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Letterkenny hosts new Irish Street Food Festival 29th and 30th July

Donegal's newest Food Festival kicks off this weekend in Letterkenny with an action packed program of events over Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July 2017!



Off The Street Food Festival, Donegal's first ever Irish Street Food Festival, will feature local food producer's stories, food talks, cooking demonstrations, music and entertainment and a host of Donegal Street Food!

The brainchild of Chris Molloy from The Lemontree Restaurant and Derek Walker of Letterkenny Artisan Market, this new Irish Street Food Festival is offering a huge variety of food stalls selling amazing street, fresh local produce & much much more.

Two days of live music by local musicians, live cookery demos in the marquee by local talented chefs and producer story sections where you get to hear the stories behind some of Donegal's best food producers.

Declan McConnellogue from The Haven Smokehouse

Among the food producers from Donegal that will be telling their food story are Ballyholey Farm, OURganic Gardens, The Haven Smokehouse, Simply Natural Health, Harrys Walled Garden, Carols Stockmarket, Hive Donegal, Gareth Austin Horticulture and Boghopper Brewery.

Cooking Demonstrations will run all weekend and Donegal chefs on the stage on Saturday and Sunday include Gary M Peake, Mary McLaughlin, World Chowder Champion Kieran Duey, Frank Pasquier, Maurice McGeehan, me... Zack Gallagher, the 9 Hostages Coffee Baristas, Chris Molloy and Ciaran Sweeney.



The Street Food Festival takes place at the rear of the AIB Bank on Letterkenny Main Street and access is via Justice Walsh Road. There will be over ten stalls from local chefs cooking up a local Donegal Street Food and in total there will be over 50 food stalls!

As part of the food festival the popular Letterkenny Artisan Market will relocate to the festival site in the town centre over the weekend.

“The popularity of street has really grown in the last couple of years so we just wanted to try an run an event like this in my home town", said Chris Molloy, about the new Street Food Festival. "Entry is just €3 per ticket, €5 for a full weekend ticket and children go free!"

With something for the whole family, this is a true celebration of the vibrant Donegal Food scene, and a weekend not to be missed! For more info see www.offthestreetfoodfest.com

Limited Early Bird Two-Day Tickets for Food On The Edge available until the 31st July

Food On The Edge is a global conference, founded and directed by Galway chef JP McMahon, that brings chefs and food industry speakers, from all around the world, together in the City of the Tribes, to discuss the future of food and the food industry.



The symposium’s aim is to generate debate, discussion and thought leadership on the future of food both in the industry and on the planet. The 2017 dates are the 9th and 10th of October.



Approximately 50 chefs will speak over the two day symposium. All are chosen for their innovation, passion and influence on today’s food culture. Each speaker, with their own unique perspective, talks for 15 minutes on the cultural, social, environmental and educational aspects of food and will attempt to challenge our perspective on food and our connection to it.



The principal theme of this year’s Food On The Edge symposium is Action : Reaction and the emphasis for the talk is on the vision for the future of food and how we can make things better on both a local and a global level.

Speaking at the recent Irish launch, JP McMahon said, “After three years it was time to reflect on the issues we’ve been talking about and try to change or act on them. Feedback from chefs that had taken direct action as a result of attending Food On The Edge – chefs at the top of their game and chefs just starting out – has been inspiring and motivating. We’d like to hear these stories and promote action.”

Founder and Director of Food On The Edge, JP McMahon

Chef-owner Domini Kemp said she was delighted to be asked to speak at this year's event. "The impact of Food On The Edge cannot be understated. Part of what JP is doing is establishing Irish food culture. When you go to Food On The Edge you come aware very inspired."




The 2017 Food On The Edge venue is the Black Box Theatre, which is located along the banks of the River Corrib in Galway City. Now in its third year, this event sells out rapidly but limited edition Early Bird Two-Day Tickets are currently available until the 31st July for the special price of €350. These tickets give you access to all talks, lunches and also gets you into the famous Food On The Edge Wrap Party!

The official social media hashtags for Food On The Edge 2017 are #ActionReaction and #FOTE2017 and you can Purchase these special Early Bird Two-Day Tickets HERE.

Get your Early Bird Tickets Now, before it's too late!
Zack.

Newcastle West, Limerick, Food Tour on Thursday 24 August with Sharon Noonan

Following on from the successful launch of the Newcastle West Food Tour in June, the next tour will take place during Heritage Week on Thursday 24 August when guests will have an opportunity to explore the finest culinary hotspots and rich gastronomic history of the famed West Limerick town.

Developed by well known local, Sharon Noonan, tastings on the tour are plentiful and include coffee with raw milk from Croom, granola from Curraghchase, craft beer from Kilmallock and of course no food tour of Limerick’s largest town would be complete without enjoying award winning cheddar from its resident cheese maker, Cahill’s. 



More unusual stops include a visit to a sushi bar which is the latest addition to the restaurant scene in Newcastle West and a poetry reading from the town’s favourite son Michael Hartnett adds a quirky literary twist.  The tour culminates with a mouth watering lunch boasting a menu created from locally sourced ingredients.

Sharon, who presents the popular Best Possible Taste radio show and podcast, says the food and drink landscape in Newcastle West is ‘extremely impressive’ when you look closely.



“The town was home to Nash’s famous red lemonade and still is to Ballygowan, Ireland’s first developed water brand and the undisputed giant of Irish bottled water,” she explained.  The Desmond Banqueting Hall dominates the Square which is home to Sonas Healthfoods, our answer to the Happy Pear with its diverse and large range of Irish artisan food products.  Our eclectic stalls at the Thursday and Saturday markets have so much to offer with items such as freshly baked sourdough bread and Irish garlic which sell out early.”


Limited places are available on the next Newcastle West Food Tour which takes place on Thursday 24 August.  For further information, please contact Sharon Noonan 087 099 5741 or email sharon@sharonnoonan.com


A September tour takes place on Saturday 23 September 2017.

Cooking Tips for the Perfect Irish Steak!

"...there is no flavour without the fat."

Irish Beef and Irish Steak are second to none on the world's stage of top quality meats. Our cattle are predominately grass-fed and this is something that other countries recognise as 'special' in Irish meats. I believe that this is the main reason that our Irish Beef is the tastiest meat on the planet! 

Sirloin Steak

A good steak is one of those dishes that can simply make or break any restaurant. If butchers owned restaurants, we'd all be happy! So Buy your Meat from a local Butcher!

Here are my tips for Buying a great Steak.

1. When choosing a steak, Sirloin (striploin) is a fine choice due to its tasty, melt-in-the-mouth succulence. A good steak has just the right amount of fat and nice marbling. Rump steak and Rib-eye are slightly cheaper than Sirloin and I think they are better steaks for barbequing or frying, with much more flavour.

2. Age of the steak is important, as the hanging process develops the flavour and tenderises the meat. So ask your butcher how long the beef has been hung for. As a rule, 21 days is a minimum and 35 days as a maximum hanging time is a good range to go for.

3. Good, well hung beef should be a deep red colour.

4. Check that the beef has good marbling - little streaks of fat running through the meat. This melts when heated, helping the steak to baste itself from within as it cooks.

5. There is no flavour without the fat! A good layer of creamy-white fat around the top of rump and sirloin steaks is essential, as is a little fat through the meat.

Ribeye Steak
Five steps to cooking the perfect steak at home

1. Take the steaks out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to allow to come to room temperature. Heat your griddle pan or frying pan over a high heat.

2. Lightly rub the steak with a little olive oil, or Donegal rapeseed oil and season with sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper just before cooking.

3. If your pan is small, don't cook off more than two steaks at a time and keep them spaced apart. If you add too many steaks to the pan at once, the temperature will drop and the steak will stew, rather than fry.

4. Don't turn the steaks until they are well seared, then turn them over and cook on the other side (see timings, below). I always lift a sirloin or ribeye steak up on it's fatty edge and sear that too until it crisps - yum!

5. Let the steak rest for about 2 minutes (under loose tinfoil if you want) before serving, to allow the juices that have been drawn to the surface to relax back into the meat.
Fillet Steak
 Cooking Times for Steaks.

These timings are based on cooking a Sirloin steak that's about 2cm (3/4 of an inch) thick. Cooking times will vary depending on the type and thickness of the steak, and how hot your pan is. 
Be adventurous and try cooking your steak a little less well done than you normally would. I guarantee that you’ll never eat a well-done steak again once you’ve tasted a really juicy medium!

Blue: Warmed through, just, on a plate on the side of the cooker and then seared each side
Rare: 1 minutes each side
Medium rare: 2 minutes each side
Medium: 2½   minutes each side
Medium-well: 3½ minutes each side.
Well Done: 5 minutes each side - but do try to eat your steak a little less done than you usually would and you'll discover the real juicy taste of great Irish Steak!

Juicy Medium Rare - Just the way I like it!


zack

Zack's BBQ Sauce & Basting Stock!

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



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

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


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

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

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

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


Chop the vegetables roughly because your going to blitz the sauce in a food processor when it's cooked. Put them into a large pot and add all the other ingredients. Bring it all to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer the sauce for 30 minutes. Blitz in a food processor or with a blitzing gun, you can make it smooth or leave it a little rough for a bit of bite. You can use this BBQ sauce straight away or you can put it in the fridge overnight to help the flavours develop. 

When your beef, chicken, ribs, lamb, Kebabs, burgers, sausages, fish, prawns, or whatever you're using, is cooked to your liking, simply brush the BBQ sauce over your meat, give it another few minutes on the Barbecue to add a tasty, shiny, crispy delicious glaze that will have your guests licking their fingers with delight!

My BBQ Sauce is also excellent for rubbing on Chicken Wings or Pork Ribs. Cook the meat in a pre-heated oven at 180°C until its done. Take it out and brush with the BBQ Sauce and pop back in the oven for another 10 mins. Delicious!


Both sauces can be made in advance and kept in the fridge. The BBQ Sauce will keep for months, if you jar it when its still hot. 

Enjoy the Sunshine and insist on locally-sourced Irish food for your BBQ!


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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