Showing posts with label Burren Smokehouse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Burren Smokehouse. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Taste of the Week. Burren Smokehouse Hot Smoked Salmon

Taste of the Week.
Burren Smokehouse Hot Smoked Salmon

Visited Lisdoonvarna earlier this year and called to the Burren Smokehouse. Always do when I'm in the area. Among my purchases was this hot smoked Irish organic salmon, smoked over oak with honey, lemon and pepper, by Birgitta Curtin. By the way, all visitors have the chance to see a short video on how they produce their famous smoked salmon and you also get a tasting or two!

Got our Hot Smoked out of the fridge the other day and enjoyed it, our current Taste of the Week, with a simple garden salad. Superb.

The farmed salmon comes from the clear turbulent waters off the west coast of Ireland, from locations such as Clare Island (Westport). Here, "lean muscular fish are naturally high in Omega 3 & 6 oil".  The smokery adds "only the purest natural ingredients, sea salt, natural oak smoke, locally grown herbs, and wild seaweed foraged in West Clare".

Burren Smokehouse  
Lisdoonvarna
Co. Clare 
Tel: 065 7074432
Email: info@burrensmokehouse.ie

Also in Clare recently:
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Hazel Mountain Chocolate
The Burren Brewery
A Tour of Clare
St Tola Goats Cheese visit
Henry's Bistro & Wine Bar Ennis
Burren Gold Cheese
Red Cliff Lodge Restaurant Spanish Point
Oar Doolin
Noel's Restaurant at Bunratty Manor

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Coast of Clare


The Coast of Clare
Bridges of Ross near Loop Head

Before the crow came...
The coast of Clare provided the backbone for our journey in May, beginning on the Clare-Galway border, calling to the Flaggy Shore and the Fanore Beach, a quick trip inland to Lisdoonvarna, then the pier at Doolin, skirting the cliffs of Moher (we had been there a couple of weeks earlier), then a call to Ennistymon and its cascades, roadworks meant we didn’t get near Doonbeg; then we visited Loop Head Lighthouse (just about able to see in the fog) and we did call to the Bridge of the Rosses before continuing on via Carrigaholt and Kilrush to end up at Bunratty.

Lots of good food and good lodgings over the three nights and four days and more on that later. We left Cork early on day one and our first stop was about noon at the amazing Hazel Mountain bean to bar chocolate factory

In Ballyvaughan, I saw a crow walking behind a heron who was stalking prey in seaweed at the edge of water. Each move that the heron made was “copied” by the crow. The heron seemed to get fed up of the unwanted company and flew across a narrow stretch of water to the opposite shore. On the ground, the same scenario happened again. This time though the crow got even closer and the heron flapped his wings at his “shadow”. Still, the crow stayed close. Eventually, the heron took off on a longer flight out over the water and parallel with the shore. The crow followed suit but only for a brief spell before turning back and landing on terra firma. Perhaps he wasn’t too happy with the flight over the bigger expanse of water. I reckon the heron was happy to have seen off his tormentor.
Tea and Garden Rooms Ballyvaughan

We had provisionally noted Ballyvaughan for a lunch stop but were in no mood to eat anything after all that delicious chocolate! The Tea and Garden Rooms were closed for the day (May 1st) but the Monk seemed to be getting takers for its lobster offering (49.50) and its promise of a taste of Irish beers.
Monk's

At the Flaggy Shore, we had a view of Galway across the bay, not the clearest as the day was getting duller. Does anyone know how it got its name? I couldn’t see any reason to call it flaggy. After passing the Black Head we arrived at Fanore Beach. Here, there is no shortage of flat rocks. The dunes are of some importance though that doesn’t seem to hinder the congregation of caravans and mobile homes. Some fine walks around here also, starting in the beach car park. The River Caher, the only river in the Burren to run its entire course overground, enters the sea here.
Fanore

As we drove down the coast road (R477), we thought we’d make a visit to Lisdoonvarna to see the Curtins. Birgitta was not at Burren Salmon when we called. Here, all visitors have the chance to see a short video on how they produce their famous smoked salmon. We enjoyed that and the tasting that followed. Couldn’t make our minds up between hot and cold smoked so we bought both along with some trout and mackerel.
Mural in Burren Smokehouse

Since we were so close, we decided to walk up to the Roadside Tavern to see Peter and who did we meet on the way only Birgitta. Had a small tasting of their amazing no-hops beer and then a wee chat with Peter who was asking for Jack Lynch, his fellow micro-brewer from Mayfield (Cork). More on Peter’s beer here.  
Roadside Tavern

Back then towards the coast and our base for the night, the absolutely splendid and very highly recommended Sheedy’s B& B in Doolin. And also highly recommended, for dinner, is the Oar Restaurant (a short walk from the B&B).
Doonagore Castle, with the islands in the distance

The following morning, after a delicious multi-choice breakfast at Sheedy’s, we spent a short spell on the pier at Doolin, watching the ferries coming and going from the Aran Islands. Then a narrow road took us high into the hills, past Doonagore Castle, and eventually we had great views of the three Aran Islands. Soon we passed the Cliffs of Moher (again, we had been, as we had been in the Doolin cave, a couple of weeks earlier). See account of earlier trip here.
Poet Brian Merriman in Ennistymon

Time then for a bite to eat and we thought of the Little Fox in Ennistymon. Seating and tables are fairly basic here but the food is the luxury. Some lovely dishes on the menu including Campfire beans with garlic yogurt, basil oil, Inagh Free Range Sausages, with fried egg on Hugo’s Sourdough. Another dish to catch the eye was the Mohammad’s Flatbread, with roasted squash, crème fraiche, fried egg and garden greens. Alas, breakfast in Sheedy’s had been so good, we could only manage a cup of locally roasted coffee and a delicious lemon cake.
Cascades in Ennistymon

We almost forgot to check out the town’s famous cascades, just a very short walk from the main street. The water pours down a series of natural steps. Spectacular stuff in the middle of the town, well worth a detour. Speaking of detours, the next one took us well away from Doonbeg and the west coast, even down to Kilrush before heading back towards beautiful Kilkee. With the weather closing in, we headed for the Loop Head Lighthouse.
Loop Head

The rain stopped for a spell and then it got a bit brighter but the improvement didn’t last and it wasn’t at all good when we paid our fee (a fiver, I think), for the tour. We were told what we could have seen! Very tantalising, having climbed over 70 steps. But that’s nature! She doesn’t have to perform just because the tourists are in town. The weather had eased somewhat as we walked, on a hard path mostly, over by the Bridges of Ross, a spectacular coastal landscape, amazing rocks and at least one big arch.

Back then to village called Cross where we had booked into the Old School B&B. Here again we had a great host in Ian and also his wife Teresa (whom we had met earlier in her part-time role as lighthouse guide!). Headed up to Kilkee for the evening meal and the crab claws were the highlight of our meal in Naughton’s Bar in the town .
Carrigaholt

The following morning found us on the road east, close to the north bank of the mouth of the Shannon, the giant stacks of Aughinish Aluminium visible at almost every turn. Our first stop was to see the ruins of Carrigaholt Castle. A man was busy in the seaweed below, working hard shifting and shaking bunches of seaweed. He told me he was foraging for periwinkles and seemed to be quite successful on the sunny morning.

The sun stayed with us as we arrived in Kilrush to visit the Vandeleur Walled Garden (no charge). The Vandeleurs, planters in the 17th century, were well established here for hundreds of years but their reputation was severely damaged with mass evictions during the famine period. Now though, this is a peaceful colourful community place with that historical garden, a bistro, a garden centre and woodland trails. Well worth a visit.

After that, we headed up towards Ennis on our way to Bunratty where we spent the full afternoon enjoying the Castle and its Folk Park. . Our base for the night was the nearly Bunratty Manor. Here we enjoyed a superb dinner and a fine breakfast too before heading off home on the following morning. It was a terrific trip to Clare.
Naughton's Kilkee

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Superb Dining at Red Cliff Lodge in Spanish Point

Superb Dining at Red Cliff Lodge
 in Spanish Point
Beautifully presented starter: 
Chicken liver paté, with Hennessy brandy, hazelnut crumb, cherry gel and sea salt toasts
Christopher and Eimear King, newly returned from Spain, took over the Red Cliff Lodge early in the year and are doing a great job in this well located restaurant that overlooks the sea at Spanish Point in County Clare. An impressive location and also a very impressive, spacious and comfortable room.

I'm sure quite a few of you are familiar with Lanzarote. Perhaps you know the award winning Kristian's? It's in Puerto Del Carmen and our duo ran it for the five years before their recent return to Ireland and the Red Cliff.

The emphasis will be very much on local produce. Of course they don't have to go too far for fish and seafood in any case and suppliers include Cathal Sexton, Gerrighy's and Burren Smokehouse. "All meat and chicken on our menus are locally sourced by fourth generation master butcher Noel O'Connor and certified Irish."

Chef Christopher certainly knows how to handle this excellent produce and the dishes are superb. We had an excellent meal here as you see from the photographs. The only "bad" mark was a few undercooked potatoes with the Hake but the potatoes in the side dish were perfect! Very Highly Recommended if you're in the area.

Starters



I loved this Warm Thai Beef Salad, with caramelised cashew nuts,
 pickled vegetables, sweet chilli and curry sauce
Delicious breads and that beetroot hummus was superb

Mains


Perfect: Baked Silver Hake, potatoes, radish and shrimp


Another well-executed dish: Salmon with Asparagus, 
leek, bacon, sumac dust and lemon butter, well cooked and delicious
Desserts

You're in luck if this is on: Apple and blackberry crumble with Vanilla ice cream and creamy custard 


Meringue (strawberries and cream with mango and strawberry coulis)
The Venue
This is the ante-room,  a few tables here but main restaurant, in much the same style, is to the left.
Also in Clare recently:
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Hazel Mountain Chocolate
The Burren Brewery
A Tour of Clare
St Tola Goats Cheese visit
Burren Gold Cheese
Henry's Bistro & Wine Bar Ennis
Oar Doolin
Noel's Restaurant at Bunratty Manor
Naughton's Kilkee

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Taste of the Week. Burren Smokehouse Oak Smoked Organic Irish Salmon with Honey and Dill


Taste of the Week
Burren Smokehouse Oak Smoked Organic Irish Salmon with Honey and Dill

Our Taste of the Week comes from the Burren Smokehouse via the Simply Better section of Dunnes Stores. You’ll find it difficult to find the Burren Smokehouse on the label (back). I really don't know why supermarkets don’t sell local products with the producer’s proper name highlighted on the front. Would make shopping a lot easier.

But, in this case, it is well worth it. Birgitta Curtin is the smokehouse owner and her smoking technique plus the addition of the dill and honey makes for a gorgeous rich texture and flavour, a flavour that is both deep and long.

You need very little else. Indeed, it's probably best to follow the simple serving suggestion on the back label: separate the slices of salmon 20 minutes before serving to allow it reach room temperature and then simply serve, with lemon wedges, on some fresh brown bread (preferably homemade, as was the case here, thanks to the official blog chef!).

If you want something a bit more complex, then get your hands on the current edition of Simply Better with Neven Maguire; he has a tempting recipe there for Eggs Benedict using Birgitta’s salmon.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Head For Clare in 2018

When the snows vanish, it will be time to start thinking about heading to County Clare again...

Lough Derg

The Burren


Moher

Liscannor


The Burren

Where the Burren meets the sea

Cliffs of Moher

St Tola

Two pucks
 See more detailed County Clare posts here


Monday, September 15, 2014

Flight of the Bee Sensations

Flight to the Top for Bee Sensations
Irish Quality Food Awards 2014.

Great to be at the table with Bee Sensations last Friday evening when one of their lovely jams won at the Irish Quality Food Awards 2014. On the Pig’s Back and Burren Salmon were also among the victors on a night which is mainly for the supermarkets and the larger producers (such as Dale Farm Dairies, ABP Cahir, Kepak, and O’Brien Fine Foods who were all on the podium).

Munster based Bee Sensations are a husband and wife company, run by Tom and Croéin Ruttle. They are quite famous for their innovative (often blended) jams, which use honey instead of sugar, and of course for their honey. As it happened it was one of their jams, the Honeyed Fig, Rhubarb and Chilli Savoury Jam, that struck gold in the Grocery Ambient - Savoury class.

But there was a moment of unnecessary drama before the win was confirmed as apparently the wrong class was called out first. Still, the busy couple were soon able to relax as their name appeared on screen. It was about the only obvious hitch in a very slick presentation, introduced by Paul Kennedy and compered by celebrity chef Catherine Fulvio (“a farmer’s daughter”).

Birgitta Curtin is one of the heroes of Irish food and she keeps innovating and winning. Her success came  in the Fish section where her Burren Smoked Irish Organic Salmon with Seaweed Marinade came out on top. This came in for high praise from the judges: “really fantastic in terms of colour, texture and flavour”. Like Bee Sensations (and unlike most of the other producers), she didn't have a supermarket partner listed.
Olivia, of An Olivia Chocolate, and, sister Emily (left)
But Cobh’s Deirdre Hilliard and her company Just Food weren't as  fortunate in the Soups section. Her HiLo Super Greens Soup was behind a Lidl Ireland soup, Newgate Tomato Soup by Princes (the international food and drink company).

The cross-border event is labelled Irish Quality Food Awards not Quality Irish Food Awards. There is a difference as we all know from small print on food packaging! Honey is one often quoted example.

Cork’s Isabelle Sheridan of On the Pig's Back certainly enjoyed her trip to the Mansion House as she was named the Supervalu Small Producer of the Year.  Based on her French family recipes, Isabelle has been making chicken liver patés and terrines in Cork since 1995. Her Chicken Liver Paté with Garlic and Brandy is the product that led to this breakthrough and the organisers say they are sure “it will be a fantastic addition to Supervalu’s product line and look forward to working with On the Pig’s Back”. Well done Isabelle.

The awards are open to all retailers, food producers, wholesalers and food service operators “across Northern and Southern Ireland” (someone should tell the PR it is the Republic of Ireland!). Awards were presented in some fifty categories and the Overall Gold Q Award went to Simply Better French Trimmed Connemara Hill Rack of Lamb (Dunnes Stores/Tendermeats).
Yours truly with Isabelle Sheridan (On The Pig's Back)
See the full list of awards here.

Blas na hEireann update on Bee Sensations July 2015 here



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Brown Thomas Launch Food Emporium

Brown Thomas Food Emporium
Birgitta Curtin
Cork’s Brown Thomas  launched their Food Emporium with music, wine and, of course, food in the store last evening. And it turned out to be a very enjoyable occasion.

Cheese producers were there in force. Great to meet, however briefly, Padraig O’Farrell of CarrigalineCheese  but we’ll see him again next week on their open day. Also there were Cooleeney,  Durrus and Gubbeen, the latter with their cheese and impressive Cheese Oatcakes.

Arun Kapil
Got a glass of wine on the way in and was soon comparing it in various glasses under guidance from Martin Turner of Riedel, in town especially for the event. The proper glass sure makes a difference – you can take that from an ex-sceptic! And the experience was repeated later with a lovely Pinot Noir (innocent Bystander) from Ballymaloe Wines , who have been in the Emporium for the past few months.

Ballymaloe  indeed strongly supported the event last evening and there was a sweet finish with their pastry chef JR Ryall  providing us with some gorgeous chocolate truffles to match with the dessert wine.  
But before that we had some great tastings. The Castlemartyr Resort even had a menu of good things to try and there was no shortage of volunteers. Tom Durcan, delighted with his Gold at the Blas as the weekend, had his corned and spiced beef on show.

Met Burren Smokehouse's Birgitta Curtin again, after the Blas Awards in Dingle, and this time got to taste her glorious smoked salmon. There too was Arun from Green Saffron  dishing out a perfect Chicken Korma. By the way, look out for his new Spice Blends and those luxurious Cook-in Sauces, so easy, so good.
Gubbeen
It is a busy time too for Timoleague’s Anthony Creswell of Ummera Smokehouse. He smokes salmon, duck, bacon and chicken, all terrific and regulars on menus on top restaurants, now at the Emporium and also available online. And then we had Una’s Pies, a really top product as her regular awards at Blas Na hEireann underline. Una is also a regular at Mahon Point Farmers Market.
Ummera
And from the kingdom itself came Sam of Cloudberry Bakery who make artisan cakes and desserts - anything from colourful cake pops and cupcakes to show-stopping wedding cakes. Cloudberry was a  Blas winner in 2012. So pop into the Emporium and treat yourself.

Very good but better in Riedel
We were very well treated last night – even got my pic taken with Rachel Allen – and there was a bonus of a goodie bag on exit. Well done to the folks at Brown Thomas and best of luck for the Christmas season.
Sweet finish!