Showing posts with label Ballymaloe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ballymaloe. Show all posts

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Lobster & Sushi at Granary a Highlight of Midleton Sunday Stroll

Lobster & Sushi at Granary a Highlight of Midleton Sunday Stroll. FEAST 2019
Lobster from the Lobster Man
Food was left, right and centre in Midleton last Sunday as FEAST 2019 reached its finalé. Restraint was called for as there so much on offer. The Lobster and Sushi offering at The Granary had been pinpointed earlier as a likely lunch plate and that was where we found ourselves in the early afternoon.

A big warm welcome and soon we were sitting at our outdoor table awaiting one plate with lobster, the other with sushi, and both also packed with a range of delicious salads. Oh, and not forgetting the glass of wine, all for twenty euro per person. The tables were communal and we like that on these occasions, even more so when on Sunday we were joined by two young gentleman and we went on to have a lovely chat before heading out to all those stalls on the sunny main street.
Okawari supplied the sushi.
Our first stop on Sunday morning was to the demo area where Ballymaloe pastry chef JR Ryall and Ali of Ali's Kitchen were baking a "Raspberry Beret". They had to match their cake to a song and they choose the Prince number. Lots of fun as they got this part of the show on the road and they would be followed by a series of top names in the Irish food community.

Local hotels and restaurants were represented in the many stalls on the main street
and here we see Patryck of Surf and Turf greeting customers.

This bad boy would get busier and busier.

The bees came too! No shortage of wasps either.

Children were very well catered for, especially in the farmers market area.
Here they are busily painting their own tea towels.

We got our dessert from the Bite Size stall, very nice too!
Also at Feast



Thursday, July 4, 2019

Summer’s Here. Lunch and Sculpture. Both Al Fresco at Ballymaloe


Summer’s Here. Lunch and Sculpture. 
Both Al Fresco at Ballymaloe
Al Fresco at Ballymaloe. "Contemplation" in copper by Helen Walsh

These are the days. Lunch al fresco at the Garden Café Truck by the Ballymaloe Cookery School. And another impressive sculpture exhibition on the lawn in front of Ballymaloe House. And new this summer is their own Ballymaloe Cider. Try it while you’re there.

Actually, let me start with the cider. You’ll find it in the bar at Ballymaloe House where Traford Murphy is the genial manager. It comes in a 500ml bottle and the ABV is 5.2%. It is made from apples from the Ballymaloe House orchards, also from trees across the farm and alongside the appropriately name Orchard Cottage. Varieties included Dabinett, Crimson Bramley, Santana, Topas, Delles Bell and Dellinquo, plus other old varieties.

It has an amber colour, fountains of little bubbles rising. Packed with intense flavour, pleasant and refreshing all the way to a lip-smacking finish. One of the drier craft ciders around and definitely one to try.
Trifecta

So suitably refreshed, let us pop out to the lawn. You’ll can’t miss the “congregation” of sculptures here but you’ll see too that the old golf course is now a meadow. Should be quite a feature in a year or two. 

The sculptures are curated by Richie Scott www.rssculpture.com and are generally not as large as they were in previous years. There are still some big ones though, most notably The Bear (this time with The Cub), both in stainless steel by Patrick O’Reilly. There are, as always some quirky ones. I liked the bronze Goat by Seamus Connolly and the marble Venus of Holles Street by Jason Ellis.
Diver

There are over forty pieces in all and Michael Quane is well represented and I enjoyed his Diver in Carrara marble. My favourite piece though (after two visits) is the Trifecta, featuring a trio of hounds in a race. Trifecta is a bet in which the person betting forecasts the first three finishers in a race in the correct order. Might be hearing less of that after the current controversy in the greyhound industry.

Never much of a gamble when you visit the Garden Café Truck by the Ballymaloe Cookery School. You are guaranteed a win here as the food is excellent, based on very local produce indeed. Of course, if you cannot make it over to the school, you’ll eat well too at the cafe behind the shop in Ballymaloe House.
Farm Salad

We did make it to the school and enjoyed our hour or so there. It is all pretty informal, your tables and chairs sheltered by a “tent”. Just check out the menu boards, make your choice, order and pay, and your food will be brought to your table.

If the day is hot, and we hope they will be for some time to come, then the Cold Cucumber Soup will go down well. Lots of other cool drinks on offer including Elderflower cordial, Homemade lemonade, or organic raw milk. Anyone fancy a Strawberry Popsicle?
Mocha Choca Yumma

Some beautiful salads and sandwiches on the board too. The menu is short, as you’d expect, and can vary from day to day. The Hot and Spicy Slow Roasted Lamb Taco, with chipotle mayo, hot sauerkraut, cooling avocado, and fiery rocket, is a favourite here over the past few years and I enjoyed that while CL was delighted with her Farm Salad.

The Cookery School is noted for its top quality on the bakery side and you are strongly advised to take advantage. I’d say any cake on the day (there are usually two) will be delicious but my favourite is perhaps the Mocha Choca Indulgent Cake, not that the Tahini Cake is far behind. Enjoy those with a cup of their excellent coffee.







Friday, August 17, 2018

In Praise of East Cork. Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!

In Praise of East Cork.
Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!
Town crier in Youghal
Friendly people, great food, attractions on land and sea, both natural and man-made, make East Cork a gem of a place to visit. From the fantastic 13th century St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal to high class Fota House Gardens and Arboretum, both free to enter, there is a treasure chest of places to visit in the area.
Fota Wildlife

Let me take you on a trip to see part of it. We’ll also enjoy some delicious meals as East Cork is a foodie’s paradise with top notch venues including Sage and Kevin Ahern’s 12 Mile Menu,  Barnabrow (ideal for weddings and a leisurely Sunday lunch), Midleton’s pioneering Farmers Market (every Saturday) and the food mecca of Ballymaloe.
Christy Ring

And, before or after Barnabrow and Ballymaloe, do take the opportunity to visit the  medieval town of Cloyne. It is one of the hidden gems of the area, its skyline dominated by the large medieval Round Tower and across the road is St. Colman's Cathedral built in 1270/80 and still in use. Famous Cloyne people include the 20th century hurler Christy Ring and the 18th century philosopher George Berkeley, both of whom are remembered here: Ring's statue is by the GAA field and Berkley's tomb is in the cathedral.

Barnabrow
Coming from the city on the main Cork-Waterford road, take the Cobh exit ramp and head for breakfast or lunch, right to Bramley Lodge, or left to The Bakestone Cafe at Ballyseedy.  Now, set up for the day, go over the nearby bridge to Fota Island and its many attractions.

If you have kids, go the Wildlife Park; if not, walk through the renowned Fota Arboretum and maybe add a tour of the Georgian House. If you like it around here, you may also try the high class  Fota Island Hotel and Golf Resort. Other top class hotels in the area include the Raddison Blu (Little Island) and the Castlemartyr Resort.
Garryvoe walk

Moving on, go over the Belvelly Bridge and you’ll soon come to Frank Hederman’s famous smokehouse. You are now on Great Island where the cathedral town of Cobh is situated. Much to do here including the Sirius Art Gallery, walking tours (including the Titanic Trail and Spike Island), harbourside bars and restaurants and of course the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells of forced deportations and also the tales of the ill fated liners, The Titanic and the Lusitania.
Mitchel Hall on Spike Island

If you have four or more hours to spare, be sure to take the ferry over to Spike Island. It is a fantastic tour, great guides, so many interesting things to see and do, much of it related to its historic military and prison life, but also superb walks and views out over the harbour. Very Highly Recommended.

Fota House and arboretum; walled gardens too

Cruise liners call here regularly during the season, with a carnival atmosphere in the town on the days they are in port. And here boats take you across to Spike and also on harbour tours. Maybe you’d just like to walk around the town; I did so recently, taking in the Holy Ground, the Titanic Garden and the Sonia O’Sullivan statue, and you may check it out here. Perhaps you'd prefer just to sit on the decking at The Titanic Bar & Grill and watch the boats go by.

Sonia

Whiskey Sour in Jameson
Time now to head out of the islands and head east to Midleton and a tour of the Jameson Experience. If you give the right answers here, you’ll end up with a certificate of proficiency in whiskey! No shortage of cafes and restaurants here (indeed there's one in the distillery). Plenty more outside, including Ferrit & Lee and the family friendly Granary now celebrating twenty two years in business.
Cork Harbour

Dessert at Radisson Blu, Little Island
There will be detours, of course. One that I like is off the Whitegate road, out of Midleton. Look out for the signs for East Ferry and enjoy a walk by the estuary and maybe reward yourself with a well cooked meal at Murph’s, a restaurant with a lovely view.

Another suggested detour - you may need a driver here - is to head towards Ballyvolane House near Castlelyons. Lots to do here, including fishing and glamping, and it is also the home of Bertha's Revenge Gin!

And if you're in this area at the weekend, be sure and call to the 200 year old O'Mahony's Pub in Watergrasshill. Superb local food and drink, music also, extensive sheltered outdoor areas and ways and means to keep the kids happy.
Dinner at Sage


Next stop is Ballymaloe, the home of modern Irish food. You could spend a day here. Maybe an overnight stay to sample the world renowned cooking. Call to the cafe for a mid afternoon or mid morning  coffee. Be sure to take a look at the impressive Cookery School gardens, not forgetting the Shell House and their truck cafe during the summer. And don’t forget Golden Bean coffee roaster Marc Kingston is also based here.
Krug tasting in a Ballymaloe cornfield

In the nearby seaside village of Ballycotton, take a stroll down to the pier and see the fishermen come and go, maybe take a boat trip to the lighthouse on the nearby island. If you feel you need to stretch the legs, then there is a spectacular walk  along the cliff tops. After all that exercise, treat yourself to a gorgeous meal at Pier 26.
View from the Bayview Terrace


If you need to overnight, then the Garryvoe Hotel and its top notch Samphire Restaurant, with great views over the bay, is close at hand. And across the bay, there's its sister hotel, The Bayview; great views here. Closed in winter but, when open, check out the superb cooking of chef Ciaran Scully, an example here.
Ballycotton cliff walk

Youghal is the final town, on the Blackwater and just shy of the border with Waterford. On the way, you could stretch the legs in Killeagh’s Glenbower Woods one of many attractive walks in the East Cork area. In Youghal, take a boat trip on the Blackwater. If you want a mid-day salad or sandwich in the town, then the Sage Cafe will take good care of you. Just alongside is the newly refurbished Clock Gate Tower, a must visit!


After all the activity, you deserve to rest up for the night. Enjoy a meal in the Old Imperial Hotel on Youghal's main street, maybe just a drink in its old Coachhouse bar, maybe both! Aherne’s, of course, is famous for its seafood and they too have rooms.
Samphire at Garryvoe Hotel



And do try and get your hands on the local craft beers, including Ireland's first organic Red Ale, made by the dedicated team in the town’s Munster Brewery; they also do tours. Amazing apple and pear drinks, including their unique Ice Wine, coming from Killahora Orchard (near Glounthaune).

And before leaving the area, don’t forget to visit Ballynatray House, a Blackwater gem.
Dinner at Brook Inn

If, at the end of a day's touring, you find yourself heading back towards the city, then do consider the Brook Inn near Glanmire for dinner. It is a lively buzzy place and the food is good there too.

Enjoy East Cork, the food, the place and its people!

Ballynatray House, by the Blackwater

(revised 17.08.18)
If you have a cafe, restaurant, visitor attraction, not listed here, please let me know and I will do my best to visit with a view to inclusion in next revision. You may also use the comment facility below.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Long, Lazy Sunday at Ballymaloe

Garden to Plate at Ballymaloe.
Superb Craft Fair Too.


There were gasp when Ballymaloe House gardener Mags Coughlan told us she grows 4,500 leeks here each year. Soon we would see some of them on our plates as we enjoyed lunch in the house. The garden tour, a mead tasting, a long leisurely lunch and a visit to the ever increasing craft fair in the Grainstore and Big Shed, were all part of a lovely day that brought the curtain down on the Munster Wine and Dine activities for 2017. A good day. A good year.
Here's where we get our hazelnuts

Hazel Allen introduced the fifty or so of us to Mags who told us the aim here in the walled garden and surrounding area is to grow “seasonal and unusual”. Even with Mags working flat out, there is no way the garden could fully supply the house, so Ballymaloe gets much of its regular plant and vegetables supplies from local growers, a traditional relationship maintained.


That leaves the gardener, in consultation with the chefs of course, to concentrate on something different, a crop of sea-kale for example, followed in turn by asparagus and artichoke. And then there are also edible flowers and flowers for decoration. One of the specialities of the walled garden, taking advantage of a south-facing wall, are peaches. Lots of herbs here too, of course.

All is grown from seed so that means glasshouses and we walked through there admiring the lines of harvested pumpkins (also on the day’s menu). We were then shown the relatively new cider apple orchard; varieties here include Dabinett and Bramley. Here too we saw the hazel bushes which provide quite a harvest and have a bit of growing to do yet!

All had been quite in the fields where the pigs are kept until the arrival of our group. Then little groups of the younger pigs came rushing out to greet the visitors. They may not have been so eager had they known that the same people would be eating their older siblings later on.

Back then to the conservatory room in the house for an aperitif, thanks to Kate Dempsey of the Kinsale Mead Co. We sampled her Atlantic Dry Mead and also Wild Red Mead  – and then she made some delicious cocktails using her mead (and also the new Beara Gin). Quite a few were very impressed by the mead. Both meads are honey based and are rapidly becoming widely available in Supervalu’s and speciality shops such as URRU in Bandon and Bradley’s in the city's North Main Street.

Kate and her meads
Time now for lunch, the main event. A good start is half the battle. And so it was here with a delicious warming bowl of Garden Pumpkin Soup with Chilli and Parsley Oil. More simple food followed, simply delicious Ballycotton Crab Paté with cucumber and dill salad.

We had a choice for the main course. CL chose the Poached Ballycotton Monkfish with Chive Butter Sauce served with Leeks and Romanesco while mine was the Roast Ballymaloe Farm Pork with red cabbage and Bramley Apple Sauce. Each, with Pommes Duchesse and Glazed Carrots on the side, was superb.

The temptation levels then soared with the arrival of the famous Ballymaloe Dessert trolley. We were like the little piggies! Pavlova, poached pears, chocolate cake (and sauce), and so much more, all washed down with little sips of sweet Jurançon. Pratsch Gruner Veltliner and Solstice Rhone Valley were the earlier wines.

After the tea or coffee, or a garden infusion, there was a quick review of 2017, a raffle for foodie prizes and an announcement that Munster Wine and Dine had decided to donate €300.00 to Penny Dinners.
Crab

Some of us then took a walk around the annual craft fair. The opening day, Saturday, had been busy but one stall holder told me Sunday, the day of our visit, was even busier and she was looking to getting her feet up for the night! There were some gorgeous crafts here but, looking for a particular item with certain restrictions as to material, size and colour, proved mission impossible for me! The search begins again next week at the big Craft Fair in the City Hall and the smaller one at Franciscan Well Brew Pub.
Sweet stuff



Darkness had now settled on this amazing East Cork farm and our bus had arrived. A very satisfied group headed back to the city, bang on schedule. Here’s to another great Munster Wine and Dine season in 2018. Happy Christmas everyone from Eithne, Richie, Colm, Beverly, Michael, Stuart, and yours truly.
Craft Fair