Showing posts with label Kinsale Gin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kinsale Gin. Show all posts

Monday, November 27, 2017

At Benchspace. Making a Wine Valet. Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

At Benchspace Making a Wine Valet. 
Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks


It seems you can, after all, teach an old dog new tricks. 

Thanks to Martin Horgan and his colleagues at Benchspace, I learned something about woodworking in a couple of hours last Saturday. I also met The Dog (a tool for holding your piece) and the Shooting Board (used with the plane to help smooth and straighten edges).

But what is Benchspace? You may well be asking. 
Benchspace Cork provides space and equipment for independent craftsmen and hobbyists alike in woodworking. Cork and Ireland's first shared-access Woodwork Workshop is located in the Marina Commercial Park. They provide industry standard machinery, dedicated maker-spaces, communal workbenches and classes. And you can become a part of The Capital of Making.

It is a not-for-profit shared workshop and the aim is to provide affordable access to work benches and professional standard machinery to local furniture makers and designers, particularly to graduates and early career professionals. 

David Scannell, who invited me, and a few others, to the Saturday session, says they also actively encourage collaboration and co-working to stimulate creativity and innovation in the areas of craft and design, and aim to build links with other creative and manufacturing organisations to make this happen. It is also a place where the public, individually or in groups, are welcome to come and build their ideas.

“This is in line with our vision of Cork as a creative hub, where entrepreneurs, artists, designers, makers, creatives and techies, work together as part of a vibrant, productive and invigorating creative economy.”
Drilling

So what did we do? Well, after a welcome and a briefing, I choose my little piece of lumber and was guided into turning it into a drinks valet. Sponsors Kinsale Gin was the chosen bottle and there were two glasses as well to be accommodated in the valet.
Not bad! My finished valet.

Martin led us in practising our measuring and sawing skills. I even got to use an amazing, I thought so anyhow, Japanese saw. Most of the morning was spent in getting the length (mainly) and width correct. Martin then put them all in a large saw so that we were all more or less level. Time then for coffee, tea and cakes!
Hands on for Evin

After  a hectic six months of preparation, an online Fundit campaign and building, Benchspace Cork got up and running last month. The project received massive support from “our crowd funders, our night class makers, our volunteers and our full time makers”.
Marking

Have a project in mind that you’d like to build yourself? Then a Maker Session might just be the answer. Guided Maker sessions allow you to build your own woodwork project with the help and advice of an experienced furniture maker using the facilities of the Benchspace workshop. You supply your own materials and they will supply the tools, advice and coffee.

Tools
So back to Saturday and the second half of our session. More measuring now as we lined up our three holes, one for the bottle and one for each of the stems of the glasses. 

Precision was required here and not always supplied. I needed Martin’s help,again as we lined them up, along with the access for the stems. But, with Martin supplying a neat finish with the chisel, we got there. The drills came into play here and there was a smell of burning timber (ease back, and go again) as the holes were made. 
Now we were able to try out the valet and bingo it worked! But we weren’t finished yet. Martin applied a round finish (there were other choices) to my edges. David then used the sanding machine and I used a little piece of sandpaper to smooth any little rough edges before getting my hands on a rag and a little oil to bring up the final finish. 

Happy out! And even happier when we were each presented with a bottle of Kinsale Gin to take home! A big big thanks to the Benchspace team for their patience, skill and hospitality over the four hours in the workshop. I’m certain others will make even better use of the place and I'm glad to help get the work out and about.
An unnamed instrument, by Brian Leach.
Update: Now named as a Lap Harp
If you’d like an easy start then how about their Christmas Bites classes next Saturday and the following Saturday. Join them in the workshop for some hand planing, sawing and Christmas music. 

Benchspace Bites are a great chance to try your hand at woodwork with no experience necessary. The valuable skills learned during the class can be applied to almost any future woodwork project. Benchspace Bites are short introductory sessions where you can make your very own piece in a single class.

David: “We have two sessions 10am-1pm & 2pm-5pm on both the 2nd and 9th of December. For more info and tickets click here
Martin Horgan
This is a great festive way to learn some basic woodworking skills as well as make some decorations you can proudly hang on your Christmas tree. We’re kicking off Christmas early in the workshop. Join us and learn how to hand make beautiful Scandinavian Wood Shaving Christmas Decorations...and a few surprises.”


“We'll also be doing more Saturday morning classes next year, starting on the first week of January. Details will be up on our Facebook page soon.”

“We will also include a ‘maker clinic’ for new projects, where you can get advice on how best to approach your project, where to find materials, what equipment you might need to use and how long it might take.”

As part of Cork’s exciting new maker space, you will meet other makers, and share their knowledge and experience. There are opportunities for collaboration, inspiration, sharing of costs, networking and just staying in touch. 

Most importantly, membership fees support the Benchspace dream, to make Cork a capital of making, to support makers as they launch their careers. Membership fees (€50.00 for 12 months) are an important source of income for Benchspace Cork, which is a not-for-profit organisation.




Sunday, September 24, 2017

Oysters Galore on the Cork Gourmet Trail


Oysters Galore on the Cork Gourmet Trail
How many did you eat?


“I had nineteen oysters last night,” claimed a London visitor to the weekend’s Cork Oyster Festival. And that “last night” was just the official launch. I’m still wondering how many she managed during the Gourmet Trail on the following day. 

The trail visited five venues and some had up to three restaurants combining. There were so many opportunities to indulge in the delicious crustaceans she must surely have doubled the tally from the previous night!
Gin cocktail in a cup at Cask

And there were even more plates of the tasty oysters available at the after party as the various groups found their way back to the ballroom at the Metropole Hotel, the Festival’s headquarters. Oysters, more drinks and music. Well done to instigator/organiser Sandra Murphy and her crew.

Sandra was with our group on the trail and our be-hatted leaders were Kylie from the International Hotel and James from the Imperial. We were last to leave but our intrepid guides had us back good and early to join the after party.
Sushi at The Met

Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald had opened the festival on Friday night and the oyster event added to the terrific buzz around town as Culture Night drew the crowds. Guests at the launch were treated to oysters (included cooked versions) by Haven Shellfish and there was also some tempting sushi available with bubbles and wine and, of course, Murphy’s Stout from the sponsors.

On Saturday at noon, the ballroom was full but, after a Kinsale Gin and Tonic, we were divided into groups, met our leaders and headed off on the trail. More gin, part of a cocktail in a cup, at our first stop, the stunning Cask, just across the road. Lots of tasty bites here too and time also to begin to get to know our fellow trailers.
Cornstore were displaying their Himalayan salt (used to age their famous steaks).

Next stop was the Oyster Tavern, another lovely venue where I enjoyed an excellent meal recently. The oysters here were provided by the Electric Fish Bar, great spot to visit. The Oyster Tavern themselves came up with delicious sliders and bowls of chips. 

Amicus were also feeding us with Tom Durcan beef, including carpaccio and teriyaki versions, and more, though their seasonal desserts, Kitchen Garden Rhubarb Fool and the Foraged Blackberry Fool, were irresistible.

Down the stairs then and out into the lane for another group photo before winding up Patrick St and visiting the Bodega where Rachel’s and Cornstore were also lining up with their offerings. The Bodega sushi (one pickled vegetable, another was smoked salmon) went down a treat. 
Sandra rallies her troops as the rain arrives

Mike Ryan of the Cornstore - terrific dinner there recently - was the oyster “supplier” and he had a welcome variation called Angels on Horseback (the dish is typically prepared by rolling shucked oysters in bacon and baking them in an oven). 

That was excellent though I noticed quite few voicing a preference for the battered prawn version! Rachel’s had a couple (at least) of show stoppers, including a shot of Tomato Water and a shot glass packed full of lobster.

So back to the Imperial Hotel (for the second time in a  couple of days) and they had help from Jacques and Arthur Mayne’s.
Imperial desserts

Loved that Medjool Date from Jacques plus the superb desserts by the hotel itself. The savoury bites by Arthur Mayne’s (Avocado mousse with prawn, Caprese Bites, and the Chorizo and Chickpea Ragu) were outstanding.
Caprese minis by Olivo

One more stop and soon we were enjoying Margherita time at the newly opened Tequila Jacks. The drinks were eagerly awaited and easily downed. Food too, of course, hot stuff by our hosts and some cooler bits from Olivo, the Italian restaurant at the Cork Airport Hotel.
Margarita?

Tacos Mechados, Roasted Chicken taquitos and Shrimp Rellanos were among the Jacks offerings while the cool bites from Olivo included a lovely mini Caprese and also a Parma wrapped asparagus. 

More food anyone? No! A second round of Margaritas was coming to its conclusion and, suitably fortified,  it was time to brave the rain and the wind that had arrived midway though the trail and traipse back to the Metropole. 

And if you did wanted to increase you oyster headcount, there were trayfuls of opportunity to do. I did see the visiting London couple but didn't get a chance to check her final oyster tally! 

The Prosecco and wine flowed (enjoyed a Rioja blanco, well maybe two!), and then a final chat or two before saying goodbye and heading to the taxi. 
Tasty dips at Tequila Jacks

Once again, well done to Sandra and the crew and here’s to seeing you all and more in 2018!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Taste Cork Week. Plus! Jazz Extension Added

Taste Cork Week. Plus!

Jazz Extension Added
The perfect cider pour by Rupert of Longueville House

Following last year’s success, Taste Cork Week returns next month. Indeed, it will run for more than a week with an extension that takes it up to the eve of the Jazz Weekend.

At the launch last week, in Nano Nagle Place, the spanking new major attraction right in the heart of the city, Ernest Cantillon of Festival Cork told us to watch out for some of the more informal events: jazz cafes, a distillery visit in a barn, and pop ups in unusual places. 
Ernest Cantillon of Festival Cork

One or more of those pop ups will be in the café in the peaceful gardens of Nano Nagle. Keep an eye on the Taste Cork website here for more details of all events.
.
Victor O'Sullivan (left) of Bluebell
and Tim Mulcahy (Chicken Inn)
Evenings with guest chefs always seem to be popular. One of the highlights from last year was in Isaac’s when Arun Kapil, founder of award-winning spice company Green Saffron, Chef Patron Canice Sharkey along with restaurant co-owners Michael and Catherine Ryan, hosted an exclusive sold-out spice pop-up at the Cork city institution in McCurtain Street.

Holy Smoke are one of the first up this year with an invite “to embark on a unique gourmet journey and experience the best of Irish BBQ cuisine, prepared with the local meat that is cooked in Holy Smoke’s signature barbecue-style, low-n-slow, for four to sixteen hours”. 

Pitmasters John Relihan and Decky Walsh will serve up an exquisite six-course meal on October 17th and will walk you through the secrets and preparation techniques behind each dish while Caroline Hennessy will masterfully guide you through the pairing of each dish, presenting and explaining the corresponding whiskey or craft beer.

Justin Green, and Bertha’s Revenge of course, were at the launch. And Justin has an event lined up at Ballyvolane House. It will kick-off at 12 noon  (October 18th) with a B&T (Bertha & Tonic) and as soon as everyone has arrived, guests will be given a tour of the house, gardens and gin distillery. 

Lunch will be served at 1pm in the dining terrace where guests can meet and chat with the makers over lunch. Stonewell Cider and Eight Degrees Brewing will also be involved and tipples produced by all three makers will be served during lunch.

So there you are, a nice trip to the countryside. As Ernest Cantillon said in his address the event is designed to bring city and county together and indeed both were officially represented on the night.
Lorna Conroy of
Kinsale Bay.

Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald pointed to the fact that Cork has been designated as a Healthy City and put that down largely to the good food in the area. He stressed the importance of festivals in drawing visitors and said he was very proud of what Ernest and his colleagues are doing.

Ian Doyle, Deputy County Mayor, rightly congratulated the City Council on the marvellous work that they have done (and are continuing to do) at Nano Nagle Place, “a fantastic venue”. He noted that artisan food and drink are becoming very important and praised the great dedication shown by the producers.

Ernest said there is a great relationship between businesses, such as restaurants and hotels and suppliers. “Cork is well known for the quality of its produce and it is up to us to make sure we use it.”

Shane Clarke, of Nano Nagle Place, gave us a brief rundown of the life of Nano Nagle and of the current project and said there had been some 250 years of education on the site, an element they intend to take forward. And he too mentioned their lovely cafe and is looking forward to the pop-ups during the festival. The Nano Nagle has just recently opened and is well worth a visit. Details here

As is usual with Taste Cork, there were quite a few producers in Nano Nagle: Cider from Stonewell and Longueville, spirits from Bertha’s Revenge, Kinsale and St Patrick’s, Kinsale Bay and the Fish Deli (great to meet up again with Monica and Peter), Bluebell Falls, Hassett’s, On the Pigs Back, and Ballymaloe Relish. And the Old Butter Roads Food Trail had a lovely tasting plate. Well done to all for turning up and adding to the occasion.