Friday, April 30, 2021

Taste of the Week. Izz Café's Medjool Stuffed Coated Dates

Taste of the Week 

Medjool Stuffed Coated Dates

The Izz Cafe's bowl of three jumbo sized Medjool dates, stuffed with almonds and coated with chocolate and coconut or pistachio, is our Taste of the Week. 
Medjool dates are widely acknowledged as the best of dates. Here, enhanced by the additions of the Izz Cafe, they are even better.
I got mine via NeighbourFood where the café has a large selection of it sweet and savoury offerings available. Well worth checking out!
Find out more about the Izz Café here.
* By the way, if you do get your hands on some "plain" Medjool dates, they make a terrific match with blue cheese, especially Wicklow Blue; both are available via Neighbourfood, the dates from Olives West Cork, the cheese from On The Pig's Back.

Thursday, April 29, 2021




A silver vintage Airstream food trailer is driving appetites at Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort on the shores of the Blessington Lakes. Due to Covid-19 restrictions the Wicklow hotel has not been able to open its restaurants and bars but has come up with a sleek dining solution in the form of a 1970’s, aircraft grade, ‘Tulfarris Silverstream Food Trailer’.


The vintage truck will be on site daily from 2-9.00pm and will serve hungry golfers, walkers, and day trippers.  The ‘grab and go’ menu options include dishes such as the Tulfarris famous chicken wings, gourmet beef burgers, the O’Neil’s famous pork and leek hot dog and the super spicy Vietnamese ‘Banh Mi’ Baguette. The menu also includes rustic ‘skin on fries’, squid and haddock goujons, pizza slices and vegetarian and vegan delights and hearty salads.


So, if you are out for a walk and are exploring the grounds or teeing off at the Championship Golf Course fill up and fuel up at the Tulfarris Food Truck. Alternatively swing by ‘The Food Hatch’, located at the entrance of the resort which serves artisan coffees, herbal teas and sweet treats all day.

To see the full, sizzling summer menu check out

EASY SUMMER RECIPES PERFECT FOR AL FRESCO DINING. Take some culinary inspiration from Ballymaloe Foods


Take some culinary inspiration from Ballymaloe Foods

Summer is just around the corner and the arrival of warmer weather means it’s time to change up the weeknight routine with some lighter dishes. Why not try one of these great recipes put together by Ballymaloe Foods. 

Sarah Collins, Marketing Manager with Ballymaloe Foods says, “The evenings are getting brighter and longer so many of us are choosing to dine outdoors with our families. Now is the perfect time to try out some great summer dishes packed full with fresh, seasonal ingredients. We’ve put together four of our favourite recipes that are guaranteed to be a hit with the whole family. These dishes can be served as a main course or a side dish.”


  1. Smashed Crispy Sweet Potato Warm Salad

  2. Green Garden Quiche

  3. Vegetarian Vietnamese Spring Rolls

  4. Stuffed Roasted Irish Peppers

Smashed Crispy Sweet Potato Warm Salad (serves 5)


  • 5 small, sweet potatoes (or 2 large)

  • 10 baby potatoes

  • 6/8 tbsps. olive oil

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 tsp cayenne

  • 1 tsp sea salt 

  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Bulgar salad

  • 100g/ 40z bulgar wheat

  • 10 floz boiling water

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 tbsps. of pumpkin seeds

  • ½ pomegranate seeded

  • 2 small thinly sliced spring onion

  • 2 tbsps. olive oil


  • 3 heaped tbsps. of natural live yoghurt

  • 1 finely grated clove of garlic

  • 1 or 2 generous tsp of Ballymaloe Fiery Relish

  • Pinch of sea salt

Optional Extra Toppings

Pulled roast chicken, feta crumbled, grilled halloumi, sweet chilli baked salmon, crispy bacon, pulled ham hock or roast pork.


  1. Preheat your oven to 250°C (conventional)

  2. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water & drain.

  3. Place the potatoes on a clean chopping board & apply pressure to flatten, skins included. 

  4. Using a pastry brush, coat the potatoes in your infused oil.

  5. Pop the potatoes on a roasting tray & into the oven. Roast until rich golden brown and crispy.

  6. In a saucepan bring 10 fl oz of water to the boil & stir in the bulgur & a pinch of sea salt. Bring back to a boil & simmer gently for 10 mins. 

  7. Place into a nylon sieve to remove any excess water.

  8. In a large bowl place the cooked bulgur, sliced spring onions, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds & olive oil. Stir gently to combine, season & taste. 

  9. For the dressing, stir everything together, taste & adjust seasoning if necessary. 

  10. Assemble using a warm wide bowl, spoon on 2 tbsps. of bulgur salad, topped with 1 warm crispy sweet potato and two warm crispy baby potatoes, drizzle over the fiery dressing and serve. 

 Green Garden Quiche (serves 6)

Shortcrust pastry

  • 8oz plain white flour sieved

  • 4 oz butter

  • 1 egg beaten

  • 1 dessertspoon of water (slow addition)


  • 100g broccoli - split each floret into 4

  • 100g peas

  • 100g green beans 

  • 3 eggs

  • 6 fl oz cream

  • 100g vintage Irish cheddar grated

  • Ballymaloe Pepper Relish to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 250°C. (conventional)

  2. For the pastry, use a blender to combine the flour & butter. Add the beaten egg & barely blitz until it resembles large breadcrumbs.

  3. Remove from the blender & place onto your clean work top & bring together quickly. 

  4. Flatten the pastry into a round & wrap & chill for 30 mins.

  5. Pop the prepped broccoli, peas & green beans into well-seasoned boiling water & cook for 3 mins. 

  6. Place your chilled pastry on a floured bench. Flour your clean rolling pin & roll the pastry into a round roughly 11” round. Roll the pastry onto the rolling pin & drape evenly over your 9” tart tin.

  7. Line with crumpled parchment & fill with baking beans. Freeze for 15 mins. 

  8. Place the frozen tart shell into a preheated oven at 250°C & ‘bake blind’ for 25 - 45 mins.

  9. Remove the beans & brush the base halfway up the sides with egg wash & place back in your oven for 3-5 mins until sealed. Remove to a wire rack.

  10. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs well, stir in the cream, grated cheese & fully drained veg. Add a generous pinch of sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper. 

  11. Pour into the tart shell & continue to bake for about 25-30 mins. Then cool on a wire rack for 5 mins.

  12. Serve with an Irish Root Veg Slaw & a great big dollop of Ballymaloe Pepper Relish on each slice of quiche.

Vegetarian Vietnamese Spring Rolls (serves 5)


Julienne into 3” sticks:

  • ½ red pepper

  • 2 spring onions

  • 1 small cucumber

  • 1 large carrot 

  • 5 broccolini, split into quarters on the length

  • 10 green beans, split in half on the length


  • 1 tsp honey

  • 3 tsp rice wine vinegar

  • Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper

  • 10 sheets of rice paper wrappers

  • 40 grams of rice vermicelli noodles

  • 20 lettuce leaves (cos & butterhead)

  • 20 large mint leaves

Dipping sauce

  • 8 tbsps. light soy sauce

  • 3 tsp Ballymaloe fiery relish

  • 2 tsp honey


  1. Place the prepared julienne of veg into ten mixed bundles & place onto a baking tray.

  2. Mix the dressing well & sprinkle over each mound of vegetables. Leave to infuse for 20 mins, turn each bundle halfway through to ensure flavour is dispersed.

  3. In a large bowl pour in boiling water, top up with cold water to create a very warm bath.

  4. Take a rice paper sheet into the bath & feel as the heat turns it into a pliable sheet, remove carefully & place on your clean worktop. Flatten into a round.

  5. Place a mint leaf in the centre, top with some cooled rice noodles, then your seasoned bundle of veg and lastly a piece of butterhead.

  6. Pull the base up over the centre and pull the top down to seal both ends. Now start to roll from the sides applying pressure to create a firm bundle. 

  7. Wrap until fully enclosed a firm sausage shape is achieved. Place on a well oiled (olive oil) clean baking tray. Ensure they do not stick together & cover in a well-oiled piece of cling film.

  8. Mix the dipping sauce ingredients together & taste.

  9. To serve: in a box place two cos leaves & pop a spring roll on each. Pop in some dipping sauce (in a container) & serve.

Stuffed Roasted Irish Peppers (serves 2)


  • 2 red peppers (200g each)

  • 40g lentils

  • Olive oil

  • 100g courgette, diced ⅓” 

  • 100g aubergine, diced ⅓”

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped

  • 50g celery chopped

  • 1 tbsp. Ballymaloe Pepper Relish

  • 1-2 tsp Ballymaloe Fiery Relish

  • Fresh basil leaves

  • Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 250°C. (conventional)

  2. Wash the lentils until the water runs clear, then place the lentils into a saucepan & cover in water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 mins or until just cooked. Drain into a nylon sieve to drain 

  3. In a large frying pan, add 4 tbsps. of water & start to cook the diced courgette & aubergine, season well. 

  4. Once the water evaporates, add 2 tbsps. of olive oil & continue to cook & colour. Now add the chopped garlic & cook for a further two mins.

  5. Remove to a bowl & add in the cooked & well drained lentils, pepper relish & fiery relish. Stir well to combine. Taste & adjust seasoning if necessary, by adding sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Set aside.

  6. Carefully remove the lid of each pepper & then carefully remove the core & seeds.

  7. Season the base of each pepper with a sprinkle of sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper & pop in 3 leaves of fresh basil.

  8. Place half of the veggie lentil mix into each pepper, top each with a large basil leaf & close by replacing the pepper lid.

  9. Place in a tight-fitting dish & bake in your preheated oven for 25 mins or until the pepper is just cooked.

  10. Remove from the oven & allow to cool or serve immediately.

Muscadet and Sangiovese excel on home ground. A lovely white and red wine for you.

Muscadet and Sangiovese excel on home ground. A lovely white and red wine for you. 

La Fessardière “La Mer qu’on voit danser” Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie (AC) 2015, 12%

€16.00, Mary Pawle WinesMannings Ballylickey and Little Green Grocer in Kilkenny 

Melon de Bourgogne, the grape from which Muscadet is produced, is sometimes referred to condescendingly as a “inoffensive grape or a “neutral” one. The Melon grape certainly lacks the boisterous aromas that characterise New World Sauvignon Blanc. But this lack of initial assertiveness is deceiving, especially if it has spent some time on its lees (sur lie, on the label) and, as is also the case here, a little time in oak.

Still, the aromas of this 2015 are reticent. You’ll probably get citrus but you’ll need to work harder to get more. Mid gold is the colour and it’s quite attractive. All the work and care (including a light oaking and 9 months on lees) that has been lavished here, comes through on the palate with its superb texture. Excellent citrus flavours, the fruit rounded, and well balanced by a sprightly acidity.

For decades now, it has been the traditional accompaniment to seafood, especially in this corner of France, though it will do the job just as well in Ireland. An refreshing appetiser as well.

The Domaine de la Fessardiere has produced organic wine since 1997. Michel Sauvion the former winemaker, made this choice in order to increase the quality of its Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine wine and work closer to nature. In 2014, Jérôme & Emeline met Michel Sauvion.… As wine lovers, Jérôme and Emeline were seduced by the wine and Michel’s knowhow and they choose right away to keep producing wine following the organic method. Then, they decided to value the different parts and typicity of the land and the winery through a new range of Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine wines.

Made with love. You’ll love it! Highly Recommended.

And then you can check up on the other Muscadets in the range by the same producer, including the two below, recently reviewed here, also from Mary Pawle:

L’Air Innocent

La Gloire De Nos Pères

Volpi “Boira” Sangiovese Marche (IGT) 2019, 13%,\

€14.40 Mary Pawle WinesMannings Ballylickey and Little Green Grocer in Kilkenny

This charming Sangiovese, not from Tuscany but from Marche (between the central mountains and the east coast), has a lovely ruby colour. Aromas are intense, ripe red fruit, floral and herbal notes too. Flavours are just as bright and intense, full of red and darker fruit flavours, plus a hint of vanilla. Tannins are more or less silky. Dry and harmonious, the Boira has a lingering finish. 

An organic and vegan-friendly wine, it is ideal for the table. Try it with stewed meat and aged cheeses (winery tips); other suggestions include spaghetti bolognese, lamb shank and steak Milanese, Pappardelle pasta with a rabbit and porcini mushroom ragù, Fried chicken livers, Slow-roasted pork with white bean mash. 

Speaking of pork, I had a glass of it the other night with a dish from On the Pig’s Back: Broiled Marinated Pork Chop, Savoy cabbage, Fondant Potato and Mustard Sauce. An excellent match.

Highly Recommended. Very well priced too, by the way.