Showing posts with label Frank Hederman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frank Hederman. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Seaweed Bread Debuts in Midleton Farmers Market. Irresistible Salads also.

Seaweed Bread Debuts in Midleton Farmers Market

Irresistible Salads also.
New to Arbutus: Seaweed loaf (left) and San Fran sourdough
Arbutus Bread, pioneers in the real bread field, are on the move again. Called in to Midleton Farmers Market last Saturday morning and a delighted Dee was on hand to show me their new Seaweed Bread and I was delighted to taste this beauty.

Dee and Declan are rightly proud of this loaf but very keen too to acknowledge the contributions of Galway’s James Cunningham, who produced the seaweed ingredient, and also the help given by John and Sally McKenna.

Brilliant really, isn't it, how people in the real food area (also in the craft brewing sector) cooperate with one another, in the style of the old time meitheal. More and better products are the result and we (the customers) are all winners.  James Cunningham summed it up over the weekend:  “I love that someone can take my produce and give it a life in their produce. Pretty cool.”

Might be some tweaking to be done yet - the final loaf may be a little higher on profile but it is good. As Dee says this is “We will be doing it in a  Boule sourdough to start. A work in progress, first loaf today, so lots more trials to do.”
Salads galore
Dee says the salt content has been reduced to allow the seaweed flavour shine through. But don't worry, you won't be tasting seawater here or anything like it. Just an excellent well made bread. In any event, and I'm quoting the McKenna’s here, seaweed doesn't absorb a lot of salt - just sea minerals and vitamins.

Why seaweed bread? And what exactly is the “magic” ingredient? Dee explains: “Noribake, which we are using, is a natural organic Irish product which we have in abundance. The benefits are:
Natural immune stimulant & gut flora modulator;
Lowers GI index of baked goods;
Allows salt and sugar levels to be reduced in line with EU trends;  
Anti-staling effects of formula extends shelf life of baked goods;
Alginate content gives consumer the experience of being   ‘fuller for longer’.”

And Arbutus haven't stopped at that. They have also introduced a new sourdough, moving away from the French style that has served them, and us, so well, to a new more folded San Francisco version. So there you are. “Two healthy loaves for you,’ says Dee.

Jason Carrell’s Ginger Room Salads is a new attraction at this pioneering East Cork market and I had lots of recommendations to call to his stall. And he has an inviting display, a huge range of salads, all in colourful matching bowls (brought back from his travels in Fiji, I’m told).

Organic veg from Ballymaloe
Just had a quick chat as we made our purchases (Jason was very busy and sells out every day). But do note that his huge range of “tasty healthy funky style salads” are also available at Wilton (Tuesday) and Kinsale (Wednesday) as well as Midleton (Saturday).

Got to call to some of the long-standing stalls as well including pioneers Ballymaloe who had a fine display of, among other things, organic vegetables; Hederman's close by had no shortage of their quality smoked fish, got a lovely piece of pork from Noreen of Woodside, fish from O’Driscoll’s, a selection of mushrooms from Lucy of Ballyhoura Mushrooms and a bag of big juicy red apples from another stall. All the while the music played, the coffee flowed as did conversations and laughter. Will only get better on the Saturdays ahead!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Chatting My Way Around the Midleton Farmers Market

Chatting My Way Around the Midleton Farmers Market
Filling a few bags as well!
Immaculate King Oyster from Ballyhoura Mushrooms
Looks like quite a few of the traders from the Midleton Farmers Market are heading to the City Hall on Monday for the Cork Kerry Food Forum and Artisan Fair. The afternoon session, from 12.30pm on, is open to the public and you’ll have  a chance to sample and buy the products.

In the morning, there might well be a question or two about rulebook regulation hampering the development of small producers. That was certainly a topic in Midleton on Saturday. There is agreement that regulation is needed but so too is common sense.
Heaven's Cakes

The difference between shopping at a market and elsewhere was heavily and pleasantly underlined for me on Saturday. So many stops, so many chats, even a recipe from one producer. Bought one of Frank Hederman’s smoked mackerel (I know lots of you love the fillets but you must try the whole fish smoked on the bone) and Frank himself gave us a few tips on making the best use of it.

Cobh's Just Food started off at a corner of a stall in Midleton and it was great to see Deirdre Hilliard back in the market and supporting the stall-holders. She’ll be in the City Hall on Monday as will Jane Hegarty of Ardsallagh Goats. I was gossiping away to Jane as she handed out samples and one of them stopped me in full flow. It was a mature cheddar, four years old, delicious. She hasn't much left though and when its gone….

Deirdre’s nieces, Lilly and Roisin Higgins, were ”breakfasting” at the market but I don't think they got too much at all as their kids weren't inclined to leave any of the gorgeous pizza after them! Had a chat too with Lucy from Ballyhoura Mushrooms but forgot (too much gossip going on) to go back and buy some. Next time Lucy!

Mackerel, smoked on the bone.

Bumped into Colm and Aoife McCann from Ballymaloe and Peter Corr of Febvre Wine, and children. Colm is busy as usual lining up great wine events for Ballymaloe and has high hopes for the visit of the amazing Riedel Wine Glasses Show in November. That’s a long way off but there’ll be plenty of tastings and so on in between and we’ll let you know as soon as Colm has confirmed.

Also stopped to say hello to Noreen Conroy of Woodside Farm. They now have two stalls in the market, the second selling their delicious hot food.

We did manage to buy a few other bits and pieces, including (under instructions from Mr Hederman) some Ballycotton spuds from Willie, irresistible strawberries from Rose Cottage Farm  and, of course, bread from Arbutus. Another chat (French themed!) here of course with Declan and Deirdre before we retreated back to the city with one of their delicious Almond and Saffron Rings in the bag. Half of it is gone already and I don't think it will last the day!

Almond and Saffron by Arbutus

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mr Hederman smokes fish. The Touch of a Master

Frank Hederman. Master of Balance.
Mr Hederman smokes fish, which is a little like saying Steinway makes pianos. (Johnny Apple, New York Times).

There is a fine balance to smoking fish, according to Frank Hederman who has been doing it in Belvelly, Cobh, for over thirty years now. The balance between the original fish flavour, the salt (for the cure) and the smoke is achieved with some delicate handling and determined by the experienced touch of the smoker. Time, timing and touch.
The touch and timing improve with time. I remember a member of the 60s pop band, the Searchers, telling a guitarist friend of mine maybe 15 years back that they were now much better musicians than they had been when they were in the charts. I suggested to Frank that he was now a better smoker than he was 30 years ago.

He laughed and agreed and amid an aside or two, one about the above mentioned Mr Apple,  told me he was self-taught and even now learns something new everyday.  

This is a busy smokehouse. “There is something going on here in this smokehouse every day of the week”, he said. And no wonder, as they have customers at home and abroad to take care of. Frank is “the smoker of choice for some of the world’s finest chefs and has also smoked salmon for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”.

Wild fish, and Frank is looking forward to getting some wild salmon soon, have to be handled with even more delicacy than normal. Any fisherman supplying Frank will need to know and love his fish and not just the money he can make from it. Early in his career, Frank saw a fisherman roughly lobbing salmon up from the boat, well below the level of the pier, on to the rough ground. The fish don't go down well and the act didn't go down well with Frank who never bought from him again.

The original smoker. Use the boot (right) for an idea of scale.

Frank’s timber smokehouse, the oldest traditional smokehouse in Ireland, is where the sides of salmon are hung on tenterhooks and bathed in natural smoke “for as long as they need”. The smoke comes from beech “which has fewer tannins than other woods, giving the salmon a distinctive delicate character”.

Frank likes to see his salmon handled well, both before it comes to him and after it leaves him. “We recommend that you allow it to come to room temperature before you eat it. Slice finely by cutting straight down to the skin with a very sharp knife.” And whatever you do, do not use lemon. “No lemon!”.

Frank is well entitled to lay down the law here. His experience is immense, yet there is no complacency and even now nothing is left to chance. He is always on the alert. A change in the outside atmosphere can upset the delicate balance sought inside. Will it rain soon? Does that smoke smell too strong?

He recalls how he started, by rebuilding an old shed, not quite according to the textbook, not all parallels were parallel. And here it all started, in a small smoker made of brick, the fish laid in a Pyrex dish. He used barrels from Midleton Distillery (50 pence a barrel) for chips and fed them in by hand “for hours on end”. The timber was soaked in alcohol and every now and then there was an explosion and the Pyrex dish came flying out the opening until a simple slat was attached.

Cheese and tomatoes in the smoker.
It was rough and ready. “I was daft and mad”, he laughs. But he went on to build Ireland's first modular fish plant and the rest is history.

Hederman's also smoke silver eel, mackerel, haddock and mussels and in the kitchen “simple recipes are transformed with the finest smoked fish, and other local specialities, including Ballycotton Irish queens, smoked Glenstal country butter, stoneground pinhead oatmeal from Macroom, and Ballintubber Farm vegetables. We make everything by hand, within reason, and use only natural preservatives such as lemon juice.”

Thanks to Frank and Caroline, you may enjoy Smoked Salmon Crush & Smoked Mackerel Crush; Smoked Salmon and Mackerel Pate; Poached Salmon & Crab salad with Marie Rose; Mrs. Hederman Smoked Fish Cakes; Smoked Tomato Tapenade; and much more. Check it out here .

These products are only available in local markets. Hederman’s have three stalls, in Midleton, Cobh (run by Frank’s amazing 83 year old Dad) and of course in the English Market (where their space is soon to be revamped).
Smoked Mackerel on a Hederman stall in Midleton.
Frank says Mackerel is the most under-rated fish.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Super Saturday. Castlemary Farm. Midleton Farmers Market. The Food Emporium.

Super Saturday

Castlemary Farm. Midleton Farmers Market. The Food Emporium.

Olive and one of her goats.
This super Saturday started with a visit to Castlemary Farm. Great to meet up with the hard-working Olive Hallahan and her goats (who have a very comfortable life, especially Dan the Man!). Olive’s small shop on the farm opens every Saturday morning and today, for the first time, she had her Smoked Goats Cheddar on sale.

Frank Hederman did the smoking here so that cheese was top of our list but we also got a  few other bits and pieces including a Goat Cheese Fruit Yoghurt and a lovely brown loaf made with goat buttermilk! She also sells produce by the neighbours, including honey and eggs. The smoked cheese, by the way, tastes like a success, the smoking very finely judged indeed.
Olive meets another Billy

You may also buy Castlemary products at the regular Friday Country Market in Midleton and at the nearby shop recently opened by Helen Aherne. Olive tells me that Helen is a talented baker and her cakes also feature in the Midleton shop.

From Castlemary, I made my way to Midleton and to the regular Saturday morning Farmers Market. We were still reasonably early but O’Driscoll’s of Schull were rapidly running out of fish. Still we managed to get some fresh cod. Mushrooms from Irish Shiitake, Smoked Mackerel from the aforementioned Mr Hederman, and a lovely sweet Almond Brioche ring from Arbutus Bread were among the other products to find a way into the sturdy shopping bag. Lots of choices for lunch and later!
The sunshine was giving way to rain as I headed downtown in the afternoon to the Food Emporium at Brown Thomas. Lovely to meet Darina Allen who was signing copies of her most recent book, 30 Years at Ballymaloe (with over 100 new recipes), and to renew acquaintance also with Anthony Cresswell of Ummera Smoked Products who had samples of his brilliant produce for tasting.

Ballymaloe have a pop-up wine shop here and some of their wines were open for tasting with Peter Corr of Febvre Wines doing the honours and opening some terrific wines including a Vacheron Sancerre, a lovely pure white wine, mineral rich and zesty, produced by biodynamic farming.

That was good but the star of the show was undoubtedly the 2008 Raveneau Chablis. It was a rare pleasure to sample this Classic Chablis 1er Cru from Reveneau’s Butteaux vineyard.

The tastings here are of a very high standard indeed and that will continue next Friday evening at 6.00pm when Chris Forbes of Taylor's Port, one of the oldest of the founding Port houses, and Sarah Furno, of the magnificent Cashel Blue and Croizier Blue Cheeses, are the distinguished visitors. Should be a lovely evening.
Darina Allen, Ursula Bosman (Brown Thomas) and Yours Truly at the
Food Emporium.