Sunday, June 30, 2013

Limerick,Day 3: Mustard Seed Delights.

Limerick, Day 3

Mustard Seed Delights. Adare's Old Creamery. Curragh Chase Woods. The Lottery Dog.

Rabbit terrine

Back to the Mustard Seed for this evening’s dinner and that meant a return to a culinary paradise and tasty temptations in the former convent in Ballingarry, super food and service and a four course meal, fit for a Gourmet Superior, in a pleasant and unhurried ambience.

A smoked salmon Amuse Bouche was followed by a couple of terrific starters. Mine was the Rabbit Terrine (with pickled wild mushroom, tarragon puree, chicken mousseline, and Guinness gel). CL went for the Warm Strawberry with lime puree, walnut powder, beet meringues, balsamic and elderflower syrup, another winner.
Guinea fowl
Hit the jackpot also with the mains, hard not to be a winner here, such is the high standard of the produce and the team.  I choose the pan-fried Irish Hereford rib-eye of beef, served with a goat cheese and celeriac risotto, roast almond mousse, Iron Age rare breed pork profiterole.  A long way from your usual onions and fries!

Mine was excellent but I think CL’s may have been even better as the sheer quality of her Guinea Fowl was out of this world. And that quality was illustrated in a number of ways as you can see from the menu description: Pan seared breast of guinea fowl, confit leg and pressed thigh, parmesan custard, vegetable fricassee and sauce basquise. Excellent produce handled well all the way to the plate. Different class!
Butter at Mustard Seed
At the creamery!
Never heard tell of the Adare Old Creamery store until the other day. Visited it today and now feel like I should tell you all about it. It is just a few hundred yards from the County Limerick village and it quite fascinating.

Maybe you want to buy a doll’s house or furniture for it. Some beautiful scented candles perhaps. Maybe high quality china such as Ainsley or Belleek. Well, this is the place to check out – see it on Facebook.
Adare's Austinian Friary
Downstairs there is an old style sweet shop (including ice-cream) and upstairs a gorgeous tea-rooms (with the best apple pie ever!). Books and clothes and much much more in this treasure house. And later in the year it turns into an incredible Christmas store. A must visit.

Had done a fair bit of walking in Adare during the morning, calling to the Franciscan Abbey ruins on the golf course and the more intact Dominican Abbey, now part of the Adare Church (Church of Ireland), maintaining on that site a tradition of Christian worship going back seven centuries. Enjoyed a fine view of the Castle from the bridge near the entrance to the golf club.
Doll's House at the Old Creamery
Still enough "teaspai" left for another walk and so we headed to the much recommended Curragh Chase Woods and its now ruined house, once the home of 19th century poet and author Aubrey Thomas de Vere. 
Curragh Close
Ger McDonnell's tree.

Some lovely walks here in the 313 hectares of lakes, mixed woodland and parkland. But the memory I’ll take away is the tear that fell as I unexpectedly came across the tree planted by local mountaineer Ger McDonnell to mark his conquest of Everest in 2003, about five years before the dreadful events on K2 that ended his life and that of ten others.  

As we worked our way towards Ballingarry, I spotted the Croke Park pub. Walking is thirsty work so popped in and we had a great chat with our genial hostess Deirdre and the visiting dog Judy, a one-time stray that was raffled off in the pub one night and thereby found a home. Her second home though is the pub itself where she is well known to all the customers, even sitting it on card games.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Limerick Day 2: Superb Wild Geese. Medieval Kilmallock. No go at Gur.

Limerick Day 2
Superb Wild Geese. Medieval Kilmallock. No go at Gur. 
Crab in Smoked Salmon
Not the best of days but a superb finish. And not just the ending back here at the Mustard Seed, sipping some red wine in front of a blazing June fire!

That final luxury came after a superb meal in Adare’s Wild Geese, run for the last 14 years by David Foley and Julie Randles. Enjoyed a tasty Goat Cheese Amuse Bouche and then followed two of the best starters you are likely to find.

CL’s was a Terrine of lamb fillet, with a chicken and basil mousse, wrapped in smoked bacon served with Lentil dressing and homemade tomato chutney. Not listed were orange bits and an apple puree. Nothing superfluous, all added up to perfection.

Dominican Friary, Kilmallock
Mine was also high class: a parcel of Kenmare smoked salmon stuffed with crabmeat and served with a cucumber and dill salsa. Sharp and tasty, it woke up those taste buds, just like a flurry of sea foam coming over the cliffs and waking you up on the morning after the night before.

For the mains, I went for the trio of Barbary Duck: Roast Breast, Spring roll of confit and a warm salad of smoked duck. Three out of three! And CL’s Roast Atlantic Cod, topped with crab meat, on a bed of rösti and with a sauce of mussels was a happy dish, like the fishing fleet coming in.

Wine was something of a compromise between white and red but the Round Hill Merlot from sunny California lacked nothing in quality and gained a couple of fans on a drizzly night at the Munster crossroads of the tour buses.
Lough Gur
Nearby Kilmallock, once the crossroads of Munster, has a wealth of history and the buildings, or at least the remains of buildings, to prove it. Most visitors will be familiar with John’s Castle on Sheare’s Street. Built in the 15th century, it is a “fine example of a ‘Peel’ tower. It has been suggested that it saw use as a town gate; other uses included as an arsenal during the war against Cromwell, a meeting place for the local corporation, a school, even a blacksmith’s forge!

Also visited the Priory, a 13th century Dominican abode. The five-light east window of the church is one its impressive features. Not too much of the cloister remains. Another 13th century ruin, that of the Collegiate Church, stands nearby.

Another call was to the massive Church of SS Peter and Paul, built towards the end of the 19th century and still functioning. Juts behind it is the Martyrs’ Monument, erected in memory of three priests hanged in the last quarter of the 16th century and beatified in Rome in 1992.
Had been looking forward to my visit to Lough Gur but there was a big disappointment in store when I found the Heritage Centre closed. Checked their site and found it had been due to open in mid-June and now Sunday the 30th is mentioned as the re-opening. There are some walks around the lake and I enjoyed them but, without the back-up of information from the Centre was unable to do much more. Didn’t even see “the crannog or lake-dwelling which is still visible from the Lake shore” according to the website.

After the peace and quite of Lough Gur, the traffic through Adare was almost a shock. Got parking in the large lot behind the centrally situated Heritage Centre as did many more, including quite a few tour buses.

Wild Geese dessert
Needed a coffee after the morning’s exertions and got a good one in the Market Place, about 100 metres uphill from the Heritage Centre. The Market Place is a very busy spot with an extensive menu but, with dinner booked, I settled for the coffee and an excellent slice of apple tart, real chunky apple pieces!  Tasty stuff.

After that it was back to Ballingarry and a wee rest before heading out again to the Wild Geese.

Check out Day 1 here
Day 3 here

Friday, June 28, 2013

Faceless saint, unknown knight and wrong-way Corrigan

Day 1

Faceless saint, unknown knight and wrong-way Corrigan

There is, in the Askeaton Franciscan Friary, a saint whose face is fading away. For generations, visitors with toothache and related problems have been kissing him on the face in the hope of a cure. Not too sure if the aches vanished but the saint’s face, at least the area round the mouth, is vanishing.

In the same abbey, there is a statue of Saint Patrick, high in one of the internal walls, easily missed. I’d not have seen it but for the help of a local man who also told me about the toothache saint and the unknown knight. The story is that this anonymous knight arrived in Askeaton and died there and is buried in a wall in the abbey with the following inscription: Pass me for I am strange.

But the real highlight for me is the cloisters (below), more or less intact in this 14th century building. These, plus the saint, the knight and Patrick are national treasures, open to the elements, including the criminal ones.
No chance that early aviator Douglas Corrigan would remain anonymous. Denied permission to fly from New York to Dublin, he was given the option of NY to San Fran. But the intrepid pilot headed east and landed in Dublin, claiming his compass had mal-functioned!
Heard that yarn and a whole lot more in the fascinating Flying Boat Museum in Foynes earlier in the day. Many stories are about the flying boats in their heyday at Foynes (late 30s, early 40s) and obviously lots are of Irish interest. The highlight though is a full size replica of the Yankee Clipper (built by Boeing and called the B314). This gives a terrific idea of what a flight in this type of machine was like.

Here also you’ll hear how, and why, Irish Coffee was invented. There is a little gift shop and also an impressive little restaurant, the B. O’Regan. ”Mouth-watering home cooking at very reasonable rates” they say. Soup and brown bread for €3.95 sounded reasonable but my plain scone cost €2.95! But it was of decent quality as was the reliable Bewley’s Coffee.
Mustard Seed garden
After that, headed out the Shannon estuary, as far as Tarbert where we saw the impressive car ferries come and go between the Kerry port and Killimer in Clare. Pity the day’s weather wasn’t the best. It was dry and generally dull but we still got a great idea of the impressive estuary,  Ireland's largest.
Mustard Seed garden
Headed back then, via Askeaton, to Ballingarry and the Mustard Seed, set in a former convent. Great welcome here, local cheddar, peaches and Prosecco in the room, and then a walk in the garden, a garden given over mainly to vegetables but with some gorgeous flowers and surprising mini-vistas, even including a little Buddha shrine!
Plate of lamb

All that was needed now was a good meal. And I got it at the Mustard Seed. Superb from start to finish. Briefly, it was Rabbit and Pig Terrine, Lemon Sorbet, Assiette of Lamb (above), and Selection of Irish Farmhouse Cheeses (including Milleens and Cashel Blue).  Five star. And then a comfy finish with the end of the wine and coffee in front of the fire! Happy days.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Food and Drink Spotting

Food and Drink Spotting
Philip Mahon, new chef at
Citron in Dublin's Fitzwilliam

Dine-in Cinema? Could it catch on here?
One of my Foodspotting correspondents, US based Critsy, recently went to eat at the cinema, at Hurricane at AMC Esplanade 14 in Phoenix, AZ.

“Watching “Fast & Furious 6” with hubby (while waiting for the kids to finish golf tournament. :) These dine-in theaters are getting more popular, so this theater converted itself into one. There’s a more “posh” dine-in place up north in Scottsdale, and their service and food’s much better, but for just drinks and alcoholic beverage, this one’s reasonably priced and nice plush home theater seats. Press the button and it beckons the server to take your order.

It's a theater with wide, plush seats with a swivel table that you can pull in front of you to put your food. So it's a specifically designed dine- in theater. These are popular in Asia too. :)”

Philip Mahon joins Citron Restaurant 
The award winning Citron Restaurant of the Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin is delighted to announce the appointment of new Head Chef Philip Mahon.

Philip joins the Citron team from the kitchen of Harvey Nichols in Dundrum, Dublin. His extensive experience includes working in top restaurants in the United States, and collaborating with renowned chef Marcus Wareing at the Michein star-winning restaurant The Berkeley, London. Since his return to Ireland, Philip has held positions in Gordon Ramsey’s Ritz Carlton, and Dublin's Michelin Starred Mint with Dylan Mcgrath.

Philip is a Dublin native, born and raised in Sutton. His cooking style is light and contemporary with modern influences, and emphasises the need to support artisan Irish growers and suppliers, as well as take advantage of what each season and surrounding environment has to offer.

For Citron bookings, and to find out more about The Fitzwilliam Hotel's luxurious package deals, check out

Elderflower Hunt Tomorrow
The Butler’s Pantry is hosting a fun Elderflower Hunt on Friday 28th June from 6pm at Blackrock Park (meet at Booterstown Dart Station entrance to Blackrock Park).  The evening will begin with a brief talk by Eoin Warner of The Butler’s Pantry on the Elder tree and the different culinary uses of Elderflower.  This is followed by a walk around the park where everyone can gather elderflower (remember to have your scissors and basket at the ready!).  On arrival back at the start there will be a tasting of Elderflower Cordial and Elderflower Turkish Delight and some other tasty nibbles from The Butler’s Pantry and everyone will receive a selection of recipes to take home with them.
 This fantastic hunt is open to all and is compliments of The Butler’s Pantry.  Check out the Butler’s Pantry on twitter and facebook for more details. Places are limited so anyone interested please email before Wednesday 26th June @ 5pm to book your place.

Isaacs Restaurant Cork
On July the 18th we will be open for lunch & serving dinner from 5pm to facilitate people going to the concert. Call 021 4503805 to make a reservation.  Concert info here. 

Castle Hotel in Macroom
The wedding team at the boutique 4 star Castle Hotel in Macroom, Co. Cork would like to extend an invitation to you to sample its wedding offering on Sunday, 30 June between 12pm- 4pm. With a wealth of experience and reputation for elegance, style and impeccable service, the wedding team at the 4* Castle Hotel, Macroom, Co. Cork will showcase more than 10 suppliers at its bespoke wedding afternoon. More details here.

Anyone for Strawberries?

It is Wimbledon  time and that means strawberry time. The people at All-Recipes UK and Ireland have lots of ideas as to what to do with your favourite fruit: strawberries in Pimms, Sparkling Strawberry Gin, Tennis Ball Truffles and much more. Check them all out here  and maybe add one of your own. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dine by the Water!

Dine by the Water
Superb food and superb views
Ostan Gweedore at Bunbeg, Donegal
I’ve been very lucky this past few months to have dined in some well placed restaurants, restaurants from Cork to Donegal that have a dining room with a view over water. Sometimes over a river, maybe over an estuary, and then sometimes over the ocean. I was lucky too to have brilliant weather in most of the places.

Let me start with river views. One of the best is from the newly opened Fish Bar inElectric. From the first floor of the South Mall building, you have fine views of the southern channel of Lee to the west and to the east. But have you been to Indigo Brasserie on Washington Street? Here too you have a fine view of a bend in the same river. 

Bunnyconnellan's Myrtilville (Cork)

And another excellent river view is to be found at the Market Kitchen restaurant, above the Murphy Brothers bar in Ballina. It wasn't quite warm enough to dine outside on the balcony but the Moy looked very well from the inside.

Time to move on now, nearer to the ocean, to the bays and estuaries and places such as the Rising Tide and Marlogue Inn in East Cork and further east you have the WalterRaleigh Hotel. You have no shortage in Cobh where you’ll find The Quays and The Titanic Bar. The Boathouse at Dromquinna, near Kenmare, is also well situated, right on the northern flank of the bay.
The Boathouse, Kenmare Bay

No shortage of seaside restaurants in Donegal. One of the best is the Seaview Tavern in Malin Head village but the view to the sea is somewhat interrupted by the cars parking across the road. No such problems at the Rosapenna Golf Hotel, whose dining room overlooks Sheephaven Bay and the beach at Downies. Further west along the same bay, the bar at the Cove at Portnablagh, another top restaurant, overlooks a different part of the same bay.

Back to Cork and to Baltimore and Le Jolie Brise where I’ve sometime enjoyed a dish of mussels as the day drew to a close with the island of Sherkin out in front. Locally, perhaps the best ocean view is that enjoyed from your table in Bunnyconnellan’s, a very pleasant view and very enjoyable food here. Hard to top that. One view that comes close, maybe level, maybe even better, is from the restaurant of Ostan Gweedore where there is the most fantastic view over the beaches and the waters of the Atlantic.
Rosapenna Hotel, Downies (Donegal)
Views are pleasing but you need good food too,
like this platter at the Seaview Tavern in Malin.

Have you a personal favourite view over water while dining? If you'd like to share, please use the Comment facility below.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Amuse Bouche

Speed’s conviction about what others may consider gimmicks all started at Leeds where he saw a 34-year-old Gordon Strachan defy age and appear alert and ready to go every single time... Naturally he asked him the secret of his success. “Eating bananas and seaweed,” came back the answer. Throw in some good old-fashioned Welsh cawl (meat and potato soup), lots and lots of vitamin supplements and special drinks for rehydration and Speed had a diet that he would follow for the remainder of his football career.

From Gary Speed Remembered by Paul Abbandonato

Mayo Stop-over

Mayo Stop-over
I enjoyed my recent one night in Ballina (County Mayo), especially the meal in the Market Kitchen and the overnight stay at the nearby Quignalegan House. The Irish don’t seem to have discovered Quignalegan yet as most of the guests come from the continent!
Amuse Bouche
Met up with my Mayo relations during the day and then checked in with Breege Padden at her Quignalegan House just about a mile out the Sligo Road from the well known Ice Hotel. Breege runs a four star guesthouse here and had the kettle on even before we thought of a cuppa. We enjoyed the tea in her well equipped lounge which has comfortable chairs, a TV and plenty of books.
Crab claws
The bedroom too was comfortable and spacious and had all the mod cons, including a flat screen TV. All rooms are ensuite and you’ll also find information here on what to see and do in the area. There is a breakfast menu. Cereals and fruits and yoghurts are on side tables and you might need to give Breege your cooked breakfast preferences in advance – otherwise it is the full Irish!
Had heard only good things about the Market Kitchen, the restaurant that is on the floor above the Murphy Brothers Bar in Clare Street in the town. The kitchen is a big supporter of local producers and they are listed on the menu.
It comfortably seats 80 and it was busy on the Saturday night. We really enjoyed our dinner there. The local produce stood out in the starters, both top class. CL went for the Seared Scallops (pan-fried, with asparagus, chorizo, béarnaise, and Kelly’s black pudding crumbled). Mine was one of their signature dishes: the Achill Island crab claws (baked, with roast baby potatoes, garlic, chilli and lime cream).
The main courses were also local, also superb. Mine was the Roast Breast of Silver hill Duck while CL went for the Grilled Fillet of Clare Island Salmon. The restaurant, as I said, was busy, but the bar was positively abuzz as we walked down the stairs and most of the punters seemed to be eating. Highly recommended!
River Moy, Ballina

Monday, June 24, 2013

Kate Lawlor's "Cork on a Fork recipe book"

Popular Cork Chef launches limited edition
 ‘Cork on a Fork’ recipe book.

Popular chef Kate Lawlor, of No. 5 Fenn’s Quay Restaurant, Sheares Street Cork, has cooked up a quirky new Cork-themed recipe book in celebration of the year of The Gathering. Entitled ‘Cork on a Fork- with a few spoonfuls from across the border’ it pays a foodie tribute to the ‘Real Capital’ with 14 interesting recipes with ingredients drawn from the best of Cork’s rich hinterland.

Kate told us:  ‘There’s something to tempt everyone, and they’ll find it surprisingly simple to recreate these delicious, locally-inspired dishes, examples of  which include ‘Farmers Market Cauliflower & Potato Spring Rolls’, ‘Ballea Carrigaline Lamb & Rosscarbery Black Pudding Burgers’ and ‘Kate’s Beetroot and Orange Blossom Fudge’.  Each recipe is described in an easy to follow step-by-step manner, accompanied by stunning food images that will have even the most stern foodies salivating!’ 

Kate Lawlor has always been inspired by fresh, local produce, and ‘Cork on a Fork’ is the result of a life-long love affair with Cork-inspired cuisine. She is known both nationally and locally for her passion and flair for food and is acclaimed by several food critics.  

Her award-winning food blog ( is legendary, and she is a popular driver of foodie ‘tweet-ups’ and charity foodie events within the Cork area and elsewhere.  She’s very proud of No. 5 Fenn’s Quay’s Michelin recommended status, is on the council for the prestigious Eurotoques organisation as well as a member of the Irish Restaurants Association.

Kate says: “With ‘Cork on a Fork’, all of us at No. 5 Fenn’s Quay wanted to create a sassy take on a number of traditional homespun recipes. We wanted to showcase the fantastic quality of produce that Cork is renowned for and share our food philosophy which is simple: we only use the best produce from the best local suppliers and treat them with care and attention to detail.”

The team at No. 5 Fenn’s Quay are in a real sunny spot at present as they were nominated for ‘Best Digital Marketing’ at the Irish Restaurant Awards and are rolling out their summer menu full of light bites and fresh seasonal dishes like Ballyhoura mushrooms on toast with wild garlic & seaweed butter, Castletownbere scallops with Rosscarbery white pudding , carrot gel & bacon dust and The Fenns ice pop.
For more information or to make a booking call 021-427 9527, email or visit

Friday, June 21, 2013

Food and Drink Spotting. A Friday Special.

Food and Drink Spotting. A Friday Special.
Cornstore Head Chef Mike Ryan launches their Seafood Summer Collection
Cornstore focus on local produce and in-house innovation
with Summer Seafood and Infused Cocktail Collection.
Sticking to their ethos of ‘quality food sourced locally’ – Munster restaurant group the Cornstore now bring you the bounty of our local seas, with the launch of their Summer Seafood Collection. The menu positively showcases the freshest fish and seafood, delivered daily from only the most reputable suppliers.   

Seafood enthusiasts and crustacean connoisseurs can expect anything from Whole Baked Fish wrapped in seaweed and fresh herbs to Natural Rock Oysters on ice with Himalayan salt and lemon juice, and if your taste buds aren’t watering yet, a Whole Grilled Lobster with clarified butter might just do the trick.

However, it’s not just the chefs having all the fun this summer. The group’s resident mixologists have taken on the task of ageing fruit and plant based elixirs in-house resulting in a range of signature infused cocktails. ‘In recent years we’ve seen an increase in flavoured spirits and liquors across our shelves’, said restaurateur Padraic Frawley. ‘We’ve decided to prove that nothing can beat the real thing and our customers love the fact that we’ve always got something new to try’.

Specialising in seafood and steak, the group’s restaurants are located in both Cork and Limerick. Just last month they launched an in-house beef dry-ageing process in each location – being the first restaurant group in Ireland to invest in such an initiative. This current project looks like the perfect summer marriage, sure to see these restaurants become a pilgrim destination for any seafood and cocktail lovers.

Carewswood Garden Centre & Café: “every gardener’s cup of tea!”

 In a bright and airy premises, that also offers a crafts shop with a range of beautiful gifts for the home and garden as well as practical items such as tools and planters, Carewswood Garden Centre also boasts a homely café, where you can find “a range of delicious freshly baked goods and local artisan and organic foods which prides itself on ‘honest food’ with no artificial colourings or preservatives.”

Carewswood is a destination suited to all the family with an on-site playground to keep children entertained. They can also visit the estate’s hens which provide fresh eggs for the café.  And of course parents will be able to entice children into eating all their greens by letting them pick out their own vegetables to grow.  

The renewal of Carewswood, which reopened in April, is the brainchild of a passionate and energetic young couple Daniel Leahy and Juulika Lomp (pictured) who hope that by combining their horticultural and culinary skills and through nurture and care, it will grow to become Cork’s favourite garden centre.  They also pride themselves on a strong eco friendly ethos. Along with using as many recycled materials as possible in the refurbishments of the property, they also use recyclable and biodegradable materials where possible and have a motto not to waste anything.

Since opening its doors this April, the Garden Centre and Café have seen their visitors grow day by day as horticulturalists and day-trippers alike discover their unique and scenic location. The Centre is set within a traditional 19th Century walled garden, Carewswood is only a half-hour drive from Cork City and is a great destination for those with green fingers as it has a wide range of plants, shrubs, flowers and grow your own vegetables, along with the necessary tools, books and of course, expert advice.

Barbeques With Planking???

Another great culinary suggestion from Executive Chef Niall Hill at The Butler’s Pantry –

Award winning purveyors of hand-made Irish food, The Butler’s Pantry, are offering a new and exciting way to add the wow factor to your barbeques this summer with their Red Cedar Planks which will be on sale in all ten of its shops in Dublin and Wicklow from this Monday.

Cedar Planks offer a modern method of experiencing back-to nature cooking that cooks and smokes meat, fish, seafood, fruit, vegetables and cheese in a uniquely woody, tender and aromatic style. 

The Butler’s Pantry Executive Chef Niall Hill, said of Plank cooking, “When I first came across planking when working in Canada many years ago, it was like a light went off in my head.  It opened up a whole new avenue of cooking ideas that I had never explored before for grilling and hot smoking almost every type of food from cheese, meat, fish, to fruit and vegetables right across to desserts, the list of dishes you can cook on a plank is endless.”

Niall has also developed a number of unique recipes for you to try for both sweet and savoury foods as well as serving suggestions for al fresco dining and plank parties! (see attached).

Made of local red cedar wood and measuring 2 ft x 1 ft the barbeque plank is available in all The Butler’s Pantry Shops in Bray, Clontarf, Donnybrook, Greystones, Monkstown, Mount Merrion Avenue, Rathgar, Sandycove and Sandymount, priced €3.95 each.

Remember plank cooking is not just for summer but can be done all year end as it gets best results with the lid closed on the BBQ. A great way to have summer time cooking 365 days of the year!

For Just €44.50 you get A 3 course meal at Star Anise and a ticket to the "Best Man" now showing at the Everyman....

Island Bakery celebrates 1st birthday with mainland opening!

Island Bakery celebrates 1st birthday
 with opening of first mainland outpost
Laura and Patrick

It is hard to believe that it has not yet been a year since The Firehouse Bakery and Bread school opened its doors. On June 30th last year Patrick Ryan and Laura Moore set up shop on Heir Island in West Cork. For an island that boosts 27 permanent residents expectations for this venture did not extend beyond the summer months.

Bu,t as the Firehouse bakery approaches its first birthday, business is going from strength to strength for the West Cork duo.

Since opening Patrick's passion for real bread and his island bakery has grasped the nation's imagination and got many of us back baking again.  The bread school is currently fully booked until October (but Patrick assures us that he is trying to find extra course dates) and with the opening of a new bakery and patisserie in Delgany, Co. Wicklow it is hard to argue with the pair's bread revolution.

The Firehouse bakery forms part of the exciting new venture under way at The Delgany Co. Wicklow which houses four independent businesses operating jointly, Romany Stone restaurant, The Delgany Grocer, The Bungalow Florist and Gift Shop and The Firehouse bakery.

“While West Cork remains the home to our bread school The Delgany is the new home to our bakery,” explains Laura. With an open plan bakery and wood fired oven the Firehouse Bakery is bringing a touch of island life to Co. Wicklow.

“Each morning you can sit and watch the bakers work as they prepare and bake hand crafted sourdough breads and pastries. Throughout the day our wood fired oven will offer up pizzas and flat breads served along with soups and sandwiches,“ said Patrick who is delighted to be working alongside amazing producers like Badger & Dodo, Clement & Pekoe, Abernathy Butter and Gubbeen cheese. "It is a pleasure to be bringing back the village bakery!"

The Firehouse Bakery at Delgany is open Tuesday to Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday and  Sundays 9.30am-5pm. Closed on Monday. Parking available on site.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Amuse Bouche

One heavy zinc-lined case included nothing but spices and gourmet condiments. Tins of ground mustard, celery salt, poultry seasoning, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, chutney, orange and grapefruit marmalade, Tabasco sauce, and olive zest. Ever mindful that the expedition would be led by a former president, Fiala even sent Roosevelt a variety of teas so that he could select his favourite kind.

From The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

Food and Drink Spotting

Food and Drink Spotting

Taste of the WeekSuperb pink lemonade by Walshe's Juices.

10 years in Ireland:  Wines from Spain 
• Undoubtedly Ireland’s largest wine event of the autumn 
• Over 350 Spanish wines on show, showcased by 23   importers 

Join  in  the  celebrations  and  toast  the  10th  Anniversary   of  Wines  from  Spain  in  Ireland.    This September, Spanish wines will celebrate all   the   way   from   Madrid   to   Dublin   in   style,   to   toast   the   10th   edition   of   the   Annual   Spanish Wine Fair.   
September  11st  at  the  prestigious  Shelbourne  Hotel,  an  unprecedented  number  of   Irish  importers,  23,  exhibiting  the  best  from  their  Spanish  portfolio  with  over  350   wines.  Ten  Spanish  wineries  from  exciting  regions  around  Spain  and  new  to  the   Irish   Market,   will   showcase   their   wines.   In   total,   wines   from   over   30   different   Designations  of  Origin  will  be  on  hand  to  taste  at  this  special  occasion. 

Creating  a  buzz  this  year,  is  the  Pop-­up  Wine  series  .    Pop in for the ‘5 terroir on   Irish thalami ́ master classes.  Throughout the day, the five wine seminars will bring   5   very   special   Irish   importers   and   Spanish   winemakers   together   in   a   relaxed   atmosphere.    Read more here... 

West Cork Hotel
Whiskey Galore! Our 1st Snug Whiskey Tasting is happening on Thursday 27th June. You will get to try 5 drams, have a few nibbles & a good informal chat about Whiskey. €19.50 per person and you will get a copy of tasting notes to take away. Contact Sascha to book.
Keep eyes peeled for a whiskey related comp.

Pandora Bell’s New Irish Cream Liqueur Fudge
(available from July 22nd 2013)

 Pandora Bell is thrilled to launch a new Irish Cream Liqueur Fudge. This delicious premium crumbly butter fudge is flavoured with Irish Cream Liqueur to turn the divine the purely sublime.
 The new fudge partners the original Crumbly Butter Fudge in the Pandora Bell range.  Pandora Bell’s Fudge is rich and crumbly with a very generous helping of butter. It is made traditionally, cooled naturally and broken by hand for that magical ‘once upon a time’ taste.  The ultimate treat for lovers of high quality fudge… made in the traditional homemade style packed with the highest quality ingredients, and no compromise.
 Pandora Bell’s fudge is all gluten free.  It contains no artificial colours or flavours and no added preservatives.
 Pandora Bell’s is stocked in Fine Food and gift shops nationwide including Harvey Nichols, Fallon & Byrne, Avoca, McCambridges Galway and Country Choice in Limerick and Nenagh… and is also available from

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites.
Chowzter Food for Thought: Did you know? The Popsicle was invented by an 11 year old boy who first called them epsicles (his name was Frank Epperson) - 18 years later he patented the invention and it became popsicles.

The lowdown on Samphire by Fenn’s Quay’s Kate Lawlor

 Beet Carpaccio with Caramelized Goat Cheese

Good luck bloggers!"@BlogAwardsIE: We just this second opened nominations for Blog Awards Ireland… #blogawardsIE"

Inishfood 2013: The Feast of the Chieftains 
RTÉ Food
It's week four of our guest series of features from the top Irish food bloggers. For Afternoon Tea week - Dermot of Gas Mark Seven delves into afternoon tea and finds a little necessary comfort. Plus check out four of his very own special recipes including a delicious coffee cake and smoked salmon and cream cheese finger sandwiches