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Tuesday, April 3, 2018
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
When the snows vanish, it will be time to start thinking about heading to County Clare again...
See more detailed County Clare posts here
|Where the Burren meets the sea|
|Cliffs of Moher|
Monday, September 15, 2014
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.
|Yours truly with Isabelle Sheridan (On The Pig's Back)|
Blas na hEireann update on Bee Sensations July 2015 here
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Brown Thomas Food Emporium
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.
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.
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.
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.