Showing posts with label Clonakilty Black Pudding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clonakilty Black Pudding. Show all posts

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Munster Wine & Dine 2017 Launch at Club Brasserie

Munster Wine & Dine 2017 Launch at Club Brasserie


An amazing series of tapas style dishes, prepared by hosts Club Brasserie, heralded the start of the 2017 season for the Munster Wine and Dine Circle. Each dish was accompanied by news of an event already confirmed in the calendar for this local group, who love their food and drink and love also promoting local produce.
After a welcome prosecco, thanks to Gary O’Donovan, we had a short and interesting presentation by Cal McCarthy, Senior Sales Manager at Clonakilty Black Pudding. He told us the success of the company was down to the passion of the people involved, especially founders Eddie (RIP) and Collette. “It is available in the UK, Australia, the United Arab Emirates… we must be doing something right.” And he also told us about the right way to cook it: “..on its own, in the oven”. By the way, they also do gluten free black and white pudding and sausages.
Clonakilty Black Pudding
Beth and Harold and their staff in the Club Brasserie then began their superb service, starting with that iconic black pudding and Beth confirmed the tasty dish was indeed cooked in the oven. New committee member Stuart Musgrave then outlined the first event. In March, a group will visit Barry’s Tea, another iconic Cork producer, and the “best tea blender on the world” according to one time rival Stewert.

By now, another dish had arrived from the busy kitchen, a presentation of mushrooms from the folks at Ballyhoura and mixed in were some of their new smoked oyster and shiitake, “very tasty” according to Beth. MWD secretary Beverley Mathews was then on her feet, outlining the April event. “This will give you the chance to stand in the shoes of a large scale wine buyer.” Supervalu's top buyer, Kevin OCallaghan, will be present for a tasting of some of their wines in L’Atitude in what should be a fun evening.

Ballyhoura mushrooms
I’m not sure that there was an event for every dish and we were on to the mussels when chairperson Eithne Barry enthused about the next event, a May trip to Kinsale. She fleshed it out. A bus from the City Hall with the first stop at Black’s Brewery in Kinsale for craft beer and gin. Next stop at The Spaniard for a glass (of water?!). And finally, dinner at Man Friday, a dinner to be cooked by the younger generation in the long-established restaurant!

Soon Eithne was telling us about the summer’s premium event, a day out in West Cork. The bus will take us direct to Gubbeen where our hosts will be Fingal and his sister Clovis. Fingal will give a tour of the farm, telling us all about the cheese, about his very special smokehouse (where he produces the most divine Chorizo and Salami and more) and about his knife-making for which he is rather well-known. Over then to Clovis who will feed us all as the July evening unfolds.

Lamb
 Speaking of premium, Harold and Beth brought out a very special dish, their lovely East Cork Lamb, with their own harissa oil and spiced chickpea, small and beautiful. Speaking of East Cork, one of the earlier plates featured Ardsallagh goats cheese.

The MWD speaker now was yours truly and my task, on Saturday September 15th, is to take a group on a short walk, focussing on the Coal Quay and Shandon, areas long associated with Cork food. Back down to the city centre then for a late leisurely lunch in Jacques where no doubt there will be a reminder, maybe even a replica, of a dish from the good old days (but we'll leave the details up to the Barrys!).

Crab
 West Cork Crab was now on the menu, served with a lime chilli mayonnaise. And MWD treasurer Richard Scott took the floor to highlight the final event of the year on the 3rd Sunday of November. Lunchtime visits to Longueville House (2015) and to Ballyvolane House (2016) have proved highly successful. If it works, why change it., So this year, we are off to the Long Room in Ballymaloe where fifty happy visitors will be seated. Before the lunch, a local producer or two will be on hand to give a  presentation.

Looks like a great finalé to what should be a varied and entertaining programme.

* The membership list is very close to its upper limit. If you are interested, please email mwdcircle@gmail.com. Fees are €30.00 single, €50.00 double.

Chocolate mousse

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Beautiful Barnabrow. An East Cork Hideaway

Beautiful Barnabrow
An East Cork Hideaway
We came in off the narrow twisting road and drove up an even narrower lane, where trees meet overhead, donkeys and ducks in the small fields. The sun was shining brightly as we approached the inviting restaurant, set in trees with parasols and tables outside. We could well have been on the continent but were in one of East Cork’s delightful venues.

Barnabrow, twenty years in business under Geraldine Kitt, is renowned as a wedding venue. But we were here for Sunday lunch and, as always, chef Stuart Bowes delivered, much of the produce coming from the nearby walled garden.
Starters
The restaurant is also rather special inside. It is here in in this spacious lovingly decorated room that the wedding feasts take place. With its pointed arch windows there is a semi-religious look to it. And your servers come and go into and from what looks like a confessional.

We nibbled on fresh and delicious sourdough (with Glenilen butter) as we studied the menu, two courses for 23.50, three for 27.00. Children may have half adult portions (though various goujons are available too) for 13.50.
Kilmore Quay Hake, soft potato puree, Fennel, Olive & Citrus salsa, Port reduction.
This was our other main dish. Superb. Empty plate went back!
Creamed celeriac, truffle and toasted almonds were the ingredients of the soup but, with the day being so warm, we decided on something else. CL went for the Clonakilty Black Pudding Salad, Crispy Potatoes Alsace, Feta, Apple and Tomato dressing. Quite a substantial starter but full of great flavor and texture.

I had been looking at the Ardsallagh Goats Cheese with confit red onion and hazelnut dressing but picked the Salmon Rillette, Cream Cheese, garden beetroot, and poppy seed dorito. With contrast provided by the dorito, this was a smooth and rich delight.

Lamp, stuffed pepper on right.
There was beef (with Ragu of Ballyhoura mushrooms) and lamb on the mains. I had enjoyed the beef on  a previous occasion so this time choose the Roast Leg of Kildare Lamb, Stuffed Piquillo pepper, Apple and Garden Mint Relish. A superb combination, every bit playing a part, and, for sharing, the sides (especially the full-of-flavour carrots) were just brilliant, looked well, tasted even better.

We were thinking of sharing a dessert but, under some gentle persuasion, went for broke! The deciding factor here was Mum's shortbread, Stuart’s Mum that is! And that shortbread came with the gorgeous Lemon Posset with crushed raspberries, a major step-up on the little jars you often get. And, yes, Mum’s shortbread was class.
Vegetable side dish
The other dessert enjoyed was the Iced Parfait of sea salt and caramel with marshmallows and strawberry sauce. I had a idea this was going to be excellent and it was. Just the job before we headed off into the East Cork sunlight for a stroll around the grounds which boasts a view out towards Ballycotton Bay and the lighthouse.

With all the different buildings, the various sheltered outdoor nooks and corners, one with a good area of decking with seating, the trees and flowers, the animals, the walled garden, it is a great location for a wedding and this is the heart of the business. There is even an adjoining accommodation “village”.
Dessert
In addition, the house (with is many different sized rooms) and grounds accommodates quite a few corporate functions, some serious, some fun. And do watch out too for special events, such as a Valentine’s weekend getaway.

Well done to Geraldine and her team on the twenty years and here’s to another twenty!
I confess, I ate well
Barnabrow House
Cloyne, Midleton
County Cork
Tel: +353 21 4652534
Twitter: @barnabrowhouse

Monday, March 9, 2015

Farm Restaurant, Clonakilty. Well Worth A Visit.

Farm Restaurant, Clonakilty.
Well Worth A Visit.
Clonakilty’s Farm Restaurant has made a big impression in less than six months. Produce from the local seas and farms features strongly on the menu in the Ashe Street venue, right in the middle of the town. Comfortable seating and friendly service, along with top class cooking, makes for an excellent dining experience.

We were in last week and, with a chocolate tasting coming up immediately afterwards, decided to go for two courses of their early bird menu. While reading the menus, we got a cone full of pop-corn and a basket full of gorgeous breads (including a particularly delicious one with onions and Dubliner in the mix - what a tasty crust this had).
Delighted to see so many local names listed, including Clonakilty, Staunton’s, Dan Moloney, Caherbeg, Skeaghanore, Toons Bridge, along with craft beer by Dungarvan and cider from Stonewell.

The Clonakilty Black Pudding featured on my starter, served with Crispy Pancetta salad with celeriac, Pear and Apple Coleslaw. Delighted with that opener, excellent flavours and textures, and CL was more than pleased with her Crisp vegetable and chicken confit spring roll with Szechuan Dipping sauce, another tasty combination.
 It just got better after that. My mains was the Pan-roasted free-range chicken wrapped in Clonakilty Bacon and stuffed with Caherbeg Sausage meat. There was an explosion of flavours here, including a great sauce, and the sausage meat added a bit of herby spice.
The other mains was Skeaghanore confit duck leg with marmalade sauté potatoes and that had CL purring. Another empty plate. Oh, by the way, the included sides of creamy mashed potato and vegetables were also cooked to perfection and very much appreciated as well.

Must call back some day when we have no other eating commitments and get stuck into the A La Carte! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Griffin’s Spinning Wheel Unveils Gorgeous Gluten Free Options!

Griffin’s Spinning Wheel Unveils Gorgeous Gluten Free Options!

Sweet GF! Don't forget, today is Fiver Friday at the Spinning Wheel.
Paid a visit to the beautiful Griffin's Garden Centre on the banks of the Lee in midweek and came home from the Dripsey venue with a Eco-Friendly Champion Anthurium. I can’t eat it - that’s what the label clearly says!

But I ate more than enough as the main purpose of the trip on a sunny aftenroon was to check out the new range of gluten free food that they have in their lovely river-side Spinning Wheel Restaurant, a very busy spot indeed. It is open 9.00 to 5.30, so you may have breakfast and lunch here and lots more besides.

Miriam, who invited me out, told me they  “have been working hard with our head chef, bakery team and customers to ensure that we have a large range of gluten free meals, cakes, scones, desserts and breads available at all times from our customers. We will always have gourmet options for coeliacs and people who wish to live a gluten free life.”

GF samples: Chicken salad, Fish Pie, and, right, breakfast options
"We offer a range of gluten free breakfasts from gluten free scones, breads, omelettes and full Irish Breakfast. Gluten free quality sausages are  available on our breakfast menu. A range of gluten free sausages have been taste tested by our customers and restaurant team. And the best have been given the Granny Griffin seal of approval and are now on the menu.Throughout the day, we are constantly baking gluten free scones, bread and desserts that are available to eat in our restaurant or to take away.”

“Our Lunch Menu has one the largest ranges of gluten free options in Cork. Lunch is served from 12 to 3pm. We have two options of soups every day which are both gluten free. Over 80% of our  salads are Gluten free including an option of gluten free quiche. So for a light lunch option you have a choice of soup, quiche and salad or a vibrant flavoursome open Sandwich.”

“Our head chef is always creating new and improved gluten free lunches. The majority of sauces created in our kitchens are gluten free. Each gluten free meal is well signed to inform the customer. A expansive range of Gluten free desserts and Cakes are also available in the restaurant,  Pavlova, apple tart, brownies, orange and almond cake are just to name a few. And why not try our gluten free Afternoon tea. Pre booking is essential for all Afternoon Tea.”

More sweet stuff!
Chef Chris took me through the tasty options, starting with those Clonakilty Sausages and puddings which he tested on the visitors at last week’s World Feeder Fishing Championships. He uses the black pudding too in a delicious salad. Perhaps the top salad I tasted was the Caesar, great tasting chicken from his Macroom supplier and gluten free croutons that tasted better than the average.

And most impressive of all, I thought, was the Fish Pie, the excellent cornflour sauce recently developed by Chris. Many people think that Gluten Free food is bland, as Chris said. But this tasting plateful was full of great flavors, proof positive of the exact opposite.

The restaurant manager Helen introduced us to Pastry Chef Mary and what a belt bursting selection she had for us, everything from a simple scone to Pavlova to a stunning Chocolate cake. No penance going GF with these kind of goodies on offer!

Creme Brûlée
To get the best from this, and other Heuchera, plant it a little proud of the earth!
Aided by copious cups of coffee, we finally managed to get up from the table and enjoyed a stroll around the magnificent garden centre which will be familiar to many of you. Had another chat with Miriam and got lots of gardening advice!

They also have a home section and that includes an indoor plant display and it was here that we bought the Anthurium, pictured left!

* You have an even better excuse than usual to visit Griffin's today. It is Friday and they have a Fiver Friday offer in the restaurant. Check it out here.
The Spinning Wheel Restaurant





Monday, January 13, 2014

Always Busy at the Bramley Lodge Café

Always Busy at the Bramley Lodge Café
 I think Bramley Lodge Café has been perpetually busy since Gillian Kearney opened the café in 2009. It is situated just off the N25 (main Cork-Waterford-Rosslare road) at Cobh Cross. Parking has been improved here, it has long opening hours and so it is a very convenient stop. And  a highly recommended one.


My latest visit came this weekend. The welcome is informal but warm, reflecting the friendliness of the staff. By the way, informal doesn't mean inefficient service, far from it. We were immediately directed to a table and soon had the menu and the list of specials and, as it turned out, we ordered mainly from the latter.


Had seen their Cajun style Salmon with a Mango Salsa and Rustic potatoes and seasonal veg (13.95) on their Facebook page earlier and went for that as my mains. It was terrific, cooked and assembled with a light touch, and thoroughly satisfying; it looked well and tasted well.


CL too was very happy with another nicely presented special: Roast Loin of sugar baked Pork with an Apple and Raisin Chutney, served with seasonal vegetables and potato (12.95). An excellent piece of meat and enhanced no end by that beautiful chutney!

 My Halloumi affair continued with my starter, this from the regular menu: Grilled Halloumi with organic leaves, char grilled melon, rustic potatoes and honey and citrus dressing (7.95). That dressing was superb and I totally enjoyed the combination of the cheese and the melon, a combination that I haven't come across in recent weeks.


Our other starter was the soup of the day: Broccoli and Courgette (5.50). Much more than the two veg went into this very flavoursome warming bowl.


The café puts much of its success down to using “the best ingredients available from our local producers”. Their website lists Ardsallagh Cheese, Ballycotton Seafood, Riverview Eggs, and Clonakilty Black Pudding among those suppliers and I also noticed Woodside mentioned on the menu.


In addition to the café, they have a food store full of their own and other producers’ good things, a huge range of lovely stuff including cakes, take-out meals, soups and chowders and salads. And, they also do outside catering!


Bramley Lodge,

Tullagreine,

Carrigtwohill,
Co. Cork.
t: 021 4882499

  • Opening Hours

  • Monday - Thursday 8AM- 7PM Last orders 6PM.
  • Friday - Saturday 8AM-9PM Last orders 9PM.
  • Sunday 9PM - 8PM Last orders 7PM.


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).