Showing posts with label jam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jam. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Taste of the Week. Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam

Taste of the Week
Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam

No bother getting your hands on rhubarb these days. It's is all over the place, including the farmers markets. You'll see it on the dessert list in virtually every restaurant.

And of course many of us grow it in the back garden. And when it comes into season, as it is now, you'll quite possibly have too much of it on your hands. It freezes well of course.

One way we have of using the excess is to make jam. Two years or so back, thanks to Dermot O'Sullivan, known to many of you on Twitter as , we got an excellent recipe in which he uses vanilla with the rhubarb. That jam is our Taste of the Week.

You can find the recipe, and more, on his website here. Thank you Dermot!  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Taste of the Week

Taste of the Week
On the Double

Two excellent local products here, each a great taste in its own right. The cheese, from the Farm Shop in the Ballymaloe Cookery School, is creamy and full of flavour, not yet showing the dry flakiness that comes with longer maturing. You don't often see Loganberry jam nowadays but this gorgeous pot, by Follain, is available in Bradley's, North Main Street. 

In the Basque Country in South West France, and probably over the border in Spain as well, they often serve sheep cheese with a cherry jam. So why not put those two together, I thought. And it worked a treat, my Taste of the Week!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Folláin Traditional Irish Preserves. Going for Gold

Folláin Traditional Irish Preserves
Going for Gold
The summer of 1956 was the time of the milers with Ireland’s Ronnie Delaney learning a valuable lesson or two before going on to win gold at the 1,500 metres at the November Olympics in Australia. Englishman Brian Hewson was Delaney’s arch-rival during the long hot summer and that rivalry was often echoed in our “acre” between ourselves and a couple of young English boys, as we alternated between cricket and hurling.

The events stick in the memory as does another habit of the two lads, regular visitors from across the water to their Irish grandmother, a neighbour of ours. The two boys would come out of granny’s crossroads cottage with a pot of freshly made jam and a spoon and proceed to clean out the pot! I am reminded of them and indeed inclined to copy whenever I come across jams from Folláin, as I did recently.

Mrs O’K’s jams were good then;  Folláins are good now, always reminding me of the real thing. Been sampling three of their gourmet small pot range and I’m glad to say that they absolutely delicious. Raspberry and Vanilla, Strawberry and Passionfruit and, perhaps my favourite, Orange and Apricot, are so fruity, so full of gorgeous flavors, that an immediate re-run is on the cards.
Stop food waste with this chutney.
Check the step by step video here

While these small jars have a knockout flavour they also pack a different kind of punch where the target is the elimination of food waste, a problem estimated at costing Irish households €700 million every year.

Folláin Traditional Irish Preserves know what they are talking about when it comes to preserving the goodness of nature - they have been doing it from their West Cork base for over 30 years - the Irish company is now using their experience and expertise to help Irish people in the fight against food waste.

Folláin, with guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food Waste Tech super-stars, FoodCloud, have introduced smaller and less wasteful packaging across a new range of products, and combined this with a new website. The site will provide educational and consumer support, through tips on avoiding food waste, host a range of recipe ideas and suggestions to inspire consumers to get creative with surplus fresh food ingredients and stop food waste in its tracks!

Stop food waste with Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper with Breadcrumbs.
Check the step by step video here
Odile Le Bolloch from the EPA's Stop Food Waste programme commented: “When asked about the types of food they waste, many householders list condiments in jars along with the more obvious types of food waste such as fruit and veg, bread and dairy products, Our studies have shown that most of these foods are wasted because they have bought too much or didn't use it on time. Providing customers with the option to buy smaller amounts, as well as providing correct storage information, is a great example of how a company such as Folláin can help customers reduce their food waste, and we are delighted to see them take the initiative. "

Commenting on the starting point for Folláin Food Project, Folláin Brand Manager, Laura Hewson (same name as Delaney’s Olympic rival!), explains: “Preserving the goodness of nature is at the very essence of the Folláin ethos, and it is a craft that our Cork based team have perfected from providing the nation with fresh fruit Jams, Marmalades, Relishes, Salsas and Chutneys over the last 30 years. We knew as a company we wanted to get involved in the battle against food waste, and the start off point for us was a phone call to the EPA, where we were informed that chutneys and jams top the list of food waste offenders, but that something as simple as a reduction in packaging size could prevent jars of half full preserves being binned, so our first action was to do just that!”

Iseult Ward, Co-Founder of FoodCloud commented: “At least one million tonnes of food is wasted in Ireland annually. Wasting food is a waste of money, a waste of valuable natural resources and raises moral questions where there are people suffering from food poverty.  We want Irish people to think about how they can reduce this waste - with such a rich food and agricultural heritage, it makes sense that as a nation, we commit to this. It is great to see companies like Folláin looking for new and innovative ways to help consumers reduce their food waste at home.”

Stop food waste with this Seasonal Fruit Compote.
Check the step by step video 
Hewson says the campaign resonates with Folláin: “Folláin’s tradition is imbued in the time honoured skill passed down through generations in Cuil Aodha, Co. Cork, of preserving fruit and vegetables, evoking the joys of nature all year around. In today’s throwaway society food does not carry the same value and preservation skills such as curing, drying, smoking, bottling, pickling, fermenting and conserving are not used as much. Folláin believes that new approaches can be adopted to modern day living fitting in with our busy lifestyles to value food as Irish people once did and become less wasteful. “
The Folláin Food Project Website includes information about food waste in Ireland today, with easy to follow guidelines on how to avoid food waste in the home, as well as utilising the list of top ten food waste offenders to demonstrate how you can save squidgy fruit and veg before they are relegated to compost heaps and rubbish bins.

Folláin features three different ranges of traditional preserves, including; Folláin ​Extra Fruit Traditional Irish Preserves, Folláin No Added Sugar Preserves and Relishes and Folláin Premium Preserves in small 180g jars. The ranges are available from leading supermarkets and independent retailers nationwide, log onto Folláin for more information.

Stop food waste with this sinfully moist Courgette Cake.
Check the step by step video here
The smaller sized Folláin jams are available in 180g jars in a range of gourmet flavours, of which two were awarded stars at the Great Taste Awards for 2014, and include; Raspberry & Vanilla (2 Stars at the Great Taste Awards),  Orange & Apricot, Strawberry & Passion Fruit (1 Star at the Great Taste Awards) and Rhubarb & Fig. The jams are available at retailers nationwide for RSP €1.69.

And there’s more. Follain have created a series of recipes, which show people how to create beautiful dishes and avoid food waste at the same time and these are available to view here. Some going for the small family company from Coolea!

Stop food waste with Baked Banana and Apple Chips
Check the step by step video here
To see Ronnie Delaney winning the 1,500m gold in Melbourne, click here 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Great Taste Award for G’s Jams

Great Taste Award for G’s Jams

Helen Gee was thrilled with her recent good news. The founder and managing director of G’s Gourmet Jams, said: “We are a small artisan producer here in Abbeyleix and we have Great News, just received 3 Gold Stars for our Rhubarb & Ginger Jam in The Great Taste Awards and shortlisted to the top 50 producers in Britain & Ireland and nominated for the Golden Fork.”

“We are delighted with this award. Great Taste recognises the craft and dedication that goes into making superb food and drink. Our aim when producing our products is to keep it traditionally made with passion combining great taste and texture, using only 2 ingredients.”

Helen set up her now award winning jam company in 1998 as part of an alternative farm enterprise. The products are handmade, the old-fashioned way with just the saucepan and the wooden spoon and two key ingredients: top quality fruit and sugar.

Cyril (Helen’s Husband) grows fruit on the family farm, Sandra (Helen’s Daughter) having just completed her Diploma in Food Speciality works in Production and Clive (Helen’s Son) runs the sales and marketing side of the business. Even in these recessionary times, sales are constantly increasing month on month. G’s Gourmet Jams supply their products nationwide to supermarkets, speciality food shops, hotels, restaurants, delis, butchers etc.

The top 50 food and drink products were chosen from the 123 entries that had gained a coveted 3-star gold and each one has now been nominated for a Golden Fork Award, the highest accolade in fine food and drink which will be announced at the Awards’ dinner at London’s Royal Garden Hotel this September.

To achieve a 3-star grading involves at least 25 experts unanimously agreeing that the product tastes divine. But to be included in the Top 50 Foods in Britain and Ireland meant each one had to satisfy the discerning palates of a further 25 dedicated foodies. These products all deliver the most extraordinary taste.

See the video here

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Not a long way to Tipp's Apple Farm

Not a long long way to Tipp

No. It's not a long long way to Tipperary, at least not to Con Traas's Apple Farm on the Cahir-Clonmel Road. Indeed, it is just an hour from the east of Cork City.

The usual apple juices, including the top notch sparkling one, are on sale in the Farm Shop. Lots of jams also including my favourite plum. 

They were quite busy this Tuesday morning, mainly because of all the freshly picked fruit available, including classy raspberries and strawberries. But I went in a big way for the cherries, grown under tunnels. They are big and have a healthy shine about them and are deliciously juicy. 

Two hours well spent, I reckon.

Click on image to enlarge!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011



Driving along the tree lined avenue to the Apple Farm in Moorstown (near Cahir) on the last day of November, I was expecting everything to be very quiet. Instead, it was quietly busy.

Con, with a fairly mature plum tree
The fruit trees, mainly apple and plum, may be more or less dormant but the maintenance work goes on. That was especially evident in the strawberry beds, raised on metal supports, where the dying vegetation was being trimmed back, leaving the crowns.

Technique and timing are each important in the out of season work, especially in the pruning of the trees, and owner Con Traas is confident in the skills of his crew.

Con, whose family came here from Holland in the late 60s, was at his desk, working on the winter edition of The Apple Club Newsletter. Typical of the man, the 1500 copies are printed on recycled paper.

He plays a leading role in the food community in Tipperary, always keen to promote a good product (not just from Tipp) and always keeping an eye on the big supermarkets, especially on their “special” offers.

Con may be vastly experienced in fruit farming but is always willing to learn. He had a PhD student in during the summer studying the bumble bees on the farm and Con learned that he had five species. The student learned a lot and so did Con: “I now know for sure that, if I want plenty of bees to be there to pollinate my apple trees, that I must do my utmost to ensure…plenty of flowering plants to feed my bees when the apples themselves are not in flower.”

Con took time off from the computer to take us on a tour, starting in the shop which is so well stocked with fruit, jams and juices. Then we saw his new processing shed, white and bright and nearing completion. While much of the work in the fields is manual, processing is largely mechanical as we saw when we visited the sorting and juicing areas.

Apple Storage too is pretty high-tech as they are kept in a Controlled Atmosphere within the containers. The amount of oxygen, controlled within the container, plays a big role here in keeping the apples nice and fresh and crispy for you when you need them, even a few months from now.

Then, back to the shop to fill the bags with loads of juice, including my favourite, The Sparkling Irish Apple Juice, fruit (eating and cooking apples) and also lots of jam (mainly the plum, another favourite).

Monday, August 22, 2011



August in a sunny field picking blackberries. Boys and girls all around. Loads of mature briars growing, lots of black berries. Bees and wasps whizzing. Jar in hands as we push into the briars. A big can standing on the margins, probably the same can that is used to bring the milk from the farmer every evening.

Just a little reverie. Brought on after tasting the magical Blackberry jam made by Folláin in West Cork. It is the real thing. Gorgeous. Just like homemade. The only problem is that it could lead to eating too much bread.

And then I move on to the Blackcurrant in the sample box. That reminded me of the fields of blackcurrants and the gangs of us picking them at Dring’s Farm. And also all the more exotic fruit  in the high walled garden.

Looking forward to eating more of the quality Folláin jams! Perhaps the strawberry will remind me of days at the Rathcooney Fruit Farm. The raspberry of visits to Carriganarra.

By the way, where have all the fruit farms gone? Are there any left in Cork? Well, at least we have Folláin and their marvellous range.

Folláin, the Irish for wholesome, was started close on thirty years ago by Peadar and Máirín O'Lionáird in Cuil Aodha. Didn't realise they have been around since 1983. But they have, and their products, widely available, have won many awards.

They have a smashing website at It is well worth a visit. It even contains a whole bunch of recipes with loads of ideas of how to use their jams, preserves and relishes.