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Archive for August, 2014

Amuse Bouche


‘What will you do first?’ said Oswy.
‘Drink some of my own beer,’ said Wilfrid without any hesitation. ‘God! Get below the Trent and they have no idea what beer is. The stuff we have been putting up with for all those weeks. Bilgewater – straight out of a Grimsby collier.’
Oswy eased his horse round a pothole. ‘I think I shall go for a good roast. …. I have not had a good Lincolnshire roast since November.’

from The Last Viking by Berwick Coates.  Continue reading »

Ballymaloe Garden Fest Blessed by the SunOn Again Tomorrow

The sun came out today and I followed it to the Ballymaloe Garden Festival. It was lunchtime and the question came: Where is the food? In the Big Shed, of course.
No shortage of options here but we stopped at the stall where Frenchman Laurent and his bubbly crew were dishing up the galettes. Mine was packed with Poached Ballycotton Salmon, Homemade White Wine Hollandaise, Chard, Tomatoes and Garden Leaves.  Continue reading »


My day starts so calmly. The most beautiful sunrises can be experienced in Ireland as soon as Autumn’s first blush occurs. A life-long early bird, I usually stumble out of bed somewhere between half five and six o’clock every morning and assuming there has not been a deluge of rain throughout the night and carried over till dawn … this image above is typical of what greets me daily at that hour.  Continue reading »

Top Posts for Past 12 Months
(to end of August ‘14)

Very little change this month but delighted to see the Top 2014 Wines scrape in, just reaching the minimum 700 hits. Take a look if you have a chance, some decent wines there, mainly between twelve and twenty two euro.

1 Happy Gaggle of Wine Geese

2 The Square Table – Great Addition to Blarney

3 Happy New Beer at The Cotton Ball

4 The Sultan of Penrose Quay

5 Electric. Easy to book. Hard to leave.  Continue reading »

Cute and comfy furniture and décor
The furniture is a little mismatched, with a kind of whimsical  feel. The cups, plates, saucers and even jugs are pastel coloured and really suit the ambiance. It is a place you could go on a dreary afternoon, solo, with a book, or just to people watch, and enjoy one of their highly recommended scones and a big cup of tea. It is equally good, as I discovered myself, to while away some chill out time while catching up on news, chats and banter.

Top: Pastels are in!; Bottom: The great and very reasonable breakie menu from 7 am

And so, to the food... I chose the buttermilk hotcakes with fresh banana, strawberries and maple syrup. These were a mixture between American style pancakes and a flat cakelike treat. They were luscious and dripping in delicious maple syrup. I couldn't even finish all three, and I am seldom beaten by a good breakie.

This cute and quirky breakfast, brunch and lunch café is a real find! Nestled in a pretty hidden spot right behind the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, beside the Travelodge hotel, I never even knew of its existence until Rory from the Eat Drink Run Fun blog and Niamh of Gourmet Grazing recommended it as a weekday breakfast spot in the heart of the city centre.
The Bell & Pot is open every day from 7 am to 9 pm and its breakfasts are top notch.  
Continue reading »

It never ceases to amaze me that when one fruit goes out of season, in our garden, another can take its place. I had but a few days of yearning for fresh berries, when I spied the first of our blueberry crop, already ripened by the summer sun. For the past number of years we’ve successfully grown blueberries in pots filled with soil, acidic compost and the odd shovelful of rich compost, from our compost container.  Continue reading »

THE LANGUEDOC, France’s most ‘new world’ wine region, is a massive, diverse expanse, arcing from Montpellier southwest around the Gulf of Lyon towards the Spanish border.

One quarter of France’s vines grow here, a figure that used to be even higher not so many years ago when the Languedoc was basically one huge plonk factory.  Continue reading »

A.  Continue reading »

Nutella Cheesecake Bars

A post by Donal Skehan at DonalSkehan.com

I am a Nutella fiend and I know I’m not the only one so if you are a fan of the chocolatey goodness from a jar, this is the recipe for you! These little bars have all the flavour and richness of a traditional cheesecake but are ready in half the time! Sliced up, they are perfect for cakes sales, bringing into the office to share or even just keeping all to yourself to gorge on!  Continue reading »

Scally’s SuperValu, located in the heart of Clonakilty in West Cork, has become the first supermarket in Ireland to launch a designated in-store gluten-free bakery and food production facility. The new facility, with an investment of €500,000, will create five new jobs at the store.

Coeliac disease is an auto immune disease causing some adults and children to react to gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Some coeliacs are also sensitive to the protein found in oats.  Continue reading »


A post by donalskehan at DonalSkehan.com

This wonderful spiced rice and egg dish from colonial India makes for a rather different breakfast. Keep an eye out for undyed smoked haddock. Many fishmongers and supermarkets now stock it and the flavour is far superior.  Continue reading »

Spicy Seafood Paella

A post by donalskehan at DonalSkehan.com

What I love most about this recipe is that a big steaming pan of food is served straight to the table and people just dig in. It also makes a great leftover lunchbox if you’re lucky enough to have any left.  Continue reading »

Loughbeg Farm Ice-CreamSo Creamy. Amazing Flavours

World Champions?

San Gimignano in Italy regards itself as a great ice-cream centre and, indeed, when I visited a few years back, boasted the World Champion among its narrow streets. The ice-cream there, fresh and full of fruit, is gorgeous (my cappuccino was not!) but I reckon Loughbeg Farm from Schull, in County Cork, has come up with a few world class contenders.  Continue reading »

It’s back to school time here in Ireland, and as I mentioned on Twitter the other day this time of year always gives me that New Year vibe. The notebook and pen have come out and I am making lists, lists and more lists. At this rate I will need a list of the lists. The summer months with their longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures have a tendency to send me into an ultra relaxed mañana state of mind.  Continue reading »

Certified organic food businesses can still enter their products into the National Organic Food Awards. 5th September is the closing date for applications.

After a break last year, this year’s awards have been tweaked to be of benefit to as many organic businesses as possible.  Continue reading »

via Instagram http://ift.tt/1tRj0Pu.  Continue reading »

STEAK TARTARE, a legendary French dish dating from the early 20th century, isn’t for everyone but if you love steak and you’re not squeamish about the whole ‘raw meat’ thing it can be pretty amazing, and not difficult to do. Make sure to: use a trusted butcher; buy the best steak (not mince) you can; keep the meat chilled; use a razor-sharp knife; and eat right after prepping. Have fun!  Continue reading »

To paraphrase the Lorax, Alys Fowler ‘speaks for the bees.’ She was at the Ballymaloe Litfest in May, talking about self-funding her latest book Letters….  Continue reading »

Winning Grenache from a Solera in Gigondas

Saint Cosme Little James Basket Press, Non Vintage Red (Vin de France), 13%, €15.99 (12.79 August) at Curious Wines

The Rhone cased Chateau de Saint Cosme (est. 1570), a negociant-vigneron, uses the Solera blending technique, usually associated with sherry, to produce this excellent non vintage Grenache.  Continue reading »

SAUVIGNON BLANC, the world’s eight most-planted grape, hails originally from Bordeaux and the Loire but is today cultivated in every country that makes wine. Famous regions that specialise in it include Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Bordeaux, Casablanca (Chile), Friuli (Italy) and the Adelaide Hills. But it is New Zealand’s Marlborough that has set a benchmark for Sauvignon, even if it has been grown there for only a relatively short time.  Continue reading »