With Thanks to...

With Thanks to...

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Converting Temperatures Degrees from °C to °F

Zack's Automatic Celsius to Fahrenheit Converter

I have made it easy peasy for you to convert the Temperatures!

Enter a Temperature value in either box and then click
on the calculate button:     C:      F:   
 

NOTE: Entering a large positive or negative value will produce truncated results.


And for the record the Old Fashioned way is…


To Change Fahrenheit to Celsius: 

To Change Celsius to Fahrenheit:

·         Start: Degrees of F
·         Subtract 32
·         Multiply by 5
·         Divide by 9
·         Start: Degrees of C
·         Multiply by 9
·         Divide by 5
·         Add 32  




I got this temperature conversion chart from http://www.onlineconversion.com
where they have loads of other handy stuff.

Gas Mark
Fahrenheit
Celsius
Description
¼
225
110
Very cool/very slow
½
250
130
---
1
275
140
cool
2
300
150
---
3
325
170
very moderate
4
350
180
moderate
5
375
190
---
6
400
200
moderately hot
7
425
220
hot
8
450
230
---
9
475
240
very hot

For fan assisted ovens adjust back as you get to know your oven !



Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Donegal County Enterprise Board’s food initiative -March 9th at 6pm in the Silver Tassie hotel, Letterkenny

More of Ireland’s leading food experts on way to Donegal!


Donegal's food businesses are invited to meet and learn from some of the country’s leading food experts who are coming to Letterkenny to explain how local producers, retailers, hotels and restaurants can give their businesses a shot in the arm. The special event, called “Food ... finding your way to the customer”, is being organised by The Food Coast, Donegal County Enterprise Board’s food initiative and takes place on Wednesday March 9th at 6pm in the Silver Tassie hotel. The keynote speaker is James Burke, the former Group Purchasing Manager and board member at Superquinn, who is widely recognised as one of the country’s top advisors on marketing for the food sector. Other speakers will include Mary Ann O’Brien of Lily O’Brien’s chocolates and Alan and Valerie Kingston of speciality food producers Glenilen Farm. The evening will include a free food tasting of the finest Inishowen and Donegal produce and a networking session open to members of the public.


“This is a great opportunity for anyone involved in food production or retailing in Donegal to learn how to boost their business this year” said Danny McEleney, Business Advisor at Donegal County Enterprise Board. “We have secured some of the top names in the Irish food industry to share their insights into growing a successful food business”. Donegal County Enterprise Board is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union.


James Burke is Ireland’s leading consultant within the food manufacturing and retailing sectors. He has worked in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) area for over 23 years, with much of that time spent at Superquinn. He began in the operations side of the business, before being promoted to head office where he eventually became Group Purchasing Manager and Trading Manager, responsible for a €250 million budget. He was subsequently invited to join Superquinn’s Board of Directors. Since leaving the supermarket chain he has provided strategic and business advice to some of the best known companies in Irish retailing including Aer Rianta International, The Kilkenny Group, the Dublin Airport Authority and Avoca. James will be hosting the special event and will also provide keynote speeches on product innovation and on bringing new products to market.


Mary Ann O’Brien is one of the most successful female entrepreneurs to emerge in Ireland in the past twenty years. Having started Lily O’Brien’s chocolates in her small Kildare kitchen in 1992, she has grown the business into one of the country’s most recognised global brands. The company, which employs more than 100 people, is Ireland’s premier chocolate manufacturer and a leading brand within the UK chocolate category. Lily O’Briens produces 180 varieties of chocolates at a rate of 60 tons per week and exports 80% of its produce. Mary Ann will describe how she developed her business and provide her views on how local Donegal food businesses can boost their growth and profitability.


Alan Kingston’s family had been tending the same small dairy farm for generations when his wife Valerie began making cheesecakes for the local country market in 1997. Since then they have built the Glenilen Farm brand into a thriving business, selling a growing range of products to stores across Ireland and the UK. Alan and Valerie will describe the key steps in establishing and growing their business and share some lessons they think will be useful for local farm producers.


The event, “Food ... Finding your way to the customers” is one of a series of seminars and workshops taking place to mark Enterprising Donegal Business Week 2011, which runs from Monday 7th to Friday 11th March.

For further information about attending this event or other events during Enterprising Donegal Business Week 2011 contact Celine Carroll, Donegal County Enterprise Board on 074 9160735 or email ccarroll@donegalenterprise.ie

Alternatively, you can visit the Donegal County Enterprise Board’s website at www.donegalenterprise.ie or the Facebook page www.facebook.com/donegalenterprise.

Thanks to Annmarie Doherty at http://www.dohertywhite.com for this Information

Friday, 11 February 2011

Indian Meal Bread – A taste of the last Century

Indian meal (aka Corn or Maize meal) was first imported from America around the early 1800's to assist when turnips and potatoes got scarce. Some say that it was sent here by charitable North American Indians to help the poor Irish during the Famine, hence the name "Indian Meal". 


During these times large quantities of it were distributed to the hungry. It was also used to feed the chickens and added to turnips, which were cut by hand on the edge of a scythe, for pigs.

Difficulties in grinding the corn produced poorly refined meal which caused digestive problems to those who had no choice but to eat it. When it was discovered that it really needed to be ground more finely for human consumption, Indian meal became popular in country diets in Ireland. 




It is exactly the same as the ground meal used for "Grits" in the southern United States and a finer-ground version is used as Polenta in Europe. In Ireland, it was made into porridge, pancakes and bread for country households and was still in common use up until the 1970's.

This, is a simple and light Indian Meal Bread recipe that my grandmother used to make and my own mother made and baked it in a pan with a tight-fitting lid, on the open fire in the kitchen. Turf "mole" was put on the fire to keep it safe at night and the bread would cook slow so we had fresh bread ready in the morning.


Gosh! That sounds like something that happened in the 1940’s but I’m talking about the 1970’s! Then, I guess, this is what traditions are all about…


My Ingredients:
600g self raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
100g Indian meal
good pinch salt
tbls sugar
125g butter
2 large eggs
35ml olive oil
dash lemon juice
240ml milk
120ml water (approx)

My Method:
Mix the flour and baking powder together and rub in the butter.


Add the Indian meal, sugar and salt and mix well. Break in the 2 eggs, dash of lemon juice, olive oil, milk and half the water. Mix together quickly and lightly. Add a little more water if you need to.



Pull the dough together in the bowl with a sprinkling of flour and turn it over


Place your bread on your baking tin and gently flatten it down with the palm of your hand. I always use a pizza tin for baking my bread because it works perfectly regardless of the size of the scone! Cut a cross over the top and into the bread. Gently push the knife to both sides as you cut to widen the gap.


Cutting the cross in the top of the bread had nothing really to do with looks. It was done to let the heat into the centre of the bread and to facilitate breaking the bread into pieces that were decent enough in size to take out to the fields or the bog or wherever the men of the house were working that day.
Here on the west coast, one of the traditions was to mark the bread in eight pieces not four. This was true portion control being exercised by the Mammy of the house!!

Put the bread into the centre of a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 40 minutes. (As always drop 10°C for fan assisted ovens.)

If you can get the hang of it 5 minutes before cooking-time is up, take out the bread place a plate or baking tin on top and turn it over. Put it back into the oven to finish. This helps dry out the bottom of the loaf.

The scone should sound hollow to the tap on the base when it cooked. 
This goes deliciously with Homemade Rhubarb Jam and you can see my recipe for that here.
Do enjoy it and give some to your Granny - it will take her back to her childhood! :)


Zack

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Beetroot & Cucumber Pickle for Irish Smoked Salmon

This is a wee twist in the style of the classic Herring Rollmop. We have Irish Smoked Salmon wrapped around a sweet & sharp and peppery fresh herb pickle. I think it compliments the woody flavour of a good smoked salmon without being overpowering.


My Ingredients:

1 fresh Beetroot
Water
Splash of Vinegar (malt, pickling etc – your choice)

500g finely sliced onions
1 clove garlic diced
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
40g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
100ml white wine
35ml white wine vinegar
Rock (sea) Salt & Black Pepper

50cm (about 2 inches long) of Cucumber !
½ tsp chopped fresh coriander

My Method:

Place the beetroot (skin on) in a wee pot of water, enough to just cover it. Add a splash of plain vinegar to the water and this will stop the beetroot from ‘bleeding’ its colour too much.
Bring to the boil and cook for 30-40 minutes. When the skin moves loose to the touch, it is ready to come out. Peel under running cold water to keep your hands from turning pink!
Slice thinly and leave to cool.

Half the onions and slice them with the grain, that is to follow the lines, to give them extra strength in the cooking. This helps to keep them in better shape for this type of recipe.


Melt the butter and the oil together in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Tip in the onions with the wholegrain mustard and garlic and give them a good stir so they are glossed with butter. Spoon in the honey and twist in some sea salt and black pepper. Pour in the white wine and wine vinegar.

Cook for another few minutes stirring, until the liquid is almost gone but the mixture is still wet. Spread on a plate to cool. Unlike when you are making an onion marmalade, you don’t want to overcook the onions or let them go too soft. You really want to simply ‘take the raw’ out of them!

Take the slices of beetroot and slice them into little slivers (called “Julienne” by the trade!). Slice the Cucumber into the same kind of slivers. I keep the skin on the cucumber for an extra bit of crunch. Add these into the onion mix.

Finally add the chopped fresh coriander and toss the whole lot together lightly.


OK. Take a slice of delicious Irish smoked salmon and put a good teaspoonful of the pickle in the centre. Roll it up tightly. With a sharp knife cut along the centre to make two pieces and present them ‘cut-side’ up. Serve them with real homemade bread and wedges of lime.


Oops! I just realised I didn't dress the salad for the picture!! Erm.. sorry - but it's most definitely gone now! Well I hope you enjoy it - the pickle works good with country style pate too.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

How to make a St Bridget's Cross

Last night we were sitting in the kitchen making some St Bridgets' Crosses, a wee tradition that my good lady has ensured we continue every 31st January. This is traditionally the last day of Winter and the night before St Bridget's Day (1st February - the first day of Spring).

This is an ancient custom in Ireland and the crosses were hung above the entrances to houses and barns to invoke the help of St Bridget in warding off disease. Rushes were traditionally used to make the St Bridget's Cross. These were collected from wet fields and cut about 18 inches or 450mm long.


Rushes can sometimes be hard to find for townies or people who live in the city but most garden centres can get them for you.

So, Here is how to make a St. Bridget's Cross - Step by step...

Take two rushes and cross them over each other

Bend one straw around the other. For the rest of the making of the cross always apply pressure in the centre to hold everything in place.

Turn the cross 1x turn to the right and fold another rush around the one you just added. Keep pressure in the centre. This is what you do with every other rush you add - it gets easier as you go along!

Turn the cross 1x turn to the right and fold another rush around the one you just added.
Keep pressure in the centre. You can see the centre-square starting to form.

Turn the cross 1x turn to the right and fold another rush around the one you just added.
Keep pressure in the centre. You should be getting the hang of it by now!

Turn the cross by 1 turn to the right and fold another rush around the one you just added. As the cross developes keep pressure on the point where the last added rush folds over - in this picture, this is where the right hand thumb is applying the pressure.

It gets a little bit awkward to hold the cross together as it gets bigger but don't panic! Keep turning (by 1 turn) and adding a rush until you have 5 rushes on each arm of  the cross.

When you get to this stage it is time to tie off the ends. Use wool, string or rubber bands to tie the cross. Tie securely the LAST end that you added.
Then tighten up the cross by gently pushing the rushes to the centre. Get someone else to hold the cross for you to make the job easier.


Tie off each end securely but be careful not to be to tight or you might cut or bruise the rushes. Nearly there!

Trim off the ends of the cross with a pair of sharp scissors leaving about 1 inch or 25mm over the edge.


There you Go!

Now Teach your Kids how to do this and tell them to teach their kids.
It only takes one generation to lose a tradition - and that, I believe, applies to everything in life!

Much obliged to my lovely wife Nuala for the use of her lovely hands!!

For more on St Bridget, her history & myths, see this excellent account:  http://www.allsaintsbrookline.org/celtic_saints/brigid.html

Don't forget mto Feed the Fish at the bottom of this Post!
zack

The Wild Atlantic Way is the world's Longest Coastal Route

Events & Festivals in Ireland via the Discover Ireland website

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