Tag Archives: Irish food

Word of Mouth: Escape with a Day of Fabulous Food Trails

This week I was delighted to be invited on a Fabulous Food Trail (FFT) in Dublin city.

Our guide for the day was Eveleen Coyle, founder and lead guide at FFT and a Dublin-native herself.

Winner of the Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2015, I was excited to head on the food tour, despite the drizzling rain. As Alfred Wainwright once said, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!”

A small group of just four, with two more Irish people and a French woman (they can take up to 14 people on a tour), we set off on a looped walk, starting up and around Harcourt Street area.

Continue reading Word of Mouth: Escape with a Day of Fabulous Food Trails

Advertisements

The Best Irish Food and Drink Products I discovered in 2015

What a year! Ireland never ceases to amaze me.

Despite being quiet here on the blog I’ve had such a busy few months trying new things and delving into new products.

I’ve experienced other products from these producers before, but I was amazed and delighted to get to taste new things. Here are the ones that stood out for me the most this year:

Wildwood Heather Vinegar

Not only is the vinegar exquisite but the bottle its sold in is stunning and immediately makes it a glamorous product. The heather-flavoured vinegar is just mind-blowing.

IMG_2346

The vinegars are made in Mayo’s glorious landscape and really capture the flavours and scent of the natural world. I could buy bottles of the stuff!

Hazel Mountain Chocolates

From bean to bar: if you’re used to eating Dairymilk all your life then this chocolate is a revelation. This small-batch chocolate is just so different to anything I’ve tasted that initially it took me a while to get used to it.

12187710_1655697001344084_4343908311358584005_n

Using rare Trinitario cacao beans and raw cane sugar for their dark chocolate and Irish milk from grass-fed cows in their milk chocolate, what they create is such a mix of flavours that’s something more than just your regular block. Trust me, you’ll savour this stuff.

Dingle Gin

I was introduced to the Dingle Gin “Ginito” this year,  which uses basil instead of mint, and it is super.

IMG_2342

Distilled in pot stills with a range of botanicals including Rowan Berry, Fuschia, Bog Myrtle, Heather, Chervil and Hawthorn, Dingle Gin fast became one of my favourites.

Goatsbridge Rainbow Trout Caviar

I was delighted to meet the extraordinary Mags Kirwan while I was working at the National Crafts and Design Fair this year and that was when I was introduced to her magnificent caviar.

12227065_10153672184545874_4116300229788295933_n

Sitting on top of cracker, with a spread of cream cheese, these delightful, freshwater, salty balls of orange are dreamlike. Priced at €12.95 (plus shipping), they’re worth every cent and won’t disappoint.

Naturally Cordial’s Lemon and Lime Cordial

Clodagh Davis’ Naturally Cordial is made from organic citrus fruits and Wexford soft fruit giving it a really great taste. I was lucky to spend time and chat with Clodagh when I was working at the Bite Food Festival.

11000188_871165226307538_7919951156309869631_n

Keeping it simple and pure, Clodagh uses minimum ingredients to maximise her cordials’ quality and at her recommendation I love combining the lemon and lime cordial with cloves and hot water. It’s like a hot whiskey! Priced at €5.99 from Ardkeen Quality Food Store, it’s something that will treat your tastebuds to a little bit of magic.

Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin

A year for gin in my books, this year I was invited to the launch of Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin – yes milk! The brainchild of proprietor Justin Green and Antony Jackson, this small batch gin is bursting with all sorts of flavours with a fragrant nose and spicy middle notes. The fruit-driven finish is perfect in making this gin a special one.

960141_1094215777297686_3461674289698520490_n

Distilled from cow’s whey from local dairy farmers, Bertha the cow was the world’s oldest and native of Sneem in Kerry. She passed away in 1993, having given birth to 39 calves! Here’s a fantastic recipe for gravlax flavoured with this Irish gin.

Here’s to more great produce in 2016!

The Sunday Round-Up: A well-needed catch-up and a cup of tea

My fellow Beanies, it’s been a while. Let’s sit down, relax and have a cup of tea. A lot has changed over the past few weeks.

Cooks Academy

After a long time to holding out and keeping an eye on the job front, I started with Cooks Academy the week before last as their Digital Content Manager!

Looks like my long awaited dream of combining my love of media and food has come true – life has so many different routes for us to take but right now, I’m grateful.

I guess that’s hence why there’s been a mini hiatus here on the bloggy, blog. I’ve had to settle into a new position and sort out what needs to be done. Don’t worry I’m still blogging!

Currently I’m working on the Cooks Academy Blog where I’m giving insights into what’s going on in the school as well as helping with redesigning the look and feel. Let me know what you think.

Irish Foodies

In other related food updates: I’ve created the Irish Foodies subbreddit on Reddit which is a great social network that’s constantly on the ball with news.

Irish Foodies is going to be a hub for all the latest goings on in Irish food where people can just submit links be it from their own blog, recipes, things they saw in the news etc. etc. Have a look at it over here. (Incidentally I’m also a moderator of Irish Food – got to keep juggling all of these pots!).

Instagram and Facebook

I update way more about my food goings on, on Instagram and Facebook, if you’d like to check them out. No pressure of course, but just in case you thought I had jumped off the face of the planet.

Savour.ie

Really delighted to have been featured by Paul McLoughlin on Savour.ie (really surprised too as I’ve been slightly neglectful of my blogging duties!). I particularly like that he was appreciative of my MegaBites section – I’ve got to keep the geek in me happy.

You can read the full article here.

savour feature

(Lead image is of a Vietnamese Crab Salad that I rustled up recently for a birthday)

Food and Drink Festivals and Events 2015 – 2016

All listings are subject to change depending on whether the event or festival goes ahead or due to other circumstances.

If you’re hosting a food or drink event/festival (big or small!) and would like it featured please drop me an email to unaminh[at]gmail.com

Please consult each link and contact organisers if necessary before making plans! The listings for 2016 are mostly provisional as they haven’t been announced but all will be updated.


2015

September

4th – 13th            A Taste of West Cork Food Festival [Cork]
4th – 13th            A Taste of West Cork Food Festival [Cork]
11th – 13th         Waterford Harvest Festival [Waterford]
11th – 13th         Flavours of Killorglan [Kerry]
11th – 13th         Dublin Coffee and Tea Festival [Dublin]
11th – 13th         Clarenbridge Oyster Festival [Galway]
12th                       Midleton Food & Drink Festival [Cork]
12th – 13th         Athlone River and Food Festival [Westmeath]
13th                       Enniskerry Victorian Field Day [Wicklow]
18th – 20th         Seafood in September [Clare]
18th – 20th         Tesco Taste Festival [Belfast]
19th                       Taste of Togher [Louth]
19th – 20th         Tully Farm Food Fair [Armagh]
25th – 27th         Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival
25th – 27th           Macroom Food Festival [Cork]
25th – 27th        Dunshaughlin Harvest Festival [Meath]
27th – 28th         Food Fleadh Ballina [Mayo]
29th                       Trails Harvest Picnic [Kilkenny]

October

2nd – 4th              Dingle Food Festival [Kerry]
2nd – 4th              Taste of Monaghan [Monaghan]
9th – 11th            Kinsale Gourmet Festival [Cork]
17th – 18th         Galway Bake Fest [Galway]
18th                       Annual Mushroom Hunt [Cork]
23rd – 26th         Savour Kilkenny Festival of Food [Kilkenny]
25th                       Burren Food Fayre [Clare]
23rd – 26th         Virginia Pumpkin Festival [Cavan]

November

1st                          Orchard & Distillery Tour with Harvest Lunch [Cork]
13th                       Longueville House Long Table Game Dinner [Cork]
14th – 15th        Taste of Louth [Louth]
19th – 21st         Belfast Beer & Cider Festival

December

5th                         Longueville House Long Table Game Dinner [Cork]


2016 [Many Dates to be Confirmed]

Listings for 2016 are mostly provisional as they haven’t been announced but all will be updated.

January

February

Dine in Dublin

5th – 7th                AlTech Craft Brews and Food Fair [Dublin]

March

April

A Taste of Sligo
Dublin Bay Prawn Festival
Galway Food Festival
Roscommon Lamb Festival

15th – 17th            West Waterford Food Festival
29th April – 2nd May Riverfest Limerick [Limerick]

May

Kildorrery Food Fair
Foynes Food Festival
World Chip Championships
Wexford Food & Wine Festival

20th – 22nd          Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine [Cork]

June

Strawberry Fields Forever
Sligo Food and Cultural Festival
Taste of Dublin

2nd – 6th                 Bloom [Dublin]

July

Féile na Mara/Achill Island Festival of the Sea
Kilmore Quay Food Festival

August

Doolin Craft Beer & Roots Festival
Taste of Donegal

5th – 6th                 Taste of Cavan [dates not confirmed]

(Lead image via WikimediaCommons)

200 Words: Bunsen on Wexford Street

I’ve been putting off Bunsen for years. Perhaps it was the hype that put me off – could they really produce the best burgers in Dublin?

With a menu with no frills (actually the size of a business card), I was salivating at the thought of chomping down on some decent grub.

Continue reading 200 Words: Bunsen on Wexford Street

200 Words: East Side Tavern on Leeson Street

East Side Tavern on Leeson Street, though decorated with dark tones, manages to pull off a homely feel.

The downstairs bar has a magnificent display of liquors stacked high on its shelves and the upstairs hosts a restaurant with a modern twist.

Spaghetti marinara made its way to my table and despite my request to remove one vital ingredient (I’m not a chili person!), it still tasted wonderful.

  
Now my partner is very particular about his steaks, in fact, it’s rare that he ever gets a good one and so I made a note of looking at his expression as he tackled the 10oz rib-eye.

  
The meat was beautifully chargrilled and I was lucky enough to get a bite. He was in love to say the least!

Feeling in the mood for something unusual, my eyes wandered to the rather curious “carrot sorbet”.

Dipping the liquorice wand into the coconut yoghurt and twirling it around the sorbet and ground nuts; I was astonished.

It was satisfaction on a plate, and I was finally delighted to taste a dessert that excited me with texture.

Service was swift and top-notch and I got the impression that they really cared for the customer.

Come again? That carrot sorbet needs to be tried again.
Rating: 4/5
Website: http://www.eastsidetavern.ie/menus/

Question of the Week: When you hear the words “Irish food”, what do you immediately think of?

When one mentions “Irish food”, what immediately jumps into your mind? Is it the stereotypical potato that reminds you of Ireland or is it something more modern like our fresh seafood or artisan breads?

Because I’m fascinated so much by what we produce here in our impressive but small island – my mind immediately wanders towards the supreme quality of our dairy and meat.

Perhaps I’m biased, but anytime I’m abroad I can’t help but compare our milk and how much I miss the rich and creamy flavour back home.

Here’s what you had to say about Irish food on Twitter (apologies for not embedding these Tweets, even when I embed without the parent tweet it still seems to appear!):

t1

t2

t3

t4

t5

t6

t7

Nominate-Us-Buttons-728-x-905

Part 19: Irish Food and Drink Producers Worth Getting to Know

I’m constantly impressed by the wide range of goods that we produce here in Ireland.

This series focuses in on some of the best of what we have to offer in the country, and I honestly believe that we have products that are worth celebrating.

Here are five more companies that caught my eye this week:

The Whole Hoggs

Based in Meath, The Whole Hoggs run a free-range pig farm where they keep an old Irish breed called The Irish Grazer.They make their own sausages, rashers, puddings and chorizo.

10417799_392540810913459_5459532831660759701_n

“Our pigs have a much longer and happier life than the commercially reared ones. We are reasonable in price but do not try to compete with the bottom end of the market as we believe the pleasure in buying cheap meat is soon forgotten in the bitterness of poor taste”.

Website: http://www.thewholehoggs.ie/

The Tipperary Kitchen

Using locally sourced ingredients, this Tipperary Kitchen produces some wonderful breads, confections and sauces.

10414878_851259364901984_2916624377071354786_n

Winners at Blas na hÉireann food awards, they’re famous for their Holycross Chocolate Biscuit Cake, Holycross Soda Bread, Butterscotch Sauce, Chocolate Sauce and Real Banana Bread.

Website: http://thetipperarykitchen.ie/

Nobó

Dedicated to creating healthy, dairy free food, they are the world’s first ice cream alternative that’s made from avocado, coconut milk, and sweetened with pure honey.

1456136_598455646951361_5811490032738355429_n

100% Irish and made in small delicious batches – What’s not to love?

Website: http://www.nobo.ie/

Wicklow Wolf Brewery

Named after the county its based in and that folklore says that the last wolf in Ireland lived in the area, Wicklow Wolf Brewery is proud in its roots.

11015751_323564781167932_8352372592373232038_n

The hops that they plant on their own hop farm takes the beer’s name – Humulus Lupulus – from the wild wolf.

Website: http://www.wicklowwolf.com/

Dee’s

Celebrating wholefoods, Dee’s creates tasty, vegan food that is good for both your body and mind.

11182048_10153035325129961_7270110709339111517_n

Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free and free of all artificial additives, they create a range of sausages, wholefood burgers and”Veg Pots” to keep you feeling full of natural energy.

Website: http://www.dees.ie/

(All images via company Facebook pages)

Part Five: Irish food and drink producers worth getting to know

Celebrating the best of what we grow, create and produce here in Ireland – this ongoing series looks at some of the many things we create here in Ireland.

Here are five more producers in Ireland that make the most of what we have to offer:

Annascaul Black Pudding

Annascaul Black Pudding is an artisan homemade black pudding first made when Ashe’s shop was established in Annascaul, Kerry back in 1916.

547361_365179253545076_104157967_n

The original black pudding recipe has been handed down through three generations of the Ashe family. Continuing in that tradition, Annascaul Black Pudding is handmade by Thomas Ashe on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Annascaul-Black-Pudding-Co/209708199092183

Ballyhoura Mushrooms

Ballyhoura Mushrooms are Irish growers of specialist mushrooms including Shiitake, Oyster, Eryngii (King Oyster) Golden Oyster, Rose Oyster, Lions Mane “PomPom”, Velvet Pioppino & Nameko.

Winner of a Blas naHEireann/Irish Food Award 2012, they also supply a range of foraged Wild Irish Foods including Wild Mushrooms (Chanterelles, Ceps, Hedgehog, Saffron Milk Caps, Blewits, Chicken of the Woods, Hen of the Woods), Wild Garlic, Three Cornered Leek, Sorrel, Wood Sorrel, Wild Strawberries, Burdock, Pig Nuts.

Website: http://www.ballyhouramushrooms.ie/

Woodside Farm

Nestled in a quiet corner of Ballincurrig in East cork is Woodside Farm, a small family run farm. They’ve a mixed farm with cattle, sheep and a variety of poultry and pigs.

piggies

I recently used their bacon lardons for a quiche lorraine and it was spectacular!

Website: http://www.woodsidefarm.ie

Dungarvan Brewing Company

Based in Waterford, they brew and bottle Black Rock Irish Stout, Helvick Gold Blonde Ale and Copper Coast Red Ale.

10247280_10152263247904652_2690008245858258084_n

Seasonal releases are Mahon Falls Rye Pale Ale (spring), Comeragh Challenger Irish Bitter (summer) and Coffee and Oatmeal Stout (winter).

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DungarvanBrewingCompany

Kearney Blue Cheese

Using Northern Irish milk, Kearney Blue Cheese has an open texture to allow the development of blue splodges throughout. The taste is creamy fresh with a balanced blue finish.

1397975_726984227348600_529547899113086493_o

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kearney-Blue-Cheese/170861966294165

 

Recipe: delicious stuffed rooster potatoes

One variety of potato that I can gobble up time and time again are roosters and they make for an amazing baked treat.

With a floury, yellow flesh, the potato is perfect for being stuffed and baked and the combined flavours make it pretty darn tasty!

Here’s my recipe for stuffed rooster potatoes with goat’s cheese, vegetables and chorizo – if you’re going for vegetarian, simply leave out the meat. You can also prepare these potatoes in advance – they’ll need a 25 minutes to warm through.

Serves: 3 (2 potatoes each per person)

Time: 1 hr 20 minutes (or less, sometimes the rooster potatoes only need 45 minutes in the oven, dependent on size)

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium rooster potatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 medium courgette
  • Half a medium aubergine
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of tomato purée
  • 125g of goat’s cheese (I used the gooey kind but crumby also works nicely)
  • Olive oil
  • Handful of basil
  • Salt and white/ordinary pepper
  • Optional: chorizo sausage cut into slices (I just use as much as I like!)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/180°C.
  2. Prepare your potatoes by pricking them a few times with a fork and then popping them into the oven for 45mins to a 1 hour (or until cooked – the skins will look and feel looser).
  3. While they’re cooking, dice all of your vegetables, put them in a bowl and lightly toss them in a dollop of olive oil. You can add the chorizo now if you wish.
  4. Season with salt and white pepper.
  5. If you’ve an extra grill for the next part that’s great, otherwise you’ll have to wait for the potatoes to finish. Grill the mix for about 10 minutes until lightly charred, give them a toss about 5 minutes in.
  6. When the potatoes are ready let them cool slightly and cut the top off of them with a sharp paring knife.
  7. Remember to turn the oven on back to 180°C if you’re using just an oven/grill like I do!
  8. Scoop out the inside and mash it all up, add the purée and goat’s cheese and slowly add in the grilled vegetables and chorizo.
  9. Add half a teaspoon of shredded basil, and season again with salt and pepper (remember to taste as you go along!)
  10. Refill the potato skins as high as you can go with the mix and return to the oven for about 10 minutes to give them a warm through.
  11. Take them out and serve with shredded basil on top and an optional extra bit of goat’s cheese (I’m addicted to the stuff).

Note: I find that I did tend to have leftover filling after so I usually use it to stuff marrows or courgettes. Makes for a nice alternative! Also, you could make it into an alternative potato salad with a bit of mayo.

(Image and recipe copyright of Una Minh Kavanagh)