Showing posts with label Sally Barnes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sally Barnes. Show all posts

Sunday, August 2, 2020

A Bank Holiday Taste of the Week Special from Baltimore. Stunning "Combination" between Sally Barnes and Ahmet Dede

Taste of the Week
A Bank Holiday Special from Baltimore
A Stunning "Combination" between Sally Barnes and Ahmet Dede

A couple of weeks back, after a lovely lunch in Baltimore's Custom House where renowned chef Ahmet Dede now works, we stopped at their deli and bought a few things. Two dips ended up in our bag. One was the house pepper and garlic, the other was Sally Barnes' Smoked Fish.

"All you need now for a lovely meal is sourdough." We noted the instructions and a few days later put the three together in the sunny back-garden. And the day after as well...

An amazing Taste of the Week, quite a special one.

If you're anywhere near Baltimore, be sure and call to the deli in the Customs House, just a few yards from the village centre, and buy for yourself. You won't be sorry!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Dede brings a refined and exotic touch to amazing West Cork produce in his new Baltimore venue.

Dede brings a refined and exotic touch to amazing
 West Cork produce in his new Baltimore venue.
Beetroot, and peach

Often it is the simple things that make the meal. Local beetroot, his own bread, even the ice-cream, all stood out during a delicious lunch at Baltimore’s Customs House where top Chef Ahmet Dede may be found these days, just a few steps from The Mews where he helped win a Michelin star in 2018.
Baltimore sunshine

It is all much simpler here in the sunny courtyard with a scattering of rustic tables, a barbecue set up on one side, a young and friendly staff, the menu on a blackboard, the renowned chef himself in and out helping and with time for a chat as was partner Maria. The food for lunch is simple, and simply superb. The sky is blue, the sun high above. On a midday like today, the indoor rooms are redundant.
Chicken mains

Could this get any better? Believe or not, it did. In a gesture that underlines the admiration that Dede has for the people here and they for him, we (all the customers) were invited to taste one of the wines that the management had been trying out in the shade with Fionnuala of Wines Direct. 
Love that Pet' Nat!

Maria, Ahmet’s business partner, told me they do that here and that they want good wines that their customers can afford, particularly by the glass. Our sample was that bit different, a delicious, light and easy-drinking Pet’ Nat, not from France but from Greece! What a lovely bonus. A friendly touch in a friendly and cool place.

They are offering a set menu of three courses on a Thursday, Friday and a Saturday evening at a set price of €50 per person.  The ingredients are sourced locally from the finest, eco friendly and passionate growers, producers, farmers, cheesemongers, foragers, fishmongers and butchers. The menu will constantly change according to the seasons and availability of ingredients, and may change again when hopefully the Covid time-limit is lifted!
We read our simple lunch menu from the blackboard (brought to our table). We both thought it was a bit warm for the Spiced Lentil Soup with sourdough (6.00) so gave it a skip. 
Mega dessert!
There were three salad options on the mains and CL went for the Beetroot, Feta and Peach offering (4 to 6 euro depending on size). The beetroot is at its best right now and Ahmet enhanced that fresh flavour even further with a few slices of peach and also some thin apple slices that were disguised by the red juice but also played a part on the palate. Very enjoyable dish indeed was the verdict! My Blog Chef though would have a little more peach, a little more feta, and a little less beet.
I felt like something more substantial, so picked the quarter rotisserie chicken with bulgar wheat, salad, potatoes and sourdough bread (17.50). Ahmet himself delivered our mains and told me I was having rice instead of the bulgar. He also said they were getting on well here and were very busy overall. So I busied myself with this superb dish, fantastic flavours and textures, reminding me a bit of the (obviously) memorable Farmyard Chicken lunch I had at Café Lavinal in Pauillac a few years ago.
Having skipped the starter, we were up for the dessert: brown butter ice-cream with honey sauce. We weren’t quite prepared for the size of it though, about as big as a wheel of Gubbeen. A very generous round indeed and the sauce was delicious as well. It may have been big but it was finished!
From the deli
We paid up (40 euro including tip) and then took a look at his deli. That has loads of tempting produce, including his salads, his magnificent sourdough, lots of pastries too. Much of the produce is local, including Gloun Cross butter for instance. 
We got a few things here and a bit of advice from Maria. With a Smoked Fish Dip from Sally Barnes and their own Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Dip in the bag, we were told all we needed for a super lunch with the dips was some sourdough. Going down to get that together as soon as I finish up here!
Baltimore was looking splendid when we arrived (and when we left). So we had a good look around, mainly at the boats coming and going from the islands. The little square above the harbour was quite busy too with customers dining in the sun.
But we couldn’t linger any longer and soon we were heading for Skibbereen, Drimoleague and Dunmanway on the way home via the R585. I’d normally prefer the R584 but, with so many interesting stops on that one, we’d have had to make an overnight somewhere, like Gougane. Next time.

Also on this trip:
Mizen Head Visit
Overnight and Dinner at Celtic Ross

Baltimore in the sun

Monday, March 9, 2020

Outstanding Dinner in Celtic Ross Kingfisher Restaurant

Outstanding Dinner in Celtic Ross Kingfisher Restaurant
Dome of delight. Irish Coffee Mousse.

There are some very accomplished chefs working in hotels and quite a few of them, Kevin O'Sullivan at the Garryvoe, Gemma Murphy at The Maryborough, Ciaran Scully at The Bayview and Stuart Bowes at Barnabrow are local examples that spring to mind, seem to fall under the radar, especially by comparison with their counterparts in standalone restaurants. I am thinking of this the other night in the Kingfisher Restaurant an the Celtic Ross where Executive Head Chef Alex Petit and Head Chef Shane Deane are offering their amazing West Cork Spring Menu.

It is short and tight, packed with local produce, and executed with top notch skill. The result is a meal that you’d be lucky to find in well-known standalone restaurants around the country. And not just one meal. Because, while the menu is short, there are enough combinations to enticingly engage you and your palate over multiple visits!


There are two evening menus in the hotel, one for the restaurant, one for the bar. We were heading for the restaurant and so picked from the West Cork Spring Menu 2020, which offers two courses for €31.00, three for €36.00.

Water, breads and the menu are quickly on the table and are soon followed by a pork based Amuse Bouche. They have a well balanced wine list but we hold off until we’ve chosen the food and we do that reasonably quickly. CL picks a red wine, a velvety soft and flavoursome Ciu Ciu Bacchus, Montepulciano, from the Marche in Italy. I’m on fish with different sauces for the night so take a punt on the rich Little Rascal Chardonnay from Victoria in Australia, a little cold at the start but soon warms up and blossoms into a little beauty as they might say down under.

This menu is available from Thursday to Saturday evenings and has four choices for each course. My starter is a good as anything I’ve eaten anywhere on the island in recent years. Poached monkfish in saffron with Beluga lentil caviar, fermented lemon aioli, charred Waterfall Farms broccoli, and radish. An amazing combination, pleasing to the eye, the palate and further down!

And CL feels much the same about her Sally’s smoked haddock Scotch egg - I reckon you’ll know Sally the smoker! It comes in a leek soup, curry oil, pickled golden raisins, and crispy leeks. Another imaginative combination! Other starters on the menu were Skeaghanore Goose Liver Parfait and The Waterfall Farm Carrot Dip.

We’re on a roll now. And the high standard continues. My mains pick is Pan Roasted Cod (bouillabaisse, local wild garlic gnocchi, cavolo nero, saffron rouille). All the elements are spot on, each playing a part. Put them all together and you have a symphony of flavour sensations in the dish and it also looks well. Probably dish of the year so far!

Our other main course was Confit Drimoleague Lamb shoulder with puffed barley, carrot purée, charred pointed cabbage, reduced braising jus. The kitchen is playing a blinder here, scoring every time with delicious well-presented dishes. Other mains courses are Salt Baked Celeriac and Duo of Rosscarbery Sirloin of Beef and Featherblade.

Warm Orange marmalade pudding 
Time now for the boys to step back and allow Pastry Chef Alicja Samulik take the spotlight. Her new Irish Coffee Mousse is amazing, the perfect amalgam of white chocolate and Irish coffee, dark chocolate and hazelnut biscuit, honey and oat tuille and so much more.

We share that gem and also the equally delicious, if in a  different way, Warm Orange Marmalade Pudding with five spice créme Anglaise and rhum raisin ice cream, all excellent ingredients but superb in ensemble. Thumbs up all around for these two. Also available are Baked Lemon Tart and a West Cork cheeseboard that features Vintage Carbery Cheddar, Gubbeen, and Milleens.

As you can see, they’ve got quite a team assembled in that kitchen, and the results on the plate are up there with the best of them.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Picado Mexican Pop-Up. A Highlight of West Waterford Food Festival

Picado Mexican Pop-Up
A Highlight of West Waterford Food Festival

Horrible Hannah blows outside but inside Lily Ramirez-Foran and her chef friend Anthony O’Toole are cooking up a super-tasty Mexican storm as part of the 12th annual West Waterford Food Festival. A warm welcome and soon we are seated with scores more in the Causeway Tennis Club in Dungarvan.

The service began with Botana and Beer. The beer was top class stuff as always from the Dungarvan Brewing Company, who were combining for the second year running with Mexican Lily. The initial event was in the brewery but such was the demand for tickets that it was obvious a bigger venue was needed for this year.

Back then to the Botana and Beer. Not your usual beer though! This was the Dungarvan Mine Head after a make-over, transformed into an Ale and Chili Margarita, with the aid of Hibiscus and lime. Sounded well, tasted better. And there were some tasty nibbles to go with the Déise Margarita: handmade Corn Chips, Spicy pepitas, Salsa Verde, De Arbol Salsa Roja.

Lily is the founder of Ireland's first Mexican boutique grocer and cookery school, Picado Mexican in Portobello, Dublin 2, and has been here for the past 19 years with her husband and business partner Alan Foran (also helping out on the night).
Superb starter

Anthony O’Toole is a private chef, curating one-off food and drink events for a wide range of clients. He is quite a gardener as well and this was not his first collaboration with Lili. They gave us an idea of what we would be eating for the evening and advised to use our hands (we did have a fork!) and pile up our plates as there’s not much sympathy for slow eaters in Mexico. 

Sally Barnes is a recent favourite of Anthony's and her smoked mackerel (wild, of course) featured in the Comienzo, the starter. Its full title: Sally Barnes Smoked Wild Mackerel Tostada, pickled Jalapeños, the Sea Gardeners’ Toasted Dillisk. First bite and I knew I was on a winner. A superbly made starter, a smooth combination of delicious flavours and textures.

On then to the Taquiza, the mains. There were two and we got both, everyone did. First up was Anthony’s Crown Prince and Waltham Butternut Squash with Ancho Chili Crust, peanuts and sesame Salsa Macha, Citrus Créma, and Mexican Slaw. It may not have looked the best but scoop the squash up into the hot tortilla, add a little from the dips on the table and some of that Mexican Slaw (with lime juice, I think) and nobody around me stopped with after just one. It was excellent. 

And then came another dark offering but another superb dish: Old Farm leg of pork braised in Mine Head American Pale Ale (also by Dungarvan Brewing), Gaujillo and Mandarin Adobo Fried Jalapeno Salsa and that excellent slaw again. The pork, thinly cut and perfectly cooked, was delicious and again those tortilla warmers were empty in no time, replacements arriving just as fast as the punters dug into the irresistible deliciousness. 
Sweet Crema, Pomegranate, for your chocolate

By the way, the matching beer for the starter was the Blonde Ale and for the main course we had their Copper Coast Red. But there was plenty of beer and no compulsion. If you preferred it vice versa, that’s what you got. 

The final beer, with the Postre (dessert), was Black Rock Irish Stout. And that dessert was Tequila, Chipotle and the Proper Chocolate Company 85% Dominican Republic Chocolate Torte, with sweet créma, pomegranate, and Crystallised Hibiscus dust on the side. Quite a finalé to a lovely evening in Dungarvan. Final score: three sets to love for Lily and Anthony.

* The producers featured were Dungarvan Brewing, Old Farm fro Nenagh, Anthony O’Toole (eggs, veg and herbs), Sally Barnes Woodcock Smokery in West Cork, The Sea Gardener (Dungarvan), The Apple Farm (cider vinegar), Picado Mexican, Edible flowers by Bumble Bee Farm (Drimoleague) , and The Proper Chocolate Company (Glasnevin).

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Taste of the Week. Woodcock Smokery Tuna

Taste of the Week
Woodcock Smokery Tuna

On a recent visit to the Woodcock Smokery in Castletownsend, smoker Sally Barnes gave me a piece of her Albacore Tuna to bring home.

It is really amazing; looks as if Tuna is meant to be smoked. Maybe, meant to be smoked by Sally. “It is hot smoked. Our tuna are guaranteed line-caught and are certified by Friends of the Sea.This is a tuna unlike any you have ever tasted. It's a succulent meaty bite with subtle smoke and ocean tastes”

I think that last sentence really sums up our Taste of the Week. We used it in a version of a Salad Niçoise and it was delicious. By the way, if you are looking for Anchovies, you can get very reasonably priced tins in O Português  in McCurtain Street.

Sally uses only wild fish, quite a variety of them, and her products are much sought after by top chefs. And you may read all about her operation here.

County Cork
Telephone: 028 36232 (Ireland)
00 353 28 36232 (International)

You may order online from Sally. Check the products and the prices here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The West’s Awake. Find it Fresh in Bradley’s

The  West’s Awake.

Find it Fresh in Bradley’s

Opening day in Bradley's
Fresh from West Cork is back in town and you’ll find it installed in Bradley’s, North Main Street. Walter, familiar to many of you from his stint last year in the English Market, fronts the operation and is as enthusiastic as ever.

And why wouldn't he be? He has some great produce in Bradley's; all the familiar names are there including Irish Atlantic Sea Salt, Rosscarbery Recipes, Gubbeen, Ummera, Glenilen, Sally Barnes (he especially recommends her smoked mackerel, “a big seller”), West Cork Pies, Culture Foods (the Sauerkraut people, who are now exporting) and more.

June Kingston’s Soda Wheaten loaf is a best seller and there are tasty apple tarts from the Walshes of Caheragh (near Drimoleague). And don't forget the Loughbeg Tea Brack and be sure to get some Glenilen clotted cream to go with that! Then you have yogurts and Lemon Labneh from McCarthy’s Dairy not to mention the many fish products from Union Hall including Smoked Mackerel Paté and Smoked Salmon Paté.

No shortage of honey and jam. The honey comes from Noel and Patricia Love of Knockeen (Skibbereen) while jams are supplied by Kathleen McCarthy of Drimoleague and Eithne McCarthy from Skibbereen. And watch out too for the Loughbeg chutneys, quite a few but the star is the Yellow Zucchini Relish which was adored by a bunch of “nine Michelin chefs from London when they sampled it at the English Market last year”.

And the good news is that you can get these six days a week, from 8.00am to 9.30pm! And more good news. If you like your vegetables fresh (and who doesn't?), Colm O’Regan of Horizon Farms will be making three deliveries a week to North Main Street.

And from next Friday, you'll be able to get raw pressed juice here: carrot, beetroot and a vegetable and fruit blend! “And the week after that, we'll have mini-meals,” he said. I looked puzzled! “Especially for toddlers,” he clarified. So there you are. Walter and Fresh from West Cork will feed you all, big and small.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Taste of the Week

Taste of the Week
It has been a good week at the table but pride of place goes to this magnificent Beef and Potato Pie from West Cork Pies in Schull. A hungry three man jury gave this flavour packed pastry a unanimous thumbs up! They also produce Pork Pies, Steak and Kidney Pies and Scotch Eggs. They say: What you’ll get from me are good quality, very tasty, products full of substantial ingredients not just cheap gravy and the odd lump of something indistinguishable. Glad to agree. The pies are available at various outlets in West Cork, in various pubs around the city (check the link above) and also at the Fresh from West Cork stall in the English Market.

The verdict may have been unanimous but it was very close. Other top class contenders this week included the award winning Steak Rub from the Cornstore, the fantastic Amodeo salad dressing from Tuscany Bistro and also the gorgeous Wild Smoked Salmon Butter by Woodcock Smokery (Sally Barnes).