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Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Taste of the Week
Ardsallagh Cranberry Roulade
Ardsallagh Cranberry Roulade came tops in the New Cheese Section at the Irish Cheese Awards in 2011. It is still going strong and our Taste of the Week.
It is a soft goats cheese with cranberry: 100% handmade, 100% natural, 100% local and 100% delicious, even on its own.
Came across a striking way to use it during a meal in Jacques some time back when dessert was Medjool Date stuffed with Ardsallagh goats cheese, with Almonds and a full circle of Blood Orange. A gorgeous summer combination.
This small family run business in East Cork has grown steadily, and you can buy their products not only in local farmers markets, but also in national supermarket chains. I got mine at the Roughty Stall in Cork's English Market. Ardsallagh products can also be found on the menu of many well known restaurants across Ireland.
The whole family contribute toward the smooth running of the farm and dairy. They use the ladle method, slowly and carefully, making a beautiful cheese that is easily digestible.
Ardsallagh Goats Products
Thursday, February 23, 2017
There are cheesecakes. And there are Charly’s Cheesecakes
As patrons of the start-up stall in the English Market have been delightfully discovering over recent weeks, there is a new and exciting level in the world of cheesecakes and Charly’s heavenly creations are top of the pyramid. At an different level entirely.
And who is Charly? Well she is the daughter of Dubliner Derek Gilsenan. Derek is a chef and a few years ago, on his days off, he and Charly embarked on cooking and baking fun. Together they started making cookies, ice-cream, whatever Charly felt like on the day.
|Starting another day in the English Market|
The father and daughter were doing well and the praise came in after their first ever cake sale at Charly's school in Waterford, where the family live. Derek, not yet a converted cheesecake lover, felt he and Charly were on to something good.
He went all to to get proper gear and the rewards followed when Charly's Cheesecakes made an amazing debut at Winterval, Waterford’s winter festival.
And so they progressed and now this is Derek's only job. He is at it full-time and describes this as a make or break year. The big operators have taken notice but Derek is not about to reduce the superb quality of his products.
“I'd rather have four good markets and make a living by sticking to my guns. I enjoy what I do. Stalls like this one in the marvellous English Market are a great boost to me and other start-ups. It gives us a lift and I am really looking forward to taking up a stall at the Saturday Coal Quay Market in Cornmarket Street when I finish here on the 11th of March.”
And he is passionate about what he uses in the business. All his packaging, comes from DOWN2EARTH MATERIALS at Forge Hill (and is compostable). And the packaging is top notch, that clear dome superbly displaying the goodies inside! And those goodies contain no gelatine. “No cakes need it, it is sinful to use it in cakes.”
“I will never run out of flavours.” If you check the list on his Facebook page, you'd think there are not too many more out there. But even that list is not complete and he promises many more. “Basically, if you give me a tin of roses I will reproduce each flavour in individual portion sizes.”
Only top quality ingredients are used in Charly’s. The high quality chocolate comes from Belgium and he counts Muldoon's of Waterford (makers of the award winning whiskey liqueur) and Malone’s Fruit Farm of Carlow among his suppliers.
By the way, all those fruit garnishes are hand-cut and mounted by the man himself. Oh, he still gets help from Charly herself. “She started it and she's sticking with it!” By the way, he is looking for a supplier of a soft cheese, cows or goats!
The quality and the passion have taken Charly's Cheesecakes a long way. They are totally different, “on a different level” as he says himself. Go taste one for yourself! And that's easily done, as he usually has a tray of little tasters available.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Ribera del Duero“Cradle of the greatest wines”
Wine has been produced in the beautiful wine region of Ribera del Duero since Roman times, though it became well known outside of Spain only in the 1990s. Just two hours north of Madrid, there are over 270 vineyards following the banks of the Duero River in the Castilla y León region, a flowing swathe of land that’s approximately 115 kms long and 35 kms wide.
According to the World Atlas of Wine, there were just 24 bodegas in the region when the DO was created in 1982 and now there close to 300. You’ll find big companies there, such as Faustino and Torres, and many smaller outfits. And there are many small growers who sell their grapes to the winemakers.
Earlier in the week, at Cork’s Farmgate Cafe, Agustin Alonso González, Technical Director of D.O. Ribera del Duero and Vicente Marco Casamayor, the D.O. Ribera del Duero Director of Communications, led a tasting masterclass, ranging from the young ‘Joven’ wines to the ‘Reservas’ – wines of exemplary depth and balance, powerful and elegant, and great wines for food.
A few years ago, Larousse Wine described the DO as “truly the queen of the Iberian peninsula and the cradle of the greatest wines”. And Alonso echoed that with his opening rhetorical question: “Why are we different? Why are we not just another region? Why are we nowadays touted as a Premier area?”
There is of course more than one answer, though Alonso says that the average altitude of 850 metres “says everything”. The best wines are often made in extreme conditions, on the edge between possible and impossible.
And Ribera is on the edge, certainly in terms of frost - they get a lot of it in the spring. Indeed, the rule, he said, is that you must have 200 frost free days per annum to make wine; they get a few less than that. Temperatures in summer can see big variations between the heat of the day and the cool of the night. And even more so between the summer (up to the mid 40s) and winter (down to minus 20).
|The lone rosé|
While other grapes are grown here, Tempranillo accounts for 96.5% of the harvest. Known locally as Tinta del Pais, the berries are smaller with a thicker skin. Because of the different proportion of fruit to skin, “it is better to make richer wines”. By the way, the DO does not include white wines, just rosé and red.
At The Farmgate, we would soon find out how good the wines were. We started off with a rosé and a few of the younger wines before moving on to those normally drank with food including a lovely Emilio Moro 2014, the “very typical crianza” produced by Valduero, and the Protos Crianza, “a very classical wine, French style, from the complicated harvest of 2013”.
At this tutored stage of the tasting, we had about ten wines and naturally finished with the best. I thought so and so did a few close by. Here are my top three, in no particular order.
Resalte Crianza 2011, a renowned wine say the producers; an exceptional vintage from a very hot year, according to Alonso. It has spent 14 months in oak (80% French, 20 American) and the promise of its “ripe fruit and typical oak aromas” is carried all the way to the finish. A powerful well-balanced wine with great potential for ageing (another feature of Ribera wines).
Pradorey, from Finca La Mina, was another star, this a reserva. This has spent 18 months in American oak, 6 in Nevers oak vats. “Iron fist in a velvet glove” was the phrase used on the day and its not too far off. It impresses all the way through, a gorgeous bouquet, fresh, balanced, silky on the palate and a long finish.
And like the Pradorey, the Protos Reserva “can last another 25 years”. This has been aged 18 months in oak and 18 in bottle. It has a beautiful “typical” cherry colour, a complex nose (includes jammy red fruits) and a powerful silky presence on the palate. Soft but with good acidity (for the food!) and a “lingering finish”. Superb. A good one for Christmas (although it was the Fournier Spiga 2010 that Alonso recommended for turkey!
That ended the “formal” part of the afternoon and then we tucked into a few nibbles from The Farmgate and tried a few other wines that were open. Here, I noted the aromatic Verónica Salgado Capricho Crianza 2012 as a favourite for its rich and vibrant palate and a long finish.
No shortage of good wines from “the modern red wine miracle of northern Spain”, a title bestowed on Ribera byThe World Atlas of Wine. Thanks to Wines of Spain, the Ribera DO, and Host & Co. for organising the opportunity and to The Farmgate, led by Mirko, for hosting.
Resalte Crianza 2011 - Smith & Whelan
Pradorey - GHS Classic Drinks
Protos - Comans Wholesale
|The Farmgate. Bodega for a day.|
Read all Ribera's Alejandro Fernández here, making wine his own way since 1975.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Taste of the Week
Kerala Buffalo Curry
When staying in a French town, I found there were two essentials that had to be located immediately. One was the Tourist Office and the other was the local traiteur.
The latter was a source of top notch prepared or semi-prepared dishes. And so I was delighted to see a notice in O’Mahony’s Butchers in the English Market quietly proclaiming that they had Kerala Buffalo Curry on offer.
And not alone that. Eoin O’Mahony himself was on hand to offer all the info needed on how to handle the dish at home. Add onions, a can of tomatoes and coconut milk (available a few yards away at Mr Bells). The buffalo meat, from Macroom, looked good and, with the additions and some slow cooking, proved to be a real treat and our Taste of the Week.
Unit 37 Grand Parade side
Tel: 021 4270254
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Bringing the Market together.
In 24 Days in 24 Ways, Smokehouse Sauce is bringing the English Market together. Together on a plate, that is.
Smokehouse Sauce, fast emerging as a favourite across Munster, is the guest trader for six weeks at the start-up stall in Cork’s English Market. Emma Kelly of Smokehouse: “The English Market is iconic, a quality place to shop for quality. Traders here know their growers and suppliers. There is an honesty here, now so important as people become more aware of the importance of sourcing.”
So the mission for Smokehouse is 24 Ways in 24 Days. That means changing the dish daily and Chef Stephen of Elbow Lane is the man putting it all together on the plate. The sauce was the brainchild of owner Conrad Howard and his daughter and has been perfected in the Elbow Lane kitchen. It is available across Munster Stores of Supervalu, in the Food Academy section, and also from independent butchers.
“It’s amazing to be here in the old heart of the city, to be collaborating with the English Market, promoting it and the traders,” enthuses Emma. A recent dish, the Ploughman’s Sandwich, with sauce of course, involved no less than four traders. Brown spelt bread from Hassett’s, Cheddar cheese from the Roughty Foodie, ham from the Chicken Inn, and salad from Superfruit, lunch for just four euro!
Before that, they featured Smoked Pork Empanadas, the pork supplied by Ken and Helen of the Meat Centre who have been trading here for 37 years. The package also included an apple and courgette salad and smokehouse sauce (of course!).
|Tom Durcan's Spiced Beef, Hassett's Rye Bread,|
Sauerkraut and Coolea Cheese from
On The Pig's Back
And the versatility of the sauce was again underlined with On The Pig's Back goats cheese bon bons, with pearl barley, pea sprout and beetroot leaf salad and Smokehouse Sauce dressing. Day Three was an interesting one: Ham hock and scallion terrine (using meat from Bresnan's Butchers), with Smokehouse Sauce and homemade red cabbage slaw. And it’s not just meat. Cod from Kay O’Connell’s was used in delicious frittatas and enhanced with the sauce.
“There is a hard-to-match quality here in the market. We want to highlight that and support local at the same time, by combining traditional meats with modern flavours. The sauce itself is tomato based and may be used as a dip, a relish and as a marinade. It is extremely versatile. Use it with grilled, roast or cold meats, fish, cheese and vegetables.”
|Aoife and Chris at the Smokehouse stall|
So what is today’s dish? Check it out on their Facebook page by all means but do call in and try it out! And you must see their lively video celebrating the sauce and its arrival in the Market. Here's the link
For more on the Smokehouse Sauce, including recipes and stockists, check the website here.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Nash 19. The Real Thing.
Local on a Plate
Local on a Plate
It’s lunchtime Saturday and I'm sitting at a table in the Sternview Gallery at the back of Nash 19 (most of the tables in the front end were full) in Princes Street Cork and looking, admiringly, at a big tempting slice of bacon loin. And my mind goes back about a week when I got a shiny plastic-y slice of ham in a small cafe in Trim. Hard to believe that both came from the same planet, not to mind the same type of animal.
The one in Nash 19 comes from Crowe’s in Tipperary , is big and thick, moist and packed full of flavour, an itegral part of my Eggs Benedict (12.00). It is parked on a mega slice of sourdough that stretches right the diameter of the plate. On top are two perfectly poached eggs and all around there is Hollandaise sauce. A classic combination, top notch produce so well handled, as is consistently the case here, and beautifully presented as well.
Across the table, CL has quite a dish in front of her, again very well presented. It is the Chicken Korma Curry, Basmati rice, Mango chutney and Papadum (13.00). Nothing overly complicated here but the big chunks of locally supplied chicken chicken are key, full of flavour and so tender, great stuff. Had one or two myself from this oh so enjoyable moderately spiced curry.
And speaking of moderate spice, we had each started with a cup, quite a generous size, of one of the soups, the Squash and Ginger (3.50). There was also a bowl option for €5.50. Seafood chowder and a goat's cheese salad were also available as starters and, if you were in the mood, a dozen of Jamie Dwyer’s market fresh Pacific Oysters.
Speaking of markets, the mains list featured a Taste of the English Market (just across the street). For sixteen euro, you could treat yourself to a plateful of meat, fish and cheese, served tapas style. Recommended! Their own recommendations on the day were the Kerry Crab Sandwich and the Nash 19 Cod Fish and Chips. Indeed there is a great selection on a menu that sees some change daily!
And if you feel like more, then you can treat yourself to some of the great local produce at the little shop on the way out. And if you are too busy to dine here, if you need to have lunch in the office, then check out Nash to Go.
As we dined, owner Claire Nash herself was busy handing out samples to and then chatting with a group of visitors led by Alice Coyle of Fab Food Trails but not too busy to check around the restaurant and see how the various customers are doing. And if Claire doesn't get to you at least one member of her superb staff, friendly and efficient, will.
What’s the difference between bacon and ham? I sometimes ask myself. Here are two good guides, the first from James Whelan Butchers, the second from the UK’s Delicious magazine.
19 Princes Street
+353 21 427 0880
Sunday, July 24, 2016
The FarmgateIreland on a Plate
|Tripe & onions, and Drisheen|
Right in the heart of Cork City is the Farmgate Café. Here, the world meets Cork food, fresh from the nearby seas, local fields and from the English Market downstairs.
As we mingled with customers coming and going last week, we could hear the out of town accents but the loyal locals too were there in force. The Farmgate has managed for more than twenty years to cater for the tastes of both the jet-setter and the native. And managed it all so well that it would be hard to pick a better interface for the diners from near and far.
With that in mind, I started with a very local dish: tripe and onions, and drisheen (€5.50). You may also have it as a main course. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten it here before though I’ve had tripe in various forms, usually abroad, over the years. Indeed, when I leaned my head towards the plate, I thought I got a whiff like that of the French Andouillette (chitterlings) and I’ve read since that they sometimes use tripe in the preparation.
|The whole plaice to herself!|
But the taste and flavours, of both the tripe and drisheen, are quite delicate and rather delicious. You do need the onions for both texture and flavour and the trick is not to overuse them. The balance was perfect here.
CL meantime, a veteran of tripe and drisheen and responsible for bringing lots of it to relatives in the UK, keeping it fresh overnight in the sink of their cabin on the old Innisfallen, was enjoying her Toonsbridge ricotta and tomato compôte on toasted sourdough (7.00).
|Cured fish, with that delicious herring in the bowl in the foreground|
But my own mains was another gem: A Cured Fish plate with organic green leaves (14.00). Highlight here was the little bowl of Mustard Marinated Herring, one of the series of lovely herring products by Silver Darlings and widely available.
Quite a tempting list of desserts and I was tending towards the organic yogurt with Ceapach Choinn honey and nuts but opted for a coffee in the end. Not just any old coffee. The Bicerin coffee was a bit special, and is native to Turin. Mirco, a native of North East Italy, was serving us at the time. It wasn’t quite the layered Turin version in a glass but I enjoyed my cuppa made up of a double espresso and a shot of chocolate and cream.
While I sipped, I took in the women around the place. No, not the diners, but the huge hanging posters advertising a series of events taking place in the Farmgate this year, in collaboration with UCC scholars, poets and writers, commemorating the unsung women of 1916 under the general title of “Women of the South: Radicals and Revolutionaries ”.
With that, and the Farmgate’s long-standing Poetry Wall , and the food of course, you’ll know where you are. And all, from near and far, are welcome to come and enjoy the taste of this place called Ireland.
Tel: 00 353 21 427 8134
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (general enquiries)
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Taste of the WeekTreat from The Chocolate Shop
The Chocolate Shop in Cork’s English Market is a treasure trove, packed with good things. And good people there too in Rose and Niall who’ll help you get exactly what you’re looking for.
I was on the lookout for a Taste of the Week. In truth, I could have had closed my eyes, put out a hand and anything I touched would have fitted the bill. But I asked them to fill a little box with some delicious pieces, some by Wilkies Chocolate from Midleton and the others by Skelligs Chocolate from County Kerry. I had my Taste of the Week, on the double!
They opened in 2000. They know their stuff - were very impressive at a recent Chocolate/Whiskey matching event in the River Lee Hotel. They are independent of any single manufacturer or franchise and therefore free to source only the best quality chocolate from the best artisan chocolatiers throughout the world.
You’ll also find related items, such as Nougat. And they also sell Hadji Bey’s Turkish Delight, a long standing favourite in these parts. Check them out and find your your own taste of the week!
Email : email@example.com
Monday, October 26, 2015
Italian Night at FarmgateUmbria & Valtellina Combine
|Mirco and the wines of his home region|
The Munster branch of the Irish Wine and Food Society were joined by quite a few others at last week’s Italian night in the Farmgate at the English Market. The menu was cooked in the style of Umbria (the green centre of Italy) by well known chef Adelaide Michelini, while the wines, chosen by the Farmgate's Mirco Fondrini from his home area of Valtellina (Lombardy), were making their debut in this part of the world.
Mirco was delighted to be able to bring his hometown gems to Cork. He had quite a display ready as the fifty plus guests arrived. Valtellina is in the foothills of the Alps that Italy shares with Switzerland. The valleys are deep and the sun reaches just one side, the side you'll see the houses and the vines on. Wine-making here is hard work but the Pietro Nera Vineyard in Chiuro thrives on it.
Our opening wines as we arrived included the Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio Bianco IGT. The 2014 “La Novella” was made from a blend of Nebbiolo (vinified to white), Rossola, Chardonnay and Incrocio Manzoni grapes. Quite a mix in the blend but this white, with its flavours of tropical fruits and balancing acidity, was a delight.
|You won't see tractors in these vineyards!|
Some of us picked the 2010 Valtellina Superiore DOCG “Sassella Alisio” as our opening drink. This bright ruby coloured red, a blend of Nebbiolo, Pignola and Rossola, all grown in the village of Sassella, was a hint of the serious wines to come, once we had finished our opening canapes. One was Chicken Liver pralines with hazelnuts and cocoa beans, the other a Savoury choux with mortadella and pistachio.
We continued with the reds as the meal was served, enjoying more of the Sassella before moving on to its older sister the 2008 Sassella Riserva, made from 100% Nebbiolo (called Chiavennasca in these parts!). The bouquet and hints of oak and the wine itself was strong, smooth and velvety.
Our final wine was also 100% Chiavennasca, but with a difference. This 2009 Valtellina was a ”passito” wine, made from partially dried grapes, not unlike the Veneto’s Amarone della Valpolicella. This was quite concentrated, 15% abv also, rich in flavour and aromas. It had been aged for 18 months in oak, rested in stainless steel and refined in bottle for at least eight months. Quite a selection overall by Mirco. Maybe someone will start importing from his region!
The position of Principal Chef Instructor for the Gambero Rosso's International Cooking Schools abroad - Bangkok, Miami, Seoul Hong Kong - has given Adelaide Michelini “the great privilege to bring the true Italian haute cuisine in the world”.
“In 2013 I was included within the Catering & Delivery section of the Gambero Rosso - Rome Guide. In 2014, I became a TV host, presenting my very own TV show called La buona cucina di Adelaide (Gambero Rosso Channel, 412 Sky Italia).”
Adelaide, now living in Cork, used local produce in her dishes at the Farmgate and the Antipasto was a Soft Truffle Egg with Potato Mousse. Then followed the Primo Piatto, a Toonsbridge Ricotta & Hazelnut Gnocchi in West Cork Swiss Chard Soup.
|Soft Truffle Egg|
And then we were on to the star dish, the Secondo Piatto: O'Mahony's Porchettina with fennel semifreddo and Autumn vegetables. The perfectly cooked round of pork, with embedded herbs, was a delight in itself but the combination with the icy fennel took it all to another level. Perfect!
The Dolce was described as Tiramisu...almost! Let’s says there was no shortage of cream, no shortage of coffee as the night with a difference came to a sweet end. Thanks to Mirco and Adelaide, and to Rebecca and the crew at the Farmgate.
The next IWFS event:
Sunday November 8th. Harvest Lunch in Longueville House. We will join William and Aisling O'Callaghan for a tour to see the orchards, presses and stills where they make their fantastic cider and brandy. After the tour and tasting, we will head to the house for a special harvest lunch. William and Aisling are great hosts, so this will be a really special day out. A bus will be laid on from Cork City so people can enjoy the cider and brandy. Buses leave Cork City Hall at 11am. Price for bus and tour, tasting and lunch €65 (€73 non-members).
A lot of people have already signed up. Indeed it is very close to the limit but if you'd like to attend, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
|Porchettina (Google translates this as naughty girl!)|