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Archive for January, 2017

We walked to the allotment with heavy feet this week. It was neglected because we had neglected it. Life got in the way, which is ironic really considering how much life is entwined within the plot. Our lives, our material stuff, we allowed them to get in the way.
When I was sick the last thing I wanted to do was sit in pain at the allotment, but I should have done.
Over-stressed and writing letter after letter to the bank, we opted to stay at home and write more letters.  Continue reading »

Amuse Bouche

A post by Cork Billy at RESTAURANTS AND FOOD

I’ll say quickly what..brought me to America but I don’t feel much in the way of saying too much. Least said soonest mended is the old saw…

My father was a butter exporter in a small way sending butter in barrels out of Sligo port into England. All good things were sent there. Cows, beeves, pigs, sheep, goats, wheat, barley, English corn, beets, carrots, cabbages, and all the rest of the paraphernalia of existence.  Continue reading »

My Toddler Cooked

A post by My Toddler Cooks at My Toddler Cooks

A.  Continue reading »

Grin and bear it

A post by The Beer Nut at The Beer Nut

This is the last of my posts on beer in and from Romania, and it’s about the mainstream macro brands. I have some experience with these, having tasted a couple of the dark lagers in this post. I was in no rush to try any of them again so stuck to the pale stuff.
Like in most of Europe, Romanian beer shelves are a battleground between a couple of multinationals, waging war with the local brands they have acquired or developed.  Continue reading »

Tempranillo, in many Irish people’s minds, is the grape of Rioja. And it is. But, now, the bodegas of Ribera Del Duero, all 300 of them operating over 22,400 has of vineyards, are also laying a strong claim to the grape by making some excellent wines with it.

Wine has been produced in this beautiful region since Roman times, though it became well known outside of Spain only in the 1990s. North west of Madrid and south west of Rioja, in the Castilla y León region, the vines grow on a flowing swathe of land that’s approximately 115 kms long and 35 kms wide. 

The vast majority (including Fuentenarro, near La Horra) grow in the province of Burgos but some too in Segovia, Soria (Antidoto, for example) and Valladolid. See the map here

Two related factors that make Ribera different are the average altitude of 850 metres and the big variations in summer between the heat of the day and the cool of the night. The heat of the day promotes the ripening, the chill of the night preserves acidity. 

This is a land of sudden storms, dismal winds, intense frosts (often in late spring), a hot (42 degrees in summer, though it can dive to minus 29 in winter) and dry environment. 

But the best wines are often made in extreme conditions, on the edge between possible and impossible, and I think we have two very good examples below, even if neither is a Crianza or Reserva.

Fuentenarro Vendemia Seleccionada, Ribera del Duero (DO) 2011, 14%, €23.70 Le Caveau

Middling to fair

A post by The Beer Nut at The Beer Nut

Continuing my exploration of Romanian beers, today we move on to the bigger independents and contract brews.
Zăganu is the nearest thing to a mainstream craft brand, popping up in supermarkets and a couple of non-specialist bars. Zăganu Blondă is simple golden lager of 5.3% ABV. The malt base gives it a pleasant pilsner-style golden syrup flavour, there’s a lightly spicy hop element plus a touch of Belgian esters in the mix, but that’s as complex as it gets.  Continue reading »

Taste of the Week

Seymours Biscuits

So you like coffee? Well here is the perfect partner, Chocolate and Hazelnut biscuits from Seymours.We go the extra mile by freshly roasting the hazelnuts beforehand, using Belgian chocolate chips, stone ground local oatmeal, fresh eggs and butter and a nice splash of bourbon vanilla to finish! Each biscuit is seriously wholesome and the flavours come to the fore when eaten with coffee for those well deserved relaxation moments.  Continue reading »

I get a lot of fun out of the blog. It keeps me in touch with friends old and new from all parts of the globe. I learn lots and hopefully I give a little back. One of the ‘friends’ I have gathered to my metaphorical bosom (being male and of “a certain age” my bosom is most definitely metaphorical) is Adam J. Holland, the oddball Texan and author of the excellent RV Chronicles on his Unorthodox Epicure blog.  Continue reading »

This organic wine is part of the winery’s PURE range, started in 2006. Other single varietals include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah along with Viognier, Egiodola, Petit Verdot, and Fer Servadou. Some unusual grapes there!

It has a lovely ruby colour, a degree darker than usual. Aromas are more raspberry than strawberry, herbal hints too. More like cherry on the palate, a full and generous mouthfeel, tannins still in play as this approachable wine, more supple than some Pinot Noirs, moves to a long finalé.  The Languedoc may not be the usual place for Pinot Noir but this is a winner all the way and Very Highly Recommended.

Superb Red and White Double
 from de Brau

The Taris, Gabriel and Wenny, of Chateau de Brau, are too close to the Languedoc ground to get carried way with the romantic cliches that winemakers (and their sellers) use willy nilly. 

They farm in the area of Carcassonne, a town known to Irish holiday makers and rugby followers. It is not sunshine all the way: “Not all vintages are exceptional. There are the weather conditions.  Continue reading »

Bucharest and relaxation

A post by The Beer Nut at The Beer Nut

I spent a week over New Year in Romania, exploring what the capital has to offer. I think I managed to put a decent dent in the local beer offerings, which I’ll be recounting over the next few posts. The independent beer action mostly happens across a handful of pubs in Bucharest Old Town, though I’m sure there’s more for the proper adventurer to discover further afield. And I got the impression of a scene very much on the grow: where this lot came from, much more will follow.  Continue reading »

When you eat out a lot, it means that you tend to return to certain restaurants on a regular basis. A list of favourite spots develops over time, with new restaurants being added once they’ve proven their consistency.  Continue reading »

Brook Inn’s Abuzz

A post by Cork Billy at RESTAURANTS AND FOOD

Brook Inn’s Abuzz

Salmon starter

Sallybrook’s Brook Inn is busy and buzzy at 6.00pm on a Friday evening. The fact that it’s just after Christmas and the day before New Year’s Eve may have something to do with it and we see quite a few families enjoying the food, and the festive lights, both inside and outside. The place is close to full so just as well that we had booked in advance.  Continue reading »

Amuse Bouche

A post by Cork Billy at RESTAURANTS AND FOOD

Nobody had prepared themselves for what the Munster clubs were capable of delivering. 

They simply didn’t know what hit them. The Young Munster supporters would arrive in their thousands…. They’d come into the clubhouse beforehand and set up base camp. They’d have the sandwiches ready and one massive communal picnic would break out. They’d have their pig’s feet and a few pints and they’d be saluting everyone.  Continue reading »

Cheeky cans

A post by The Beer Nut at The Beer Nut

Today I’m looking at the initial three packaged beers sent to me by one of Ireland’s newest breweries, Lough Gill Brewing, in Sligo town. It’s the creation of entrepreneur James Ward, who previously set up the neighbouring White Hag Brewery before leaving the company and, like White Hag, there’s a definite eye towards the US market with these. Unusually he has chosen 440ml packaging, with the observation that it’s fast becoming America’s favourite can size.  Continue reading »

Terras Gauda Abadío de San Campio Albarino, Rías Baixas (DO) 2014, 12%, €20.35 Le Caveau

Thought to be related to Riesling and presumably brought by Cluny monks to 12th century Iberia, via France, the recently fashionable Albarino grape is now mainly associated with Rías Baixas in north western Spain. It is also grown in neighbouring areas in Portugal where it is known as Alvarinho.

I was expecting good things in this bottle and I got them, even better than anticipated.  Continue reading »

The Mare’s Fart and Dirty Dick
All found in Herbarium

Shortly before Christmas I bought the newly published Herbarium by Caz Hildebrand. It covers 100 herbs with text and illustration. The Mare’s Fart and Dirty Dick are among the details

Most of us will know that Pissabed is a common, very common, name for the Dandelion.  Continue reading »

Christmas leftovers

A post by The Beer Nut at The Beer Nut

The last couple of beers from my Christmas gift stash today, starting with Hobsons Chase ”whisky beer”, resplendent in the usual smart Hobsons livery. The label explains that the brewery makes the wash for a local distillery. The distillers have given back some of the finished whisky and it’s been blended with the brewery’s ruby porter Postman’s Knock.
It’s a modest 5.5% ABV and a dark mahogany red.  Continue reading »

Taste of the Week
Koko Chocolate

Frank Keane, owner and producer at Koko of Kinsale has a website but you won’t get much info there. He is a man that prefers to chat rather than write, though he does “chat”, sometimes cheeklily, on Facebook – find him @kokokinsale. 

Francis makes his handmade artisan chocolate in the heart of Kinsale.  Continue reading »

I’ve been doing a bit of cooking with Armenian cherries of late. A special offer in the supermarket sent me over the edge of reason and I bought more jars than I will need this side of a catastrophic meteor strike. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and I needed to find some additional recipes for these delicious biter-sweet balls of shininess. A small amount of thinking brought the thought of Sous Vide Duck Breast with Armenian Cherry Sauce.  Continue reading »

A.  Continue reading »