Showing posts with label Apple Farm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apple Farm. Show all posts

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Lunch to Relish at Lava Rock in Cahir


Lunch to Relish at Lava Rock in Cahir
Dessert

Headed off to Tipp on a recent unplanned day-trip. Not the direct route; that would be too easy! First stop was Lismore, then on up through the spectacular Vee, down into Clogheen and over to Ardfinnan with its castle lording it over the Suir. Time now for lunch. But where? Lava Rock in Cahir.

Lava Rock’s on Castle Street (park down by the castle, which can also be visited) and has been gathering good reviews and awards since it opened four years ago. With the kitchen open to the main room of the restaurant, we could see the attention to detail and that showed too on the appetising plates. Lunch was very enjoyable and I’m sure that the evening meals would be even more so.

Choices aren't as expansive in the middle of the day but still they had plenty to offer. One section is called Express. From it you may order Soup of the Day and various sandwiches (Chicken Strip or Pulled Beef for example).



Burger

The main lunch menu has a few more substantial dishes including Fish and Chips, Roast Chicken Supreme, and Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Tortellini.

We went for the beef, the Slow Braised Beef Rib in my case. It came with baked potato mash and seasonal vegetables, very well cooked and full of attractive flavour, a delicious jus and a crunchy selection of crunchy vegetables (carrot, baby corns and sugar snaps).

CL’s pick was the Char-grilled Burger, packed with excellent beef in a brioche bun. Red cheddar cheese, burger sauce of course, lettuce and the outstanding roast beetroot slaw completed an attractive plateful. And in addition, the chunky house fries were delicious.


Beef

They don't have a bar here but you may bring your own wine. We asked for a cordial, maybe something like an Elderflower fizz. They didn’t have that nor did they have the Apple Farm’s outstanding sparkling apple juice but they did have their still apple juice and that too is a lovely drink at mid-day on a warm Wednesday. The nearby Apple Farm, by the way, would be our final visit on the way home and we left with a box full of drinks, jams, fruits and more. Read about that day-trip here.

But back to the lunch and the sweet finalé. I enjoyed my Baked Strawberry Alaska (with strawberry cream, marinated strawberries and lemon curd), soft and lush and an overall delight. 

CL’s Rhubarb Almond Tart was another well presented dessert (that attention to detail again) and  served with orange crème anglaise and vanilla ice cream, another sweet winner.


Lava Rock

This restaurant is just a few minutes off the motorway and you may also linger in the town. If you are early for lunch, why not visit the castle? Check my account here. And if you’d like to walk off those desserts afterwards, stroll down to the nearby and rather famous Swiss Cottage - read my short account here.

Castle Street
Cahir
Co. Tipperary
Call (052) 744 5359




Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Prime 74. Pride of Tipperary Town.


Prime 74. Pride of Tipperary Town.


Tipperary Town is serendipitously situated in the centre of a great food producing area. Not just Tipperary county itself but all the neighbours, though the county itself includes the world class cheese producers Cashel Blue. The near neighbours also include the likes of Crowe’s Pork, White Gypsy Beers and Cashel Fine Foods. And a bit further away, in the south west, nationally known producers such as Gubbeen and Skeaghanore Duck. 

You can get all these and more on your plate at Prime 74, a relatively new restaurant in Tipperary Town, less than an hour from Cork City.  Chef and owner Martin Lavelle is dedicated to seasonal and local and is doing a great job in this lovely premises at 74 Main Street (park in nearby Market Place).

We were in early for a recent lunch, just a few ahead of us, but soon the room was more or less full. And soon we would see, and taste, why. Service is friendly here. The menus were at hand as soon as we were seated and that included a list of specials which were detailed to us. And we were also told of a Duck Spring Roll that hadn’t made the list!

The lunch menu is served from 12.00pm to 4.00pm and is a tempting list. I was looking at the Warm Chicken Harissa Salad (also available as a mains). The Red Wine Poached Pear and Cashel Blue salad was also tempting.  But, in the end, we decided to do mains and dessert.

And my mains, the Pappardelle Dexter Beef Ragu, rocket and Parmesan, came from that specials list. The beef was top notch and well cooked and the combination of flavours was amazing. A superb dish for €13.50.

And our other mains, Deep Fried Curried Fish Cake, Baby leaf Spinach, Poached Egg and Chips, was another flavoursome gem, this too fairly priced at €14.00. The curry element was nicely judged.

With the way cleared for dessert (all 5.50), I again picked from the specials and was very happy with my eye-catching Chilled Rice Pudding with Chantilly cream, strawberries, basil and spiced crisps. And happiness too at the other side as the Lemon Meringue Pie with Raspberry Sorbet and Mint was another sweet treat.

Drinks? Well they do have wine (there is a function room upstairs) and that excellent local beer by White Gypsy. Lots of soft drinks too and teas and coffees of course. We were still in the heat wave so we were looking for something cool and non-alcoholic and were more than happy to see the local Sparkling Apple Juice from the Apple Farm in Cahir. A very enjoyable drop indeed. And a very enjoyable meal indeed.


74 Main Street
Tipperary Town
 062 31388

HOURS
Sun 12:00 - 19:00
Mon Closed
Tue 10:30 - 16:00
Wed 10:30 - 16:00
Thu 10:30 - 16:00, 17:30 - 21:00
Fri 10:30 - 16:00, 17:30 - 21:00
Sat 10:30 - 16:00, 17:30 - 21:00


And since you're in Tipperary why not visit

Recent Tipp calls:


Not so recent:


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Taste of the Week. Cherries from the Apple Farm


Taste of the Week
Cherries from the Apple Farm


No need to say too much about our current Taste of the Week. The sweet delicious cherries grown on Con Traas’s Apple Farm are simply superb!

Easy to appreciate these juicy beauties. But not easy to grow. If that were the case, you’d find them in every farmers market. When grown in Ireland, cherries need protection for a number of reasons, and typically most growers use some form of simple tunnel to grow them in. 

The Apple Farm explains: This is because cherry flowers are susceptible to cold winds when flowering, and the cherries themselves are liable to crack and get diseases due to rainfall, and then if they survive all this, are a favourite food of many birds. A plastic tunnel can protect the trees and fruits from all these problems, meaning that instead of getting a good crop one year in five (or ten if you live in the wetter parts of Ireland), you can rely on a crop each year.

Thanks to Con and his team for making the extra effort. Put these cherries on your list if you’re anywhere near the Apple Farm, just a few minutes off the M8 on the N24 (Cahir-Clonmel Road)! Lots of other fruit available too, in season.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dooks Fine Food. Fethard’s Medieval Walls. And a call to the Apple Farm.


Dooks Fine Food. Fethard’s Medieval Walls.
And a call to the Apple Farm.
Salmon and salads at Dooks in Fethard

My latest trip to Tipp saw me take a walk along the medieval area of Fethard, lunch in Dooks restaurant, and call to the Apple Farm, near Cahir, on the way home. 

People go to Fethard to mostly visit the Coolmore Stud and dine or drink or both in John McCarthy’s famous establishment on the Main Street but I did neither, holding them back for the next trip! McCarthy’s, by the way, is a busy spot. It is one of Ireland’s oldest unchanged pubs, is also a restaurant and, believe it or not, an undertakers. Be careful which menu you ask for.


No such problems at Dooks Fine Food which has a prime position at the bottom of the main street, alongside the Clashawley River, at the junction of the Clonmel and Urlingford roads and opposite a large car park. Richard Gleeson’s restaurant and deli is spacious and bright, lots of local food for you to enjoy inside, or on the seats outside and, of course, at home if you shop at the deli.

Chicken and salads at Dooks
Fethard, by the way, is hardly an hour from the east side of Cork city - you have the M8 motorway for the majority of the way and that leaves just about 16 kilometres on secondary roads.Take the Cashel exit and you’ll have no problem finding the little town. And no problem finding Dooks either.

Richard was preparing a large plateful of a colourful Mozzarella salad when we arrived. It was eye-catching and tempting and featured in our lunch, well at least one serving of it. Dooks had opened long before that of course as they do breakfast here, served from 7.30am. Quite a choice including a very interesting looking fry of Rosemary, orange and fennel sausage, oven roasted tomatoes, fried eggs and Dooks white yeast toast.
The walls of Fethard

But back to the lunch. My pick was the Roast salmon fillet, with horseradish cream and pickled shallot and that came with my choice of two salads: Roasted aubergine, balsamic reduction, toasted mixed seeds, feta and mint, and the second one of roasted carrots, toasted sunflower seeds, pickled shallots, Dooks ricotta and tarragon. Quite a plateful (for 13.50), full of good stuff, even those seeds a lovely feature.

It was the OBC (official blog chef) who got the delightful cherry tomato, Toonsbridge Mozzarella and basil salad. She also choose the Roasted aubergine and her meat was the Lemon, Garlic and Buttermilk marinated chicken supreme with rocket pesto, another plateful of well cooked produce, well presented and well dispatched.
North Gate in Fethard

We did have a look at the short but “well-formed” wine list, spotting some favourites there such as the Bodegas Menade Verdejo from Rueda and the Domaine Chaume Arnaud Vinsobres from the Rhone. But we stuck with the non-alcoholic, a refreshing Sparkling Elderflower by local producers Irish Hedgerow. With the sun beating down outside, we also skipped the coffee and were a little sorry for that omission when we spotted some delightful pastries as we paid at the counter. Next time!
Apple Farm
We had walked around the very impressive medieval remains, before lunch, following the long stretch of wall (parts dating from 1292) by the river and moving by the various gates, Water Gate, East Gate and, most impressively, North Gate, also the cluster of two castles and the old Holy Trinity Church (key available at O’Sullivan’s pharmacy).
The Fethard Town Hall (right)

Holy Trinity Church
Fethard
The Town Hall has had variations and alterations and various functions since its 16th century beginning and is now in use for tourist purposes. Here too you will find the Fethard Horse Country Experience and from here you may arrange a tour of Coolmore Stud. Check it all out here.  I’ll be doing just that the next time I’m in Fethard.

On the way back to Cork, we made a short detour from the M8 to the Apple Farm on the Clonmel road. And stocked up on jams, cider, and fruits, including some of the delicious juicy sweet cherries. It is a busy spot but the drought is taking its toll and plums, we heard, may not be as plentiful as last year when the harvest comes in.
Indeed, a day after our visit, owner Con Traas was tweeting: The last rain fell at our farm on 19/6, a mere 0.2mm drizzle. Since May 11th (2 months to the day) we have recorded 23.2mm total (about a weeks rain here in normal circumstances). We have exceeded the criteria for both absolute drought and partial drought.

I know the constant sun has been great this year but we could do with some rain now! Wonder what the weather was like in Fethard when those Norman builders were hard at it all those centuries ago.


Recent Tipp calls:


Not so recent:



Monday, April 24, 2017

Two Tipp Top Cafés. Stef Hans & French Quarter

Two Tipp Top Cafés

Stef Hans & French Quarter

Mezze

After seeing the venerable buildings, including Hayes Hotel, in the square at Thurles, the Source Arts Centre around the corner is something of a pleasant surprise and even more pleasant when you find yourself in the cheery bright room where Stef Hans serve up delicious food.

The Café supports local suppliers (including the Apple Farm, Toonsbridge Dairy, O’Dwyer Butchers, Irish Piedmontese and Le Caveau wines) and they are listed on the multi-choice menu. There are even more choices on the specials board and the friendly staff will point those out to you as well.

Prices are good here and we started off with a plate to share for just €7.50. This was the Mezze Platter, served with hummus, dips, and olives and home bread comes. And a delicious starter it proved to be.

Chicken
 CL picked the Fish of the Day (15.00), supplied by Daly’s. This was Cod with vegetables (carrot and tender stem broccoli) and salad and served with delicious chorizo potato. The fish was as fresh as you’ll get and cooked to a T.


We were getting quality and quantity here and that was underlined with my choice: The Coronation Chicken open sandwich served with organic leaves, house pickle, chutney and fries, a simple dish, well priced and a well judged mix of great flavours and textures. 
The Source in Thurles

Earlier in the day, we had called to Tipperary Town, smiling at the sign on the way in that said: “Welcome. You've come a long way”. Not that long really as the town is just over an hour from Cork.

Time though for a cuppa and we found the very thing, and a Cork connection, in the French Quarter Café in the Excel Centre. It is run by Loic and Anne Marie (well known in the Cork’s famous Lobby Bar in the years before its closure).
Pear & Almond in French Quarter
 So we had a lovely chat in this busy spot. From the café’s name, you’d be thinking pastries here and you'd be right. We were tempted straight away. From the big line-up, we picked the delicious Pear and Almond Tart and a Rhubarb Tart and they went down well with good coffee (for me) and tea.


And if you come at lunch-time they will cater for you as well: no shortage of savoury dishes including paninis, wraps, sandwiches (with all kinds of fillers), salads and quiches. Indeed, if you are on the road early, you'll find them open from 9.30am on weekdays, 10.00am on Saturdays.

See more details of my Trip to Tipp here, includes visits to Farney Castle and Holycross Abbey.
The Excel (right) in Tipperary Town

Monday, November 30, 2015

Taste of the Week. Con’s Irish Cider

Taste of the Week
Con’s Irish Cider



If you haven’t tasted real Irish cider before, you're in for a treat. This is packed with flavour and it just waiting to get out of the bottle and impress. Your palate will initially be overwhelmed - after all, 85% (maybe more) of the content is apple. You soon get used to it and begin to enjoy the genuine taste of an Irish orchard.


Made in Cahir (County Tipperary) by Con Traas, from his own apples, this cloudy small batch cider is a great example of the craft. Taste of the Week, any week.

That initial burst in the mouth reminded me instantly of something Brooklyn brewer Garrett Oliver said at Ballymaloe LitFest earlier in the year: “You hear people say, when they taste a craft beer: This is nice, doesn't taste like beer." He had an explanation: ‘The beer they grew up with didn't taste like real beer!’”

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blossom Walks - Open Day at Irish Apple Farms Nationwide

Blossom Walks - Open Day at Irish Apple Farms Nationwide
~ Bord Bia and Irish Apple Grower Association to host series of Blossom Walks ~
Twitter: @Bordbia
Con Traas of The Apple Farm, Cahir.

 Bord Bia, in conjunction with the Irish Apple Growers Association, is delighted to announce details of the inaugural ‘Blossom Walk’ which will take place on Saturday, 3rd May. As part of the event, seven apple farms and orchards nationwide will open their doors and gates to the publicFrom Cahir to Cappoquin, members of the public will be invited to enjoy guided walks, engage with the growers, learn about the history of the individual farms and discover apple growing techniques. There will also be an opportunity to purchase some of the grower’s produce.

The value of Irish apple production is almost €4 million according to Bord Bia and trade estimates. Culinary and dessert apple production accounts for 80% of the production value (€3.15 million), while cider apple production accounts for 20% (€0.78 million).  Approximately 15,000 tonnes of Irish apples are sold each year with culinary apples representing 47% of total sales. There are currently 83 commercial apple growers in Ireland.

Speaking ahead of ‘Blossom Walk’, Olan McNeece from the Irish Apple Growers Association said “We look forward to offering visitors a unique opportunity to see how the Irish apple growing industry works first-hand. While no entrance fee will be charged, any donations made on the day will be given to “Blossom Ireland”, a very worthwhile charity who provide dedicated, therapy-led camps and after school activities for children with intellectual disabilities.”

For more information, event listings and recipes visit www.bordbia.ie

Participating Apple Farms:
Farm
Name
Address
Contact
The Apple Farm
Con Traas
Moorstown, Cahir, Co. Tipperary
Melalgulla Orchard
James Scannell
Lnockane, Ovens, Co. Cork
Gilbert’s Orchard & Farm Shop
Alan Gilbert
Quinagh, Co.Carlow
Askinamoe Orchard
Sean Gahan

Ferns, Enniscorthy, Co.Wexford

David Quinn
David Quinn
Cappoquin Estate, Cappoquin,Co.Waterford


Boyne Grove Fruit Farm
Olan McNeece

Stameen, Drogheda, Co.Meath
Highbank Orchard
Rod Calderpot

Farmley, Cuffesgrange,
Co Kilkenny,



Blossom Ireland:
Blossom Ireland was founded by two mothers passionate in the belief that their boys with special needs deserve the same opportunities as all children. Their goal is to go some way towards filling the gap between the available public services and the actual needs of the child and their family, particularly during out of school hours. Currently we provide dedicated, therapy led camps and after school activities for children with intellectual disabilities aged between 8 and 15 years.
Blossom Ireland is a very young charity financed 100% by donations and fundraising.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Good Food Ireland Conference. And Awards

Good Food Ireland Conference
And Awards
Pádraig Ó’Céidigh
Didn't expect a clinical psychologist to be the star speaker at the annual Good Food Ireland conference in the Shelbourne Hotel (Dublin) yesterday. But that psychologist was Dr Maureen Gaffney and she took the room by storm as she looked at the Feel Good Factor.

Must admit I’m one of those people who just love to see a smile. Maureen says smiles “are all important”. “People are ready to co-operate with you..work on it.. smiles help to form that very important first impression. We all have bad days .. act positively especially when things are bad.” She said there is  evidence that shows that smiling even helps the smiler. “It triggers (even fools) your brain”.

And she also pointed out that a negative mood in the team leader can have a negative influence on the staff, your staff. This is a “high risk” to business. So learn to smile. Cheese!


“Get your self right..then you'll get a whole lot more right. Learn, achieve, grow. Vision is vitally important, start with your vision. Values are really important, not just accessories...There is evidence that people driven by a higher set of values do better.”
Maureen Gaffney (left) and Xanthe Clay
Set challenges, she urged. “Keep learning, growing, have projects, invest time and effort in them. And connect! Not just on digital platforms but also in the real world, family, friends, clubmates. These real connections will provide “personal experience and insight, contextual information, personal recommendations”.

So get social,and get connected, she urged. And she ended with a reminder about that smile. “Nurture your optimism!”


Xanthe Clay, author and journalist, spoke on the fickle British market, especially the fickle press. One day they headline that coffee is good for you, a week later they say it is bad for you. She urged irish producers to give value for money and highlighted the importance of trust (especially after the rocky year that saw the horse meat scandal gallop across the headlines). “Be open, she said. “Show people what you do. If you do add an additive to your food, list it, explain it.” Much better than your customers ambushed by the news in the press later on.

Asked what were the outstanding Irish qualities, she didn't hesitate: “Tradition, warmth, quality. These never go out of fashion.”

Coming into fashion is Origin Green, Bord Bia’s new programme to enhance and promote sustainability and explained on stage by Una Fitzgibbon. This was quite a sombre presentation, no jokes here. Great to see producers such as the Apple Farm’s Con Traas and Stonewell Cider’s Daniel Emerson being very enthusiastic about it on a short film. “This is a big deal,”said conference chair Darragh McCullough. “Only going to get bigger.”


Margot Slattery of Sodexo started with some very impressive numbers: purchases of some 18 million euro in Ireland every year. 420,000 employees worldwide and growing. “We stand for sustainability and fresh food” as client companies are looking for healthy weight and healthy life for their employees. Sodexo run gyms, even detox programmes.
Siobhain from Kalbo's and Yours Truly
Margot said they feed 50,000 a day in ireland. “Not frozen food, these are cooked, from scratch, on a daily basis.”

Just before a break for lunch, there was a panel discussion on Digital Marketing and two bits of advice emerged, at least two that I noted. Check out the recent changes in YouTube as they make it more interesting to business. And also have a look at Vine for short video promotions.


If Maureen Gaffney was the morning star then Pádraig Ó’Céidigh caught the attention in the afternoon. The founder of Aer Arann took us on a flight. He started in the Comfort Zone, then challenged us to enter the Stretch Zone before warning us about the perils of the Danger Zone (here, you can damage yourself, he reported, from experience).
Kevin and Réidín from Sage
Citing the small beginnings of what is now the Kerry group in 1972 and the choice made by Clonakilty Black Pudding’s Colette Twomey to run the company after the death of her husband as examples of leaving the comfort zone.

And Padraig is optimistic right now. “This is a great time to be an entrepreneur. There is great optimism out there, great opportunities. Time to leave the comfort zone.”


“There have never been such a demand for good quality food. Be solid on your own two feet, use what’s between your ears. No reason why we can't have another Kerry.”
The world will go on with you or without you. Make sure it’s with you. Believe it and go for it. Never forget your roots and use that little bit of Gaeilge!”

An afternoon panel discussion on our food future produced some interesting points. Martin Shanahan thought too much of our fish is being exported. Country Choice’s Peter Ward urged the industry to be creative, to re-invent our own Irish produce. Chapter One’s Ross Lewis says he sees confidence building in young Irish chefs, “not necessarily mimicking foreign chefs.The industry has changed more in the last three years than in the previous thirty.”


Minister for Tourism Alan Varadkar launched the Good Food Ireland prepaid MasterCard, a food travel passport for visitors to the county’s producers, shops and restaurants and said he was encouraged by progress in tourism numbers this year and employment growth in the industry. He lauded the “great decision” by government colleagues to retain the 9% VAT and acknowledged that lobbying had had its effect and confirmed that there were no plans to increase the rate in the future. We are very much in recovery mode.”
The delegates assembled in the same room for a cracking dinner in the evening. Skeaghanore Duck and Clare Island salmon were the centrepieces, all washed down by superb wines from Classic Drinks.

The awards were announced as the desserts were being served and the large Cork contingent had plenty to cheer about with Midleton's Sage Restaurant, URRU Culinary Store in Bandon, MIlleens Cheese, Kalbo’s Cafe in Skibbereen and Kinsale’s Fishy Fishy all winning their categories.

One of the loudest cheers of the night went to Ballymaloe’s Rory O'Connell who was declared Ambassador of the Year, mainly for his part in feeding, at short notice, 10,000 delegates at the recent Web Summit. Mount Juliet won three awards including the Supreme Award and Restaurant of the Year Award.


All the awards were presented by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny who smilingly indicated there were three women he must listen to: Mrs Kenny, Angela Merkel and Margaret Jeffares (the dynamo behind Good Food Ireland).