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Sunday, August 2, 2015
Scratch My Pork
Story Of The First Pork Scratchings In Ireland
It’s been a year since I first met the Kiwi Chef Matthew Brownie who lives down in Skibbereen. He was telling me about his new business which is called the No Nonsense Food Company. The company, with the energetic Matthew at the helm, is the engine behind the innovative product range of Pork Scratchings called Scratch My Pork.
I met with him again recently to find out how the new and unique savoury snack for the Irish market was going, as it seems to be everywhere around Cork at the moment.
Matthew explains. “After 5 years of hard work we have got great coverage around Munster with the Dublin market just starting slowly but surely. Sales are increasing and we have a lot of new customers ringing about stocking Scratch My Pork around the country every week”.
“As a lot of people already know, it started back at CIT in 2011. It was Product Development that I fell in love with, along with the combination of studying the Gastronomy of Irish and English food, going back into the history of pork scratchings and bringing something natural to the Irish market and having the ability to bring it into today’s world by modernising it with the latest trends the consumer was looking for.”
“I owe a lot of the success of Scratch My Pork to the amount of research that I did at CIT which gave me the platform to move on. I carried on with more research, including a lot of consumer research which determined for me that there was a market for this type of product in Ireland”.
“Scratch My Pork is Gluten, Dairy and MSG Free with no E Numbers, with low carbohydrates and High in Protein, and is one of the first meat savoury snacks produced for the Irish market.”
“With an experienced business partner and a team in place now we a driving Scratch My Pork forward every day with a new product range coming out soon. Apart from retail and convenience stores, I’m delighted to announce that Scratch My Pork will be stocked at Shannon Airport very shortly. With 1.9 million people passing through the airport each year, this will give Scratch My Pork massive exposure.”
If you would like to get in touch with Matthew you can contact him on the below Links.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Scratch My Pork
Two questions. What are pork scratchings? And who is Matthew Brownie?
Pork Scratchings have long been associated with England. But similar products were made before England had even thought to use the pork skin as a snack. The Chicharrones originated in Mexico, from Spanish influence and are, Matthew tells me, the first signs of fried Pork Rind that we know as scratchings today. They come under a variety of names including Cracklings (US), Pork Crackle (Australia, New Zealand), Chicharrones (Latin America), Grattons (France) and Scrunchions (Canada).
Matthew Brownie has been a professional chef for over 20 years. Originally from New Zealand, he admits he “has conceded” to Skibbereen where he lives with his wife and two children. A roundabout route took Matthew to Dublin in 2008 where he continued to manage kitchens, consult in hospitality, create cooking classes and progress in the food arena before moving to West Cork.
Here his passion for food drove him in a new food direction, towards product development. Given an opportunity to find a gap in the Irish food market, it was obvious to Matthew that Irish Pork Scratchings would be his product. The opportunity came when he decided to go back to college in 2011 to study Advanced Culinary Arts at Cork Institute of Technology where he achieved a distinction in BA Culinary Arts.
Achieving top marks for Scratch my Pork, he was asked to compete in the Cork County and City Enterprise Boards CIT Prize for Innovation and won the best business Plan award. “I am delighted for what I have achieved, and the product is already in over 100 outlets including Retail, Licenced and Off Licenced premises." He is also the Chef food writer for the Southern Star.
In April this year, Matthew formed The No Nonsense Food Company to launch Scratch My Pork snacks. “This is a quality hand cooked natural meat savoury snack with unique dry rub marinades resulting in a crunchy, crispy, flavoursome, good value and nutritious snack, produced in a dedicated nut and gluten free facility with my own catchy slogan and branding called ‘Scratch my Pork’.” He has released two flavours to begin with, Smokey Bacon & Cajun, with a traditional salted flavour to follow.
So now you know what Pork Scratchings are, why not go out and try some. Looks like Supervalu is a good place to start. Then why not try your local pub? I’m told they are very popular in Ma Murphy’s in Bantry. And of course if you want anything in the food or drink line in Cork, then head to Bradley’s in North Main Street! If you are a retailer, contact Matthew himself or his distributors C & R in Little Island.
To find out more about Pork Rinds in general, why not do a YouTube search. Here’s one to start you off https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfkQun3jz8o.
Friday, May 16, 2014
Schull Country Market
Cornucopia in a Car Park
|Dave from Shehymore Free Range Farm|
Sunday morning and the car park near the pier in Schull in transformed into a cornucopia, a profusion of good things to eat and drink from the locality. And not just food as there are also stalls that feature high quality crafts, also from the local area. The Schull Country Market, one of the first markets in the country to be approved under the new Bord Bia ‘Good Practice Standard’, is well worth a visit as I discovered last Sunday after a ninety minute drive from the city.
While I had met some of the stallholders before, including Gubbeen and West Cork Pies, Loughbeg's Walter Ryan-Purcell, who runs the Fresh from West Cork stall in the city's English Market, made sure I knew most of the others before I left.
Modest Walter introduced me to his wife Josephine (together they run Loughbeg Farm) and son Jack. You can get their gorgeous chutneys here and in the English Market and we were lucky on Sunday to get a taste of some products that they’ll have on the market soon.
Watch out in particular for their Goats Milk Ice-creams. They have a range of flavours, including a beautiful banana one. These are highly recommended. Another likely hit is their Num Num range, for juniors over 12 months. Not sure I’m qualified (well, I suppose I am over 12 months) but I got a couple of samples to taste. These are the Ratatouille with Steline Pasta and the Three Cheese Macaroni; these are gluten free with no added salt or sugar. Tried both and they are full of flavour. Lucky juniors!
Enjoyed a chat too with Willie McCarthy who now sells fish rather than catching it. His fish is fresh! His man does no more than two casts at a time and then makes for the shore and Willie. McCarthy also has a stall in Togher (Clashduv Road) and it is is proving a popular draw every Thursday morning.
Local grower Tim York produces a variety of chemical-free summer vegetables - specialising in tomatoes, French beans and mixed leaves and asparagus - with other fresh vegetables in season. On Sunday his Lisheen Organics stall was full of veg, including in season asparagus. That was irresistible but the first of his vegetables that we tried was a super fresh bag of Pak Choi that went very well indeed with a piece of smoked bacon from Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen.
As you probably know, Fingal and his family produce delicious smoked meats, cheeses, salami, sausage, pork and burgers from their own farm and smokehouse near Schull. Like us all they were enjoying the sunshine on Sunday and all are looking forward to a great weekend at the Ballymaloe LitFest. By the way, we had a little of the bacon left over on the Monday and CL put it to good use in an omelette, a great way of further enjoying the flavour and texture.
Fingal introduced me to a new product made in Skibbereen by Scratch my Pork. The main ingredient is Irish Pork Pig Rind and it comes in various flavours, including Smokey Bacon, Mexican and Cajun. Crispy and very tasty stuff indeed!
I have sung the praises of West Cork Pies on this blog before. They are very good indeed and they don't stand still, new flavours coming onstream all the time. And they are having some fun with the names. On Sunday, I bought one called The Dragon Pie (chilli included!). It was hot for sure. And of a very high quality, like all their previous pies I’ve tasted. The ethos of the company is excellent as you can see from the photo.
Had a talk too with Dave Loukes of Shehymore Free Range Farm selling his poultry and eggs. He had some tempting whole chickens for sale but we bought a couple of breasts. At present Shehymore are selling just the chickens and eggs but coming soon are Free Range Pork and Young Beef and they’ll also be doing Marinated Chicken Fillets.
Frank Krawczyk is well known in West Cork and beyond for the quality of his charcuterie and we were looking forward to having one of his high quality sandwiches at the end of our turn around the stalls. But we left it a little late and Frank had run out of bread. Still he cooked up some of his flavoursome sausages and served us lunch in a bowl. We thoroughly enjoyed the meat and the salad, complete with flowers and sauce. A superb lunch. Well a superb main course, as a tub of Walter’s brilliant banana ice-cream served as a delicious dessert!
Bought lots of other bits and pieces including honey, brown bread and Wild Garlic Pesto. Would have liked a crepe from Lillian but Frank and Walter had filled us but we did enjoy a quality coffee from Shane who uses coffee from Badger and Dodo and who we met a few weeks back in Bantry.
Great to meet Shiona James as we were very impressed with the work of husband Nigel James. He creates beautiful and functional vases, jugs, dishes and bowls, finished in his own attractive glazes. All items are hand-thrown, from stoneware and porcelain clays and are intended for everyday use, being safe for oven and dishwashers.
Not all the regular crafts people were there on Sunday but there was some excellent wood products from Gary (he works mainly with bog oak, also does small “wish sticks” called Unicorn Wands!) and by Malcolm (who works with all kinds of wood).
Peppermint Farm is a busy place but Doris Hoffman was concentrating on her herbs and herb teas at Schull on Sunday. She has quite a selection, all made in West Cork. I came away with a bag of her relaxing tea. Just had a cuppa there a few minutes ago….zzzzzzzzz