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Taste Cork, set up with supports from the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork, Cork City Council and Cork County Council, and other state agencies, held a Breakfast Seminar at Electric in the South Mall yesterday morning.
The goal of Taste Corkis to help the county nurture its enviable status as an iconic food brand and that was underlined with the produce on the breakfast plate: Jack McCarthy’s bacon, O’Flynn’s Breakfast sausage, Rosscarbery Black pudding, Ballyhoura mushroom, East Ferry Fried eggs and Ballymaloe Relish. Electric’s own brown bread went down well while other highlights were Wilkie's Organic Hot Chocolate and Bean Brownies Banana Bread.
Taste Cork, fronted by Rebecca O’Keeffe, is determined to get Cork produce the exposure it deserves, to help the local producers as much as possible. And one practical way is the opening, in a few days, of the Cork Incubator Kitchen in the Carrigaline Industrial Estate (on the Crosshaven Road).
A breakfast highlight (above) and
another, Wilkie's hot chocolate, below.
Brendan Russell has taken on the management reins here and told the full house of producers and restaurateurs in Electric that the facility will have two kitchens. One is the Bakery Kitchen, fully equipped, with a state of the art triple deck oven the highlight. The other is called the Catering Kitchen. This will be for preparation work in volume and equipment here includes a quick vacuum packer and a sealing machine.
The website will soon be up and running and that will make it easy to register. Brendan, who has spent 16 years as a chef, has a good understanding as to why businesses succeed (and fail) and education will also feature under the following headings:
1 - Theory of Practicality;
2 - Business Understanding;
3- Catering Skills;
4 - Work Relations.
The event was opened by Sean O’Sullivan and he was delighted that funding had been provided for the full-time position in Taste Cork. Both he and Rebecca are looking forward to getting everyone “to start looking locally”. And so say all of us. You can see my motto on the site here: Buy local, fresh and fair. The more we pull together, the further we will go.
Kevin Aherne is one man who has been doing exactly this for the past five years and his innovative 12 Mile Menu was recognised by his peers on Tuesday evening in Killarney when his Sage Restaurant in Midleton won Restaurant of the Year in Cork.
Kevin spoke later at the seminar and we’ll have a post on that tomorrow. Mary Daly (Food Safety Company) also spoke in Electric and she too stressed the importance of local: “Provenance is hugely important. Taste Cork can play a big role.” More too from Mary tomorrow. Part Two is now up and running and you can see what Kevin and Mary said here.
I had three friends at my table for Saturday night dinner. Well, not really. But I did have the fantastic produce from Kanturk’s Jack McCarthy, West Cork’s Anthony Cresswell and the Loire’s Sebastien du Petit Thouars.
Anthony’s Ummera Smoked Chicken, bought in the Brown Thomas Food Emporium, was the main ingredient of the main dish. Ummera is the only Irish producer of smoked chicken and we used it in a special recipe by Clodagh McKenna: West Cork Paella.
When checking the list of recipe items, we found ourselves short a few and that led to a tour of the local shops. Supervalu had the Risotto Rice but no Chorizo. Coolmore, our local butchers, were out of a possible substitute, O’Flynn’s Gourmet Mexican or Italian Sausage, so we ended up in Aldi and got a Spanish Chorizo. Hard, if not impossible, to get Desmond cheese these days so Castlemary Farm’s award winning Goat Cheddar substituted and played a blinder!
Indeed, though I forgot the lemon wedges,the whole dish was excellent, full of great flavours. You can take it will be done again, this time with the Gubbeen chorizo! So well done to Anthony for the chicken and to Clodagh for the recipe! This link will also take you to four or five other recipes for the smoked chicken.
Jack and Timmy McCarthy are doing great things in Kanturk with Irish charcuterie and we started with a platter. Highlight here was their non-smoked Pastrami with special peppers. Simply outstanding and well worth getting your hands on.
We met Sebastien du Petit Thouars at his Chateauin the Loire in August and enjoyed a couple of visits. We had a great tasting with Sebastien, Darcy and their baby daughter Elizabeth, and one of the wines we brought home was his Selection 2009. This is a superb Cabernet Franc and one of the matching recommendations on the label was for curry. So why not Cloadagh's paella, we thought! And, glad to say, it worked a treat.
Sometimes we take things for granted, even the good things. You’re down town and there is a festival of some sort going on. You pick up a sausage on a stick and absentmindedly enjoy it as you watch a street act and later you think “Hey, that sausage was nice!”
And if that is what you think, then the chances are that sausage came from O’Flynn’s Gourmet range. Thankfully, you don't have to wait for a festival to enjoy one of their sausages. At their permanent stand in the English market, they have a range of some 30 varieties to choose from, quite a few prize-winners among them.
And they are reasonably priced. I picked up six for a fiver yesterday including Spicy Mediterranean, Garlic and Herb and Leek. Very very tasty and they can be used in so many ways – traditional Irish ways and European style, say in couscous or paella.
You don't even have to be in Cork to enjoy them. You can order online and they'll deliver anywhere in Ireland! Check it out at http://www.oflynnsofcork.ie/