Showing posts with label Macroom Buffalo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Macroom Buffalo. Show all posts

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Back to the Garden for Maryborough Chef. A Delicious New Summer-time Menu at Bellini’s

Back to the Garden for Maryborough Chef
A Delicious New Summer-time Menu at Bellini’s

Sea Bream

Hotel dining rooms are improving all over the city and Bellini’s at the Maryborough is at the forefront thanks to Head Chef Gemma Murphy and her team.

Gemma is renowned for her presentation skills. But there is substance galore behind the style on your plate. She is well able to source good produce, with the emphasis on local and seasonal, and cook it to perfection.

Macroom Buffalo Cheese, Goatsbridge Trout, La Rousse Fine Foods, Keeling’s Fruit and Vegetables, Matt O'Connell Seafood, the English Market and Ballinwillin Boar and Venison are among her sources.

And it's getting even more local! She has developed a vegetable and herb garden “so she can ensure only the best will be used in her cooking”.
Breads

Delighted to get the chance to try the new menu. After a warm welcome, we were seated comfortably and starting to make the choices. Not that easy as all the dishes appealed.

I was looking at the starters and found it difficult to get past the first two. Eventually though the Ballinwillin Wild Boar (Pea and Watercress Pannacotta, Apricot Mustarda) “won” against the Grilled Mackerel. The boar and venison coming from the Mulcahy's in Ballinwillin is top notch and this superb dish added another dimension.
Wild Boar


CL too had a difficult choice toying with the Assiette of Summer Vegetables (with Macroom ricotta) before settling on the Scallops (Bacon Dashi, Compressed Pineapple, Picked Shimeji, Cubanelle Chilli Oil). Another winner. The dashi was poured on at the table and the little umami mushrooms, like everything other element, played a tasty role. 

No big creamy sauces for the chef here. We both went for fish in the mains and each of us was very happy. CL enjoyed the Sea Bream Fillets (Grilled Asparagus, Charred Onion, Salt Baked Fingerling Potatoes, Shellfish Bisque, Squid Ink Dressing) while my Pan seared fillet of Cod (Braised Beluga Lentils, Fava Beans, Heritage Tomato, Grapefruit and Saffron Puree) was another delight.
Scallops

And of course there were sides; the House Fries and Market Vegetables (a substitute on the night for the  carrots) were our choices, both well up to standard.

So how about dessert? Some excellent choices here. Was looking at the Coconut and Yuzu Pannacotta before settling on the Pimm’s Jelly (Foraged Elderflower Scented Mascarpone Strawberry Sorbet, Shortbread). That was shared, our server diplomatically placing it centre-table. Service was excellent throughout. And another empty plate went back!

There are some fantastic wines on the list here, including quite a few by the glass and also a selection by the half-bottle. Once we decided on the fish, we ordered a glass of white each. One was the  German Eins-Zwei-Dry Riesling, smooth and fruity and dry for sure. The other was the Ara Della Valle Pinot Grigio, smooth and persistent. Both feature on the house white list, along with a few more.
Cod

If don't want the full menu of the restaurant, well take a look at the Bellini bar daytime menu here.  Here too, you’ll see Lots of cocktails on offer and you can also sample the local craft beer by the Franciscan Well Brewery.

And they also do Afternoon Tea in the Garden Room. And if the kids come, well there’s even an Afternoon Tea Menu for them. If you need to be pampered at any time, just follow the sounds of flowing water to the spa. And I'd better mention, they also have a gym!
Dessert

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Budds Ballydehob for Lunch. Sandwiched between a couple of climbs!

Budds Ballydehob for Lunch.

Sandwiched between a couple of climbs!
Ant activity near Three Castles Head
When I knew I was heading for Schull, I put getting up to Mount Gabriel on top of my list. But, on Saturday morning, we headed south instead from the village with the Three Castles Head the immediate objective. Gabriel would have to wait until the afternoon!

Three Castles Head is in the Mizen area. Having passed through Goleen, you come to a cross where your turn left for Mizen Head and straight ahead for Three Castles Head (which is also signed). There was a cycle race on the road so the trip was very slow.
The Three Castles

You will come to Dunlough Bay and a rough car park. Open (and close) the farm gate and follow the few well placed arrows. Firstly, the walk is on a path across fields and then it gets a little (just) rougher. 

You’ll pass the white buildings, including the cafe, named after the head and open only in summer. A notice requests a voluntary contribution (3 euro is suggested) as you pass through a narrow gate on the farm.
Mizen Head in the distance

I didn't time the walk, but after 25 minutes or so, the three castles will come into view, suddenly. Their situation is quite spectacular and you also have great views over the nearby ocean and into Dunmanus Bay. The three ruins are known collectively as Dunlough Castle and are located at the most westerly point of the Mizen Peninsula in West Cork. You have excellent views also over Mizen Head including its lighthouse structure.

You may continue your walk up and beyond the castles, up towards a cairn on top of one of the peaks. Some detail via an Irish Times article here.  I did go up a little beyond the castle before turning back.

It was coming close to lunchtime but reluctantly I passed the café which had been highly recommended by locals. I had promised myself I'd call to Budds in Ballydehob who, as one of Cork’s cafés of character, were supporting the Cork Summer Bounty Week.

A group of cyclists were having lunch here too so it was busy enough. I read the specials and my server pointed out that most of their produce was local. I picked the salad which featured Lea’s baby carrots and squash, Macroom buffalo ricotta, on a bed of local mixed leaves with beetroot and balsamic purée, walnut and Portobello mushroom.

The carrot was rather a big baby but quite a tasty one, the mushroom was superb as was the ricotta and all the leaves were as fresh as could be. All in all, a lovely summer lunch. CL also hit the jackpot with the Wagyu Beef burger, with local black and white pudding, and smoked Gubbeen cheese. An expresso later and we were on our way to another climb!

We checked with the tourist office as to the best road in to the foot of 407 metre high Mount Gabriel (you can drive to the top) and the man on duty was delighted to tell us as he lives in the area. The “mountain” is well-known for its two radar domes (aviation tracking) on top and lesser known for the fact that, in ancient times, copper mining was carried out here.
From top of Gabriel
Every time I've seen it while in Schull, I had imagined the views from its would be great. Now I was on my way and while some low cloud had intervened the views were still stunning even if the domes and their fences are not and could do with a spruce up.

Back then to our lovely guesthouse, Stanley House, for a break and a shower before heading out for more food!


On the way to Three Castles Head

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Delicious Buffalo Burgers. Have you eaten buffalo meat?

Delicious Buffalo Burgers

Have you eaten buffalo meat?
Buffalo meat is something of a rarity in Ireland. Macroom’s original 31 animals were imported for their milk, to make cheese. But that was back in 2009. Now that herd has expanded and the male of the species is appearing in butcher shops, at least in the Cork area. 

Criostóir O’Crualaoi is well known for his handling of traditional Irish beef and lamb (they have their own farm in Ballincollig) and is now supplying Johnny Lynch's buffalo to retail outlets such as Eoin O’Mahony in the English Market (watch out  for tasting on 15th July, provisional), to Noel Lynam in Twohig's SuperValu Kanturk and to Ger O'Callaghan to Drinagh Co-op in Skibbereen. The meat is prepared by Feoil Ó Criostóir who have their own abattoir and facility, also in Ballincollig. 

High standards across each and every stage of the processing cycle always result in 100% traceable, quality-assured, great-tasting Irish meat. Traceability, hygiene and quality standards are verified by numerous agencies, including Bord Bia  and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. Feoil O’Criostoir is also a member of the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland. 

Recently Michael O'Callaghan, of their marketing department, gave me a pack of buffalo burgers to sample, indeed to share around. Having, a few years back, tasted the first first buffalo that Criostóir slaughtered and a few more bits and pieces since, I am relatively familiar with the meat, a touch sweeter than beef, juicer too and very tasty, once it is cooked well (don’t overdo it!).
So we had a few here ourselves and, not for the first time, were very impressed, delighted with the excellent texture and flavour. We sent a few over the road to a married couple with three children and got a big thumbs up, especially from one of the teenagers who is a committed gym user and he noted that buffalo is a great source of protein as well as being delicious.

A younger couple (no children) were also allocated a few burgers and again the report was good: “They were the juiciest and tastiest burger we’ve ever had. They were much leaner than the beef burger, no grease in the pan.”

So thumbs up all round. And then we told them about the other advantages of using the meat. Just getting a little technical here but I won't bore you with too many details.

Professor Joe Kerry, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, UCC, did quite a study, based on the Johnny Lynch herd and below are the main findings.

per 100g

Protein:                        Buffalo 20.39g  Beef 19.05g
Saturated fatty acids: Buffalo 0.46g      Beef 4.33g
Cholesterol:                 Buffalo 46g       Beef 59g
Iron:                              Buffalo 2.7mg  Beef 1.3mg

So there you are. Criostóir was thrilled with the results, even if they were expected. If you visit his website you’ll read that buffalo meat is perfect for weight loss; a great source of protein for gym users; lower in cholesterol. Beside, is locally sourced and always full of flavour (I can certainly vouch for that). You may read other details of the study here.  

The buffalo meat can be supplied in various forms. At present, your butcher can order: mince, rump, cube roll, fillet, strip loin, top side/silver side/knuckle, and burgers (6oz).

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Old Butter Roads Food Trail Launch. Great Weekend of food and fun in Blarney.

The Old Butter Roads Food Trail Launch

Great Weekend of food and fun in Blarney
We are nothing without the producers - Chef Martina Cronin
Here are five of the best speaking in Blairs on Monday.
Clockwise from top left: Tim McCarthy, Justin Greene, Don O'Leary,
Rubert Atkinson and Pat Mulcahy.

The Old Butter Roads Food Trail is up and running following a sunny (mainly!) weekend launch in the Blarney area. The event was officially opened on Saturday in the Church of Ireland by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.
Wild Boar at Square Table
There were butter making demos at the Butter Museum, talks at the Hydro Farm Allotments, a pony and trap delivery of churns (the symbol of the food trail) to participating businesses, an ecology walk and talk (by Tom O’Byrne) at Clogheen Milken, the Gab story-telling competition, a smoked produce demo in the Old Blarney Post Office Café, a showcase multi-course dinner in the Square Table, an open weekend at The Farm in Grenagh and a Monday demo, with food and cocktails, at Blairs Inn.


And it wasn’t just Blarney members that were involved. There were producers plus restaurant and café operators from all over the area involved, Duhallow, Muskerry and Avondhu, a serious (if fun-filled) statement of intent for the many events ahead over the rest of the year. Expect a gathering (with food for sure) at the Kerryman’s Table in Aubane, a Tapas style event in Mitchelstown, a Long Table feast by the Killavullen Farmers Market, and more.


Wagyu beef (left) and Angus rib-eye at Square Table
Current members:
Ballinwillin House www.ballinwillinhouse.com
Blair’s Inn www.blairsinn.com
Peppers at The White Deer www.peppersmallow.com
Blarney Castle Hotel www.blarneycastlehotel.com
Nibbles Millstreet www.nibbles.ie
The Square Table www.thesquaretable.ie
Castle Hotel Macroom www.castlehotel.ie
The Old Blarney Post Office Café www.blarneycafe.com
Thatch & Thyme www.thatchandthyme.com
Praline Mitchelstown www.praline.ie
O’Callaghan’s Restaurant www.ocallaghans.ie
Longueville House www.longuevillehouse.ie
O’Brien’s Free Range Eggs, 
Hydro Farm Allotments www.hydrofarmallotments.com
Osbourne Butchers www.blarneybutchers.com
9 White Deer Brewery www.9whitedeer.ie
Longueville House Beverages www.longuevillahouse.ie/artisan.html
Folláin www.follain.ie, 
Annabella Farm, 
Twomey’s Butchers www.mtwomeybutchers.ie
Killavullen Farmers Market www.killavullenfarmersmarket.weebly.com , McCarthy’s Butchers Kanturk www.jackmccarthy.ie
Hegarty’s Cheese, 
Toonsbridge Dairy www.therealoliveco.com
St Anne’s Shandon www.shandonbells.ie, 
Activity Days www.activitydays.ie, 
The Farm Grenagh www.visitthefarm.ie
Cork Butter Museum www.corkbutter.museum


List subject to change as new members join.
The Blairs, Duncan (left) and Richard trying one of his cocktails

Sunday night’s multi-course dinner in the Square Table perfectly illustrated the depth and range of produce available in the general North Cork area.

The opening selection of canapés: 
Lamb Tartare;
Toonsbridge ricotta, apple, hazelnut, beetroot;
Old MillBank smoked salmon rice paper roll, avocado, pickled ginger;
Macroom Buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto, tomato tapenade;
Carrigcleena Farm cured duck, beetroot chutney, confit ginger.

Then, from McCarthy’s Butchers in Kanturk, we had a Black Pudding Roll with house piccalilli and also Crispy Bacon with apple purée.

Next it was the turn of Michael Twomey's Butchers in Macroom: Wagyu beef burger with Hegarty’s Cheddar and house tomato chutney and also enjoyed their Agnus rib-eye with duck fat chip and O’Brien’s free range egg béarnaise.
Hake at the Square Table

Fish then had its turn and the Pan-fried hake (from K O’Connell’s), with Annabelle Farm spinach and mussel velouté was a splendid combination, another tasty testament to the produce and to the skill of Martina in the kitchen, as indeed was the whole meal.

Now we were on  to the Ballinwillin Wild Boar, braised and cured and served with caramelised potato gnocchi, aged Coolea cheese, Ballyhoura Mushrooms and wild garlic. Great stuff.

Dessert was McCarthy’s Natural Dairy’s Buttermilk, foamed, with rhubarb, confit ginger and speculous crumble. Hegarty’s Cheddar  and Toonsbridge smoked Scamorza featured on the cheese plate and the highlight here, as part of the week long tribute in Cork to Veronica Steel, was Milleens Cheese with fig jam. All washed down with a drop of apple brandy from Longueville House who earlier supplied a glass of their excellent cider.
Dessert at the Square Table

And the top class food and drink continued on Monday in the garden at Blair’s Inn where the brothers Richard and Duncan were the hosts, Richard coming up with some inventive cocktails (using everything from stout to apple brandy to gin) while Duncan did the cooking demos.

Longueville's Apple Brandy
went down well at Square Table
Highlight here were the passionate speeches from the producers. Don O’Leary of 9 White Deer Brewery, Justin Greene of Bertha’s Revenge Gin and Ballyvolane House, Timmy McCarthy of McCarthy’s Kanturk, Pat Mulcahy of Ballinwillin House, and Rupert Atkinson of Longueville House all spoke well of their own products, and of the other products of the area.

But there was no trumpet blowing at the expense of other areas. This was underlined, simply and with some wisdom, by Tim McCarthy. If you enjoy the brown bread in Mayo than that's the best in Ireland; if you enjoy the brown bread in Cork, then that's the best in Ireland. 

So enjoy the best of local, wherever you are. And if you are anywhere near the Old Butter Roads Food Trail these coming months, you will be eating, and drinking, very well indeed.
Cheese for two at Square Table
Get the latest on their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/OldButterRoads/
on Twitter at @oldbutterroads
The Old Butter Road platter at Blairs

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Best Steaks & 3 Best non-Cork Restaurants 2016

Best Steaks 2016
Aubrac

Aubrac Steak at The Harbour Donegal Town




Macroom buffalo steaks from Eoin O'Mahony English Market

Irish Piedmontese Beef from their stall at Cork Summer Show


Three Best Restaurants Outside of Cork 2016

I've dined around the country this year, including Donegal, Limerick, Kerry, Meath, Dublin, Waterford, Wexford, Louth, Galway, Mayo and so on and these, in no particular order, are the three non Cork restaurants that I enjoyed the most.
I'll be on the road again in 2017. Any tips? cork.billy@gmail.com

Cistín Eile - Wexford
La Boheme

La Boheme - Waterford
Turbot at The Mews

The Mews - Kenmare

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Bellini’s at the Maryborough. Just one look. Hooked.

Bellini’s at the Maryborough
Just one look. Hooked.
Just one look at the list of their suppliers and I'm encouraged as I take my comfortable seat in Bellini’s Restaurant in the Maryborough Hotel. Two hours later, having seen and tasted what Head Chef Gemma Murphy can so with that very produce and I’m full, full of delight. The dishes on this new menu are tempting to look at and all you have to do is yield. I'm not the only one impressed. The Cork city hotel has just been awarded a second AA Rosette.

Quite a few starters to choose from including Warm Chicken Salad, House Cured Salmon with Goatsbridge Roe, Textures of Bluebell Falls Goat cheese, Pan seared Fresh Atlantic Scallops and Soup of the Day.

CL picked the Melon Soup (Compressed Melon, Peach Schnapps and Grapefruit Jelly with Feta Snow). Quite a display here as the liquid was added to the other ingredients at the table. An outstanding starter.
And so was my Boneless Roasted Baby Quail, soft herb mousseline, caramelised peaches and Micro Basil. Beautifully presented and so tender, a marvellous combination of flavours and textures. At this stage we were really settling in, feeling very much at home. Excellent food so far and great service too.

And that’s the way the evening continued. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the breads, the lovely amuse bouche (based on a mackerel pate) and the Mango and Passionfruit Sorbet.

The white wines cover a broad range; you may have anything from an Argentinian Torrontes to a Pouilly Fuisse. The reds range includes Club Privado Rioja (my choice) to a Walnut Block Pinot Noir (one of the Collectibles). No shortage of drinks here, everything from beer to the best of bubbles, as the bar is just alongside.
Melon soup
So on to the mains. Again plenty to choose from including Hereford Steak, Slaney Valley Lamb, Chicken Supreme, Wild Atlantic Hake, Orzo pasta. And check out that list of sides, including a Rocket and Parmesan Salad with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes. Indeed, the advice is to go beyond the headline and check out the details in each dish.

Take CL’s choice: Pan Seared Sea Bass Fillets. You’ll see that heading in lots of places but here it is served with Broccoli and Yuzu Purée, Steamed Prawn Dumpling and a Prawn Bisque. Magnifique!

I went for a favourite meat, the Skeaghanore West Cork Duck Breast, and got another amazing plateful. The duck, cooked to  perfection, came with a Rhubarb Purée, Walnut Granola, Carrot Textures, Braised Beluga Lentils, Five spice and Balsamic Jus. Another five star dish, every element on the plate playing a role. My side here was the Steamed Market Greens, soy, sesame and Mirin Glaze. Could have eaten a bowl of that on its own, particularly the mange tout and sugar snaps!
Quail
After all that we knew the desserts were going to be good too so there was no hesitation, no talk about sharing one this time. I finished off in style with the Dark Chocolate Cremeux with Griotte Cherries (the one they soak in booze!) and Pistachio Ice-cream while CL enjoyed her Strawberry baked Alaska with Prosecco Foam (more booze) Strawberry and Basil Salsa. Superb.

What an evening in a busy Bellini’s. What a meal. Very Highly Recommended.

  • Their suppliers include Macroom Buffalo, Bluebells Falls, Goatsbridge Roe, Skeaghanore Duck, Larousse Fine Foods, Wild Atlantic Way Seafoods, Keelings Fruit and Vegetables, Matt O’Connell Seafood, PJ Sheehan and Co Poultry and the English Market.
Amuse Bouche and desserts
Maryborough Hill, Douglas, Cork, Ireland, T12 XR12
Tel +353 21 436 5555 | Fax +353 21 436 5662 | Email: info@maryborough.ie

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Taste of the Week. Macroom buffalo steaks

Taste of the Week. 
Macroom buffalo steaks
Pic by O'Mahony's Butchers

"Full of flavour and tender," I said. "What more would you want?" Stupid question.
"Another one," she said.

We were chatting about our Taste of the Week, the ribeye steaks produced by Johnny Lynch of Macroom Buffalo and sold in the English Market by Eoin O'Mahony. Sirloin also available.

Yes, indeed. Another one is the correct answer!