Showing posts with label Butter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Butter. Show all posts

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Iron Age Bread. And Butter. Boats & Bones too.

Iron Age Bread. And Butter.
Boats & Bones too.
Prehistoric picnic.

The Medieval Loaf from Declan Ryan’s Arbutus Bread has long been a favourite of mine. Last Saturday, at the Cork Public Museum, Declan introduced me, and quite a few others, to Iron Age Bread. And there was freshly made butter to go with it, all part of Cork Heritage Day.



The event focussed on Life, Farming and Food in South-East Ireland (Waterford and Wexford) in the Iron Age (c. 2500-1600 years ago). Excavations during the Celtic Tiger years and since have revealed important information about where people lived, the crops they grew and the food they ate.

Basket of iron age bread

For instance, the recovery of charred plant components tell us that people ate barley, emmer and spelt wheat and foraged wild food such as hazelnuts and berries. Kilns are a new development of the Iron Age and were used for the drying and malting of grain. Wonder if they made beer?
Cattle and pig bones were also found. The animals were kept for their meat but finds demonstrate that the farmers also practised dairying, hence the butter demo. I have quoted extensively from the leaflet handed out to visitors to the museum.
A young Spaniard checks out these Irish bones

The challenge for Declan Ryan and Arbutus was to reproduce a bread that might have been baked by an Iron Age baker. Declan knew they had barley and some spelt. He used barley mainly and a little spelt. He baked the loaves on the lowest shelf of his oven, a step or two up on what was available to his ancient predecessors.
Crusty, and soft in the middle, the bread had a spicy flavour and possibly tasted better with a bit of the freshly made butter. A very small churn was used to separate the butter from the buttermilk and water and even more of the latter two was squeezed out with a pair of butter paddles before we had the real thing. Young and old got a chance to handle the churn.
A neat little churn

And speaking of hands on, there was a table full of bones of prehistoric animals and the remains of ancient crops and they were popular and there was also the possibility of grinding corn on a prehistoric hand mill, examples too of bog butter (a story in itself) and a replica of an Iron Age vessel (a small boat), the original excavated in County Meath.
The event was presented by the Heritage Council INSTAR funded project ‘Seeing beyond the site - Landscape and Settlement in Later Prehistoric Ireland, in collaboration with the Cork Public Museum and the Cork Butter Museum, each worth a visit at any time.
You can also follow the South-East project on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Beyond_the_site
Starting to turn - the butter emerges


The new butter and the discarded buttermilk

A pair of paddles is used to squeeze out any excess moisture;
the more solids that remain the better the butter



Thursday, July 28, 2016

Millstreet Country Park. The Best of Venison. So Much More

Millstreet Country Park
The Best of Venison. So Much More
Mont des Arts. Looking down and (below) looking up
as the water flows down the steps

Sat down for lunch in the café at Millstreet Country Park the other day. After all it was time for a break after a couple of hours walking through part of this amazing place, full of surprises, its gardens, water features, walks and bike rides, lakes and ponds, bogs and mountains. And Red Irish deer, of course.

The menu is short as you’d expect. But no shortage of food or drink (everything from water to wine). I spotted Venison in a sandwich and ordered it immediately. It was absolutely delicious, amazingly tender. Our server mentioned something about the owner's recipe and strict instructions but she wasn't revealing any secrets!
Delicious venison

We had started with a hearty bowl of soup (4.50) - it wasn't the warmest day of the week! And our other dish was a Sweet Chilli Chicken (chicken, chilli mayo, onion, tomato and mixed leaves). Another excellent dish for just €5.50. My MCP Special consisted of the venison, relish (superb), cheese and onion, leaves and slaw and came to €6.00. Oh by the way, the venison, butchered by Finn’s in Mitchelstown, is on sale here.
Circus Fountain
Nibbles is the name of the cafe and it is newly built, very comfortable and well equipped to deliver a relaxed dining experience serving hearty soups, gourmet sandwiches, selection of cakes and treats, speciality coffees, teas and hot chocolates. Much of the produce comes from the farm, their tunnel and gardens along with some from the wild (all part of the Foraging Trail). There is also a bistro here, open for the major events and available too for private functions. Both have terrific views over the park and nearby mountains.

The park is between Millstreet and Macroom and we could have taken the main roads but instead went cross-country, via Blarney, Tower and Rylane. From Rylane we headed for Aubane and it was here, just two hundred metres before the turn-off for the park, that we came across two plaques, one at either side of the narrow hilly road.

This little road was part of the famous Butter Road where farmers from as far away as Castleisland brought their containers of butter to the Butter Exchange in Cork City’s Shandon for much of the 18th and 19th centuries when Cork was regarded as the Butter Capital of the world. Here in Aubane there is a flat rock, known as the Kerryman’s table, and here the weary travellers rested.
Fairy Trail
The plaque at the other side also commemorates the Butter Road and its contractor John Murphy of Castleisland. This was unveiled in 1998 by the chairman of Dairygold and the butter used in Nibbles is by Dairygold of course! This is their area - the Kerrymen were only passing through. Read more about this particular butter road here.
Gardens galore
Aside from the food, the Park is a marvellus place to visit, great too if you have kids. The youngsters will enjoy the space, the bikes, the water (they have nets and rubber ducks for them), the large shuffleboard area, the Fairy Trail and more. It is popular for school tours and camps.

For the adults, in the Leisure Zone, there are gardens galore including a Sensory, Rose, Bee, Music and the Tertiary Garden. In the Active Zone, you’ll find the Wetlands, a Stone Circle, an Obstacle Course and much more. And in the Wilderness Zone, there are Picnic Areas, the Blanket Bog and the Hedge School Site and that’s just a fraction.
The highlights around the Visitor Centre are perhaps the two water features, the lovely Circus Fountain and the amazing Mont Des Arts. The latter, constructed in 2009, is a replica of the original Mont des Arts built in the central square in Brussels for the Universal Exposition of 1910.

And, of course, you have to see the red deer. In summer, the population peaks at about 250. By the way, the deer farm here is organic. Venison is processed by John Finn in Mitchelstown and the burgers are made by Jerry Pat O’Leary, a craft butcher in Millstreet. Check the latest venison prices here.
Games

Friday, March 14, 2014

Taste of India on Cork’s Left Bank


Taste of India on Cork’s Left Bank
Mango Lassi


For a hundred years, from the late 18th century, Cork exported butter to the world (including India), the merchants building quay walls to facilitate the trade. Yesterday, facing one of those walls and just a  few hundred yards from the former Butter Exchange, I enjoyed the cuisine of South India in a tiny restaurant called Iyer's.

Gautham Iyer opened the restaurant in December 2012 and, aside from a few weeks out of action due to a broken leg, has has not looked back since. The customers have come regularly, the reviews have been good and of course all that is because the food is excellent and the prices are very keen indeed.


The menu is entirely vegetarian and, yes, there is spice. Some people are wary but the spice is not at all extreme and, indeed, if things are not hot enough for you, you are encouraged to ask for their pickle! Everything is prepared freshly on site, leading to long working days for the owner-chef.
Samosas

Vadas
Aside from a visit to a local Indian supper club, I know very little about Indian cuisine. Maybe you're in the same boat so here is a little Wikeipedia guide to what you may expect at Iyers. These are items such as the Vada, Samosas, and Dosas.

Iyers has all these and also some more substantial rice dishes. Best advice I can give is to go in and try them! The menu, on a big board behind the counter, changes regularly.

We started with a Masala Vada and also a Samosa (a pastry, normally triangular with a savoury filling). These were served with two sauces or dips (each on a small dish). One was Tamarind (Imli), the other Green Chilli. Both the Vada and the Samosas were very tasty, crunchy and savoury and nicely spiced and, no, we didn't ask for the pickles!

Dosa, with chutneys and bowl of Sambar.
Gautham came out from from time to time to see how things were going but, in any case, service was friendly and informative and there was no shortage of water. In addition, they have a range of drinks and I went for a lovely looking and great tasting Mango Lassi while CL picked the refreshing Apple & Mango Juice.

On then to our dosas. You may get a Plain Dosa but ours were the Masala and the Onion. Again we were sharing, so they held the second one back until we were finished with the first. Each was served with fresh chutneys, one tomato, the other fresh coconut. Really loved that coconut and we both preferred the Masala filling to the Onion. With this dish, you also get a bowl of Sambar (a kind of soup, changes from day to day).


The Dosas may not have looked that mighty large but we were quite full by the time we finished them. Well, maybe not quite. I had spotted a gorgeous looking cake on the counter on arrival. This was Banana, Mango and Coconut and it was absolutely delicious. The Pistachio and Rosewater Cake may not have looked as well but that too was a delight. All the baking is done by Caroline, Gautham’s wife.
Pistachio and Rosewater Cake
Just across the bridge from the Opera House, the restaurant is out of the hustle and bustle of the city centre but still quite close. On Wednesday, it was busy when we arrived at 2.30 pm and the few, very few, outside spaces were taken up.

The south-facing aspect and the nearby river gave an almost Mediterranean air. On days like this, Gautham wonders if he could expand to the larger footpath at the other side of the road but knows that sometimes if you get too big, that compromises may have to be made and you might well lose some of your integrity, a route he doesn't want to take.


For now, small and all as it is, let us enjoy this fabulous corner of South India on the banks of the Lee. Very Highly Recommended.

Banana, Mango and Coconut Cake.

Iyers Restaurant


Phone
087 640 9079

Email
iyerscafecork@gmail.com


Hours



Tue - Wed: 12:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Thu: 12:00 pm - 5:30 pm, 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Fri - Sat: 12:00 pm - 5:30 pm



Friday, October 7, 2011

CUINNEOG CELEBRATE 21ST BIRTHDAY


TAOISEACH HELPS CUINNEOG CELEBRATE 21ST BIRTHDAY

Taoiseach Enda Kenny led the congratulations for Cuinneog Ltd., Balla, Co. Mayo, who are celebrating twenty one years in business. The birthday party took place at Rua, Castlebar and included celebration of their two gold stars presented at the 2011 Great Taste Awards earlier this year. Cuinneog also launched their new branding and packaging which will make the butter and buttermilk more visible on supermarket shelves countrywide. Cuinneog’s award winning products are Cuinneog Irish Farmhouse Country Butter and Cuinneog Buttermilk.

The Taoiseach a particular fan of  Cuinneog Buttermilk and took the opportunity to toast the celebrations with a glass full of creamy buttermilk. He said, “It really is the taste that makes the difference. I was at the State Banquet for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in May and had the pleasure of seeing Cuinneog products there. You can’t get on a stage like that without having excellence as a hallmark”.

The Taoiseach also spoke about the importance of small business to the economy, saying, “Despite our economic difficulties, we must look at every new job we create as being a step in the right direction. It is SMEs and micro enterprises which are the areas of real growth for this country. That’s businesses like Cuinneog”.

Speaking at the event, Seamus Mulligan, Business Development Manager, Cuinneog said, “All of us at Cuinneog would like to thank our many thousands of customers for their loyal support as well as all the stores that stock our products. We are also very grateful to our skilled and dedicated staff and quality suppliers. We could not have reached this business milestone of 21 years without them.”

21 years in business
Tom and Sheila Butler set up Cuinneog Ltd. in 1990 in Shraheens, Balla. They drew on their family history of butter production, using traditional recipes and methods. Today, although the business has expanded and changed, they remain loyal to the traditional processes. The production cycle takes four days and Cuinneog is the only company producing fermented butter in Ireland. Cuinneog is a valuable employer in the Shraheens area.

New branding
To celebrate their 21 years in business, Cuinneog have launched new packaging. Both Cuinneog Butter and Cuinneog Buttermilk now come in attractive burnt orange packaging bearing the slogan ‘Cuinneog ... for the flavour’. The instantly recognisable Great Taste Award logo is also featured.

Cuinneog products came to the attention of the nation during Queen Elizabeth II’s visit last May when both Cuinneog Butter and Cuinneog Buttermilk were used during the State Banquet.

Both Cuinneog butter and buttermilk are widely used in the restaurant and catering trade. Cuinneog Buttermilk comes in a 4 litre catering pack and Cuinneog Butter is supplied in a convenient cylindrical form, suitable for slicing into portion sizes in restaurants and hotels.

Cuinneog products are available in all major retail groups including Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Superquinn/Musgraves, Supervalu, Costcutters, Euro Spar and independent stores. Artisan shops throughout the country carry Cuinneog products. Cuinneog products are also available in the UK.

Friday, July 29, 2011

DOUBLE GOLD FOR CUINNEOG


Cuinneog Ltd. (Balla, Co. Mayo), are celebrating after winning coveted gold stars for both Cuinneog Irish Farmhouse Country Butter and Cuinneog Buttermilk at the 2011 Great Taste Awards. This prestigious award scheme is run by the Guild of Fine Foods in the UK and a grand total of 7481 entries were received this year.

“Cuinneog Ltd. are really pleased with this result”, said Seamus Mulligan, Business Development Manager, Cuinneog, “We’ve received a Great Taste Award for our butter on three occasions before, but never for both our products. Cuinneog is the only buttermilk to achieve this award. It’s a real endorsement for Cuinneog and for genuine traditional Irish food”.

Bob Farrand, Chairman for The Great Taste Awards, said: “Winning Gold in the country’s largest and most respected independent food accreditation scheme is a massive pat on the back for any producer - independent proof their products are of the highest quality.

The Judges comments are made available to entrants and it was no surprise to Cuinneog that the flavour was specifically mentioned. “For the flavour” is the tagline used on Cuinneog butter and buttermilk and it’s good to know that the Judges at the Great Taste Awards agree with the sentiment.

Cuinneog can be found in all major retail groups including Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Superquinn/Musgraves, Supervalu, Costcutters and Euro Spar. Artisan shops throughout the country carry Cuinneog products. Both Cuinneog butter and buttermilk are widely used in the restaurant and catering trade.

The Great Taste Awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, are now in their 18th year and going from strength to strength. 7481 products were entered from 1600 companies for the 2011 Great Taste Awards. It took 350 experts 34 days to blind taste all the entries and decide which entries would achieve the coveted awards. The Great Taste Awards judging standards, devised by the Guild of Fine Food, are the most rigorous in the UK.