Showing posts with label walk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label walk. Show all posts

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A slice of Cork Food History. A walk; then a superb lunch in Jacques.

A Slice Of Cork Food History

A walk; then a superb lunch in Jacques.
Firkin Crane, with Butter Exchange on right.

Saturday last was that little bit different for members of the Munster Wine and Dine. No bus needed this time. A walk through some of Cork City’s old food (and drink) sites was followed by a lunch in Jacques where the menu gave an occasional nod to food from the past.

The walk, more of a conversation on the move really, began near Seamus Murphy’s Onion Seller sculpture in Cornmarket Street and  threw up a few surprises. 

The first was the delight of some walkers who were seeing the Saturday Coal Quay Market for the first time. And another delight came up in Shandon where sweets from the local sweet factory were distributed. Gaps of anticipation as the bags of Bull’s Eyes, Clove Rock, Butter Nuggets, Pear Drops, Rhubarb & Custard and other old time favourites appeared!

There were some differences as to the highlights - one walker loved the Seamus Murphy Dog Drinking Bowl in Patrick Street where the stroll finished - but there was general agreement that the powers that be need to get their act together about the Butter Exchange area, an area packed with history, that badly needs renovation and that has the potential to be a major tourist attraction. One suggested that a good power-wash would be a start.

Certainly much more needs to be done and quickly before the Exchange and its Portico fall victim to the march of time or the match of the arsonist.
Kilbrack Farm in the market

While some of the history touched on stretched back over the centuries, some was quite recent and when we reached the site of the old Whitaker's Hatchery on Camden Quay, we had first hand knowledge passed to us by ex-employee Aoife McCan. She told us all about the day-old chicks that were dispatched by bus all over the county and beyond.

But it was her tale of the “turkey sexer" that really surprised everyone. Apparently it is not easy to tell the difference between the genders. But some people have the gift! And Whitaker's had to book their expert well in advance and get him in from England when the turkey chicks, destined for Christmas market, were being born. Nobody wanted the “tougher” male turkeys, so the “sexer’s” job was to weed them out.

The Kiln Rover once flowed past Whitaker's but that part of it is now enclosed underground. We went up towards the brewery to get a glimpse of its waters. And another walker was able to tell us that the brewery and a nearby distillery (St Johns, long closed) would have had an argument or two about their use of the Kiln River’s water.

If you missed the walk, I have published my notes for it here and you may check it out for yourself. And if you want to get some of those sweets, note that the factory is open Monday to Friday, not on Saturday.

Pickled mussels
Huge queue at Jacques as we arrived for lunch but it was at the other side of the street heading to see Cillian Murphy in Crane Lane. A welcome glass of Longueville House cider as we got to our seats and than an immediate bite from the past: pickled mussels, apple, nasturtium. The pickling was a method of preserving them.

We had a choice of starters and I picked one of the old ones: Lambs kidneys, smoked potato purée, raisins, pine kernels, red wine. A blas from the past. The Barry’s here buy quite a share of their vegetables from the Kilbrack Farm stall in the Coal Quay market - we had stopped there earlier - and the Kilbrack beetroot was featured here with Ardsallagh cheese.
Lambs kidneys

Dave Barry’s Queens turned up in my mains which was a delicious fresh Hake, with seaweed butter, those spuds, and sprouting broccoli. Also available were Confit Duck (with pearl barley), Leg of Ham (with colcannon) and more.

And dessert was largely foraged: Carrigeen mousse and in-season blackberries. As we walked out on to the street, the rain had started to fall. We didn't mind too much as it had stayed dry for the walk!
Hake
If you missed the walk, I have published my notes for it here; you may like to check it out for yourself.
Dessert


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Food from the Wood

Woodland Walk and a Little Foraging
 A walk in the woods will never again have quite the same meaning after Saturday’s outing to Marlogue (near Cobh). It started off innocently enough, just the two of us and the dog and, maybe, an eye for Wild Garlic. But it ended up being a long day, though with very pleasant meal at its end.

Marlogue is unusual (a bit like Curraghbinny) in that you get some of Cork Harbour along with the walks through the trees. No sign of the elusive garlic though as we got into it. Then we walked off the main path and followed one down to the shore.
To see more pics from Marlogue
click here

A couple were paddling their canoes along the shallows and a forager was bent in concentration near the water’s edge. We went in his direction and exchanged a few words and he confirmed that he was collecting periwinkles, gathering them with his gloved hand into a five litre container. He must have been out all morning as, a few hundred yards up the beach, we saw his net sack loaded with the periwinkles, must have been ten kilo or more in it.


Didn’t expect to find any garlic on the shore but did come across a whole line of Sea Spinach or Beet (see photo below) growing strongly where the stones and pebbles met the area of grass and weeds that edged the wood.

Resumed the walk in the woods then but no joy, especially where the conifers grew as there was virtually nothing growing under them. Higher up the slopes, on the way back to the car park, where deciduous trees dominated, there was more by way of undergrowth and a few false alarms!
So, when I spotted some more white flowers somewhat off the track, I wasn't that keen but decided to make the check. This time my luck was in, though the Garlic hardly covered a square yard. Still plenty there for our purpose which was to make the pesto detailed in Wild Food, a recent book by Biddy White Lennon and Evan Doyle.

Back home, there was foraging of a different type to be done. A run to the local Supervalu and Aldi failed to find the pine nuts required but a slightly longer spin to Dunne’s in Ballyvolane was successful. On the way, a decision was made to also make the Wild Garlic, Leek and Potato Bake. The only snag was the book was at home – still the memory worked fairly well. We had all the ingredients and were ready for action.

All worked out well. The Pesto, one “with attitude” as the authors say, is excellent but the Bake, more like a Gratin really, is a really splendid dish and used in Doyle’s restaurant The Strawberry Tree. We used it with some John Dory. The book suggests using it with the “Sunday roast chicken, or as the first touch of spring to the last of the winter spuds or a great TV snack, when you have the munchies...”
Hey Pesto!

 The book is a 2013 publication and on sale. Check out O'Brien Press or if you forage in your local bookshop, you’re likely to find a copy. Then off to the woods with you!

To see more pics from this "trek", please click here
The Wild Garlic Bake, essentially layers of potato, leek and wild garlic.