Showing posts with label The Curly Stu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Curly Stu. Show all posts

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Taste of the Week. Curly Stu's Pizza Special

 Taste of the Week.

 Curly Stu's Pizza Special

Lots of special foods at the Coal Quay Market in the heart of Cork City every Saturday. And now there's another special producer to tempt you. Curly Stu, operating out of a converted horse box, is turning out the most amazing sourdough pizzas, real thoroughbreds based on the Naples line and on the very best of ingredients from home and abroad.

He has a stable full of regulars: Margherita, Pepperoni, and killer Nduja. And always a special. Always well priced, most expensive is 9 euro and you can get three for €22.00 (too good to turn down!).

I called in during last Saturday's sun and showers and found my taste of the week. This special consisted of Pumpkin with Gorgonzola blue cheese, red onion and fresh chives. Another champion for just nine euro, a winning Taste of the Week. 

More about Stu (former long-time head chef at Barnabrow) and his stunning pizzas here. The horsebox can also be found weekly in Newcestown, Cloughduv and Castletown-Kinneigh.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Crawford Gallery Café At Home Every Saturday

 Crawford Gallery Café At Home Every Saturday

Dinner, lunch, coffee and cakes all available now from the Crawford Gallery At Home service. We were tempted by the dinner menu for last Saturday, called in between 12.00pm and 2.00pm and had a lovely chat with Sinead as we collected our boxes of the good stuff.

Very little “homework” required to get the dinner going later on that evening and soon we were enjoying a rather splendid meal. The menu: 


Beetroot, pumpkin, goats cheese & Horizon Farm leaves

Goats cheese and beetroot is something of a local classic at this stage. And, with such splendid goats cheese as Ardsallagh on our doorstep, why not? The pumpkin added a seasonal touch and the beets and the ever first-class Horizon leaves, topped with a terrific dressing, all enhanced the cheese. No shortage of cheese by the way in a very generous starter.


Lamb shanks with tomatoes, white beans and rosemary

And the mains was equally generous. The shanks, fore shanks, were huge. Due to the shank muscle being used so much, when properly cooked, it renders to a beautifully tender piece of meat. And ours was spot on! And that bean and tomato sauce was the perfect accompaniment for this dirty old winter’s night. 


Gingerbread cake with caramelised pears

After a French-style pause (trou), dessert was served. Again it was generous and sumptuously sweet. Beautifully caramelised pear atop a cake moistened to dripping point with a caramel sauce. Sweet dreams after all that.

Lots of other good stuff in the Crawford. Note those puddings!

You can order online (the lunch and dinner menu is posted on their Facebook page in midweek, also on their website). Your pre-ordered food will be available for collection between midday and 2pm on Saturdays. You can also walk in and order while stocks last. They also have take away Coffee & Cake!  Just drop in to collect Saturday 12pm - 2pm. And, hot tip, I did spot Christmas puddings on the counter as well!

Perhaps you'd like a drink with your dinner?

Pizza Lunch!

On the way into town on Saturday, we realised that Stuart Bowes and his amazing Curly Stu sourdough pizzas were operating in a new regular base at the Coalquay Farmers Market. We called over and nine euro bought us the special of the day. The Pumpkin with Gorgonzola blue cheese, red onion and fresh chives special was demolished, in almost total silence, at lunchtime. Check him out next Saturday.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Nduja in Newcestown. On the West Cork Pizza Trail with The Curly Stu

Nduja in Newcestown. 

On the West Cork Pizza Trail with The Curly Stu


The Curly Stu is bringing a touch of Naples to a trio of mid and west Cork villages. We called to Newcestown last Friday evening to see what all the fuss is all about. Stuart Bowes is the man behind The Curly Stu and, we know, from his many years as Head Chef at Barnabrow House, that the Scot is a good one.

He told me: "I left Barnabrow at the end of August so I’m doing the pizzas Wednesdays in Castletownkenneigh (small country pub, Cookies, near my home beside Coppeen). Friday nights I'm in Newcestown in O’Mahony's Bar car park and Sunday evenings in Cloughduv in the Spreading Chestnut pub car park, all from 5-8.''  He keeps Saturdays free for all kinds of private parties and gigs.

He has a regular menu posted up on the side of his converted horse-box and every session he has at least one special and they can indeed be very special. The regulars include Margherita and Pepperoni, both very popular with the younger generation. Also in Newcestown, his Nduja (spicy salami on a Margherita base with fresh chilli, red onion and chilli oil) and his  Smoked Scamorza cheese (again on a Margherita base with roast piquillo peppers and West Cork Garlic scape pesto).

O'Mahony's and the horsebox

We were early and got ourselves one of the picnic tables by the pub. A week earlier, we'd have been able to take our pizzas inside. Still the sun was out as we sat down with the Nduja. We had enjoyed one of those in Barnabrow months ago and this lived up to the memory, absolutely top class with the occasional delicious hits from the Nduja itself.


On then to the Scamorza. Another gem with the Italian cheese a star with the peppers and that garlic scape pesto also playing leading roles. Of course in all his pizzas, that base is out of this world, great for the taste buds and, as you can read below and in his social media, for the digestion. 

At the end of the second pizza, the rain started to come down and as the evening was also rather cold, we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and made a run for it. But not before Stuart boxed a third, the special, for us. We were wondering how it would survive the 40 minute spin home. 

But not a bother.  Just a few minutes in the oven and the Ardsallagh goats cheese on a Margherita base with artichokes and caramelised onion ketchup came up tasty trumps. Another beauty from the Scotsman. That super base, the artichokes adding juice and texture and their unique modest flavour to the pie and the ketchup also pitching in. 

Busy boys

So three pizzas on a Friday night and all three of the highest standard, a standard that you won't find in too many places on these islands. Skill, and attention to detail pays off, quality in quality out. Some very lucky villagers in West Cork.

Stuart confessed: "I’m a man obsessed with the Neapolitan way. Since the lockdown I’ve been doing them Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays and they were very busy! Since everywhere opened up I’ve managed to keep a lot of regulars and there’s new customers coming so it’s still going very well!"

Goats cheese, artichoke

"The dough is made in the traditional Neapolitan way, so mixed the day before and is generally always kept at room temperature, normally for 24-30 hours. They have a really nice airy puffy crust, a little soft in the middle and are cooked for 60-90 seconds at 420-450 degrees c."

"I’m playing around with the actual fermentation, I was using a sourdough culture before but I’ve been using a (pre ferment) called poolish for the last few weeks and that has given great results. I’m going to try biga next, which is similar to the poolish method, but with half the amount of hydration in the pre ferment."

"I have an Italian supplier that is really passionate about his produce! The flour I’m using is Molino Spadoni PZ4. This flour mill is very well known for their quality in pasta flour, I would have used this in London. The mill is in Ravenna, northern Italy, and only uses Italian grains that are quality controlled and checked."

"The best thing is my supplier organises for me to get the flour straight from the mill now so it is super fresh. You can actually smell and see the difference when mixing the dough!!"

"I have a Sunmix mixer on order. This mixer is known for being one of the best you can buy. It can make and close the dough in 15 minutes so you are not overheating the dough with the friction. These are made to order in Italy. Fifteen long weeks I’ve been waiting so far but it is going to be well worth the wait!!"

The 400 year old village has some food history!

"The Fior Di Latte mozzarella is made in the Campania region - "The mother land of mozzarella" my supplier calls it. There are no chemicals in this cheese and the difference compared with most of the other mozzarellas I’ve tried is very noticeable. The cheese melts nicely and goes stringy when cooked in the high heat and doesn’t colour and go crispy!"

"The tomatoes are certified organic from a company down south of Italy called Manfuso; they have good ethics and all tomatoes are canned on the same day as harvest with no added salt."

"I also get organic extra virgin olive oil, so straight from the first press of organic olives and with no heat."

"Nduja and smoked Scamorza are both becoming well known with the folks here in West Cork and both are really good quality products."

"And then I have Ardsallagh goats cheese, I use West Cork garlic scapes for pesto, I got a load of scapes from him at the end of the season. I have Gubbeen chorizo on the options for weddings. I used Toonsbridge Stracciatella last week for a special, I got Asparagus from Drummond House for a few weeks on special so I’m just trying to work my way around the suppliers around the general area.

Toonsbridge stracciatella special

"The ovens I use are Gozney Roccbox. They are easily portable and a great product that are exceptionally good at keeping the high temperature inside the oven consistent at between 420-450c to get that Neapolitan crust. Especially when I’m busy!"

You'll see those little ovens mounted on the counter, that is if you can take your eyes off the busy chef as he assembles and cooks and talks all at the one time. As we were quite early, we were kind of wondering what all the action was about. But it turned out he gets quite a few advance orders for collections. 

Do watch out for those specials. I'll give you just two examples here.

1 - Braised Ham hock with smoked Scamorza cheese and portobello mushrooms and then finished with a honey mustard mayonnaise.

2 - Toonsbridge stracciatella with roccbox roasted tenderstem broccoli, gremolata and toasted almonds. "Really nice veggie pizza that packs a punch and full of flavour."

And you can check out others on his Insta page thecurlystu

And another thing to watch out for is his offer. All the pizzas are keenly priced but best of all is the standing offer of three for €22.00, terrific value for a family meal on a Friday, a Sunday, or a Wednesday!

The Curly Stu

085 196 0706

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Curly Stu Mobile Sourdough Pizza

The Curly Stu Mobile Sourdough Pizza

A great turnout in Barnabrow House last Sunday afternoon as Stuart Bowes launched The Curley Stu. This is a horsebox with a  difference, one that serves up delicious pizzas. And Stuart and that horse box will be coming to a venue near you in the not too distant future. 

Stu, who most of you will know from his excellent food at Barnabrow, told me that he is feeling his way into this new venture. “I’m getting used to the trailer and adjusting accordingly, few adjustments to make, there is a nice mixture of places I’m going to be so far over the summer.”

“I’m doing pizzas in Midleton by the Granary on Sunday the 23rd June when Ironman is on, I have a private birthday party in the city, then I’m in West Cork in Newcestown Festival on Sunday 25th August and there is a wedding in September in Barnabrow having them the day before the wedding, so a nice mixture to get into it.”

The pizzas are made with the very best of local ingredients, featuring Gubbeen chorizo, Caherbeg free range pork, and Ardsallagh goats cheese for instance. Barnabrow diners, including wedding guests, will know that superb sourdough that the Scot turns out and that has been carried over to the pizza base.

“Today, you have Oro Agugiaro which is a very strong flour grown and milled in Agugiaro and was used by the winner of the world pizza championships this year, so I look forward to trying it out myself today.”
Hard at work

“Normally we use the red Caputo which is the strongest of the brand and is ideal for long fermentation. We ferment the dough for two days and use a sourdough culture instead of commercial yeast as it gives more flavour and breaks down all of the nutrients in the flour to make it easy for us to digest and feel good after.” And that feel good factor was certainly present last Sunday afternoon.

San Marzano DOP is the brand of tomatoes used. “It’s very sweet with low acidity and please note that DOP means they were grown in San Marzano and not somewhere else.” The menu regularly mentioned Fior Di Latte and he explained that this cows milk mozzarella cooks well in high heat, is smooth and a bit tangy in flavour. And,  speaking of high heat, his Gozney ovens can operate up to 500 degrees centigrade!

Sunday’s launch was very well attended indeed with lots of families present. Stuart and the team work hard. “Just smashed 120 of these bad boys out of the horsebox today..... wasn’t easy but it was lots of fun…”, he said later.

There were five on offer:
Margherita - San Marzano Tomato, Fior di Latte, Basil.
Nduja - Spicy salami, San Marzano Tomato, Fior di Latte, Salsa Verde.
Ardsallagh Goats Cheese - San Marzano Tomato, Confit Red Onion, Gremolata.
Gubbeen Chorizo,-  San Marzano Tomato, Fior di Latte, Roast Red Pepper.
Pepperoni - San Marzano Tomato, Fior di Latte, Parmesan, Olive Oil.

My order at the horsebox was for the Nduja. And it was excellent, full of flavour with a moderate touch of spice. But I have to say that CL’s Ardsallagh was about as perfect as a pizza can get. Everything in balance, including the delicious influence of the Gremolata - an exquisite piece of work and one to watch out for. And that sourdough base, common to all his pizzas is also amazing.

So do look out for The Curly Stu. You’ll find them on Instagram (the_curly_stu) and on Facebook (The Curly Stu Sourdough Pizzas). For bookings, including Private parties, Markets, Festivals, Corporate, ring 085 1960706.