Ummera Hot Smoked Rump Steak
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Taste of the Week.
Ummera Hot Smoked Rump Steak
Ummera Hot Smoked Rump Steak
Always something new out of the west. In Ballymaloe for the Litfest, I met up with Anthony Cresswell of the Ummera Smokehouse at his stall in the famous Big Shed. And he had something new for me, indeed I got the very first bite of his Hot Smoked Rump Steak.
He tried cold smoke too but eventually settled on the hot; it is then marinated and allowed rest for a couple of weeks. The smoke and the rump seem made for each other, great flavour and texture, gorgeous stuff and our Taste of the Week.
Ummera, operating on the banks of the little river Adrigeen in Timoleague for close on forty years, is licensed to smoke both fish and meat and the products are exported worldwide. Anthony smokes salmon, chicken, duck (I got an early taste of that beauty too a few years ago!) and bacon and you may buy them all and more online. Very Highly Recommended.
Tel: +353 (0)23 88 46644
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Munster Wine & Dine Launch.
|Anthony (right) and Daniel (3rd right) at the launch.|
The Munster Wine & Dine Circle is up and rolling. A full house at Jacques saw the 2016 launch in midweek. Lots of chat and information for the year ahead while Ummera Smoked and Stonewell Cider were the opening night stars. And of course, the kitchen at Jacques also played a blinder.
Munster Wine & Dine is a bunch of like-minded people, eager to taste the best the region has to offer and also to see how food and drink is produced. Last year, breweries, cider-makers, cheese-makers, gin producers, a smokery, and various restaurants (including Farmgate, The Tannery and Longueville House) were visited. And the coming twelve months should see something similar in the programme.
Last Wednesday though was the first step and here, Anthony Cresswell of Ummera and his brother-in-law Daniel Emerson of Stonewell told us about their enterprises. And they had some surprises in store.
|Smoked duck, with its cider jelly!|
We were each handed a glass of bubbles as we arrived and who doesn't love Prosecco! And some of us were fooled. This wasn't Prosecco at all but a sparkling cider called Esterre. Made exclusively from the beautiful Elstar Apple (grown in Tipperary and Waterford), Esterre is a sparkling cider "with reflections of a sparkling wine". This is dry, really dry, is clean and crisp in the mouth with tart elements of the orchard and citrus notes and a smooth finish.
The first of our five courses soon appeared: Ummera Smoked Salmon with horseradish cream and beetroot relish. Delicious. Ummera is the only Irish smokery licenced to do both fish and meat. Smoked Chicken is always a favourite in this house and it was outstanding in Jacques with baby gem, pickled fennel and orange and was accompanied by Stonewell Dry Cider (the one that bites back, according to Daniel).
Then it was the turn of the Medium Dry Cider in a dual role. It accompanied the marvellous smoked duck served with a Kale crisp, a hazelnut salsa and a jelly made from the cider! Great match.
The same cider also accompanied the next dish: Smoked bacon potato cake, crispy bacon, mustard cream and glazed apple. These Ummera rashers are amazing, perhaps the best around. And appreciated not just in Ireland. Anthony told us that a restaurant near the Spanish Steps in Rome is a regular customer. So if you get a great smell of rashers next time you visit the fountain there, then you know where it originally came from.
And the brothers-in-law had another surprise for us at the end. At least Daniel had. The cheese plate, with Knocklara and Durrus, was accompanied by a classy Tawny made by Stonewell from the fermented juice of Michelin and Dabinett apples and “elaborated with El Dorado dry hops”. It keeps well and has an abv of 15%. It is described as “an opulent complex cider with chewy tannins and hints of fruit. Delightful as a slightly chilled aperitif but equally as a cheese or dessert accompaniment”. No arguing with that in Jacques last night.
Many of those present joined Munster Wine & Dine on the night and we are all looking forward to the events ahead. If you’d like to join, please contact the secretary at email@example.com. Below you’ll find a leaflet that was handed out at the launch and it gives a good idea of what you’ll be getting into!
We usually have something in the Spring. Last year we had a Beer versus Wine fight in L’Atitude. Don’t worry, no bottles or blows thrown. This year the plan is to get one or more of the new distilleries in to give a tasting. That will probably be in March or April.
Once the extra daylight comes in, we usually do a short evening trip to a local producer. Last year, we had a great time at Frank Hederman. This year, we’re talking to a local coffee roaster Golden Bean and hoping to get a local bean to bar chocolatier visit the roastery at the same time.
In the summer, we usually have a field trip. Away for the day and much of the night too. Last year was outstanding with a call to the Fermoy Natural Cheese farm, a visit to Dungarvan Brewing, a gin tasting and a fantastic meal at The Tannery. The likely one this time is being set up to include a visit to Cashel Blue cheese, the Apple Farm in Cahir, hopefully with the fruit trees in blossom and cider available, and a wine-tasting and dinner at Ballinwillin House.
We usually have two events in the Autumn. The highlight last time was a visit to Longueville House. A tour of the orchards (harvesting was in progress), then we saw the cidrerie and the distillery and there was lots of tasting, back then to the house to be greeted with mugs of mulled cider before settling into a great lunch, with wine and more apple brandy. And then a long snoozy session in front of the open fire before the bus came to bring us back. We’ll have to work hard to replicate that one! But we are working on a few ideas.
We also had an Italian night in the Farmgate. We may do something like that again as there are quite a few international chefs now working in the Cork area. It also depends a bit on how many new members we can attract. And we’re hoping to attract more as word of the massive reduction in the annual fee gets around.
You can see there is something in the provisional list for everyone. And we are open to suggestions. You can also see that there is plenty of variety each year. If you like good food, good drink, good company and a good time, you've come to the right place.
Monday, January 25, 2016
2016 Launch - Feb 3rd in Jacques
|Visit to Coolea Cheese 2014|
The Munster Wine & Dine Circle will be launched next week (3rd February, 7.00pm) in Jacques in Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. And it's going to be a spectacular launch, featuring the the wonderful Ummera Smokehouse from Timoleague and Stonewell Cider from Nohoval. Jacques have devised a brilliant menu using the Ummera products.
MWDC Secretary Beverley Mathews is looking forward to the evening: “We are delighted that Anthony Creswell of Ummera will join us to give a talk on his incredible range of smoked products from the only traditional smokehouse in Ireland smoking both fish and meat. Anthony will be joined by Nohoval-based Stonewell Cider on the evening for a tasting of their products - these delicious ciders pair perfectly with Ummera's products.”
"You don't have to be a member to attend the launch. But we do ask you to consider joining. This newly formed group is open to all to join, including existing members of the the Munster Branch of the International Wine & Food Society."*
"As a result of the change, membership subs will be greatly reduced (see below) and our aim is to organise as many events, if not more, as we did under the IWFS umbrella, ranging from visits to producers, tastings, dinners, day-trips and much more. The committee already has a number of exciting events pencilled into the calendar for 2016."
|Did someone say say cheese? Mozzarella maybe!|
One of the Macroom buffalo
Events last year ranged from an evening visit to Frank Hederman’s, lunch and orchard tour at Longueville House, an Italian evening in The Farmgate, to a day trip to West Waterford (that included a visit to a cheese producer and a brewery, a gin tasting and a gorgeous meal at The Tannery).
Next week’s event is open to anyone who is interested in becoming a member of The Munster Wine & Dine Circle. The evening (7pm start) will feature fun and an informal tapas-style meal during which you'll have the opportunity to meet other members and we will share the programme for the year with you. Tickets for the event cost €25pp.
If you'd like to attend next Wednesday, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 1st February. Please pass this info on to anyone else you think would be interested in attending.
The Annual Membership Subs for The Munster Wine & Dine Circle are as follows:
Joint Membership €50
Single Membership €30
|Longueville House visit was a 2015 highlight.|
We will be sending out application forms shortly, but in the meantime, we would like to get an idea of membership numbers, so if you'd like to join The Munster Wine & Dine Circle for 2016, can you send an email expressing your interest email@example.com .
We hope to see you next Wednesday week in Jacques!
- We wish to advise all our members that as of January 2016, the Munster Branch of the International Wine & Food Society has been replaced by a newly formed local circle which is separate from the IWFS. Memberships for the IWFS were due for renewal this month; however, due to high membership subs and a very unfavourable exchange rate with sterling which meant fees to remain part of the international organisation increased again this year, a decision was made to form a new locally-run society, which will carry out the same function as before (only without the international status).
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Taste of the Week
Ummera Smoked Bacon Rashers
He got up, meerkat like, to better see what was going on. But he was still ignored. Blame it on Ummera. The famous Smoked Bacon Rashers from West Cork were in a delightful combination with local liver and there would be nothing left for the mutt.
Ummera is a small family smokery near the village of Timoleague. Their Smoked Back Rashers are one of my favourites and the current Taste of the Week.
They are Dry cured in Traditional Sea Salt from Tavira in Portugal, Organic Raw Cane Sugar from Costa Rica and gently smoked over glowing oak sawdust. And thinly sliced. They are full of flavour as you might imagine and can be used in many ways.
Ummera Smoked Dry-cured Bacon is available from a number of retail outlets in Ireland and the UK, as well as direct from the smokehouse. The packs are approximately 250gms and contain both back and streaky bacon, thinly sliced, rind on.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Potatoes in Sea-water!
The Gender of Crabs.All at SeaFest in Ringaskiddy!
|Good for soup. Gerard Collier and a Conger eel|
Chef and author Rory O’Connell urged his audience to cook their new potatoes in sea-water “for at least once in your life” while BIM’s Young Fishmonger of the Year Gerard Collier told us how to distinguish a female crab from a male, all that and so much more at the very interesting SeaFest at Ringaskiddy over the weekend. I called there Saturday morning and enjoyed the demos (missed Martin Shanahan as he was on in the afternoon) and visited the fish stalls along with quite a few of the other sea related exhibits.
Gerard Collier, a former trawlerman, of Fisherman's Catch, Clogherhead, Co. Louth, was first up on the splendidly outfitted demo unit in Ringaskiddy and took us through the handling of fish: how to open the various shellfish, how to clean, debone and fillet everything from Grey Mullet to Thornback Ray.
|This is one strong creature!|
“There are sixty six bones in a salmon,” he said “and getting them out is tedious!” If you come across a Conger Eel by the way, they are “great for soup”. He had a grey mullet to show as well and, referring to its diet, called it “the vegetarian fish”.
He worked his way through the oysters and prawns, a cod and pollock and more and then sent them down, one by one, so the audience could see them close up.
The crabs and lobsters were quite an attraction but he had a warning: “Be careful. Both are very strong!” And how to recognize Lady Crab. Simple - she has a pouch (to carry her young!).
|Dublin Bay Prawn, all ready for you!|
Ballymaloe's Rory O’Connell was next on-stage and he did two dishes. One was Roast Haddock with Roasted Pepper, Basil and Olive Salsa and the other was Pan-fried Hake with a Bretonne Sauce.
By the way, that Salsa is terrific and will keep for three weeks or more in the fridge. The Bretonne sauce “is easier to make” than Hollandaise.
|Cook it well with Rory O'Connell|
We all got recipe sheets and loads of tips as well. Rory, as you’ll know from his reputation as a teacher in Ballymaloe and from his TV shows, is a brilliant person to learn from. He has the cooking down to such a fine art (though he has to keep an eye on what’s happening on the pan as much as anyone else) that he always seems to have time to dispense great hints and tips.
- As he roasted some vine-ripened Heritage tomatoes, he urged us to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil all the time, “even frying or grilling”.
- Red and yellow peppers are best for roasting. Roast them until they collapse (then remove the seeds and skin).
- Use boiling water for new potatoes, cold water for old. And try potatoes in seawater, at least once in your life!
- Egg whites freeze perfectly.
- Chervil is great with fish and is surprisingly hardy. Fish love herbs.
There was much more than fish in Ringaskiddy and in linked events around the harbour including Captain Your Own Ship in the Simulator of the National Maritime College, the base for the event. There were SeaFest Science Talks, the BIM Beaufort Scale Hurricane Experience, Marine Recreation and Tourism and more and more.. This festival will “tour” Ireland annually and plans are in hand to bring it to Galway in 2016.
|Superb innovative products from IASC|
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Best Chef in Cork.
Best Sweet Wine in the World.Greene’s Supper Club Delivers.
It ain't heavy! It’s very clear, fresh, with a lovely acidity. For six years in a row, this was voted the best sweet wine in the world
Hugh Murray of Classic Drinks was finishing off a very enjoyable and informative edition of Greene's Supper Club at the McCurtain Street restaurant. The object of the April night was to help people decide on an appropriate wine choice for their meals. Manager Arthur Little could not have a chosen a better speaker to lead us through the evening.
And the sweet ending that Hugh had lined up for us was Seifried Estate Sweet Agnes Riesling. Produced by a couple, of Austrian and Irish origin, this Riesling is an ice wine. Launched ten years ago, it is late harvested and the grapes are frozen, then crushed, leaving the sugar. “Irish people are afraid of sweet wines,” Hugh remarked. But this could change all of that as it is not at all sticky. “Take a sip, allow it three seconds on the palate. Then let it slide!”. Superb.
Dessert, by the way, was superb as well, both of them. We had choice of two and the wine matched each. I enjoyed the Coconut Espuma with Peanut Ice Cream and Ivorian Chocolate Ganache Truffle. The other was also gorgeous: Rhubarb Meringue, Malted Milk Crumble, Vanilla Sorbet and Rhubarb Ginger Sorbet.
Arthur Little introduced the evening and promised more interesting food and drink events in the months ahead. “We are delighted that our chef Bryan McCarthy was named best chef in Cork at the recent Restaurant of Ireland awards in Munster and we wish him all the best in the national finals. Tell your friends that they can find him here.” Bryan, and his team, were in tip top form again and we had a terrific meal.
|Ummera Smoked Salmon|
Arthur then introduced Hugh who said he hoped “to open some doors during the meal to help people choose their wines. But wine is above all a personal choice. By all means trust your own opinion but, before making up your mind, listen!”
We had enjoyed Classic’s Colle del Principe Prosecco at the reception with the Goats Cheese Canapes and the Lychee, Lime and Green Tea Espuma. Then we were on to a choice of two starters and two wines to go with them.
I, along with quite a few more, picked the Trio of Organic Ummera Smoked Salmon, Cured Salmon Rillettes, with Blood Orange, Fennel, Seaweed, Squid Ink Ailol and Wasabi Mayo. Abadia San Campo Albarino was the match. “Good Albarino doesn't come cheap,” said Hugh. “Buy it young and drink it fresh.”
The other wine was South African, the Leopard's Leap Classic Chenin Blanc. “This is made with passion, is stylish, with a backbone of acidity and excellent value”. And a great match with the Celeriac, Ballyhoura Mushrooms and Artichoke.
The main event, with three different dishes, might have stretched a lesser man but no bother to Hugh and he got the thumbs up for all three pairings. Those who picked the Wild Mushroom Risotto were lucky enough to get the “incredible, outstanding” Opi Sadler Malbec from Argentina. “This combines power and tenderness.”
My wine, the Hunky Dory Sauvignon Blanc, is made by a husband and wife team in Marlborough. “Not typical of New Zealand,” according to Hugh. “There is a touch of the Loire in it and it punches above its weight”. I love the Loire and the wine was superb with the Seared Hake Fillet and Crispy Prawn Wontons.
Some of the group choose the Glazed Pork Belly Pecan and Apricot Crumb and the wine for this was the Parducci Small Lot Blend Pinot Noir. This variety is difficult to grow and here when they say small lot, they can point to the field. “It is produced in an environmentally friendly way and again made with passion.” I got to taste some of this later on and, juicy and rich, it is a beauty, perhaps my favourite of the evening.
Well maybe! Can’t forget the clean taste of that ice wine!
Friday, March 20, 2015
Come Join The Cheerful Chorus at Monk’s Lane
We made a detour to get here. Well worth it. Very Highly Recommended.
There is almost an monastic silence as we stroll towards Monk’s Lane in the centre of Timoleague. But, open the door, and there is the happy sound of people dining. Our table is ready and soon we join the cheerful chorus.
The menu is full of promise. The sandwich section uses the best of local produce: Toons Bridge, Gubbeen, Ummera. And so it continues. In the mains and salads you see O'Neill's sausages, Crozier blue cheese and Clonakilty black and white pudding.
I spotted an Eight Degrees tap on the bar and that was just the start of the craft beers as a separate menu lists over a dozen of the best including the local Black’s of Kinsale. And the wine list is good too, quite a few available by the convenient (it was midday!) 100ml glass.
Service is excellent, knowledgeable, chatty. The furniture has touches of the ecclesiastical and there are lovely bunches of wild flowers on the tables.
It is a cold day so we start with the soups. They are very simply titled: Roast Vegetable Soup (4.50) and Spanish Fish Soup (6.50). Both are excellent but that Spanish dish is a gem, packed with fish, mussels, vegetables too, and warming spice. We get real bread and butter on the side. Great start.
CL then goes for the Lamb Quesadillas with salad and salsa fresca. You can have a small portion for eight euro and the larger one will cost 11.50. Well cooked and presented, the minced lamb was very tasty and not too spicy (no great need to use the cooling dip).
My choice was the Steak Salad and I hit the jackpot here: Seared steak salad with pecorino shavings, toasted pumpkin seeds and cherry tomatoes, all for 12.50. The steak, in strips, was plentiful and perfectly cooked and all the elements, including a robust salad, complemented each other in an explosion of flavours and textures. Compliments to the chef!
Dessert. The usual question: would we? The usual solution: we shared. And there was plenty to share when our generous slice of Apricot and Raspberry cake arrived, surrounded by some fresh fruit cubes, cream and ice-cream! Happy out, as we say around here.
(023) 884 6348
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
The West’s Awake.
Find it Fresh in Bradley’s
|Opening day in Bradley's|
Fresh from West Cork is back in town and you’ll find it installed in Bradley’s, North Main Street. Walter, familiar to many of you from his stint last year in the English Market, fronts the operation and is as enthusiastic as ever.
And why wouldn't he be? He has some great produce in Bradley's; all the familiar names are there including Irish Atlantic Sea Salt, Rosscarbery Recipes, Gubbeen, Ummera, Glenilen, Sally Barnes (he especially recommends her smoked mackerel, “a big seller”), West Cork Pies, Culture Foods (the Sauerkraut people, who are now exporting) and more.
June Kingston’s Soda Wheaten loaf is a best seller and there are tasty apple tarts from the Walshes of Caheragh (near Drimoleague). And don't forget the Loughbeg Tea Brack and be sure to get some Glenilen clotted cream to go with that! Then you have yogurts and Lemon Labneh from McCarthy’s Dairy not to mention the many fish products from Union Hall including Smoked Mackerel Paté and Smoked Salmon Paté.
No shortage of honey and jam. The honey comes from Noel and Patricia Love of Knockeen (Skibbereen) while jams are supplied by Kathleen McCarthy of Drimoleague and Eithne McCarthy from Skibbereen. And watch out too for the Loughbeg chutneys, quite a few but the star is the Yellow Zucchini Relish which was adored by a bunch of “nine Michelin chefs from London when they sampled it at the English Market last year”.
And the good news is that you can get these six days a week, from 8.00am to 9.30pm! And more good news. If you like your vegetables fresh (and who doesn't?), Colm O’Regan of Horizon Farms will be making three deliveries a week to North Main Street.
And from next Friday, you'll be able to get raw pressed juice here: carrot, beetroot and a vegetable and fruit blend! “And the week after that, we'll have mini-meals,” he said. I looked puzzled! “Especially for toddlers,” he clarified. So there you are. Walter and Fresh from West Cork will feed you all, big and small.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Hats off to Jacques!
Hats off to Jacques. Thirty three years on and the renowned Cork City restaurant, the oldest in town, is still setting the pace.
The Barry sisters, Eithne and Jacque, who started it all off, could be forgiven for sitting back and taking it easy. Not a bit of it. The award winning establishment, now with a small plates/tapas area recently added, continues to surprise.
“Every seven years!” said Eithne when we were in the other night. Every night really. I had started to look around for specials when I realised that the menu is really all specials. “We had a different menu last night. Depends on the market.” Now that takes some commitment.
And the commitment is extended to local producers, most of them named on the back of the menu. Some are well known, such as Breslin Butchers in the English Market, Gubbeen cured meats and Kanturk’s Jack McCarthy. Some are so well known, only the first names are used e.g. cheesemakers Giana and Jane. And the fish? “Well,” they say, “just look at the size of the Cork coast”.
And the sisters are delighted too to support the craft beer revolution which is quite strong locally with new breweries popping up all over the county. My choice in Jacques was the Kinsale Pale Ale, in its new and larger (50cl) bottle. One of the best ales I've come across (and I was in to Bradley’s the following day for more).
Now, for the food. Let’s take a look at the starters: Soup of the Day - Fresh Mussels with Chorizo Tomato and Garlic - Crab and Apple salad - Salad of Blue Cheese and poached pear - Smoked Ummera Chicken.
|The stunning KPA!|
All tempting but I went for the Lambs Kidneys Dijon, with mustard, gherkins, apple and cream. The super sauce was one of the elements that made this a great success. And CL was blissfully happy with her flavour packed plate of Pigeon breast, white onion and thyme and Jack McCarthy’s Black Pudding.
We stayed on the game as we choose our mains. Mine was the Haunch of Venison on celeriac puree with some handsome robust kale, confit of shallot and red wine jus. A simply spectacular combination. so well executed.
And similar sentiments at the other side of the table as CL made her merry way through the Roast Pheasant, wrapped in pancetta, confit leg in potato cake, red cabbage and bread sauce.
A terrific choice too of main courses. Also on the list were: Scallops - Fresh Organic Sea Trout (with Goatsbridge Caviar) - Slow Braised beef short ribs - rib eye steaks - and a 7 vegetable Tagine.
|Plum & Crumble|
Seven temptations too in the dessert menu but, running out of space, we picked one to share and it was the gorgeous Plum and Walnut Crumble, well cooked and presented, underlining the immaculate attention to detail that prevails in this pleasant place. Here's to the next thirty three!
Tel : +353 (0)21 4277387 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Address : 23 Oliver Plunkett St, Cork
Jacques Restaurant is located at the heart of Cork City near the G.P.O. and is open Monday 10am - 4pm and Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 10pm. Lunch from 12pm - 4pm, side plates and tapas from 5pm to 10pm and the evening dinner menu is available between 6pm and 10pm.