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How to Cook a Turkey & my Favourite Stuffing Recipe

The turkey is the centrepiece of both the traditional Christmas Dinner, Thanksgiving Dinner and the 4th of July Dinner and it's great for any other special occasion, which is why cooking it properly is so important. Mess it up and not even the best side dishes will save you! 

Turkey is becoming very popular because it is relatively low in cholesterol and high in vitamins that boost the immune system. It's also very juicy and tasty! 

So here are some tips on how to prepare & cook your perfect Turkey! 

A juicy & tender whole roasted turkey really does add to the sense of occasion at Christmas or Any time!
1. First things first. Buy a Fresh Turkey if you can. Don't buy a turkey that has been pre-stuffed as mishandling or incorrect cooking can cause bacteria to multiply inside the stuffing.

2. It's so important that if you're buying a frozen bird, that you thaw your turkey completely before cooking. If it’s done improperly, bacteria can multiply to a point where even oven temperatures won't be able to kill all of them off. This can cause food poisoning. 
The safest thing to do is to thaw your turkey in the fridge, but if you don't have the room, put it into a roasting tray in a cool room, covered with a dry cloth until it defrosts. You should leave the turkey in its original wrapper until you're ready to cook it.

3. If you're placing the turkey in the fridge (raw meat should always go the bottom shelf) also put it on a tray to catch all the juices that may leak out.  It takes approximately 2 days for a 15 pound turkey to fully defrost.

4. Don't wash your Turkey. The water splashing around will spread more bacteria than you are washing off it.

5. Add some extra flavour by loosely filling the cavity of the bird with some peeled vegetables like carrots, celery, onion & garlic which work great together. 

6. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with real butter and season it with sea-salt and ground black pepper. Cover the complete bird with streaky bacon to add more flavour and to keep it from browning too much. Don’t forget to cover the legs too!

7. Loosely cover the complete bird with tin foil and scrunch it up around the edge of the tray. Once you get the turkey in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door! Every time you open the door the temperature drops and all the moisture escapes increasing the likelihood of a dry bird.

8. Have your oven Pre-heated to 180°C (170°C for fan assisted ovens), 365°F, so that the turkey is going into a hot oven.

The simple rules for Turkey cooking times are: 

If it weighs Less than 4kg (8½Lbs) weight cook for 20 minutes per kg
then add 70 minutes extra time.

If it weighs More than 4kg (8½Lbs) weight cook for 20 minutes per kg
and add 90 minutes extra time.

  • To Convert Pounds (lbs) to Kilograms (kg) multiply by 0.46
  • To Convert Kilograms (kg) to Pounds (lbs) multiply by 2.2

Here's a cooking Time example:
20 lbs weight Turkey = 20 x 0.46 = 9.2kg weight

9.2 kg x 20mins =184 minutes.
Add 90 = 2
74 minutes. 
Divide this by 60 (minutes in an hour) = 4 hours and 35 minutes Turkey Cooking Time.




8. About 30 minutes before the turkey should be done, remove the foil from the breast to crisp up the skin.

9. Test the turkey using a sharp pointed knife by inserted the knife the meaty area above the top of the leg. Push in the blade and the gently ease down on it. Juice from the turkey will run down the blade.
If the juices run clear then it is cooked. If there are traces of pink in it give it another half an hour in the oven and test it again.


If you have a cooking thermometer ensure that the centre of the thickest parts return a temp of 75°C.

10. After you take the turkey out of the oven let it rest, under the loosened foil, for about 15 minutes before carving. This lets the hot juices relax and spread evenly through the meat, giving a moist and juicy bird.

No. 11. Relax and Don't Panic... :)

My Favourite Stuffing Mix

This is a stuffing recipe that I have used for years. It is versatile and adaptable and can be used with any type of meat. This makes enough for 8 people - generous portions!

This is my recipe but you can add whatever herbs you like to your stuffing!

My Ingredients:
250g (10oz) butter
200g (8oz) diced onion
100g (4oz) diced red onion
100g (4oz) grated carrot
1 tblsp chopped thyme
1 tblsp chopped parsley
1/2 tspn cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic diced
1 tablespoon of Mixed herbs
300g (12oz) white breadcrumbs made with crusts and all
300g (12oz) wholemeal breadcrumbs made with crusts and all
Use Gluten Free Bread if you wish

My Method:
1. Simply place the butter and all other ingredients, except the crumbs, on a medium heat and cook gently, stirring, until the onions and other veg are soft.

2. Add the breadcrumbs and mix in well until the crumbs have absorbed all the butter and juices.

3. If the stuffing feels a little dry (depending on the type of day, the weather, the heat of the kitchen or one of another hundred amazingly uncontrollable conditions) I tend to add a little splash of my favourite white wine at this stage and mix well and then add a little of the cooking juices from the cooked turkey just before serving.

Enjoy your Turkey!

zack

Kelly's Butchers launch a New Vegetarian White Pudding

Kelly’s Butchers, in Newport, County Mayo, are well known for their award winning black and white puddings and for their sausages.

They’ve just officially launched two new products - Kelly’s Vegetarian High Protein Pudding and Kelly’s Hazlett. Both products were prize winners at the recent Blás na hÉireann Irish Food Awards.


Why would a butcher make a vegetarian breakfast pudding? "It’s simple really," says Sean Kelly, "Our customers kept asking for it!"

Kelly’s Vegetarian High Protein Pudding

A cooked breakfast is a tasty treat and a great start to the day. However the vegetarian breakfast plate has looked a little empty in the pudding department, but now Kelly’s Butchers have the answer – the delicious Kelly’s Vegetarian High Protein Pudding.


Kelly’s have used their years of practice to create a clever combination of spices with a soya base which gives a great texture and an exceptional flavour experience. No wonder it was a Silver Award Winner at the 2016 Blás na hÉireann Irish Food Awards!

Kelly’s Vegetarian High Protein Pudding is available in 280g pack (known as chubbs in the trade) which is exactly the same size as Kelly’s traditional Black and White Puddings.

Kelly’s Hazlett 

It’s been quite a while since I tasted "Hazlett", an old-fashioned traditional pork meatloaf. Kelly’s Butchers are always on the lookout for something different and have decided to reintroduce this family recipe. Fresh leeks, fresh carrots and a secret blend of spices have put a modern extra bite into this old favourite.


Hazlett was traditionally used as a sandwich filling, or cut into chunks and served in a salad or with pickles and cheese or you can cut it thick and grill or fry it like a pudding. It's also packaged in 280g chubbs.

Kelly’s Vegetarian High Protein Pudding and Kelly’s Hazlett are available in Kelly’s Butchers Shop, Newport, Co. Mayo and via the website along with many other products that can be purchased online at www.kellysbutchers.com.


10 Things to Know About... Beef and Beer, on Rte1 this Monday 5th December

This Monday, 5th December, RTE presenters Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Kathriona Devereux and Jonathan McCrea are back with another program in the series: ‘10 Things to Know About’ which showcases the weird and wonderful Irish science behind aspects of modern life; from beef and beer to botox and bats!



Each week the presenters investigate a different topic of the research being done in Irish society.
In episode four of 10 Things to Know About... Beef and Beer, the presenters look at what makes Irish beef so popular, the factors in creating the perfect steak and also the rise of the Irish Craft Beer industry.



Ireland is famous for it’s food and drink; from dairy produce to beef and of course a good ole pint of the black stuff- but how much do we really know about what makes Irish food so special?

What’s the Beef:
Irish beef is renowned throughout the world for it’s quality and taste- so what makes it so special? Kathriona travels to Amsterdam to meet Alain Alders, Michelin starred chef to discuss why he values Irish beef so highly.


As a member of Bord Bia’s Chefs Irish Beef Club Alder’s gives us insight into just how popular Irish beef is the finest-dining  establishments throughout Europe.

One of the biggest factors in maintaining a high level of quality beef is how the animals are handled after death. Teagasc's Paul Allen shows Kathriona how they go about post-mortem handling of beef and the factors which impact on the final taste on our plates.


Try a Little Tenderness:
Post mortem handling is huge factor in high quality beef, but the program asks "Could the future of the perfect steak lie in genetics?" Jonathan meets Teagasc’s Dr. Donagh Berry who is looking to develop a ground-breaking first genetics test which could predict the tenderness of an animal’s offspring.

Also in the show they ask the question "What if you could create the perfect steak?"
There’s a whole weird science around it- Fergus reveals that scientists are working on it, but have racked up a whopper bill in the process…



Getting Crafty:
What goes hand in hand with a great burger? A cold beer! Ireland may be famous for Guinness, but the last decade has witnessed the emergence of the new kid on the block - the craft beer.
It's a booming industry with a projected €59m turnover for 2016 and  Aoibhinn looks at the explosion of the craft beer industry in Ireland and why this is so.


Aoibhinn visits Seamus O'Hara at O’Hara’s Brewery, where they see the key ingredients and processes that go into making a perfect pint.

Watch the program on RTE 1 Television at 8.30pm this Monday 5th December 2016.


There are Turkeys Roaming Free (range) in the Boyne Valley



If you know Olivia Duff, you'll know that she really is a very busy woman! She is a dynamic character who passionately promotes Irish and in particular county Meath produce at every opportunity. When managing the award winning family run hotel, The Headfort Arms, in Kells, she strives to serve the best of Irish food in all food service areas of the business. An example of this being their unique menu, served in the Vanilla Pod restaurant, in which all the ingredients are sourced within a 30-mile radius of the hotel.

Olivia Duff is passionate about telling the story of great Irish food
Olivia is one of the driving forces behind the Meath Food Showcase and the Meath Food Trail Package. This trail offers visitors an opportunity to visit local producers and on returning to the hotel, an opportunity to enjoy the 'Meath Menu' featuring food from the rich sources of the Boyne Valley. She is also one of the Failte Ireland Food Champions and is dedicated to helping others tell their own 'food story'.

Her passion for food has led her family to breeding turkeys, rare breed pigs and sheep, supplying their artisan produce directly from their farm to the consumer. Maperath Farm is a small mixed farm, just outside Kells, which is committed to involving the customer in the full story of food production and they take great pride in this story. With her husband, Eoin Sharkey, a former builder and keen horseman, they have created an atmosphere of honest farming, one that invites the customer to discover where their food comes from. Whether that is a newly born lamb or a day old chick, visitors can follow the process of the meat from the farm directly to the table.




All the animals on Maperath Farm are traditionally reared and enjoy fodder crop (the first poultry farm in Ireland to do so) alongside natural feeds and acres of free range lifestyle. New for 2015 will see Maperath Farm's ‘Lamb in a Box’ which will offer the customer a chance to order a full lamb direct from the farm. This will be then custom-butchered to the customer wishes and presented in a box, ready to eat or for the freezer. This year also sees expansion of their brand to include Maperath Farm Christmas Relish & Chutneys.

Maperath Farm ‘Lamb in a Box’ will be available in 2015

The farm produces rare breed pigs, grass fed lamb and poultry, but it is the Free Range Turkeys & Geese which are the main event at this time of year. With huge demand for their birds, it proves that consumers in Ireland really do care about the welfare, rearing and production of their food.

Olivia's husband, Eoin, believes in honest food direct from the farm
Maperath Farm is unique because it represents a true model of Sustainable Farming, incorporating models of high animal welfare, natural feed products and low levels of intensity. It also represents a real concept of ‘honest food direct from the farm’. Customers can order their own lamb, turkey or goose knowing that it is traditionally reared, then processed and butchered locally.



Olivia and Eoin's farm offers premium product which involves the customer throughout the full story of farm to the table. The long-term vision for Maperath Farm is to expand into a unique Free Range mixed farm which will involve its customers from day one in the production of food. Customers will be invited to visit their food as it grows and for the farm to become a Food Tourism Destination as part of the Boyne Valley.

The free range lifestyle of any bird is reflected in the quality and flavour of the meat

Maperath Farm has a limited number of their free range Turkeys and Geese available over the next few months, but they're going fast! Contact the Farm today on 087 902 7070 or see www.facebook.com/maperathfarm

Zack

See my 10 Tips on How to Cook a Turkey & my Favourite Stuffing Recipe herewww.irishfoodguide.ie/2011/12/10-tips-for-perfect-turkey-my-stuffing.html

An Irish Whiskey Pumpkin Pie for Halloween

The original Jack O'Lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets and has been a popular tradition here for centuries! Immigrants from Ireland brought the Jack O'Lantern tradition with them when they went to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America,  were easier to carve into the perfect Jack O'Lanterns and they made great pies too!

In recent years, Pumpkin Pie is becoming a very popular Halloween dish here in Ireland, as coffee shops and restaurants have been adding this sweet, mousse-like dessert dish to their seasonal menu. I'm adding another little piece of Ireland to the Halloween story, by flavouring my Pumpkin Pie with a little Irish Whiskey. You can use whichever brand is your own favourite!





The first recorded recipe for pumpkin pie was published as a 'Pompkin Pudding' in 1796, in a book called American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. This cookbook is considered to be the first Cookery Book to be published by an American, in America. Only four copies of the first edition are known to exist!


The first American Cookbook: American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons, 
published by Hudson & Goodwin of Hartford, Connecticut, USA, in 1796

Pumpkin Pie is made in the same way as a Baked Cheesecake or a Custard Tart and is flavoured with cinnamon, cloves and ginger. If you've never eaten some, you could be excused for thinking that it might taste like a savoury vegetable quiche - but it's really more like a sweet cheesecake in a pastry crust! The Gingernut biscuits add flavour and also help to make the base crunchier. The evaporated milk gives a richness to the pie and the Irish whiskey works just perfectly with the spices to give it a yummy taste sensation!

You can make this recipe at any other time of year by substituting Butternut Squash or Sweet Potato instead of pumpkin. Their texture and taste are almost the same when flavoured and cooked. In the US, you can buy canned puréed pumpkin for use in cooking.

Becky Pumpkin - Butternut Squash - Sweet Potato


This recipe makes one 10" x 1.5" Pumpkin Pie

To Make the Pumpkin Puree:
Cut a medium-sized pumpkin into wedges and discard all the seeds. Cook the pumpkin in the microwave on high power for 12 minutes. Scrape off all the cooked flesh and purée it quickly in a blender until smooth. (If you are using canned pumpkin purée you'll need to spoon it onto a clean tea-towel and squeeze away as much liquid as possible.) You'll need 400g/14oz prepared Pumpkin Purée for the pie.  

The Puréed Pumpkin, a Splash of Irish Whiskey & Crushing the Gingernut Biscuits

Sweet Pastry and Base
(8.5oz) 250g Plain Flour
(3.5oz) 100g Butter
(2.5oz) 75g Light Brown Sugar
1 medium egg
a little Cold Water
(3.5oz) 100g crushed Gingernut Biscuits

1. Rub the butter into the flour until it's like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix in. Break in the egg and quickly pull the pastry together adding a little cold water if needed. Roll it out and line a floured  10" Pie Dish (about 1.5 " deep). Trim off any extra pastry.

2. Crumb the Gingernut biscuits in a blender or by placing them in a sandwich bag and rolling them with a rolling pin until fine. Sprinkle the biscuit-crumb over the pastry base, pat it down and refrigerate until needed. Crush the Gingernut Biscuits and gently press them onto the Sweet Pastry.

Crush the Gingernut Biscuits and gently press them onto the Sweet Pastry

The Filling
3 Medium Eggs
(5.5oz) 160g Light Brown Sugar
(15 fl.oz) 1x 410g can Evaporated Milk
1 tspn ground Cinnamon
1/2 tspn ground Ginger
A pinch of ground Cloves
1/2 tspn Salt
(14oz) 400g Your Pumpkin Purée
(1 fl.oz) 35ml Irish Whiskey

1. Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them well. Add the brown sugar and mix in for 30 seconds until they're thick and creamy. Add the can of Evaporated Milk and mix well for about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin purée along with the flavourings and mix everything together until smooth. Lastly add the whiskey and stir it into the filling.

2. Carefully pour the mix into your Pie Dish and tap the side of the dish a few times to help raise the air bubbles to the top. Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 160°C / 320°F for 40 minutes.

3. Check the pie as you would when testing a sponge cake. It should be soft, but responsive to the touch when it's cooked - giving you a little spring in the centre when gently pushed down.  Leave the pie aside, in the dish to set, until cold.

Zack's Irish Whiskey Pumpkin Pie
To turn it out, put a flat plate on top of the pie, turn it over tap the bottom of the baking tin. Lift off the tin gently. Now put your serving plate on the base of the pie and turn it back over! It's now ready to serve with a little fresh cream to which another little drop of Irish Whiskey has been added.

Enjoy!

Zack

Lords & Ladles with Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio and Paul Flynn is back on RTE One TV

Lords & Ladles, RTE’s hugely popular historical cooking series, is back for a second run and begins on Sunday 18th September at 18:30 on RTÉ One. This six week series features more of Ireland’s most beautiful historic homes and the menus feature a fascinating array of recipes – all from manuscripts and cookbooks either produced or widely available in Ireland – spanning the past four hundred years. 

Three of Ireland’s finest Chefs: Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio and Paul Flynn traverse the country and take  the viewer on a historical journey to celebrate our past through the wonders of food and the glories of cooking.

Catherine Fulvio, Paul Flynn and Derry Clarke in Lords & Ladles on RTE1 TV

Each week the three Chefs arrive at a Great Irish Country House to recreate a grand dinner from its history while tantalising the TV audience with sumptuous descriptions of the treats that are on the menu. All of the recipes – some mouth-watering, some downright baffling – are taken from manuscript and printed cookbooks from the past four hundred years.  

But first they must Draw Lots for the division of labour - one will Gather the ingredients, one will Cook, and one will get to Dine with the Gentry.



The Gatherer must source the ingredients for the feast – hunting, shooting and fishing feature strongly, as do lambs ears, sheep’s feet and of course lots of tongue! Local producers help our chefs get hands-on with some traditional methods of food production and share insights into the evolution of Irish food production over the years. The Cook will familiarise themselves with the workings of the kitchen and grapple with the enormous amount of food that seems to have been the norm for a grand house dinner. 


Meanwhile the Diner gets to explore the house with the family, learning about its place in the history of the area and the Island, the trials and tribulations of the family seat and of course help lay the table using the finest silver and china from the house safe. 
The Cook’s work all done, the meal will be served with all the pomp and ceremony it deserves, to the audible delight of the diners who can’t help themselves from gasping at the spectacle as the sumptuous banquet is laid before them!

The Episodes

Each episode is set in one of Ireland’s many stately homes. 

Huntington Castle, Co Carlow (Sunday 18th September at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Alexander and Clare Durdin-Robertson farm and work the estate which has been their family home since the 17th century. Paul Flynn is challenged to serve up a sumptuous 17th century feast that includes a whole roast pig on the spit, boiled goose and sheep’s feet! Assisting him in the kitchen is Derry Clarke, who first heads out to James and Laz Murphy at Murphy’s Craft Butcher in Tullow to butcher some of some of Alex’s own lamb, as well as collect a small mountain of meat for the night’s feast; and on to James Malone at Malone Fruit Farm in Ballon to gather fresh berries for the intriguing dessert “A Brave Tart of Several Sweetmeats”.

Ballymacmoy House, Co Cork (25th September at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Home of the founder of Hennessy Cognac Richard Hennessy, the house has been lovingly restored to a family home by his 8th generation descendant Frederic Hennessy.  Derry Clarke aided by Catherine Fulvio must grapple with stuffed lambs’ ears which Paul will have to chew on. Catherine hopes to land a salmon for the table with the help of local ghillie Jeremiah Butler, on the Blackwater in Killavullen; she lifts some lobster pots with Adrian Walsh of Ballycotton Seafood out of Ballycotton Harbour and John Howard, Chairman of the Federation of County Cork Gun Clubs provides some pigeon for the table from a field where crops are being damaged by birds.

Hilton Park, Co Monaghan (2nd October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Fred Madden’s great great grandfather traversed the globe before turning his attention to the upgrading of the family home in Monaghan which Fred’s father Johnny Madden refers to as an iced-cake.  Derry Clarke holds the ladle for the recreation of a hunt supper from 1908 featuring such delicacies as Pudding à la Diplomate and Turkey boiled with oysters. Paul hunts for a herd of wild pigs on Inishcorkish Island with Pat O’Doherty, producer of the award-winning Fermanagh “Black Bacon” and gets a lesson in cheese-making at Corleggy Cheese in Belburbet and collects a special order of cockscombs and turkey testicles for one of Derry’s less appetising recipes.

Tourin House, Co Waterford (9th October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
A stunning house on the banks of the Blackwater is home to the Jameson sisters whose father was the driving force behind the formation of Irish Distillers.  The feast created by Catherine Fulvio includes a macabre dish of lamb’s head which makes for quite the centrepiece.
Paul joins Catherine in the kitchen after first heading out of Youghal in an antique Norwegian fishing boat to catch some mackerel, making some sausages the old-fashioned way with Declan O’Flynn of O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausages, and getting up close to some bees with Pat Deasy of Deise Irish Honey.


Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath (16th October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Sir Nicholas and Alice Nugent have taken the reins at Ballinlough where they host the annual Body & Soul Festival.  Nick’s mom Pepe recalls a very different era where everyone knew their place.  Paul must once again battle with the spit but this time with a more manageable kid goat gathered by Catherine. Catherine also tries to catch a pike on the castle’s own lake, and heads to Maperath farm near Kells to pluck a “green goose”.


Enniscoe House, Co Mayo (23rd October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
The Kelletts of Mayo came to Ireland with Cromwell, purchased land and built this lovely house on the banks of Lough Conn.  General Humbert and his men ransacked the place in 1798. Catherine recreates a meal from the late 18th century but she may be waiting a while for Derry to catch the ingredients for her dish of Boiled Trout with Shrimp Sauce. Particularly when one of Derry’s gathering stops is the local Reel Deal Brewing company, where sampling the products is very important. Derry’s also put to work in the beautifully restored organic walled garden on Enniscoe’s own grounds.


Lords & Ladles, featuring Derry Clarke, Catherin Fulvio and Paul Flynn, is a Mind the Gap Films Production for RTÉ Lifestyle. Series Producer is Bernadine Carraher, Director is Maurice Linnane and Director of Photography is Andrew Cummins.

Enjoy this look back at some great historical Irish Foods and stories!
Zack


Michelin Star Chef Rory Carville opens BLÁS Restaurant in Donegal Town

The Blás Restaurant, at The Gateway Lodge in Donegal Town, offers a modern new Taste of Donegal.  In 2015, Seamus Quinn from Donegal Town, the successful owner of Quinn Construction in London, purchased an historic building, in a great location, in Donegal Town. He wanted to make significant changes to the property and working with local company, Paul Doherty Architects, they not only extended the building, but completely renovated the interior, giving the house and hostel a new sleek and modern feel. 


Seamus Quinn brought almost twenty Donegal men (who work for him in London) back home for three months, to refurbish the hostel, chalets and restaurant, adding a new modern lobby, re-roofing the existing building, re-facing the main entrance and extended the car parking to include modern camper facilities.

Seamus then went looking for the best chef he could find, to open a new restaurant in Donegal Town.

Michelin starred chef, Rory Carville, was looking to open a new restaurant at the same time!

Rory Carville, Head Chef at the new Blás Restaurant at The Gateway Lodge, in Donegal Town
Rory Carville, from Castleblayney in County Monaghan, graduated from Killybegs Catering College in 2000, where he also happened to meet his wife, Erin. His final placement from college was at the Limetree Restaurant in the Park Hotel in Kenmare and after that he moved to Dublin, spending three years with Terry White at the Four Seasons Hotel.

He then joined Derry Clarke's team in l'Ecrivain, in Dublin, for two and a half years. Rory then worked for a year in Chapter One under Ross Lewis and while he was there Derry rang him up to see if he'd like to work for the summer on a yacht (belonging to a business partner) in the south of France. Around this time Rory had been working on a new venture with Dylan McGrath, but that fell through, so he jumped at this opportunity.

Michelin Chef Rory Carville with Marian and Seamus Quinn at Blás Restaurant, Donegal Town
Rory came back from France in September 2010, when he was offered the job of opening up Locks Brasserie, on the canal in Dublin. He spent three years at Locks, winning his first Michelin Star along with numerous other awards.

"Winning a Michelin Star takes a lot of hard work and dedication from a chef and his whole team, putting in long hours and intense concentration." says Rory. "It's great for business but it's a different kind of pressure as your cooking to satisfy a different kind of clientele. And there are so many great restaurants now in Dublin that the competition is very tight."

Daniel Cavan, sous chef at Blás Restaurant in Donegal Town
Rory Carville is joined in the new Blás kitchen by his sous-chef, Daniel Cavan. Daniel, originally from Dumbarton in Scotland, is one of those young chefs who lives for food. He is passionate and capable and he really loves his career as a chef. 

Rory's plans for Blás Restaurant are to keep it simple, tasty, rustic and he describes his food as modern Irish, with a bit of a twist

Velvet Cloud Sheep's Yogurt with Dandelion Honey & Chive at Blás Restaurant

"I love cooking great fish and I really like cooking slow cuts of meat and working new flavoursome ways of cooking vegetables" he says. He also has a great passion for sourcing local, as he explains, "I'm working with local butcher Marty Walsh for all of my beef. I'm using all the local suppliers and everything on the menu here comes from within a twenty-mile radius of Donegal Town. All our fish is coming in from Killybegs. I also do a lot of foraging for mushrooms, wild garlic and home grown herbs."

Finishing off a dish of John Dory and Organic Broccoli 
Rory says he is delighted to be part of the northwest's modern food scene and gives credit to how food in the best restaurants around County Donegal is easily comparable to any of the top restaurants around Ireland.

The bedrooms have been totally refurbished at the Gateway Lodge in Donegal Town

"Things are changing in the Irish restaurant scene these days. Chefs are getting back to basics and working with their local food producers now, more than they ever did, but producing a modern original Irish Cuisine style." says Rory. "It's brilliant for the food producers, the restaurants but ultimately it's great for our customers."

The Chalets at the Gateway Lodge have also been completely refurbished

Blás at the Gateway Lodge is becoming a another success story in accommodation and dining in Donegal Town. It's success is down to the passion of it's owner, in creating a place that reflects it's heritage while looking to the future and a passionate chef, who understands that locally sourced food is the best way for people to truly understand the location they are in.

Official Opening Night at Rory Carville's new Blás Restaurant in Donegal Town was brilliant!
Blás at The Gateway Lodge offers you "a place on a plate" in one sitting and Rory also says he hopes that Blás will be the first Michelin approved restaurant in the northwest of Ireland.

For bookings at Blás Restaurant & Guest Accommodation Tel: 00 353 74 9740405
Check it out on the Web: www.thegatewaydonegal.com

You can follow Head Chef Rory Carville on Twitter
You can follow sous chef Daniel Cavan on Twitter



Zack

WIN Dinner for Two at the new Ramblers Restaurant in Ardara, Co. Donegal

Friends, folks and foodies from all Donegal gathered recently for the launch of “Ramblers Bar & Restaurant” at The Nesbitt Arms Hotel, in Ardara, County Donegal. The Nesbitt Arms is situated right in the middle of this beautiful wee town of Ardara, which is famous for it's Donegal fiddlers, it's hand-spun Tweed, it's excellent music festivals and it's warm and friendly community.


General Manager, Liam McGill, opened the night by thanking all who had turned out for the opening. "We are so proud to have a loyal and regular clientele here at the Nesbitt Arms. A town is quiet without a hotel but a hotel is nothing with out the town around it", he said.

"I'm delighted to welcome you all here to the opening of "Ramblers", our brand new Bar and Restaurant" said Liam. "I want to thank everyone who worked on the new build: John Fox and Hugh Boyle with all their staff, Micky Shallow and of course, Terry Murray who has practically lived in this room for the last two months!"

The Nesbitt Arms Hotel, Ardara, Co Donegal 

Liam also raised a glass and paid tribute to the late Conal Haughey (known to all as Mr. Ardara) who passed away recently, saying, "Conal was the head chef here in the Nesbitt Arms for over twenty years and he would surely have been delighted with the new Bar and Restaurant".

Entrance to the new Ramblers Restaurant and Bar

He then called on festival organiser and local hero, Stephen McCahill, who thanked the management of the Nesbitt Arms for their continued support in the town of Ardara.  He added that the presence of hotel was imperative for the success of the town.  Praising all involved with the design, building of the new Bar and Restaurant, and with a special mention to restaurant staff and head chef Francis Floyd, Stephen commented on the wonderful standard of the hotel with its new reception, ballroom and excellent food.

Irish Food
Fresh Fish is delivered from Killybegs everyday

Deirdre Mc Glone, owner of Harvey’s Point Hotel and Donegal Person of the Year 2016, gave a very eloquent speech praising the people of Ardara for their continued dedication and search for an excellence offering for visitors and guests to the area. "Ardara is the most amazing town. You have traditional music festivals and events almost every month, a great community spirit and the most wonderful natural surroundings here", she said. "No wonder Ardara was voted the Best Village to Live in Ireland!"


Irish FoodIrish Food
Head Chef, Francis Floyd, sources all his meats locally in County Donegal

Deirdre then officially launched Ramblers new Bar by pulling a pint of stout and serving the first glass of the new Sliabh Liag Whiskey and Claire McGill, Deputy GM of the Nesbitt Arms, then presented Deirdre with a beautiful Eddie Doherty Tweed Throw as a memento of this trip down to Ardara.

The Library section of the new Ramblers Restaurant and Bar

As is customary in Ardara, the locals and business owners turned out in great numbers to support this very fine new bar. “Traditional but kinda chic”, “cosy and comfortable with those lovely old heritage colours”, “classy & cosy” was how some of the locals described it.

Local Beers and Spirits from County Donegal are served in the new Restaurant and Bar

To Enter a new Competition and be in for a chance to WIN Dinner for Two at the new Ramblers Bar and Restaurant in Ardara, County Donegal, simply Like and Share The Nesbitt Arms Hotel on Facebook here:


telling them the person you'd like to bring along with you if you won.
(Sneaky Tip - If you've Liked this Page already, Unlike and Like Again to enter the competition)

The Winner will be announced on Friday 29th of July. Best of Luck everyone!

Zack

Enter the Foróige National Junior Baking Competition 2016

Foróige is the leading youth organisation in Ireland. The charity works with 54,000 young people and 5,500 adult volunteers annually, through a network of more than 600 youth clubs & cafés, 150-targeted projects and national programmes such as Citizenship, Entrepreneurship and Leadership.

ALDI are once again sponsoring this years' National Junior Baking Competition, in association with Foróige, the finals of which will take place in the Aldi Marquee at the National Ploughing Championships, and this year the theme for the baking competition is ‘Muffins of the Moment’.


Prizes

The winner of the National Junior Baking Competition will win a €1,000 bursary to help them on their baking journey, as well as a trip for their local Foróige group to Delphi Adventure Centre in Co. Mayo.
In addition to this and for the first time in the National Junior Baking Competition, Aldi will be stocking the winning muffins – a huge achievement for any budding young baker!



How does the Competition work?

The qualifiers of The National Junior Baking Competition will be held nationally through youth organisation Foróige, in their 834 clubs and projects nationwide, with the regional finals taking place in late July. The National Semi Finals and Final will be held from 20th to 22nd September at the Aldi Marquee during the 2016 National Ploughing Championships in the new location of Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

County Level
The first stage of the competition will be at county level. These will be organised locally in each county to watch out for the local arrangements. There will be one winner per county, except in cases where there are more than 50 clubs in that county. In this instance, two county contestants will qualify for the Regional Final.


A county competition will be organised in each county as a stand-alone county event or will be organised as part of another event taking place in the county. Individual entrants will bring along their Muffins which they have baked themselves (see rules below) to be judged by a panel of judges.

To find your nearest Foroige Club and Contact Details Click HERE


Regional Level
There will be four regional finals - South, West, East and Midlands. Two winners from each region will qualify to compete in the semi-finals at the National Ploughing Championships in September 2016. At Regional level you will be baking on site using ingredients supplied by Aldi.

National Level and Finals
There will be two semi-final heats on 20th and 21st September. Again, semi finalists and finalists will be baking on site. The contestants placed first and second in each heat will qualify for the final on Thursday 22nd September, in the Aldi Ireland Tent at the National Ploughing Championships.


Who can enter?
The competition is open to any young person between the ages of 12 and 18 that are currently a member of a club, project (including Big Brother Big Sister), or youth service in Foróige.
Theme
The theme of the National Junior Baking Competition this year is ‘Muffins of the Moment’ and the judges are anticipating some amazing creations from the wealth of talented young bakers around the country.



The Rules:
  1. This competition is for individual entrants only.
  2. Participants must still be 18 or less on the 22nd of September 2016, the day of the final of the competition.
  3. For the county competition each competitor will bring their Muffins, made by them. Should they progress to the regional event they will be required to bake more on site.
  4. Each club or project group may submit only one entry. If more than one person in a group is interested, it is up to the club or group to decide how to choose one.
  5. Bakers must produce their goods without help from others.
  6. Ingredients must be purchased from Aldi – and each baker may spend a maximum of €20 on ingredients. Here is a link to the Aldi website where you can see all their products. 
  7. Entrants in county competitions must be available to attend and compete in the Regional finals (late July) and the National Finals (20th to 22nd September), if they get through to each.
  8. For the National Semi-Finals and Final, competitors will be obliged to use the ingredients supplied by Aldi Ireland.
  9. Competitors in the regional and national events must bring their own baking tins.
  10. The judges’ decision in all competitions is final and binding on all competitors and the fact of entering shall be deemed an acceptance of this rule.
(Immediate families of Foróige managers and employees and the directors managers and employees and the immediate families of other Promoters or the agencies or companies associated with this promotion are ineligible to enter.)



Any other enquiries should be directed to denis.obrien@foroige.ie

So Get Baking and the Best of Success to all who enter!
Zack

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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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