Showing posts with label Apple Farm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apple Farm. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Local and Seasonal. Tempting choices in Princes Street as Nash 19 supports local producers

Local and Seasonal. Tempting choices in Princes Street as Nash 19 supports local producers

Nash 19, founded in 1992 by Claire Nash,  has expanded, during and post-Covid, from a restaurant into a Food and Gift Shop, Wine Bar, and Sternview Gallery. Changes galore then in the Princes Street venue but one thing remains and that is Nash’s unwavering support for local producers. 

We joined the queue at No. 19 last Friday and, after a warm welcome, were soon seated and studying the extensive menu, a menu that changes more or less daily. The produce may be local, quite a bit from the neighbouring English Market, but that doesn't mean that the restaurant is exempt from outside influence: it won't be the same old same old. You’ll see words such as Dukkah, Bouillabaisse, Sashimi, Stroganoff, and Tzatziki scattered on the menu pages. 

The local producers are also acknowledged and, on the day, names such as Tim Mulcahy (Chicken Inn), Cashel Blue, Hederman, Gubbeen, Bandon Vale, Waterfall Farm, K. O’Connell fish, Rossmore Oysters, Longueville Cider, Union Hall fish, Garryhinch, and Ardsallagh Goats, were among those included.

The choice here is quite amazing. I counted about 20 dishes (six of which were marked with a little fish drawing at the side) and didn't include desserts - didn't make it that far! Lots of wine is available too, of course, more so than a few years ago. My drink on the day though was one of the very best around, the superb classic Sparkling Apple Juice from Con Traas at the Apple Farm in Cahir.

For all that though, the star of our two courses was the House Pâté, Chicken Liver "Free Range", Crusty Sourdough, and Pickled Plum (13 euro). Claire herself is very proud of this one and rightly so, the best paté we’ve had this year.

I had been tempted by the Pork fillet and Garryhinch wild Mushroom Stroganoff, Rice dish but went instead for the Goats Cheese Salad, Ardsallagh Soft and Ash, Candied Nut, and Conference Pear (16.70). CL usually opts for this type of dish so when she didn't I did and enjoyed it, especially the two versions of the cheese and those candied nuts and the salad of course.

Salads are now shifting from the crisp summer leaves to the more robust type and that was also the case with CL’s Chicken Breast Salad Bowl, "Free Range", Relish, Dukkah, Tzatziki (16.70), another seasonal local and well-appreciated dish.

We would have had liked to linger a while longer and check out the desserts but we were on a tight schedule (very rare for us these days!) and had to move on and say goodbye to Claire and the smiling helpful staff, still busy as we departed at 2.30 or thereabouts. 

* By the way, if you are thinking of calling in for lunch at weekends, remember it is a busy place, so do make a reservation. Find all the details you need here  

A short preprandial stroll, full of history.

As you exit Nash 19, turn left and head south. 

An early 19th-century one-arch bridge, significant in its own right for the quality of its design and construction (according to takes you over the south channel. Walk now to nearby St Finbarr’s South “the oldest Catholic church still in use in Cork City”.

Parliament Bridge is a limestone structure, built in 1806. It is also important to the river and urban landscape and is still in use as an important thoroughfare for the city.

Just five minutes after leaving the restaurant, we arrived at The church, also known as the South Chapel. This is even older than the bridge and was built in 1766; is a rare Catholic Mass House of the period. Located below the High Altar you’ll see the life-size sculptured figure, "The Dead Christ”, by the famous Cork sculptor John Hogan (1800-58).

On a day when some new street sculpture went up at the corner of Oliver Plunkett St and Princes St to be instantly flashed around the internet, I was on a “mission” to get a photo of the Hogan work. The fact that we were married there on a snowy Shrove Tuesday in 19whatever also had something to with it!

From the church, it took us just about five minutes to get to Nash 19 for our lunch.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Greenwich. Passionate café culture in Cork city centre

Greenwich. Passionate café culture in Cork city centre

The lady at the counter is delighted, compliments are flowing to the staff as she pays her bill in the little Cork café. “This is delightful,” she enthuses, “A real café, great food and relaxing music, and in the heart of the city. How long have you been here?”

They explain that the current owner has just celebrated a year in residence but the café has been here for about 20 years. With an incredulous gasp, she questions: “How come I’ve never found it before?” Greenwich is the uber central café in Caroline Street, just behind Brown Thomas that itself faces onto to the main thoroughfare of Patrick Street.

Dermot O’Sullivan is the chef/owner celebrating his first anniversary here in Greenwich and he has the place smelling well, looking well and sounding well! 

Flowers and bright paintings all around, cool jazz and easy swing ooze from the speakers as tempting aromas waft from the kitchen. This gentle melange for the senses, served with smiles and chats, has enthralled many a customer, our happy lady the latest in a long line.

These months, with not much use being made of the outdoor seating (even if it is sheltered), the 20 plus seats inside are busy and buzzing, the punter’s eyes on the glass containers of cakes on the counter, the wall-mounted boards (detailing coffees, teas and wines) and on the menu with its day-long brunch offerings and its lunch list, along with a host of sweet treats.

We get in around 1.45 on a midweek afternoon. There is a short wait for a table and we have the menu to check in the meantime. By the time we’ve read it, the table is cleared and we have a good idea what we’ll be eating.

I had the Reuben sandwich on my most recent call and this time I’m inclined to go for something off that day-long brunch menu and pick the Challah Bread French Toast. It is a tasty and generous plate,  the bread (from the English Market) is dipped in egg and cream, fried in butter until golden and served with crispy bacon  and maple syrup. There is also a homemade fruit compote vanilla Mascarpone version. 

Dermot supports local suppliers. The ever reliable Chicken Inn is one such and CL picks the Chargrilled Chicken Salad with chargrilled red pepper, toasted cashew nuts, dressed Waterfall Farm leaves and pickles served with the café’s homemade honey & mustard dressing. A generous and inviting plateful, accompanied by a couple of slices of their brown bread, is a very satisfying combination of colours, flavours and textures. 

They have a short wine list here but today we pick the beautiful refreshing apple juice from Con Traas’s Apple Farm in Cahir. Coffee is by the Golden Bean and we decide to share a slice of the Lemon Curd Cake. Just as well we shared, as the portion is quite large!

So, heated by the meal and feeling good after the warm welcome and the friendly service and the day’s play-list, we are well equipped for the walk back to the car.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Swiss Cottage at Cahir. And don't miss the castle and the Apple Farm.

 The Swiss Cottage at Cahir

Don't miss the castle and Apple Farm.

Perhaps the first thing to say about Cahir’s Swiss Cottage is that it is not Swiss at all, not even related! Apparently some local said the 1810 house reminded him or her of a Swiss chalet and the name stuck.
Bridge to the cottage

You will see a signpost for the cottage in the castle car park in the Tipperary town. In fact, there are two more or less parallel paths. The lower one, nearer the golf course and river, is also the Fairy Path, so keep your eyes open! The other is a little higher up and is paved. Both end up in the same place. Of course, you may drive to the cottage (by the Ardfinnan Road) but the 2 kilometre walk is a pleasant one by the banks of the Suir. 

The paths are signposted all the way. You keep the river on your right and cross when you come to a white bridge. The cottage (in the care of the OPW)  is built on a little height so there are some steps involved, not too many though.
A magic shed on the Fairy Path

It was built in the early 1800s by Richard Butler (an Earl whose family owned thousands of acres in the area), to a design by John Nash, a famous Regency architect. The Butlers had a townhouse in Cahir and this cottage was intended as a little country retreat where one could take a party for afternoon tea, maybe even more judging by the amount of beds there.

One of the beds is quite interesting and is termed a campaign bed. The campaign came from its original army use, a fold-up easily transportable bed for the officers, and led to the well known camp bed. None of the furniture is original but most is very close to it.

What is original though are some of the wallpaper panels which amazingly have survived for over 200 years. All the rooms are elegantly decorated with nature the main theme.

It has been beautifully restored and looks more like the original that it did in the middle of the previous century. No photography is allowed inside but it certainly makes a pretty picture on the outside.

By the way, the proper term for this type of structure is a cottage orné. According to Wikipedia, similar buildings exist at Burrenwood, Co. Down; Derrymore, Bessbrook, Newry, Co. Armagh (National Trust); and the Petit hameau de la Reine at Versailles.

Fishing is important around here!

There's a large town centre car park alongside Cahir Castle.
The castle is open to the public and worth a visit.

Geese were introduced to the castle and its environs in 2019.
They sleep as a group under the walls and are multiplying!

Wildflowers by the cottage path.

When in Cahir, be sure and visit the Apple Farm and
treat yourself to some of their delicious produce.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #72. On the craft journey with a trio of ciders: Viking, Johnny Fall Down, and Con's Irish.

A Quart of Ale± #72

On the craft journey with a trio of ciders: Viking, Johnny Fall Down, and Con's.

Viking Orchard Cuvée Cider, 5.5%, 500 bottle Bradleys

This is a medium dry cider from Waterford’s Viking Cider. We’ve already tasted a couple of their bottles in previous Quarts here.

Colour is a mid-gold with bubbles galore rising. Aromas are gentle, just like a bunch of ripe apples in your hand. It is a blend of quite a few varieties and is smooth and mild, perhaps more dry than medium. Quite round and soft all the way to its bitter sweet lip-smacking finish. Well made and in my case well appreciated.

Viking Irish Drinks at Dennison’s Farm was set up as a company in 2017, with cider production commencing in 2019. At the heart of the company is three unique craft cider styles, based on old farm recipes, including Medium Dry Orchard Cuvée, the immensely popular Harvest Blush and Ireland’s first Hop flavoured cider, Hop-IT.

The story of this cider: Apple varieties used for Medium Dry Orchard Cuvée are Dabinett, Michelin, Yarlington Mill, Foxwhelps, Kingston Black, Harry Masters, and some Bramley for acidity. Harvest time for these apples is usually mid-October, except for Foxwhelps, which is harvested earlier but blended back in.  Medium Dry Orchard Cuvée is fermented slowly on its natural occurring yeasts for up to six months. Gluten Free and Coeliac Friendly.

Technical - 5.5% ABV | Acid – 4.2 Grams per Litre | Sulphur – 0.3 trace of So2 | Calories - 55 per 100 ml

Food Pairing: Serve with traditional roast chicken/ pork and light game meats. Plus, a cider gravy adds to the flavour of the trimmings. Also try Medium Dry Orchard Cuvée with grilled Salmon and parsley butter, steamed mussels in their shell. To finish, accompany with some more-ish cheeses, like Durrus Cheese or most Irish farm-house cheeses. Best served 10 degrees.                                                                       

Johnny Fall Down Rare Apple Cider 2019, 5.5%, 500 bottle Bradleys

Amber gold is the colour of this multi-apple blend from the benign south facing slopes of Killahora, situated close to Glounthaune village, and on a slight rise above the backwaters of Cork Harbour. Uncountable little bubbles rush towards the top of the glass, this from the 2019 vintage. This is100% apple juice using wild yeasts for fermentation and is matured over 12 months.

The aromas are mild but this superb cider is intense and complex on the palate. Look out for tropical, smoky and nutty notes and a long complex finish, they advise. And that is what you get, amazing from first taste until the lingering aftertaste.

They say: We grow over 100 apple varieties and this year are including some of the best of our ciders into one fine bottle. We have also included some oak and the barrel aged ciders from 2018 to add depth to the freshness of the 2019 harvest. This cider may ruin your ability to enjoy commercial ciders. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

It is produced from the entire range of their apple harvest, a bit like a Gentil wine from Alsace. And just like that delicious and complex wine, this Glounthaune cider is more or less perfect, not too sweet and not too dry.

Pairings suggested by the producers are Pork, Chicken, spicy food, cheese and oily fish.

Con’s Irish Cider, 5.5%, 500 bottle at the Apple Farm

Real cider, it says on the label. And real cider it is. A small batch medium dry cider, “made from seasonal Irish Apples hand-picked on our family farm in Cahir… where visitors are always welcome”.

The natural imprint of the orchard is all over this one, from the golden colour, reminiscent of an Autumn sunset, to the fruity aromas and flavours, its lovely mouthful and satisfying finish. No shortage of oomph. Cider doesn’t get any more real than this tip top Tipperary bottle.

They say: For us at The Apple Farm, where we make Con’s, Real Irish Cider is made and bottled in its entirety in Ireland using the juice of Irish-grown apples, without the routine addition of either water or sugar…..

Buyer beware though, as the term Real Cider is not legally defined, and it is possible that someone adding much more sugar and water could hijack the term.

To see more of their thoughts on real versus not real cider see what owner Con Traas has to say here.  Just a short read but well worthwhile.

Con has helped quite a few Irish cider makers over the years and the 2013 Cider Celebration was held at the Apple Farm and a great day it was too with cider makers from all over the country displaying their produce! Would love to see that revived.

* Don't forget that coming up this Saturday (16th) Brian and BeoirFest have 3 brewers, 4 breweries, and 5 countries!

  • Third Barrel are one of the pioneers of brewing in Ireland and have created 3 brands to differentiate their different offerings in the marketplace.
  • Brew & Roll brew Metallica-inspired beers in Navarre.
  • Both Solo from Crete and Axiom from the Czech Republic have Norwegian Kjetil Jikiun as their head brewer.

It's a great mix of brewers and breweries for a chat. Their experience should provide some great insight and stories into the state of brewing across Europe. More details here.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Tipp Top Trip: Apple Farm & Mikey Ryan’s

Tipp Top Trip: Apple Farm & Mikey Ryan’s

The forecast for last Tuesday promised the best day of the mid-August week, and so the decision was made to head for Tipperary, beginning with a visit to the Apple Farm (on the Cahir - Clonmel road) and to lunch at Mikey Ryan’s in Cashel. A good decision, a good day.

We arrived at the Apple Farm in mid-morning - it’s just about an hour or less from the eastern edge of Cork City. The car park was pretty full but we found a spot and were soon shopping. The just picked plums were the main target and we had to restrain ourselves to four packs.

Beef Burger

We also spotted some pristine raspberries here and they were soon bagged as were some Slievenamon View farm organic tomatoes. Juices were added and more, including those delicious apple crisps. And, of course, you couldn't leave all that Con’s Cider behind!

As it happened, while loading the car, we met the man himself Con Traas, responsible for this terrific operation here. He was getting ready to head up to Nenagh with a delivery for Peter at Country Choice, another top notch Tipperary enterprise.

Wildflower area at Apple Farm

We had one more “assignment” at the Apple Farm and that was to take the short stroll over to their wildflower area. Con has established this in recent years to enhance the diversity of his pollinators. It is a lovely quiet spot away from the busy yard and I enjoyed strolling around and taking a few photos.

We would of course enjoy the fruit later. The amazing Opal plums and their delicious flavours took me back to my younger days when I picked fruit at a nearby farm which had a walled garden. The raspberries also were just perfect in size and colour and, not alone did they look well, but their flavours were supreme. Attention to detail around this farm pays off for the customers. 

Neat and tidy between the rows.

Would that we had many more operations like this around the country; then we could cut down on the tons and tons of apples that we import. 

We didn’t eat any of the fruit at the farm and so were glad of that as we had a reservation for lunch at Mikey Ryan’s in Cashel, just a short trip away.

All around the back of the restaurant, the new edition Cashel Palace Hotel (same owners as Ryan's) is taking shape. 

Mikey's have a lovely outside area at the back but the glass lined interior restaurant, where we dined, is also bright, not least because of a series of skylights. Lots of horsey pictures around here too and, if you keep your ears open, you might well pick up a tip and cover the cost of your nosh!

And Ryan’s support local, big time, including Con Traas of course and noteworthy Tipp names such as Blanco Niño, Cashel Blue, Cooleeney Farm, Crossogue Preserves, Crowe’s Farm and local butchers including Una O’Dwyer (Ireland’s only female butcher). Good too to see at least one tap with the White Gypsy logo as we passed through the bar on our way to our table.

We enjoyed some delicious nibbles on a previous visit a couple of years back but alas the The Sweet Potato Crisps with smoked chilli salt are no longer offered! But the black marble bathrooms are still there, still high class, as good as you’ll get in a five star hotel. And keep listening for those racing tips!

Service was nice and friendly and, sipping some apple juice, we soon decided on our main courses. I picked the O’Dwyer’s Premier Burger and Chips (17 euro) plus another euro for the Cashel Blue Cheese upgrade. In the more expensive bracket for burgers for sure but also one of the very best! Very juicy, very flavoursome and totally enjoyable!

Free range chicken burger.

And the verdict from the other side of the table was a big thumbs up for the Spicy Free Range Chicken Burger (buttermilk marinated chicken thigh, sriracha mayo and gem lettuce). At €17.50 not inexpensive but again top class though, in the head to head, the beef was the agreed winner!

Well satisfied after that, we skipped the dessert but did linger over two excellent coffees, a blend by Dublin Roasters 3FE. Bought a likely looking piece of soda bread at the Town House Deli, also on the Main Street. Thought we might need it later on but maybe not with all that fruit in the back of the car?

Quite a collection of sporting, farming and local interests at Mikey Ryan's

Monday, July 8, 2019

Plum Wine. Sparkling Apple Juice. The Butler and The Queen. Fruit Cakes and Steeplechasers. All in a Tipp Day-trip

Plum Wine. Sparkling Apple Juice. The Butler and His Queen. Fruit Cake.  Steeplechasers. 
All in a Tipp Day-trip.
Ormond Castle

Shopping at Dove Hill
The Butlers may have moved all the best bits to their castle in Kilkenny when they were forced to downsize but that means you get to see more of the basics when you visit their ruined castle and restored manor house in Carrick on Suir. You get the impression from the Ormond Castle guides that they’d prefer to have some of those paintings and tapestries back from Kilkenny. Yet there is much to be seen in the castle and house on the banks of the Suir. 
At the Apple Farm

The Butlers (original family name was Walter), by the way, did start off as royal butlers, and their initial land here was a gift from the crown. But, well known to the crown and related to Elizabeth 1, they got more and more as time went by and eventually held sway over large areas of Kilkenny, Carlow and Tipperary, castles all over including substantial ones, as in Cahir, and small ones like that at Farney. Indeed that Farney building has a butler’s pantry “hidden” in the 12 foot thick walls. Clonmel's Main Guard is another Butler building.

Situated in the middle of Carrick, Ormond Castle is the best example of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland. It, along with extensive gardens, was built by Thomas, the 10th Earl of Ormond in the 1560s. Closely integrated into the manor house are two 15th century towers. It is the country's only major unfortified dwelling from that turbulent period. The state rooms contain some of the finest decorative plasterwork in the country, including plasterwork portraits.
Clonmel's splendid Main Guard

The above paragraph is a direct quote from the Heritage Ireland entry. The Butlers abandoned the home after James' death in 1688. It remained a possession of the family until the middle of the 20th century. In 1947 the house was given over to state agencies who restored the historic structures. The restoration continues.

Admission to the site is by guided tour only and there is a small fee. There is a video show detailing the history of the Butlers and you can see that before or after your tour. As you walk between the walls of the derelict castle, you’ll note that there was a large arched door ahead of you. This opened directly on to the River Suir, the main source of traffic at the time. Indeed, Queen Elizabeth was expected to walk through here but died before she could fulfil the promise of a visit to her cousin (rumours, continued within these walls to this day suggest the relationship was more than innocently familial). 
Clonmel mural

The house is the “star” of the visit, and the long room is the highlight. Much of the plasterwork is original and is indeed very impressive. The timber, much of it original (dating back hundreds of years), is amazing. You get a great view of it up in the attic, all held together without nails, the kind of basics view you don’t get in Kilkenny. Outstanding workmanship from the 16th century and the OPW guys of more recent times don’t come out of it too badly either! 

After a slow walk up the river by the small marina and a quick cuppa in the town we headed west towards the Dove Hill Design Centre on the Clonmel Road. Disappointed to find the large garden centre has closed but we did get some shopping done, mostly kitchen gear (from Meadows and Byrne) and food. The latter included Flahavan’s Hi8 muesli and Lismore Food Company’s Dark Chocolate Apple Crisp Thins (delicious!) from  the Ardkeen shop there, Skellig’s Chocolate and more from the Blarney Woollen Mills’ large selection.
Hotel Minella, a friendly place.

Time then to check in at the Minella Hotel, splendidly sited on the south bank of the Suir in Clonmel. We also got a splendid welcome here and were soon relaxing with tea and cake! While seemingly isolated on its own extensive grounds, the hotel is within 15 minutes walk of the town centre and we checked that on our way for an evening meal at the Kyoto Asian Street Food restaurant in Parnell Street but not before we had a look at the Main Guard, a distinctive and nicely restored 17th century building.

Kyoto, upstairs over Boyle’s bookmakers, is popular and was busy. The menu is wide-ranging with options under various headings such as Sushi, Curries, Donburi, Noodles, and Wok. There was even dessert, an interesting one. We hadn’t come across Banana Katsu (with ice cream) before so we shared it and the deep-fried crumbed banana (4.95) was delicious. Also delicious was the plum wine (5.50). I took the wine instead of the sake (6.00).

Back then to the hotel for a pint in the bar. After a good breakfast we said our goodbyes and the friendly folks at the front desk didn’t allow us go empty-handed, gifting us a top class fruit cake on exit, one that we still enjoying!
The Full Irish, local produce, at the Minella

Later, on their website, I noted that the Minella is well known for its cake baking. It is also well-known for its association with horse-racing and all their runners (most if not all over fences) have Minella in the name.

We were heading home now in the sun but had one final call to make. You really shouldn’t drive the Clonmel-Cahir road without making a stop at the Apple Farm, owned and run by Con Traas, just be careful entering and exiting as this is quite a fast road (well, let me say there are fast drivers on it).
Sunset in Clonmel

The farm is beautifully kept; even the shed where the shop is situated is brightened up with some thriving roses. You may pick your own strawberries here but we took the easy option and bought a few punnets of the beauties. Also came away with lots of bottles of juices (some of cider too!), jars of jams and packets of his apple crisps (yet to be tried). 
The Apple Farm

I have often mentioned his sparkling apple juice here and it is still a lovely product. But my new favourite is the Apple and Raspberry juice, an ideal summer-time drink. Thanks Con. Cheers.

On this trip:
Enjoyable lunch at historic Barron's Bakery