Showing posts with label The Rocketman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Rocketman. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Taste of the Week. The Rocket Man's Smoky Corn and Yellow Lentil Dahl

Taste of the Week.

The Rocket Man's Smoky Corn and Yellow Lentil Dahl 

The Rocket Man is one of the most popular food suppliers in Cork city for the past few years. With the current restrictions, I nowadays most regularly come across his food in NeighbourFood, the small producers platform that he founded.

And it was there that I found our current Taste of the Week, a heartwarming Smoky Corn And Yellow Lentil Dahl. Heartwarming even if it is delivered frozen (with a shelf life of five days). It is described as 
"Ready to Eat Indian Inspired Yellow Lentil Dahl with Grilled Corn. Comes with Toasted Coconut, Yoghurt and Fresh Herbs. Vegan without the yoghurt topping."

You get a big tub (480g) for less than six euro and it's a terrific lunch for two. Big hearty flavours with a satisfying crunchy (softish!) texture. And you also get a few toppings with your Taste of the Week. Well worth a try!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Taste of the Week. The Rocketman’s Soup

Taste of the Week
The Rocketman’s Soup

I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to picking a taste of the week these days!

When the local farmers markets closed, I thought it would be the opposite but Neighbour Food came to the rescue, big time!

One of the men behind the fantastic initiative, which sources food from the producers you see at the markets and brings them to a central collecting point, is Jack Crotty better known as The Rocketman.

He has built a reputation for innovative salads over recent years but it is his soup that made my taste buds stand to attention.So get ready to meet our latest Taste of the Week, the Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato And Mint Soup. Who else but the Rocketman would have thought of adding plenty of mint to the mixture. Absolutely delicious!

By the way, NeighbourFood, with an ever increasing number of depots in Ireland, also delivers (thought not in every area).

No. 38 Princes St, 
Cork City. 
Tel: 086 822 9624

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Le Caveau Portfolio Surprises include a Straw Winery and an Off the Grid Riesling. Not Surprised though by the Quality.

Le Caveau Portfolio Surprises include a Straw Winery & an Off the Grid Riesling.
Not Surprised though by the Quality.

Always something interesting at the Le Caveau Portfolio tastings. After all, Pascal Rossignol’s company has some 600 wines in stock so there’s bound to be something unusual. But I wasn’t quite prepared for the winery made from straw!

Domaine de L’Achillée is the Alsace winery, situated less than an hour south-west of Strasbourg. The Dietrich family have farmed in the Alsace since 1600. These days they concentrate on grapes and other fruits and have been organic since 1999. 
For the gap between white and red, via The Rocketman!

In 2016, the two sons of Yves Dietrich, Jean and Pierre, joined the adventure to give it a big boost, to become independent. Quickly accompanied by an equally passionate team, they built together a bioclimatic winery where they now vinify the nuggets of the family estate. Apparently, the heavily compacted straw bales are more fire-proof than the iron frame that supports them. Their website says this is the largest straw building in Europe.

And the wine? Well that was unusual also. The 2016 Alsace Blanc is a kind of Gentil with up to nine grapes in the blend. Sylvaner accounts for fifty per cent and the others are Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, with Auxerrois, Muscat and Chasselas. The wine is aromatic, floral with white and yellow fleshed fruit, with more of the same in the mouth, lively, elegant, persistent. Le Caveau also carry their 2016 Riesling.
Dario (right) fills me in on excellent Italian Il Pionere.

The first surprise of the tasting was not a wine at all! It was a perry, the Poiré Authentique produced by Éric Bordelet of Normandy. A superb low alcohol drink, full of flavour and refreshment. At the same table, I next enjoyed the Rosso Colfóndo, by Casa Belfi in the Veneto. The Colfóndo is the method, not quite the same as Prosecco, and the grape variety is not the usual Glera but a local variety called Raboso. Lively and lovely with tart red fruits before a sweetish finish. Something for the coming summer!

In the beautiful German town of Deidesheim, Von Winning produce some gorgeous wine including the 2106 Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). “This is newish," said Le Caveau’s Colm McCan as we tasted. “They are a long established winery and this is a beautiful wine.” Sure is. I'll be putting that on my shopping list.
A wine and a half, in a magnum.

Colm was meeting and greeting but was back with me by the time I got to Oregon, to the Ovum winery in particular. Ovum, as you may know, means egg and the egg shape features prominently in the operations here, they use egg-shaped fermentors. Whatever they’re doing, they're getting it right if this Off the Grid Riesling is anything to go by. Ovum are well known from their Big Salt wine which gained them something of a cult following. 

Made a sparkling start with
this Colfòndo
Another American to engage the palate was Feints Red by Ruth Lewandowski from Utah. Apparently the grapes are grown in California and the fermentors are later moved to Utah. It is a very engaging blend of Arneis, Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo, an Italian quartet.

And, speaking of Italy, I found another gem in the Il Pionere, IGP Salento, Natalino Del Prete, new to Le Caveau. But not new to Dario who was with the Kilkenny company on the day and who also worked in this winery. He told me they were pioneers in the organic field. The fruit comes from low-growing bush vines of low density; “Great acidity, textured, no heaviness, between fruit and floral.” The main grape is Negromara and there is a little Malvasia Nera which enhances the aromas. Superb.

The trend towards lighter, drier and lower alcohol wines was evident in the tasting but room for the odd big hitter too including a quite excellent Saperavi by Georgia’s Ketevan Berishvili, that weighed in with 15.5% abv! Calcarius of Puglia had a series of low alcohol wines. I got to taste three: Hellen Rosso, the Roz and a lovely summery Orange. All good

Also impressed with the Roussette de Savoie (and its unusual Altesse grape); and three from Burgundy, Les Buées by Larue, the Givry “Clos de la Roche” from Parize and the Beaune “clos des Renardes” by Fanny Sabre. Loved too the gentle aromas and palate of the Mauzac Rose by Cazottes in Gaillac, the Bordeaux wines of Té Diem, the Burgundy red by Lacour, and the El Abasto Malbec from Argentina.

I had been thinking of skipping the Txakoli but I was persuaded to try the Ameztoi 2018. And glad that I did. It is lovely wine, just 10.5%, and the acidity doesn’t show as much as it does normally in this Basque wine. So I’m putting it on my list!

Towards the end, I came across a magnificent Pinot Noir, the Ahurani by Kelley Fox (US). This whole-bunch wine is up there with the best of them. But, if I had worn my overcoat, the one I would have been tempted to smuggle out would have been the Morgon “Le Clos de Lys” by Domaine Chamonard. Don’t think I’d have made it through though as it came in a magnum! And in any event, I noticed that it is very well priced by the bottle. So I’ll be honest and buy!

Well done to all at Le Caveau who managed to get over 100 of their 600 wines up on the shelves in the ancient Apple Market shed in the heart of old Cork. And a big pat on the back too to the Rocketman who supplied some excellent real food for lunch, very enjoyable indeed.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Great Craic. Great Causes. Enjoyed Cork City Marathon 2018.

Enjoyed Cork City Marathon 2018
Better Late Then Never. Much Better!

One for all and all for one

For quite a few years now, I’ve been photographing the runners in the Cork City Marathon, usually down by Silversprings as the going gets that bit tougher. This time though, I went to the finish, long after the winners had been and gone, and enjoyed every minute of it.
Peri Peri with a spicy mango sauce at The Rocketman

Runners of all shapes and sizes, not to mention colours, doing it for a variety of good causes, and having a lot of fun and gaining friends all over the place as they came in hours behind the elite runners. 

Great too to see the kids jumping over the barriers and proudly helping (maybe sometimes hindering) Mammy or Daddy, over the last 100 metres or so.
James Whelan Heritage Ham features here
at The Rocketman

I had a interest in the Sanctuary Runners. They were drawing attention to the plight of those refugees stuck in our Direct Provision System. And the refugees, with Ballymaloe trained chef Ellie Kisyombe at the forefront, had an international day-long feast at The Rocketman in Princes Street. We enjoyed our lunch there before heading the few yards up to see the fun runners finish.
Wow - I can see the finish!

Well done to Ellie and her helpers, to Jack Crotty for opening up his premises for the day and to Our Table for organising and also to those teams of Sanctuary Runners. Beir bua!
Something sweet at the end of Our Table meal


Helping Daddy over the closing metres

Monday, March 12, 2018

Food Photo Exhibition At City Library. Cork Food Policy Competition

Food Photo Exhibition At City Library
Cork Food Policy Competition

"Haddock Man" by John Dempsey
It is amazing that so many Irish people have very little idea as to where their food is coming from. Most of us city dwellers are barely a generation removed from the countryside, which for many of us is still just a short drive away. 

Yet I got a shock myself last year when a thirty something visited our garden; only then did she learn that peas grow in pods! Had she been born sixty years or so earlier, she’d have been sent to the corner shop for a bag of unshelled peas. Back home, she and her siblings would then get to "work" on shelling the sweet green peas.
Eleanor Attridge receives her prize from yours truly

Last week, over half-a-dozen or more magpies were making a massive racket on a bare tree in a school avenue but neither the mother nor the offspring walking underneath looked up. In the good old days, your mother or father would have plenty to say on the magpies - remember one for sorrow, two for joy.… 

So how did this disconnect with food and nature happen? Rather than looking for someone to blame (parents, educators, farmers, supermarkets), would it not be much better to concentrate on mending that “break”? 

There are quite a few people already doing so, including the Cork Food Policy Council who recently organised a photo competition where the categories were:
1- Food and Health - where does it come from?
2- Cork Food. What’s eating Cork and what’s Cork eating?
3- Community. What could a sustainable food system look like?

The categories were all well chosen to make the photographer think a little before pressing that shutter button and the winners of the inaugural Cork Food Policy Council’s Food Photo Competition were presented with their prizes at the Cork City Library in Grand Parade last Friday evening. You may see all 43 entries there, in the library foyer, until March 26th.

“A competition like this presents an opportunity to tell a different story about what we actually eat and where it really comes from,” Keelin Tobin, Coordinator of Cork Food Policy Council as she introduced the winners.

"Olive" by Annelies Verbiest
“This competition is an opportunity for photographers to showcase and celebrate the efforts being made towards a sustainable food system in Cork,” said Ellie Donovan of Green Space and Member of Cork Food Policy Council Steering Committee.

Annelies Verbiest won the ORSO sponsored prize for the Food and Health category. Her photo of Olive the hen was taken the day “Olive arrived in our garden”. “At 18 months, she was deemed too old for the industry as she had stopped providing an egg each day. She lived with us for a year, until she died. Her featherless body shows the true cost of cheap eggs in high production environments.”

The Cork Food category was the most popular one and the judges, who included professionals Giles Norman and Monika of Pepperazzi, picked two winners here. Beekeeper Eleanor Attridge’s honeycomb pic was one, “nature at its best, straight from the comb”. “It looked well and tasted better,” she said on the night.
Eileen Duggan receives her prize.

Frances Deasy’s photo of a grandmother and grandson gardening was the other winner. “Growing and eating my food is a pleasure, sharing with family a joy,” she said. Both Eleanor and Frances received a voucher from the English Market.

The Community Category prize (from O’Leary’s Camera World) was won by John Dempsey for his Haddock Man, a portrait of fish-monger William Martin at his stall in the English Market. Keen photographer John will enjoy spending that voucher.

Joleen Cronin's shot (left) of a fisherman landing his catch was the winner of the Giles Norman Selected Prize. The fisherman was pictured coming in after several days at sea, “the last fishing trip before Christmas.” The vessel, the Buddy M, arrived in Crosshaven at 3.00am on a wet and cold December morning.

The Monika Coghlan Pepperazzi Selected Prize went to Eileen Duggan for her shot of a bee, busy at work. “No bees, no honey. The bee was working very hard to gather nectar. Our bees are a very important part of our food chain, therefore we need to protect them.” 

Monika, “a great help throughout the competition”, also took the presentation photos  (some reproduced here) at the library. Other sponsors for the opening were Rocket Man and Green Space.

* Don’t forget to drop in to the library entrance where you’ll be able to see all the photos until March 26th.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Night of the Long Table. Four Hundred Dine Out on Cork’s South Mall

Night of the Long Table

Four Hundred Dine Out on Cork’s South Mall
Phil (standing) wishes Happy Birthday to fiancée Veronica; they get married today.
A night out to remember for the over four hundred diners who gathered on Cork’s South Mall for an outdoor dinner, the second running of Cork’s Long Table. And the sun came too, making it a glorious occasion for the organisers and their partners including Bord Bia, Failte Ireland, Cork City Council and Cork Midsummer Festival.

There was a choice of drink on the way in, anything from Prosecco to cider to beer to a cordial. The first suppliers we met were Colm McCan (what a hat) and Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau, helping out on the night.
All calm before the service

Soon we were seated at our table, strangers to the right of us, strangers to the left. A few minutes later though and strangers no more! 

A tasty oyster signalled the start of the serving and then came the Producers Boards with Smoked mussels and mackerel, crab with lemon mayo (perhaps my favourite), black and white pudding, spiced beef, crubeens and ham hock terrine, chutney, breads, mozzarella. That got us talking and sharing and there was something for everyone!
Welcome to the Long Table from Colm(left) and Pascal of Le Caveau

The mains meanwhile were being prepared in the kitchens of the nearby Imperial Hotel and distributed to the various staging posts on the pavement. It was worth waiting for, not that we were waiting at all. The rack of lamb with pea purée, salsa verde, mixed leaf salad and loads of superb British Queens, not forgetting Glenilen butter, was totally satisfying though a few of us volunteered for seconds when the opportunity arose.

And the dessert, a very generous one indeed, was Strawberries with crushed meringue, cream and rose petal, another delight. And to finish we had cheese: Milleens to remember the late Veronica Steele and Hegarty’s Cheddar.
Starter board

All the while, the wine, the beer, the cider, whatever you fancied was being served and the brass band played. There was even a birthday surprise for Veronica, served up by fiancé Phil; all go for this couple who get married today. We wish them well!

Once announced, the Long Table Dinner sold out within hours, such was the feeling that this was going to be a good one. And once you saw the list of quality suppliers, you knew the basis was there for a terrific meal. 

Suppliers included Frank Hederman, K. O’Connell Fish, Tim McCarthy’s, Rosscarberry Recipes, McCarthy Meats, Haven Fish, Glenilen Farm, Waterfall Farms, Bumblebee Flower Farm, Dave Barry’s Farm, Bushy Berries, On the Pig’s Back, Murphy’s,  Longueville House, 9 White Deer, Le Caveau and Counterpoint.

I've often heard chefs say they are nothing without the producers but the restaurants and chefs have a major role to play in getting the best from the produce and that certainly happened last night with Ali’s Kitchen, Electric Fishbar, The Farmgate, Fenn’s Quay, The Imperial Hotel, Isaac’s Restaurant, Jacob’s on the Mall, Jacque’s Restaurant, L’Atitude 51, Nash 19 and the Rocketman all playing important roles. Cheers to the hard-working owners and staff.

* I’m glad too that Rebel Chilli were also involved as it was in their competition that I, having been caught out by the early booking rush, won the tickets that got me to the Mall. Thanks, folks!

It's a wrap for 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cork Indie Coffee Trail. A Guide by Dermot O’Sullivan

Cork Indie Coffee Trail
A Guide by Dermot O’Sullivan
So (seems to be the word to start with these days), you’re in Cork, looking for a cup of real coffee. You know there are some terrific indie cafés around the city. But do you know where they are? Where is ORSO? Where is Nectar Coffee?

Just mentioned this pair as they feature in the first page of the Indie Coffee Trail, a new guide (with directions) by local chef Dermot O’Sullivan, perhaps best known to many of you as @GasMarkSeven on Twitter. ORSO, by the way, is in Pembroke Street, close to the GPO while Nectar sits on the junction of Maylor Street and Parnell Place.

Dermot’s selection showcases “the best of what Cork city’s coffee scene has to offer”.  The cafés have added “another element to the cultural dimension of the city, forgotten buildings have been brought back to life… All the while, locals and visitors alike are becoming more knowledgeable and discerning with their coffee of choice”.

Other coffee haunts listed by Dermot included Dukes Coffeehouse, Filter Espresso & Brew Bar and its new little sister Portafilter, Union Grind, The Bookshelf, Idaho, Warren Allen, Alchemy, Cork Coffee Roasters (at two venues), Ali’s Kitchen, Rocket Man and Rocket Man East, Farmgate, Three Fools and Café Gusto (also two locations)

And there is a map of the city centre indicating where each can be found. A brief description of each café and the type of coffee available and also opening hours is included in the handy pocket sized booklet. And you are also told whether Wifi is available!

What are you waiting for? Hit the streets and discover Cork City’s coffee with Dermot’s help. You can get his guide in all tourist spots like tourist offices, hotels, most cafes listed, art galleries including UCC. Student centres too.

For further info, contact Dermot at Follow him on Twitter @gas_mark_seven. Check his blog www.gasmarkseven.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

One Farmers Market. One Restaurant. Weekend: Douglas, Les Gourmandises

One Farmers Market. One Restaurant
Weekend: Douglas, Les Gourmandises
I took the opportunity at the weekend to get to the Douglas Farmers Market and also to revisit Les Gourmandises in the city centre.

The farmers market has now moved from Dunnes Stores car park to a new spot in the centre of Douglas village, on the plaza by Marks & Spencers. It is a compact location and the reports are good. It is open on Saturdays, from 10.00am until 2.00pm.
Old Millbank Salmon Pate - with some chunky bits added!
Some excellent stalls here, including the Rocketman, Badger & Dodo coffee, Ballycurraginny Farm vegetables (not forgetting their gorgeous Joe’s Farm vegetable crisps), Arbutus Breads, O'Driscoll's Fish from Schull, Old Millbank Smoked Salmon, Woodside Farm, Brendan's Burritos, Sonny’s Broth, West Cork Pies, Green Field Farm, Ballycotton Free Range Farm, O’Leary’s Mountain Lamb, Cloud Confectionery, Dingle Cookie Company, Volcano Wood-fired Pizza, Mealagulla Orchards, Barry’s Nurseries, Clothilde Compotes, along with some others. Guest stalls too feature.

O’Driscoll’s, no matter where you find them (Midleton and the Coal Quay are among their venues), are always popular. We often go for the popular fish but this time the red gurnard caught our eye. So that was the main course for Saturday. And we got our starter across the way from Old Millbank. They had a nice tub of Salmon Pate (with one that included a few chunks of the salmon as well!).
Red Gurnard at O'Driscoll's
Lunch too came from Douglas, a pot of that delicious aromatic Chicken Broth by Sonny (we added some noodles). It is a Vietnamese broth and the proper title is Phỏ Gà and was a recent Taste of the Week. Check it out here, if you have a chance.

The other main purchase was some shoulder of pork from Woodside for Sunday's dinner, the order to cook it low and slow. We got an unsolicited recommendation from another customer who thought it was fantastic and told us his 93 year old mother is thrilled with it as it reminds her of the real taste from a long ways back.

Some low and slow cooking too in Les Gourmandises on Friday night. Slow cooked beef, braised carrots, baby onions, and smoked Gubbeen lardons, with a delicious red wine jus, was my superb main course, with a side plate of sauteed potatoes. CL’s choice was also excellent: Braised lamb shoulder with smoked potatoes, braised onion and Savoy Cabbage.
We had a fine choice for starters. We had eaten some of them before including the excellent Prawns in Filo pastry with Mango jelly and Mango creme fraiche and the Roasted on the Bone Quail with coconut, cumin, basmati and apricots.

My pick this time was the Carpaccio (named after the Venetian painter) of Spiced beef, tomato, pickled and shaved parmesan while CL took the Castletownbere Crab Salad, brioche croutons, peaches and piccalilli. Both good but, next time, we may go back to the brilliant prawns and the quail!

Desserts again had no shortage of choice, up to seven, including a selection plate for sharing. No sharing this time though! My pick was the Warm Chocolate Fondant with butterscotch centre and vanilla ice cream. Pretty good. CL was delighted with her Caramelised Apple Tart with Five Spice and cinnamon ice cream. All good. No tea or coffee though, not at €3.65 a cup!
New location, in centre of Douglas
There is a good selection of house wines, all Old World, and all at €29.50 a bottle or €8.50 a glass. Haven't seen that kind of uniformity anywhere else! My glass was a 2012 Portuguese blend of Tempranillo, Castelao and Syrah, called Pinta Negra Tinta, nice and smooth with dark fruits. CL sipped happily from an organic wine, Fontana Bodegas from Castille (Spain), a 100 percent Tempranillo (2014).

There are quite a number of possible menu variations and you can get to try the excellent food here for less than the €47.50 (the cost of our 3-course menu). There is also a Prix Fixe menu and here you may have three courses (from a more limited selection) for €32.50. Most nights, maybe not all night, you will get tapas to share, two main courses and a glass of wine each for €39.50 for two people. Stay up to date on all menus and special offers by checking their Facebook page here.
Oh La La! Chocolat! 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Boats and Bites. Float a Boat. Feast on Fish.

Boats and Bites. 
Float a Boat. Feast on Fish.

The Cork Harbour Festival continued last evening with a Boats and Bites event on the quay. Great to see the river being used more and more as a recreation area and great too to sample the fish bites from the various stalls. Didn't get to them all, of course, but particularly enjoyed the Ceviche from The Rocketman and the amazing oysters supplied with a smile by Harty's of Dungarvan. More of this, please, Cork.

The festival continues all this week. Details here.