Showing posts with label Woodside. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Woodside. Show all posts

Sunday, February 21, 2016

One Farmers Market. One Restaurant. Weekend: Douglas, Les Gourmandises

One Farmers Market. One Restaurant
Weekend: Douglas, Les Gourmandises
I took the opportunity at the weekend to get to the Douglas Farmers Market and also to revisit Les Gourmandises in the city centre.

The farmers market has now moved from Dunnes Stores car park to a new spot in the centre of Douglas village, on the plaza by Marks & Spencers. It is a compact location and the reports are good. It is open on Saturdays, from 10.00am until 2.00pm.
Old Millbank Salmon Pate - with some chunky bits added!
Some excellent stalls here, including the Rocketman, Badger & Dodo coffee, Ballycurraginny Farm vegetables (not forgetting their gorgeous Joe’s Farm vegetable crisps), Arbutus Breads, O'Driscoll's Fish from Schull, Old Millbank Smoked Salmon, Woodside Farm, Brendan's Burritos, Sonny’s Broth, West Cork Pies, Green Field Farm, Ballycotton Free Range Farm, O’Leary’s Mountain Lamb, Cloud Confectionery, Dingle Cookie Company, Volcano Wood-fired Pizza, Mealagulla Orchards, Barry’s Nurseries, Clothilde Compotes, along with some others. Guest stalls too feature.

O’Driscoll’s, no matter where you find them (Midleton and the Coal Quay are among their venues), are always popular. We often go for the popular fish but this time the red gurnard caught our eye. So that was the main course for Saturday. And we got our starter across the way from Old Millbank. They had a nice tub of Salmon Pate (with one that included a few chunks of the salmon as well!).
Red Gurnard at O'Driscoll's
Lunch too came from Douglas, a pot of that delicious aromatic Chicken Broth by Sonny (we added some noodles). It is a Vietnamese broth and the proper title is Phỏ Gà and was a recent Taste of the Week. Check it out here, if you have a chance.

The other main purchase was some shoulder of pork from Woodside for Sunday's dinner, the order to cook it low and slow. We got an unsolicited recommendation from another customer who thought it was fantastic and told us his 93 year old mother is thrilled with it as it reminds her of the real taste from a long ways back.

Some low and slow cooking too in Les Gourmandises on Friday night. Slow cooked beef, braised carrots, baby onions, and smoked Gubbeen lardons, with a delicious red wine jus, was my superb main course, with a side plate of sauteed potatoes. CL’s choice was also excellent: Braised lamb shoulder with smoked potatoes, braised onion and Savoy Cabbage.
We had a fine choice for starters. We had eaten some of them before including the excellent Prawns in Filo pastry with Mango jelly and Mango creme fraiche and the Roasted on the Bone Quail with coconut, cumin, basmati and apricots.

My pick this time was the Carpaccio (named after the Venetian painter) of Spiced beef, tomato, pickled and shaved parmesan while CL took the Castletownbere Crab Salad, brioche croutons, peaches and piccalilli. Both good but, next time, we may go back to the brilliant prawns and the quail!

Desserts again had no shortage of choice, up to seven, including a selection plate for sharing. No sharing this time though! My pick was the Warm Chocolate Fondant with butterscotch centre and vanilla ice cream. Pretty good. CL was delighted with her Caramelised Apple Tart with Five Spice and cinnamon ice cream. All good. No tea or coffee though, not at €3.65 a cup!
New location, in centre of Douglas
There is a good selection of house wines, all Old World, and all at €29.50 a bottle or €8.50 a glass. Haven't seen that kind of uniformity anywhere else! My glass was a 2012 Portuguese blend of Tempranillo, Castelao and Syrah, called Pinta Negra Tinta, nice and smooth with dark fruits. CL sipped happily from an organic wine, Fontana Bodegas from Castille (Spain), a 100 percent Tempranillo (2014).

There are quite a number of possible menu variations and you can get to try the excellent food here for less than the €47.50 (the cost of our 3-course menu). There is also a Prix Fixe menu and here you may have three courses (from a more limited selection) for €32.50. Most nights, maybe not all night, you will get tapas to share, two main courses and a glass of wine each for €39.50 for two people. Stay up to date on all menus and special offers by checking their Facebook page here.
Oh La La! Chocolat! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Sharp Knife Cooks Woodside Farm. Naked Piggy In Urban Jungle. Cider too.

The Sharp Knife Cooks Woodside Farm.

Naked Piggy In Urban Jungle. Cider too.
The Sharp Knife

The Urban Jungle, with its barber, its tattoo parlour, its graffiti, its painted car bonnets and hanging skateboards, its ping-pong and football tables, is hardly a fine dining venue. Well, not fine dining as it’s generally known. But Bryan and Mike, the guys that make up The Sharp Knife, are determined to make their mark on the new dining scene. These gourmet guerrillas pop-up and you pop-in and enjoy very fine food indeed.

Woodside banner draped over car bonnet with graffiti
The Plate (for a tenner):

The Naked Piggy - The Woodside Farm pork shoulder is smoked on the bone for 14 hours, low and slow. Not a pinch of seasoning is used.. no salt, no pepper...NADA. So when we say naked, we mean NAKED.. After 14 hours the meat is pulled and mixed with a light organic apple cider vinaigrette and served on a toasted mini slider. That’s it..Pure Pork Heaven.

El Salvador - Translated to ‘The Saviour’, this rich intense pork stew is everything you need in life. Topped with sour cream, pineapple pico de gallo and fresh coriander. Once you try this stew, you’ll understand why it had to be called..’El Salvador’.

The Beast from the East - Our gorgeous belly of pork marinated for at least two days in a mix of Asian spices and herbs. It’s then smoked low and slow for at least 6 hours and finished at the end with a rich sticky glaze. Served in a lettuce cup, with toasted sesame seeds, crushed peanuts, Vietnamese style pickle and fresh herbs. A light and flavoursome dish, teasing the senses on all levels.
Inside the Urban Jungle (in the Mardyke complex)
The Verdict
Not alone can these guys talk the talk, they can indeed walk the walk.

We are very familiar with the Woodside shoulder so had a good idea of what was coming with the Naked Piggy. Amazing delicious pork that spoke of the clean farm in East Cork from whence it came. Pure Pork Heaven is not an exaggeration.

And, after that El Salvador, we were ready for a night in the Urban Jungle. This amazingly flavoursome stew would revive you even after a trek in the jungle, equally so after a hard day at the desk or on the tractor!

A few years ago in the Loire, we came across a Vietnamese food truck and we kept returning there during the holiday. After sampling the Beast from the East, I reckon The Sharp Knife duo could well do something similar. This had all the characteristics of an light and flavoursome Asian dish, right down to the crunch of the vegetables and the lettuce cup. Teasing the senses on all levels? Yes indeed, teasing and ultimately very satisfying.

A terrific trio by a terrific trio (the two chefs are helped by Roisin out front). Great ingredients, expertly handled and cooked, and all washed down with a warming glass of mulled cider (with a pint of Rebel Red from the bar as reserve!).

Indeed, a recent Sharp Knive pop-up involved Franciscan Well beers and beef and that, at the North Mall, was also a success. Watch out for their next event. Find them on Facebook and on Twitter @sharpknifecork. They also do the food for the market in Urban Jungle (last Sunday of every month).

Friday, August 16, 2013

Market Magic

Market Magic
 Called to Mahon Point Farmer's Market yesterday and came away with this winning combination,thanks to face to face advice from the producers. Ballyhoura Mushrooms were the source for the Shiitake and the Chanterelles while the Chorizo came from Woodside Farm. Tomorrow is a great day for markets so keep your eyes open at Douglas, Midleton and the Coal Quay. Never know what you'll find.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Tapas in the Greenroom

The Greenroom at Sage

Called down to Midleton last Tuesday evening to sample the food at the Greenroom, the new all day late night cafe under the ample wing of the adjacent Sage Restaurant. Spotted the 12 Mile Tapas board and immediately saw familiar producers of quality including Woodside Farm, Ardsallagh and Tom Clancy. Five tapas on the board, so we ordered all five.

Next question was what to drink. Easily answered by looking at the next board. Lots of local beers here and also Stonewell cider. Could hardly drink all the beers so settled for the Barefoot Bohemian Pilsner from Eight Degrees and two new Cork beers, both pale ales, the Mountain Man Green Bullet and the Kinsale Pale Ale, each dangerously drinkable!

The tapas are top class, all the dishes perfectly executed and, at seven euro each, very good value. Take the humble Organic courgette and apple fritters with dehydrated goat yoghurt. Didn’t sound the most promising of the five but the tangy yoghurt made the fritters sing.

The Organic baby carrot and Ardsallagh goat cheese with organic leaves and pickled beetroot was another successful combination of taste, colour, flavour and texture. While the cooking here is creative, the food is allowed to speak for itself and this was perhaps best illustrated by the Woodside mini Pork Pie with peas and gravy. The pork flavour and texture were incredible.

The monkfish, coated in the most delicate batter and served with crispy bacon and organic roast garlic aioli, was lyrically light, crunchy and gorgeous and probably CL’s favourite.

For me, the outstanding bite was the first one into those Thomas Clancy free range chicken livers with sourdough and salsa. Honest food so well handled all the way to the table.

The dessert, Red Velvet Cappuccino cake with Bailey’s Ice Cream, was so smooth and seemed designed to put us into a good mood. But, after those brilliant tapas, we were happily already in that zone!

All in all then,  honest food, flawlessly cooked, just perfect. And obviously widely appreciated as the Greenroom was more or less full.

Sage itself was also full. It has gained some extra seating and a different entrance (via the courtyard) after the recent building works that gave us the Greenroom. And the local producers are lauded here in Sage and not just on the tables. On one of the walls there is an excellent photo display of the producers going about their daily work. Well done to Kevin and Réidín for their dedication to their local suppliers!

While it is full steam ahead for Sage, the recently opened Greenroom too has been finding itself quite busy in these early days. It opens at nine and, during the morning, you can pop in for a freshly ground coffee and a freshly baked treat. At lunch time, you’ll have great choices of Salads and Sandwiches and, in the evening, the tapas come into their own.

The new Greenroom, they call it Sage’s little sister, is also proving useful for a pre-meal drink for those booked into Sage or maybe waiting for a table. And, when the sun shines, the courtyard outside is abuzz.

Greenroom details
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9:00 am - 11:00 pm.
Address: 8 Main St, Midleton, Co. Cork.
Phone: (021) 463 9682

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Woodside Free Range Pigs

Woodside Free Range Pigs
Bubbling Up Nicely
Taste of the Week in this house came from Woodside Farm. Actually, the Conroy’s at Woodside could provide a taste of the week every week, even if they confined it to their Free Range Pigs, pedigree Saddleback and pedigree Gloucester Old Spot pigs.

I have tried quite a bit of the range: Shoulder of Pork, Pork Loin, Pork Belly, Leg of Pork, Pork Chops, Pork Escalopes, Pork Steak, Spare Ribs, Minced Pork, Pork Sausages, Gluten Free Sausages, Cumberland Sausages, Liver, Kidneys, Caul Fat, and Pigs Tail.

That is just the pork. Here is the bacon selection: Collar Bacon, Loin of Bacon, Streaky Bacon, Ham Fillet, Dry Cure Back & Streaky Rashers, Dry Cure Gammon Steak, Lardons, Bacon Ribs, Trotters, Pigs Cheek.

Last Thursday in Mahon Point Farmers Market, I got a piece of Dried Cured Ham from Martin. He is in Mahon every Thursday and in Douglas every Saturday while Noreen is on duty in Midleton every Saturday.

We went pretty traditional with the bacon. Got lots of vegetables in Mahon but had no cabbage when Sunday came around. Up then to the local Supervalu and picked up an excellent head of Savoy, a terrific combination with the very flavoursome meat.

And all polished off with no worries about what was in the meat. Martin: “We cure our own bacon and make all our own sausages. We don't use any preservatives or stabilisers; because of this our sausages have a five day shelf life. We also make Pork and Apple Burgers which contain just Pork and Apple, these are also Gluten Free. We only sell meat from our pigs and don't buy in any meat and pass it off as our own. When you buy our products you can be sure you are getting a Truly Free Range Product.”

In recent months, I’ve been getting granola along with dried fruits (e.g., papaya, mango...) from Len’s Cereals, also in Mahon. But he has lots more, including Puy Lentils. Got a bag of those last Thursday. But what to cook with them?

Had been thinking of some lamp chops but instead decided to go with butchers sausages. So up then to the local Coolmore Meats in Montenotte. I found out that they don’t do their own sausages but the good news is that they stock O’Flynn’s Gourmet sausages.  No hesitation, bought a bunch and between them, the lentils and some sun dried tomatoes, we had quite a tasty plateful.

Mark’s Cheese in Mahon carries a range of Irish and European products but had no Irish sheep cheese for me last week. And indeed won’t have it from his supplier for another couple of months! So I settled for a wedge of the Spanish Manchego.

While in the Basque country last summer,  I came across the local sheeps cheese regularly in the restaurants and it was invariably served with jam (black cherry). Iain Flynn (Flynn’s Kitchen)  includes jams among his award winning products at the market and I bought a pot of his excellent Mixed Berry (livened up with black pepper and Kirsch) and that went down every well with the Manchego.

As you can see, the Manchego and the lentils were about the only non Irish ingredients in that bout of shopping but at least I bought them locally and had a lot of fun doing do. The more you go to the markets and indeed to your local shop and butcher, the more interaction you’ll have as they always have time for a chat or even a suggestion as to how to make the best of your purchase. Buy local – why not hit Mahon tomorrow? – and enjoy the craic.

Sunday, November 13, 2011



November sunshine flooded the Douglas Farmers Market this Saturday morning as I strolled around among the thirty or so stalls. It was my first visit here and glad to see old familiar faces such as Woodside and Flynn's Kitchen but great too to meet up with the newcomers of the Ballyhoura Wild Mushroom stall (soon to have a permanent one!) and also La Dolce Vita.

Let’s start with the Italian. After all we owe Trap and company - big time! And of course the Italian cuisine is no punishment. Far from it. We got a few tastes before settling on a Bolognaise ragout and a couple of bunches of Tagliattelli.

That was the night's main course settled. Starter? It was just a few steps away at the Ballyhoura Wild Mushroom stand. Again a couple of tastings before purchasing a gorgeous soup. There was a good date on that so we kept exploring and settled on some chanterelles for the starter. They have quite a selection, including Shiitake and Oyster.

While we call regularly to Woodside  and Flynn’s Kitchen , they too had something new, at least new to us. Enjoyed some of Woodside’s extra tasty gluten free honey sausages at lunch-time.

Iain Flynn makes some terrific jams but it was the first time I had spotted his mixed berry with black pepper and kirsch, a terrific match with the sourdough from Arbutus close by.

Room in the bag for ten rosy red apples, total cost just 2 euro, and then headed across the village to On the Pigs Back. What a beautiful sparkling clean shop with all the choices we’ve come to expect at the English Market and space too for a cuppa and a snack.

Got some cheese here, again after a tasting. So we’re pretty sure we’ll enjoy the Mossfield Organic Mature Gouda with Oregano.

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 25, 2011

The 12 Mile Menu at Sage


Midleton’s Sage Restaurant is one of the first in the country to come up with a local menu. It is known as the 12 Mile Menu and is available at lunchtime everyday (closed Mon) from 12-3pm in conjunction with their regular lunch menu.

You may see their August suppliers on the board at the restaurant and also on their newly revamped website.  The nature of this menu means that it changes daily and Kevin Aherne is always on the lookout for new suppliers in the vicinity.

Here are a few examples o f what you might find:
Slow-braised beef with bacon lardons & peas;
Roast shoulder of pork with apples & white turnip;
Buttered cabbage leaves stuffed with ham hock;
Local leaf salad with grilled courgette, roast beetroot & goats cheese.

I had recently tried their evening menu and was delighted with it as you can see from the review.  So I was quite confident as I headed down to East Cork today to try the 12 Mile menu. I wasn't at all disappointed.

I had missed Kevin’s tweeted recommendations but, by pure coincidence, picked them: the Onion and Leek Soup and the Braised Pork Shoulder with apples, white turnip and red cabbage. The creamy soup still retained a delicious onion tang and we each thoroughly enjoyed a substantial bowlful.

I was fully confident that I was on a winner with the pork as it is supplied to Sage by Martin Conroy of    a regular at Farmers markets, such as Midleton and Mahon (where I often call to see him).

There have been some standout meat dishes coming my way in recent months such as Springfort’s Braised Feather Blade of Beef and more recently Market Lane’s Blasket Lamb. Now I can add Sage’s Braised Pork Shoulder to the list.

It was so well cooked, a pleasure to eat. And that pleasure was enhanced by the tastiest white turnips ever. Not to mention the baked potato, well made apple sauce and perfect gravy. I also enjoyed the different twist to the taste given by the red cabbage though there was a slight disagreement from the other side of the table (a bit too sweet!).

Never thought I’d get so enthusiastic about white turnip but this just underlines the value of local produce. Mainly, it is fresh and then the Sage chefs know what they are doing.  There is that little bit extra to savour in each bite and that is what made the turnip, and everything else on the plate, stand out and give the taste buds a very pleasurable workout indeed.

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.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Rice growing near Arles
Last Thursday wasn't the best of of days and the Mahon Point Farmers Market  had moved indoors (into the covered car park) to avoid the forecasted wind and rain. Still, I enjoyed the visit and called to some regulars (such as Woodside and Arbutus) and also met one or two new folks.

Back at the ranch, we put the purchases to good use. You’ll probably know that the mozzarella from Toonsbridge Dairy in Macroom was in the presentation made to the Queen on her recent visit to the city market.

But did you know they also make a Philadelphia type cheese with the same buffalo milk and it is called Buffadelphia . Picked up a packet at the Real Olive Company  stall in Mahon (they probably have it in the English Market also) and used it in a salad that included some beetroot from Lolo’s stall, where a three head bunch cost just €2.50. The salads came from the back garden and all in all it was very tasty.

At the market, I had bought some potatoes and vegetables from Ballycurraginny Farm and also from Ballintubber Farm but none of these was required for that night’s dinner.

The centrepiece here was Lamb Tagine from Flynn’s Kitchen. Iain Flynn’s stall isn't the biggest but he has quite an excellent range including soups, pates, jams and prepared dishes.

Brought some rice back from the recent visit to Provence and decided it to use it with the Tagine. Had visions of a nice photo as we added red and black rice to the white. But the colours all ran and so no photo as we spooned out the purple mix!

Still it tasted very well indeed and proved an excellent accompaniment to the Tagine which, as usual for Flynn’s Kitchen, was spot-on, the ingredients top class.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010



Always a pleasure to visit Nash 19 and yesterday’s lunch time date with two colleagues was no exception as a warm welcome was followed by some top notch food and service, including a drop or two of mulled wine.

Quite a few of you will have seen Tipperary’s Crowe's Farm  featured in RTE’s Ear to the Ground earlier in the week. And their bacon was the main feature of my lunch. It was served with, among other things, an apricot chutney, and the combination was first class.

Will be watching out for

Monday, December 6, 2010



Just got to tell you one more thing arising from Thursday’s visit to Mahon Point Farmers Market.

If you want bacon and cabbage like your mother, like your granny, used to make it, then do this. Get on down to Mahon on a Thursday and go to Conroy’s Woodside Farm stall. Buy yourself an appropriate piece of the Dry Cured Ham. And don't forget to get a head of Savoy cabbage, of course.

This cured ham is not cheap but it is unbelievably good. Colour is brighter, taste is fantastic and the meat itself is crunchier (not in the least bit tough!), just like the old days. And you don't have to worry about soaking out the salt overnight.

Conroys run a small family farm in East Cork’s Ballincurrig and here they raise their Pedigree Saddleback and Pedigree Gloucester Old Spot pigs. They, the animals that is, not the Conroys, live outdoor all their lives, eating grass, home grown turnip and kale and locally grown wheat and barley.

The results will be on your plate, simply the best ham and cabbage ever.

This, I promise, is my last post on Mahon for a spell.  (Subject to the never say never factor...) I will be in Blarney this Thursday (11.00am) for the official opening, by Clodagh McKenna, of the local Farmers Market in the grounds of Blarney Woollen Mills.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Woodside in Midleton

Cold wet and windy outside but there was a warm welcome inside from Brian, the host at the relatively new Woodside, a restaurant in Saleen, on the Midleton Whitegate road. Would it be worth the trip out of town on this miserable November evening? The answer? An emphatic yes.

Promising start with a little taster of one of their starters: Tomato Broth, served in a wee glass. As it turned out, I had ordered this Broth, served with a Gin Cream, and it came in a large glass cup with handle. Gorgeous also was the Potato and Leek soup. This soup is often quite bland but the Woodside’s version had bits of bacon through it, maybe even done in a bacon stock, and the verdict was that this the was best such soup we had ever had!
My main course was baked cod with a tomato sauce and on a bed of mashed potatoes with some haricot vert. It was a top class dish and so was the presentation which included a string of nicely cooked but intact small tomatoes still on the vine, still full of juice. The other main course was Duck Breast with Chinese cabbage, a substantial and very tasty dish indeed.
Portions are quite large so didn't take on the dessert offer. Finished with a massive cup of Americano for €2.50. House wines, by the way, start at a fiver a glass and there was a special on the night, a Rioja for €7.50 per glass.
It was a very enjoyable meal, well cooked, well presented and served with a smile and the occasional but unobtrusive query: Is everything alright? The answer all through and at the end was that emphatic yes!
It is a spacious comfortable venue, dominated by a huge almost Breughel like painting of a Nun’s Kitchen. Your host is also a whiskey nut and will put on a tasting on request. Find out more at

Check out my review of The Woodside - I am cork - on Qype