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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Get your Hands on a new copy of "All in the Cooking"

For many decades, All in the Cooking was the go-to book for anyone studying Domestic Science/Home Economics in secondary school. 

First published in 1946, even today it is an absolute gem to add to any cookbook collection, where you can relearn all the classic recipes you perfected as a teenager. From classic sweet puddings to savoury sauces, a myriad of potato preparations to special “invalid cookery” dishes and the list goes on and don't forget that simply delicious old fashioned “Queen of Puddings” recipe!

This book was way ahead of it's time in regard to encouraging the use of local food at a time when tinned food and modern (for 1946) advertising was encouraging the use of easy-cook foods like tinned meats and pre-cooked meals. The book has attained near legendary status over the years. Chefs and students of Home Economics remember it well but nobody could get their hands on a copy! Until now...

O'Brien Press and Edco (The Educational Company of Ireland) have decided to re-publish this old cooking jem on the 7th September and it will make a wonderful addition to any cookbook collection! 

This new edition of All in the Cooking is the perfect gift for those who remember it fondly from their schooldays, and yet it remains an essential manual for the modern kitchen (including some ‘interesting’ recipes from days gone by!)

With a natural emphasis on local ingredients, All in the Cooking covers everything a home cook could want to make - from soups and sauces to fish and meat dishes, breads, cakes and desserts – and offers invaluable  instructions for handling ingredients, organising a kitchen and planning meals.

I've got my new copy and You can Pre-Order your copy now at www.obrien.ie/all-in-the-cooking but you better hurry up, I hear they're selling out very fast!



Female Food Entrepreneurs can apply for ACORNS fully funded business initiative

A recently launched ACORNS programme seeks early stage rural based female entrepreneurs in Ireland to participate in fully funded business initiative

Donegal Entrepreneur – Deirdre McGlone, owner of Harvey’s Point Hotel has been announced as one of the Lead Entrepreneurs for programme looking for 50 rural start-up female-led businesses
Deadline for applications is Friday 11 September

Applications are being sought for a new fully funded programme aimed at providing early stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland with the knowledge, support and networking opportunities to advance the development of their businesses.
Entitled ACORNS - Accelerating the Creation Of Rural Nascent Start-ups - the programme is focused on unleashing the potential of female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland who have recently started a business or who have taken concrete steps towards setting up a business. 
ACORNS is dedicated to seeking out and assisting up to 50 start-up female entrepreneurs living in rural areas as defined by CEDRA – the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas. These are all areas of the country outside the administrative city boundaries of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
As ACORNS is fully funded under the CEDRA 2015 Rural Innovation and Development Fund through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, there is no charge for successful participants.

Donegal based entrepreneur, Deirdre McGlone, has been announced as one of the Lead Entrepreneurs on the inaugural ACORNS programme. Deirdre McGlone has run Harvey’s Point Hotel located on Lough Eske, Co. Donegal for the last 26 years. Opening with 20 bedrooms, a restaurant and a small team, the hotel has seen phenomenal growth over the years. Today, the hotel boasts 64 suites and has recently launched ‘The Lodge @ Harvey’s Point’, located on the grounds of the hotel for special interest groups.
In January 2015, Harvey’s Point was voted Number One Hotel in Ireland in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for the third successive year. The multi award winning hotel was also ranked No. 8 in Europe and No. 23 in the world. With 120 people employed in Harvey’s Point, Deirdre and her team continue to push the boundaries as an industry leader, keeping hotel standards at the highest level.

The ACORNS initiative is an excellent opportunity for female Food Entrepreneurs 

To qualify for consideration, applicants must have recently set up a new business (no earlier than the 9th of July 2013), which they either own or part-own. Those who are not already trading must be actively planning a new venture and have a clear idea of what they want to achieve. If they are not already trading, activities such as organising the start-up team, looking for equipment / facilities, saving money for the start-up or writing the business plan would all be considered as active commitments to starting a business. 

There is no restriction on the sector in which the new business is focused. However, the selection process is competitive. The deadline for applications from interested candidates is Friday 11 September and the pilot programme will begin on the 30th September, at the ACORNS residential Development Forum in Portlaoise, Co. Laois. 

The ACORNS initiative will consist of interactive round table sessions that are facilitated by other female entrepreneurs who have started and successfully grown businesses in rural Ireland and believe in the philosophy of entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs
They include:
·         Alison Ritchie, Polar Ice, Laois
·         Anne Cusack, Critical Healthcare, Westmeath
·         Anne Reilly, Paycheck Plus, Louth
·         Caroline McEnery, The HR Suite, Kerry
·         Deirdre McGlone, Harvey’s Point, Donegal
·         Mary B Walsh, Ire Wel Pallets, Wexford

Known as ‘Lead Entrepreneurs’, these role models will work in a voluntary capacity to facilitate monthly round table sessions with up to eight participants. These will take place once a month over six months and will address enterprise challenges and support participants to consider how best to develop and advance their early stage businesses for sustainability and growth.

Paula Fitzsimons, Deirdre McGlone, Alison Ritchie and Mary B. Walsh at the launch of ACORNS

As past participants of another female entrepreneurship initiative – the Going for Growth programme -all of the Lead Entrepreneurs have first-hand experience of the round table peer learning approach and of its benefits. 

Paula Fitzsimons is the Founder of Fitzsimons Consulting, the company awarded the contract to run the ACORNS programme and which also runs the Going for Growthinitiative. She says:
 “I believe that significant untapped entrepreneurial potential exists among women in rural Ireland and the objective of ACORNS is to equip these early stage entrepreneurs with the appropriate knowledge, confidence and networks to successfully start and develop sustainable businesses.  Working with the team of volunteer Lead Entrepreneurs and with the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and CEDRA, I am convinced that we can harness that potential for the good of the individuals concerned, their local communities and the wider economy.” 
A report from the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) contained a recommendation that a Rural Innovation and Development Fund should be developed to support “innovative, small scale pilot initiatives that explore the diverse range of potential identified through the CEDRA process”.

Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine provided for the setting up of this fund in his 2015 budget allocation and, commenting on the ACORNS programme, he says: “I am delighted that this initiative is getting underway. Job creation is a huge focus for this Government and I hope that by targeting female entrepreneurs, who are currently under represented in start–up enterprises, that we can increase the level of business and employment generation in rural areas”

Minister of State for Rural Affairs,  Ann Phelan TD, who is responsible for the implementation of the CEDRA Report,  says that this CEDRA initiative aims to encourage a stronger level of enterprise development in rural areas and adds “Rural women’s entrepreneurship clearly represents an untapped potential and can contribute significantly to our economic growth. For many rural women, entrepreneurship is part of a broader livelihood strategy, often undertaken initially on a part-time basis. Emerging businesses need support to flourish. I am a strong believer in the value of mentors and in the importance being able to turn to experienced and trusted advisors from a variety of industries for advice and support”. 

Female entrepreneurs interested in applying for the ACORNS programme can access information and register their interest at www.acorns.ie
Application forms will be sent back to interested applicants immediately.

The closing date for the receipt of completed applications is Friday, 11 September 2015


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Irish Great Taste Award Winners 2015

Great Taste 3-Star Awards Winners for Ireland

Seven Irish Food Producers have come out on top with the coveted 3-Star Allocation, in this years' Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste Awards for 2015, which were just announced today. The winners are:

Cuinneog Irish Farmhouse Country Butter 

Cuinneog Ltd

Cuinneog has produced the finest quality Irish Farmhouse Country Butter and Natural Buttermilk for the past 25 years. Their butter is produced with pasteruised cream, a little salt and time. It is a true 'country' butter which gets its distinctive flavour and texture from the slow traditional production process. The cream is slowly heated and fermented, then churned in the traditional way. The butter is then shaped, cut & wrapped by hand.

Java Republic Rwandan 

Java Republic is an independent Irish-owned company founded in 1998 by David McKernan. David set up the business to take advantage of a gap in the premium coffee market in Ireland. Their Rwandan Coffee is described as "a Light Roast Coffee with a milk chocolate and woody body. Hints of peach and mandarin give this coffee a fruity finish that is fresh on the palate".

James Whelan Beef Dripping 

Having their own farm, abattoir and shop to sell their beef, allows James Whelan Butchers to give people that essential element of trust that consumers today require when they buy meat in-store or online. Their Beef Dripping is a great product utilizing the animal fat rendered from the beef carcass. Similar to lard, beef dripping is used in cooking and makes amazing chips and is a great alternative to goose fat for roast potatoes.

Quinlan's Smoked Irish Organic Salmon 

Quinlan's Kerryfish

With over 60 years of experience the Quinlan family have become eminent artisan producers of Organic Oak Smoked Irish Salmon. After careful preparation of the each Atlantic Salmon, they use native Irish oak wood chippings to create Organic Smoked Salmon with a truly brilliant flavour, texture and taste. Their Organic Oak Smoked Irish Salmon has achieved a reputation amongst connoisseurs of good food for the excellence of its flavour and for its consistent quality.

Quinlan's Smoked Irish organic Salmon cured with Irish Atlantic Sea Salt 

Quinlan's Kerryfish
Quinlan's Kerry Fish use unique smoking technique extracts distinguished flavours from Salmon.

Bewley’s Fairtrade Special Blend Tea 

Bewley's Tea 

This award winning tea is sourced from a single tea garden east of the Rift Valley high on the slopes of Mount Kenya. It is refined, elegant and golden with a delicate flavour. Expertly blended by their Master Blender, it’s brimming with distinctive aromas and flavours. The Fairtrade premium Bewley’s pays helps farmers to make a vital contribution to their families, local communities and the natural environment.

Ballyhoura Cep Oil 

Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms

Ballyhoura Mountain Mushroom are an Irish grower of specialist mushrooms including Shiitake, Oyster, Eryngii (King Oyster) Golden Oyster, Rose Oyster, Lions Mane "PomPom", Velvet Pioppino & Nameko. They also produce a range of  award winning speciality mushroom products including Marinated Oyster & Shiitake Mushrooms, Mushroom Soups, Wild Mushroom and Oyster Mushroom Pate, the Cep Oil, Mushroom Ketchup, Mushroom Seasoning Powders & Dried Mushrooms.

Ballyhoura Mushroom Vinegar 

Lucy and Mark produce a great range of marinated Oyster Mushrooms, Shiitake or Eryngii Mushrooms blanched in local Irish Cider Vinegar marinated in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with chilli, garlic and fresh homegrown herbs.
On top of that, Ballyhoura 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 and Burdock.

The FULL LIST is Irish 3-Star, 2-Star and 1-Star WINNERS can be seen the special Irish winners section of the Great Taste Awards website HERE

There were Three 3-Star Winners in Northern Ireland:

And the full list of Northern Ireland Winners of 3-Star, 2-Star and 1-Stars can be seen HERE

Congrats to all the winners!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

BBQ Sauce & Basting Stock!

With this wonderful weather upon us and the whole of Ireland pulling out their BBQs to take advantage of the sunny afternoons, I thought that I’d give you a tip that will help turn your Barbecue into something really special!

The first thing to note is that you should not coat your meat (any type) with your Barbecue sauce until it is almost finished cooking. The reason for this is that the sugars and tomatoes in the BBQ sauce will caramelise and burn on the outside of the meat before it is actually cooked on the inside!

Instead you use a Basting Sauce (or stock) while it is cooking to keep it moist and add flavour. Use a 1” paintbrush to coat the basting sauce over the meat as it is cooking. 

When your food is cooked, brush the BBQ Sauce over the meat and give it another few minutes on the grill to glaze and finish the flavouring.

My Basting Sauce Recipe:
500ml apple juice
100ml olive oil
50ml malt vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Chicken stock cube
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tspn thyme
1 tspn rosemary
½ tspn paprika
½ tspn black pepper
½ tspn salt

Put everything in a pot and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and let it cool completely before using it to moisten your meats as they cook.

My BBQ Sauce Recipe:
50ml olive oil
1 medium onion
5 cloves garlic
1 red chilli (deseeded)
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 green pepper
2x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
50g brown sugar
4 tbls honey
50ml soy sauce
300ml tomato ketchup
100ml brown sauce
1 tbls Treacle
1 tbls Sesame OIl
1 tbls Dijon mustard
1 tbls Worchester sauce
juice and zest of 1 lemon
juice and zest of 1 orange
1 tspn Tabasco sauce
½ tspn cracked black pepper
100ml water

Chop the vegetables finely or blitz them in a food processor. Put them into a large pot and add all the other ingredients. Bring it all to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer the sauce for 30 minutes. You can use this BBQ sauce straight away or, if you have the time, put it in the fridge overnight to help the flavours develop. 

Simply brush the sauce over your meat, when it is cooked to your liking, give it another few minutes on the Barbecue and let it add that tasty, shiny, crispy glaze that will have your guests licking their fingers with delight!

Both sauces can be used for beef, chicken, ribs, lamb, Kebabs, burgers, sausages – everything really even fish!

My BBQ Sauce is also excellent for rubbing on Chicken Wings for roasting in the oven. Coat them well and cook, uncovered, in a pre-heated medium oven (around 150°C) for about 25 minutes. Finger Lickin' Good!

Both sauces can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy the Sunshine and insist on locally-sourced Food!


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Ireland's Best Scone Winner is Granny Griffin in Cork

Following thousands of votes, hundreds of nominations, ten finalists and an expert judging panel, the winner of Ireland’s Best Scone 2015 has just been announced as Granny Griffin's Scones from The Griffins Garden Centre & Restaurant in Dripsey, Co. Cork.

At a Yeats-inspired afternoon tea in Dublin’s Merrion Hotel, Griffins Garden Centre was crowned home of Ireland’s Best Scone, receiving a cash prize and more importantly, the prestige of baking the best scones in Ireland, as voted for by the public and judged by some of Ireland’s top foodies.

Ireland’s Best Scone, run by Goodall’s and Odlums, two mainstays in Irish baking, has been running for four years and year-on-year the competition has increased in terms of both nominations and votes.

In late April, nominations were received from hundreds of people via twitter and facebook, and over the past two weeks, over two thousand votes were cast by the public for their favourite scone from the list of ten finalists.

This year, the public votes accounted for 50% of the judging. The other 50% of the score was awarded by the expert panel which included Catherine Leyden, Odlums’ brand ambassador; Paul Kelly, Executive Pastry Chef at the Merrion Hotel; author of ‘Food from an Irish Garden’, Fiona Dillon; and winner of Goodall’s Best Scone 2014, Graham Herterich aka The Cupcake Bloke.

Opened in 1995, Griffins Garden Centre & café is situated in the heart of Dripsey. It’s owned by Margaret Griffin and marks 30 years in business this year. Griffins is nestled in the heart of the Lee Valley, and its garden restaurant and café are renowned for their quality produce, with regular customers travelling from across Co. Cork, and from further afield to visit Griffins.

On winning the top accolade and now being home to Ireland’s Best Scone, Margaret Griffin said: “Being named as a finalist in Ireland’s Best Scone in early May was incredible. We received huge support from our customers and the local community throughout the voting stages but to be named as the overall winner of Ireland’s Best Scone in unbelievable!

“We’re very particular about the ingredients that we use and our recipe has been passed down through the generations from Granny Griffin. Our head baker, Mary O’Mahony, aka our very own Granny Griffin bakes each batch of scones with spoonfuls of love and care. We're now home to Ireland’s Best Scone and it’ll be scones all round when we take the winning plaque back to our hometown of Dripsey," she added.

Commenting on why the winning scones from Griffins are so good, TV chef and Odlums’ Brand Ambassador, Catherine Leyden, said: “Light and delicious, the fruit scones from Griffins were just a joy to taste, leaving the judges and myself wanting to sample more!

“I would like to congratulate Margaret and her team, and all of the finalists, for the quality of their baking. All of the finalists represent the unsung heroes of the Irish baking scene and are helping to further Ireland’s reputation as a foodie nation.” 

Created by Goodall’s of Ireland and in its fourth year, Ireland’s Best Scone has been a phenomenal success since its inception in 2012, commenting on why the competition was created, David Egan, Brand Manager at Goodall’s explains: “The traditions of home baking are being celebrated by so many people across the country and Ireland’s Best Scone gives us at Goodall’s and Odlums the opportunity to help celebrate these local gems on a national stage. Hailing from across Ireland, we had a superb line-up of ten finalists who are already famous locally for their delicious scones. But we had to choose a winner and both the public and our judging panel agreed that the traditional fruit scones from Dripsey in Co. Cork are simply exceptional!”

The list of all ten finalists for Ireland’s Best Scone were: 
Sophia Housing Café, Cork Street, Dublin 
Griffins Garden Centre, Dripsey, Co. Cork
Horse and Jockey Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary
Limerick Strand Hotel, Limerick City, Co. Limerick
Ashdown Park Hotel, Gorey, Co. Wexford
Fitzpatrick’s Shop, Glounthaune, Co. Cork
Meet You Here Cafe, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon
Mitchells Cafe, Kylemore, Co. Galway 
Lena’s Tea Rooms, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim
Savoury Fare, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

Griffins Garden Centre & Restaurant is situated in Dripsey, Co. Cork. Open seven days, further information can be located on www.griffinsgardencentre.ie

Ireland’s Best Scone competition will be back in 2016 so watch out for information on www.goodalls.ie

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The Irish Food Guide Blog www.IrishFoodGuide.ie includes news, foodie chat, recipes, award results, links and other general information on the Food & Tourism Industry in Ireland.

It is written & curated by Zack Gallagher, Donegal Town, Co Donegal, Ireland.

“My Blog is a slice of the Irish Food ‘Network’. I’m a Chef with over 27 years experience and also have a background in media. I’m passionate about Irish Food Tourism and I believe that a rising tide really can lift all boats!”

Supporting Irish Food created by passionate producers and encouraging the Irish food & hospitality industry to use modern social media methods to increase their business.

Zack is building an all-Ireland Food Tourism network to assist Tour Operators bringing guests into Ireland to connect easily with artisan Irish food producers, so as they can experience the provenance and personality behind our Irish food Visit www.IrishFoodTours.ie

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