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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

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Love Irish Food launch the Food Talent Award 2015

Love Irish Food has recently launched an online competition called the “Love Irish Food – Food Talent Award” that will run over the next three months, until 5th of August 2015. 

Food lovers, talented cooks, food bloggers, Instagram stars, aspiring food stylists and photographers and are called to post a recipe and snap of their creation with Love Irish Food products.

The winner will see their very own recipe published and professionally photographed by renowned photographer Trevor Hart and styled by celebrated food stylist, Sally Dunne. It will then be published in national newspapers with their photograph reaching hundreds of thousands of people. The winner will also receive a luscious hamper of Cadbury Dairymilk, Keelings Irish Strawberries and Avonmore Cream to create some amazing delights for friends and family.

Kieran Rumley of Love Irish Food, said “The Love Irish Food – Food Talent Award" is a recognition of the hidden food talent and skill in Ireland. The beauty of this competition is that the winner could be an upcoming food blogger with a few thousand followers or talented home cook who is renowned for their baking delights in the local area. We want to showcase the hidden skill and talent and recognise a person whose recipe shines. It does not have to be elaborate, just a celebration of the Love Irish Food products that we all use every day.”

Each week Love Irish Food will announce (on the Love Irish Food Facebook and Instagram pages) three compulsory ingredients to include in that week's recipe. To enter the competition, food lovers simply have to create a recipe using the named ingredients. Participants simply include the Full Recipe with a photo of their completed creation and post on the Love Irish Food Facebook page or Instagram page.

The overall winner will be selected by a panel of judges and will subsequently enjoy a Food Styling Masterclass with Ireland’s celebrated food stylist Sally Dunne and will see their recipes professionally photographed by renowned food photographer Trevor Hart. 

The winning recipe and photo will appear in the Irish Independent and Irish Times weekend magazines before the end of the year.

The deadline for entries is midnight on Wednesday, 5th August 2015. The winner will be notified via a reply to their Instagram/ Facebook upload. The winner will also be announced via the Love Irish Food Facebook page.

For more information visit www.LoveIrishFood.ie or the Love Irish Food Facebook/Instagram pages.
And you can now Follow Love Irish Food on Twitter @LoveIrishFood


Thursday, 7 May 2015

Irish celebrity chef, Colin Fassnidge, showcases Irish Food on Australian TV

Tourism Irelandthe organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination, recently unveiled its new three-year strategy to grow visitor numbers from Australia. The strategy sets out challenging and ambitious targets which will see, among other things, the number of Australian visitors to the island of Ireland grow by at least 20% by the end of 2017. 

An Australian TV show, My Ireland with Colin, has lately been beaming images of Ireland, our spectacular scenery and our world-class food into the homes of more than one million Australians in a brand new cookery series fronted by a Dublin-born chef and restaurateur named Colin Fassnidge.

The show is a new two-part cookery series which sees Fassnidge return home to discover the changing face of food in Ireland. Channel 7 in Australia, working with Tourism Ireland in Sydney, produced the new series which has already aired to an audience of more than one million viewers.

Colin Fassnidge, the Dublin-born chef and restaurateur is a big celebrity in Australia
Colin has become a celebrity chef in his adopted Australia and runs two successful restaurants (Four in Hand and Fourteen) in Sydney. He is a guest judge on a popular cooking game show called My Kitchen Rules, which airs in Australia (also on Channel 7). Last autumn, he rode a Ducati 1200 around the island of Ireland, followed closely by his film crew capturing footage for My Ireland with Colin seeking out some of our culinary delights, local produce and hidden gems. He visited his family, went on a tour of his childhood haunts in Dublin and re-discovered the spectacular scenery of Ireland.

Diane Butler, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Australia and New Zealand, said: “We were delighted to work with Channel 7, to bring Colin Fassnidge and his crew to Ireland to film this brand new TV series. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get positive exposure in Australia, showcasing Irish food at its best. The island of Ireland is becoming increasingly well-known for its food offering, with a reputation for high quality, natural produce used in both traditional and innovative dishes. My Ireland with Colin is also showcasing our spectacular scenery to more than one million people, helping to inspire ‘foodies’ and prospective holidaymakers to come and discover the culinary delights of Ireland for themselves.”

 Diane added: “Building on the strong performance of recent years, and the increased number of one-stop flights via the Middle East, we have set challenging targets for the 2015-2017 period. I am confident that our new, focused strategy will deliver on the targets we have set for growth in Australian visitors, between now and 2017.” 

Australia gets a taste of Achill Mountain Lamb and Newport Black Pudding!

It's great to see Irish people all over the world helping to promote their home country as a premier holiday destination and as a blossoming Food Tourism destination. With our food producers and chefs here in Ireland preparing some of the finest food in the world and our national tourism promoters and partners investing in international advertising of that fact, I really believe we are on the cusp of a new dawn in Irish Tourism - Food Tourism.

And like I always say, A Rising Tide will Lift all Boats. Well done Colin!


The Irish Food Guide is...

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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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Irish Web Awards 2014