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Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Dark Chocolate Apple Crisp Thins
Lismore Food Company, who make these beauties, say that “Seven days without Chocolate makes one Weak“. I say seven days with chocolate makes my week.
These divine crisp apple thins, air dried and wrapped in the finest dark Belgian chocolate, are an epicurean delight. They have a delicious contrast between the richness of the chocolate and the tartness of the apple and are our Taste of the Week.
All week, that is. With the morning coffee, with the afternoon cuppa. And other occasions I won't mention in case someone is counting. Taste of the Week and very handy to have in the coming weeks. You might even consider dishing them out as presents. I didn’t!
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Good Food Features at Cork Craft Fair
Brett and Pamela of Wicklow Way Wines
Over 100 of “Ireland’s best makers, designers and artisan food producers” were on show at the Cork City Hall Craft Fair over the weekend. I took an opportunity to call in there on Friday and, surprise, surprise, I spent most of my time at the food section where I met some old friends and some new.
The gorgeous packaging of the Lismore Food Company was certainly an eye-catcher but the biscuits inside proved they had substance as well as style. They come in both savoury and sweet, an Irish Digestive with Wild Atlantic Sea Salt and Caraway with Irish Seaweed among the savoury, Hazelnut, Cinnamon and Raisin along with an all Butter Irish Shortbread among the latter.
All in colourful round boxes, ideal as gifts. But do watch out for the larger blue rectangular box. Inside you'll find “divine crisp apple thins wrapped in the finest dark Belgian chocolate...an epicurean delight”. We tasted those Dark Chocolate and Apple Crisp Thins and they became an immediate favourite. You could take these anywhere! Think I’ll keep mine at home though.
They’re widely available and you can purchase at their online shop as well.
There was a warm welcome from Julie of Highbank Orchards at the Kilkenny corner. She had her full range of organic drinks here, both non alcoholic (syrup, treacle) and alcoholic (gins, vodka, cider and a delicious Highbank Organic Sack).
Our favourite on the day was perhaps the Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother*. Bought a bottle so we’ll be giving that a longer test! Julie suggested serving it with warm water at breakfast or as a wonderful addition to a salad dressing. Meant to get back here to have a chat with Helen of Mooncoin Beetroot but slipped up. Next time!
|Preserves by Wild Irish Foragers & Preservers|
More drinks then and a very pleasant surprise at the Wicklow Way Wines stand. They produce Móinéir Wines from Irish fruit. Móinéir is the Irish word for meadows.
Their flagship Strawberry Wine is created from hand-picked Irish strawberries, with around one hundred and fifty small strawberries in each bottle. We had a wee taste of this alluring wine. You expect the slight sweetness of the fruit but not the dry finalé. The Blackberry wine (some elderberry in there too) had a deeper flavour, another excellent drop from nature’s bounty. Both have an ABV of 11.00%.
Kate and Denis Dempsey are really working hard at getting the mead message across and they too were in the City Hall, showing their Wild Red and Atlantic Dry White meads. Find out more about this ancient drink, now being given a new lease of life in Kinsale, here.
You may drink it like wine (abv of 12%) or use it in a cocktail. Here is a recipe for their Wild Red Sour from their Facebook page: This tasty tipple consists of our Wild Red Mead, Blacks Brewery Gin, Orange Blossom Honey Syrup, Lemon, Egg White, Cherry Bitters and is garnished with shavings of Skelligs Chocolates Irish Sea Salt Dark Chocolate and an orange twist.
|Fran from Newgrange Gold|
And next we were on to a product based on an ancient seed called Camelina Sativa, better known in English as Wild Flax. Newgrange Gold from County Meath grow it. When grown it is cold pressed and bottled in the Boyne Valley. We did buy a bottle of this Camelina Oil. It is, we’re told, very high in Omega 3 “and has a much desired 2:1 balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6. Low in saturated fat and high in essential fatty acids, Camelina is a very healthy oil.” Try a teaspoon a day! Can also be used for stir frying, baking, salads.
At this point, we had gathered a nice selection of food and drink and the bags were getting a little heavy so time to head off and begin to enjoy. The biscuits will probably the first to go!
* Read more about the mother here .
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Four Hands, Five Stars, One Michelin.
JP McMahon at Greene’s, Cork.
|Beetroot, goat's cheese|
The event was billed as a Four Hands Dinner, the talented mitts of visiting Michelin Star chef JP McMahon (Aniar, Galway) and his host Bryan McCarthy accounting for the four. But there were many other hands in this marvellous meitheal, quite a few of those in Greene’s kitchen.
And hands too of a big band of their fantastic suppliers also played a part, producers such as Kanturk’s Jack McCarthy, Galway’s Bia óisin, Ballyhoura Mushrooms and the Lismore Food Company.
The enjoyable evening started with an aromatic, flavourful and aptly named Man of Aran cocktail in Greene’s highly impressive new bar Cask. They serve small plates here from the main kitchen so that’s worth a visit on its own!
And it kept rolling with a Harty Oyster served with Sea Beet and Dillisk. The sea, oh the sea. And another sip of Chablis. The delicious palate cleanser of Anise Hyssop and Gorse (the posh name for furze bush!) had us ready for more.
The plates were getting marginally more substantial as the courses continued. A lovely combination of Celeriac, Mushroom and Hazelnut, next appeared and Fionnuala wisely switched to a red wine, Jean Paul Brun’s L’Ancien, a light and lovely Beaujolais. So many people underestimate the gorgeous Gamay grape - this bottle could change a mind or two.
Time now for the fish: Halibut, Sea Radish, Bacon, Pepper Dulse and Elf Cap. Lots of flavours here but the star, as you’d expect, was the immaculately cooked Halibut. And the wine pairing was the fresh and well textured Grüner Veltliner from Kamptal (Austria) by Steininger.
That was followed by the Skeaghanore Duck with Parsnip, Scurvy Grass* and Ramsons. The Skeaghanore duck is widely available now and a terrific meat. But hard to beat the way it was cooked in Greene’s, tender and moist. And that parsnip was fabulous too, possibly the best rendition of that vegetable I've ever come across.
The cheese was Young Buck and came with pear and raisin and superb crackers by Lismore. Were we finished? Not at all. One more course, one more wine.
The dessert featured Rhubarb from Richard’s Little Farm in Doneraile and the sweet and fresh wine with the usual Italian acidity, the Bera Moscato d’Asti, was the perfect match for the beautifully presented sweet.
Cheers to JP and Bryan and to the many hands, including those of the many efficient and friendly servers, that contributed towards a memorable dinner. Same time next year?
* Scurvy-grass was extensively eaten in the past by sailors suffering from scurvy after returning from long voyages, as the leaves are rich in vitamin C, which cures this deficiency disease resulting from a lack of fresh vegetables in the diet. The leaves, which have a strong peppery taste similar to the related horseradish and watercress, are also sometimes used in salads.