out from the bottom left hand corner nestling between the Mizen and the bulk of the Beara. It is the smallest of the three only a few miles wide at its widest and 30 miles long. We spend our time in a cottage by the village of Ahakista which is on the south shore about 20 miles from the tip. The cottage is on the sea and for the few weeks we are there we eat mackerel straight from the sea, prawns from our pot and lobster and crab from the local fishermen. Other food is largely made up of the cheese, sausages and other food we get from the markets and shops.
My idea was to import the cheeses and meats to Birkenhead where I would sell them from a small shop in the centre of Oxton, which is an urban village that forms part of Birkenhead. The idea got as far as looking at potential premises and putting some figures down on paper before realising that selling a few cheeses and sausage was not going to generate the income needed to pay the pay the mortgage and enable me to continue the good work that I do keeping HMV and any number of other record shops in business. So the idea of the shop went onto the backshelf for a few years and this is perhaps a way to get there through the backdoor – jottings about food and cooking and the music I listen to whilst stood in my kitchen wielding a sharp knife at the onions.