Showing posts with label East Cork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label East Cork. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Walking in Knockadoon

Walking in Knockadoon
Looking west towards Ballycotton. The tower is one of Ireland’s Napoleonic-era signal towers. There is a restored
tower near the Old Head of Kinsale. Walked here again on Wednesday 18th Sep 2019.
To get to Knockadoon and this lovely walk:
If coming from the east, via Youghal, follow the main Cork road. Turn left when you see the Ballymacoda sign and then turn left in Ballymacoda itself. If coming from Cork city, turn right when you see the Ballymacoda sign. There is an alternative when coming from the city. Turn right at the lights in Castlemartyr and then turn left in Ladysbridge - there is a sign there for Ballymacoda. Enjoy this fabulous walk in East Cork.
Still looking west. Ballycotton is in the distant haze.

The islands and lighthouse of Ballycotton


Ballycotton

Looking east to Youghal, its lighthouse and the mouth of the Blackwater.

That old signal tower.

Bales of straw

The signal tower again

Bales of straw in the fields

Flowers have faded. Now it's all about survival. Get those seeds out there for 2020.

The sky here is often criss-crossed with jet trails. But Wednesday (18.09.2019) was so fine that the
vapour vanished quickly in the dry atmosphere; the trails didn't last long.

Nearing the end of the western part.


Sheep here (and below) graze above the cliffs


Capel Island, also below, is at the eastern side (where you start the walk)






Thursday, August 22, 2019

Bayview Lunch Brings Out The Sun!


Bayview Lunch Brings Out The Sun!

Red Mullet

Fancied some good fish last Friday so we headed off to Ballycotton’s marvellously situated Bayview Hotel, a hotel where head chef Ciaran Scully has an unrivalled reputation when its comes to fish. But, as we turned right at Shanagarry, we could see the fog straight ahead and it stayed with us, not quite blocking out the view of the pier as we parked but certainly most of the bay was out of sight.

But the mood and the weather improved as we tucked into our excellent lunch and, before the dessert, we were able to see right across the large bay to the Garryvoe Hotel, a “sister” of the Bayview. It turned out to be a lovely afternoon. Would have been a good one to take the cliff walk but, well, we were pretty full at that point so a stroll down to the shore was a much as we managed.
Terrine

There’s an amazing menu here, packed with a huge choice of good things, not all from the sea. We were thinking of trying Roscoff Onion & Rebel Red Broth topped with Sourdough Croutes & Melted Hegarty’s Cheddar, just one of the soups on offer.  A Salad of Macroom Mozzarella, Leamlara Farm Leaves, Heritage Tomatoes, Basil Pesto, Balsamic, Sourdough also caught the eye.

Grilled Inch House Black pudding with Beetroot Ketchup, Young Buck Blue Cheese, Onion Mousse featured prominently in our short-list of starters. But our pick - we shared it - was the Pig’s Head Brawn Terrine, Plum and Pedro Jiménez Puree, Bayview Piccalilli. This was perfect, the tasty meat flavours improved no end by that purée and even more so by the selection of pickled vegetables. These guys know how to pimp your terrine! 

There were Steak, Duck leg, Lambs Liver on the mains. But fish of course is the specialty here and the Fish Board of Smoked Mackerel Pate, Dublin Bay Prawns, Little Darling Pickled Herrings, Ballycotton Smoked Salmon Salad & Sourdough Baguette beckoned but will have to wait for another visit!

They always have a selection of simply pan-fried fish here, served with side salad and chunky chips (really chunky!), usually priced around the €22.00 euro mark. We know the plaice around here is always top class so that was CL’s pick while I went for the Red Mullet. 

The plaice was perfection itself, no batter to take from its delicious flavour. And I can honestly say the same about the more “meaty” mullet, a fish you don’t see that often on local menus. Hopefully that will change as it really is a beauty.

The choices continue at the end. There’s an Irish Farmhouse Cheese selection, Ice-cream variations, plus Sorbets. The Bayview uses lots of Irish produce and Tipperary Farm Boulaban is their ice-cream supplier. And we finished off with the Bayview Affogato: Boulaban Vanilla Ice Cream drowned In Freshly Made Double Espresso Black Barrel Syrup. Nice!


The four-star Bayview has a cliff-top nest in Ballycotton, overlooking both the pier and bay, a great place to dine and stay.

Ballycotton
Co. Cork
Ireland

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ballycotton's Pier 26. A Natural for Fish!

Ballycotton's Pier 26. A Natural for Fish!
These delicious Crab Claws came with Garlic Butter and Organic Leaves. I think I've have preferred it if the claws hadn't been released from the shell. But they had and I missed that little bit of a tussle! Better outcome though than last year in a West Cork dining room when they came entire and I was presented with a plastic hammer!

In Ballycotton's excellent Pier 26 restaurant, head chef Colin Hennessy can't write the menu (at least the fish part) until the boats come in at the pier below. Only then does he know what he has to work with and that is why you'll find most of the fish dishes on the Specials Board. There is a lovely bar alongside, even a handful of rooms, all now under the Pier 26 name.

We were there recently - be sure and book before you go - and enjoyed our meal from start to finish. Fish, of course dominated, at least until the desserts!



We started with a couple of aperitifs. I enjoyed my Kir as I looked out the large window in front of me towards the island and its lighthouse. If you are in the inner room, you'll miss that view. CL had her back to the water as she concentrated on her Pimm's (left).



Fresh Crab with pickled gooseberries and organic leaves. An unusual combination but another excellent starter.

Roast Fillet of Hake, summer greens and pickled fennel. Just perfect. By the way, you get some fabulous sides here as well including Buttered Mash, Skinny Fries,  Buttered Summer Greens, John Kennefick's British Queens, Truffle Aioli and Parmesan Fries...

John Dory is a favourite here. This winner is served with Purple Broccoli, Heritage tomatoes and the combination with that seafood bisque is hard to beat.


No fishy dessert, that I know of. This flower enhanced Pavlova with fresh strawberries, blackberries, poached apricots and Chantilly Cream (and a bit of rhubarb too) was a beauty while the Raspberry Soufflé with white chocolate ice cream (below) was just the ticket to finish off an excellent meal.

Next time I'm down, I may well try this Seafood Platter. What do you think?


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

Sunday, September 10, 2017

FEAST. On the Street. The Main Event

FEAST. On the Street

The Main Event
Family day out. Busy side-street.

From the outset of the rebranded FEAST, Saturday had been billed as The Main Event. And the crowds of people up and down Midleton’s Main Street and side streets and in the Farmer’s Market, demonstrated just that. And, once again, the weather played its part, the odd shower no deterrent at all to those strolling and snacking, and those eating a tad more seriously at the long outdoor table opposite the Restaurant Tent where some eleven restaurants were selling delicious small plates at a fiver each.
Ethiopian stall

But is wasn't just the restaurants. Lots of other food (Green Saffron were busy, as always) available as well under the mainly blue sky. Great too to see the local butchers, including Jim Crowley and Frank Murphy, on the street, bakers too and coffee makers. No shortage of sweet stuff as you made your way between the various hot-spots.
The Granary Crew

The Demo Marquee was a magnet as Bertha’s Revenge Gin, Patrick Ryan’s sourdough, and various chefs, including Ciaran Scully, Lilly Higgins, Kevin Aherne and Martin Shanahan kept the punters entertained. Down in the Distillery, you could enjoy a premium whiskey tasting and Carol Quinn’s talk on the  history of whiskey here for a tenner.

Opposite the restaurant area was where the long table was situated and just beyond there was a packed children's zone with music shows, puppet shows, and amusements. The siting of the table and the amusement space close together was great for parents and I saw more than a few taking turns at the table and then relieving the partner on child duty!

The regular Farmer’s Market was also buzzing. Maybe one day, all will be accommodated on Main Street but on Saturday the traders were doing well. Had a friendly word with the Lobsterman who I’d met in Rostellan the evening before. Baker Declan Ryan was, as ever, on duty at Arbutus stall while Noreen Conroy was as busy and as friendly as ever at Woodside Farm. Nearby, at the Courthouse, the friendly GIY folk were dishing out advice on what to grown, how to grow it and when.
Monkfish, chorizo, flatbread by Samphire (at Garryvoe Hotel)

New!
Back on Main Street, it was hard to make choices. Would have been a gargantuan feat to sample something from all eleven restaurants! And that would leave out all the others. Tough. I had heard on the Twitter that Farmgate’s Chowder was a thing of splendour but by then I had had my fill.

One of the highlights was the Monkfish and chorizo flatbread served by head chef Kevin at the Samphire (Garryvoe Hotel) stand. The crab beignet by Pier 26 went down well. Jack and his team at the Granary Cafe stand were busy and their massive baked Rooster (with Ballinrostig nettle and  cream cheese and Gubbeen chorizo) was quite a treat and I also got a few pastries here to bring home.
Garlic selection

Indeed, that bag for home filled rapidly. Included were the Mango, Peach and habanero chutney a new product from the Rebel Chilli lads, some garlic (including Avram, Lautrec, and Pink Marble) from West Cork Garlic, a bag of Honduran coffee beans from  Badger & Dodo and 30-day aged beef from Woodside. Happy out, as we headed west from F-EAST! Here’s to next year.
Busy butcher Jim Crowley
See other posts from FEAST 2017

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Al Fresco in F-EAST Cork Superb Sage Meal

Al Fresco in F-EAST Cork

Superb Sage Meal
A sharing plate of one of our four starters, Ballycotton Smoked Salmon
Kevin Aherne has some serious form when it comes to an outdoor feast. He has even one or two on board a small boat. Tuesday's outdoor event though was in the much more stable, much more comfortable courtyard at Sage, his Midleton restaurant famous for the #12 mile menu!

Of course, the food would be local and Kevin emphasised the importance of provenance as we sat down to eat at the Long Table. As soon as the starters arrived, the oysters, the salmon, the mackerel, the mussels, we were on a roll and total strangers began to chat and enjoy the occasion and the food. 

It reminded me, to a degree, of the supper that often followed a day's threshing back in the day. But we wouldn't have had wine in those days, mostly bottles of stout and other beers. And, of course, it would have been in an open barn or in the farmyard, not under a heated canopy.
The other starters: oyster, mackerel and mussels

No doubt the forty or so of us gathered for this event, the second of FEAST, the newly rebranded food festival in East Cork, were soon in good form, especially after a glass or two of the lovely organic Cava, the Alta Allela, from a family vineyard close to Barcelona. The La Source blend of Vermentino and Chardonnay, another organic wine, was a delight and it accompanied our starters and the Le Caveau import from the Languedoc was an excellent match indeed.

Kevin, Réidin and their team were now busy, working hard to assemble the food for the mains. But there wasn't a problem (not that we noticed!) and soon the large group were tucking into the local duck and beef with the various sauces and side dishes. An amazing display of just how good local produce is once in the proper hands. Again that velvety wine from Portugal was just the job.

Just like the starters, there were four items for dessert, all delicious. Perhaps the highlight though, certainly for those around me, was the Bó Rua mature cheddar from just out the road. Then again was it the Wilkies 64% chocolate delice served as the memorable feast came to a sweet and appropriate conclusion.

Still time to enjoy a visit to FEAST. This Thursday evening, Ballymaloe is the venue for a Seasonal Cocktail and Feast. Tomorrow, take a trip to Rostellan for chocolate, cheese, shellfish, wines, prosecco, teas and hot chocolate in a historic courtyard. Saturday is the main event with demos and stalls all over Midleton. Highlight may well be the restaurant tent with 11 local restaurants serving small dishes for a fiver (max.) and a long table outside. On Sunday, it will be wind-down time in Sage with a #12 mile BBQ in the Courtyard.

Last Tuesday’s FEAST Menu in Sage:

Local man Kevin.
On arrival: Cava Alta Alella, a Brut Nature (biodynamic)

To Start: Ballycotton hot oysters, breadcrumbs, aged cheddar.
Ballycotton smoked salmon.
Pickled and charred Ballycotton mackerel.
Ballycotton mussels and Jameson cream.


La Source, Pays D’Oc 2016 (Vermentino/Chardonnay.


To Savour: East Ferry roast Aylesbury duck, spiced plum sauce.
Beef sirloin (James Walsh, Buckstown), béarnaise.

Pickled beet salad (Joe Burns, Killeagh)
Cauliflower gratin (Joe Burns, Killeagh)
Last of new the new potatoes with gremolata (Staffords, Roche's Point).

Beyra, Douro 2015; Alfrocheiro/Jaen/Tempranillo/Touriga Nacional

To Finish:  Toasted mallow and lemon verbena posset, wild strawberries.
Wilkies 64% organic chocolate delice.
Soft Ardsallagh goats cheese, elderberries.
Bo Rua cheddar, Terry’s honey crackers.

Highbank Orchard organic proper dessert cider.

Posset
See other posts from FEAST 2017