Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Thursday, September 10, 2015

L’Atitude 51 for Wine. Ratatouille. Movies & Music

L’Atitude 51 for Wine
Ratatouille. Movies & Music
Called into L’Atitude 51 on Union Quay for lunch midweek. Looked at the blackboard and went for the headline dish: Ratatouille with Chicken Skewers (€9.50). It was a good choice, the bowl packed with that high class Ratatouille, full of colour, flavour and texture. Indeed it was so good, that one customer specified Ratatouille on its own.

It is a small enough menu but you may have anything from a half sandwich to the top hot dish. Some recent examples of the latter are Tuscan Sausage & Bean Stew; Baked Longueville Apple Cider Chicken with Mustard Mash;  Tagliatelle with Lemon Pork Ragù;
and Couscous: Moroccan Stew with Chicken and Merguez Sausage.

If I hadn't wanted the Ratatouille, I could have had picked from Salad: Insalata Caprese with Mixed Leaves, West Cork Tomatoes, Toonsbridge Buffalo Mozzarella & Basil (€9.50);
Soup: Cumin, Carrot, Potato €4.50.
- Ummera Smoked Chicken and Creme Fraiche
- Local Tomato, Tuna and House Mayo
- Roasted Potato with Oregano, Feta and SunDried Tomato
Full Sandwich: €6.50

L’Atitude, run by Emma Lagrande and Beverly Mathews, is best known as a wine bar and indeed won the Georgina Campbell Wine Award for 2015. It is set in a historic building, formerly home to the famous Lobby Bar.
Wine tasting via Skype at L'Atitude

They have an extensive selection of wines from every corner of the globe, all carefully sourced, with over 50 available by the glass. They also serve great craft beer and cider, superb locally roasted Badger & Dodo coffee, homemade pastries freshly baked each morning, and more. Importantly, they use the best artisan ingredients, sourced locally where possible.  

The  Wine Workshop hosts a variety of exciting events focusing on the fun side of wine, from tastings and masterclasses on wine, beer, whiskey and sherry to movie nights, and much more.

By the way their Cine Cafe series for this season starts up next Wednesday evening
with "A Year in Burgundy". Part journalistic documentary and part contemplative art film, it follows seven winemaking families in Burgundy throughout the course of a year. Burgundy Wine Specialists Le Caveau, Kilkenny, will provide the "tastes" for the movie.
Wednesday 16th September 8pm. Tickets €12. Booking Essential.

Being in the old Lobby Bar, it was inevitable that music would play a part in L’Atitude. There is no shortage in the famous room upstairs where you’ll see some of Cork's finest musicians. Keep an eye on the website and on their Facebook page.

L’Atitude is a bit like their blackboard menu - lots of good things packed into a relatively small place!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

French Film Fest. Food, Wine and Film at Ballymaloe

French Film Fest.
Food, Wine and Film at Ballymaloe
Natural Resistance

Organised by the Alliance Française de Cork, the 26th Cork French Film Festival showcases the best in current French cinema and is taking place in Cork from March 1 to March 8.

A real treat for lovers of food and wine is the screening of the documentary Natural Resistance, directed by Jonathan Nossiter, which follows a group of Italian winemakers dedicated to resisting the prevalent use of chemicals. 

A former sommelier Nossiter’s Mondovino, a documentary about the globalization of the wine industry, was nominated for the Palme D’Or in Cannes in 2004, one of only three documentaries ever nominated in the history of the festival. Nossiter didn't foresee returning to the topic until last summer when he found himself in Tuscany, seated with Italian winemakers dedicated to resisting the prevalent use of chemicals. Nossiter instinctively turned on his camera and continued to follow these subjects against the sun-kissed backdrop of Italian vineyards. 

The screening of Natural Resistance will be followed by a rustic Italian inspired banquet in the Ballymaloe Grainstore paired with 'natural wines' from the growers featured in the film. The wines will be supplied by Pascal Rossignol from Le Caveau while the film and wines will be introduced by Doug Wregg from Les Caves de Pyrenes. 

Tickets to Natural Resistance and the rustic inspired banquet in the Ballymaloe Grainstore are available on
Jonathan Nossiter

The Wines
Cork French Film Festival

Wines for showing at the film ‘Natural Resistance’, at The Grainstore at Ballymaloe
Friday 6th March 2015

With Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau, The Specialist Wine Merchant, Kilkenny, Ireland and Doug Wregg of Les Caves des Pyrene, Artington, UK

Coste Piane Prosecco NV
Casa Coste Piane is a tiny 6-ha, in Santo Stefano, heart of the Valdobbiadene area, owned and run by Loris Follador. For generations their wine had been sold in bulk, but since 1983 they decided to bottle the production themselves. The organically-run vineyards lie on slopes close to the cellar. The vines are on average 60 years old (some are pre-phylloxera!!) and their roots can grow up to 30-40 metres long. This Prosecco is a gem, it is one of the few made in the champenoise method wherein the second fermentation takes place in the bottle.
Harvest is usually between the last week of September and the first week of October.
In April the wine is bottled without the addition of yeast and sugar, subsequently the indigenous yeast contained in the wine starts a second spontaneous fermentation that lasts for approximately four weeks.
After this the wine spends a further four weeks ‘sur lie’. The process of “disgorgement” is not practised, therefore the yeasts are still present in the bottle… any haziness is entirely natural.
This is very Champagne-like, with great purity and frankness; the aromas are of apple, acacia flowers with an interesting mineral twist and subtle yeastiness.

Stefano Bellotti Degli Ulivi ‘Cortese’ Vino Bianco 2013
Cascina Degli Ulivi in the words of owner Stefano Bellotti:
‘We are a farm with 20 ha of vineyards, cereals, animals, B&B and a restaurant using exclusively biodynamic and organic products, mainly coming from our farm.
We have been practising biodynamic agriculture for 30 years now and we consider the soil as a living organism belonging to the cycle of every living thing; we promote soils health and in turn the plants produce excellent fruit. The soil is nourished by green manure using pulses, cruciferous and graminaceous plants with up to 30 different species. Treatment sprays are limited to the use of sulphur and bordeaux mixture in very limited quantity (about 2 Kg of copper per hectare, per year) and, of course, biodynamic preparations. We strive to make wines that are the true expression of the vintage, the terroir and the personality of the person behind them. The grapes are harvested by hand in baskets; pressing is soft and fermentation takes place naturally, without using any oenological additives (yeasts, enzymes, fining agents). Wines ferment in big wooden barrels. We do not carry out any fining; we just lightly filter when bottling. The total sulphur content is low because we don’t add any. The yield per hectare averages 6 tons’
This little natural wine shows clean acacia flowers, hints of beeswax and mint. Mouth filling aromas of fresh white fruit, honey, with pronounced citrusy character. Very clean, neat flavours ending with crisp grip. Lovely wine
Will go with food like salads, seafood, fish, poultry and pork

Elena Pantaleoni La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso 2012
Barbera 60% Bonarda 40%
Elena Pantaleoni owns this wonderful 50-ha organically-tended estate where wild herbs grow freely between the rows and no chemical fertilizers, weed killers or pesticides are ever applied.
Trebbiolo Rosso is a natural wine matured in stainless steel tanks. The nose is fresh with cherry and red berries mingling with wilder notes. Lively and juicy, the palate bursts with sweet/sour morello cherries and hints of spices. In all, it is a lovely, fresh, lively and fruit-driven wine which is best enjoyed with food.
‘La Stoppa seem to delight in doing the unexpected: whites that aren’t white, that age and reds for drinking young. This is the first vintage of the Trebbiolo (named after a local river) that isn’t frizzante  although there is certainly a little bit of residual CO2.
Wild, earthy, yeastiness on the nose, incongruously like fresh vanilla pod with its earthy sweet-leathery notes.  Aromas of small berries, blackberries, myrtille. Dryish on palate, which  is meaty, earthy, spicy. Youthful and vibrant with a slight fizz on the tongue.
Cries out for a big plate of charcuterie and cheese and some top class air-dried hams.
Orange wines, or amber wines as they are often called are actually white wines produced more like reds – with prolonged contact with the grape skins, resulting in a deeper colour from the pigments found in grape skins. Rather than being orange, they are actually more a deep amber or tawny colour and on the palate possess the texture, body and tannins of red wines with the fruit and minerality of white wines
Giulio Armani Dinavolino 2012
25% each of Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Marsanne, Ortrugo, and an as-yet unidentified variety from the lower slopes of the vineyard
Giulio Armani is the winemaker at La Stoppa (Emilia Romagna). This wine comes from his own  biodynamically tended vineyards. Having reached perfect ripeness, the grapes are hand-harvested and left to macerate with their skins for 7 to 10 weeks, giving the wine wonderful complexity, structure, little tannins and its light orange colour.
Neither filtered nor fined, the slightly cloudy appearance leads to a floral nose with apple, orange flowers, orange skins and pear hints. The palate is richly layered and intense, with gorgeous apple and honeyed flavour wrapped in impeccable acidity and minerality.
Great with most foods salads, fish, white meat & most cheeses

For afterwards, we will have two little organic Sicilians Ciello rosso and bianco -Inexpensive, but beautifully made and full of authenticity!

Cantine Rallo, Ciello Bianco ‘Catarratto’ Terre Siciliane IGP
Made from organic grapes, fragrant and crisp, Ciello Bianco Catarratto is amazingly fresh and vibrant, delicate flavours of white fruit, hints of peach and lemon zest mid palate and soft notes of marzipan on its bright finish.

Cantine Rallo, Ciello Rosso ‘Nero d’Avola’ Terre Siciliane IGP

Made from organic grapes Ciello Rosso Nero d’Avola has freshness and energy, dark red colour, hints of black plum, coffee and chocolate on the nose, pleasant spiciness in the mouth with smooth dark fruit flavours
The dynamic Vesco family took over the winery 10 years ago and have since revolutionised the viticultural practices and invested heavily in cutting edge technology for the winery and bottling line. Their hundred hectares of organic vineyards are located high up in the hills above Alcamo.
The wines are all certified organic and planted on south-east facing slopes on sandy soils 150 – 300m above sea level. The climate is clearly suited for producing the best quality grapes.
The vineyards in three main sites: Alcamo for Catarratto and Nero d’Avola; Marsala for Grillo and Pantelleria for the Zibbibo which that produces their delightful Passito di Pantelleria. The grapes tend to be picked earlier in the year than many of their neighbours which produces their customary bright, fresh style of wine.
The results are evident in the fragrant, crisp Catarratto and perfumed, fresh Nero d’Avola. These wines are a million miles from the overripe styles made by many of their peers. Night harvesting and modern temperature controlled fermentations result in bright, fresh, modern wines.
Fragrant and crisp, Ciello Bianco Catarratto is amazingly fresh and vibrant, delicate flavours of white fruit, hints of peach and lemon zest mid palate and soft notes of marzipan on its bright finish.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Not Your Usual Food Conference. A 1st for Ireland

Darina Allen opens food conference, a 1st for Ireland

Weston A. Price Foundation International
 Food Conference for Limerick 
Darina Allen

February 7th and 8th 2015 at Thomond Park in Limerick will see the first Food Conference of its kind take place on our island. Named the Wise Traditions Ireland Conference the focus is on Food, Farming and the Healing Arts and will no doubt appeal to foodies and non foodies alike.

The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism based on the solid research of nutrition pioneer Dr Weston Price.  It supports a number of movements that contribute to this objective including accurate nutrition instruction, organic and biodynamic farming, pasture-feeding of livestock, community-supported farms, honest and informative labeling, prepared parenting and nurturing therapies. 

Founded in 1999 by Sally Fallon Morell, the Foundation has grown and expanded in its membership and activities exponentially.  In an era when populations are struggling with ill health, both physical and mental, digestive problems, allergies etc it is timely that this event comes to Ireland and gives an opportunity for us to see how it is possible to regain health and reverse many chronic health conditions using the wisdom of our ancestors. 

For an eye opening and mind-expanding two-day event that will challenge all your beliefs about nutrition, don’t miss this one of a kind conference where you get to hear expert speakers, meet nutritionists, parents and people who care about their and their family’s health, and eat some delicious food too!

Key speakers: Darina Allen - Ballymaloe Cookery School and Champion of local food.

Sally Fallon Morell - USA, author of Nourishing Traditions, the cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. 

Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride MD PHD, She is well known for developing a concept of GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome), which she described in her book  Gut and Psychology Syndrome   - Natural Treatment for Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression and Schizophrenia

Joe Fitzmaurice - Award winning bakery and bread school Riotrye, Cloughjordan Eco Village 

David Wetzel - founder of Green Pastures (fermented Cod Liver Oil) 

Elizabeth Ryan - Founder of Raw Milk Ireland Campaign 

Tickets for the event cost €70 for one day and €117 for the full two-day event and a delicious lunch based on WAPF and GAPS principles created from locally sourced produce is included in the price.

Further information and tickets available on or 

a press release

Friday, July 4, 2014

Art, Craft and Food Naturally at Ballymaloe

Art, Craft and Food Naturally at Ballymaloe
Palais de Poulets
Ballymaloe is a working farm, producing magic by the moment. I went through the looking glass last Wednesday and, in a few short hours, sampled this incredible place.

With Colm McCan as our guide, we passed the Palais des Poulets and stepped into a one acre bubble where all kinds of vegetables grow organically under the warm shelter. And so too do a selection of vines, though even the enthusiastic Colm knows that more magic will be needed if the fruit of these East Cork plants is to be turned into wine.

A fertile Allen imagination is at work in the calm warm place. One segment of the shelter has a newly laid carpet, of grass. Here later in the month, one hundred people will sit down for the Long Table Dinner, a night of fine food and conviviality.
Under cover clockwise from bottom left:
tomatoes, passionfruit flower, Colm with grapes,
and borage in the herb garden

Many tales illustrate the 30 year old story of Darina Allen’s Cookery School and we mingle with the students for lunch. The starter is pea soup. Sounds mundane enough. But it was excellent and the main course, with the Belly Bacon an outstanding feature, was incredibly delicious.

And the magic was sweetly evident on the dessert plate, emphasized by that natural cream from the Jersey cows, a memory of good times past but very much part of the present reality here in Ballymaloe, provided by six Jerseys that yield the milk for the table and for the students to make their butter, cheese and yoghurts.

Man does not live by bread alone, though I could think of a worse diet than that emanating from the Ballymaloe ovens. Colm now directed us to the gardens, starting with the herb garden, based on the legendary gardens of Villandry. May not have quite the scope of the Loire chateau but Ballymaloe has its surprises, including that unforgettable After Eight Mint (one of many varieties, including Banana and Orange).

Dinner. Check out that Jersey cream on the dessert plate!
Soon we were into the herbaceous border, a magnificent example of the type, and heading for the  Shell House, hardly a house, just a very small building but unforgettable. Here, some 20,000 shells have been artistically arranged (by Blott Kerr Wilson in 1995). You'll never look at mussel shells or scallop shells in the same way again. The gardens and shell house are open to the public and there is a charge.

Back in the main house, built around the remains of a 15th century Fitzgerald castle, part of which still stands, we went down to the wine cellar in the rock on which the buildings stand. Here lay treasure! Colm handled some of the great wines of the world with care and, like a good Corkman, I just looked, eyes and mouth open!

Time now for a reviving cup of coffee and where else would you go but to the tig beag, the roasting house of Mark and Golden Bean, right next to the well known wine and entertainment venue, the Grain Store. Mark was roasting a few kilograms of Ethiopian beans so we waited for the crack and soon we were sampling, via his AeroPress, the freshest coffee we had ever tasted. Mark, by the way, has a new outlet for his excellent coffee and soon you'll be able to buy and drink it at the Princes’ Street store, just opened (02/07/14), by The Rocket Man.
Mussel shells in small sample from Shell House

Now for a little cultural exercise, in the environs of the house and the field outfront. Colm introduced us to Richie Scott, the exhibition's coordinator. Richie would be our knowledgeable guide on the sculpture trail which features a walk into the middle of the cornfield to see some of the exhibits.

Richie first assembled FORM for Mount Juliet last year and now this revised version will be in Ballymaloe until September 28th. There is something for everyone here: some humorous pieces, some severe, large scale pieces and small, abstract and figurative. You may not like every piece but do bring the kids and let them loose; take your time as you walk around and let your eye wander and allow the magic in.

My favourite, in this first walkabout, was perhaps Holger Lonze, especially The Large Seabird. Enjoyed too the quirky pieces, mainly in Kilkenny Limestone, by Eileen McDonagh. And what about that stranded surfboard, high and dry at the base of the big tree? Go see for yourself. No charge.

Almost ready. Mark checks a roast.
After quite a packed few hours it was time to say goodbye. But we’ll soon be back. Already the first date is confirmed. On Thursday, 24th July, at 7.00pm, a Krug Champagne tasting with Nicole Burke, Krug USA Brand Ambassador, will be held in the Ballymaloe Cookery School (note venue). Contact for further details and bookings.

And all that magic? Probably the usual formula: 5% inspiration, 95% perspiration.

Some upcoming Ballymaloe events
Ballymaloe Garden Festival, August 30th and 31st.
Feel Good Food: Let’s Cook, one day course with Chef and Nutritionist Debbie Shaw at the Cookery School, Monday July 21st.
Master It with Rory O’Connell, Two Day Course which sees Rory teaching a slection from his book. Wednesday Jul;y 30th to Friday Augist 1st.

On the FORM trail.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Slinging Arrows on Culture Night

Slinging Arrows on Culture Night
Flash. Bang. Boom!
Here’s a bit of culture for you:
I shot an arrow into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where.

I tell a lie. It was at Elizabeth Fort on Culture Night that I let fly. Up and away. Well it would have been away but for the enormous wall of the fort as my first ever shot from a bow flew well above the huge seemingly unmissable target. Got better with the next two though, still no bull’s eye but closer. Well done to the members of the Cork City Archery Club for helping the young and the not so young have a bit of fun.
Bit disappointed though that we didn’t get to fire cannon balls. That would have caused some consternation in the area of the historic fort (early 17th century). Reckon I’d have chalked up a bowl of odds (more Cork culture) up South Main Street!

We did have the red coats on hand though and they were demonstrating their prowess with the muskets. After a couple of technical hitches and malfunctions, the shot went off and, despite being ready for it, we all jumped as the noise echoed around. Great fun and thanks to everyone involved.

Oh, almost forgot. We had a guide to take us around the fort and fill us in on the history. Some great views up there, a great semi-circle of the city visible from the east, to Shandon and other churches of the north side and out to the west. The nearest church of course is the great St Finn Barre’s and you get a fabulous close-up.
The English Market were ready for us now and we were ready for it. After a sample of Tom Durcan’s spiced beef, the first serious stop was Frank Hederman’s: Jazz, Cava (via Bubble Brothers), a chat with the busy Mrs Hederman and a carton of their terrific smoked salmon and smoked mackerel with salad and veg.

The Market was packed. You could hardly move. But it was a terrific atmosphere, good manners and courtesy all around. And simple humorous chats also with complete strangers when you shared a surface to eat. Chats too of course with quite a few that we knew, Cork being both a city and, especially at times like these, a village.
O’Connell’s Fish always contribute on these kind of evenings and they too were buzzing, their menu going down a treat. Here I opted for a tasty crab cake. Just around the corner then to the Olive Stall where a plate of their goodies and a glass of wine cost a reasonable six euro, all put away as the music played, a traditional trio at this stop.

Getting full now and feeling like dessert. Knew Lillie Higgins was operating at the ABC stall and she had a few sweet things at hand: Chocolate Soup with frangelico, softly whipped cream, toasted hazelnuts and a hazelnut sourdough soldier was the first; another was Belgian waffles with salted caramel sauce and Chantilly cream. Both were winners.

And we felt like winners as we headed out of the market, unable though to resist buying some Turkish Delight before getting the bus. The sweets, along with a glass of Chaume (recently acquired at Château Soucherie in the Loire ) provided a sweet end to a sweet night of culture.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kayne’s Bistro at the Dromhall Hotel

Kayne’s Bistro at the Dromhall Hotel

 Called into Kayne’s Bistro at the Dromhall Hotel recently and enjoyed an excellent evening meal there. Was staying at the adjacent Randle’s Court and strolled over on a Saturday for a 7.00pm reservation and got a warm welcome. Soon we were comfortably seated and enjoying the rapport with a very friendly and helpful staff.

Started off with their €7.95 Signature Salad ((described as Fresh herb salad, sun blushed tomatoes, pine nuts (missing), crisp croutons (missing), roasted peppers)) with a Balsamic dressing and Char-grilled chicken added. Very enjoyable indeed, also quite substantial, and didn’t really notice the absence of the pine nuts and crisp croutons.
 Then onto to the Plat Principal, the Grilled Irish Prime Beef fillet (€26.95) served with champ potato, garlic butter, and crisp onion rings, and sautéed mushrooms. Not to mention a side dish of gorgeous seasonal vegetables. The steak was excellent, done to perfection and to order.
 Dessert? Well why not? Hung for a sheep as... Each cost €6.95 and the one I picked was the Lemon Tart (a lemon flavoured chilled crème anglaise on a sweet pastry base). Just the sweet job, delicious.

Had been sipping a bottle of a pleasant South African Merlot (Libertas 2010 €24.50) all the way through and finished off with a pot of green tea before heading downstairs to the bar and the music. Enjoyable evening all round in a highly recommended venue.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Christmas at Flemings. Special Place. Special Evenings.

Christmas at Flemings

Enjoyed the most perfect dinner in Fleming’s  last. Game, as you know, is now in season and I absolutely relished my starter of rabbit and main course of venison and so much more besides, all as the flames rose and fell in the fireplace.

Great to meet up again with Eileen Fleming, the ideal hostess. She was telling me about their two special Christmas events and I just had to agree that the beautifully decorated Georgian dining rooms, open fires and flickering candlelight are “the perfect backdrop for a Magical Christmas”.

Husband Michael, an Award Winning Chef Patron, recently proclaimed the Best Chef in Munster by the Good Eating Guide, “always creates something truly special. A choice of many classical Christmas dishes, seasonal game, partridge, venison and of course our boozy Christmas Pudding complete a menu that is truly exceptional.” Sounds good to me.

And while you are enjoying some of the best food in Cork, you can take in a special musical show, featuring Roos Demi and Olivia O’Connell.

Two Special Party Dates
 Saturday 24th November Thursday 13th December
An original evening of music, song and fine dining,
with a definite Christmas theme:
"Un Histoire D'amour a Noel"
performed by the new music duo
Roos Demi and Olivia O’Connell
(think Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel)
Unique to Flemings.
Early booking advised. €55.
 Ring 021 4821621    
Or email via

Of course, there is much more going on at Fleming’s in the lovely building they purchased in 1989 and set about restoring. Great meals every night and don’t forget the Christmas lunches, gift vouchers, the goodies in their Christmas shop and, maybe it is a bit soon to be mentioning it, their New Year’s Eve special. Check it all out here

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Food for throught at Cork Seminar

Annie's Roasts, a regular at markets,supported by South & East Cork Area Development (SECAD).

Deirdre Collins of Dee’s Wholefoods, who appeared on Dragon’s Den last year, will talk about building her business of vegetarian ready meals from farmers’ markets to a now national brand available in all major retailers in Ireland & UK when SECAD hosting their annual regional seminar for the Catalyst Women in Business Project on 21st November in the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Little Island.  An amazing line up of successful women in business is likely to draw women interesting in starting up their own business, or those already in business.

Deidre O’Shaughnessy, Editor of Cork Independent and regular Newstalk radio and TV contributor will talk about making connections and building relationships for your profile and business across all sectors.

“This year, we decided to choose ‘Making Connections’ as the seminar theme.  Through our work in the South and East region, we know how important it is to network with other people in business who have the potential to become partners, customers or who can provide personal referrals. This is why we have decided to theme this event around making connections” said Sinéad Conroy, SECAD.

Over the past two years SECAD has co-ordinated numerous networking events, organised mentoring and organised training courses specifically for women in business to support business women and aspiring female entrepreneurs.  One of the key objectives of the Catalyst project is to provide opportunities for women in business to make connections which will help them to grow and develop their businesses.

 “We are delighted that Dee will be providing us with some “food for thought” around how to connect with potential customers” added Sinéad Conroy, SECAD. For further details on this event and to secure your place now please email Sinéad Conroy at or call 021.4613432.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Conference on Food Allergens and Contaminants

The Food Safety Professionals Association (FSPA) will host a National Education Conference on Food Allergens and Contaminants in the overall context of  Food Safety  at The Chapel in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin on Friday 2 November 2012 between 10 am & 1pm. This event is FREE to the general public as well as industry experts. Read more here

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wild Honey Inn. A special place.

Wild Honey Inn

 Any county that can hold a banquet with all the food and drink coming from within its own border, as Clare did in Ennis on October 5th, must have some good restaurants. And there are some brilliant ones in the Banner – they regularly turn up on the awards list - but the one we choose on a recent overnight stay was the Wild Honey Inn  in Lisdoonvarna. In a relaxed roadside pub just outside the town, Aidan McGrath turns out delightful dishes.

We called pretty early, just after six and, having been on the go all day, had a good appetite. First though, a drink. Spotted some craft beer on the counter and picked a bottle of the Copper Coast Red Ale made by the Dungarvan Brewing Company. Settled into our comfortable seat and, with help from the friendly waitress, we ordered.

As it turned out, our dishes were all off the Specials menu, with the exception of the exceptional dessert. My starter was the Ham Hock Terrine, celeriac remoulade, salsa verde (€8.90). Quality ingredients in a well presented dish and the same could be said about CL’s starter of Dill Cured Salmon, pickled fennel and cucumber, sauce gravadlax (8.90). Two super tasty starters and we had confirmation that all good things we had heard about the Inn were true.
 We were tempted by the Halibut Troncon with Saffron ratte potato but both went for the other special: Veal Feather Blade, pearl barley, carrot and cumin puree, young leeks (€19.90). Aidan said this was a rare cut and he sure made the best of it.

The whole dish looked well and tasted well. You could have cut the meat with your spoon and the use of the pearl barley was also a rare delight. Even the potatoes that came as a side were top notch. Quality all the way from the farm to the kitchen to the table.

The Apple and Blueberry crumble that we shared for dessert was another winner. The humble apple was the main ingredient, a beautiful example of the fruit, cut into plentiful mini chunks, so juicy. And the fruit wasn't buried under a mound of crumble, just a thin tasty sheet. A gorgeous combination to end a gorgeous meal.

With the friendliness of Aidan and his crew and the top drawer food, the Wild Honey was one of the highlights of our trip to the delightful county of Clare, a place where there is so much to see and do, not to mention so much to eat and drink!

 Also visited: Cliffs of Moher  The Burren Brewery  St Tola Goat Cheese Lahinch area Ballyvaughan Tea and Garden Rooms The Burren

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

West Cork Suppliers on Show

Say cheese: Fooling around with Val Manning

West Cork Suppliers on Show

Some of the top food producers and suppliers in West Cork were gathered in the ballroom of the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen last Wednesday as part of the week long A Taste of West Cork festival, specifically there in the morning so that the visiting chefs for the evening’s highlight, the Celtic Cook-off, could sample and choose from the produce.

Delighted to get an invite to the morning session and meet up with some old friends from the markets and also meet some new ones. Manning’s Emporium  from Ballylickey had a stand groaning with some of the best cheese around: Durrus, Coolea, Gubbeen, Fermoy etc. and Val and Andrew were in top form. More top notch cheese too at the Milleens stand where Quinlan Steele was on duty.

Frank Krawczyk, a citizen of the world who loves his West Cork home, is one of Ireland’s best known salami and sausage makers. Loved his Bresaola and his treatement of a shoulder of pork, both tasty and moist, not to mention his cured ham. Frank, based in Schull, gives regular demonstrations at Ballyvolane House and O’Brien’s Chop House.
Frank Krawczyk

Axel and Marye Miret are the couple behind West Cork Garlic  and their product was used by winning chef Garry O’Hanlon. Caroline Hennessy was on the 8 Degrees Brewing stand and she was displaying the full range of their popular beers. Saw the ale again on the Friday, on tap in Cork’s latest craft beer pub, the Hub in Anglesea Street.

Two of the four people on the Celtic Cook-off working group, Avril Allshire of Rosscarbery Recipes and Sally Barnes (“the greatest fish smoker in the country”, according to one Tom Doorley) of Woodcock Smokery were both busy at their stands.

Lingered also at the Skeaghanore West Cork Duck stand, for the conversation and also for a sample or two. Here they like to keep it simple, natural and additive free. Read all about this wonderful product here.

The chefs had been down to the coast earlier in the mornings so there was no fish stand in the ballroom but the sea wasn’t forgotten as we met Sally McKenna of Bridgestone Guides and Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking.  They had a very impressive display from the sea and the shore including Dilisk, Carrageen Moss, Sea Spaghetti and Wrack and more. Tasty stuff too and Masterchef winner Tim Anderson was shopping there.

Got to most of the stands but missed out on a few, including Brown Envelope Seeds. All of the suppliers were back for the Cook-off in the evening and the stands were kept busy as hundreds of people squeezed in.

A few more producers came too, including Glenilen and Matson’s Wine and Food Store of Bandon who, with Searson’s, were supplying the matching wines for the cook-off meals. Matson’s are offering 20 per cent off on the show wines for the next while. I got a taste of one of them, the Vallado from the Douro, a terrific red, easy drinking and delicious.

All in all, a great experience that underlined once again the quantity and quality of the producers in the area. And, another thing, these are friendly folk. So why not put the festival in your diary for September 2013. You won’t regret it!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Inchydoney Island Taste of West Cork

Sweet, sweet Inchydoney

Inchydoney Island Taste of West Cork

Hannah-Rose Farrington of the Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa has been in touch to tell us all about their tempting Autumn Food and Wine Evening

“As we welcome Autumn and all the wonderful harvest it brings, Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa are delighted to announce their Taste of West Cork Autumn Food & Wine Evening which will be held at 7.30pm Friday 21st September.

The Taste of West Cork Evening is a unique evening to showcase the best of West Cork produce and artisan producers. The team of Chefs are already working on combining the wonderful autumnal produce to create exciting flavours mixed with exquisite presentation.

The evening will begin with a Champagne and Canapé Drinks Reception at 8.00pm, followed by a 7 course Autumn Tasting Menu, created by Head Chef Adam Medcalf and his team. Filled with flair and imagination the evening will combine the best of seasonal produce from West Cork which will be paired with wines carefully chosen by Harriett Tindal of Tindal Wines.

Once you have enjoyed the Seasonal Menu and paired Wines, we invite you to complete the evening in Dunes Pub & Bistro where you can enjoy an evening of music with our Resident Musician.

Tickets priced at €60, are now available and can be purchased from the hotel reception or by calling (023) 88 33143. Should you decide to make an evening of it, we would be delighted to offer a reduced rate of €75 per person sharing. Enjoy overnight accommodation in a deluxe room with ocean view terrace or balcony and in the morning wake to Chef’s full Irish Buffet Breakfast. You will also enjoy access to the heated Seawater Therapy Pool, Sauna, Steam Room, Gym and Relaxation Areas.

We hope you will join us for what promises to be another great Taste of West Cork Evening.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Aherlow House Hotel Spanish Chef. Local Food.

Aherlow House Hotel
Spanish Chef. Local Food.
View from the dining room.

Had a mini-break recently in the spectacularly located Aherlow House Hotel and enjoyed it immensely. Great views and terrific food. Not forgetting the friendly service.

That service started and ended with the reception crew but, in between, was also seen and appreciated in the bar and the restaurant. They serve food in the bar but we went for the appropriately named Treetops Restaurant.

Its huge windows give you a massive view over the Galtee mountains to the south as does the outdoor seating area. But it also dishes out some gorgeous food, much of it supplied locally. On the evening we were there, the beef and lamb came from near neighbour Tom Lewis, the veg was supplied by Eden Growers (Tipperary Town) while the fish came from Atlantis Seafood in Kilmore Quay. Well done to Spanish chef Jose.
Clockwise from top left: Pavlova, Smoked Salmon, Cheeseboard, wine, steak,
duck with fennel, grilled Asparagus & Peppers.

Smoked salmon was available at dinner and at breakfast and that, coming from the Burren Smokehouse, was a delight. Great too to see cheese makers Gubbeen, Cashel Blue and Cooleeney represented.

I had that very Smoked Salmon, with poached Tiger Prawns and a rocket and lemon dressing, for my top drawer starter while CL was also very happy with her gorgeous Grilled Asparagus, Roast Red Peppers and Coriander dressing.

I had some of that Lewis beef in the shape of a Pan Fried Ribeye Steak with Homemade Onion Rings and Sweet Potato Chips. Tender, delicious and cooked as requested. The other mains, another winner, was Breast of Duck with roasted Fennel, Celeriac Fondant, Caramelised Pear with a Honey and Thyme Sauce. Cracking stuff.

Dessert too was well up to standard, especially that Cheeseplate, served with a Tomato and Apple chutney, Celery, Grapes and Artisan biscuits. I enjoyed my Mess of Pavlova with fresh Raspberries and Strawberries and Chantilly Cream.

And the wine came from Spain and quite good it was: La Cruz Tempranillo and Syrah, a delicious warming blend, red berries and spice, from Finca Loranque Vino de la Tierra de Castilla.

The four course meal cost €35.00 per person, set price, while the wine came in at €22.00. No wine at breakfast, but again a terrific choice, including that Burren Smoked Salmon. Terrific friendly place to stay and all very helpful with queries on the local attractions, especially the lovely walks, many of which start close to the hotel.

Click on the links to read a fuller account of the brief stay.
Glen of Aherlow  Cahir Castle  and the Swiss Cottage.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Old Shop. New online.

Bradley’s Now Online!

When I started buying beer in Bradley’s, I was conscious of resuming a family tradition. But with a difference. My father would have bought bottled Guinness but the black stuff I was buying was from craft breweries in places like Kerry, Waterford, Carlow and nearer home. Bradley’s are a great supporter of craft beers (and ciders) and have a fantastic selection.

A few years back, I was in a local wine store and they were amazed at the quality of the wines in Bradley’s. “He must have some buyer,” they said admiringly. And that sterling selection is still available.

When you visit, be sure and take a look too at the Sherries, the gins, the whiskeys. Fantastic selections. And if Michael Creedon hasn’t got it in stock, he’ll get it for you.

Man doesn’t live on beer alone of course. You gotta have bread. And Bradley’s, founded in 1850, have the best of it, the beautiful loaves produced by Cork's own Arbutus. Great stuff. And if you like jam on the break, then look no further then Gs’ award winning jars, another proud addition to the shelves in this amazing store.

And they has so much more, such as great porridge oats from places like Kilbeggan and Ballybrado, cereal from Staple Diet, local honey, coffee from Fermoy's Badger and Dodo.

But not much good having shelves groaning with the best of products unless you have the service to go with it. And here too Bradley's excel. Expert advice and knowledge is just a question away. A lovely store to visit and a great place to make a purchase. And now you may purchase online. Take a look at their spanking new website!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Italian Start to Saturday Food Trail

Saturday Food Trail in Cork
Princes Street


An old favourite

A new favourite from Tom's Bakery

Venison lunch
Started off last Saturday’s Food Trail in the city with a visit to a church, of all places. The Unitarian Church in Prince’s Street, Cork’s oldest church, was playing host to the Irlanda Italiana Cultural Association.

The association is composed of Italian friends who enjoy living here and are willing to share their culture. There has already been a series of events and Saturday’s was mainly about food and wine.

Restaurants such as Ballincollig’s Bacco and Douglas Cafe Moroni’s were represented. Moroni's were selling some gorgeous sauces. There were tasters of salamis and you could buy slices of tarts and much more.

There too you could buy Fabio Cavallini’s Traditional Balsamic Vinegars of Modena. Some were very old and very expensive and he also had a walnut liquor. You could even book a Italian chef to come to your home and serve up an authentic Italian meal!

Not surprisingly, the Boot (based on Forge Hill) had a big display and I couldn’t resist buying a pack of their Amaretto biscuits, also some salami. Some tempting wines were also on display, including Montepulciano and also Vermentino di Sardegna. Will have to call out to Forge Hill to see more of their 850 products.

Next food stop was the Coal Quay Market and a call to Tom’s Bakery stall. Usually go for the Country Baguette but this time picked a quarter of his huge Country Loaf and enjoyed it in a big way over the weekend.

There was also a little market in Paul Street in front of KT Max and here I grabbed a bite of lunch, this in the shape of a hot dog (€4.00), one with a Venison sausage from the Crough Farm stall.