Showing posts with label Taste of the Week. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taste of the Week. Show all posts

Monday, November 19, 2018

Taste of the Week. Joe’s Farm Mixed Potato Crisps


Taste of the Week
Joe’s Farm Mixed Potato Crisps

Many of you will be familiar with the crunchy flavoursome delicious Joe’s Farm vegetable crisps that Sandra Burns has been making at the family farm near Killeagh over the past few years. We met Sandra and son Conor at the recent Cork Kerry Food Forum in the City Hall.

For the last year or so, Sandra has also been selling Mixed Potato Crisps, again grown and handmade at the Ballycurraginny Farm. Husband Joe is not the only one to have given this delicious mix of Potato (white, pink and purple) his enthusiastic seal of approval. They certainly caught the attention of the punters at the National Ploughing Championships this year.

Nothing much is added in the process, just Sunflower Oil and Irish Sea Salt. They come in a brown bag but it is lined with foil and is also resealable. Nothing but the best for our widely available (SuperValu included) Taste of the Week!

Joe’s Farm Crisps
Ballycurraginny
Killeagh
Co. Cork

Monday, November 12, 2018

Taste of the Week. James Whelan Rack of Roasting Bacon


Taste of the Week 
James Whelan Rack of Roasting Bacon
Three Star Bacon and Cabbage
(with orange, mustard and redcurrant sauce)

With the now well-established move to a more modern Irish cuisine, a few people were led to forget the past or at least to look down on it, and that meant putting the traditional bacon and cabbage well down the ranking as if it were something to boot out of the Irish kitchen.

Thankfully many, including a few leading chefs, knew that the past had many lessons for the future. Bacon and cabbage devotees meanwhile stuck with their favourite and are now reaping the rewards. Take the James Whelan Rack of Roasting Bacon for example.

Here's what the Great Taste judges had to say as they gave it a coveted 3 Star Award: "An impressive looking piece of bacon, with a good layer of fat, well caramelised. There is a good amount of juice when cut into, and it cut quite easily. The meat was succulent and soft, and there was a great piggy flavour and subtle smokiness. The flavours of the meat were superb and very well balanced through the curing. Clearly a quality piece of pork, and well looked after”

This Taste of the Week is all that and more. We tried it out recently. I’m a long time bacon and cabbage devotee and I have to say that this is the best bacon dish ever. Big thanks to three: James Whelan of course, Bord Bia for the fantastic recipe  (including that amazing orange, mustard and redcurrant sauce) and finally to the official Blog Chef herself.

A superb treat that could well make the turkey redundant this Christmas!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Taste of the Week. Velvet Cloud's Rockfield Sheeps Cheese

Taste of the Week
Velvet Cloud's Rockfield Sheeps Cheese
Aisling and Michael of Velvet Cloud

Mayo's Velvet Cloud are best known for their superb sheeps milk yogurts. It seemed that quite a few Irish chefs (including Martina Cronin at Blarney's Square) were just waiting for the product.

Gemma Murphy's use of it at Bellini's in the Maryborough Hotel was one delicious example. Her Warm Irish Carrot Salad with Charred Baby Gem, Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Yoghurt, Sesame, Lime and Honey Dressing was sublime and those carrots with that dressing were incredibly sweet. 

And now those same chefs are getting into Velvet Cloud's Rockfield cheese, also made from sheeps milk. It is a hard cheese. I was expecting something mild, a bit like the Basque cheeses. This Irish cheese though is different, a superb creaminess, a sweet nuttiness and then that sharp kick. So you can see why the chefs could get creative with it.

I met Michael and Aisling, the couple behind Velvet Cloud, in Cork a few weeks back and they are very happy about the way the cheese has been received. The cream coloured interior of this cheese becomes firmer and darker as the maturing period is extended and the flavour becomes nuttier. Supply of our Taste of the Week is fairly limited this year and Cork buyers can find it in On the Pigs Back. Should be more of it available next year and probably more stockists as well.

Had my few paragraphs above written when I saw this weekend Facebook post by Velvet Cloud:
This is unreal!! The first awards we have entered it into and Rockfield by Velvet Cloud semi hard sheep's milk cheese has won SILVER at the WORLD Cheese awards in Bergen Norway this weekend !!!. So proud of our senior shepherd and cheese maker Michael, very few know how hard he has worked and he so deserves this recognition.

Congratulations!!!!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Taste of the Week. Miena’s Handmade Nougat


Taste of the Week
Miena’s Handmade Nougat
Miena Facebook photo

Haven’t given Miena’s Handmade Nougat a shoutout since 2014 when I first came across the delicious bars in Bradley’s of Cork. And it was in the same shop that I got my latest selection, including the Almond and Pistachio, my Taste of the Week!

Made in small batches with locally sourced fresh ingredients, Miena has developed a recipe different from those used elsewhere. The result is a unique and uncompromising soft Irish Nougat.

There is a whole list of tempting nougat flavours coming from County Wicklow these days. You may have Almonds and Coconut, Almonds and Fig, Almonds and Mixed Berries, Roasted Almonds (I have one here as I write!), Chocolate Hazlenut and Cranberry, plus various selection boxes and tins. Christmas sorted!

And there’s more good news - these scrumptious prize-winning nougats are widely available, including in Dunnes Stores Simply Better and at Miena’s own online shop. For a list of stockists, please click here

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Taste of the Week. Joy on a Plate. James Whelan Butchers


Taste of the Week
Joy on a Plate.
James Whelan Butchers

Enjoying some delicious breakfasts these days, the best of rashers, black and white puddings and sausages, all by James Whelan Butchers. 

I visited owner Pat Whelan in his original Clonmel shop seven years ago (thought it was much more recent!); then, that was his only store. It’s been onwards and upwards for Pat and his team since and just last week they opened outlet number eight, in Dunnes Stores in Bishopscourt.

Whelan’s are renowned for the quality of their lamb and beef but, this week, I’ve had tasty proof that their offering from the pig is also of a high standard. The Heritage Cure rasher is, as they say themselves, simply delicious, “joy on a plate”. The pudding too is top notch and my personal favourite is the sausage, full of hearty flavour.

Many of the Whelan products, including his famous beef dripping, have won awards both here and in the UK, and now I’m looking forward to trying his Heritage Cure rack of bacon. Both the dripping and the bacon were part of a gift from the butcher to mark the opening of his newest store.

Oakville Shopping Centre
Upper Gladstone Street
Clonmel
Co. Tipperary E91 FX58

Monday, October 15, 2018

Taste of the Week. Greenfield Yogurts


Taste of the Week
Greenfield Yogurts

Greenfield Yogurts are new to me. They are made on a family farm in Killavullen and indeed you can find them on sale at the local Farmers Market though I got this one in Bradley's, North Main Street, Cork.


The yogurts are made from the whole milk from their cows, with no added thickeners, preservatives or sugar; five strains of natural live yogurt are added which create a hell of a lot of “good bacteria”. 

Speaking of sugar, you'll know there are some well-known brands of this type of yogurt on the market and some of these have added sugar. So be sure and check the label.You may read more about the benefits of this product (and stockists) on their website here.

So how do you use this natural live yogurt? Greenfield: “Some of our favourite ways to enjoy our yogurt is at breakfast time. Having the yogurt with Weetabix is a lovely substitute to milk along with a squeeze of your favourite honey and some fresh fruit for example raspberries or blueberries.  Greenfield Yogurts live natural yogurt, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and a sprinkle of porridge! Quick, easy and filling with getting natural probiotics into your body first thing in the morning.”

We’ve also used it, most of the pack, to make a dozen apple muffins, very tasty apple muffins, I hasten to add.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Taste of the Week. Glenilen Farm Yogurts


Taste of the Week
Glenilen Farm Yogurts
The Glenilen Farm yogurts, the current Taste of the Week, have long been a long time favourite here. Creamy, delicious, with a good whack of fruit (18%), absolutely no additives, and a joy to dispatch. 


And the bits that I cannot recover from the jar are expertly extracted by the dog who is obviously an enthusiastic fan as well.

They are widely available and I got a half-dozen at the Mahon Point Farmers Market. They do quite a range of flavours: strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb, blueberry, a mango & passionfruit, and also a natural.

“Glenilen Farm is an idyllic location for dairy farming. The lush hills of Drimoleague, County Cork offer our cows a rich and plentiful supply of nutritious grass. And they in turn supply us with the rich tasty milk, which has become the core ingredient in all our delicious products.”
Other Glenilen products are: butter, lemonade cordial, clotted cream, crème fraiche, cream cheese and don’t forget their superb large cheesecakes and other desserts! The yogurts I bought were in 140g tubs but they are also available in 500g pots. More info here

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Taste of the Week. Roscoff Onion Soup

Taste of the Week.
French Onion Soup
with Roscoff Onions from West Cork Garlic
Le Yumion Soup
Don't think this has happened before but when something is this good you just got to go with the flow. For the second week running, unprecedented, the source for my Taste of the Week is the same supplier: West Cork Garlic.

Garlic was, as you might well think, was our main target when we called to see Bryn at the Bantry Market. And we did indeed buy a few varieties for planting. But Karen Coakley (of Kenmare Foodies fame) had tipped us off about these sweet melt-in-the-mouth Roscoff Onions.

Like Karen, we are Francophiles, and so we had no hesitation in buying a bagful. Three were put to use this week in  this magnificent French Onion Soup, a potage packed with tempting aromas and very satisfying flavours, and topped with baguettes slices weighed with Gruyere. I know Karen has her own recipe up online (couldn't find it at the time) but this is a mix of a Nigel Slater recipe and one from an undated cookbook titled Le French (A Taste of France).

If you can't make it to the West Cork Garlic stall at Bantry or Skibbereen Farmers Markets (Friday and Saturday respectively), you may order online.

Bryn Perrin
Coolmountain West, 
Dunmanway, West Cork, Ireland
Tel 087 133 3751, Email bryn@westcorkgarlic.com

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Taste of the Week. West Cork Garlic


Taste of the Week
West Cork Garlic
Bryn of West Cork Garlic in Bantry last Friday.

Probably more like Taste of the Year as the garlic I bought from Bryn Perrin in last Friday’s market in Bantry were bulbs for sowing now and eating from next summer on. Though I did also get some of his Roscoff onions and am very much looking forward to tasting these over the next few days.

But back to the garlic. Bryn, who took over the business from pioneers Axel & Marye Miret (who founded the company in 2010), is quite happy to share his expertise on the subject and will give you lots of advice on planting, growing and harvesting. 
Ready to plant

The first thing to know right now is don’t wait until the spring as most garlic is planted in late autumn and early winter, some varieties as early as September! We bought a few Lautrec and a few Grey Shallot garlics for planting and another one, the Chesnok ­(Hardneck). Already in the ground. Fingers crossed for summer 2019!

If you don’t have the chance to meet Bryn at the markets (he also does Skibbereen Saturdays), do by all means check out the website as they sell garlic bulbs for kitchen and medicinal purposes - and cloves for planting so you can grow your own - all available in handy packs, delivered straight to your door. And there is a page with loads of hints on how to grow your own. And much more, including recipes and garlic gadgets!

Bryn Perrin
Coolmountain West, 
Dunmanway, West Cork, Ireland
Tel 087 133 3751, Email bryn@westcorkgarlic.com



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Taste of the Week. Three Men in a Trailer's Irish Ketchup

Taste of the Week
Three Men in a Trailer's Irish Ketchup

Bought this ketchup in The Apple Farm, near Cahir, a few weeks back. It was just days ago that I retrieved it from the cupboard and discovered I had a superb Taste of the Week in my hands. So who are these three men?  In their own words: ‘Three men in a Trailer’ is an idea for a mobile high quality food outlet generated by 3 guys passionate about food, particularly food from Tipperary.' 

Well this strikingly delicious ketchup is high quality, no doubt about it and the trio, JJ, JK and Eamonn, credit its unique taste to the natural cider vinegar that they get from Con Traas's Apple Farm. Other ingredients include Tomatoes, Garlic, Ginger, Cumin, Paprika. A terrific combination. They also do Smoked, Sticky and Spicy versions. Must get my hands on those.

The 280g bottle costs three euro at the Apple Farm. The good news is that they distribute nationwide and you can check your local stockists here. And yes, they do have a trailer! By the way, it's a high end mobile catering unit.

Gortussa
Dundrum, Tipperary
If you wish to contact them you can call JJ on 085 851 4355, JK on 086 814 8837, Eamonn on 087 759 1161  or email info@3men.ie

Monday, August 27, 2018

Taste of the Week. Derry Clarke’s Ploughman’s Relish


Taste of the Week
Derry Clarke’s Ploughman’s Relish

Sometimes I’ve seen it labeled Derry Clarke’s Kitchen but the one I bought recently was titled Derry Clarke at Home Ploughman’s Relish and it proved to be an excellent relish.


“Gorgeous with bacon sarnies or with cheese” it says on the front panel. We used it in a sandwich, a Ploughman’s, with Gubbeen Hot Smoked Bacon, and again with various cheeses and it does a great job.

Our Taste of the Week is widely available, including selected Dunnes and Supervalu. And another good thing about it is that you may keep it in the fridge for up to 12 weeks after opening. That didn’t happen!



Further info from:
Grazerfield
Unit 11,
Block G,
Greenogue Business Park,
Rathcoole,
Co. Dublin.
Sales: Donal Bermingham 
086 1743479


Monday, August 6, 2018

Taste of the Week. Cratloe Hills Sheep Cheese


Taste of the Week
Cratloe Hills Sheep Cheese

Bought a small wedge of  Mature Cratloe Hills Sheep Cheese in On The Pig’s Back on a recent Saturday. Should have bought more of this exquisite cheese, our Taste of the Week.

The story of Cratloe Hills cheese began in the mid 80s when Sean and Deirdre Fitzgerald began making it in County Clare on their Cratloe farm that overlooks the Shannon.

It is a delicious, full-bodied, intricate blend of tastes with layers of flavours. This is quite an experience as they say themselves:  “…each bite brings more hints of butterscotch and burnt caramel come to the fore”.

With such a tide of sophisticated flavour from the cheese on its own, you hardly need anything by way of accompaniment. I did try a gorgeous artisan-made Confiture Cerise Noire (from Sheridan’s) as this type of jam is often served with sheeps cheese in the Basque region. 

And while the combination is pleasant, I’d say the Cratloe is possibly best on its own. By the way, if you think you’d like something with it and can’t get your hands on the Confiture, then Follain’s Loganberry Jam is a good substitute.

The Clare product is 100% sheep's milk using only a vegetarian starter, rennet and salt. It is a natural product manufactured in a traditional way with no additives or flavours. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Taste of the Week. Kay O’Connell’s Wild Sea Trout


Taste of the Week
Kay O’Connell’s Wild Sea Trout

Nosing around the English Market last Friday and spotted a hand-written* sign up on the O’Connell Fish Stall drawing attention to their Wild Sea Trout. Brought a couple of fillets home and the Official Blog Chef turned them into our Taste of the Week.

This noble trout, full of flavour, is worth every cent. Pan-fried, skin side first. Peas and spinach from the garden were recruited. Potatoes were diced, garlic and herb added, and cooked in a very high oven before the other veg were added and tossed with the potatoes.

So there you, no great fuss but a fantastic Taste of the Week.

* He’ll probably type them when he opens in Bishopstown!

K O’Connell Fish Merchants
English Market
Grand Parade
Cork

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Taste of the Week A Sheridan’s Cheese and Jam Double


Taste of the Week
A Sheridan’s Double

Sheridan’s get the credit for our current Taste of the Week. It’s a double and features one product bought in their Galway store during a recent visit to the City of the Tribes and another product bought in Bradley’s of Cork but distributed by Sheridan’s.

The product from Bradley’s is a semi-circle of Cashel Blue made, as always, by the Grubb family in Tipperary, but selected, matured and distributed by Sheridan’s.

So there I was one lunchtime with that Cashel Blue at hand and wondering how I’d enhance it. And then I remembered being served Black Cherry jam with sheep’s cheese in the Basque Country. I had the very thing in the cupboard: a big pot of artisan made Confiture Cerise Noire (my purchase from Sheridan's).



A perfect pairing and a delicious Taste of the Week. Lots of that jam left, so it looks as if I’ll be heading to Bradley’s for more cheese. Indeed, I may well also keep an eye out for that new hard sheeps cheese by Velvet Cloud.

By the way, I also found another match for the cheese, a bottle of Gerard Bertrand’s Banyuls Vin Doux Naturel (from O’Brien’s Wine). Not the whole bottle, mind you, a little sip will do! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Taste of the Week. Cherries from the Apple Farm


Taste of the Week
Cherries from the Apple Farm


No need to say too much about our current Taste of the Week. The sweet delicious cherries grown on Con Traas’s Apple Farm are simply superb!

Easy to appreciate these juicy beauties. But not easy to grow. If that were the case, you’d find them in every farmers market. When grown in Ireland, cherries need protection for a number of reasons, and typically most growers use some form of simple tunnel to grow them in. 

The Apple Farm explains: This is because cherry flowers are susceptible to cold winds when flowering, and the cherries themselves are liable to crack and get diseases due to rainfall, and then if they survive all this, are a favourite food of many birds. A plastic tunnel can protect the trees and fruits from all these problems, meaning that instead of getting a good crop one year in five (or ten if you live in the wetter parts of Ireland), you can rely on a crop each year.

Thanks to Con and his team for making the extra effort. Put these cherries on your list if you’re anywhere near the Apple Farm, just a few minutes off the M8 on the N24 (Cahir-Clonmel Road)! Lots of other fruit available too, in season.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Taste of the Week. Harriet’s Lemon Curd at Roughty Fruit


Taste of the Week
Harriet’s Lemon Curd at Roughty Fruit

A good curd is hard to find. 

So when we got one, we made it Taste of the Week. Produced by young Harriet Kelleher from Macroom, you can get it at the Roughty Fruit in the English Market. Ingredients: butter, free-range eggs, sugar, lemons and, wait for it, passionfruit!

There are many ways of using this tarty mix, especially in baking, tarts and tartlets and so on. Over 100 of them here from BBC Food https://www.bbc.com/food/lemon_curd .

We noticed our local Mayfield café (and a good one it is), the Old Bank, using it with their pancakes so I tasked the OBC (the official blog chef) and she responded with a winner as usual! 


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Taste of the Week. Roaring Ruby Red Ale


Taste of the Week
Roaring Ruby Red Ale

I was eating out recently in Timoleague's Monk’s Lane where Gavin and Michelle have, since they started out a few years back, been strong supporters of local craft brewers. They have a very long list of beers, both in draught and in bottle.

I spotted the Roaring Ruby Red Ale by the West Cork Brewery from Baltimore in draught and noted the “dangerously drinkable” in the blurb.

I can vouch for that having sipped my way through a smooth pint of its delicious caramel and toffee flavours, a superb red ale almost crossing into stout territory. And our Taste of the Week is great with food.

The West Cork Brewery is based at Casey’s of Baltimore, Ireland’s first Brew-Hotel, and was launched in December 2014 by Dominic Casey, Henry Thornhill and brewer Kevin Waugh. They also produce the Sherkin Lass Ale and Stout x Southwest. Wouldn’t mind being down there now in that sun trap beer garden, sipping a pint of Roaring Ruby and the boats coming and going on the blue waters.

Check out three other top Irish beers all on the darker side here

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Taste of the Week. Wicklow Bán Brie


Taste of the Week
Wicklow Bán Brie

Encouraged by the immediate success of their multi-award winning Wicklow Blue, the Hempenstalls soon followed up with this equally delightful creamy brie cheese.

The family have been making cheese since 2005 and they credit the farm’s proximity to the Irish Sea with adding a distinctive flavour all of its own to these seductively addictive Wicklow Farmhouse cheeses. And this is distinctive. It is mild, creamy and buttery and our Taste of the Week.

Apples, berries, pears and many other juicy fruits are known to pair well with Brie. We came across another variation. We just happened to have some dried baby figs (from the Olive Stall in the English Market) in the house and they, along with a few grapes, made for a delicious plateful. If you want to make it even better, add a glass of that gorgeous Pom ‘O from Killahora Orchards.

Wicklow Farmhouse cheese is widely available. I got this piece at On the Pig’s Back in Cork’s English Market.

Curranstown House, 
Arklow, 
Co. Wicklow
Phone: +353 (0) 402 91713 
Mobile: +353 (0) 872515980 
Web: www.wicklowfarmhousecheese.ie

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Taste of the Week. Ballyhoura Mushrooms Risotto Mix

Taste of the Week
Ballyhoura Mushrooms Risotto Mix

Not all of you are lucky enough to be in a position to get your hands on Ballyhoura mushrooms at Farmers Markets (we got ours at Mahon). But did you know that they have quite a few mushroom products available to buy at various good food stores, including the new pantry in Bakestone at Cobh Cross? 

Products include Cep Oil, Mushroom Vinegar, Mushroom Ketchup, Mushroom Soup Mix, even a Mushroom Unami Powder, and also this Risotto Mix, our Taste of the Week. Indeed, you can also purchase online.

The mix provides earthy woodland notes and intense mushroom flavour and is perfect for making a dish for two people. You’ll find the recipe on their site here. Well worth a try!

Our pic looks a bit on the dark side  and the reason is that we used black garlic cloves.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Taste of the Week. The Trilogy by Tullamore DEW


Taste of the Week
The Trilogy by Tullamore DEW

Three whiskeys were up for tasting at the end of our recent tour in DEW Tullamore. The first, their original, is light soft and sweet and doesn’t have the longest of finishes but its “straight-forward style” has helped make it their best seller.

The 12-year old, that means the youngest whiskey in the blend is 12 years old - has a touch of ruby from its time in the Sherry cask. It is softer, more mellow than the original and is “renowned for being very smooth and flavoursome”.

The 15-old Trilogy, with its black label, is similar in make-up to the 12-year old. It has been matured in Sherry and Bourbon casks before being finished off in rum casks. It is soft, with “tropical characteristics” and the finish is noticeably better, long and rich.

Even so, the 12-year old has quite a few supporters on the tour. But I go for the Trilogy and it comes home with me! My new Taste of the Week.

When you arrive in Tullamore for a tour and tasting, you’ll have to find parking as this attraction has none. The tour and tasting takes place at the refurbished DE Williams bonded warehouse (they have a new distillery on the outskirts of the town). We found the tour efficient rather than engaging. The Trilogy though is very engaging!

See also, from this trip:
National Stud and Japanese Gardens
More Photos of Visit to National Stud and Japanese Gardens
Mikey Ryan's Cashel