With Thanks to...

With Thanks to...

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Northern Ireland Tourism Awards 2011 Shortlist & Details

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board today revealed the shortlist for the 2011 Northern Ireland Tourism Awards in Association with Diageo NI, after receiving almost 140 entries. The awards will be presented at a gala black-tie dinner evening to be held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Belfast, on Thursday 26 May 2011.


Commenting on the shortlist, Carolyn Boyd, NITB Industry Development Manager said
 “We are delighted with the calibre of entry for this year’s Northern Ireland Tourism Awards, which are the highlight of the tourism calendar. The awards recognise the hard work and achievements of the industry, and encourage the delivery of excellence for our visitors."
"This year marks the 33rd ceremony and two new categories have been introduced ‘Tourism Partnership Initiative’ and ‘New Tourism Project’. The tourism industry continues to grow from strength to strength, even after a difficult couple of years. Northern Ireland competes with some of the best destinations in the world and the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards succeed in raising the bar right across the industry so we can exceed visitor’s expectations.We congratulate all those who have been shortlisted and look forward to celebrating their success on 26th May.”

Clare Strawson, Corporate Relations Manager at Diageo NI said
“Diageo is proud to support the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in the ongoing development of a vibrant tourism and hospitality sector. The Northern Ireland Tourism Awards are key to a thriving tourism industry and the future success of the Northern Ireland economy. Each year the standard of shortlisted entries continue to rise and this year is no exception. The commitment and passion demonstrated by those working in the industry is evident again this year and this approach is essential to ensure that the standards for excellence across the sector remain high. Tourism businesses who continue to strive to give visitors a unique and authentic experience will be rewarded and Diageo is committed to supporting the industry to deliver excellent hospitality as well as innovative events.”

Getting ready for NITA 2011 at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast on 26th May are:
Carolyn Boyd, NITB, Boris the Bellboy and Clare Strawson from Diageo NI

The Awards Shortlist in alphabetical order :

Ballinderry Station Cottage
Ballydougan Pottery Courtyard Cottages
Belfast City Council – Music Tourism
Belfast City Hall
Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau
Belfast Zoological Gardens
Belmore Court and Motel
Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust - ÉCONOMUSÉE Northern Europe Project
Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau – Tourism Information Ambassadors Programme
Down District Council – Harry Ferguson Festival of Flight
Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism - Destination Fermanagh
Fools Haven Thatched Cottage
Greater Shankill Partnership
Killyhevlin Hotel and Health Club
Lough Erne Resort and Spa
Maddybenny Mews
The Merchant Hotel
Mourne Seafood Cookery School
National Museums Northern Ireland - Ulster Museum
National Trust - The Waterways Ireland Lough Erne Classic Yacht Regatta 2010
Newforge House
Open House Festival
The Parson’s Nose
Pier 36
PLM Promotions – Fatboy Slim at Giant’s Park
Rayanne House
Victoria Apartments
Westville Hotel Enniskillen
W5 at Odyssey


Individual place tickets are priced at £75 (plus VAT is £90)
Tables for 10 are discounted if booked before before 1 May

The gala evening offers exceptional value and ticket prices are the same as last year.
The ticket price includes:
  • pre-dinner drinks reception;
  • wine with dinner;
  • dinner featuring the very best of Northern Ireland's produce;
  • exciting menu prepared by one of Northern Ireland's top chefs;
  • awards presentation ceremony;
  • entertainment.
Good luck to all those up for an award and we look forward some day to an All-Ireland Tourism Award Ceremony. "A Rising Tide lifts All Boats!
 
Note: The Full Details of the Winners for all the categories in the Northern Ireland Tourism AwardsCeremony can now be seen here at www.nitourismawards.org

Friday, 22 April 2011

Whin Bush (aka Gorse) Pastry Cream for Eclairs

The Whin Bush, otherwise known as Gorse, Furze or Furse is a spiny evergreen shrub that is actually a part of the pea family! The bright yellow flowers have a wonderful & distinctive coconut scent.

This is an important plant for wildlife providing a dense thorny cover which is ideal for protecting nesting birds. Whins bushes almost always have a flower in bloom hence the old English country phrase: "When gorse is out of blossom, kissing's out of fashion".

Darren Bradley's Gorse Ice Cream looked yumm (seen here) (click for a link to Darren's blog)


and give me the idea for this.... it's a simple Pastry Cream using those same lovely coconut fragrant flowers that would be delicious inside homemade eclairs!


My Ingredients:

½ litre milk
200g Whin (gorse) flowers

4 egg yolks
130 g castor sugar
30 g plain flour
10g cornflour
a pinch of salt

My Method:

Bruise the flower petals with a mortar & pestal or a very quick whizz in the food processor to help release more of that delicious coconut flavouring.

Bring the milk, flower petals, sugar & a pinch of salt to a gentle boil in a pot. Strain into a jug.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a big bowl until it's creamy and light. Whisk in the flour and cornflour until it is thoroughly mixed. Gradually pour the boiling milk into this while whisking continuously.

Transfer the whole mixture back into a clean pot and heat it on low to cook out. Stir it constantly with a wooden spoon until it has thickened. Don't let it stick to the pot!!

Once this custard cream has thickened, take it off the heat, pour it into a clean bowl and let it cool down. It will be thicker than a custard, more the consistency of a cold porridge. Once cooled you can cover it and refrigerate it until needed.

To fill your eclairs or flaky pastry slices etc, give the cream a good stir to smooth out before you spoon or pipe it into the cakes.

This is based on the classic French 'Creme Pattissier' so the recipe (without the flower petals) can be used and flavoured with whatever you like!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Wild Garlic in Ireland

After all the recent Twitter-based discussions about wild Irish garlic I thought that it was time to spread the news... Great  flavours are on your doorstep (or close enough!!)



I found this perfect description by Rozanne Stevens about Wild Garlic and I couldn't have described it better myself!

Parts of the Plant to Use
The whole of the plant is edible and will add something special to your spring dinner table. The flowers are gorgeous to look at and to eat and make a wonderful addition to salads and as a garnish on savoury dishes. They have a mild, garlicky flavour which is deceptive as you're expecting to taste something sweet. The long, grass-like leaves can be snipped into salads and savoury dishes as you would use chives. Or more commonly, they are blitzed up as a pesto or sauce to use as a condiment in a wide variety of recipes. Traditionally, wild garlic would be made into a highly nutritious soup. The bulbs can be sautéed up like shallots, or leave them in the ground for next year's crop.

(For more on Rozanne Stevens and her work as a wholefood chef, visit: http://www.rozannestevens.com/. )

"All  over Ireland, delicate, white flowers on long, grass-like stems are blooming in forests, verges and gardens. Very much like a white bluebell, the true nature of this pretty flower is only revealed when you get closer and get a pungent, garlicky whiff. Yes, it is wild garlic time.
 I look forward to spotting the first wild garlic each year. It's a sign that spring is finally here and we get to briefly enjoy all the seasonal delights. For me it really epitomises springtime in Ireland. I really do like the idea of only being able to enjoy a food for a very limited time, and not being able to buy it in shops. You feel much more in touch with nature and the cycle of the seasons.
I first tasted the famous Brooklodge Wild Garlic Pesto at a brunch six years ago. I fell in love with the pungent, garlicky flavour and rich, green glossiness. So when I was researching wild garlic, Evan Doyle from Brooklodge was my first port of call.
Little did I realise that the making of this now famous pesto dates back 22 years and involves a group of industrious harvesters, secret crops and a closely guarded recipe. In April/May each year The Crew go out to harvest the lush green blanket of wild garlic, tucked away in secret vales in Macreddin, Co Wicklow. This harvest is then magically turned into the glorious, green wild garlic pesto. Those in the know even put their names down on a waiting list for this much anticipated culinary delight. " RS

Types of Wild Garlic
There are dozens of similar plants called 'wild garlic' that are grown across the world. The one we see here most commonly grows in damp woodland as a floor covering, which creates a fantastic spectacle of white blooms. The broad leafed cousin, or ransom, is more of a hedge dweller and you will see its delicate blooming beauty lining the roads of Ireland in late spring. rs

Growing Wild Garlic in Your Garden
Wild garlic has populated many gardens and can take over if not mowed to tame it. If you would like a crop for next spring, simply plant a few of the bulbs in a semi-shady area, water well and you will be rewarded next year. Be sure to pick your parent bulbs from a verge or hedge and not a protected forest or nature reserve. rs


Picking Wild Garlic
Wild garlic is currently growing everywhere; it is prolific. When picking your wild garlic, be sure to only pick healthy, undamaged specimens and give them a good wash before using. A good pair of kitchen scissors used to snip the garlic off at the base are the best. Ideally you would harvest garlic away from traffic and pollution for cleaner plants. Check that it is wild garlic by using the smell test: it is unmistakable. Or consult a flora and fauna field guide of Ireland that will have pictures and descriptions. Foraging for your wild garlic is great fun and you can rope the whole family in. rs

Nutritional Value
While not as medicinally potent as the bulb garlic we know, wild garlic still has many health benefits. One of the most notable is its high levels of folic acid, an essential B vitamin, and its positive benefits on the digestive system. Wild garlic acts as a prebiotic, encouraging the growth of friendly bacteria. This is vital if you suffer from diabetes, have been on a course of antibiotics or have a weakened immune system. Wild garlic also has mild antibacterial properties to ward off spring coughs and sniffles." rs




Check her out here with many thanks !

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Hot Cross Buns for Easter!

One a Penny, Two a Penny, Hot Cross Buns!



Hot cross buns are traditionally baked for Lent, the 40 days before Easter. On Good Friday they have been served to commemorate Christ's suffering on the cross. However, the bun acquired mythical properties during the centuries and early literature reveals that the hot cross bun was better known as the Good Friday Bun.

The most famous story says the hot cross buns origins date to the 12th century when an Anglican monk was said to have placed the sign of the cross on the buns to honour Good Friday. Throughout history, the bun has received credit for special virtues, among them that of ensuring friendship between two people sharing a bun. An old rhyme states, "Half for you and Half for me, between us two Good Luck shall be".

Another tradition says that a Hot Cross Bun should be kept hanging from the kitchen ceiling for one year to another to ward off evil spirits. Healing properties were also attributed to it. Gratings from a preserved bun were mixed with water to provide a cure for the common cold.


There are loads of delicious ways to eat this legendary treat: You can slice them, toast them and butter them! I love them with homemade strawberry jam! This recipe is based on one from my mother-in-law and makes about 10 buns.

Hot Cross Buns


My Ingredients:
450g bread (strong) flour
pinch of salt
2 tspn mixed spice
75g butter
7g fast action dried yeast (generally 1 sachet)
50g caster sugar
1 egg
275ml warm milk (40seconds in microwave will do)
200g dried raisins or currants (I don't like the traditional dried mixed fruit - but if you do, use that instead)
grated rind of an orange

My Method:


  • Put the flour, salt and mixed spice in a bowl and give them a quick whisk to mix. I think this is much better than sifting for breaking lumps and blending ingredients together. Rub in the butter. Add the yeast, sugar, beaten egg and milk and stir together into a soft dough.
  • Knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you are using a mixer to make these buns give it five minutes on low with the dough hook. 
  • Add in the dried fruit and the grated orange rind and knead for another minute.
  • Roll out the mix to about 1" and cut the dough into 10 pieces. Roll these into balls on the table and then flatten them out a little with your hand. Place on a baking sheet or tray. Leave their own width again between each bun so they will have room to rise.
  • To make the cross mix 100g flour with about 3 tbls cold water to make a basic dough. Roll it out thin and cut into little strips. Dampen with a little water and stick to the top of each bun.
  • Take a length of cling film and brush with a little cooking oil. Place this on top of the buns and leave in the kitchen to double in size - about 20 - 30 minutes depending on the weather and the warmth of the room!


Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C, 180°C if a fan oven, for 20-25 minutes.

The hot cross buns are traditionally brushed with a sugar & water glaze when still hot but I prefer to brush them with local honey, from the Saturday country market in Leghowney, near Donegal Town!

Enjoy!

Zack

Friday, 15 April 2011

Seapoint Restaurant’s new seasonal Menus!


Spring into summer with the new seasonal menus at Seapoint, one of the most popular dining destinations in Monkstown, Dublin. Renowned for its innovative approach to dining, Seapoint’s new menus offer a wide variety for local foodies.

They have a new set lunch menu offering 2 courses for €22 or 3 courses for €27, or you can go for the a la carte menu. This week they have started a new "Seapoint Bites" menu served Monday-Saturday from 3pm to 6pm.


You can also enjoy a "Wine Plate" including a glass of wine served with selection of charcuterie meats and cheese, Crab Cakes,  Light salads and more, followed by a dessert and coffee.

Situated close to Dun Laoghaire pier Seapoint has extended their opening hours every Sunday you can enjoy the lunch menu available right through until 8.30pm!

With the complete restaurant available for hire including a stunning, family friendly private dining room, catering for parties up to 35 people, Seapoint would be a perfect place to celebrate a wedding, christening etc.


Seapoint has used the same local meat and fish suppliers since opening their doors in July 2008, representing their loyalty and commitment to local Irish food. The carefully selected wine list accompanies the menus perfectly is excellent value.

The fresh sea air and views along with sumptuous food & wine from the new menus make a winning combination for this well-liked and well-reviewed restaurant in Monkstown!



Seapoint Restaurant | 4 The Crescent Monkstown Co. Dublin | T: 00 353 1 6638480
Visit http://www.seapointrestaurant.com/ for more information

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday | Lunch 12 noon to 3pm | Dinner 6pm to 10.30pm
Sunday lunch 12noon to 8.30pm


Don't forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this post!
zack

Click Me - I'm a Red Dot

wwwHere’s a little bit of fun that they created at SnackTools.com.


WARNING: Do NOT click the red button!








...and that goes to prove that on-line banner advertising works!
See @Donegalcharters  new advert for Fishing Trips in Donegal on the http://www.irishfoodguide.ie/

Don't forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this post!
zack

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme 2011 / 2012 open for Funding applications

The Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme (NIRFP), funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, has opened for applications for 2011/12.

This programme was established as part of the implementation of The Fit for Market Report, which was published by the Food Strategy Group in November 2004.

The programme provides financial support for initiatives which promote quality regional food and collaboration between members of the local agri-food supply chain.

The food industry plays a central role in contributing to the wider Northern Ireland economy. It accounts for nearly 20% of manufacturing output and employs 50,000 people directly. The NIRFP helps to deliver the quality food message to thousands of people each year, here and further afield.
Since its inception in 2007 the programme has assisted the formation and development of many well known food promotion initiatives; the Food Pavilion at Balmoral Show, Magherafelt’s Speciality Christmas Food Market, Taste of Ulster and the award winning Great Belfast Food Initiative which includes the Belfast Bred Walking tours. Applications will be accepted within four key areas; regional fairs/shows; information programmes; award ceremonies; and seminars/ workshops.

The aim of the programme is to promote quality regional food and increase its consumption within Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.  The programme encourages all sectors of the agri-food industry to work together and provides financial assistance for eligible additional activities. It is not designed to substitute existing activities already funded by applicants.

Awards will be made on a competitive basis and only those applications that are judged to have best met the programme objectives will receive funding. New projects/events/programmes will be supported at a more favourable rate than established projects/events/programmes that have received support in the past

The objectives of the programme are:
*to assist the NI agri-food industry to develop and expand profitable and sustainable markets;
*to develop a thriving rural economy by raising profile of NI quality food; and
*to increase co-operation and communication between all sectors and representative bodies/groups of the NI food industry, therefore providing a united front to buyers and consumers
*Not for profit Agri–food groups representative of producers and/or processors who have an NI membership/remit; or       
*Registered Charities who plan to run events which include regional/local food and have an NI membership/remit.                                                                      
*Not for profit regional development agencies
* Joint applications from agri-food groups and/or charities or regional development agencies

Individuals or companies cannot apply unless they fall into one of the above categories. For the purpose of this programme, the definition of regional food and drink is that it must be grown, processed and/or packaged in NI. It should meet at least one of the following requirements:
· Adhere to quality assurance schemes which are above minimum legal requirements.
· Exceed minimum national and EU legal requirements in relation to hygiene, traceability, animal welfare.
· Promote the EU Protected Food Name Scheme.
· Organic products

Successful applications to the NIRFP can obtain up to 40% financial contributions on eligible expenditure

Applications are particularly welcome for collaborative ventures involving two or more of these organisations working together to deliver the objectives of the programme.

Closing date for completed applications will be 12 noon on Wednesday 20 April.

An application form for funding can be downloaded here from the DARD website or obtained from:

Ms Una Hollywood
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
Room 516A
Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Belfast BT4 3SB
Tel: 028 9052 4497
E-mail: una.hollywood@dardni.gov.uk

Don't forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this post!
zack

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Rhubarb & Ginger Jam like my Granny used to Make!

The young, juicy, shiny, bright red, forced Rhubarb stalks sat looking up at me from under their up-turned bucket. "Eat me now" they said. So, last night I picked five stalks and put them in the pot to make some jam for this mornings breakfast. This is simple, delicious and memorably tasty!

Forced Rhubarb is easy to grow. You can get cuttings from your granny or any one else you know that grows it. Just cut down through the centre of the tuber with a sharp knife, take it home and plant it. If you know where to get a wee bit of horse manure every now and then - this will give them a great boost.


My Ingredients:

Five stalks of rhubarb - trim the tops and ends and wash quickly
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 whole clove
Juice from a 1/4 Lemon
1/4 tsp of freshly grated Ginger

My Method:

Tip of the Day ! - Always keep a piece of Fresh Ginger in the Freezer. You can grate this, from frozen, when needed and pop it back into the freezer.


Chop the Rhubarb into bite size pieces.
Put all the ingredients to the pot.
Bring to the boil and drop the heat to low.
Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring regularly so that it doesn't stick,  until it thickens like a jam!

Take it off the heat, pour into a bowl and leave to cool. Spread it on your bread and enjoy!


I made some Indian Meal (corn) bread last night too and it was perfect for the jam this morning getting the boy up for school. Click Here for the Indian Meal Bread Recipe.

You can easily Multiply up the quantities for more Jam if you have more Rhubarb!


Don't forget to Feed the Fish at the bottom of this post!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Leinster Regional Finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2011

The Restaurant Association of Ireland Leinster Awards 2011


The Irish Restaurants Awards for the Province of Leinster were held in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin on Monday 11th April 2011. Over 300 people from the hotel & restaurant trade attended the ceremony and came from all corners of the region.

Sponsored by Santa Rita / Sunday Independent LIFE Magazine the awards are organised by the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI). The event recognizes achievement and excellence in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry throughout the Island of Ireland and celebrates all aspects of the Industry.

The Full List of Leinster Regional Irish Restaurant of the Year Awards 2011 are:

BEST CHEF
Carlow Alan Foley- Reubans Restaurant
Kildare Finbarr Higgins- The River Room
Kilkenny Garrett Byrne- Campagne
Laois David Rouse- Castle Durrow
Longford Gary O’Hanlon- VM Restaurant
Louth Reuven Diaz-Eastern Seaboard
Meath David Mulvihill- Signal Restaurant
Westmeath Feargal O’Donnell- The Fatted Calf
Offaly Matthew Crombie- The Thatch
Wexford Billy Whitty- Aldridge Lodge
Wicklow Catherine Fulvio- Ballyknocken House

BEST CASUAL DINING 
Carlow Lennons @ Visual
Kildare L’Olivier
Kilkenny The 2 Dames
Laois The Kitchen and Foodhall
Longford PVs Bar & Restaurant
Louth Dan’s Stonewall Café
Meath Zucchinis
Westmeath The Left Bank Bistro
Offaly Emma’s Cafe
Wexford Partridges Artisan Café
Wicklow The Buttery Café

BEST RESTAURANT 
Carlow Sha-Roe Bistro
Kildare Vie De Château
Kilkenny Campagne
Laois The Kingfisher
Longford The Aubergine Gallery
Louth Magees Seafood Bistro
Meath La Bucca
Westmeath Kin Khao
Offaly Siroccos
Wexford Jacques Bistro at Greenacres
Wicklow The Park

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE
Carlow Sha-Roe Bistro
Kildare Avenue Café
Kilkenny Campagne
Laois Castle Durrow
Longford VM Restaurant at Viewmount House
Louth Fitzpatricks Bar & Restaurant
Meath Brabazon Restaurant, Tankardstown House
Westmeath Wineport Lodge
Offaly Siroccos
Wexford Marfield House
Wicklow Chakra By Jaipur

BEST GASTRO PUB
Carlow Mo O’Sheas
Kildare Fallons
Kilkenny The Hibernian Bar
Laois McEvoys
Longford Eddie Valentines
Louth PJ O’Hares
Meath Caffreys of Batterstown
Westmeath The Fatted Calf
Offaly The Thatch Bar
Wexford Nevilles
Wicklow Jacobs Well

BEST HOTEL RESTAURANT
Carlow Reubans Restaurant
Kildare Barberstown Castle
Kilkenny Kilkenny River Court Hotel
Laois Castle Durrow
Longford VM Restaurant, Viewmount House
Louth Ghan House
Meath Brabazon Restaurant
Westmeath Wineport Lodge
Offaly County Arms Hotel
Wexford Marfield House
Wicklow The Strawberry Tree Brooklodge

BEST WINE EXPERIENCE
Leinster Jacques Bistro at Greenacres

The County winners will now compete for the Regional and All Ireland Titles in the Burlington Hotel Dublin on Wednesday 25th May 2011. See www.irishrestaurantawards.com for more.

Congratulations to all those took part from Zack at the http://www.irishfoodguide.ie/

Saturday, 9 April 2011

KINSALE, Ireland, - to Host National Seafood Chowder Championships


KINSALE TO HOST NATIONAL CHOWDER ‘COOK-OFF’

TOP CHEFS TO COMPETE FOR TITLE OF NATIONAL CHOWDER CHAMPION

Seafood Chowder Competition Ireland

Kinsale, Ireland’s seafood capital, has announced that it is set to host the first ever National Chowder Cook-Off, in a bid to find Ireland’s most talented chowder chef.

The event, which will take place on Sunday May 22nd 2011 will also incorporate a ‘celebrity chef chowder cook-off’ – where three of Ireland’s best known chefs will go head to head in a public cook off in the grounds of Actons Hotel in the town.

Seafood Chowder Competition Ireland

Martin Shanahan of Fish Fishy, Kinsale and ‘RTE’s Martin’s Mad About Fish’ and the upcoming follow up programme ‘Martin’s Still Mad About Fish’; Ross Lewis, Michelin starred chef at Chapter One Restaurant in Dublin; and Paul Flynn, The Tannery Restaurant in Waterford, winner of Egon Ronay Restaurant of the Year and Georgina Campbell Chef of the Year will compete against each other in a fantastic, not to be missed, cook off contest.

This event will be MC’d by broadcaster Derek Davis, ambassador for the Failte Ireland National Food Strategy and lifelong ambassador for Kinsale itself!

The National Chowder Cook-Off will see 20 top professional restaurant chefs, or those producing popular commercial chowders throughout the country, compete for the coveted title of
National Chowder Champion.

Each competing chef will be hosted by a local Kinsale restaurant who will offer their facilities, support and even their own brown bread as an accompaniment. The chefs will then serve the chowder from individual stalls in the grounds of Actons Hotel for judging.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to vote by purchasing a ballot card for €5 allowing them to then to sample each of the 20 chowders and cast their vote!

The winning chef will not only be crowned National Chowder Champion, but will also receive a customised trophy and an all-inclusive package stay in Kinsale for the renowned Kinsale Gourmet Food Festival 2011 – including tickets to all events, meals, plus accommodation for two people for two nights during the festival.

The October event, now in its 35th year, is one of the highest regarded and most popular festivals on the Irish events calendar.

Hal McElroy, Chairman of Kinsale Chamber of Tourism, the organisers of the event said “Being renowned as Ireland’s seafood capital, Kinsale offers the perfect platform to showcase the wealth of talent that exits amongst Ireland’s chefs when it comes to chowder recipes. This event is not just a contest but an entire festival supported by local businesses, offering an array of activities for people to participate in. Not to mention the delicious chowders they will be able to enjoy along the way! On behalf of all the people of Kinsale, we look forward to welcoming both new and returning visitors to the town in May for this fantastic series of events”.

The town will also host its annual Sea Sunday Service on May 22nd, – an ecumenical and inter-faith setting to commemorate those who have died at sea, to pray for the safety of those who work at sea, and to remember all those who work and are involved in rescues at sea.

For press enquiries contact:
Gina Kelly, Fuzion,
gina@fuzion.ie, (086) 788 7318

First posted at:
http://kinsale.ie/national-chowder-cook-off/

Friday, 8 April 2011

Making a Piping Bag with Greaseproof Paper

Making and baking and decorating and filling! In common these jobs all use, at some stage, 
a Piping Bag!

These useful catering bags come in all shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of materials. There is a massive selection of nozzels available to buy depending on the type of job you're doing. They are used for cake decorating, making choux eclairs or swans etc, piping potato dishes, making biscuits and hundreds of other uses.

There are times when a small pointed piping bag is required for a simple wee job like writing a name on a birthday cake or such and you are only going to use a little bit of cream or icing.

That is when you need to be able to fold together a quick little Greaseproof-Paper Piping Bag.

Well... here is how you do just that!

Fold a sheet of greaseproof paper corner to corner. It doesn't matter if it's a square or rectangle piece to start with as long as you fold it corner to corner, giving you a long fold in the centre


Keep the fold smooth and straight as you cut it with a sharp knife



The general stating position is to point the right-angled corner to your elbow, letting the smallest corner drop


Catch this bottom corner and fold it around your hand




Do not let go of the inside corner and complete the wrap around to look like this


Moving your two hands, slide the two corners gently up and down to tighten and sharpen the point of the cone  


Don't worry if it doesn't seem to be working, first time, as this part will take a little practice!


When you have a sharp point on the piping bag pinch the two top ends of the paper cone together and hold them tight - nearly there!


Fold the ends of the cone back on themselves, to tie the ends of the bag together and stop it from falling apart



It is now ready for use. It's a good idea to make a few of these in advance - they will sit inside each other for storage and you can keep them ready in a little plastic tub for easy access. Like many things in life....practice makes perfect on this one!


Fill the piping bag with your cream or icing and snip off the point to the desired piping size. Use a new bag if you need to. Don't try to re-fill the first one,  it doesn't work!


:)



Happy Piping!

Zack

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

LocalMarkets.ie Celebrates National Launch !

Online Irish Food Producer Marketplace Goes National!

An innovative online retail business, that offers customers the convenience of having premium quality food delivered to their own home, is celebrating the launch of its new nationwide service.

 LocalMarkets.ie, a Cork-based business that was established last year, aims to help consumers throughout Ireland connect with the thriving local producer food scene – even if the pressure of their daily lives means they don’t have time to regularly visit their much-loved local farmers’ market or favourite local producer!

The company’s delivery service, which initially extended across Cork city and county, has now been expanded to include the entire 32 counties. Founder of LocalMarkets.ie, Rory McCann, says it’s a decision that’s been driven by repeat requests from prospective customers:

“The decision to go national had always been part of our long-term business plan, but with the number of queries coming in we decided that we couldn’t delay the launch of our nationwide service any longer. Commuters, rural-dwellers, busy parents and those following gluten-free or other special diets, have been especially keen to see the website go national. There’s certainly a substantial number of people out there who are eager to shop for authentic local Irish food, but because of their location or hectic lifestyles, some food enthusiasts just don’t get an opportunity to visit their local market, producer or specialty delicatessen. For these people, a site like LocalMarkets.ie is the ideal way to support Irish producers and the most convenient way to enjoy superior quality food”.

The English Market in Cork

Much of the food available on LocalMarkets.ie is offered by producers who operate stalls and retail outlets in Cork’s renowned English Market as well as from Mahon Point Farmers’ Market (voted Best Farmers’ Market in Ireland 2010 by Good Food Ireland and The Bridgestone Guide). As the website grows in popularity, it’s expected that more producers from all parts of Ireland will begin to utilise the website in order to sell their fresh fish, smoked fish, premium meat cuts, charcuterie, cheese, condiments, baked goods and much more, to a wider, national customer base.


A Larger Selection of Irish Cheeses

According to McCann, LocalMarkets.ie is not a traditional retail website, but is styled along the lines of a food ‘movement’.

“Before a new product becomes available on LocalMarkets.ie, we like to know that its producers share our philosophy – that truly great food is only created by taking the time to use the very best ingredients and the very highest standard of food production techniques. We’re passionate about local food and we believe that sustainable food production and offering producers sustainable profit margins are important aspects of encouraging growth in Ireland’s valuable food sector."


Fresh Fish Every Day

"It’s also why we represent producers at outdoor events and food markets, particularly when the logistics of reaching a faraway venue or staffing an additional food stall pose difficulty for a small food business that may have limited resources. It’s a broad and novel approach to business, but so far we’ve been bowled over by the positive response – from both producers and consumers”, he explains.


Gluten-free and many other types of Bread

“We’re not just a retail website. We have an ethos that’s not too far from a traditional co-op approach. We’re passionate about local food and we believe that sustainable food production and offering producers sustainable profit margins are important aspects of encouraging growth in Ireland’s valuable food sector. It’s also why we represent producers at outdoor events and food markets, particularly when the logistics of reaching a far away venue or staffing an additional food stall pose difficulty for a small food business that may have limited resources. It’s a broad and novel approach to business, but so far we’ve been bowled over by the positive response – from both producers and consumers”, he explains.


Fresh Vegetables to your Door!

Irish foodies who are interested in finding out more about the food movement, or availing of the new nationwide delivery service, can log on to www.LocalMarkets.ie, where they can create a user account.

Once registered with the website, customers can browse product sections by category (e.g. by food product, by producer/food label etc.), collect reward points and use the website’s convenient re-ordering service for their favourite products.

Producers who would like to sell their produce via the LocalMarkets.ie website, are invited to register their interest by emailing info@localmarkets.ie


Don't forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this post!

zack

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Ulster Regional Finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2011 #raiawards

The Restaurant Association of Ireland #raiawards11
The Irish Restaurants Awards for the Province of Ulster were held on Monday 4th April 2011, in The Merchant Hotel, Belfast.
Over 250 people from the hotel & restaurant trade attended the ceremony and came from all corners of the region.

Sponsored by Santa Rita / Sunday Independent LIFE Magazine the awards are organised by the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI). The event recognizes achievement and excellence in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry throughout the Island of Ireland and celebrates all aspects of the Industry.

Full List of Regional Winners for Ulster are:

2011 Best Customer Service Award Donegal            Harveys Point Hotel
2011 Best Customer Service Award Armagh             Pretty Marys
2011 Best Customer Service Award Antrim               Shu Restaurant
2011 Best Customer Service Award Cavan               The Olde Post Inn
2011 Best Customer Service Award Derry                Beech Hill Country House
2011 Best Customer Service Award Down               Jeffers By The Marina
2011 Best Customer Service Award Tyrone             Oysters Restaurant
2011 Best Customer Service Award Monaghan       Snaffles Restaurant

2011 Best Wine Experience - Ulster Winner              Alden's

2011 Best Casual Dining Award Armagh                  Yellow Door Deli
2011 Best Casual Dining Award Donegal                 Kealys Seafood Restaurant
2011 Best Casual Dining Award Antrim                    Boca Restaurant
2011 Best Casual Dining Award Tyrone                    Rue Bar & Grill
2011 Best Casual Dining Award Cavan                     Murph’s Bistro
2011 Best Casual Dining Award Derry                      Halo Pantry & Grill
2011 Best Casual Dining Award Down                     Coyle’s Bistro
2011 Best Casual Dining Award Monaghan             Conor’s Bar Castle Leslie

2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Armagh             Newforge Country House
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Donegal            Castlegrove House Hotel
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Monaghan         Snaffles Restaurant
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Antrim               The Dunandry
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Cavan               Slieve Russell Hotel
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Derry                 Beech Hill Restaurant
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Tyrone              Tullylagan Country House
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Down                The Olde Inn

2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Donegal                    Harrys Bar & Restaurant
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Armagh                     Digbys
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Antrim                       The Morning Star Bar & Restaurant
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Cavan                       The Blackhorse Inn
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Derry                         Metro Bar
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Monaghan                Andy’s Bar
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Tyrone                      The Coach Inn
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Down                        Boyles of Drumore


2011 Best Chef Award Monaghan                          Raymond mcArdle
2011 Best Chef Award Tyrone                                James Divine, Deli on the Green
2011 Best Chef Award Derry                                  Ian Oar, Brown’s Restaurant
2011 Best Chef Award Cavan                                Nevin McGUire, McNean House
2011 Best Chef Award Down                                 Joery Castle, The Boat House Restaurant
2011 Best Chef Award Antrim                                Brian Mc Cann, Shu Restaurant
2011 Best Chef Award Armagh                             James Neilly, Manor Park
2011 Best Chef Award Donegal                            Darren Iddon, Solis Lough Eske
2011 Best Chef Award Fermanagh                       Noel McMeel, Lough Erne Resort


2011 Best Restaurant Award Tyrone                     Oysters Restaurant
2011 Best Restaurant Award Fermanagh             No.6
2011 Best Restaurant Award Cavan                      McNean House
2011 Best Restaurant Award Down                      The Boathouse
2011 Best Restaurant Award Derry                       Browns Restuarant
2011 Best Restaurant Award Donegal                 The Mill Restaurant
2011 Best Restaurant Award Antrim                     Telfords Restaurant
2011 Best Restaurant Award Monaghan              Restaurant at Nuremore
2011 Best Restaurant Award Armagh                  Uluru Bistro

The County winners will now compete for the Regional and All Ireland Titles in the Burlington Hotel Dublin on Wednesday 25th May 2011.

Congratulations to all those took part from Zack at the http://www.irishfoodguide.ie/

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.

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