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Make your own Home-made Haggis for Burns' Night!

In 1801, some five years after the famous Scottish poet Robert (Robbie) Burns' death, nine of his friends sat down to dinner, to celebrate his extraordinary life and to gave thanks for his friendship. Little did they know that this remembrance would resonate down through the centuries and span all across the world. Over the years, the informal theme from that evening has developed into the ritual known internationally known as Burns Night.

Presenting and Toasting the Haggis have become part of the ritual of a Burns Night event!
Here in County Donegal, with the historic association of many Donegal people with Scotland and Scottish traditions, we have long been enjoying the lightly spiced and peppery flavours of this famous dish. Haggis is traditionally eaten on Burns Night which falls on the 25th January which is the birthday of the Scottish poet. Many venues celebrate Burns Night on the weekend closest to the 25th.
(See at bottom of this post for details of the 2020 Donegal Burns Supper celebration)


Robert Burns - Celebrating the poets birthday has made the Haggis world famous!
The Haggis, which tastes a little like our Irish black and white puddings mixed together, is a very old traditional dish that combines meats, spices and oatmeal.  A traditional Scottish recipe for haggis would involve the boiled and minced liver, lungs and heart of a sheep mixed with chopped onions, toasted oatmeal, salt, pepper, and spices.

The mixture would then be stuffed into the cleaned sheep’s stomach, sewn up and then boiled gently for several hours! The dish is usually served with "neeps (mashed buttered turnip) and tatties (potatoes)", a whiskey sauce, a few readings of some poetry, along with copious amounts of whiskey to toast the Haggis!


A Traditional Haggis with Neeps (Turnips) and Tatties (Potatoes) & a Wee Dram of Whiskey!

Creating a Burns Night event at your home or restaurant is a splendid reason to go out to eat and drink with friends in January! Although the traditional date is the 25th January, most restaurants and hotels celebrate a Burns Night event on the Friday or Saturday closest to that date.

That's me when I was asked to assist with a Burn's Supper put on recently by members of the local Ulster-Scots community. It was an honour to be asked and a sign of the changes being achieved in Irish historical relationships.

Here is my version of an old Haggis Recipe, where instead of a sheep’s stomach you cook the Haggis in a casserole dish.


My Ingredients:
500g minced lamb
500g minced beef
125g suet (beef or vegetable)
500g beef liver
100g of porridge oats
300ml of  meat stock (strain this from your boiled beef and lamb - see method)
250g finely chopped onions
½ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground mace
½ tsp of cayenne pepper
¼ tsp ground coriander
butter for greasing
a few twists of sea salt
a few twists of ground black pepper


My Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
2. Cover the roughly-cut liver with cold water, bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. Strain and dump away this liquid and then chop the cooked liver with the onion, in a blender or on a board.
3. Cover the lamb & beef mince with water and bring to the boil in a large pot. Cook out for approximately 30 minutes. Keep 300ml stock from this cooked meat and pour away the rest.
4. Give the porridge oats a rough chop and toast them on a hot pan, shaking occasionally to make sure they don't burn.
5. Now mix all the ingredients together with the meat stock and transfer this mix to a well buttered casserole dish. Cover and seal with a layer of tin-foil.
6. Cook in the oven at 160°C for about 2 hours.
7. Meanwhile cook and mash some Turnips with real butter, white pepper and a drizzle of honey. Cook and mash some potatoes with real butter and white pepper.


Invite your friends around and make your own home-made Haggis for a Burns' Night Supper!

For the Whiskey sauce:
500ml cream
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 shot of whiskey
sea salt
ground white pepper
3 tbls chopped scallions

To make the whiskey sauce, heat the cream in a pan over a medium heat. Add the wholegrain mustard, Dijon mustard, scallions and whiskey and stir with a small whisk. Increase the heat until the mixture is simmering and cook for 1-2 minutes until it reduces and thickens up a little. Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and ground white pepper.

To serve:
Spoon out the Haggis, accompanied with mashed turnips and potatoes and drizzle with the whiskey sauce. I like to stack the Haggis, using a serving ring (see pic above) for presentation and then drizzle the sauce around it!

Donegal Burns Supper & Weekend Celebration
One of the longest established and most famous Burns' Night events held in the republic of Ireland has been the Annual Burns' Supper & Ceilidh hosted by Deirdre McGlone and Family, previously owners of Harvey's Point Hotel, in County Donegal.

This year, you can the McGlone Family & friends for a fun weekend in celebration of the life, works and spirit of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns, and the shared bond between Donegal and Scotland. The festivities will be held in the cosy and welcoming Travellers Rest Pub and the Breesy Centre, Cashelard, County Donegal.


The weekend will feature the usual mix of wit, wine, whisk(e)y and wisdom, accompanied by fine flavours of Scottish food, music, poetry and dancing. Friday hosts a Scottish sing-a-long in the Travellers Rest. On Saturday morning, there will be a guided walk with a hot toddy or two!

The main event, the Burns Supper, will be held in the Breesy Centre, Cashelard, on Saturday evening, starting with a welcome reception to the sounds of the Ardahy Pipe Band, followed by fun and formalities and a delicious three course dinner. Tickets for the Burns Supper are €35 per person.

For full details, contacts and booking information see: https://deirdremcglone.com/deirdres-diary/burns-weekend-celebration/


Zack

How to Cook a Turkey & my Favourite Stuffing Recipe

The turkey is the centre-piece of the traditional Christmas Dinner and it's also 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 if cooked right! 

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 are 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 = 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 minimum temperature 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

Savour Kilkenny 22nd to the 28th October to be Best Kilkenny Food Festival Yet!

Savour Kilkenny is now one of Ireland’s leading food festivals and this year it takes place from the 22nd to the  28th October 2019.



This is the 13th annual festival and the event celebrates the produce and food culture of the surrounding rich pastureland, home to some of Ireland and Europe’s best food. While the produce of its dairy and meat sector are internationally renowned, the Savour Kilkenny festival celebrates local artisan products and a vibrant local restaurant and café culture which has seen the area become a leading food and food tourism destination.



The Savour Kilkenny festival takes place over the October bank holiday weekend at the end of Autumn and at the end of the traditional harvest season and draws tens of thousands of visitors; increasingly it is now also a homecoming festival for local people living away from the Marble City.



The focus of Savour Kilkenny is on an informal gathering on the city’s medieval parade public space in front of the eight centuries old Kilkenny Castle, where people can sample the fare from dozens of artisan food stalls and listen and watch demonstrations from leading Irish and international chefs and food personalities.



The MAIN SAVOUR STAGE (view Chefs List) programme of cookery demos is being MCd by Siobhan Donohoe and Edward Hayden with Stage Management by Ken Maguire Demos and the Chefs taking part on stage this year are as follows:

SATURDAY 26th OCTOBER 2019
11am – Laura & Rory Gannon
12pm – Paul Flynn
1pm – Roz Purcell
2pm – Kathryn Thomas in Conversation
3pm – Rory O’Connell
4pm – Darren Kennedy

SUNDAY 27th OCTOBER 2019
11am – Ken Harker & John Kelly
12pm – Chris Sandford
1pm – Edward Hayden & Anne Neary
2pm – The 4 Ingredients Chef
3pm – Catherine Fulvio
5pm –  Clodagh McKenna (Charged)



Special food events take place in local hotels, restaurants and eateries and these book up early every year as patrons seek a special night out from the informal to the five star. The festival also features the fast-growing brewing and distilling industry locally with a craft beer and spirit tent on the Parade and expert tasting events taking place across the city too.

WELLNESS STAGE (view Wellness List) at the KBC BANK, Timetable is as follows:

SATURDAY 26th OCTOBER 2019
11am – Catherine O’Keeffe – Eating well in mid-life
12:30pm – Aileen Cox Blundell – Baby-led Feeding
2pm – James Fennelly & George Peet – Fighting Fit Food
3pm – Ellen Roche & ASI – Eating well for Dementia
4pm – D Furlong, N Ryan, J Mahon – Addressing Dysphasia



SUNDAY 27th OCTOBER 2019
11am – April Dannan – Fermentation for Good Gut Health
12:30pm – Linda Murray & Jenny White – Mood Food & Gut-Brain connection
2pm – Jeeny Maltese – The Curative Properties of Herbs
3:30pm – Essie May – Sprout up your life

The events on the Wellness stage are FREE, BUT TICKETED. You can reserve your place at any of these talks by emailing KBC Kilkenny – kilkenny@kbc.ie or telephone (056) 7746980.

SAVOUR SPECIAL TALKS

Savour Kilkenny and the Local Enterprise Office have joined forces to host this special event for anyone interested in starting a food business. Learn from guest speakers James Burke, Ireland’s leading advisor in the food sector, Helen Gee of G’s Gourmet Jams, award-winning live yoghurt producer, Nicholas Dunne of Killowen Farm and Margaret Hoctor of Killmullen Lamb. There will also be Q&A’s and group mentoring sessions with speakers. (See More Click Here)

The GOOD VIBE HIVE Stage will be hosting workshop which will explore the important role of dairy as part of a balanced diet, growing your own organic vegetables, how we can live more sustainably in ways that are realistic and practical for individuals and businesses, discussions around veganism and alternatives for farmers who wish to move away from animal production, an exploration into the wonderful world of organic wine and many more. (See Workshop Listings Here)



Whether you’re a food business start-up, an aspiring food blogger or just looking to give your current business the edge online, you can join me (Zack Gallagher) at 3pm on Saturday 26th, at the Good Vibe Hive, as I share some tips on how to better promote your business online using better web practices and a better use of social media!



There are some great Children’s Events and workshops happening as part of the festival programme and here’s a round-up of this year’s top children’s events:


  •  DÉISE MEDIEVAL – A LIVING HISTORY – MEET THE REAL VIKINGS!

Ancient Ireland is brought to life in Ireland’s Ancient East with this unique event, which is ideal for Viking lovers of all ages. Meet real Vikings and experience the daily life and crafts of our ancestors, with period tents full of homely furniture and household goods, food displays and authentic cooking over open fires. Taking place on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th October from 12pm – 4pm in The Parade & Castle Park, festival-goers can enjoy spinning, weaving, leather-working, coin striking and woodwork demonstrations.


  • AGRI AWARE’S MOBILE FARM  – LEARN ABOUT FARM ANIMALS AND IRISH FARMS

Returning once again is the Agri Aware’s Mobile Farm. This unique outdoor classroom, running on Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th from 11am – 4pm, educates children and adults through a hands-on learning experience. Young and old are invited to come along and learn all about the different farm animals on Irish farms and their roles in producing quality food that is safe and affordable for consumers. Perfect for children of all ages. This event is free.



  • THE COOL FOOD SCHOOL – OVERCOME YOUR KID’S FEAR OF FOOD

If you struggle to get your kids to eat healthy foods, then The Cool Food School is the family event for you! Through innovative, interactive, sensory and healthy eating workshops, The Cool Food School makes food fun for kids. Their goal is to break down the fear of new foods by letting kids interact with food through activities. Workshops are suitable for children aged from 3 to 10 and run on Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th from 10am – 12noon in The Good Vibe Hive, The Parade.  Tickets cost €10 and for more detailed information on the specific workshops and to book, click HERE.

All in all, there is a massive programme of events planned for the 2019 Savour Kilkenny! I'll be there with Ken Maguire Demos and in the Good Vibe Hive at 3pm Saturday, so do call over and say hello.



You can Download the Full 2019 Savour Kilkenny Programme PDF Brochure, Click HERE

Zack

Rockwell Hotel and Catering School Re-Union on Sunday 20th Oct 2019

The ROCKWELL HOTEL AND CATERING SCHOOL, which had a major influence on traditional cooking and service in the hospitality sector of Ireland is holding a re-union for past students on Sunday 20th Oct 2019 in the Clayton Silver Springs Hotel, in Cork city.


Rockwell Hotel School was world renowned for training and turned out some of Ireland’s best chefs and waiters, many of whom work in top restaurants around the world today. It began in 1958 under the auspices of Bord Failte Eireann and was run by Mr. Jimmy Kelly. Well-known past pupils include Martin Shanahan, TV chef and proprietor of Fishy Fishy in Kinsale Cork, Eugene McSweeney, a well-known industry consultant who resides in Kilkenny, Ed Cooney, Executive Chef at the 5* Merrion Hotel, Steven McNally, Deputy CEO at the Dalata Hotel Group and President of the Irish Hotels Federation.


Noel Cunningham, Media personality and General Manager at Harvey’s Point, Paul Carty, MD at Diageo and Chair of Irish Tourism Confederation (ITIC). Two famous waiters include, Sean Davoren, lately seen on the James Cordon late late show also head Butler at the Savoy hotel in London who also trains the Queens butlers and Michael Lynch, who has been in Claridge’s hotel since '78, and also starred in the BBC production of " Inside Claridge’s" in 2012.


Mr. Pat Cronin, who was one of the first students and the last Manager of the Catering School after being at the helm for almost 15 years, said, “Rockwell had a major influence on traditional cooking and service over its 25 year history the hotel and catering industry in Ireland, and it’s legacy is still lives on as past pupils continue to make a major impact on the National and global Hospitality business. It is a sadder place without the Rockwell student”.

Pat added, “This year’s get-together will be the best yet and we expect in excess of 180 past pupils. Everyone is assured of a great night with excellent food exceeding expectations of those working in the industry.”


Former pupils will be travelling from all over Ireland and further afield for the event – one chef Padraig Molloy is even coming in from Antarctica. The evening, which is in aid of local charity, will commence with mass at 7pm in the hotel, followed by a drink’s reception, 4 course dinner and music to follow.

The organisers also looking for more old photos or memorabilia of Rockwell, as one of their famous past students, Mr. Rory Morahan, the Druid Chef, is putting together a collection for all to see on the night. If you have memorabilia, would like more details on the event, or you would just like to reconnect with old Rockwell friends, see the Rockwell Hotel School Facebook page, or contact rockwellhotelschool@gmail.com.



The Clayton Sliver Springs Hotel, Set in sylvan terraced grounds just 11km from Cork Airport.situated on N8 just 3Km from cork city .With over 100 guest rooms, superb cuisine, versatile conference facilities.
Exceptional service at Clayton Hotel Silver Springs has everything you need to make your stay as comfortable & enjoyable as possible. info.silversprings@claytonhotels.com, Tel: 021-450753


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