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The Irish Times Christmas Supplement 2012 4

Five foodie treats under €10: The Irish Times Christmas Supplement 2012

Part one of my Irish food gifts article for The Irish Times is here or, if you have a subscription, you can read the entire published version here. I’m always looking for small bits and pieces to include in Christmas food parcels and here are a few of my favourites. These are all Irish – indeed, several are great alternatives to imported products – cost less than €10 and will be warmly welcomed by any food lover.     Looking for a new sweetener for breakfast pancakes and porridge? The toffee-like Highbank Orchard Syrup, produced from organic apples, can give Canadian maple syrup producers a real run for their money. (€7.90, highbankorchards.com) The flaky crystals of Irish Atlantic Sea Salt are a kitchen essential, perfect for seasoning anything from the Christmas turkey to a chocolate caramel sauce (€4.99, www.irishatlanticsalt.ie). Belfast’s Blackthorn Foods make a delectable Butter Fudge Fondue in an earthenware dish that can be heated and used as a dip or sauce. (£3.99, www.blackthornfoods.co.uk) The freshly roasted crunch of the nuts in the Chocolate and Hazelnut Spread from the Chocolate Garden of Ireland make this a not-too-sweet spread for children and adults alike. (€5.95, www.chocolategarden.ie) A spoonful of Llewellyn’s Balsamic Cider Vinegar lends a...

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The Irish Times IT's Christmas 2012 0

Irish food gifts from The Irish Times Christmas Supplement 2012

If we all spend €4 more a week on Irish products we can create 6,000 more jobs. But who defines what an Irish product is? While you can spend a lot of time checking labels and wondering exactly what they mean, the easiest way to make absolutely sure that you’re buying Irish is to source products from small producers. You’ll find rich pickings at this weekend’s Food & Wine Magazine Christmas Show (Main Hall RDS, 30 Nov-2 Dec) and the National Crafts & Design Fair (Main Hall RDS, 5-9 Dec) and don’t forget your own local farmer’s market, deli and food shop. I wrote an article for last week’s Irish Times Christmas gift supplement about Irish food-related presents. Due to space constraints, a few pieces got lost along the way. The entire text that I submitted is below or, if you have a subscription, you can read the published version here.       Every euro counts. Every euro spent on products from small Irish producers counts even more. This Christmas, think before you put your hand in your pocket and spend your cash on something very unique, special – and Irish – for the food-lover in your life. Freshwater...

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Nettles in Co Cork, Ireland 4

Wild Pickings and Nettle Soup

Picking food in all seasons in woodlands and meadows is great fun – especially when you get something as tasty as Nettle Soup as an end result. Writing for SilverCircle.ie, Caroline Hennessy tells you what you need to know to get started. First published in 2009. *** One of the pleasures of living in the country is having a wealth of wild food available all year round – it is just a matter of looking for it. No matter what the season or weather, it’s always worth keeping an eye out. Walks can be much enlivened by having a copy of Richard Mabey’s Food For Free or Wild Food by Roger Phillips tucked into a pocket so you can figure out if that plant really is deliciously sharp wild sorrel, perfect for a spring salad, or just another dock leaf. As country children, guided by our elders, every walk down the fields involved a feast. We bit into sloes for dares, puckering our mouths up with their sharp astringency; buckets of blackberries and crab apples were collected each year for my grandmother to make jam; wild blueberries were a special treat on walks in the woods and hills; and we couldn’t...

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Paul Dolan of Mendocino Wine Company 0

Californian wine – with Irish roots: Paul Dolan of Mendocino Wine Company

With St Patrick’s Day coming up next week, it’s time to think about a celebratory tipple. With my link to Eight Degrees Brewing, I’d be a fan of the Irish craft beerside of things myself but you could always opt for a wine with Irish connections. *** Irish people have a long history of producing wine, albeit in other countries. From Bordeaux in France to California’s Mendocino County, there are many links between Ireland and the wines of the world. Caroline Hennessy investigates one of the innovative New World Irish Wine Geese. First published on SilverCircle.ie in 2009. Although there have been some interesting experiments with growing vines in Ireland, we have never managed to become one of the world’s notable wine-producing regions. Despite this, over hundreds of years the Irish diaspora have played a disproportionately large part in international wine production and development. From the migrants of the 17th and 18th centuries to the current generation, the Wine Geese is the name given to emigrant Irish families – and their descendants – who became involved in the wine trade in the countries where they settled. Names such as Hennessy and Lynch are familiar from areas of Old World wine production. However, the...

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Glebe Gardens and Cafe, Baltimore, Ireland 0

Slugs, snails and carrot fly tales: Jean Perry of Glebe Gardens, Baltimore

With the weather getting a little warmer – and wetter – this cottage dweller’s thoughts turn to the garden. Every morning, as Little Missy and I feed our hens, I try to incorporate a few seasonal jobs: weeding around the blackcurrant bushes, poking at the pots of perennial herbs to see if they’re still alive, a little apple tree pruning. It’s time to take out the box of vegetable seeds and see what we’ll be growing this year. But mind the pests! *** Are you fed up with carrot root fly attacking your lovingly tended seedlings or your hostas being reduced to Swiss cheese by slug attacks? Caroline Hennessy takes a look at some common garden pests and finds out how to deal with them organically. First published on SilverCircle.ie in 2009. Violent death, mass murder and bloodshed – just another day in the life of a gardener trying to cope with the numerous pests to which a typical garden is prey. However, when you use poisonous pellets for the slugs and toxic sprays on the aphids, you are also endangering friendly wildlife that could help you with those problems. Jean Perry of Glebe Gardens in west Cork has been growing...

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Food producer profile: Declan Ryan of Arbutus Bread

Artisan baker Declan Ryan of Arbutus Bread, and winner of the first Michelin star in Ireland, talks to Caroline Hennessy for SilverCircle.ie about the resurgence of interest in good quality bread and his grandmother’s recipe for brown soda bread. First published in 2009. Head along to Middleton Farmers’ Market on a Saturday morning and you can’t miss the distinct Arbutus Bread smell. Follow your nose and you will find Declan Ryan’s stall, piled high with fragrant, just-baked brown soda cakes, white ducks, baguettes, wholemeal spelt loaves and sourdoughs. Ryan is always busy, meeting and greeting as he sells and charms, popping bread into bags and baskets or grabbing an empty flour sack to fill for the regulars who take six or seven loaves at a time. Surrounded by eager customers, his wares never last for long. Before he started baking bread full time, Ryan was the chef-proprietor of Arbutus Lodge Hotel in Cork and, in 1974, was the winner of Ireland’s first Michelin star. Unlike today, it wasn’t seen as much of a triumph and didn’t have much of an impact on the business. “Absolutely none,” laughs Ryan. “It was only reported, grudgingly, in the middle pages of the Cork...

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Irish Coffee past in The Irish Times and present in L Mulligan Grocer

On the eve of St Patrick’s Day, one’s thoughts turn – quite naturally – to Irish Coffee, especially if you’ve been at all following L Mulligan Grocer‘s search for the best of the best of Irish Coffee. During the Eighties I worked in a hotel restaurant (which shall remain nameless!) and, when asked for Irish Coffee – there were quite a few Americans floating around that angle of Co Limerick – we got out a bottle of pre-mix, floated some already aerated cream on top and no one worried too much if it started to sink before you got to the table.  I, a 16-year-old purist, was horrified.  The fact that the consommé came out of a tin and was reconstituted made me rethink my then-ambition to become a chef. Suffice it to say that I don’t have particularly good memories of Irish Coffee. But that just might have to change. In the interests of finding the best Irish Coffee, Mulligan’s used hand-roasted coffee supplied by three different roasteries: Ariosa, Hasbean (supplied and chosen by 3FE) and Bailie’s in conjunction with Coffee Angel. The coffees were all individually chosen by the roasteries to complement the selected whiskey which was Kilbeggan, from Cooley, the only...

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The Press, Christchurch, New Zealand 0

The Press, Christchurch: No-fuss comfort food

With all that’s happening in my former home of Christchurch, New Zealand at the moment – victims of the earthquake still being named, constant aftershocks some up to 4.1 in magnitude, work continuing on restoring electricity, drinking water and sanitation systems, damaged buildings having to be demolished – our thoughts are constantly with friends and family who are having to cope with the aftermath. Fortunately the Husband’s parents live in Nelson so, after the earthquake struck on 22 February, three of his sisters, two brothers-in-law and one baby nephew hit the road north immediately for some well-needed R&R. They weren’t the only ones: my Sister, currently working in Nelson’s Morrison Street Cafe has said that they’re run off their feet with the influx of Christchurch migrants and, according to the Husband’s mother, schools in Nelson are also seeing a rise in enrolments as people try to figure out if and when they want to return to Christchurch. While I lived there, I wrote a piece for The Press about Irish Soda Bread and I’m honoured to see it re-appearing in an article on post-earthquake comfort food by Kate Fraser for that publication. It’s also good to see that the Christchurch craft...

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