|Rory O'Connell, a regular at SeaFest|
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Thursday, January 4, 2018
SeaFest Rotation Gone by the Bord?
Millions Slip Through Cork Nets as Galway Gains
Ireland’s national maritime festival SeaFest attracted 101,113 visitors to Galway Harbour during the three day event in 2017, generating €6.3 million for the city.
The figures, details here, showed a phenomenal 68% growth in attendance in just one year. The 2016 SeaFest saw 60,000 visitors attend the festival in Galway, and in 2015, its inaugural year, it netted 10,000 visitors.
It has been confirmed that SeaFest 2018 will take place in Galway from 29th June to 1st July. It incorporates a series of marine-related business and research events, the annual Our Ocean Wealth Summit, as well as a maritime festival.
Run by the Marine Institute, with major partners BIM (Bord Iascaigh Mara) and Bord Bia, the initial Seafest was held in Ringaksiddy, County Cork, in 2015 when The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, was Simon Coveney TD. Report on the Cork event here.
There was much more than fish demos in Ringaskiddy with linked events around the harbour including Captain Your Own Ship in the Simulator of the National Maritime College, the base for the event. There were SeaFest Science Talks, the BIM Beaufort Scale Hurricane Experience, Marine Recreation and Tourism and much more.
It was a two day event and the impression given then was that this festival would “tour” Ireland annually and “plans are in hand to bring it to Galway in 2016”. So Cork is not the only loser as the Festival now seems set for a permanent stay in Galway. Fishing places such as Killybegs (Ireland’s largest fishing port), Dingle, Kilmore Quay, Howth, Greenore, Castletownbere, Burtonport, Dunmore East and Greencastle, and Cork of course, will be wondering and, one suspects, waiting.
Read all about SeaFest and its success in Galway here.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Potatoes in Sea-water!
The Gender of Crabs.All at SeaFest in Ringaskiddy!
|Good for soup. Gerard Collier and a Conger eel|
Chef and author Rory O’Connell urged his audience to cook their new potatoes in sea-water “for at least once in your life” while BIM’s Young Fishmonger of the Year Gerard Collier told us how to distinguish a female crab from a male, all that and so much more at the very interesting SeaFest at Ringaskiddy over the weekend. I called there Saturday morning and enjoyed the demos (missed Martin Shanahan as he was on in the afternoon) and visited the fish stalls along with quite a few of the other sea related exhibits.
Gerard Collier, a former trawlerman, of Fisherman's Catch, Clogherhead, Co. Louth, was first up on the splendidly outfitted demo unit in Ringaskiddy and took us through the handling of fish: how to open the various shellfish, how to clean, debone and fillet everything from Grey Mullet to Thornback Ray.
|This is one strong creature!|
“There are sixty six bones in a salmon,” he said “and getting them out is tedious!” If you come across a Conger Eel by the way, they are “great for soup”. He had a grey mullet to show as well and, referring to its diet, called it “the vegetarian fish”.
He worked his way through the oysters and prawns, a cod and pollock and more and then sent them down, one by one, so the audience could see them close up.
The crabs and lobsters were quite an attraction but he had a warning: “Be careful. Both are very strong!” And how to recognize Lady Crab. Simple - she has a pouch (to carry her young!).
|Dublin Bay Prawn, all ready for you!|
Ballymaloe's Rory O’Connell was next on-stage and he did two dishes. One was Roast Haddock with Roasted Pepper, Basil and Olive Salsa and the other was Pan-fried Hake with a Bretonne Sauce.
By the way, that Salsa is terrific and will keep for three weeks or more in the fridge. The Bretonne sauce “is easier to make” than Hollandaise.
|Cook it well with Rory O'Connell|
We all got recipe sheets and loads of tips as well. Rory, as you’ll know from his reputation as a teacher in Ballymaloe and from his TV shows, is a brilliant person to learn from. He has the cooking down to such a fine art (though he has to keep an eye on what’s happening on the pan as much as anyone else) that he always seems to have time to dispense great hints and tips.
- As he roasted some vine-ripened Heritage tomatoes, he urged us to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil all the time, “even frying or grilling”.
- Red and yellow peppers are best for roasting. Roast them until they collapse (then remove the seeds and skin).
- Use boiling water for new potatoes, cold water for old. And try potatoes in seawater, at least once in your life!
- Egg whites freeze perfectly.
- Chervil is great with fish and is surprisingly hardy. Fish love herbs.
There was much more than fish in Ringaskiddy and in linked events around the harbour including Captain Your Own Ship in the Simulator of the National Maritime College, the base for the event. There were SeaFest Science Talks, the BIM Beaufort Scale Hurricane Experience, Marine Recreation and Tourism and more and more.. This festival will “tour” Ireland annually and plans are in hand to bring it to Galway in 2016.
|Superb innovative products from IASC|
Monday, June 29, 2015
Irish Fish - Two Ways
Hederman and Goatsbridge
Enjoyed an Irish fish dinner at the weekend, starting with smoked mackerel from Hederman’s and then a main course of fresh trout from Goatsbridge in Kilkenny.
If you want to buy Irish, you have to keep your eyes open and read the labels. That, surprisingly enough, applies to fish as well, not that too many of them will have labels!
Take Sea-bass as an example, a species that is protected here. According to the fishmonger.ie website, we import wild Sea-bass from France and farmed version from Greece and Turkey. In all, in 2012, we imported (according to BIM figures) some €203 million worth of fish, a staggering 75,000 tonnes (mainly from Norway).
No problem buying Irish fish at your local market stalls but be careful in the supermarket, especially at the fresh fish counter. The Goatsbridge trout is not always sold under that name but the tag on the counter does say Irish farmed trout.
Cobh’s Frank Hederman is renowned for smoking fish. Not just mackerel but also salmon and do watch out as well for his mussels. If using mackerel in your main course, go for the whole fish but as a starter, the fillets (which come plain or coated with chives or chili) are fine. We used the chive one and bought it at the English Market. By the way, the salad and the baby beets both came from Derek’s Green Field Farm stall at the Mahon Point Farmers Market.
Over then to the local Dunne’s Stores for the trout and that was eventually served with seasonal vegetables and new potatoes. The potatoes and carrots were also bought at Mahon, from the Burns farm stall. And if you do call to Sandra and Joe, be sure and get some of their fabulous Vegetable Crisps.
The vegetables, for the trout, were done using Edward Hayden's Prepare-Ahead Vegetable method, detailed in his book Food to Love (pub. 2011). Basically, the veg are cooked separately, then cooled off, and kept in the fridge; take them out close to dinner-time and cook them all together, not forgetting to blanch and refresh! Got that book in the library the other day and it is proving very handy indeed.
Speaking of local, the raspberries for the delicious soufflé came from the back wall. Thankfully, the considerate blackbirds left just enough for us! Very satisfactory meal overall, especially suited to this time of year. Both the trout and mackerel are top notch products and I'd urge you to try them. Each is highly recommended.
Find out all about Frank Hederman and his smokehouse here.
All the details on Kilkenny's Goatsbridge Trout available here.
Both have online shopping.