Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Seaweed ingredient in Mayo Pudding

Kelly’s Greenway Pudding
Pictured at the launch of Kelly’s Greenway Pudding yesterday (Monday 30th July) at Mulranny Park Hotel were Anna Connor (Walking Development Officer, Mayo County Council), Sean Kelly (Kelly’s Butchers, Newport) and Dermot Madigan (Manager, Mulranny Park Hotel).

Here’s a clever response to the highly successful Greenway walking and cycling trail. Kelly’s Butchers, Newport, Co. Mayo have introduced Kelly’s Greenway Pudding sporting a map of the Greenway trail on the label. The new pudding, which contains Atlantic seaweed, was launched at Mulranny Park Hotel by Anna Connor (Walking Development Officer, Mayo County Council) and Dermot Madigan (Manager, Mulranny Park Hotel). The Greenway goes through Newport and walkers and cyclists pass by Kelly’s door when they are on it.

“We’re part of the Gourmet Greenway food trail”, says Sean Kelly of Kelly’s Butchers, “We have a lot of cycling and walking tourists coming into the shop and we wanted to create something specially for them. That was the inspiration for Kelly’s Greenway Pudding. We find the tourists are fascinated by the label, they love a souvenir that shows the Greenway itself. It’s our modern twist on the old stick of rock.”

Seaweed from the wild Atlantic shore is the special ingredient in the Greenway Pudding which is available as both a black and a white pudding. The taste is distinct, with a delicate hint of the ocean, but still has the unique Kelly’s flavour and texture. As with all Kelly’s puddings it holds its shape very well when cooked, which chefs love.

Kelly’s have also introduced a brand new seaweed flavoured sausage to their range, bringing the total of speciality sausages to an impressive 15.

At just €6 a pop Kelly’s Greenway Pudding  is proving an irresistible draw for Greenway users and locals as well. It is exclusively available in Kelly’s Butchers Shop, Newport and at Knock Airport. You have to come to Mayo to get Kelly’s Greenway Pudding .

Top Creme de Cassis for your Kir

Trenel, Creme de Cassis de Bourgogne 2011, 15%. 

Well, well, well. I've tasted a few of these over the years, but this is surely one of the best. In fairness, most of the others would have been tasted as part of a Kir, where it is mixed with white wine and the blend then drunk as an aperitif.

Cassis, as most of you know, is blackcurrant and the liquor is most definitely from that fruit, looks like it, smells like it and tastes a bit like it. Sugar and alcohol have been added to the fruit and the mix here is brilliant, the alcohol giving the fruit a real fillip. 

Trenel boasts that he is the "liquoriste de Bourgogne". This bottle proves beyond doubt that he sure knows what he is doing. Not surprising really as he has been doing it since 1928!

While I did like sipping a little of it on its own, it is probably best mixed. Here are the classic ways.
Kir: Creme de Cassis (1 part) and white wine (9 parts).
Kir Royale: Creme de Cassis and champagne.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bantry Meets the Challenge

Bantry Meets the Challenge
Click on image to enlarge.

The sun shone as the week long Atlantic Challenge came to an end in Bantry on Sunday. Even though we arrived relatively early on Sunday morning, we had the feeling that we had missed a great night on Saturday and that was pretty much confirmed everywhere on Sunday!

It certainly accounted for a leisurely start to the day. Not too many people around until after lunch when the wind died down and the sun came out and so too did the crowds. The Food Fair was the focus of much attention as were the bands playing on the square.

I walked out to the pier to see the long boats of the Atlantic Challenge at rest and a pretty sight they made with their national flags flying in the stiff breeze and the magnificent scenery in the background. By the time we got back to the centre, the Food Fair was picking up.

If you were hungry after the night before then you were in the right place with hot food being provided by various stalls, pizzas and Thai among them. Not too many producers around but great to meet up with Benoit Lorge and Mella’s Fudge again.
Clockwise from top left: Blacksmith demo, Mella's Fudge, Rachel Dare of Organico doing her cookery demo, Pizza stall, attendance at cookery demo, Salad from Organico, Herbal teas and Olive stall. Click on image to enlarge. 

The cookery demonstration area was every popular with quite a line-up that included Henry Heggarty of Wokabout, Caroline Moore of the Seaside Kitchen, Rachel Dare of Organico Café (they also had some gorgeous salads on their stall), Pat Kiely of O’Connor’s Seaford Restaurant (where we enjoyed a splendid lunch), and Benoit Lorge with a sweet chocolate finale.

After lunch, we joined the throngs, took in the music and paid another visit to the food area. Great to see the kids catered for in the square with the Bubbles in the Water and the Bucking Bronco proving popular.

Would have liked to have stayed on for the Atlantic Challenge presentations late in the evening but had so say goodbye to beautiful Bantry though not before a call to Manning’s Food Emporium in Ballylickey where we enjoyed a chat and a drink. After that there was time for a stroll around the nearby Carrigass Castle, where there are some lovely walks and picnic areas.

Friday, July 27, 2012

New from Glenisk! Pure Original.


Got a selection of the new No Added Sugar yoghurts from Glenisk to try recently. I have quite enjoyed the three: Natural, Blueberry and Mango.

Of course, I didn’t leave well alone but tried out a few variations. For instance, I jazzed up the natural with a few bunches of raspberries form the back garden and that went down a treat. The Natural also came in very handy for making the Wholemeal Banana Bread (recipe in Sally Bee’s The Secret Ingredient).

Sally’s books are quite popular in this house and, in the same book, she has a recipe for using natural yoghurt and fruits. Basically you whiz the yoghurt and fruit together and then put them up in smaller yogurt pots and freeze them. Didn’t do that but Sally says they are as popular as ice cream with her kids.

The Glenisk fruit yoghurts are really creamy and tasty and hardly need improving by me. I enjoyed the blueberry one just as it came but must admit to “tampering” with the Mango. Got a tip from @RTEFood  on Twitter and added in some granola (from Staple Diet of Wexford) and must say it worked out quite well.

So there you have, a few ideas to get the best out of the lovely Glenisk products. But don’t worry if you haven't time on your hands as they are excellent just the way they are!

Below is the press release that came with the yoghurts.


3rd July: Glenisk, Ireland’s award-winning organic dairy is celebrating its 25th birthday with the introduction of ‘Pure Original’, a premium range of organic yogurts which contain only yogurt and fruit – and nothing else! Like all Glenisk organic yogurts, Originals are free from artificial or GM ingredients and synthetic chemicals – and they are also free from added sugar. The yogurts contains a  beneficial probiotic culture, l.casei, to help promote healthy digestion.

With no artificial ingredients, and available in delicious flavours; Natural, Mango, Blueberry and Mango & Pineapple, served in distinctive transparent pots – with Glenisk, what you see really is what you get!

The range is available in NATURAL, 500g which is made simply with fresh organic milk and a probiotic culture. Both the MANGO and the BLUEBERRY Original yogurts, 450g feature a decadent layer of fruit on the bottom and a deliciously pure and creamy topping of natural organic yogurt on top. They have no added sugar, and because they are organic, they’re also free from any artificial ingredients, chemicals, GM ingredients.  Each contains a beneficial probiotic culture for healthy digestion.

Also with no added sugar, PINEAPPLE & MANGO Original comes in a 4x125g multipack, and contains a blend of organic yogurt mixed with delicious tropical fruits. The convenient format makes them perfect to pop into lunch boxes or gym bags for a healthy on-the-go snack.

Glenisk MD, Vincent Cleary comments: “creating new and better organic yogurts is our goal. Recently, we reformulated our baby and kids yogurts to remove refined sugar and the response from customers was so positive, we realised a demand existed for a similar range for adults. We’re especially proud to launch our new Originals, with no added sugar, as we celebrate our 25th birthday this year.”

Glenisk Pure Original is available at a recommended retail price of €1.99 for the large pots and €2.69 for the multipack, from leading supermarkets and independent retailers.

Further information on all Glenisk products is available at www.glenisk.com, or you can become a fan of our FAcebook.com/GleniskOrganic to be in with a chance to win prizes and keep up with the organic conversation, or follow us on www.twitter.com/glenisk for daily updates.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Food and Drink Spotting

Taste of the Week! So refreshing.

Food and Drink Spotting  
Bantry Festival of Food
As Bantry’s Atlantic Challenge contest draws to a close, and after the pirates have had their revelry on the 28th, it will be high time to relax and enjoy the finer things in life.
On Sunday 29th July, the Bantry Festival of Food, sponsored by Bord Bia, is bringing together foodies, chefs and food producers on the shores of Bantry Bay to enjoy the best of the great food West Cork has to offer.
As you watch the curraghs, windsurfers and wooden boats in Bantry Bay, you’ll get to pick up tips from local chefs, and sample your way through stalls that showcase the best of Irish food.

Fenn’s Quay. Busy Week
Fenn’s Quay have announced a series of events for next week as part of Cork Food Week.
On Monday, you may join Head chef Kate at the table and taste a special menu – designed only for this one night. Be the one who chats with the chef while eating dinner. Kate will introduce and explain each course and will answer any question you have about the food. Price pp: €30 incl. 3-course menu & wine. Monday 30th July - 7:30pm.

On Wednesday, there is a food Blind tasting menu, also €30 (incl. 7-course tasting menu & glass of wine). And on Friday, a Food Quiz will be held. Price pp: €15 incl. finger food & glass of wine/bottle of beer. Please note that places are limited and booking is essential. Email biasasta@hotmail.com to reserve a place or for more information.

12 mile menu winner
Great to see Midleton’s Sage Restaurant rewarded for their innovation with the prize for top dish (12 Mile)  at last week’s enjoyable Cork Food Fest. Springfort’s feather blade beef once again caught the eye or should that be taste buds. Must say I thought the dishes overall – starters and mains in particular (didn’t try too many desserts!) – were top notch.
For my own part, I’d like to have seen more recognition for the excellent menus of near neighbours Hayfield Manor and Fresco. Didn’t get a chance to try all the food but another dish that I thought was fantastic was the Thai Chicken Noodle Soup by Isaac’s.
And, moving to glasses, wasn’t that a fantastic Sherry exhibition and tasting by Colm McCan of Ballymaloe!

Interesting view on Irish pubs here thanks Irish Fireside Corey ‏@IrishFireside
Q & A: Irish Pubs and Etiquette

Irish Food Bloggers ‏@IrishFoodies
Good morning! Have you entered our latest competition yet for a master class and dinner at the Carton House Hotel?

Avonmore Launch New Fresh Dessert Cream 

Carlow Café makes the Best Scone in Ireland!

Carlow’s Café Formenti makes the Best Scone in Ireland!

Goodall’s of Ireland Reveals the National & Regional Winners of the Nation’s Favourite Scone

2 One of the great culinary debates has finally been laid to rest as Goodall’s of Ireland have announced the winner of their search for the country's Best Scone! This morning Carlow’s Café Formenti has been revealed as the winner of a €1,000 prize fund, but more importantly the coveted title of ‘Best Scone of Ireland’!

The competition caught the public imagination with #bestscone becoming one of the top trends talked about on Twitter last week.   A shortlist was compiled from public nominations cast on Twitter and Facebook and was  then voted for on the www.goodalls.ie blog, with almost 10,000 votes being cast from around the country.

Café Formenti’s unusual ‘Scruffin’ a cross between a muffin and a scone, encouraged loyal customers and fans to get behind the Carlow based café, and owner Richie Fenner commented on his delight at the victory for the café,

“Cafe Formenti, along with being a working cafe where we cater for all tastes in Carlow town, is also a community, where all walks of life come to interact.””

Four regional winners were also selected from the shortlist of 12 finalists; The Halo Café in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, Keogh’s Café on Trinity Street in Dublin, Tierney’s Costcutter in Ennis, Co. Clare, and The Tuckaway Coffee Shop in Waterford, and each eatery will receive a €500 prize.

Speaking on behalf of Goodall’s Gareth Watkins commented,

“We wanted to celebrate the best of Irish baking – not the fancy stuff but tasty everyday stuff, that when it’s done well can be fantastic.  We all know scones can vary from the mediocre to the truly great and Café Formenti  represents the best of modern Irish food”.

Any bakers wishing to try their hand at making Ireland’s best scone can have a look at www.Goodalls.ie where Goodalls will  publish the café’s top tips on scone making .  You can join in the great scone debate on  Facebook.com/GoodallsIreland or follow the conversation on Twitter.com/GoodallsIreland.

Afternoon in the Idaho Cafe

Afternoon in the Idaho Cafe

Surprised to see so many customers in the Idaho Cafe at 3.00pm on a drizzly Tuesday afternoon. Just goes to illustrate that this Caroline Street venue is as popular as ever and that goes to the credit of Richard and Mairead Jacob and the way they have been running it for eleven years.

Their way is really a philosophy, a combination of simple things: local ingredients, well cooked, and served with a smile and a chat and, oh yes, a large dollop of hard work behind it all. Simple but superb. And obviously appreciated by their many regulars.

I think their Facebook Page sums it up very well: “We are a small, but perfectly formed Cafe, serving breakfast, lunch, coffees and drinks to an eclectic and much loved group of customers.
Our menu brings you great breakfasty treats such as Waffles with Bacon, Porridge, Bacon and Cheddar Croissants and our famous Bacon and Sausage Baps.

Lunch revolves around more great Irish ingredients served with simplicity and style. Shepherdess's Pie, Smoked Fish Pie, and hot toasted Baps are complemented by regularly changing Salads.

We are striving to source ALL our core ingredients from a 100km radius of Idaho Cafe, Bacon, Sausages and Black puddings come from Limerick, Our cheeses are from west Cork, Our apple juice is from Cappoquinn, Breads from Cork City..... I think you get the message !!!!”

We were treated to Afternoon Tea. This is not a regular on the agenda but is available on request. We had a great chat with the proprietors as they took little breaks in their turn. Dubliner Richard is the front of house while Corkonian Mairead is the chef. She is always trying something else and we got a chance to sample her delicious Sweet Geranium Syrup that is going down well with some of the breakfast regulars who take it with the porridge. 

We had started with a local product, Frank Hedderman’s gorgeous salmon on brown bread. Again local, simple and simply delicious! Perhaps the highlight though was Mairead’s Gooseberry Crumble. This was made from their own home grown red gooseberries and was simply outstanding.

Impossible to top that but the final treat came close! These were the macarons made by John and Sylvie McCormick. They look much the same as any other colourful macaron but the fillings are something else. If you don’t believe me, why not try them out at Mahon Point Farmers Market.

And, one more thing, why not try out Idaho Cafe itself?  A place to relax and replenish your resources, just a few yards from Patrick Street.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Are you the super Home Cook Hero?


You could be the 2012 Home-Cook Hero  and walk away with the award and an incredible €1,500 worth of prizes. Fancy a crack? Then read on.

This nationwide competition is being organised by Easy Food Magazine and is for the Supermoms, Superdads and Superkids out there who are famous in their own house. Have you got that tried and tested recipe that goes down a treat every single time and draws the compliments of regulars and visitors alike?

You will have to specify a category for your recipe. Pick from Best Burger, Catch of the Day, Cáca Milis, Deli-licious, Fabulous Fowl, Larder Luck, Squisito, Start your day..the honey way, Take 5, and Tiny Tastes.

I met Easy Food Magazine‘s Jenny Cotter at the recent Cork Food Fest and she told me all about it and is hoping the word gets around to those hidden kitchen talents: “Amateur cooks of all ages on the island of Ireland are eligible to enter. If your friends, mother, father, grandparents, school or college haven’t heard about this national cookery competition yet, forward the link and persuade them to enter here.  You can also nominate anyone you think is a home cook hero!”

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fun in the City: Food and Kids

Food and Kids
A fun day out organised by Cork Restaurants
No kiddin'

As part of Cork Food Week, Cork Restaurants, Cork Opera House and Trendmicro have joined forces to bring families a fun filled cost effective day out in the City Centre.

Tuesday 31st at 12.00 – Bishop Lucey Park

           Bring your Own Teddy Bears Picnic

Bishop Lucey Park will become a Teddy ear clinic for the day where families have the choice of bringing their own picnic or buying packed lunches at a low cost at the park. So grab a blanket and come down to join in the fun with Face Painters, Teddy Bear clinics, story telling and, if we are really really lucky, the ‘Van Trapp Family’ might come down for a sing-a-long from Cork Opera House!!

More here.

The Cork Food Week hasn't forgotten the adults. The kick off comes this Friday with a massive Titanic Ball in the City Hall in aid of the Cope Foundation. And the other major event happens on August 4th when the happy pirate gangs head off on the Pannier Champagne Cork Gourmet Trail. For more info on these and the other Cork Food Week attractions, please click here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Midleton's Lion of St Mark

Pizzeria San Marco

In Venice, you will see the Lion of St Mark all over the town. You will also see it on the wall of Pizzeria San Marco which is just down the road in Midleton. 

Here the restaurant, which opened two years back and has been making friends since, proudly boasts about their authentic Italian dining experience. They have an authentic Italian wood-burning oven and charcoal grill. And also that Lion of St Mark on the wall.

Had been hearing good things about this Pizzeria over the last 12 months and got a chance to call down last week. It is on the Cork City side of the town, not too far down from the site of the weekly Farmers Market. Front of house are very friendly and the chairs are comfortable.

The menu is wide ranging, as you see for yourself by visiting the website. I’ve always enjoyed the shared meat dish that other Italian restaurants use and we went for it here and were delighted. The Antipasto Platter consisted of Cured Italian meats with a selection of cheeses, olives and sun dried tomatoes and cost €10.30. It was a well-balanced plateful and was helped on its way by a gorgeous Montepulciano.

We had actually been about to pick a Sangiovese Merlot from the understandably short list until our genial waiter Mario suggested the Caldora Montepulciano. It is from the Abruzzo region with a full body, intense, persistent and fruity. And, as Mario said, goes well with meat and cheese. Cost per bottle is 22 euro, per glass 6.25.

As you’d expect, they have a long list of pizzas. The special on the night was the Macroom Pizza, featuring the Toomsbridge Buffalo cheese, but I went for the Carciofini which had tomato, mozzarella and artichokes and cost €11:30. Must say, glad to say, it was top notch, a great mix, well balanced and the artichokes more than held their own.

CL picked the Lasagna: Baked pasta layered with Bolognese and Béchamel sauce, topped with Parmesan cheese, served with garlic bread (€12.50). I had a sample and it was just brilliant and, more importantly, she concurred, enthusiastically.

We were pretty full after the opening two courses and shared the Tiramisu: A layer of "savoiardi" biscuits with coffee liquor, mascarpone cheese and cocoa – €6.50. After the first spoonful, we were inclined to order a second helping but beat off the temptation.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sun Shines on Cork Food Fest

Tour de Food, Part 2!
A few pics from yesterday. The Cork Food Fest in Fitzgerald's Park continues today (Sunday), starting at 12noon and is due to finish at 5.00pm. Tickets on the gate and, just in case this soft mist continues, they have 3000 ponchos available.
Take it easy! The Dublin Gospel Choir. Pa Fitz was also on song here.

Tasty Salt and Pepper Squid by Jacobs on the Mall

Don't miss: Hayfield's Hay-smoked Pigeon

Start with this: Prawn Pil Pil at the Cornstore

Loved this. The Rising Tide's Herb Crumb Fish Cake
Try one. Ballymaloe Crab Pate
Get a taste of these. Some of the Ballymaloe Sherry selection
Don't pass Fresco (1). Try this Teriyaki of Salmon salad
Hayfield's Head Chef Graeme Campbell (centre) and Paul O'Connell (right) with yours truly

Don't pass Fresco (2): Chicken Rendang Curry in Banana leaf.
Opening Night
At the Cork Food Fest last night (Thurs).

Picnic style weather in Fitzgerald Park as the Irish Examiner Cork Food Festival got underway yesterday (Thurs) evening. Many of the area's top restaurants and food producers joined the effort to show the very best of local food. No shortage of cooks - Rachel Allen drew a capacity attendance to her demo - and there was live music by the fountain.
Sonie O'Sullivan passes the Sherry pouring test!
 I enjoyed my stroll around the park and got to quite a few stands, including the impressive Hayfield Manor one. Enjoyed meeting Ciara and Paul again at their plush and hospitable “stall”. Electric chef Kevin was in demand as he dished out slices of Iberico from a rapidly diminishing leg.
Sage's 12 Mile Menu on a Plate. Unmissable.
 Isaac's also had a good spot and some tempting dishes, including a selection of curries with a glass of wine for a tenner. Check it out before the festival ends on Sunday. Also worth checking out is the Sage stand where they are rightly proud of their 12 Mile Menu on a Plate.
Treats by Bite Size
Checking out the Hayfield!

Tasty Thai treat by Isaac's

Anyone for ham? Electric's Kevin.
Springfort chef Bryan McCarthy and yours truly.
Ballymaloe were next door with sommelier Colm McCan inviting us all to try out some great sherry. Only catch was you had to pour it yourself in the traditional manner. I couldn't manage it but Sonia O'Sullivan got it right first time.
Met Mairead from Nash 19 and Idaho Cafe's Richard and Mairead as we continued the tour, picking some tasty pastries up at Midleton's Bite Size and a selection of puddings from Kanturk's Jack McCarthy Butchers. Jack wasn't on duty but son Timmy was and he was in top form.
Oh, almost forgot. Called to Springfort Hall to sample Bryan McCarthy's Feather blade beef - have had it before but you can't get too much of a good thing. And that's my reasoning for making a return to the Mardyke, at least one more call before the show closes on Sunday to call to the places I missed last night.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Food and Drink Spotting

Food and Drink Spotting
Cork Food Festival
The Irish Examiner Cork Food Festival starts this evening (5.30pm) in Fitzgerald Park and it promises to be much much better than last year, much more affordable. Ticket prices have been cut in half and the unpopular “Corkers” currency has been ditched.

More room is available so that means more producers and more seating areas. Loads of restaurants will be showing samples of their best dishes and you’ll also be able to get a drink or two.

No shortage of top class chef demonstrations on view and big food names such as Rachel Allen, Paulo Tullio, Darina Allen and Andrew Rudd are attending. The Dublin Gospel Choir are among the entertainers.

It starts this evening and will run Friday (afternoon and evening), Saturday (afternoon and evening) and Sunday (afternoon). For exact times and all the information, check the official site here.

Goodall’s Scone Show
Goodall’s of Ireland’s search for the country's Best Scone has resulted in the shortlist of 12 cafes and bakeries around the country. They are battling it out for the €1,000 prize fund, but more importantly the coveted title of ‘Best Scone of Ireland’!

Scones may not have been an Irish invention, but they are certainly an Irish institution. The twelve finalists were chosen from Dublin, Greater Leinster, The West and The South, and the public can vote for the winner on www.goodalls.ie until Sunday 22nd July.

The winning eatery will get the prestigious honour of being the creator of the best scone in Ireland 2012 and will receive a specially commissioned, ‘Best Scone of Ireland 2012’ plaque plus there will be €1000 and a hamper of Goodall’s products. There will also be €500 for each of the four regional winners. Goodall’s will also publish all of the winner’s top tips on scone making on their website.

Top Fruit
You may have seen my post earlier this week on The Apple Farm  (on the Cahir-Clonmel Road) but I’d like to return to the subject here and recommend you go and get your hands on some of the fabulous fruit there. It is really top class and the cherries (grown under cover) are the biggest and juiciest I have ever come across.

Paul Kiernan of Bubble Brothers has been in touch. “We've absolutely slashed the prices of all our mixed cases! With the latest discounts ranging from 9-15% on 6-bottle cases to 17-25% on 12-bottle cases, the time to buy truly is now. In addition, we've lowered the bar for free delivery from €100 to €80! Check it out here.“

Laurent Perrier is pleased to announce that they are  offering a glass of their elegant champagne to each person who dines at the Chef’s Table in Chapter One, Dublin. Creating unique and elegant champagnes for over 200 years, Laurent Perrier is the perfect partner to complement the Michelin starred fine cuisine.

The Chef’s Table is a fabulous experience for four to six people to really see what goes on in an award-winning restaurant. Made from volcanic rock, the Chef’s Table is set right in the hub of this prestigious restaurant and it is truly a piece of culinary theatre to dine there.

The Chef’s Table is available at €85.00 per head Tuesday to Saturday and bookings can be made by contacting Chapter One directly on  01-8732266  or email info@chapteronerestaurant.com

The next Ballymaloe Wine Date is a biggie, a Long Table Dinner in the glasshouse in the Cookery School, with Mme Veronique Guibert, owner of Mas de Daumas Gassac, and the Grand Cru wines of the estate.

Spotted on twitter: Manning’s Emporium ‏@emporiummanning
Thai BBQ this Saturday at Manning's Emporium, Henry Hegarty of Wokabout will be fanning the flames. The fun starts at 6pm, all welcome.

Called into Maher’s on Oliver Plunkett Street this week and picked up a pack of their traditional Number Six blend. An excellent coffee, really good in the morning. And it comes at a very good price, just a fiver for 200 grams. Well worth a try!

If you have time and strawberries to spare you may be interested in these Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Red All Over


Red All Over

Quinta Do Judeu’s Vinho Tinto, Douro 2009, 13.5% Abv, Stockists 

Quite a posse of varietals go into the making of this gorgeous Portuguese red: Tourigo Nacional, Tourigo Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarelle and Tinta Barroca. Style is full, complex red, with an abv of 13.5%.

Colour is dark red with purple tinge while it has a nose of dark fruits (plums and cherries for me). On the palate it is smooth, warm and fruity and just a little bit spicy; dry for sure with a lingering finish. Well up to the standard of this excellent producer and highly recommended.

Stratus, Tonto 2008, Lanzarote DO, 13% abv.

If holidaying in Lanzarote or any of the islands, keep an eye out for this one from Stratus, a state of the art relatively new winery. Got this red as a present and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a blend of Tinta Conjera and Listan Negra, a really well made wine.

Colour is a deep cherry red with a strong nose that includes dried fruit and liquorice. In the mouth, it is fruity, juicy, fresh with marked tannins. A really pleasant mouthfeel with good balance and decent finish.

Mas de la Dame, La Stele Rouge 2006, Les Baux de Provence

Sad, for me, to report my stock from the Rhone and Provence has been wiped out since this was polished off over the weekend. A terrific blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon from a historic vineyard! Not easily replenished here in Ireland.

Domaine de la Citadelle, Les Artemes, Cotes du Luberon was also cleaned out over the weekend but at least it can be bought here via Rhone specialists The Wine Store. Another one for the highly recommended list.

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!

Fabulous Fish. 14 tempting plates.

Some of the great fish dishes I've enjoyed in 2012

The continental selection, clockwise from top left: Tuna at La Cabane (Hendaye), Squid at Chez Kake (H), Turbot at Nerua (Bilbao), Bream at La Cabane, Hake at La Cabane, Cod at La Cabane, Cod at Le Flora (Pont Aven, Brittany Ferries). Hendaye is a small town on the Atlantic, on the border with Spain. La Cabane de Pecheur was obviously my favourite restaurant during the holidays!

The home selection, clockwise from top left): Hake at Augustine's, Monkfish at Hayfield, Sea Bass at Star Anise, Hake at Dillon's, Halibut at Hayfield, Hake at Nash 19, Smoked Mackerel at Ballymaloe Cafe.

Monday, July 16, 2012

El Vino at the Elysian display calorie content on menus

El Vino at the Elysian display calorie content  on menus

Following the recent announcement by Health Minister James O’ Reilly that food businesses had six months to put calorie labels on food, El Vino, a wine bar and restaurant, has already implemented the changes.
El Vino operates from the Elysian tower with a sister restaurant in Douglas. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland called for the changes to be implemented in a report on the findings of its national consultation published on July 4th.

Clutching her new menus proprietor Angie O’ Brien explains “It took our chef two days to work out the calorie content of our lunch and dinner menus. We did find that it was an educational and interesting exercise. We believe that eating out should be an experience that is enjoyed; however, we have noticed a trend where our customers ask about the calorie content of particular items from the menu.”

“Most people are aware of the naughty or fattening foods but some people want to make an informed choice. This will help them to make the best decision for them when ordering. We know that it is a voluntary initiative at the moment but we would prefer to implement these changes now, rather than face an extra cost in the New Year, already a difficult time for restaurants”.

El Vino at the Elysian opened in 2009 while its sister restaurant in Douglas opened in 2005. Angie continued:  “While the main lunch and dinner menus will include the calorie content we will need to work out our daily specials on a day to day basis; this will prove time consuming but the report by the FSAI did say that 96% of consumers want these changes to be implemented, in our business, the customer is always right!”

For more information on El Vino or call 021 4369844. The menus are available here. Click FSAI to see their report.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Amuse Bouche

“But the fact is that a £10 Malbec from Argentina will probably be smoother, fuller and less sharp than a £6.00 bottle. An £11.00 Chardonnay from the Margaret River in Australia will be much more exciting than a £5.50 wine from one of the big companies that make and export millions of litres. In my view, a £12.00 wine from southern France is likely to be far better value than any Bordeaux at the same price.” From Life’s Too Short to Drink Bad Wine by Simon Hoggart.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Spanish Wine Date for your Diary

Spanish Wine Date for your Diary

Justine Adams has been in touch with info on the upcoming Spanish Wine Fair in Dublin. "It has been a huge success in previous years and is the Autumn's biggest wine event. Over 200 professionals visited last time."

The Spanish Wine Fair in Ireland will celebrate its 9th edition on September 13th at the prestigious Shelbourne Hotel. Nineteen Irish importers will show the best from their Spanish portfolio. Fifteen Spanish wineries, new to the Irish Market, will showcase their wine.

In total, more than 240 wines from over 30 different Designations of Origin and Land Wines will be available to taste at this unique trade event. Professional visitors have the opportunity to enjoy some of the best Spanish wine available to the Irish market.

For the 5th year in a row the Christmas Stars competition will take place throughout the day. This year’s visitors will be treated to Cava wine - Spain’s famous sparkling wine. The guests will have the opportunity to vote on each Cava wine and choose their favourites. The winners will be promoted and highlighted over the Christmas period.

During the event, an exclusive tasting seminar on Cava Wines will be held. Coming specifically from Spain, Cava expert, Patrick Webb, has been commissioned to deliver this master class, Cava, the Sparkling Stars. 30 professionals will have the opportunity to attend and gain a deeper understanding of the peculiarities and essence of the different categories of Cava.

Date: Thursday, 13th of September 2012

Wines Fair (10.30 am – 17.00 pm)

Seminar (12.00 pm)

Christmas stars uncork (13.00 pm & 15.00 pm)

Place: The Shelbourne Hotel, 27 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2

To view all importers and wineries participating this year, please click here

For further information, please contact:
Izaskun Zurbitu
Marketing Director
Economic and Commercial Office
Spanish Embassy
Tel.: 01 661 63 13
e-mail: izurbitu@mcx.es

NASH 19: Cracking lunch!

NASH 19: Cracking lunch!

Hadn’t been in for a while and it was great to see the Nash 19 crew in top form when I called in for a midweek lunch. It just gets better and better in this central Prince’s Street venue. The smiling service is as bright and efficient as ever and, hard to believe, the food is probably even better. What a lunch: from a menu of great variety, I enjoyed three courses of the highest standard.

Take the hake I had for my main course. That fish must have been dripping from the Atlantic when he arrived in Nash 19 that morning. Such freshness I have rarely encountered.

Then add in the magic from chef Pamela Kelly. The Castletownbere hake was presented on a Saffron and Prawn Risotto with a sprinkling of Kelly magic, including grapes, pineapple and balsamic, endowing the gorgeous flesh with a light and scrumptious touch. Influences of the Med, maybe Asia. Wasn’t really giving that much thought. Too busy eating.

I have enjoyed some tremendous fish dishes in France and Spain over a recent four week holiday, dishes where the fish was king and the other bits and pieces were used to enhance that status. It gives me the greatest of pleasure to say that the Nash 19 hake was as good as any of the Basque creations.

Dessert was another highlight. Here some of the freshest raspberries from Con Trass’s Apple Farm had been included in a gorgeous Mille Feuille, layers of sweetness and the juice of the berries. Might not be a great summer but this was a sunny delight.

The meal had started off well with the Fish Chowder, another class offering, and the wine was a French Sauvignon Blanc by Les Jamelles, crisp and tart and fine with the fish. A couple of coffees at the finale and two happy diners joined many more leaving the busy Nash 19, meeting many more that were coming in.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Food and Drink Spotting

Food and Drink Spotting

Visiting Ummera Smokehouse

Ummera have always welcomed visitors to the smokehouse but, as it is tucked away up the Argideen Valley, hidden by trees and bushes, not too many people find them! Now there's a challenge!

Owner Anthony Cresswell: “But when you do find us, and we are actually here (please call ahead if you can to make sure), then we will happily give you a simple tour and tell you something about how we smoke our organic salmon and other smoked products.

We do try to make it as easy as possible to find us with maps and directions on our website, but asking the way in the village is still the best!

And while you are visiting our area, do look out for the Bandon Food Trail members. Details and a map are on their Facebook  page.”
Check on all the other things that Ummera are up to by reading the newsletter.

Gary takes up West Cork Cook-Off Challenge

Paul Flynn had agreed to represent Ireland in this year’s event, but force of circumstance has meant that he has had to withdraw. Gary O’Hanlon of the VM Restaurant in Co. Longford has gallantly stepped in to take Paul’s place.

Gary O’Hanlon hails from Ramelton in Co. Donegal. Gary's career began in The Rosapenna Hotel in Downings at the tender age of 15 and from there Gary moved on to the famous Tourism College Killybegs before working his way around Ireland from Dublin at La Cave to Belfast's Stormont Hotel and then on to Boston, Massachusetts, where he spent 6 years opening and establishing Devlin’s Restaurant.

At the age of 23, he was named Best Chef in Boston. Check out all the details of this accomplished chef here.

Slow Food Ireland
East Cork Convivium - Tuesday 17 July - at 6.30pm - Farm Walk at Dan Ahern's Born Free Organic Poultry Farm, Ballysimon, Midleton, Co Cork. Bring appropriate weatherproof clothing and footwear.  Light Refreshments.  Donations to support the East Cork Slow Food Educational Project.
Contact: Dan for directions 086 1659 258    
Keep in touch with Slow Food Ireland here


Guests at Macroom’s Caste Hotel regularly praise the food available there and Chef Pat Ryan’s delights will be on show when the popular venue holds a Wedding Afternoon on July 22nd.

And another highlight will be award winning tenor and contestant on ‘The Voice Of Ireland’, Dan Twomey (right), one of many wedding suppliers who will be showcasing their talents on the day.

More info on the hotel and the big day event here while Dan’s contact details are available here.

Barbecues, Restaurant offers, Roof Top Dining, are among the offerings available at Limerick’s award winning Strand Hotel this summer. Details here.


To apply for National Organic Week funding, complete the Online Organic Week 2012 Form by Monday, 16th July.  Thanks to ‏@Bordbia on Twitter.

Hasn’t been quite the weather for dining al Fresco but I’m sure many of you have sheltered corners where it is all possible. In that case, and besides there is quite a lot of the summer to come, you’ll be interested in a host of summer recipes provided by All Recipes UK and Ireland here.

Help save the sandwich! The tuna in your sandwich needs help. The World Wild Life Fund is working with the industry to get more sustainable seafood in your sandwich.  Check it out here.