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Monday, February 23, 2015
Piedmontese Steak Highlight of Tipp Top Meal
Why not putt into the Fairways sometime?
Often had samples of the Irish Piedmontese beef at food fairs and festivals and it was great to be able to order a sirloin steak, all for myself, at the Fairways Bar and Orchard Restaurant in Kilruane (near Nenagh) recently.
And, glad to say, it was excellent, tender and full of flavour, quite a treat, served with a mini-saucepan of serious garlic butter and an excellent selection of vegetables. The meat and the veg were cooked to perfection.
The Fairways - it is near a golf club - is famous for its fish and usually has quite a selection. CL went for her favourite Hake and she too hit the jackpot. Nice selection of accompaniments on the plate too and the red-currants were a surprisingly outstanding contributor. Again, the fish was properly cooked and presentation all round wasn't bad either.
The menu features lots of local produce and, after an unexpected and well received amuse bouche, we enjoyed our starters (each €7.50). CL plumped for the Bluebell Falls Honey & Thyme Goat’s Cheese With Cumin, Baked in Kataifi Pastry, Coriander, Mango & Chilli Salsa. Quite a plateful and a very good one, excellent flavours and nicely presented.
Must admit mine looked like a full Irish when it arrived: Tournafulla (West Limerick) Black Pudding, Soft Poached Egg, Garnished With Rocket & Bacon Flakes, Gooseberry Sorbet. The pudding was excellent, the flakes a nice touch. A terrific starter and indeed, both plates went back without a speck of food.
No room for desserts though after the excellent courses. The pub/restaurant, a few miles east of Nenagh on the Cloughjordan road, is spacious (over 50 covers) and has lots of memorabilia, some of it golf related but there is much more, including an old postman's bike mounted on a small mezzanine to the side of the bar. Quite a nice place. You’ll get a lovely warm welcome here and excellent grub. Recommended if you find yourself in North Tipperary. Well worth a call or even a detour!
The Fairways Bar and Orchard Restaurant
Monday, February 16, 2015
Cloughjordan Cookery School
Layers of Knowledge
Puff Pastry is widely available and everyone, including top chefs, goes out and buys it. Why teach the art of making it? Why make it at all?
The answer is understanding. The extra knowledge will enhance your pastry skills. It’s a bit like photography. Why bother to learn about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, when a digital automatic will do it all (well, 90 per cent) for you? Again the answer is knowledge and gaining the understanding to do that awkward 10 per cent!
Knowledge and understanding. And that’s what the Cloughjordan Cookery School and Colleen teach. The knowledge is here and they pass it on in a gorgeous 400 year old farmhouse in North Tipperary (Nenagh to the west, Roscrea to the east) and very near to the Offaly border with Birr fairly close, right in the middle of Ireland. Your hosts are Sarah (founder of the cookery school and still paying a leading role there) and husband Peter Baker.
|Top: croissants, before and after.|
Middle: blind baking and Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart.
Bottom: lots of butter and Colleen with yours truly
And if you are there for a course, or B & B, or a wedding, the food will be local. And will also be very good, if our breakfast is anything to go by. They grow lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in their walled garden, and what the garden doesn't provide, they source from artisan producers, the local butcher and local farmers.
During a small break and after sampling the delicious croissants, the course participants went out to the nearby muddy paddock to see four newly arrival bonhams (piglets). Immediately, the curious crew arrived, the quartet dashed off to the far end and hid behind a row of trees. They had every right to be suspicious. Must have heard the oohs and ahs as we tucked into the tasty sausages a few hours earlier.
The course was entitled “Sweet Things” and the sub headings were Puff Pastry, Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, Choux Pastry, Croissants, and Italian Biscuits. Colleen took us through the lessons and handed out a few general tips as well. Knife handling skills were illustrated with the hint “fold your fingers back while chopping, that way you won’t lose a finger-tip!” and she recommended using Doves Farm Yeast which is widely available; check here .
|Top: the Cookery School.|
Bottom: Colleen, big welcome (yes, tail is wagging) and shy little piggies.
There was an immediate practical result from our Puff Pastry efforts as we each ended up with at least two tarts, one topped with caramelized red onions (from the garden) and goats cheese or Brie, the other with leeks and mushroom mixed with crème fraîche and cream. And this was our tasty lunch! Our chocolate tart was also ready at this point but in most cases we had been well satisfied by the savoury tarts and the chocolate came home with us along with a Glenisk Goody Bag!
Courses generally start about 10.00am and finish around two o’clock. And, like us, quite a few of the participants stayed at the house on the previous night. And from what I gathered, we all slept well in comfortable beds and bedrooms. We had a meal at the nearby Fairway Bar and Orchards Restaurant (in Kilruane) before coming back to the sitting room where, in front of a warm stove, I sipped a lovely glass of Bordeaux before enjoying meeting and chatting with other guests as they came in from various parts of the country.
It is a friendly place and that starts with the Baker family themselves. If you are traveling in the area, do keep it in mind for B&B which they offer from April to October. Looks like a very enjoyable experience indeed. For more info on Cloughjordan weddings, B&B, and cookery courses, see the excellent website where the videos will give you a hint of the warm welcome that awaits.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Message From Glenisk and Cloughjordan House Cookery School
Wanted: Ireland’s best student chef!
Wanted: Ireland’s best student chef!
The Closing Date Draws Closer for Glenisk & Cloughjordan House National ‘Chef Star’ Competition
Glenisk, Ireland’s award winning organic dairy, is encouraging budding chefs to get busy and get culinary creations in over the next few weeks before the closing date at the end of March to be in with a chance to win the title of Ireland’s best student chef, and a brand new Ipad!
The competition was launched by Sarah Baker of Cloughjordan House to home economics teachers at the national ATHE conference in Athlone, Co. Westmeath and is designed to get the proverbial creative juices flowing, and encourage students to become more confident in the kitchen. ..before they leave the nest!
Students interested in submitting their own recipe have until 31st March 2014, and can simply visit the GleniskFacebook Page https://www.facebook.com/
GleniskOrganic where they will be prompted to upload their recipe using a Glenisk product, along with an image of the culinary creation and a few lines on why they should win ‘Chef Star’.
The successful candidate will win an Apple IPad, enabling them to create and document many more delicious recipes to come, as well as winning a €500 voucher for their respective school to spend on equipment for the Home Economics room.
Cloughjordan is home to Sarah Baker’s award winning cookery school, and offers a range of exciting and inspiring courses for Transition Year and HE students. These dynamic courses offer students the chance to learn valuable cooking skills and develop a deeper understanding of where our food comes from.
Further information on all Glenisk products is available at www.glenisk.com or you can become a fan of the www.facebook.com/
GleniskOrganic page to be in with a chance to win prizes and keep up with the organic conversation, or follow @Glenisk daily updates.