Monday, August 31, 2020

Dockland Delights. Encore.

Dockland Delights. Encore.

“Why don’t we come here more often?” We asked ourselves as we left Dockland after a delicious lunch on last week’s designated sunny day (Wednesday). There’s always a terrific welcome here - this time from the smiling younger generation - and always good food too, lots fo tempting variety in a longish inventive menu, at prices that won’t break the bank.

They have some seats outside but, having spent most of the morning in the open air we, hands sanitised and name taken, decided to take an inside table, one with a view of the sunny exterior. Soon the water and the menus were at hand and we were making choices.

Quite a few tables have been removed due to Covid19 so those outside seats come in handy. The reception/bar area is now mainly deli/takeaway, salads, sandwiches, sweet stuff and coffees, much of which may be ordered in advance for collection. There was a steady enough stream for that corner.

Dockland are noted for their salads and they feature strongly here in four tempting versions. For instance, there’s a Roasted Vegetable Couscous (turmeric, coriander, spiced yogurt, toasted almonds, roasted harissa oil). Pick that or any of the other three and you may choose 1,2, or 3 salads, all for €11.00. The other headings are Chickpea Salad, Dockland Coleslaw, and Roasted Broccoli. You may also add chicken or honey glazed ham to your choice for an extra three euro.

We were looking for something slightly more substantial on this occasion and so choose from the mains, over a dozen of them! Everything from toasties to a Seared Beef Salad and including Fish ’n Chips and a Chicken Burger.  The West Cork crab, with chives, lime, fresh chilli mayo, toasted sourdough, chive oil, smoked salmon and mixed leaves, drew the attention, along with a few more.

CL though came down in favour of Clonakilty Black Pudding salad, rustic potatoes, caramelised apples, crispy bacon, with mustard honey dressing (14.00). A lot going on there but no jarring contrasts, all elements pulling together in a harmonious ensemble, and a very satisfying lunch indeed.

And I too benefitted from that precision in gathering and matching and measuring quite a few ingredients into a palate pleasing whole as I tucked into Chargrilled Chicken, tomato fondue, Gubbeen chorizo, basil pesto, and olive mash (15.00). Every single element perfect, in both quality and quantity, all adding up to a very satisfied customer indeed. Oh by the way, they have a range of sides available also: chips, salad leaves (and their leaves are terrific), roasted vegetable couscous, chargrilled broccoli salad, creamy mash.

Inside looking out
And we have a tip for dessert for you! We were pointed in the direction of the Clementine Almond Cake, caramelised clementines, and cream. And we were a little wary as quite often cake can be so dry. But not here. This was exquisite, moist and sweet, easy to dispatch. A must-try whenever you’re in this lovely friendly city venue by the river.

Lapps Quay
Tel: (021) 427 3987

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Irish Village Distillery Produces Outstanding Limoncello from Spanish Lemons

Village Distillery Produces Outstanding Irish Limoncello from Spanish Lemons

Don’t rush, well not in my direction, if you want to enjoy this unique Limoncello offering from the innovative people at the Blackwater Distillery in West Waterford. I can’t help you, my bottle is already on its way out. The only way you can get your hands on this exclusive product is by joining the Blackwater Tasters Club. And yes, do rush. Over to their website here, in the unlikely event of there being have a bottle or two left. 

The club will be offering more specials though. If you join up, you’ll get a box every two months with two 200ml bottles enclosed plus tips etc. You have to join up before September 29th to get the October offering.

An invite to the Facebook launch party is included with each delivery. And it all started off last weekend with the celebration of the first club box which included a Jaffa Cake Gin and a Limoncello. Yes, Limoncello made in the West Waterford village of Upper Ballyduff.

Because their whiskey stills, originally manufactured to make grappa, come from the Italian city of Sienna, Peter Mulryan and his team are regular visitors there and (as, when in Rome) seek out shaded piazzas to enjoy an ice-cold Limoncello.

Back in Ireland, they found the commercially available Limoncello was “s..t”. And decided to make their own. And, as usual, Blackwater came up with the goods. Traditionally, Limoncello is made from the zest of Femminello St. Teresa lemons, also known as Sorrento or Sfusato lemons.

Blackwater’s Head Distiller John Wilcox explained, during the Facebook session, that it is an easy spirit to make on a base of neutral spirit. But you “can’t have the pith, can’t have bitter flavour.” And so some quality control had to be exercised on the Spanish lemons as “some were not perfect for the peel”. Normally it takes four weeks maceration but Blackwater gave it six. Well worth the wait as this beautifully balanced drink is quite a treat.

By the way, did you know that the Italians drink theirs straight from the freezer!  The bottle won’t shatter in the freezer, the liquid won’t solidify. Another tip, you may mix the Limoncello and its box companion, the Jaffa Cake Gin, in a cocktail, add a little soda and ice. 

John Coleman demonstrated a couple of cocktails on Facebook, including the Limoncello Viaggio.

Here’s the recipe:
50 ml Blackwater Limoncello.
20 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice.
15 ml sugar syrup (or 1/2 teaspoon sugar).
1 medium egg white.
Place all into a shaker and shake vigorously for 8 to 10 seconds. Strain into a small tumbler (filled with ice). Garnish with grated lemon zest (and a sprig of thyme) and prepare for the lemon explosion!

Peter, in B&W. The shirt's too colourful!
By the way, club members were supplied with a few slices of dehydrated lemon. If you have one, lay it on top. It will dehydrate and further enhance the experience. 

This club could be fun. Haven't tried the Jaffa Cake Gin yet but that too seems to be a gem, going by the comments on the Facebook launch.

* Speaking of fun, I certainly enjoyed the Facebook launch, thanks to Peter, John Wilcox, John Coleman, Kieran and Caroline (who gave us a virtual tour).

Friday, August 28, 2020

Taste of the Week. Turkish Delight

Taste of the Week. 
Hadji Bey's Turkish Delight

Hadji Bey's Turkish Delight has, for well over a 100 years now, been a local favourite and this is not its first outing as Taste of the Week. It is widely available in outlets throughout Cork city and I bought my latest box in the Roughty Foodie in the English Market.

That market was already well-established when a young Armenian, Harutun Batmazian, began selling his Turkish Delight at the 1902 Exhibition in Fitzgeralds Park. Next came a shop in the city and his reputation grew.

For much of the 20th century, that Hadji Bey shop in McCurtain Street was a favourite destination for many Cork children. And their parents! Decades later, there was much consternation in the 1970s when the family eventually ceased production but nowadays, thankfully, the delicacy is being made in Newbridge, Co. Kildare.

The brand, along with that of well-loved toffee-maker Cleeves, in now under the wing of Hazelbrook Confectionery.

Co. Kildare
W12 AD85

Amuse Bouche

Find ..the men and women trying to make Skid Row a better place…
On Saturdays, have dinner provided by Jackets for Jesus. Before it gets cold, make sure you score a coat. On Sundays, get fed by one of the charities dishing out hot lunch or dinner along the Seventh or San Pedro. But don’t cycle back. Be honest. Don’t take more than your share.
Nearly a month outside and Ran got the rhythm of Skid Row.

from Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochada (2017). Very Highly Recommended.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Two Highly Recommended Wines From O'Briens

Two Highly Recommended Wines From O'Briens

This organic blend of Syrah and Mourvedre, from Emiliana in central Chile, has a ruby colour of medium intensity. Fresh cherry and plum aromas. Silky and soft on the palate, generous fruit, tannins are close to smooth and the finish is long. A friendly everyday wine that may be enjoyed with grilled meats and spicy food. Highly Recommended. 

O’Briens say: Made by our long-time Chilean partner, Emiliana, the organically farmed vines for this wine are planted on their own rootstocks in the Cachapoal Valley. In the cellar there is minimum intervention and the wine is aged for 12 months in French and American oak.

Emiliana were founded in 1986 and the Giulisasti family are the major shareholders. They began the move to organic and biodynamic in the late 90s and their “Gé” (named after the Greek word for earth) was Chile’s first certified biodynamic wine (ref: Wines of South America). They run what they term “interactive vineyards” with biodiversity the major factor. 

Many different kinds of plants (employees are encouraged to grow their own to feed their families), many different types of animals ( alpacas, horses, cows, birds, chickens, sandpipers, geese, etc. live together here and also contribute to the compost used on the land), lots of cover plants (that contribute nitrogen and nutrients to the soil while planting of flowers draw insects away from the vines). Read and see more about their organic and biodynamic practices here

This zesty Albarino, made from young vines, has a light straw colour with a little splash of green. White fruit (“doughnut” peach) feature in the moderately intense aromas. And more white fruit, citrus too, as the fresh wine moves over the palate, quite a fruity finish too. Highly Recommended.

Producers indicate it is ideal with all kinds of seafood, oriental and vegetarian cuisine. O’Briens themselves say the crisp acidity “is an ideal pairing to cut through oily fish or tapas dishes”. We tried it with the delicious smoked chicken crown from Skeaghanore and a garden salad and it worked perfectly well. Serving temperature: 8 – 10 °C.

O’Briens: made exclusively for O'Briens by the Paco y Lola winery in the Salnés Valley, the largest cooperative in Galicia's Rías Baixas region. It has the typical pear and citrus fruit profile of Galician Albariño with a saline mineral note on the long tropical fruit finish. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A Quart of Ale± #9 Moving on over to craft. American Pale Ale.

A Quart of Ale± #9
Moving on over to craft.
American Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 5% abv, 12 fl. oz. bottle, Bradleys of Cork
The Pale Ale that sparked the American craft beer revolution in 1980!

You may be familiar with the Brewdog book: “Craft Beer for the People”. They talk a fair bit about how people come to craft beer and have a feature on what they call “Gateway Beer”. And the one they highlight is this very Sierra Nevada Pale, the gateway par excellence, “not only a gateway but a true pioneer”. “First brewed in November 1980, it has inspired countless brewers… (not least ourselves). A stone-cold classic…”. Classic because it has the 3 ‘A’s: accessibility, approachability and availability.

It’s got a mid-amber colour. A big white head that soon sinks to a lacy cover. Aromas are quite intense, fruity, cut through with pine notes. And you find all that too in the bold flavours but it’s a bit more complex than that. Lots of flavour for sure but the whole-cone Cascade hops bring much more to the party, “introducing a generation to the glory of hops”. But the beer is so well balanced that it seems nobody was turned off and the craft scene got up and running accompanied by an anthem of citrus and pine notes. And, 40 years later, we all march on! If you haven’t tried it, then you should!

Galway Bay “Althea” Pale Ale 4.8%, 330ml can, Bradley’s of Cork

Galway Bay’s Althea, is named after the head brewer’s favourite Grateful Dead song. You’ll have no problem catching this widely available beer which is a straight take on a modern American Pale Ale. 

You get quite a large white head on pouring but not for long! The nose, with its bunch of tropical fruit aromas, is quite hoppy, very pleasantly so.  And so it continues on the palate, rich fruits from the hops and barely a peep from the malts. 

Galway Bay are one of the Irish breweries that suggest food pairings and here the tips are: chicken, lamb, and other light meats. 

Bitterness, by the way, is measured at 48 IBUs. And that number confirms the dominance of hops and the downplaying of the malt, fairly typical of the modern American Pale Ale style, but there are many variations as there are in all beer styles. Nothing stands still as innovative brewers keep your taste buds on full alert.

Malts: Golden Promise, Vienna, Melanoidin
Hops: Citra, Amarillo, Simcoe

The White Hag “Ninth Wave” New World Pale 5.4%, 330ml can, Bradley’s of Cork

This New World Pale Ale is named after the (mythical) Ninth Wave that formed a formidable barrier for anyone wishing to cross over to New York and Boston. 

Hard to believe that the IBU here is 15 IBU, a lager like reading, while that of the Althea is 48! Pity I started this quartet with the Galway Bay and finished it with this one. Must taste the two together sometime! Sierra Nevada, by the way, is 38 IBU.

Colour is a clouded amber, topped with a short-lived white head. Aromatics are mild also, apricot, mango and citrus, all from the hops, in there. 

Quite a greeting on the palate though, creamy feel and insistently fruity (citrus to the fore) from the American hops, but all is kept in check as this balanced effort makes its way towards a very satisfactory finalé indeed.  Lively, flavourful and very drinkable. Another for that second glass, or should that be can, designation!

They say: “We are a modern independent craft brewery from Sligo, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. We brew innovative and groundbreaking beers, inspired by ancient and classic styles.” 
They brew a good lot of them! The able and masterly brewers here ensure a lot of them are good.

Western Herd “Siege” Pale Ale 5.1%, 440ml can, Bradley’s of Cork

Two of the same three hops feature in this County Clare beer and again they make the running. Cascade, Citra and Amarillo are in the mix, along with water from their own farm.

Colour is touching amber, again a big head, deflating rapidly. You notice the hops straight away in the aromas, fruity and bitter, a touch of citrus also. Flavours too feature the hops though perhaps the malt gets more of a look-in here compared to the earlier beers. Still there’s no hiding the bitterness from the Cascade hops though I get the impression (after one of each) that the Siege has more character.

Good name too isn’t it? They say: “Anywhere else, Siege is a battle cry but around here, it’s a call to dance. This modern version of the classic American pale ale has distinctive hoppy aromas of grapefruit and orange, perfectly balanced with the distinctive spiciness and bitterness of the Cascade hops.”

Western Herd suggest the following food pairings: Sharp cheese, Thai Curry and Steak (not all together, now!)

White Gypsy “Woodcock” American Pale Ale 5.8%, 500ml bottle, Bradley’s of Cork.

Colour here is amber. Head is off white and inclined to hang on for a bit more than the earlier beers. Hops and malt in the aromas, the hops not as dominant as in the Althea. Fruity and refreshing with the hops and malt in excellent balance, each contributing to the pleasant journey through to the dry finish. 

Hops used are Citra and Mosaic, both American, yet this beer has more character than many American ales, both east coast and west. That probably goes down to the malts and, indeed, the Marris Otter Malt is “world renowned for its deep rich flavour.”

The superb harmony of the Woodcock is a pleasure to enjoy and the ace Tipp beer would be difficult to top in any company.

The Gypsy invites you to follow your fortune to this independent Irish craft brewer in Tipperary and the ale is named after a local legend: “The Woodcock Carden”.

Did you know that White Gypsy make a food pairing range of beers in 75cl bottles. Well worth checking out, more info here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Vegan Wings. Another excuse to use the addictive Dr Trouble Sauces.

Dr Trouble Sauces Are Addictive!
Complements your food and doesn't overpower.

A couple of weeks back I warned that the Dr Trouble Sauces are addictive. I know. And now the good doctor has come up with another prescription: Vegan Wings. This is the result, hot and tasty and easy to digest! No sour faces when you have these in your mouth. Details follow below or if you want to see a step by step sideshow check out their Instagram at

On a previous post, here, you can check on two other recipes, one for the "best beer nuts on the planet", the other for superb spicy chicken wings. And if you'd like to try the sauces yourself, go to and be sure and use the discount code corkbilly when ordering

Want to transform your weekend snack or upgrade your meals with something really tasty? 🍋 🌶 🔥
Try out these amazing spicy wings — but wait... they are not wings, they are vegan wings...
Cauliflower, coated in Dr Trouble sauce with some seasoning to create these spicy, nutty, smokey and so irresistible that they won’t last long. They are super easy to make, all you need is a cauliflower, olive oil, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

These in the pic just above were baked on the Weber to give it an extra oomph in the smoke department, but you can create these indoors too by baking in the oven at 180C for around 25 mins. We used the oven and the results (top picture) were superb and certainly didn't last long!
Simply, chop mix and chill for 30 mins, spark up the BBQ and bake these amazing treats on an indirect heat for around 20 mins, they will smoke up, charr and transform into something that is so tasty, you will have a lot of trouble keeping everyone away from them!
Perfect for anyone on the keto diet, totally organic, superbly vegan and with nothing added other than fresh ingredients, there is nothing you will reach for faster when these are on the table. If you happen to create them, please tag Dr Trouble and share your creation.
Thanks to @chef_nyasha_mangwiro for another amazing recipe.

Bubble Brothers in the mix and much more on wine, beer and spirits in Cheers #18

Bubble Brothers in the mix and much more on wine, beer and spirits in Cheers #18

Bubble Brothers have a staycation mix for you!
We hope you're all well, and making the most of the occasional summer weather. Our website is continuing to work hard for us (thank you), but in case you haven't visited lately, we have a very attractive new offer for you—with something extra if you are able to 'click and collect'. Details here

Black's New "High" IPA

You are about to experience a brand new High PA, this unique new beer is brewed with the terpenes ( flavour and aroma oils ) extracted from the legendary cannabis strain Maui Wowie. A Strain known for its tropical favours and stress-relieving qualities hat will float you straight to the shores of Hawaii where this strain originally comes from.
A heavy mango and Pineapple base with notes of pine and pepper!
More details on the new brew and distillery progress here

O'Briens Wines Feature 12 Acres Brewing
In county County Laois one of Ireland’s finest breweries produces beer with a ‘ground to glass’ ethos. 12 Acres Brewing Co. make beer using barley grown on their family farm surrounding the brewery and with spring water drawn from deep below the land.
12 Acres is headed up by Paddy McDonald who after traveling the world with his then girlfriend, now wife Aisling, found himself back in Ireland and began to look at his employment options as Ireland emerged from recession. Thankfully, he brought something back from his travels, a love of craft beer. Read more here.

Kylie Minogue photographed at The Ritz London, August 2020, (c) Darenote Ltd.

Kylie Minogue Wines are thrilled to introduce 
the latest two wines in the Kylie Minogue Wines portfolio: the Signature Sauvignon Blanc and the Signature Merlot. Both the Sauvignon Blanc and the Merlot complete the long-awaited Kylie Minogue Wines’ Signature Range, which also includes the wildly popular and best-selling Signature Rosé, debuted in May by pop icon Kylie Minogue.

Fun and spontaneous like Kylie herself, the Signature Sauvignon Blanc originates from Gascony, in the south-west of France, and carries a fresh and lively nose of lime blossom and gooseberry, whilst zesty and crisp on the palate - described by Kylie as the perfect accompaniment with a fresh watermelon, feta and mint salad.

The Kylie Minogue Wines’ Signature Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot will be available exclusively in Ireland on and Carry Out Off Licences at an RRP of €12.99 from Monday 24th August.

Italy's Alto Adige: A Small Land Shows Its Greatness

Pampered by Mediterranean sun, shaped by the Alpine landscape, prepared by experienced winegrowers, and prized by wine connoisseurs throughout the world: wine from Alto Adige. Read the well-illustrated Wine-Searcher article here

Monday, August 24, 2020

Pleasant Times Again At The Four Liars. Arabic Coffee And Superb Baklava Finalé

Pleasant Times Again At The Four Liars
Arabic Coffee And Superb Baklava Finalé

We are sitting here in Cork’s famous Shandon at the end of an early evening meal and we agree that the Baklava we are enjoying is the best. Indeed, one of us is newly converted having found previous versions just too sweet. But this is not packed very tightly packed - it has the pastry layers for sure - and also seems fresher. I wouldn’t very much about the Mid-eastern sweet but this is delightful and very highly recommended.
A terrific desert (€6.00) then and it goes down well with my Arabic coffee. This is influenced by cardamom and comes in an open pot that you pour yourself. I also enjoyed that. Just reading the menu, you may well think that €3.50 is a bit much but the pot will give you two fine cupfuls.
The restaurant is the Four Liars and it has recently been taken over by two Syrians, Abdul Khallouf and Ahmed Saqqa. They’ve been told the story of the four liars (the clocks on the four faces of Shandon tower that disagree), liked it and decided to keep the name.
Their plan is to treat you to Syrian dishes. So the menu features food from their country which is of course, like all cuisines, influenced by the food of neighbouring countries. And many of you will be familiar with the likes of mezze, fattoush, hummus and the aforementioned Baklava.
No doubt, some visitors will not be that keen on dishes on the menu with strange sounding names (some un-translatable) but they’ll be catered for with more familiar fare such as Pizzas, Burgers, wings, wraps and so on.
But I’m anxious to try something from Syria and am puzzled when my order for Syrian Kibbeh gets a big thumbs up from Abdul. It is only later I find out that this is the Syrian national dish, a dish of many versions.
It is also a dish of many elements, an enormous plateful. The Kibbeh consists of lamb meatballs (tasty, aromatic), with tabbouleh, hummus, baba ghanouj, and spinach samosa (very tasty and crunchy). More like a starter and main course in one! 

CL likes her Falafel and so ordered Falafel Platter: five chickpea croquettes with herb and tahini sauce, salad, hummus and their own pitta bread. The “crust” of the falafels was a touch on the hard side but overall it was a very flavoursome dish indeed, the salad veg chopped a little rougher than we’d expect, hummus and bread excellent. And great value for a tenner.

Best of luck to the two entrepreneurs who have just started here - they also do takeaway by the way. It is a work in progress, some tidying up to be done around the premises and perhaps the service needs a little more alertness but overall interesting food and good value once again in the Four Liars, a place where we were regulars about 25 years ago! Still some souvenirs around the place from those days but also some new items such as the shisha pipes.

O’Connell Square (alongside the Butter Museum)
Dominick Street
Tel: 083 080 8283