Thursday, December 30, 2010

MARGARET RIVER GEM, plus dessert duel!

plus dessert duel!

Pat Whelan’s Brandy and Cream Sauce is delicious with a


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010



Fed up of cooking and the kitchen? Let this man feed you for a while.

Iain Flynn is a national award winner and

Monday, December 27, 2010



Full up with pudding and all the other heavy Christmas sweets?

I have just the job for you. Or, more accurately, Drimoleague’s Glenilen Farm have, in the enticing shape of their Handmade Cheesecakes. They come in a range of gorgeous flavours, with absolutely no additives and the taste is just magnificent.

These are authentic farmhouse cheesecakes, handmade on Alan and Valerie Kingston’s family farm where they also make brilliant yoghurts (the very best, as far as I am concerned) and other dairy products such as butter, creams and cream cheese.

The cheesecake I bought was the Summerfruits one and I picked it up at the very impressive Ryan's Supervalu  in the Crestfield Shopping Centre in Riverstown. It was the

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Don't forget the birds!

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Nash19Cork Nash19 
Back in stock, Green Saffron Mulled wine spice blend. One packet and

Wednesday, December 22, 2010



If I had to make a short list of the top ten artisan foods, then Ummera’s Smoked  products would be up there, probably in the top five. Luckily I don’t have to make any such list which would also include the Sparkling Apple Juice of Tipperary’s Apple Farm, the Venison Burgers of Gubbeen, the Country Baguette made by Tom’s Bakery in Kinsale and the most recent arrival Iain Flynn’s Cannelloni Spinach and Ricotta.

Just wandering through the

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Can't get out and about to buy your presents. Don't worry. Here is one solution. Ballymaloe have gift vouchers for their 2011 wine events:

Upcoming wine events at Ballymaloe House
Gift vouchers available – the ideal gift for the wine lover

Winemaker Dinner with Tom Portet, from Penfolds Wines, Australia
Thursday 24th February 2011

Famous for its award-winning wines, Penfolds wines have won numerous national and international awards.  Join with winemaker, Tom Portet, as he leads us through a range of Penfolds wines, with a  matching dinner menu to his wines. Special Dinner, including specially chosen Penfolds wines. 8.00pm reception, followed by dinner with wines €75


Ballymaloe Wine Weekend Courses Introduction to Wine Appreciation with

Friday, December 17, 2010


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market1788 Paul @CorkBilly St. Lukes Choir in English Market @ 5.30 Saturday Spiced beef tastings for punters - proceeds Marymount Hospice

Nash19Cork Nash19 Back in

Tuesday, December 14, 2010



Looking for something to drink with your festival dessert? Then, I suggest you call down to Karwig Wines  in Carrigaline as they have quite a large selection, featuring wines from Germany, Hungary, France, Australia....

I was there for that very purpose this morning and got a warm welcome and advice, not to mention a tasting or two, from busy Emily and later met Joe Karwig himself and wife Betty, always in great form. Must say though the first friendly greeting was from the family dog!

My to-get list included a German Eiswein and that box was ticked with the purchase of a Dexheimer Sonnenberg Scheurebe Eiswein 2004, ABV 9.5%. The grape variety here is the Scheurebe and the wine has a golden colour, showing layers of apricot, pineapple and passion fruit. The sweetness and fruit is beautifully balanced by crisp acidity. An ideal companion for fine desserts and blue cheeses or simply on its own.

This Eiswein, much lower in alcohol, is nowhere near as heavy or as “sticky” as your Sauternes or Tokaji. It has its own admirable lighter qualities and indeed may be better with the dessert than some of the “stickies” which can sometimes overpower the dessert and are often best drunk on their own, maybe just after the pudding!

We did get to taste one of



Food connoisseurs of Cork now have access to Ireland's best Farmers Market 24 hours a day, 7 days a week thanks to  

For foodies with a passion ­ the website even has links providing up to date information about the news and events taking place at the market. 

To mark the launch of the

Monday, December 13, 2010


  Colum O'Regan, Horizon Organic Farm, Supplier to Just Food


Three cheers for our artisan soupmakers. They make us full. They make us warm. Especially these cold days.

I’m thinking of three in particular: Just Food , Flynn's Kitchen and Cully & Sully. And they don't stop at soup. They also make other delicious products – just click on their sites to check it out.

I recently picked up a



Must admit I don't always have the green flag wrapped around me when I’m shopping, even for food. But If the Irish product has the quality and is price competitive, then I’ll

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Never know what you'll see in an Austrian field!


Unless you can get yourself to a tasting, you’ll have to fund your first steps into sweet or dessert wine. And quite a few of these can be

Saturday, December 11, 2010



Always a pleasure to visit Nash 19 and yesterday’s lunch time date with two colleagues was no exception as a warm welcome was followed by some top notch food and service, including a drop or two of mulled wine.

Quite a few of you will have seen Tipperary’s Crowe's Farm  featured in RTE’s Ear to the Ground earlier in the week. And their bacon was the main feature of my lunch. It was served with, among other things, an apricot chutney, and the combination was first class.

Will be watching out for

Friday, December 10, 2010



Pineau de Charentes is a traditional regional drink, made from Cognac eau de vie and grape juice. It is usually about 17 per cent.

There are two types of Pineau des Charentes produced today, white and rosé (looks like a red). To be able to call the produce Pineau des Charentes, the cognac eau de vie and grape juice must come from the same property, and be aged in oak casks for a minimum period of 18 months.

The colour is amber with golden tints; it has a powerful aromatic palate, with subtle hints of ripe yellow fruits like apricot, honey and raisins. It is pleasantly sweet and refreshing.

Always served chilled, the Pineau is a wonderful aperitif, and you will see it in restaurants in the area, listed alongside the Kir and Campari. It is also excellent with meals and desserts and very good with cheese too.

In the



Followed a couple of recent wine tips on Twitter and came up trumps each time. Blake Creedon (@blakecreedon) had recommended Villa Maria’s reduced price Sauvignon Blanc while Tom Doorley (@tomdoorley) had highlighted Macon Villages.

Picked up the Villa Maria SB in Tesco Mahon. Colour is light strawy and the nose is aromatic. On the palate it is fruity, yet dry and tangy, and generously flavored on the long finish.

Villa Maria is New Zealand’s largest family owned company in the wine business and this bottle, from their Private Bin, is their third series wine.

Found the Macon Village 2009 in Aldi as Tom suggested and noted it that it is a Decanter Bronze medal winner. Again, the colour of this Chardonnay is pale straw and the nose is aromatic, moderately so. In the mouth, it is crisply fruity (apples, I think) but with a stony acidity and a rewarding finish. Lovely stuff at the price, as Tom says.

Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010, 13%, Tesco €8.00 (down from over 12). PR: 88
Macon Villages (Chardonnay) Henri de Lorgere, 13%, Aldi €6.95. PR: 90. Tom also recommended Aldi’s Bushland’s Gewurz but it wasn’t available at my local Aldi.


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Check out the first of our festive tips from our kitchen team!
This Brandy sauce recipe is so easy to make and can also be made a day or two in advance and refrigerated then simply reheating when the pudding is ready. Prep Time: 5 minutes, Cook Time 15 minutes and Total Time: 20 minutes!

Girls of the world came together to celebrate the launch of Barry's Tea's brand new Online Tea Shop. Now tea fans and ex pats all across the globe can order their favourite blends and even Barry's Tea merchandise and have it delivered direct to their door from our home in Cork.

libertygrill Liberty Grill 
New Brunch / Lunch specials for December Pic of the Irish Benedict

kinvara_salmon Kinvara Salmon 
This week's recommendation for Kinvara Organic Smoked Salmon comes from the BBC's Good Food magazine

We will be open for lunch as well as dinner in the week before Christmas - Tuesday 21st to Friday 24th December, with a special set menu available as well as the usual a la carte.
 After lunch service on Christmas Eve, we will be closed for a short break until Wednesday 29th. For the full Christmas schedule, check the website -

Now you might say, it's too early ... but we say, no it's a perfect time for some Christmas cheer. Take it away Louis!

 Electric Lunch being served in the Restaurant from 12.30 today!! Dont forget to Post a pic of Electric to be in with a chance of winning FREE Lunch for 2 in Electric's Restaurant Next Weekend!!!

Our Classic menu is such good value! Check out for more details on our Christmas Lunch and Evening menus. Get booking, it looks like December is gonna be a busy one! 

Nash19Cork Nash19 Ho Ho Ho. Open Saturday 27th November and all the following Saturday till Christmas. 8.30 am to 4.30pm Food Shop till 5pm

Augustine's Restaurant Augustine's will be open for Christmas Lunch from 14 Decto 24 Dec inclusive. Book in for a lovely lunch after shopping in town and enjoy a really special time with your mum, your sisters, your family and friends or your business colleagues and partners.
From 12:30-2:30, and for just €27 for 5 divine courses, it'll be the best money ..

LATE BAR & LIVE MUSIC...Every Friday and Saturday till Christmas. Warm welcome of mulled wine awaits you. Enjoy our wonderful Christmas spirit with friends and family. See you here this Friday and Saturday with The Roaring 40's!!!

Three weeks to Christmas seems like a good time to remind you about our little online shop, where - as well as our very handsome gift vouchers - you can buy all three cookbooks, signed by Denis Cotter, and gift-wrapped if you so desire. (Gift-wrapping is not by Denis Cotter, who is notoriously useless with paper and tape). And finally, in the spirit of the season, we've cut the price of the books. Check it out...

bridgestoneEd Bridgestone Guides 
Foodie tweeters tweet your Xmas food traditions. RT to pass the word, use #bridgestoneguides #foodtraditions or reply to @BridgestoneEd

Control and click to follow the links and find out more.

We search the net, via Twitter and Facebook, each Thursday evening and early Friday morning, for the latest from the Cork restaurant and bar scene. If you don't have either of the above, reach us a Deadline 9.00am Friday.

Thursday, December 9, 2010



This morning’s leaflet drop was more interesting than usual; three in all, two food and one wine. Targeted advertising?

Really interested in the Mabel Crawford’s, Cork’s newest restaurant. This is in the Vienna Woods Hotel, where I once worked but such a long long time ago.

This new bistro, at least the room, could well have been there then as it is in a newly discovered room in the old part of the Glanmire Hotel.

An extensive menu covered the back part of the flier. About 14 starters, ranging from €4.50 (soup) to €9.50 (duck confit, haricot beans and beetroot chips).
Just as many main courses. The prices here range from €14.95 (Home made Angus Burger) to €27.95 (Angus fillet steak). There are about eight desserts, priced between six and seven euro.
Must call down sometime.

The other food leaflet was from Eastern Tandoori in Emmet Place, highlighting some current offers including an Early Bird for €15.95. Later, if you spend €35.00, you can get two bottles of Indian lager free. There are a whole lot of dishes here, including some Tandoori which I do like.

Fine Wines from Blackpool were also included in the drop and they say they have 16 new wines just in, all at half-price which is just €3.99. Other cuts have Petit Chablis down from €10.99 to €7.99, Macon Lugny down by the same with St Emilion chopped by a fiver and now costing €11.99.

They also do beers and spirits. Haven’t been there before. Have you? 



Clodagh McKenna did the honours this morning as the Blarney Farmers Market, in the grounds of the Blarney Woollen Mills Hotel, was officially opened.

It was a pleasant, if low key affair, the attendance down because of the icy state of the side roads in the area. That didn't stop the stall holders though and there was a fine turn-out, including regulars such as Tom’s Bakery, Manning’s Emporium, Kiwi Hot Coffees, Mealagulla Orchard (selling a welcome mulled apple juice with secret ingredients!) and the fishy pair Mary and Sheila, two of the nicest fishmongers you’ll ever meet.

Clodagh joined in with the carol singers and no doubt there’ll be a demand for the photographs and she also toured the various stalls, shaking hands and having a chat.

Meanwhile, I was doing a bit of shopping and went off home happy with, among other things,  some lovely Durrus cheese from Manning’s, apples from Mealagulla (cookers and eating), a Country Baguette from Tom’s (one of my all time favourites) and, last but not least, a gurnard, courtesy of Sheila and Mary.

Hopefully the weather will be better next Sunday when a special edition of the market will be held (10.00am to 6.00pm). A fun filled day is promised with Kid’s Crafts and demonstrations and a live crib.



Had an early evening reservation for Washington Street’s Liberty Grill yesterday and walked in to find the place full. As I left, about 8.00pm, the second “shift” of customers was arriving. Not bad for a Wednesday evening.

They keep coming to the Liberty because here you get good food, good value and good friendly service, not to mention a decent degree of comfort and the all important “buzz”.

Dishes are not necessarily high end but that doesn't prevent them from being top class. Take my starter for instance: a spiced beef salad with chestnuts. Excellent, innovative. It cost me €8.95 and is also available as a main course.

The Spiced Beef is part of the seasonal specials for December. Liberty, a member of Good Food Ireland, has an extensive menu and it uses these seasonal specials to increase the variety. They are usually worth checking out!

As long as I’ve been coming here, I’ve never had one of their burgers and it is for burgers, and the sheer variety of them, that Liberty is so well known and loved.

I tried the Lamb Burger, served with lettuce, cucumber, tomato and a bowl of fries plus a dip. It was a splendid piece of locally sourced meat, (from Carrigaline, I think). Happy food but good food and all for €13.50.

You have to wait 25 minutes for the lamb burger, 20 for the others. But if you’re having a starter, as I did, you won’t notice the wait and in any case, it is worth it.

Monday, December 6, 2010



Just got to tell you one more thing arising from Thursday’s visit to Mahon Point Farmers Market.

If you want bacon and cabbage like your mother, like your granny, used to make it, then do this. Get on down to Mahon on a Thursday and go to Conroy’s Woodside Farm stall. Buy yourself an appropriate piece of the Dry Cured Ham. And don't forget to get a head of Savoy cabbage, of course.

This cured ham is not cheap but it is unbelievably good. Colour is brighter, taste is fantastic and the meat itself is crunchier (not in the least bit tough!), just like the old days. And you don't have to worry about soaking out the salt overnight.

Conroys run a small family farm in East Cork’s Ballincurrig and here they raise their Pedigree Saddleback and Pedigree Gloucester Old Spot pigs. They, the animals that is, not the Conroys, live outdoor all their lives, eating grass, home grown turnip and kale and locally grown wheat and barley.

The results will be on your plate, simply the best ham and cabbage ever.

This, I promise, is my last post on Mahon for a spell.  (Subject to the never say never factor...) I will be in Blarney this Thursday (11.00am) for the official opening, by Clodagh McKenna, of the local Farmers Market in the grounds of Blarney Woollen Mills.


Last week's post on Gubbeen's Wild Venison Burgers got some people's attention and there were a number of queries as to stockists.

We checked with Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen: "We largely only sell the wild venison burgers from our own stall at farmers markets . We do supply a large selection of our products to shops delis and farmers markets around the country. My list is a bit out of date at the moment but the main ones are here "

Gubbeen's Whey fed Pork was also on sale at Mahon last week and that too was top class. Check it out here


Chateau Laulerie

Over the years Bergerac winemakers have been overshadowed by those of neighbour Bordeaux. When talking up an underdog, it does no harm if you have a couple of heavyweights in your corner. I have.

Hugh Johnson: Bergerac is a good value Bordeaux lookalike.
Robert Joseph: The second class status of Bergerac today owes more to the efforts of Bordeaux merchants to discriminate against it than to the quality of its wines.

Maybe then we should look at Bergerac wines more often and, in fairness, quite a few of our independent wine importers do their bit but are up against the long standing big names of Bordeaux and as we know the big names are usually the big sellers.

As you may guess, I like my Bergeracs, including local stars such as Pecharmant reds and the high class desserts wines of Monbazillac and Saussignac. But there is an opening in the ordinary entry level wines from Bergerac as often your basic Bergerac is better than the basic Bordeaux. Certainly as good.

I enjoyed a couple recently.
Chateau Laulerie, Bergerac 2006 (Merlot-Malbec-Cabernet Franc) 12.5%, 12 months in oak, including six in new oak. Deep red in colour and a promising fruity nose. On the palate it is fruity enough (plums) and reasonably well balanced; it is medium bodied with discreet tannins and a longish finish. PR: 85.
Chateau La Sabatiere Bergerac 2007 (Merlot – Cabernet) Louis Roche Collection bottled at Chateau Monbazillac, 12%. Ruby coloured with red fruit on the nose. It is juicy and slightly spicy, medium bodied and smooth with soft rich tannins and a reasonably long finish. PR: 82

A few days earlier, I tasted a 2006 Claret and a Superieur from the same year and then a 2004 Superieur (from Chateu Meaume, Reserve du Chateau), all Bordeaux. The first two were reasonable wines and the third had more to offer and was possibly on a par with the Bergerac Laulerie.

So if these entry level wines are of much the same standard, what is the incentive for the consumer to switch to Bergerac? The answer to that should be lower prices as Bergerac doesn't command the same level as Bordeaux. So watch out for Bergerac reds (and the whites also) and you should save yourself a few euro without sacrificing quality.

Got my Chateau Laulerie on Brittany Ferries on the way home from the Bergerac area where I had purchased the La Sabatiere (in the boutique at Chateau Monbazillac, a recommended visit if you are in the area). I don’t have a full list of local stockists but know that Karwig Wines and Red Nose Wines carry some Bergerac  wines.



Felt good after Saturday night’s dinner, assembled at Thursday’s Mahon Point Farmer’s Market. Felt even better when I read this tweet from Martin Conroy of Woodside Farm : London's New Economics Foundation found £10 spent at local business is worth £25 locally, compared with just £14 when spent in supermarkets.

Well, I reckon I spent about a hundred euro in Mahon. Money makes the world go round so let’s starts the revolution locally. My tenner (I don’t always spend a 100!) and yours goes a long way.

The dinner? Great start with a Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup, put together on Wednesday night by Flynn's Kitchen. Well suited to the current weather, indeed gorgeous in any weather. Cost: 3 euro for one, five for two. Great soup, great value.

Main Dish was Whey Fed Pork from Gubbeen, along with roasted parsnips and carrots from Ballycurraginny Farm. Great feeling to be able to wash the East Cork soil off the veg, rather than have them sweating when you slit open a plastic bag.

The pork was absolutely fantastic, perhaps the best I’ve tasted in years and went so well with the veg and the potato cakes. The meat, delicious in flavour and so moist, had a ring of fat around it and some of that went to feed the birds Sunday morning, the first “customer” being our regular wren, followed by blackbird, robin, sparrow, finch and the lively tit (who never lingers for long in any one spot).

No dessert as such but enjoyed finishing off the Tipperary Brie, another Mahon purchase. And still there are some bits and pieces left, not least an inviting chunk of bacon from Woodside Farm!

Shop local and eat well. And make the world go round
Another version of this post here at Ireland Online

Friday, December 3, 2010


Beat the weather and beat the budget too. That’s the message from Gary Gubbins of Red Rose Wine. Gary has arranged the company’s “first proper portfolio tasting” on December 9th at Hickeys Cafe at the historic Westgate in Clonmel.
“We are holding it the week of the budget and we will open a large selection of wines in a social atmosphere. We will have food to match the wonderful wines and maybe even some music. There is no need to sit and listen to me or someone else waffle about wine. This is less talky more drinky.”

“The wines will be open and we are encouraging a social atmosphere on the night. We will update this list on Facebook and Twitter as we add wines to the list. We will take recommendations as well, so let us know and we’ll try to accommodate you.”
The wines to taste include … (the list will evolve as the date arrives)
Brad and Angies Wines (they have been making them since the Romans were there)
Chateau Miraval Clara Lua White
Chateau Miraval Red
Chateau Miraval Rose
Also some Italian Wines
More wines to follow ….