Showing posts with label Stonewell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stonewell. Show all posts

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Positivity in the Cork Kerry Air at Annual Food Forum


Positivity in the Cork Kerry Air at Annual Food Forum
Peter, Beara Gin

It may have been wet and windy outside the City Hall last Friday evening but inside there was a sunny positivity around the stalls. Beara Gin are exporting to the continent; Joe’s Farm’s new Potato Crisps are going very well; Longueville House ciders have had an excellent year; Kinsale Mead and Stonewell Cider also speak well of their 2018 experiences.

Beara Gin are relative newcomers, just over 12 months in existence. But they are making their mark in the competitive Irish market and Brand Manager Peter White told me they are already exporting to Germany, Poland and Denmark. A pallet has just been dispatched to France and they are now working on Italy. 
Rupert, Longueville

Apple Wine
Getting into a new export market takes patience and time so best of luck to Peter and all at Beara Gin whose gins are infused with salt water and sugar kelp. They have two gins on the market, the original Ocean Gin and their Pink Ocean Gin (here the addition of Cranberry and Rosewater adds the pink hue).

Rupert Atkinson, the smiling face of Longueville Beverages, reported an excellent year, particularly the last six months. “The hot weather sent cider sales flying and the fact that it is available in O’Brien’s was also a big factor.” Longueville normally have lots of apples for sale but not this time as stocks of cider and apple brandy have to be replenished.

Stonewell are another top local cider-maker and they are known for their innovation, both summer and winter. Their winter offering this year made its debut in the City Hall. It is a Nohoval Irish Apple Oak Wine, the finest Irish apples raised in traditional French casks. Superlative is mentioned on the label. I couldn’t argue with that!
Mead trio

And speaking of innovation, Denis and Kate of Kinsale Mead were right alongside. Kate showed me their gorgeous gift pack of three miniatures, a wee bottle each of Hazy Summer Mead, Wild Red Mead and Atlantic Dry Mead. Not just a package; it is delightfully illustrated with the story of mead. Worth a look. By the way, if you want some of that Hazy Summer, you’ll need to act fast. “That went very well for us,” Kate said and stocks are fast running down.
Crisps

Sandra Burns of Killeagh, whose Joe’s Farm vegetable crisps have become a favourite over the past couple of years, was delighted with the reception the new Potato Crips have received over the past year and said they flew out the door during the Ploughing Championships. Husband Joe is a big fan of the new crisps (a mix of colours), all made at the family farm in Ballycurraginny. Both the vegetable and potato crips are widely available, including SuperValu.

Recently, they had a pumpkin picking day on the farm and were inundated when they put out a call for pickers, individuals and schools among the volunteers. Sandra was delighted with the schools as it turned the day into an easy going food education event. See more about it here on their Facebook page.

I think I’ll have a few Tastes of the Week from that lot in future posts on the blog.

Monday, September 17, 2018

No 35 Kenmare. It’s A Good Number!

No 35 Kenmare
It’s A Good Number!
Charcuterie Plate!

When they say Farm to Fork in No. 35 Kenmare, they mean exactly that. Their free range pigs are reared just about a mile away. And they don't have to go too far for their fish either!

We were there on a damp Tuesday night recently and the place, spread over two floors, was packed. A terrific buzz there and terrific food too from Head Chef Tony Schwarz and his team in the kitchen. The team outfront were excellent too, helpful and chatty, and efficient to boot.
Treacle and walnut bread

Luckily we had a reservation and were soon seated upstairs (those stair steps are very narrow by the way). I was aware of the pig farm so was concentrating on that on the menu as we nibbled at the excellent Treacle and Walnut bread that came with a seaweed butter.

I spotted my starter without delay: a charcuterie plate of salami, chorizo and coppa along with various relishes and gherkins, pickled cucumber,  Granny’s jam, olives, celeriac with mustard, capers, peppers. It was packed with good things, substantial and totally delicious.
Pork mains

CL was a little on the jealous side but I was able to share a few bits and pieces! Her starter was the Dingle Gin Cured Salmon, Cucumber: Ketchup & Soused & Charred. Not as substantial maybe but another excellent appetiser.

Cider and pork is always a good match so I was enjoying a glass or two of the lovely Stonewell Medium Dry. And I needed another one as my mains arrived. They do a Pork dish of the day and I tucked into the Collar of Pork, with colourful Mooncoin Beetroot, the excellent smoked black pudding, all in a red wine jus. A super plateful, great flavours and textures, aromas too.

CL got a lovely piece of Halibut, well cooked and neatly presented, served with summer vegetables, a basil pesto and red pepper relish.

Have to admit though, we didn’t make it to the desserts this time! It was a wet night, the last Tuesday in August, and we were not expecting to find so many in the pubs. But most were packed and most had live music. We finished the evening enjoying the craic, sipping a craft beer or two (Brú Pale Ale and the Tom Crean family Expedition Red Ale). Kenmare Abú!

35 Main Street, Kenmare, Co Kerry.
Tel: +353 (64) 664 1559 | Email: info@no35kenmare.com



Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Fish Kitchen’s Special. A Taste of West Cork Waters


The Fish Kitchen’s Special
A Taste of West Cork Waters

As we walk up the stairs to our Bantry restaurant, the multi-event A Taste of West Cork festival is in full swing, heading for its closing weekend. Many attractive food options around the towns and villages but knowing punters make their way to the Fish Kitchen and a packed house enjoys the best produce from the local shores and seas. The Kitchen crew are busy but not a bother as the delicious meal is served.


“Freshness, simplicity, quality” is what they promise here and that is exactly what we get. Excellent service too, a good choice of wines and craft beer and good company too at the long tables. We enjoy the chat with Esther and Joe from Cappoquin and Jim and Barbara from the town.


Diarmaid, who owns and runs the Fish Kitchen with his wife Ann-Maria, served us a simple Amuse Bouche, a sharing plate of Sheep’s Head periwinkles with garlic. Hard to get them out of the little shells but well worth the effort!

Next up was a trio of Smoked Salmon, Prawns and Oyster. Tasty stuff. Excellent salmon, amazing prawns from the bay outside and a superb Carlingford oyster. Quite a hat trick of flavours.

We were very happy with that and got even happier with the next round: Steamed Bantry Bay mussels with Stonewell Cider. We had been out on the bay earlier and had seen the lines and lines heavy in the water with rope-grown mussels. And here they were now on our plate, meatier and tastier than any I’ve tried in recent times.
Croquettes

Another course was on the way as the Salterio Albarino level in our bottle was falling and this was another handsome combination: Union Hall Smoked Pollack and crabmeat croquettes, served with a simple salad.


Now for the big one: herb crusted Castletownbere Hake with sun-dried tomato and Gubbeen chorizo pesto. Sometimes in Ireland we smother delicate fish with heavy sauces. Not here. The Hake was the star, the others there just to show it off to perfection. And, yes, it was perfect, as were all the courses.
Hake

And of course there was dessert. Here we had a choice and the Plum Crumble won hands down at our table; maybe the lavender infused pannacotta found takers at the other tables!

While this was a special dinner (we paid 45 euro a head) for the festival, you will get the freshest of fish, skilfully handled and simply presented at a fair price every day, lunch and dinner, at this town centre venue. And, if you are eating at home, then grab some fresh fish from the family market on the ground floor!
Crumble

New Street
Bantry 
Co.Cork
(027) 56651


* Diarmaid was our host on our earlier trip around the bay - check it out here. He has been doing it a bit over the past summer and intends to make it a permanent feature next year. A proud native of the area, he is a superb guide to the huge bay, its geography and amazing history. His sturdy rib will take six paying passengers so keep an eye out for that in 2019.



Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Jim Edwards. A Kinsale Classic. After All These Years!


Jim Edwards. A Kinsale Classic.
After All These Years!
Scallops starter, also available as mains

Jim Edwards is a renowned restaurant in the renowned foodie town of Kinsale and it has been serving up classic fare since 1971.

And while some of those beloved classics are still on the menu, Jim Edwards is not slow to support new producers and new products in the area. Just a peep at their drinks list confirms this, with Kinsale Mead, Stonewell Cider and beers from Black’s of Kinsale and 9 White Deer (Ballyvourney) on offer. 

Local gins include Kinsale gin, Blackwater gin and Black's gin. while local whiskeys include Pogues from West Cork and the world famous Midleton Very Rare. With the best of spirits available, there is no shortage of cocktails. Produce suppliers, some long-standing, are listed on the back of the menu.
Mussels

And there is no shortage of food choices here. You may dine in the Gastro Pub or in the restaurant. The Gastro Pub menu (including a sandwich selection) and A La Carte menu are available from 12pm to 10pm daily. In addition they have daily specials and a value menu also available all day. No wonder the venue has been declared  “a standard bearer in Kinsale's distinguished culinary culture” by  the McKenna Guide.

We were glad to see the A La Carte menu available from lunchtime on when we arrived there about one o’clock on a recent Friday. Soon we were seated by the window and reading our way through the choices. By the way, from exchanges at a nearby table, we heard that you can pick and choose from the various menus.
Monkfish classic

The mussels and oysters come from nearby Haven Shellfish and I picked the rather traditional starter (they don’t really do cutting edge here in any case) of Kinsale Mussels toasted with Garlic Breadcrumbs. Very tasty, with a well prepared salad. And CL too was very pleased with another excellent appetiser, this of Pan Seared Scallops in garlic and basil with a cauliflower purée.

We sipped our Black’s ale as we waited for the mains. Unbeknownst to ourselves we had chosen two house classics and looking back we can appreciate how they’ve stood the test of taste and time. Both were superb.
Lamb

One is the flavoursome Mint and Herb Crusted Rack of Slaney Valley Lamb with a rosemary and garlic jus. Beautifully cooked, neatly presented, as were all our dishes. 

Our other mains was the Medallions of Monkfish, pan fried with ginger, spring onion chill and lime dressing. Another superb combination, no shortage of quality here. And no skimping on quantity either.

And, just in case you haven’t enough, in another nod to tradition, they serve three sides as well: potatoes gratin, seasonal vegetables and fries.

It was a fairly busy lunch service in the restaurant and no problem to the staff as they kept the food coming and helped the customers make their choices, patience needed in some cases!

We did have a look at the dessert menu but, having been well fed, decided to give the sweet stuff a skip and finished off with an excellent cup of Maher’s coffee, another local business supported by Jim Edwards. Roll on the 50th celebrations in 2021!




Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Taste of the Week. Baltimore Bacon


Taste of the Week
Baltimore Bacon


I must get over to Bandon and Clonakilty markets more often as these are the only places that I can get Baltimore Bacon, my Taste of the Week.

And it will probably be even more difficult to get now as Nathan Wall, who began farming pigs in Baltimore ten years ago, was recently honoured by the Irish Food Writers Guild, an award that is more valued than most an award that is more valued than most as it comes from independent professional writers. 

After a recent visit to Bandon, I tried Nathan’s Maple Smoked Rashers (also available in joints) at home. The first bite and you just stop, stop talking, stop thinking, such is the amazing flavour. Then you get on and enjoy it.

Nathan had a delicate touch as a specialist plasterer in London and now has a delicate touch in his new career. “Our bacon is cured by hand, using just organic sea salt and natural ingredients with no added water, no nitrites, nitrates or phosphates. This is real bacon, made the time-honoured way, with nothing added except our passion and dedication..”

And if those rashers were top notch, the Black Bacon joint was something else. Another must try! This is Artisan Dry Cured Bacon, West Cork pork, Atlantic sea salt, black pepper, molasses, raw cane sugar, spices, natural oak smoke.  Another outstanding product from Baltimore.

Other Baltimore products are Cider and Apple Smoked Bacon, Cider and Apple Unsmoked bacon, Baltimore Bacon unsmoked and also smoked. And don’t forget his tasty lardons.

Nathan has had help and input from other artisan producers in the area, particularly from Fingal at Gubbeen where he works part-time and where his products are  smoked. At the award celebration dinner in Dublin, the main course was Cider and Apple Smoked Baltimore Bacon with Parsnip Purée, Caramelised Brussels Sprouts and Onions and Fresh Mandarin. And that cider came from Stonewell in Nohoval.

Below is the citation from the awards presentation:


Baltimore Bacon cured bacon, Co. Cork: Food Award

A specialist plasterer turned free-range pig farmer, Nathan Wall of Baltimore Bacon began curing his own bacon in 2014. He now keeps over 40 free-range Berkshire pigs on his Baltimore farm and sells produce from his own pigs at the weekly farmers’ markets in Bandon and Clonakilty.

As demand grew, he began sourcing free-range pigs through Our Piggy Co-op run by Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen Smokehouse and locally reared pigs from Staunton’s in Timoleague for the non-free-range produce that he sells through local restaurants and shops.

The range includes smoked and unsmoked bacon and ham, all of which are produced naturally and free from nitrate and additives. Some are simply cured with Atlantic sea salt and raw cane sugar, while the superb dry-cured black bacon is cured with molasses and black pepper. His apple and cider-smoked bacon, available sliced or as a joint, uses Stonewell Cider from a previous IFWG award-winner. The bacon is smoked over hardwood at Gubbeen Smokehouse.

See more on the awards and their background at the Irish Food Writers Guild website http://www.irishfoodwritersguild.ie/index.html




Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Stonewell Seasonal Ciders. Taste of the Week. Taste of the Summer!


Stonewell Seasonal Ciders
Taste of the Week. 
Taste of the Summer!

Stonewell Apple & Cucumber Limited Edition Craft Cider 2017, 5.5%, 330ml bottle.



In 2016, Stonewell won the Supreme Champion Award at the Blas na hEireann Awards in Dingle with their Rós, an apple and rhubarb cider, and their current seasonal is this medium dry Apple and Cucumber.

First thing you notice is the huge difference in colours, the cucumber one looking more like a white wine (with hints of green), though with lots of bubbles. The cucumber comes through, gently, on the nose and on the palate. 

Flavours are probably lighter than the Rós but, if anything, are even more refreshing. A light and moreish flavour, as they say themselves, from this combination of Royal Gala apples and a subtle twist of cucumber.


Rós Apple and Rhubarb Limited Edition Craft Cider 2017, 5.5%, 330ml bottle

The Supreme Champion is an all local amalgam. The rhubarb juice is extracted from the produce of Robbie Fitzsimmon’s East Ferry Farm in Cork and blended with the “soft caressing” flavours of the apple juice.

This new batch has a gorgeous mid-gold (no pink!), with fountains of bubbles. Rhubarb comes through on the palate but its tartness is more than balanced by those soft caressing flavours of the apples. An engaging mix indeed from the small but highly innovative team at Nohoval and you can taste why it won a surprise overall gold at Blas.

Both ciders are vegan and coeliac friendly and each should go well with food. Thinking of a salad in the garden with a bottle of the Apple and Cucumber while the Rós should be ideal with the strawberries. Must set that one up while the sun is out!

Stockists
Stockists for both ciders: Bradley’s Cork; 1601 Kinsale; Blackrock Cellar, Co. Dublin; Gibney’s of Malahide, Co. Dublin; No 21 Lismore, Co.Waterford; Paddy Blues, Gorey, Co. Wexford; Redmond’s of Ranelagh, Dublin; Lilac Wines, Dublin 3; Supervalu Kinsale and Clonakilty; Riney’s Bar, Sneem, Co.Kerry. Matson’s Wine Store, Grange and Bandon, Cork.

You may get the Apple and Cucumber at the following O’Brien’s Wines locations:
Ardkeen, Co. Waterford; Beacon, Dublin; City West, Dublin; Blanchardstown, Dublin; Douglas Court, Cork; Dun Laoghaire, Dublin; Glasnevin, Dublin; Malahide, Dublin; Naas, Kildare; Rathgar, Dublin; Rathmines, Dublin; Templeogue Village, Dublin.

Nohoval
Belgooly
Kinsale
Co. Cork.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Inchydoney Island & Maison Louis Jadot. Location and Terroir Combine

Inchydoney Island & Maison Louis Jadot
Stunning Combination of Location and Terroir

Isn’t the Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa one of the best situated hotels in the country? One of the most welcoming too! Can’t recall any other greeting me (and every guest) at reception with a glass of the excellent (and local) Stonewell Tawny. And when you leave, well there is a pot (a very tasty one too) of their own Winter-Berry Jam. 


So now add in a wine dinner with the renowned Maison Louis Jadot and you can understand I was in a foodie heaven. The weather didn’t exactly cooperate (it was about 12 hours behind schedule!) so the event didn't quite live up to the Burgundy on the Beach title but it was top class in every aspect.

The beach-side hotel, miles of sand to each side, supports quite a few local producers and a few were featured in the five course menu. But I spotted many also in the ancillary menus: Kids, Sandwiches, Room Service, and Afternoon Tea. Some of those included were: Clonakilty Pork, Bushby Strawberries, cheesemakers (Coolea, Cashel Blue, and Bandon Vale), Timoleague Ham, Ummera Smokehouse, and Shannonvale Chicken. Breakfast is also quite an occasion, some great choices on the menu (hot and cold) and lovely service in a smashing room.

And that Gulfstream Restaurant, with its windows looking down on the Atlantic,  was also the venue for the Wine Tasting Dinner at which I was an invitee. The guests met in the superb lounge and we were welcomed with some tasty canapés and a cool glass of Chablis, by Louis Jadot bien sur. This bright and fresh wine was just the ticket to get the evening off to an excellent start, the canapés vanishing and the chats starting.
Starter

Marie-Pierre Dardouillet (left), Export Director with Maison Louis Jadot, supported by distributors Findlater's, was introduced in the restaurant before dinner. And, not wanting to interfere with the flow of the dinner, spoke about the three white wines, produced by Jadot from their 250 hectares of vineyard.

The Chablis comes from the northern part of Burgundy, somewhat cooler than the second wine, the fresh and fruity Saint-Véran. This comes from a small village in the Maconnais region, “nice to compare the two, side by side”. Both are produced from Chardonnay. Generally, white wines from here are Chardonnay, reds are Pinot Noir.

Soon we would “meet” the third white, the Meursault, another 100 per cent Chardonnay. This is fermented in wooden barrels and aged 15 months before bottling. “well balanced oakiness, much more complex and deep,” said Marie-Pierre. A beautiful wine, full-fruited bouquet, generous palate and a long finish and a terrific match with the Gulfstream Seafood Assiette.
Seafood Assiette

Now too sure which I was most looking forward to try: the fillet of Macroom beef or the Nuits-Saint-George. The wine is one of the region’s most famous wines, aged in oak barrels for 12 months, deep of colour and flavour. Marie-Pierre: “Lots of structure, tannin. Elegant.” Mais oui!

For our final wine, we moved south from Burgundy to Beaujolais next door and that meant a change of grape from the Pinot Noir of the Nuits-Saint-George to the Gamay.
Fillet

As you might expect, it wasn't any old Gamay (Beaujolais nouveau for instance is a Gamay) but a cru. There are ten crus in Beaujolais and Moulin-a-Vent (Windmill) was where our wine was produced. “The Gamay thrives on the granite soil and this spends 12 months in barrel. It is much more fruit driven and will be interesting with dessert!”, said Maire-Pierre. Probably not the best match but a lovely wine that I more or less held back until my plate was cleared. Then I enjoyed it and its reviving acidity all the more!

And those plates. Thanks to Head Chef Adam Medcalf and his crew, they looked splendid from start to finish.

The starter was Macroom Buffalo Cheese Plate: crisp Feta and polenta, Ricotta pannacotta, Mozzarella and Tomato Tian with beetroot, sun-dried tomato and rocket. 

The fish course was entitled Gulfstream Seafood Assiette and consisted of Ummera Smoked Salmon and crab roulade, sugar cubed salmon, crisp fried squid with a celeriac remoulade, pickled cucumber, quail egg and a bisque reduction.

The came the Roasted Fillet of Macroom Beef with a lobster and prawn crust, fondant potato, celeriac purée, shiitake mushroom and a horseradish cream sauce.

Time then for dessert: Roasted Rhubarb and orange pannacotta with ginger biscuit Ice-cream.

The lovely evening was drawing to a conclusion but Ruth McCarthy, Director of Sales & Marketing at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, cheered the guests up with a promise of “many more evenings like this”. Marie-Pierre complimented the hotel kitchen saying the food was "very good". “Hope you enjoyed the wines and see you in Burgundy.” Inchydoney on tour. Now who’s organising that trip.

The Gulfstream Restaurant
Also on this trip:
Syrian Food at Bandon's Bayleaf.
Bantry Market Every Friday



Thursday, December 14, 2017

Farmgate Café. Traditional. Seasonal. Regional. Food of the land and work of local hands.

Farmgate Café. Traditional. Seasonal. Regional.

Food of the land and work of local hands.
Irish stew. Bacon and Cabbage. Just the mention of these traditional Irish dishes can get some modern “foodies”, some chefs too, on their high horses. They don’t want us posting pictures  of our peasant food on the internet, preferring instead those “decorated” with colourful drops from a squeegee bottle. 

I like my stew, like my bacon and cabbage. Just as the French like their hardly photogenic Coq au vin. And when I saw the lamb stew on the menu during last Saturday's visit to The Farmgate, above the English Market, I had no hesitation in ordering it. It was a cold day and the warming stew was the ideal comfort food. And reasonable photogenic as well.

The Hartes (Kay and daughter Rebecca) are in no doubt about the value of tradition. “Farmgate Café embraces much of what is unique and traditional to Cork along with new influences in this dynamic multicultural food market and port city. Centuries old traditional, seasonal, regional, even ‘forgotten’ foods are at the core of the Farmgate ethos, and also form a visible link between the menu and the wonderful array of produce downstairs.”

“This allows Farmgate Café to provide a uniquely Irish eating experience both reflecting and playing a small role in a vibrant Irish food culture truly embracing how good indigenous ingredients and food products are.”

The popular Farmgate is divided into two sections, as you may know. You may well need to book to get a table in the Dining Room while most of the rest of the mezzanine, the Balcony, is informal so you just queue and order and the order, if not self-service, will be delivered to your table. 

We had booked and were lucky to get a table in an outdoor room adjoining the Dining Room. We were told it would be cold but no problem. There are glass panels up to head height (where you sit), heaters overhead and, just in case, blankets!

No need for the blankets though as we ordered from the regular list. There are always at least three daily specials: meat, fish and tart. The Lamb and Potato stew (€14.00, a euro less on the balcony) has regular company in Chargrilled Chicken, Traditional Pork Sausages with lentils, a Cured Fish plate, a Market Mezze, and a Warm Salad of free range chicken. Traditional yes but not hidebound by the past either.

In any case, that Lamb stew was delicious, the meat flavoursome and tender, the vegetables spot-on, and the potatoes were perfect. And here you’ll have no problem enjoying the last of the tasty liquid as, in addition to knife and fork, they also provide a spoon.

Lunchtime queue for the Farmgate lunch
on the Balcony while the market continues
below.
This was peak lunchtime on Saturday yet the staff, in their smart seasonal clothing, were excellent, very helpful all the way through.

I’d finish up also with a traditional touch. Had been swaying between the Christmas Pudding and the Mince Pie (3.50). The Brandy Cream swung it for the Pie which had a nice layer of crumble on top. 

CL wanted to experiment so she went for the non-traditional Salted Caramel Confit Banana with Rum and Raisin Ice-cream (5.00). A brave woman to take on the ice-cream but it was a seriously delicious finish.

The Farmgate believes in supporting local food. And local drink too. Ciders come from Longueville House and Stonewell, beers from Eight Degrees and Dungarvan Brewing, while the wines are all European.

We had been taking the odd peek down to the floor of the market and, after settling up, we joined the crowd down on the floor. Eventually we had a stroll through Glow and then visited Christmas markets in St Peter’s and The Franciscan Well (this is on again next Saturday).




English Market
Princes Street
Cork
T12NC8Y
Tel: 021 427 8134. Int: 00 353 21 427 8134
Email (general enquiries only): info@farmgatecork.ie

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.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Fenn’s Quay's Special


Fenn’s Quay's Special
Cod
From breakfast ’til late at night Fenn’s Quay will feed you, and feed you well. Lots of menus here, including a set lunch and an Early Bird. That Early Bird is, unusually, available on Saturdays up to 6.30.

It is good value and has quite a few dishes from the A La Carte. As it happened, it was the A La Carte that we concentrated on last weekend. We noticed some dishes that are almost fixtures here, such as the O’Mahony's Feather-blade and the same O'Mahony’s Collar of Bacon.
Beetroot cured salmon
But there is no shortage of variety in Fenn’s Quay, once you factor in a packed specials board. And, conveniently, they also include a written list of the specials as well as the traditional blackboard.

We tend to make good use of the specials and we did so here as well, though neither of the starters featured on the board.

CL choose Cork Dry Gin and Beetroot cured salmon with buttermilk dillisk and cucumber pickle (€10.00), a very well judged combination, very tasty indeed. 

Braised lentils and beef tongue with pickled quail egg
I was delighted with my Braised lentils and beef tongue with pickled quail egg (€10.00). The broth or jus - I used some of their well-made bread to mop it up - was full of the flavours from the tongue and the lentils and the quail was the first of my Easter eggs. Happy out!

We had been tempted by one of special starters, a Fish Platter with O’Connell’s smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, fish croquette and beer battered cod.
Dessert

We would though have O’Connell's cod on the double as we agreed on the mains, the Fish of the Day special (19.00). Details are: Cod, spinach, cod skin and cod purée, served with roasted cauliflower florets and peas. All added up to an exquisite dish, the fish as fresh as could be and cooked perfectly and that cauliflower was excellent. 

The dessert special was another winner: Bewley's Pannacotta with dark chocolate and brandy mousse (€6.50); had an idea this was going to be delicious (and it was!) and so we left the popular Mimi’s Cork Dry Gin and Tonic Dessert behind!

They have a short but well judged list of wines here, some available by the glass and most, if not all, by the carafe and bottle. And also they had a couple of specials on the board. Unusually, they also have a list of craft beers, Blacks and Mountain Man among them, but I went for a regular favourite the Stonewell Medium Cry Cider (€6.50). Food and presentation was top notch, service too and so it was a happy if overdue return to No. 5 Fenn’s Quay. Very Highly Recommended.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Stonewell Cider Cheers! Win yourself a hamper.

Stonewell Cider Cheers!
Win yourself a hamper.

Stonewell Irish Craft Cider have enjoyed  “an astonishing year” and are spreading the cheer on Social Media. 

In 2016, the Nohoval (Cork) cidery were crowned the Supreme Champion at the National Irish Food Awards (Blas na hEireann) and also won accolades at international events. “None of which would have been possible without the support and encouragement from you, our customers."

So, for Christmas, they are running a competition on all their social media. It starts today 1st December and the winner will be announced on 15th December. The prize is a Stonewell Christmas hamper containing a selection of Stonewell Cider products along with produce from local businesses such as Hassett's Bakery and Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese.

It is easy to enter. Simply ‘like’ the Stonewell Facebook page and post a photograph of a Stonewell Cider (drinking, cooking, wrapping presents etc) using #stonewellchristmas on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Good luck!

And, speaking of cooking, watch out for the Cinnamon Apple Cake video which will be up on the 5th December.

Twitter: @stonewellcider
Facebook: /Stonewellcider