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Sligo Food Trail celebrates 5 Years with a super Calendar of Online Events

Sligo Food Trail are celebrating their fifth birthday with taste and in trademark style, launching a commemorative video entitled “A tasty trip around five years of Sligo Food Trail” as well as a series of exciting online events showcasing some of the talented members. It’s grown to become a strong and vibrant network which has put the north-western county firmly on the food map. It’s quite a milestone for the network which began in 2016 and has matured into one of the best recognised food networks in the country.



Cllr. Marie Casserly, Chair Sligo Food Trail said, “I’m so proud of all that Sligo Food Trail has achieved. Over the five years it has put Sligo firmly on the map in terms of food and drink, drawing national and international attention to our county. The strength of a network like this and the power of the collective working as a group is really visible”.

The new video, will be released online to kickstart celebrations, is voiced-over by Aoife Carrigy, Chair of the Irish Food Writers Guild, who was guest speaker at the official launch of Sligo Food Trail, in The Model, Sligo, back in 2016. It’s a real trip down memory lane, featuring showcase events like the Harvest Feasts and the special Sligo ‘chew chew’ train that brought media on a culinary journey from Dublin to Sligo town. Taste The Island, networking events, several series of videos and the Irish Food Writers Guild visit are all remembered in glorious technicolour. 


Members of Sligo Food Trail and media celebrating Sligo Food on the special train event

Everyone is invited to join in an appetising series of online food and drink events. The tastings, demonstrations, recipes and Zoom events will run from Tuesday 4th – Friday 14th May showcasing some of Sligo Food Trail’s talented members. Try a tasting, learn tips and techniques from the experts, and marvel at the breath-taking showstopper created by one very talented chef.

Events Calendar:

  • Thursday 6th May - Grainne Gilmartin from Sligo Wellness Centre focusses on cooking for teenagers in her live Zoom event ‘Teenage Brains’.
  • Friday 7th May - It’s the ice cream man - Neil Byrne from Mammy Johnston’s in Strandhill. ‘Creptastic facts and ice cream trivia’ will be entertaining and educational in equal measure.  
  • Saturday 8th May - Anthony Gray, owner of EalaBhán and Hooked Restaurants, takes to the stage, demonstrating a delicious “DIY Smashed Burger” recipe. 
  • Sunday 9th May - “Aw Shucks” is the intriguing title of a demonstration where Aisling Kelly of Sligo Oyster Experience shows everyone three ways to serve the delicious bivalves. 
  • Tuesday 11th May - The seaweed queen herself, Prannie Rhatigan (Irish Seaweed Kitchen) presents ‘Seaweed the Superfood’, introducing everyone to cooking with seaweed, making seaweed pesto and even a seaweed smoothie. 
  • Wednesday 12th May - ‘Brew Coffee with Carrow’, is a Zoom event with Andrew Willis of Carrow Coffee inviting everyone to join in as he talks about their new Peruvian coffee 'Alberca' while brewing with an aeropress. You can purchase some in advance if you’d like to brew along with him. 
  • Thursday 13th May - Dave Raethorne and Ollie Alcorn (head distiller) of Lough Gill Distillery present a virtual tour of their distillery in Hazelwood combined with an Athrú Whiskey tasting. 

The finale of the celebrations is entitled ‘Pure Poetry in Chocolate’, by executive chef Alan Fitzmaurice from the Glasshouse Hotel. Alan will be drawing together the very best of local food and ingredients from the Sligo Food Trail producers and inspired by the landscape and beaches, to create a floral-style centrepiece, fit to grace the finest dining table in the land! 



Registration is required for the live events and I'm told that the website almost crashed on the first day with bookings, so register your place at www.sligofoodtrail.ie/5years Today!!!

Keep up to Date with Sligo Food Trail via their Social Media at

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SligoFoodTrail/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sligofoodtrail

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sligofoodtrail.ie/


Zack


A Story about the old pre-1855 Six-arch River Eske bridge in Donegal Town and my Donegal Castle print

(Warning - This story does not include any Irish food!)


About 25 years ago, I bought a print of a castle, set in a frame mount, in Kenny’s Bookshop in Galway. Having been born and grown up in Donegal Town, I instantly recognised the scene in the print. It depicted O'Donnell's Castle, which sat beside the river Eske right outside our front door at Waterloo Place. What was unusual about the picture was that a bridge crossed the river from behind the castle across to Waterloo Place, not where the bridge is now. A signature, Lewis, was visible in the corner of the picture.


The Print of Donegal Castle that I bought in Kenny's Bookshop, Galway 


The print had a hand-written sticker on it saying "Castle of Arran". I asked the man in the shop where was the Castle of Arran? "Up in Malin Head, I think", he replied. But I knew it was our castle in Donegal Town and the Castle of Arran may have been a reference to Lord Arran, former landlord around south Donegal. There was something else special about this print. I could faintly see printed writing coming through from the back of the picture.


My father, Vincent Gallagher, was a printer, and from a very young age we grew up learning about type styles and mechanical printing, long before there was anything like PageMaker or Microsoft Publisher. I knew by the impression of the writing and the font type, that the print was quite old. So I bought this lithographic print, for £30.


Taylor and Skinner Maps of the Road of Ireland 1777 

As a boy, I had been told that there was once a bridge that crossed over from behind the castle to Waterloo Place and that the main road to Mountcharles and Killybegs ran on from end of the bridge, straight up Meetinghouse Street where the Forge Pub is now. However, the late Eileen McBrearty (previous owner of the Forge pub) had always insisted that the old name for that road and hill was "Bridge End". In fact, the Forge pub was formerly known as "The Bridge End Bar".



The printed writing on the back of my Print

When I got back home, I opened up the mount to see what the writing on the back of the print was. It was part of a narrative account of the history of the O'Donnells and also about a plot by Sir John Perrott to capture the young Red Hugh O'Donnell in 1587. It was fascinating to read, although incomplete, and the paper and ink type pointed towards the document being well over 100 years old. The print had the words "Donegal Castle" printed under it. This was also the first representation of an older bridge crossing the River Eske that I'd ever seen. So I put it in a frame and it's been hanging on my wall ever since... until covid-lockdown-3 came along!


Copy of The Dublin Saturday Magazine from the collated collection printed in 1865

In January 2021, I decided to clean the inside of the glass of the frame. When I took out the print I noticed a piece of the paper which was taped to the mount and was folded over itself. I gently took it off the mount and unfolded the paper. There, at the top of the print was a torn magazine title. There was enough visible to be able to make out the name "The Dublin Saturday Magazine" with "Vol.1, No.14, Price One Penny", printed under it.

And so began a few months of research into the origin of the print and the authenticity of the picture showing the bridge.


Title Page of the Dublin Saturday Magazine Volume 1.

I discovered a book of multiple Dublin Saturday Magazines, was published as a collective in 1865, by J. Mullany, Dublin, under the title "The Dublin Saturday Magazine: A Journal of Instruction and Amusement, Comprising Irish Biography and Antiquities, Original Tales and Sketches, Poetry, Varieties, Etc,". There is a physical copy of this 1865 compilation in both the University College Dublin (James Joyce Library) and in the National Library of Ireland with copies in various UK and US libraries. This compilation is printed in black and white. My print was coloured.

As my print had the words "Vol.1, Price One Penny, No.14" printed on it, this indicates that the original individual weekly magazines were printed separately, before this 1865 compilation book. I managed to access and download a full copy of this Dublin Saturday Magazine, Volume 1. This therefore dates my print of the castle and the old bridge to at least 156 years old.

Each of these magazines consisted of stories and news from around Ireland and historical accounts, with lithographic prints and an attached descriptive article. I have no idea how my print came to arrive in a mounted frame in a bookshop in Galway, but it had definitely come from an original Dublin Saturday Magazine.

I decided to look for any information on that original bridge that crossed the river Eske, from behind the O'Donnell Castle and I uncovered some interesting drawings, maps and descriptions.

My print was signed "Lewis" with "S.L." also inscribed in the left hand side of the bridge. I uncovered that a cartographer and publisher named Samuel Lewis had travelled around Ireland in the early 1800s, writing and drawing maps and sketches for "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland", which was published in Two Volumes, in 1837. Was it possible that this drawing for the magazine was done by Lewis or maybe taken from an earlier sketch of the scene?



A Description of entering Donegal Town by Richard Twiss in" A tour in Ireland in 1775"

In 1775, Richard Twiss, in his guide book "A Tour in Ireland in 1775", wrote "I then went to Raphoe, and traversing bogs and mountains arrived at Donegal, where there is a tolerable bridge of six arches, and a large ruined castle." In 1777 Taylor and Skinner compiled a "Road Map of Ireland" with drawings showing the bridge crossing the river Eske at the rear of the castle.



Part of the Griffiths Valuation map and Donegal Town Plan, c.1860

According to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage , the existing "three-arch road bridge over the River Eske, was built c. 1855, having a footpath extension to the south elevation added c. 1975" and "replaced an earlier six-arch bridge, which was located adjacent to the north-east of the present structure. Both bridges appear to have co-existed for a period c. 1860 (earlier bridge indicated as 'old bridge' on the Griffiths Valuation map and Town Plan, c.1860). The location of this earlier bridge adjacent to Donegal Castle suggests that the earlier bridge may have dated to pre-1700 period."

The 1837 First Edition 6" Map by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland shows the approach to the original bridge from Bridge Street, carrying on straight behind the castle, the bridge crossing the river and the road continuing up Meetinghouse Street and on towards Mountcharles. The road goes straight through the land on which the outbuildings behind the Methodist Church now stands and therefore gives credence to the old name of Bridge End, for that part of the town. It also shows a Salmon Weir crossing the river, to the north side of the castle.



pre-1855 Donegal Bridge as shown on the 6 inch OSI map First Edition c.1837

The approach to the bridge from the centre of town shows the road coming down Bridge Street and turning in behind the Castle grounds, going straight through where the parallelogram-shaped building (which incorporates Julies Beauty Salon) now stands. This building was only built after the new bridge of 1855 was finished and is so shaped because of the space available due to the road turning to the approach of the new bridge.



Fish Market shown on the left side at Bridge Street, Donegal Town c.1837

On the 1837 map, there are no buildings on the left hand side of Bridge Street from Kearney’s building (recently the Tattoo Shop) down to the end of the present bridge. The terrace of buildings which includes Henderson’s, The Scotsman’s, La Bella Donna and The Reel Inn were all built at the same time, in c1860, after the new bridge was finished. Before that time, this whole area, from Henderson’s Hardware down to the rear of the Castle is shown as a vacant space with a low wall around it and described on this map as a "Fish Market".



The Old Methodist Church in Donegal Town which is now the complete ground floor of the Masonic Hall

In researching, I discovered that before the Methodist Church was built at its present location, it was located on the site where the Masonic Lodge stands today. On the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage website it states that "The present Methodist chapel in Donegal Town replaced an earlier one in the town which was located at the corner of Waterloo Place and New Row a short distance to the north-east of the present edifice on the site now occupied by the Masonic Hall". I discovered maps and photographs that show the original building, with a hipped roof, that was the old Methodist church.


Old Bridge and Castle Drawing showing Stepping Stones c1820

When I was growing up in Waterloo Place, the old neighbours used to talk of a second wooden bridge situated to the western side of the now present Iron Bridge. I found a lithographic print dated from 1820, in the National Library of Ireland, which depicts the old six arch bridge crossing from behind the castle and also shows Stepping Stones crossing the river on the northern side of the castle, one of which is still can be seen standing in the river today.



Donegal Castle 1838 showing foot bridge and old bridge. Note that the Church of Ireland seen to the left background was built between 1825-1828.

However, on another lithographic print I found in the National Library, dated 1838, it shows the old six arch bridge but also shows another smaller bridge made up of stone built stanchions with a wooden deck raised simply to road level. In this exact same position on the 1837 Ordnance Survey map, a structure is also shown here and is identified as a "Salmon Weir".



As a young boy growing up in this area of town, I was aware of the "lay of the land" around the castle and was also very aware of the existence, once, of this walkway bridge. You can still see the remains of this today. If you walk down to Waterloo Place, stand at the river wall opposite the second house back from the bottom of the Iron Bridge steps, facing the Castle. Look down over the river wall and you will see a stone-built abutment, (which is a structure built "to support the lateral pressure of an arch or span, e.g. at the ends of a bridge") which comes up to just below the present road level. There are small bushes growing on it now but you can see that it is built up about 2 metres up from the river bed. If you look straight across to the castle-side of the river parallel to this structure (and behind the newer-built water and sewerage scheme inspection manhole) you can see a similar abutment, topped with grass and bushes, which would have been the other side of this walk-bridge.

This walk bridge would have given a short-cut access from the Town centre to New Row, before the Iron Bridge was built in 1895. Another similar stone and wooden bridge was also in place on the site of the existing bridge beside Magee's factory at Water Street, would otherwise have had to been used.



"Donegal Cas, 1833, From JS Lever" from James Stark Fleming's sketchpad

I recently found two pencil sketches in a leather-bound notepad attributed to James Stark Fleming, 1834-1922, an artist “who produced on-the-spot sketches and also copied older original drawings located in the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin”. One is a drawing of the Old Franciscan Abbey at the pier here in Donegal Town, showing many of parts of the building that are no longer standing. The other of these drawings is exactly the same as my print, except it is signed in James Stark Fleming's handwriting as "Donegal Cas, 1833, From JS Lever".



Donegal Castle c1800 by Unknown Artist with old bridge in sketchbook in the Royal Irish Academy

Then, I found in the National Library of Ireland, an older and similar drawing, showing the castle and bridge (but with even more of the old castle wall to the gate-house to be seen) as part of a Sketchbook of "Fifty sketches of antiquities and landscapes in various parts of Ireland. Includes castles, abbeys, cathedrals and ruins", created at some time between 1770-1830, but the artist is unknown.

These are pencil sketches that were later used to produce more completed drawings and engravings and it is plain to see that they form the basis for my print, signed "Lewis", which was represented in the Saturday Dublin Magazine. Was the SL Lewis signature actually a JS Lever signature misinterpreted? I do not know.

When the present stone bridge was built, a new road was cut in, creating the triangular "Green" where the Red Shed stands, to give more direct access to the new bridge from the Mountcharles Road. The Methodist Church acquired the land at the end of the old bridge to built a new church, a three-bay double-height over basement church, built between 1857 and 1859, on its existing site.


My reconstructed representation of the old stone six arch bridge that crossed the River Eske from behind the Castle, as it would have been pre-1855.

I finally decided to create an image showing a representation of what this old six arch bridge and this part of Donegal Town may have looked like before the 1855 bridge was built. Using photography, computer design, watercolour paints and with thanks to Richard Cave and Nuala Toland, it is completed and I am delighted with the finished drawing, shown in the last image here.

This has been an exciting journey of research and discovery which now adds yet another little layer to the recorded history of Donegal Town.

Zack.


Holly's Cafe is a wonderful new food outlet in Kilkee, County Clare

Holly's Café, a new coffee shop offering a sophisticated array of ‘to die for’ desserts created by two chefs that have worked in Michelin star kitchens in the UK and Ireland, has recently opened by the sea in Kilkee, Co. Clare.


Jon Butler & Holly Kelliher
outside the entrance to their new business, Holly’s Café, in Kilkee, County Clare

The café, whose eye-catching pastries, cakes and cookies along with their scones and soda bread are all freshly made in house each day, has initially opened for takeaway only in line with COVID-19 restrictions. Once it’s safe for them to do so, the café will have the capacity to comfortably seat thirty people inside and a further twenty people outdoors.

Having spent years mastering their trade at luxury five-star hotel, The Ritz London, and honing their skills in the likes of Adare Manor’s Michelin-starred The Oak Room restaurant, in Co. Limerick, it comes as no surprise that Co-Owners, Holly Kelliher’s and Jon Butler’s picture perfect pastries are as enjoyable to eat as they are pleasing to the eye.

 

Chocolate Macaroons, Baked Alaska, Carrot Cake, and Manjari Chocolate Mousse with Caramel
at Holly’s Café in Kilkee

All of the café’s French-style patisseries are painstakingly hand-crafted on-site daily and created using premium ingredients from the likes of Valrhona Chocolate, Cocoa Atelier, Callebaut Belgian Chocolate, and Ponthier (fruit purees).

Visitors can expect to choose from a list of signature pastries including a Manjari Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Cremeux and a Caramel centre, a Passionfruit Mousse - White Chocolate & Passionfruit Mousse, Passionfruit centre and Coconut Sable, a Vanilla Choux Pastry filled with Madagascan Vanilla Creme Diplomat, and Pistachio Macaroons filled with Chocolate Ganache and Raspberry Gel. Counter Cakes include a Hazelnut Gianguja - Hazelnut Sponge with Chocolate Chips & Hazelnut Chantilly.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Mousse

The breakfast, brunch and lunch menus include a wholesome selection of homemade breakfasts, salads and sandwiches that will change weekly. These are served alongside specialty coffees made using beans from the Burren-based coffee roastery, Anam Coffee, and loose leaf teas from fellow Co. Clare business, Guru Tea House. 

There is a real focus on, and passion for, using and showcasing locally sourced and organic produce as much as possible. The lunch menu includes a Ham & Cheese Toastie featuring Limerick ham paired with cheese from Mossfield Organic Farm in Co. Offaly alongside Ballymaloe Relish, and the sausages for their Breakfast Bap come from Kelly’s Meat Store, just down the road in Kilrush. The café also uses Ballybrisk Brie in its sandwiches and salads, and stocks products from popular Limerick-based Chocolatier, Braw, among others, in their retail section.


Holly's Café is open six days a week (closed Mondays), Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5pm, and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.

Check out their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/hollyscafekilkee

Zack

Head Chef Required for Friels Award Winning Bar and Restaurant, County Derry

Friel’s Historic Bar & Restaurant is a 5th generation, family run, award winning Irish Bar & Restaurant. Nestled in the heart of the South County Derry countryside, at the foot of Carntogher Mountain, in the picturesque village of Swatragh, Northern Ireland, BT46 5QF. 



Friel's is a pub with an original wooden ceiling, ornate bar counter and a roaring fire. Walls are lined with historic photographs and Guinness memorabilia. They are one of those places with all the charm of an ‘old man’s pub’ but with the buzz of weekend cocktails, family Sunday lunch and coffee catch-ups. 

Renowned for the welcome as warm as the turf fire that burns in the hearth, Friel's usually host a vibrant mix of both locals & tour groups who come together to enjoy the craic and music with live bands & traditional sessions set the scene where memories are made. They intend to get back to all this after Covid!



The award winning Restaurant in Friel's has recently undergone an elegant refurbishment with new dessert and coffee bar. The menu reflects the finest local produce with prominence placed on farm to fork. Friel’s outdoor eating areas are spread over three spaces, home to the Market Bar, BBQ stone fireplace, enclosed children’s areas & where dogs are welcome to relax in the shade.  The recent addition of the Friel’s Motorhome Park offers full amenities for camper vans.



Currently operating weekend take away menu, after the easing of localised restrictions they aim to return to daily operations 12pm - 8pm.

Friel’s Bar & Restaurant is now seeking a Head Chef, for immediate start, who is a strong team leader and can achieve great things alongside the existing hardworking team.  They want a Chef who can lead by example, is a reliable, responsible and trustworthy person, who is willing to treat the business like it is their own.


Duties to include:

- The ideal candidate will have experience in this role & possess a passion for sourcing local produce from local suppliers.

- Have the ability to create exciting new dishes telling our story through our food

- Assist owners in developing farm shop on site 

- Opportunity to expand lunch time offering

- Have a committed approach to the development of creative service in the kitchen

- Overall responsibility for the daily operations in the kitchen

- Strong communication & team motivational skills

- Assist with training new staff, also continue the ongoing training & development for existing team

- Meeting all KPI's such as, raising food GP%, maintaining labour costs, etc

- Costing all menu dishes & ensuring quality standards are met

- Stock management & ensuring they are kept to minimum levels

- Implementation of health & safety HACCP procedures in the kitchen

- The ability to work in a fast-paced kitchen environment

This role is a great opportunity for a Head Chef to make their mark on an established forward-thinking business, through the power of their creativity.

Start Date: Immediate Start

Salary: st£35,000 - st£40,000 

Hours per week: 45

Work Time: Flexible shifts

Term: Permanent Full Time

Accommodation: Can be sourced, if required


Application Method:

Email CV to frielsbar@gmail.com 

Please state Head Chef in subject box 




Friel’s Web and Social Media Links: 

 www.friels.ie 

facebook.com/FRIELSBARANDRESTAURANT/

instagram.com/frielsbarandrestaurant/



Best of Success!
Zack

New Irish Food Writing Awards Launched

 The high quality of food writing in Ireland across print, broadcast and online will now be recognised and celebrated with the launch this week of The Irish Food Writing Awards. This inaugural year will see the awards being held exclusively online with a virtual Awards Event in September. Once restrictions allow, the annual Irish Food Awards will adopt a traditional format of judging meetings and a Gala Awards Ceremony each autumn.


Food writing in Ireland is diverse and this is reflected in the award categories which will include restaurant writing, cookery writing, features and drinks writing. There will also be  awards for online content, photography, podcasts and audio, writing on sustainability in Irish food, and investigative writing.

The judging panel features well-known international names from the world of journalism and food. Already confirmed are René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen, writer and broadcaster Jay Rayner, investigative journalist Joanna Blythman, author and food columnist Trish Deseine, chef and author Richard Corrigan, critic Tom Parker Bowles, founder of Saveur magazine Colman Andrews and The Guardian wine writer Fiona Beckett.


Journalist and food author Suzanne Campbell

The Irish Food Writing Awards are the initiative of journalist and food author Suzanne Campbell. “I had always wanted to see an awards for food writers in Ireland as there are great journalism awards for other sectors. So I decided to take it on myself this year as something really positive both for writers and the food sector.”

“The aim is to reward excellence in food writing. It’s quite a diverse field - paid journalism is under threat but content is more popular than ever. So we wanted to highlight the best content out there; whether it be investigative journalism on Irish food systems, or cookery writing, or food photography”.

“The food community has really come behind us in an extraordinary way. Everyone we’ve asked to support the awards or to judge has just said yes immediately. It’s been incredible!” she added.


Food publicist and former restaurateur, Paul O'Connor

On board with Suzanne is Paul O’Connor, a food publicist and former restaurateur. “It’s been a really tough year for restaurants and many have had to close or adapt very quickly to survive," said Paul.  "Journalists have been so important getting that word out there and supporting chefs so much during this pandemic. Also as a former restaurateur and head judge of The Irish Curry Awards, we’ve found that awards really build community. They celebrate both food and the people behind it, so this time it is the writers that are being celebrated, I’m delighted to join up with Suzanne on this venture”

The Irish Food Writing Awards will recognise writing from throughout the island of Ireland. 

Categories for entry are: 

  • Restaurant Writing
  • Recipe Writing
  • Drinks Writing; wine, spirits and beer
  • Food Writing/Feature Article
  • Writing on Sustainability in Irish Food
  • Writing on Irish Food Producers
  • Investigative Writing
  • Writing on Specialist and Ethnic cuisines in Ireland
  • Food Magazine or Supplement
  • Cookbook of the year
  • Food photographer of the year
  • Food Broadcast or Podcast
  • Online Food Writing; this includes blogs and social media
  • Emerging food writer of the year
  • Outstanding Contribution to Irish Food Writing

 The awards are open for entries, from the beginning of April until the 31st of May at their brand new website at www.irishfoodwritingawards.ie

Follow them on Twitter @Irish_Writing 

and on Instagram @IrishFoodWritingAwards


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 in all nine counties of Ulster, celebrate Burns Night on the weekend closest to the 25th.


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 (mashed 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 assisting with "Presenting the Haggis" a Burn's Supper event
hosted by members of the local Ulster-Scots community. 

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 Suppers
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. Why not make your own Haggis this year and have a Burns Supper of your own with the family!

Zack

Black Pudding and Apple Mince Pies

A week or so ago while having a mince pie with a cup of tea, I wondered what Mince Pies made with Black Pudding and Apple would taste like. The two flavours go well together and should marinate nicely with the other fruits in the pie mix.

I finally got around to making them and guess what? They really are delicious! So here is the recipe I developed for my Black Pudding and Apple Mince Pies. Go on, Give them a go...

I used 7cm wide top x 6 Muffin Tins, as you can see in the picture below, to make these pie. You can use whatever tins you have and adjust the size of the cutter accordingly.

Note: The filling is made the day before you are making your pies.


Filling Ingredients 
Makes 1kg filling (enough for 24 pies)

225g Eating apples, cored and diced small (no need to peel them)

150g Black Pudding, diced small the same size as the apples

2 tspn ground mixed spice

½ tspn ground cinnamon

35ml whiskey

115g shredded suet

375g dried mixed fruit

175g soft dark brown sugar

grated zest and juice 1 orange

grated zest and juice 1 lemon

Method:

1. Combine all the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring them together well. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight to let the flavours amalgamate.

Sweet Pastry Ingredients 
Makes approx. 24

450g plain flour

300g cold butter, diced

50g icing sugar

2 medium eggs

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl, crumble the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar and mix in together well.

2. Whisk the eggs in a cup and pour it in to the flour mix. Stir gently together and then using your hand pull the pastry together until it leaves the sides of the bowl clean.

3. Wrap the pastry in cling film and pop it into the fridge for 30 minutes.


To make the Black Pudding and Apple Mince Pies 

Pre-heat your fan oven to 200ºC

 1. Grease the tins with a little butter.

2. Cut the pastry in half if you need to because of rolling space, lightly dust the table with flour and roll it out as thinly as possible.

3. Using a 9cm cutter cut out your larger rounds and line the pie tins.

4. Gather up the pastry and gently bring it back together on dusted flour. Roll it out again and cut out the tops with a 7cm cutter.

5. Fill your pies with the cold filling up to the level of the top of the pastry.

6. Lightly dampen the rim of the pies with a little beaten egg and put the lids on, pressing gently around the edge to seal. Brush the top of each pie with a little beaten egg.

7. Make a little snip on top of each one with a pair of scissors to let the steam out.

8. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire tray and sprinkle with icing sugar.


Now, don't be thinking that these are just a gimmick for Christmas - these Black Pudding and Apple Mince Pies are actually delicious! Even the kids loved them and they didn't last very long, so I'm off now to make another batch! Enjoy!

Zack

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