Saturday, October 31, 2020

New Buildings Close To Completion Near Cork Railway Station

 New Buildings Close To Completion Near Cork Railway Station

Horgan's Quay, facing river

Dean Hotel, alongside railway station

Penrose Dock

One of the old ones at the other side of the river

Horgan's Quay, facing towards city centre

Penrose Dock

The Dean

The Dean, from the station

Horgan's Quay, facing the harbour

Cafe at Penrose Dock

Penrose Dock, from Lower Glanmire Road, above and below

Lower Glanmire Road, the Railway station, with the harbour in the distance

Some of the new buildings (on right), taken from Lower Glanmire Rail Overpass.

Amuse Bouche

Ordering choucroute for themselves, the Germans asked the waiter to bring a sausage in a roll for Rodriguez. It was his first taste of meat since the ham the RAF base..before he and Faye flew back to France in 1943. As he ate the sausage, he couldn’t help but think how surreal this experience was - sharing lunch with a Gestapo officer in a Berlin beer hall just a couple of days after he fully expected to die.

From Madame Fourcaude’s Secret War by Lynne Olson (2019). Very Highly Recommended.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Taste of the Week Goatsbridge Trout Goujons

Taste of the Week

Goatsbridge Trout Goujons

Have you tried the Breaded Trout Goujons from Goatsbridge in Kilkenny? They are our current Taste of the Week and well worth a try.

These hand-cut fillets of fresh Rainbow trout come in a crispy and golden gluten free breadcrumb and batter with lemon pepper seasoning and ready to cook.

Plenty of info on the pack and you can also check their website for more info. Serving suggestions are with a green salad or with potatoes and veg. We went the salad route with the aid of a homemade dip and enjoyed the superb flavour from start to finish.

They say: At Goatsbridge farm, trout is our passion. Our knowledge and experience in trout farming has been passed down through three generations. The daily catch comes from the crystal clear water of the Little Arrigle River in County Kilkenny Ireland, giving our trout a unique and Great Taste award winning taste and texture. 

Goatsbridge Trout Farm

Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.

Tom Flavin and his culinary team launch the Strand Pantry Christmas Range 2020

 It’s Beginning to TASTE a lot like Christmas!

Tom Flavin and his culinary team launch the Strand Pantry Christmas Range 2020


The Limerick Strand is pleased to announce that their very popular and multi-award winning Strand Pantry Christmas Range is now available for purchase and pre-order.

Executive Chef Tom Flavin's award winning Pantry Range has introduced a Festive product Range for Christmas 2020, the perfect gift for your loved ones or that precious client!  The range has won numerous awards including the Great Taste Gold Awards and Blas na hEireann food awards.

Using the very best natural ingredients, Chef Tom and his team have created a range of sweet and savoury festive produce, all of which are available to buy at the hotel or order online for nationwide delivery from mid-November.

The range includes all of the festive essentials including: Christmas Puddings, Mince Pies, Ham Glaze & Cranberry Sauce with Port and much more. Along with creative yet practical festive food hampers this year, they are supporting local suppliers offering The “Limerick” Food Hamper - Tom Flavin’s produce along with some of his favourite Limerick suppliers including Cahill’s Tea, Caroline Rigney, Attyflin Estate and Treaty City Brewery.

The hampers range in prices from €49 to €99. For those looking for an overnight experience the Limerick Strand offers an array of attractive packages plus dining options and Energize Leisure Club for purchase via hotel voucher.   

For details on the Christmas Pantry Shop Hamper range and hotel vouchers please contact the hotel on 353 61 421800 or E: see


Christmas Hamper €49

Caesar Dressing 220g (2 Gold Stars Great Taste Awards 2011, Silver Blas na hEireann 2011), Honey & Grain Mustard Dressing 225ml, 
Cocktail Sauce with Brandy 225g, 
Cranberry Sauce with Port 225gr, Honey & Grain Mustard Ham Glaze 225gr, 
The Strand Pantry Range Jam 225g, Gooseberry & Shallot Relish 225gr (1 Gold Star Great Taste Awards 2012/2013) Pear Chutney (Gold Star Great Taste Awards 2012 and
1/2 Dozen Homemade Mince Pies 

Christmas Hamper €79

Caesar Dressing 220g (2 Gold Stars Great Taste Awards 2011, Silver Blas na hEireann 2011), Honey & Grain Mustard Dressing 225ml, 
Cocktail Sauce with Brandy 225g, 
Cranberry Sauce with Port 225gr, Honey & Grain Mustard Ham Glaze 225gr, 
The Strand Pantry Range Jam 225g, Gooseberry & Shallot Relish 225gr (1 Gold Star Great Taste Awards 2012/2013) Pear Chutney (Gold Star Great Taste Awards 2012), 
1/2 Dozen Homemade Mince Pies, Homemade Christmas Pudding
and Bottle Of Prosecco 

The “Limerick” Food Hamper €99

Caesar Dressing 220g (2 Gold Stars Great Taste Awards 2011, Silver Blas na hEireann 2011), Honey & Grain Mustard Dressing 225ml, 
Cocktail Sauce with Brandy 225g, 
Cranberry Sauce with Port 225gr, Honey & Grain Mustard Ham Glaze 225gr, 
The Strand Pantry Range Jam 225g, Gooseberry & Shallot Relish 225gr (1 Gold Star Great Taste Awards 2012/2013) Pear Chutney (Gold Star Great Taste Awards 2012), 
1/2 Dozen Homemade Mince Pies, Homemade Christmas Pudding, 
Cahill’s Tea – Breakfast Tea, 
Caroline Rigney Granola, 
The Green Apron – Christmas Morning Marmalade,
Attyflin Estate Apple Juice,  and  2
 Treaty City Beer x 2 bottles, Christmas Pudding 1.5kg (15 portions)

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Apple and Blackcurrant in Blackwater’s Taster Club October Box.

 Apple and Blackcurrant in Blackwater’s October Box. Gin and Cassis.

The Blackwater Tasters Club Box for October 2020 contained the two drinks, as usual, plus a few other pertinent bits and pieces. The two new, exclusive to the club, drinks were a Blackwater Windfall Spiced Gin 40% and a Blackwater Waterford Cassis 25%.

Blackwater’s Peter Mulryan hosted a Facebook chat about the box last week and declared the Windfall Gin “a banger”, saying it was created by their gin expert Kieran Curtin who joined the talk from a deserted Maureen’s Bar in Cork.

Kieran admitted to being very happy with it. “It was an idea I had a long time back but I could never get the apples to come across. Then the idea came again for this box and, after a lot of experimenting, we had a breakthrough. Before we used to cut the 70/80% still spirit with water but now we decided to cut it with apple juice and we were on our way. Then, we added apple brandy from a cask in the distillery and that tied it all together!”

Kieran Curtin

Peter said it’s excellent, “great balance, well done Kieran”. Kieran confirmed they went for the usual apples spices, “clove, cinnamon, all spice” and both agreed this was not one to be scaled up. It is not filtered, just settled naturally. “If you see some haze, it's completely natural.” Blackwater’s mixologist John Coleman conjured up a Spiced Collins as the cocktail for this one: “Very easy, great before a meal”.

Next up was Des Jeffares as it is his Wexford blackcurrants that are used in the Waterford Cassis, “..very good blackcurrants” according to Peter. “How long have you been growing them?” he asked. Des explained that the business had been started by an uncle of his father. His father carried it on as did Des who, 6 or 7 years ago, decided to stop being just a supplier and go into juice side of it for himself.

John Wilcox

John Wilcox is the Head Distiller at Blackwater and he developed the new cassis. He rose to the challenge despite not knowing much at all about the fruit. “But I did have friend in Italy who had introduced me to currants via a book that he wrote. You could say this is an Italian, Irish, French hybrid!"

Des’s knowhow was crucial too. “You need to wait for fresh berries. When they are good and ripe, you get a more powerful colour and good sugar, as good as possible for you guys.”

Wilcox: “It is important to stay true to the fruit, I didn't realise currants could be so tart. I wanted to present a true cassis and in a style that people would be comfortable with. A lot of balancing went on but I think we did hit the perfect spot.”

John Coleman
And he may have had, judging by the reaction. Peter: “This is a limited edition for the club. But the way things are going, we might expand it. By the way, this is nice in a shot-glass straight from the freezer.” John Coleman’s cocktail here, Velvet Rain, looks very well indeed, very tempting and again “great after a meal”.

Thinking of going for the December box? You'll need to move quickly - details here

Home Testing

Blackwater Windfall Spiced Gin 40%

Tried this with Elderflower Tonic (Fever-tree) as indicated. Thought, with first sip, that there may just be too much of the orchard here but soon began to appreciate the balance that Kieran and company had worked hard to achieve. Worth persevering with, though you may never get this exact same blend again. Pretty experimental, pretty much a one-off, pretty damn good.

Blackwater Waterford Cassis 25%.

Took Peter’s tip here. Poured a shot straight from the freezer over ice. It is certainly flavoursome and refreshing and you get a sense of how it would be perfect in either a simple Kir or a Kir Royale.

Blackwater Jaffa Cake Gin 42%

This was one of the two in the August box but it’s only now that I had a chance to sample it.  Used a plain Schweppes tonic. No doubt there's a touch of the Jaffa cake here, in both aroma and flavour. Just not sure there’s enough distinctiveness to carry it beyond this first edition though.

Blackwater Boyle’s Gin 40%, Aldi exclusive

Small Batch Irish Botanical Gin. London Dry Gin style. Distilled and bottled by Blackwater, using local blackcurrants, elderflowers and apples. They combine these botanicals (and more besides) in pure Irish spirit, “then distil everything in our traditional copper pot still”. Having noted those “local” botanicals, I made a little “cocktail” here:

Boyle’s 50ml;

Waterford Cassis 10ml;

Elderflower tonic 150ml approx.

Very happy with the result - not too sure it deserves the cocktail title though. But the wee amount of cassis worked a treat, a terrific little sipper, a happy harmony reigned. 

By the way, Robert Boyle was an alchemist and one of the fathers of modern chemistry and lived in West Waterford.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A Home Win With Greenes. Click & Collect. And Score

A Home Win With Greenes.

Click & Collect. And Score!

Greenes certainly make it easy for you with their current Click and Collect meals service. The ordering software (TablePath) is faultless, you make your choices, pay and nominate a collection time. It worked very well for us last Saturday, as it did on previous occasions.

Of course, you do have to finish off at home. But don't worry! Finishing instructions are supplied in your box. And if you want more help you can find online instructions on their Instagram and Facebook accounts.

It is easy and well worthwhile. We’ll run though our choices and the basic info.

We started with Greenes Seafood Chowder. Put the chowder in a pot and heat until piping hot. Be careful not to over mix as you will break up the lovely fish chunks. Arrange in bowls and serve with a wedge of lemon and parsley if you wish.

The Main Event was Braised Feather Blade of Angus Beef, Parsnip Puree, Honey & Rosemary Glazed Parsnip, Red Wine Jus. Preheat oven to 190 celsius, place the tray with the beef and the sauce in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. After 6 minutes, add the honey glazed parsnips to the oven. Heat the parsnip purée in a saucepan on a low heat mixing with a spatula till piping hot. Put the purée in the centre of the plate, then the beef on top and pour the sauce over the beef and the glazed parsnips on the side.

Those lovely chunks of red and white fish were outstanding in the creamy chowder but there was nothing redundant here, even the petit pois played a key role in the deliciousness.

Time then for a sip of wine while the beef was prepared. Chef Bryan McCarthy is a long-time master of feather blade - going back to his days in Springfort Hall - and this was exquisite, the pairing of the parsnip with the tender beef a McCarthy masterstroke.

Other main courses available on the night were Ragu of Skeaghanore Duck, Seared Monkfish Fillet and also Ratatouille Ragu. Greenes Click & Collect is available from Wednesday evening to Sunday afternoon. The menu changes over the days and you may check it out here.

The basic price is forty euro for two courses for two people. You may add dessert and wine too and even a meal for a third person.

Speaking of dessert, they had  a choice of three: Summer Berry Panna Cotta; Chocolate, salted caramel tart, with sweet cream; and Exotic Fruit Cheesecake. All very simple to finish off. Summer may be gone but that Panna Cotta (above) is something else, the tarty compote, the sweet crush of the honeycomb and the velvety Panna Cotta itself that transport the lot to your eager taste buds! Wow.

Monday, October 26, 2020

A Quart of Ale± #18 Moving on over to craft. Wheat Beers

A Quart of Ale± #18

Moving on over to craft. 

Wheat Beers (Part 1)

Click here for Part 2

The most famous wheat beers come from Germany and Belgium where the refreshing drinks are known as Weissbier and Witbier both of which translate as white beer, hence the Westport and Kinnegar whites in this and the following post. The style normally contains a large proportion of malted wheat. Like all beer styles, Wheat Beers are on the move. Just when you think you know something about it, your brewer thinks of a variation and, according to Craft Beer for the Geeks, “fruited wheat beers are the new normal”.  San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery has the ultimate: Hell or High Watermelon! I was wondering if there were any Irish contenders and then along comes Hope’s Grunt (Part 2).

Mescan “Westport White” 5%, 330ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

Malts, hops and yeast for this Wheat Beer come from Belgium and the water (holy water?), comes from the slopes of Croagh Patrick where the brewery is situated.

Pale gold is the colour. Frothy white head atop the hazy body. Plenty of carbonation noticed even in the cloud. Aromas mild, clove is a modest element. Crisp is the first tactile sensation, the clove again and then citrusy and floral notes before the lingering dry finish. A terrific beer, well balanced, refreshing with a lip-smacking finalé.

They say: Yeast in suspension in wheat beer is at the origin of its trademark haze but may eventually settle at the bottom. A gentle swirl near the end of the pour will restore the beer’s traditional appearance.

The suggested serving temperature is a lower than usual at 4 - 6 ° C. The Belgian style beer comes, as Belgian beers normally do, with food pairing recommendations. In short, light dishes such as fish and salads are just the job. Also recommended as a thirst quenching aperitif! For the full details check here

Mescan Brewery is named after Mescan the monk who was St. Patrick's friend and personal brewer. It is situated on the slopes of Croagh Patrick and is owned and operated by Bart Adons and Cillian Ó Móráin, two Westport vets, who have been friends and colleagues for nearly 20 years. The pair spent four years perfecting their original recipes inspired by the beers of Belgium, Bart's homeland, before starting to brew commercially in 2013.


The water for Mescan beers comes from deep underneath Croagh Patrick via a spring beside the brewery. Malts, hops and yeast for the beer come from Belgium. 

Weihenstephaner “Hefe Weissbier” 5.4%, .5l bottle Bradley’s of Cork

Weihenstephaner are proud of this wheat beer: a veritable classic – and the star of our beer ensemble. And I can happily agree. It has a light gold colour, hazy, with a fluffy pillowy head. Typical clove aromas and banana flavours. Superb refreshing flavours and a delight on the palate along with an excellent dry finish. Reminds me of why I so enjoyed wheat beer early on but wheat beers are in a minority in Ireland and you don’t come across them that often. A classic indeed.

This Weihenstephaner is made according to the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Drink at 6-8 degrees. It has a mild IBU count of 14 and they recommend pairing it with Obazda (a Bavarian cheese spread) - I’m sure we could rustle up something similar around here. What we cannot magic up is a brewery as old as Weihenstephaner - they’ve been at it since 1040! Other food pairings noted are with fish and seafood, and especially with the traditional Bavarian veal sausage.

Kiuchi “Hitachino Nest” White Ale, 5.5%, 330ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

Hazy mid-gold colour with a white pillowy head that’s in no rush to get away (perhaps the torrefied wheat has something to do with that!). And, yes, those clove aromas and banana flavours. We’re on solid wheat beer ground even if this one, all 11.2 fluid ounces of it, comes all the way from Japan’s Kiuchi Brewery. It has been brewed with additions of spices, coriander and orange and there’s certainly a hint or two of citrus on the palate and spice notes (nutmeg) too of course. Nicely rounded soft flavours, well-balanced. Easy drinking, easy to like. Another one for the short list!

They say the style is Belgian White Ale and suggest serving it at 6-9 degrees. The IBU is 13. Hops used: Perle, Celleia, Amarillo, Styrian Goldings while Malts are Larger, Wheat. The adjuncts listed are Flaked Wheat (to promote fuller body and haze), Torrefied Wheat, Coriander, Nutmeg, Orange Peel, Orange Juice.

The Hitachino Nest Beers are brewed by the Kiuchi family (now in its 8th generation) who have been brewing Sake since 1823

Click here for Part 2

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sunday Morning Stroll in Millennium Park and Garden at Port of Cork Tivoli.

Sunday Morning Stroll in Millennium Park and Garden at Port of Cork Tivoli. 

The "island" begins in centre, left for the south channel, right for the north

This small park and short walk may be accessed, from the city, by turning left (for the Silversprings Moran Hotel), then left again over the by-pass bridge and heading into the port property. The garden (and its small car park) are on the right at the bottom of the entrance. If you wish to extend the walk, there's a gate at the city end. Continue to walk along the footpath until you reach the 2009 Tivoli Rail Overbridge over the Lower Glanmire Road. Walk to the top and you'll have fine views towards the city, with the Marina across the river on your left, the Cork-Cobh railway to the right.

Strollers on the Marina, rowers on the water

"Eden" by Sean MacCarthy (2000), one of a few sculptures in the park.

Above and below, the Port of Cork


All pics from Sunday last 25th Oct 2020.
Except for below, taken in 2010, Spot any changes?

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Amuse Bouche


They realised how much she had aged when Severo del Valle brought her the first bottles of wine from the grapes that had matured late and that, they learned, produced a smooth voluptuous wine with very little tannin called a carmenere, as good as the best in France, which they baptised Viña Paulina. Finally they had in hand a unique wine that would bring them wealth and fame. My grandmother tasted it delicately. “It’s a shame I can’t enjoy it - let the others drink it.”

from Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende (2000). Very Highly Recommended.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Carewswood Hampers. The Gift of Comfort & Luxury this Christmas.

press release

 Give the Gift of Comfort & Luxury

this Christmas with Carewswood Hampers


Everyone agrees that it is going to be a Christmas like no other.  It is a year that gifting is going to be even more important, where we are more thoughtful and put more meaning into the gifts we give, as we won’t have the opportunity to celebrate with friends, family and colleagues like in other years.   

Inspired by the natural surrounds of their walled gardens, dating back over 200 years, Carewswood Garden Centre and Cafe have created a beautiful range of luxury Christmas Hampers which are  packed full of the finest seasonal treats from boutique brands and Irish artisan producers. The perfect thoughtful gifts, for a Christmas that will be like no other.

For example their “Carewswood Christmas Comforts Hamper” is presented in a vintage wooden crate and offers everything the lucky recipient will need for a cozy Christmas - award winning wine; a hand poured, beautifully scented candle and lots of artisan treats to indulge with on a cosy night in. The perfect way to say thank you to a friend, colleague or client and comes inclusive of VAT at €90.

Christmas Comforts

Another hamper which is proving very popular with the corporate market and with people who won’t be able to visit close loved ones over Christmas is “The Carewswood Festive Hamper”.  This premium wicker and leather hamper is packed full of exquisite wines and artisan treats both savoury and sweet to suit all tastes. Everything needed this Christmas to enjoy the finest of fare, delivered right to the recipient’s door in time for Christmas. Including VAT, this hamper costs €165.

Carewswood Gardens are steeped in rich history with links to the gardens in the White House, Washington. Daniel and Juulika Leahy have been the proud owners of the Carewswood Garden Centre and Cafe for the past seven years. They are both deeply passionate about horticulture as well as organic, local and artisan produce, which has led to the success of Carewswood.

Speaking about the success of their business during these unprecedented times which led to the introduction of their new Christmas Hampers, Juulika Leahy said “We were blown away by the success of our online business during this pandemic. Thankfully we were able to pivot the business quickly and successfully. Our customers escaped the constant headlines and got back to nature; everyone had more spare time at home and gardens and homes were transformed. We were delighted to be able to help with our range of plants and trees delivered to our customers' homes nationwide. Our gift range, which we also moved online, was extremely popular and because of this we decided to work with our producers to create a range of very special artisan Christmas Hampers.”

Carewswood knows that gifts should be that bit more special this year, hence their range of unique gifts. The “Gardener Hamper”, “Family Trees” and “Children’s Hampers” are prime examples of these which will be introduced in time for Christmas gifting.  The “Family Trees” gift, a self-pollinating apple tree which produces five different types of apples. This could be a perfect activity for families this Christmas, giving them the opportunity to plant together and watch their “family tree” flourish in the Spring, Summer and Autumn. The “Children’s Hamper”  is a lovely gift that will encourage children to get creative this Christmas, connect with nature and develop their green fingers.

Carewswood Hampers offers a national and international delivery service, and is now taking orders for Christmas.  For more information email, call  (021) 466 7760, or visit