Showing posts with label Glenilen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Glenilen. Show all posts

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.
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”.
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, August 24, 2015

Staples Making His Mark at Hayfield Manor

Staples Making His Mark at Hayfield
Superb Lunch at Perrott's
Even on a dull day, Perrott’s Bistro in the Hayfield Manor is an impressive room. And, to further brighten up the place, there is excellent food available here, both day and night. And indeed, the room is perhaps even more impressive after dark.

Scottish chef Mark Staples brought considerable experience to the Hayfield when he was appointed Executive Chef there late last year. Prior to that he had spent 16 years in Dublin's Merrion and noticed the trend towards artisan food and meets that demand at Perrotts by using quite a few local producers including Skeaghanore Duck, Bluebell Falls Goats Cheese, Rosscarbery Black Pudding and Toonsbridge Mozzarella. (To read more on Mark's career, click here).

 It was a pretty dull day when we arrived last week but it brightened up with a warm welcome. Service was superb all through. And we got a super wine tip that saw us both enjoy the excellent te Pā Sauvignon blanc from Marlborough, a fine example of the type, full of flavour and with a long rolling finish.

It's been awhile since I enjoyed a Prawn cocktail as much as my starter: Tiger Prawn and Freshwater Prawn Cocktail with pickled Cucumber. The prawns were delicious and the pickled cucumber (seedless, skinless) was a nice touch, not just visually.

You see goats cheese a lot on local menus. And why not? We’ve got some terrific producers. CL’s starter was Grilled Bluebell Falls Goats Cheese with Oat and Almond Crust, Rocket Leaves and White Balsamic Marinated Strawberries. A few different touches here, that crust and those strawberries included, enhanced the excellent cheese from North Cork.

My mains was the Bertram Salter Free Range Chicken with Rosscarbery Black Pudding, Ham Hock and Chicken Croquette, Champ Mash, Pea Purée and Tarragon jus. I hadn't come across this particular producer before; Bertram is based in County Carlow and the product is top class and was cooked to perfection here. All the other elements played a part, especially that outstanding Croquette.
 CL loves her hake and enjoyed this Pan-seared Union Hall Hake fillet with Celeriac and Thyme Purée, Roasted Baby Onions, Salt Baked Kohlrabi, Caper Beurre Noisette. It was of course that little bit different. She particularly enjoyed the Kohlrabi and the potato crisps were both decorative and tasty!

And the little touches that make all the difference continued into the desserts. Desserts can often be very similar from one restaurant to another and are the one course I'd often happily leave behind. But no danger of that here.

CL’s was the Baked Glenilen Yogurt, Cinnamon Crumble, Strawberry and Mint Salsa with champagne sorbet while I picked the Alunga Milk Chocolate Parfait, Sea Buckthorn, Caramelized cashews, and Brown Bread ice cream. Rene Redzepi of Noma brought the attention of his fellow chefs to Sea Buckthorn and the foraged berries make a lovely syrup (may be used in yogurts and smoothies). As I say, desserts with a difference for the guests at Perrott’s.

Mark and his team. To read more on Mark, click here

Friday, January 30, 2015

Roughty Foodie. Generation to Generation

Roughty Foodie

Generation to Generation
Garett, on duty.
“I believe the survival of the English Market over the last hundred years is down to the families who have ran the stalls from generation to generation. They have kept it going.” So said Garrett Murphy, as we chatted over a cuppa in the Farmgate Cafe. Garrett, a current stallholder, knows what he is talking about!

For fifty years, his father Michael ran the Roughty Fruit King stall in the centre of the market, until ill health came in 2011. Four generations of the Murphys worked there, in different locations, until they settled on the current stall in 1961. Nowadays, Garrett and his sister Margot Ann work in the new look foodie stall (now called The Roughty Foodie) and they have help from time to time from younger members of the family.
 Two thousand and eleven was the year of the Queen’s visit and the Murphys, in transition from a specifically fruit stall to something more general, weren't ready for her but, with help and encouragement from the City Council and fellow traders, they were up and running for the peak summer months.

“It kinda fell into our laps,” says Garrett as he recalled those anxious months. “But we could see the change of emphasis to quality. We could compete with the supermarkets on quality though not on price. So we took that new direction and grew organically. We soon had a few local producers on board, including Macroom Mills, Glenilen and our home-baker.” Garrett will never forget that first Saturday. “Everything cleared. We had nothing left on the shelves.”

They moved along from there with new producers coming on board, including Brian from Beechwood Farm and his brother Colm from Horizon Farms, Mags (who makes a great Lemon Curd) from Heavenly Preserves and Betty Smith with her jams and marmalades. Also joining were Harty’s Jellies, Taste the View, while local strawberries came from Rathcooney.

“The two months July and August of 2011 were great. The tourists came flooding in and kept buying, the locals too despite the parking problems. Traders told us it would get better in October and November but that didn't happen and we were worried until December and the run-in to Christmas which proved massive for us and had us back on track”.

 Two of the stall’s suppliers, Seymour Biscuits and Kilbeggan, may be bought at the upscale Dean and Deluca in New York but “we have no big-name suppliers” says Garrett. “Some are part-time and some were professionals who lost out in the recession and turned to what they knew. Nicola of the Big Red Kitchen is an example of the latter.”

I asked Garrett what the most popular products are. “It is seasonal so, for example, we sell a lot of porridge in the winter months. Jams, preserves and honey are always very popular and so too is cheese.” What has surprised you over the past few years? “This Christmas it was the amount of hampers and Irish cheese and crackers that we sold. At Christmas 2011, goosefat was a huge seller.”

What are his own favourites? Licking his lips he had no hesitation: Eddie Hicks’ fantastic bacon jam and Ballybrado Supreme Spelt muesli. He has great time too for Kitty Colchester’s Happy Heart organic rapeseed oil and the High Bank Farm Apple Syrup. And indeed is enthusiastic about every single product he displays!

The stall is packed with food. But it is not just food. Tourists love the Seaweed Bath. The Goats Milk soap from the Burren is very popular too and he has a great candle-maker from Portmagee on Valentia Island. So do go in and explore. You never know what treasure you’ll find in Roughty Foodie.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On Bread and Beer. And Beer in Bread.

Not Bread Alone!
Man does not live by bread alone! Not sure that Arbutus Bread would go along with that. Especially after their latest loaf, a very tasty white bread that is made with, among other things, beer from Eight Degrees Brewing Company in Mitchelstown.

Picked up a loaf in Bradley’s at the weekend. It didn't last long at all. What a crust. Couldn't wait to try it. Just added some Glenilen butter for the first slice. Fantastic. Some homemade gooseberry jam for the second slice. Superb. Ain’t going to tell you about the next slice. Nor the one after that. Experience it for yourself.

Am I the only one thinking that the Kinsale Pale Ale is the best around? Renewed acquaintance with this gem, by Black’s, in Jacque’s last week and thought it was just outstanding. Loved the way the flavours spread over the palate from the first sip and that dry clean lingering finish. Indeed, linger is the word. Took my time sipping, the better to enjoy every single every drop.

The very next day I called in to Bradley’s to get a wee stock of the KPA and here Michael Creedon,helpful as always, introduced me to the latest beer from Black’s, Ireland’s first Black IPA. Another gem that might well confuse you because of the dark colour and chocolate and coffee tones. Very happy with that one, though I must confess I’d have a slight preference for the KPA.

Kinsale have moved up to the popular 500ml size and I'd like to see more brewers follow suit and that includes Franciscan Well. I do like a wheat beer and the Well’s Friar Weisse is a favourite. Up to recently it was available only on draught and in that form I enjoyed a few out in Blairs Inn. Now is it in bottle but only in the 330ml size, same as their Rebel Red. Still, bottle size notwithstanding, it is a very tasty drop - love those refreshing flavours.

Tasting Notes
Kinsale Pale Ale ABV 5% - An exciting fusion of Cascade and Citra hops inspires tropical and citrus flavours that are beautifully balanced with the malty sweetness. The taste dollops a smack of citrus onto the palate – grapefruit and lime – alongside more sweet pineapple and tangerine a decent little malt body fairly creamy, with definite biscuit and cake-dough sweetness and straw overall very well balanced. Clean and crisp citrus bite to finish on, which lingers for a while alongside the sweet tropical fruit notes.  - Alltech Dublin Beer cup bronze medal winner 2013.

New from Blacks of Kinsale, Ireland's first Black IPA! A unique beer that ambushes your senses, it pours dark with a creamy beige head but tastes light and hoppy! Complex hoppy fruity flavours and aromas mixed with roasty bitter chocolate and coffee tones. Low carbonation for a smooth stout like finish. Dressed in black, charged with hops and ready to rock.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Click to enlarge

Many of you will know the Old Millbank   stall at the Mahon Point Farmers Market .  It is a regular stop of mine, usually for the fine Irish Organic smoked salmon, sometimes for the salmon fishcakes and also for the delicious salmon pâté.

Yesterday I noticed a different product there: hummus. There were two types, one with chilli. I had a taste of both and went for the regular type. They had a chart (pictured) on the stall detailing the benefits of Hummus. Looks a good bet!

Moved on a few yards and what did I see but more hummus, this at the Real Olive stall . They also had two varieties. Bought some semi-dried tomatoes here and also a scoop of olives.

Also called to the Natural Food Bakery stall and bought one of their white yeast loaves. A lovely bread and absolutely ideal for use with good quality jams, such as those from Follain  in West Cork.

Barry Tyner was in great form as usual. Never a shortage of tasty pâté samples here and delighted to get myself a big chunk of that chicken and brandy one, a lively starter to any meal! No shortage of vegetables in Mahon. Called to the Ballycurraginny Farm this time and a fiver bought a bunch of carrots, a bunch of parsnips and a turnip
Iain O’Flynn has quite an array of food on his stall; soups, pates, jams and prepared dishes. On this occasion, I was tempted most by the Lamb Tagine. Had this before and it is terrific.

Queues at the fish stalls but I was on the lookout for meat on this occasion and stopped at Martin Conroy’s Woodside Farm ( @Woodside_Farm ) for a great looking pork steak and a good chat. Another chat at the Glenilen  stand before we went off with one of their gorgeous cheesecakes.

Reckon that lot will keep us going for a day or two. Maybe three!

Thursday, August 4, 2011



Great to see newcomers Glenilen Farm (left) at the Mahon Point Farmer’s Market this morning, even if their fantastic cheesecake wasn't on display. Had to settle for their Panacotta at the very reasonable price of 4 euro for two pots!

There were a couple of farmers showing off their vegetables, just out of the ground. This time it was the turn of Ballintubber (below). Their cauliflower just cried out for a home.

Dan Aherne, another East Cork producer was next door. Their fillet steaks were gone – “they go first” – but there was considerable consolation as I helped myself to a couple of T-bones.

Martin Conroy of Woodside contributes to the new 12 mile menu at Midleton’s Sage Restaurant and tells me he is delighted with it. “It was packed last night.” Woodside have quite a range of products from their free range pigs and, among other things, we like his burgers.

Also called to Iain O’Flynn; this time we were concentrating on his soups. He had two new to me so we gave them a go: Courgette and Parmesan and also Pea and Mint.

Also visited Gubbeen, Arbutus Bread, Rose Cottage, Green Saffron and the Old Millbank Smokehouse and more. By then, the bags were full, the arms at full stretch, so off home to plan the next few meals. With this kind of produce, they should be good.