Showing posts with label Valentine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Valentine. Show all posts

Friday, February 3, 2023

Mescan beer, aphrodisiac foods and the Lovers Warning

Mescan beer, aphrodisiac foods and the Lovers Warning

You been on the Mescan again?

Good food and St. Valentine’s Day are almost synonymous – the next question is, of course, deciding which drinks complement particular aphrodisiac foods. A quick survey of the Mescan range reveals that the artisan Belgian-style beers are an excellent match for many of them. The Lovers Warning on every Mescan beer bottle is of course tongue-in-cheek, but adds an additional saucy Valentine flavour. (The Lovers Warning reads: “Our beer adds to the desire but may take away from the performance.)


Aphrodisiac foods and matching Mescan beers


A salty, finger-licking dish of pistachios makes a delicious appetiser accompanied by the nutty caramel tones of Mescan Red Tripel, thirst-quenching Mescan Seven Virtues Lager or creamy, smooth Mescan Extra. The choice is yours.


Surely one of everyone’s favourites, chocolate features on almost every Valentine’s menu. Mescan Special Reserve pairs beautifully with good, bitter chocolate while Mescan Baltic Porter with its dark chocolate aromas is ideal with chocolate tart and desserts.


Probably the most famed aphrodisiac, the saline shellfish is a lovely match for Mescan Baltic Porter. Both Mescan Blond and Mescan Saison complement mussels exceptionally well.


Staying on the marine theme, perfect pink salmon goes like a dream with creamy, rich Mescan Extra. A starter of smoked salmon with traditional brown bread matches Mescan Baltic Porter well. 


Avocados and Asparagus
The clean, crisp flavour of Mescan Blond combines like a dream with salads and veg. It’s very low alcohol at 4.8% compared to wines and like all Mescan beers is made without the use of finings or chemicals.


Spicy Chili Peppers
Perhaps a surprising aphrodisiac, chili peppers match the spicy notes from the yeast in Mescan Saison exceptionally well.


The subtle sweetness of figs calls for Mescan Special Reserve, evocative of malty, sun-dried fruits.


Passion Fruit
OK, not strictly an aphrodisiac but included because of the name. Mescan Extra is a great pairing for fruits and desserts, especially creamy ones.


Cheese isn’t a food which springs to mind when thinking of aphrodisiacs, however it is a fact that  some cheese contains the same chemicals (phenylethylamine) as chocolate, so the smell of them increases levels of dopamine in the brain. Most Mescan beers pair well with cheeses, Red Tripel is probably the most versatile and a good match for nearly all cheese. For blues and the stronger tasting ones, Mescan Special, Mescan Seven Virtues Carnal Knowledge and Mescan Baltic Porter are also excellent pairings.


Mescan beer takes its name from the monk Mescan who was St. Patrick’s friend and personal brewer. The stylised Mescan logo is a simple, creative representation of Croagh Patrick and the curved swirl represents the water flowing from the holy mountain, which is used to make all the Mescan beers, via a spring well beside the brewery.


Mescan Beers are currently available in off licences around the country. They are also available directly through the website which also has food pairing notes for the beers.



Tuesday, February 9, 2021




đź’‘The First Instructionđź’Ź

Light the candles, stick on Barry White and cook  up a romantic storm with this DIY menu from Ballymaloe Foods 

 Simple, no-nonsense and tasty Ideas to make Valentine’s in Lockdown Special

Beetroot Crostini

Light the candles, stick on Barry White and cook  up a romantic storm with this DIY menu from Ballymaloe Foods 

 Simple, no-nonsense and tasty Ideas to make Valentine’s in Lockdown Special

Regardless of the day itself, we can all collectively agree that this year especially, we could all do with a little bit of extra love. With most kitchen tables doubling as work desks and school desks nowadays, make sure to mark this February 14th in your diary as a day to reconnect with the ones who matter. 

Whether you're celebrating with your Valentine, your "Palentine" or even your family, virtually or as a household, it's still an opportunity to do something a little special and help spread the love a little bit further with a home-cooked menu fit for the King or Queen in your life.

So, close the laptops, clear and set the table correctly and make this Valentine's meal feel a bit more special than any other night of the week with this DIY menu that is sure to delight from Ballymaloe Foods.


Beetroot Crostini with Ballymaloe Beetroot 

Cheese Fondue


Main Course

Spaghetti Bolognese

Tagliatelle Meatballs 

Chicken Tacos 


Snack/ After Dinner

Cheeseboard served with Ballymaloe Original Relish

Ballymaloe Foods are always on a mission to help you create easy meals that are convenient, nutritious and tasty. People have so much going on right now, working from home, homeschooling or caring for loved ones so in the spirit of convenience these are all quick to assemble so if you've got little ones around, take the time to arrange, cook and eat together.

For more inspiration and recipe ideas head to 


Beetroot Crostini with Ballymaloe Beetroot 

  • 200g of drained Ballymaloe Irish Beetroot

  • 240g of tinned chickpeas drained

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • 10 medium slices of Parma Ham

  • 50g St Tola Greek Style Cheese

  • 10 slices of sourdough bread

  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

  • 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil


  1. Place the beetroot and the chickpeas in the food processor along with the clove of garlic. Blitz until you are happy with the consistency, it should be smooth in texture. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

  2. Slice the bread and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and toast in the oven until crispy. Spread the hummus over the crostini, layer with Parma Ham and crumble some delicious St. Tola Greek Style cheese on top


Cheese Fondue

  • 1 loaf of stale crusty white bread (and the crustier the better!)

  • 85g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

  • 1 tbsp dry white wine

  • 1/2 a small clove of garlic, crushed

  • 1 tsp chopped parsley

  • 1 tsp Ballymaloe Original Relish


  1. Cut your bread into rough cubes and toast them in a preheated oven at 200⁰C for 10 minutes, keeping an eye on them as they can brown quickly.

  2. Place the wine, garlic, Ballymaloe Original Relish and parsley in a fondue pot or small saucepan, stir, then add the grated cheese.

  3. Just before serving, put the fondue pot or saucepan over a low heat until the cheese melts and begins to bubble. Don’t stir it too much while it is cooking or the mixture may split

  4. Serve the fondue immediately with the toasted bread and fondue forks. If you don’t have them, skewers or regular forks will do just fine.

Spaghetti Bolognese

  • 300g spaghetti

  • 430g beef mince

  • 1 carrot (peeled, diced into half inches)

  • 120g mushrooms (chopped)

  • 150g courgette (chopped, deseed if large)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 jar (400g) Ballymaloe Bolognese Sauce

  • 2 oz of water

  • Grated Parmesan

  • Salt and pepper


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the salt and bring back to the boil

  2. Stir in the spaghetti and cook for 4 minutes

  3. Take from the heat, leave the lid on and allow to sit for a further 4 minutes

  4. Taste to ensure it is cooked, then drain and set aside

  5. In a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive and crumble in the beef mince

  6. Cook off the mince fully and set aside

  7. In a separate medium-sized saucepan, heat the other tbsp of olive oil and add in the diced carrot, mushroom and courgette, then cover and sweat. Heat for ten minutes until the vegetables are cooked through

  8. Add the cooked vegetables to the browned meat, then stir in your Ballymaloe Bolognese Sauce and bring to the boil

  9. Taste and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

  10. Take four warm plates and portion out the spaghetti, then top each with the delicious mince, veggies and sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Tagliatelle Meatballs

  • 1x 400g Ballymaloe Bolognese Sauce

  • 300g Tagliatelle

  • Handful of cherry tomatoes

  • 120g Mushrooms

  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan


  • 480g minced beef

  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic

  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

  • 50g freshly grated parmesan

  • 40g breadcrumbs

  • 1 free-range egg

  • Salt and Pepper


  1. In a bowl mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs, with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Remember the egg as this is what holds the meatballs together.

  2. Fry off a small piece to taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, by adding more salt and pepper.

  3. Once you are happy with the seasoning, begin to shape them into whole walnut pieces. Repeat until finished.

  4. In the same frying pan heat another drizzle of olive oil and add in the sliced mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook fully.

  5. Heat a frying pan and cook the meat balls in batches in a little olive oil. Make sure the meatballs are brown on the outside and cooked through. Keep warm in a low oven while you cook the spaghetti.

  6. Bring 8 pints of water to the boil in a large saucepan and add 1.5 tbsp of salt and return to the boil. Cook the spaghetti for 2 mins with the lid on. Turn off the heat and allow the spaghetti to remain in the water for 4 mins or until al dente (with a little bite).

  7. When ready strain off the water but always keep some back. The pasta cooking water is great to loosen cooked pasta and prevent it from sticking as it sits and also to enrich a sauce.

  8. Heat the Ballymaloe Bolognese Sauce in a saucepan. Use some pasta cooking liquid to loosen any remaining sauce from the jar. Add in the cooked sliced mushroom. Once the sauce is bubbling add in the meatballs.

  9. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary, with a pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

  10. To serve- place the freshly cooked spaghetti into a large warm serving bowl and top with the saucy meatballs then finally sprinkle over grated parmesan and freshly torn basil leaves.


Chicken Tacos

  • 2 chicken breasts

  • 8-12 soft flour tortillas

  • 4 tbsp Ballymaloe Pepper Relish or Original Relish

  • 1 avocado (sliced)

  • 2 tbsp coriander (freshly chopped)

  • 1 lime (cut into wedges)

  • 1 tsp pickled jalapenos (finely chopped)

  • 2 tbsp pink pickled onions


  1. Place a heavy griddle pan over a medium heat.

  2. Lay the chicken breast on a chopping board and flatten with your palm. Slice horizontally to butterfly the breast.

  3. Toss the chicken in a little olive oil then season the chicken with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Preheat a pan-grill, fry the chicken on the griddle until completely cooked, turning halfway through. Set aside to rest before slicing.

  4. Warm the tortillas by placing them on a dry, hot frying pan

  5. Once warmed through, fill each tortilla with strips of chicken, slices of avocado and fresh coriander.

  6. Spoon a dollop of Ballymaloe Pepper Relish or Original Relish over each taco and scatter some finely chopped jalapenos and pickled onions over the top. Serve right away.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

❤️ Valentine’s Afternoon Tea to Call & Collect from The Montenotte Hotel ❤️

 ❤️ Valentine’s Afternoon Tea to Call & Collect from The Montenotte Hotel ❤

Has this lockdown you yearning for dainty finger sandwiches, fluffy scones and mouth-watering desserts and treats? Fear not, this Valentines weekend, The Montenotte Hotel has a unique and exciting way for you to treat your loved one from the comfort of your own home.


We all know that Valentine’s weekend is always a romantic weekend in Cork and at The Montenotte Hotel they want to continue a great tradition and allow you still enjoy your weekend at home with some of their tasty delights.


The team at the hotel led by Executive Head Chef Tabrez Shaikh, have enhanced their very popular Call & Collect Afternoon Tea and created a specifically themed Pure Cork Valentines Afternoon Tea for you to enjoy with your loved one.

Like the real thing, this Pure Cork Afternoon Tea will be placed on a Valentines three-tiered carryout box. Priced at €55, it designed to lavishly delight two people, the perfect romantic treat.

The menu is an amazing blend of sweet and savoury and includes,

The Montenotte Valentines Battenberg, Panna Cotta with Kinsale Red Berry Mead, Rhubarb & Griottines Cherry Custard, Bertha Revenge Sloe Gin and Plain Scones. Crab Skagen with Butter Lettuce & Classic Marie Rose on Porter House Bread, Miso Slow Cooked Duck with Onion & Cranberry Jam, Mini Brioche and Ham and Cheese Heart with Bandon Vale Cheese, Homemade Celtic Root Chutney and Honey Baked Ham.


You can add a bottle of “LOUIS PICAMELOT, BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT NV FRANCE”  which is the perfect aperitif (total €95).


General Manager of The Montenotte Hotel Brian Bowler said, “We are delighted to be able to deliver on our promise to #stayunique by offering another way to celebrate Valentines weekend in the comfort of your own home and enjoy our themed afternoon tea. We hope it will provide comfort to those of you seeking a semblance of normality amidst the current restrictions.  This special treat is the perfect thoughtful gesture for your loved one this Valentines weekend. We would dearly have loved to have you come and stay or just dine with us, but we will leave this for Valentines 2022.”

The Romantic Afternoon Tea for Call and Collect is available on Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12th – 14th February 2021 with collections from 12noon to 3pm daily. To book call 021 4530050 or visit

Another perfect Valentines Gift
The hotel currently has a package available to purchase as a gift voucher for your loved one this Valentines weekend. Just visit and select the “Romantic Getaway for 2” from their Voucher selection.

For more on The Montenotte Hotel visit 

press release

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Focus on Winter Reds plus some Valentine's tips, all part of O’Briens Wine February Promotion

Focus on Winter Reds just a small part of O’Briens Wine February Promotion.
And then there's Valentines!

Taking a look here at two of the winter reds, a small part of the O’Briens Wine February promotion. February is also the Valentine’s month and with that in mind, the sparkling wines are also in the frame and we have a few tips for you.

Tandem “BolĂ­do” Valle de Yerri Navarra (DO) 2016, 13.5%, €12.71 (16.95) O’Briens Wine Promotion (3rd Feb to 8th Mar).

Dark ruby robe. Rich mix of aromas, red and black fruits. And so it continues through the rich and silky palate, fruit and spice in harmonious tandem. A lively acidity also and that should help it on the table. Excellent finish as well. Easy-drinking and Highly Recommended.

Tandem are based in northern Spain's Navarra region and produce some of O’Brien's most popular reds. This is an unoaked blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. The wine is aged on its lees in concrete vats for 24 months to give a richness to the body weight. The cool climate of the Yerri Valley helps maintain freshness and acidity in the wine.

The vineyard itself is at the foot of the Camino de Santiago in the Yerri Valley. Cool microclimate, sustainable farming and minimal intervention philosophy are all harnessed to good effect. The winery is built north-facing and partially underground to enable the use of a gravity system.

Ortas CĂ´te Du Rhone (AOC) RĂ©serve 2018, 14%, €11.21 (14.95) O’Briens Wine Promotion (3rd Feb to 8th Mar).

Bought some good stuff here in Rasteau, in this particular local coop, a few years back and, since then, have had a soft spot for wines from the Rhone village. This CĂ´te du Rhone, a blend of Grenache (70%), Cinsault (20) and Carignan (10), is mid to dark ruby. Spicy red fruit and blackcurrant, a touch of pepper and smoke. Juicy and spicy also on the palate, some wild fruit in there too. Tannins close to smooth and a lovely warm finish. Highly Recommended. Try this young wine with roast chicken, lamb dishes and goats cheese and more.

Rasteau, about 40 minutes east of the Rhone, sits on a hill in the Vaucluse, one of the five departments of Provence and the climate is typically Mediterranean (meaning a high level of grape maturity). It is to the north of better known villages such as Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Beaumes de Venise. The village also has the distinction of making fortified wines (vin doux naturel) including a deep coloured red.

Love Bubbles
If you want to produce a bottle of bubbles on Valentine's night, you'll have a huge choice at O'Brien's. Some 16 wines have their prices cut, everything from Mito Frizzante (now at 8.95) to Bollinger RosĂ© (now at 68.00, that's with 15 euro off).

Rizzardi are one of the big names in Italian wine and their Frizzante Prosecco is available at 12.50 (two for 25). Step up to their Spumante (more bubbles) for 17.95. Lots of you though will probably plump for the romantically named Romeo & Juliet Spumante RosĂ© at a very reasonable 14.95.

One of my favourites is the Granzamy Brut NV Champagne.The only grape used in this stunning champagne is the black Pinot Meunier, leaving both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (the other regular champagne grapes) out of this particular equation.

It has an inviting eye-catching light gold colour - the bubbles look even better! Aromas are light and fruity (strawberry). Light fruit on the palate also, refreshing and well-rounded, well balanced with a lip-smacking long finish with typical brioche aftertaste. Reduced by a fiver to 29.95.

And another sure to please is the Petaluma Croser RosĂ© NV, Adelaide HillsThis lovely bottle of bubbles is from Australia. 
Produced from Pinot Noir grapes, it comes in a gorgeous pastel salmon hue in which fountains of micro-bubbles constantly rise. There are delicate scents of strawberry and pomegranate. The palate is more intense than the nose, strawberry again and now cherry as well, and a pleasing refined finish. Now at 24.95 instead of 27.95. Enjoy the bubbles and the love!