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Tasty Party Dips for New Year’s Eve

With New Year’s Eve upon us this weekend, I thought that a few tasty and easy to make Dips would come in handy if you are planning a house party for the occasion! The dips can be used with crisps, crackers, potato wedges, cut-strips of carrot or celery, tortillas, oven chips, breadsticks, samosas, spring rolls or anything else that takes your fancy! These recipes each make enough for 10-12 people. Happy New Year!

Smooth Prawn Dip

250g Philadelphia cheese
1/4 small onion, peeled and chopped
Bunch of parsley
2 tbls Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 tspn black pepper
200 g cooked, peeled prawns
Mix all together in a blender and chill for 1 hour before use.

Sweet Chilli Mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
8 tablespoons mayonnaise
Mix both ingredients together and serve straight away.

Avocado Guacamole

4 mild chillies, finely chopped
A wee bunch coriander, chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 tbsp water
Juice of ½ Lime
3 ripe Avocados
Peel & dice the avocado and leave aside. Mix all the other of the ingredients together in your blender keeping them chunky. Tip this into a bowl and add the avocado. Mash all together, keeping it chunky! Chill for 1 hour before use.

Mint & Mayonnaise Dip

3 tbls Mint sauce
250g Mayonnaise
Mix both ingredients together and serve straight away.

Fresh Tomato Salsa

600g chopped tomatoes, de-seeded if you wish
1 chopped green pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
4 scallions small
2 tablespoons fresh coriander
1 red chilli chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tspn salt
Chop everything small but not finely. You can do a quick pulp in the blender but keep it chunky and don’t let it go into a puree! Chill for 1 hour before use.


200g canned chickpeas
2 tbsp lemon juice or more
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch Salt
100ml Tahini (optional)
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil
Drain the chickpeas and rinse. Combine all and mix in a blender to a creamy purée. Add more lemon juice, garlic, cumin or salt to taste. Tahini is a ground sesame seed paste you can get in most health food shops. Substitute 1 tbls sesame oil if you don’t have any tahini. Chill for 1 hour before use.

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

Hotel School in GMIT to host it's 1st National Food Forum in 2012

The Hotel School in the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, GMIT, will host it's first
National Foodie Forum on Thursday February 2nd, 2012.

The event will be an interactive one day experience which will showcase the abundance and variety
of excellent local and artisan produce available in Ireland. In addition the event aims to support local
food businesses and promote consumer sustainability.

The FoodieForum 2012, promises to be an exciting interactive showcase of excellence in Local and Artisan produce and a platform to network with like-minded "foodies".

The forum will include a series of Master classes with leading chefs and seminars by well known and established industry professionals. In addition visitors can experience micro-brewers and participate in food and wine workshops coupled with an indoor market of local producers.

The event aims to give delegates an amazing opportunity to experience culinary demonstrations in the "Melting Pot" with high profile and contemporary chefs, incorporating Masterclasses in Irish Lamb and Pork, the art of smoking salmon, chocolate craft and bread making, as well as molecular gastronomy!

An impressive line up of contributors have joined The Foodie Forum team in their quest to educate on the importance of the providence of food, the support of local suppliers and the use of seasonal Irish food. The event will conclude with a celebratory  culinary dining  experience, prepared by Hotel School Lecturers and Students.

The "Drinks Quarter" will host, wine appreciation workshops and tastings from Irish Micro-brewers, bespoke whiskey distillers and blenders. Visitors can also take this unique opportunity to visit the indoor Market to mingle, chat and buy!

This initiative, the inspiration of  three Hotel School Lecturers, Jacinta Dalton,  Cormac Handy and
Colin Gilligan and supported by the Hotel School at GMIT,  was pitched on Twitter to like-minded
“foodies” and the momentum gathered  within a matter of hours.  The team said that whilst they knew there was a strong foodie presence on Twitter, they were pleasantly surprised at the pace at which their idea has taken off and the goodwill amongst individuals wishing to get involved.

Cáit Noonehead of the Hotel School, at  GMIT
Cáit Noone, Head of Hotel School believes that this event is an excellent opportunity to showcase the excellent work being done by Local and Artisan food & beverage producers in the West of Ireland and beyond and is an appropriate prelude to the Volvo Ocean Race which will arrive in Galway in the summer of 2012.

"At the launch of the countdown to the Volvo Ocean Race the LDIG team announced the four main pillars of the race next summer – marine, green, innovation and food." said Cáit. "The food pillar will provide Ireland with a global showcase opportunity to share with the world our food experiences and the  outstanding locally sourced produce we have to offer. The event in the Hotel School in GMIT will  provide an introduction to the many wonderful culinary experiences visitors to Galway can expect next summer’ she added.

Visit the Hotel School "Pop Up" restaurant and get a taste of G.M.I.T or be a part of the "Forum" where industry experts and key note speakers with a passion for food will hotly debate the topics of the day.

The Foodie Forum is open to the public and industry colleagues and is set to attract a large number of visitors. In the first instance all wishing to attend the event must register their interest at

Note: Tickets for the event will be available from January 9th to January 20th only.

Tickets for entrance to the event are €10 and tickets for the event and the celebratory dinner are €35, please call Margaret at 091 742249 to ticket payment. Students with a valid ID student card will be admitted free to the day event if they bring their identification along on the day.

In the meanwhile, for regular updates follow the team:
 on  @thefoodieforum  and find TheFoodieForum on  Facebook
with more details to follow!

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

Cakebombs - A New Irish Gourmet Lollipop!

Last week, on Twitter, I noticed two tweets by a new Irish business @Cakebombs"Truffle cake, ganache and lashings of Belgian chocolate on a lolly stick...what more could you want?" said one, and "We are now open for business! Check us out on".

So I did. 
What I found was a simple but tasty wee idea that looks like it has the potential to be the next Irish Chocolate classic! 

Cakebombs are handmade artisan chocolate truffle & cake treats blended with butter-cream or ganache, placed on a lolly stick and dipped in chocolate with various toppings. They are made fresh to order using the best of ingredients including top quality Belgian chocolate.

The brains behind the business (based in Dublin) is Cake Designer Debbie Ross and she sent me a little box to sample during the week. 

"Eat Me!" it said on the box. "With Pleasure", said I.
"The devil is in the detail" they say and Debbie and her team really have put their all into the making of these tasty wee nibbles. The cardboard box arrived wrapped in brown paper & tied with string. Inside was another layer of tissue to protect the little Gourmet Pops that lay waiting to be devoured!
You can see that attention paid to the product
There are six signature Cakebombs in the collection so far, three are dark chocolate & three are white chocolate flavours. These are:
Chocolate Bomb - Dark Chocolate truffle cake, chocolate ganache, dressed in dark chocolate, decorated with a top hat of cocoa.
Lemon Bomb - White chocolate & lemon truffle cake, lemon buttercream, dressed in white chocolate, a top hat of toasted crumbs
Mocha Bomb - Dark chocolate & coffee truffle cake, chocolate ganache, dressed in dark chocolate, a top hat of sugar cane crystals.
Vanilla Bomb - White chocolate & vanilla truffle cake, vanilla buttercream, dressed in white chocolate, with a top hat of toasted coconut.
Orange Bomb - Dark Chocolate & orange truffle cake, chocolate ganache, dressed in dark chocolate, a top hat of toasted cake crumb.
Peanut Butter Bomb - White chocolate & peanut butter truffle cake, peanut buttercream, dressed in white chocolate, a top hat of crushed nuts.
Debbie has further plans to expand the range and take into account the various seasonal fruits and flavours.
All the Cakebombs are hand made to Order!
I have to admit that they tasted yummy, my favourite being the Lemon Bomb & the Peanut Butter Bomb. The are soft and very fresh, probably due to the fact that they are being baked to order. The chocolate truffle & ganache is light as a feather, lighter than I expected and if you like your coffee strong you will love the Mocha Bomb!

Mocha Bomb & Chocolate Bomb
Award winning baker and cook Debbie Ross set up Deb's Creative Cakes in 2011 and have created cakes that look like vintage typewriters, designer handbags, iPods, animals, cars and you can see more here

Dipping the Cakebombs

She makes, bakes and decorates all types of cakes, all handmade and tailored to each client. Her Wedding, Birthday & Christening cakes are "dedication to the art of beauty" says Debbie. You can see examples of her other work here.

I think these little CakeBombs are a perfect special little gift for Weddings, Celebrations, Special Occasions or Corporate events. They can be served as nibbles, dessert, favours or simply with coffee as a treat!


Debbie has given us 2 boxes of Cakebombs to give away here as reader prizes and they will be delivered to your door in the New Year. To enter simply leave a Comment with your name & contact details Here at the bottom of this Blog post. Winners will be picked by random.

To see more about Debbie's Creative Cakes go to

To Order & Buy your own Cakebombs go to

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

Donegal Artisan Butcher wins European Champion Title

Celebrating 60 years in business in 2012 is a great occasion for any family tradition and now McGettigan’s Butchers in Donegal Town have added another trophy to their prestigious silverware collection after taking the title of "European Champions" for their all time favourite Hickory and Maple Sausage. The award was presented at a ceremony in Alençon, Normandy, in November.
Ernan & Diarmuid McGettigan
with their European Championship Trophy -pic
“We are still in shock and we didn’t expect anything like this,” said Ernan McGettigan, co-proprietor of the family run butcher shop.

McGettigan’s Butchers won two rosettes for both their Lamb, Rosemary & Plum sausage and their Rhubarb & Ginger sausage and two trophies for their Traditional Sausage and a Curry, Banana & Mango sausage. The icing on their cake this Christmas, however, was when the judges awarded them the much sought-after European Champion’s Award for their most creative sausage with the Hickory and Maple Sausage.

By coincidence, their original version of this Hickory and Maple sausage got the family butchers their very first European award in that category back in 2001! “It was nice that ten years later, we received an even more prestigious award for the very same sausage,” said Ernan. The other countries competing for the European Title were France, Germany, Austria, Great Britain & the Netherlands. “We are delighted to take this home to Ireland!” he added.

Ernan, along with his brother Diarmuid, are now looking at the possibility of rolling out their award winning sausages nationally. “That’s something we are thinking about but for now we just want to savour and enjoy the moment!”

The wall in McGettigan’s Butchers is covered with numerous Gold Medal awards including an amazing Five times Supreme Champion Award in the Associated Craft Butchers Sausage Competition of Ireland! The family are delighted to be adding this European Champion’s Award to their already prestigious silverware collection!
60 years in business! Founder Michael McGettigan
with his sons Diarmuid & Ernan
On the 10th July 1952, Michael McGettigan opened his Butcher Shop in premises on the Diamond, Donegal Town, that were leased from a Mr Andrew Begley (where Begley’s Pharmacy now stands). Behind the counter at 9am on that opening day was Ms Minnie McGahern who, by purchasing three lamb chops for half-a-crown, became Michael’s first customer. In 1954, Michael moved to their present-day location.

For more on McGettigan’s Butchers of Donegal click on their Facebook page Here 

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

An Old Recipe for Fish Chowder

A Chowder is a satisfying thick fish soup that is said to have taken it's name from the large, French, three-legged iron cooking pot known as a "chaudiere". The term is generally applied, here in Ireland, to the classical thick & creamy dish, but the actual Chowder can vary enormously.

There are many styles of making Chowder from the French brasserie style, the traditional cream-based one (which is internationally known as a New England style) to the tomato-based Manhattan style and many other regional variations in between! In truth, this now international fish dish is totally unpretentious and is flexible in it's use of ingredients. There are no fast rules!

The three-legged iron cooking pot known as a "Chaudiere"

I found this poem by 'Author Unknown' in an old book and wanted to share it...

"To Make a Good Chowder"
To make a good Chowder and have it quite nice
Dispense with sweet marjoram, parsley and spice:
Mace, pepper and salt are now wanted alone.
To make the stew eat well and stick to the bone,
Some pork is sliced thin and put into the pot;
Some say you must turn it, some say you must not;
And when it is brown, take it out of the fat,
And add it again when you add this and that.
A layer of potatoes, sliced quarter inch thick, 
Should be placed in the bottom to make it eat slick;
A layer of onions now over this place,
Then season with pepper and salt and some mace.
Split open your crackers and give them a soak;
In eating you'll find this the cream of the joke.
On top of all this, now comply with my wish
And put in large chunks, all your pieces of fish;
Now put on the pieces of pork you have fried
I mean those from which all the fat has been tried.
In seasoning I pray you, don't spare the cayenne;
'Tis this makes it fit to be eaten by men.
After adding these things in their regular rotation
You'll have a dish fit for the best of the nation!

This old recipe's method, based on de-coding the poem, goes something like this!

1. Fry off some bacon till crispy. Remove and leave aside.
2. In the bacon fat, brown off some chunky-cut potatoes and sliced onions.
3. Season with pepper, salt & mace. (that bit was easy!)
4. Cut open some bread rolls into pieces and add to the pot. Cover with cream or milk.
5. Add your fish, cut in bite-size, and the crispy bacon strips.
6. Sprinkle in a generous amount of cayenne pepper and cook until the potato is soft.

This says 1834 but the recipe most certainly dates from before that!

I'm going to have to just try this out because it really does sound quite delicious!

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

Cooley Distillery's launches new Poitín!

Cooley Distillery has just launched a new range of Poitín! It has been double-distilled in Riverstown, is only available in Ireland and is bottled at 65% abv. Consisting of only 1,800 bottles this small batch release will be initially available through the Celtic Whiskey Shop and Dublin Airport as well as through good independent off-licenses and each 50cl bottle will be around €30.

Cooley Distillery's new 65% Poitín!

The origin of distilling in Ireland dates back over 1,000 years. Before there was Irish whiskey there was Poitín – a clear Irish spirit famous for its alcohol strength. In homage to this ancient Irish Spirit, Cooley Distillery, Irelands only independent whiskey distiller, has released an Origin series of Poitín products to revive the traditional Spirit of Ireland.

An old illegal Poitín Still from Donegal
Poitín was traditionally distilled in a small pot still and the term is a derivative of the Irish word pota, meaning "pot". Normally distilled from barley grain or potatoes, it is one of the strongest alcoholic beverages in the world and for centuries was classified as illegal in Ireland.  Poitín is one of the most long-established spirits in the world with a rich and varied history and is exclusively associated with Ireland.

Jack Teeling, Managing Director of Cooley Distillery, commented,  “Poitín is at the origin of Irish Spirits and Irish whiskey in particular. Over the years it has been demonised because it was illegally produced and the end product lacked consistency, quality and credibility. We have produced a quality Poitín product using ancient techniques in our award winning distillery allowing consumers of today try this ancient Irish spirit with confidence as they are getting a high quality product.” 
Cooleys’ first Poitín release is triple distilled in small copper Pot Stills from a traditional Irish Pot Still recipe of malted and unmalted barley. Bottled straight from the still with no maturation produces a surprisingly smooth spirit even for one that is bottled at 65% abv. Poitín like any quality white spirit lends itself to be consumed in a variety of ways, neat, with water, with mixers and as a component of cocktails but due to its alcohol strength it should be enjoyed in moderation.

“As Poitín is basically un-aged Irish whiskey spirit and we hope to revive the Poitín as a national product. A lot of other countries around the world celebrate and market their national high alcohol spirits. Brazil have Cachaca, Greece Ouzo, Bulgaria Rakia and the Czech’s have successfully revived Absinthe after it was effectively outlawed for over 75 years. We want to bring Poitín out from the shadows and let Irish people have a national white spirit they can be proud of,” says Mr. Teeling.
Some of the Cooley range of Irish Whiskeys
Cooley Distillery is the award winning independent Irish whiskey distillery. Established in 1987, Cooley takes its name from the location of its distillery, situated at the foothills of the Cooley Mountains, in Co. Louth

Here is an old Song about Poitín called "The Hills of Connemara" as sung by Noel Mc Loughlin:

Cooley has an award winning portfolio of Irish whiskeys including Kilbeggan Irish whiskey, Tyrconnell Single Malt, Connemara Peated Single Malt and Greenore Single Grain Irish whiskey. 

To learn more about Cooley Distillery visit

This week's Guest Chef - Ruperta Gallagher

Ruperta Gallagher returned, with her husband Brian, from America in 1993 and opened the Blueberry Tearooms in Donegal Town. She loves baking tasty pies & tarts and this recipe, from her kitchen, is one of her favourite homemade Autumn cakes.

The Blueberry Tea Room & Restaurant, Donegal Town
Cinnamon Pear Cake with Vanilla Fudge Sauce
750g ripe Pears
40g butter
3 tbls muscovado sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
200g butter
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
200g SR Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Set the oven at 160*C. Melt 40g butter, dark sugar & cinnamon together slowly in a shallow pan, stirring often. Carefully add the peeled, cored and roughly chopped pears and cook until tender and coated in sauce. Don't let the sauce go dark. Set aside to cool.

2. Beat the 200g butter and sugar until light & creamy. Add the eggs and flour alternately and fold in any remaining flour with the baking powder.

3. Add the pears and their syrup and mix gently. Pour into a 24cm loose-bottomed and lightly-buttered cake tin and bake for 45 mins. Leave to cool before removing from the tin.

Cinnamon Pear Cake with Vanilla Fudge Sauce
For the Fudge Sauce bring 100g muscovado sugar, 100g golden syrup & 50g butter to the boil in a heavy-based pot. Stir in 150ml cream and a few drops of vanilla extract and leave it to cool & thicken. Serve over the cake with some ice cream.

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

An Example of how modern Social Media can work

Some friends have been set a challenge by the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny
and the Nerve Centre in Derry to promote one film from Donegal and one
from Derry using free social media.

I (of course) am helping to promote the Donegal film "Brighter Days" !!!

 Everything we do during the challenge will be recorded
and presented at a free seminar on 25th November to show local film
makers, arts and community groups how they can use social media to promote
their work.

 The challenge is part of the Sharing Stories project, a
collaboration between the Nerve Centre and the Regional Cultural Centre
under which about 20 short films have been produced in the past 2 years.

Please share this film by copying & pasting This link: and do Share it with your real friends!

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

"Waterford Blaa" to be EU Registered as Unique


The Irish government has begun the formal process to seek EU recognition of the unique characteristics of the Waterford 'Blaa' - the simple, but special, bread roll/bap that is associated with Waterford City. 

The Waterford Blaa

Minister Simon Coveney launched a national consultation process on the application of the “Waterford Blaa” for registration as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). On completion of the national consultation the application will be forwarded to the European Commission for review. Granting of this intellectual property protection to "Waterford Blaa" would mean that producers of the product within the specified region only could use this name.

Bakers from the Waterford Blaa Bakers Association

Minister Coveney said "The publishing of the specification document follows a period of engagement between the producer group in Waterford (Waterford Blaa Bakers Association) and my Department."

He went on to say, "It is important that we take advantage of the EU Quality Products Scheme; to date Ireland has not sufficiently exploited this opportunity, this is a positive step forward, I would encourage producers of regional products to discuss possible applications with my Department". 

Technical Description:

“Waterford Blaa” / “Blaa” is a soft doughy white bread roll clearly identified by the white floury top on the product. Unlike other products in this category Waterford Blaa contains no enrichment and is made from preservative free strong bakers flour, table salt, compressed yeast, dough conditioner and water only.

The bread has the following characteristics:


“Waterford Blaa” / “Blaa” can be round or square. They are made both crusty and soft are pined out round and trayed up round but the batch together as they expand during baking, when they are pulled apart they are square shaped but their domed top gives them a round appearance.

“Waterford Blaa” / “Blaa” is 3-4.5cm high with a diameter of 8-12cm and weighs 40-65g.


“Waterford Blaa” / “Blaa” may be presented in two different ways:

Rustic square, or round shape of bread with a dome shaped, crusty top dusted with flour. Crunchy at first bite, then chewy with a subtle malt taste and a pleasing bitter aftertaste from the well cooked, dark crust.

Soft, well-defined square, oval or round shape of bread, pale in colour and heavily dusted with flour. Slightly sweet, malt flavour, light but firm in texture and melts in the mouth.

Geographical area:

The geographical area that applies to this application is described as Waterford city and county and an area of south Co. Kilkenny as outlined in the map.

The Blaa can only be made withing the area marked on the map

The geographical area is restricted to the geographical area known as all of County Waterford and that part of South County Kilkenny, which directly adjoins County Waterford made up of the Ullid and Dunkitt electoral divisions which is part of the southern Piltown electoral area The river Blackwater runs through the area and includes the town-lands of Dangan, Narabawn, Moolum, Newtown, Skeard, Greenvilleand and Ullid.

You can read the actual Technical Specification Document for the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI status) of the Waterford Blaa  HERE.

The PGI scheme protects particular product names that are linked to a particular territory or to a production method. The products themselves do not have to be unique, yet the applications must show how the characteristics of the region - topographic, reputation, natural resources - have an impact on the characteristics of the product.

A Lamb burger on Waterford blaa topped with sweet cherry toms & dressing  from Eden Restaurant, Dublin,  who get their Blaas delivered from Waterford every day. pic via @MarkMatanes

The requirements for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) are:
  • The product/foodstuff originates from the defined geographical area
  • Possess a specific quality, reputation or other characteristics attributable to the defined geographic area
  • At least one stage of production, processing and preparation of the agricultural product or foodstuff takes place within the defined geographical area.
It is a stringent process and can take several years to complete from the time a decision to apply for the registration of a product is made. After analysis by national authorities it goes to Europe for consideration. Once it gets to European level the Blaa will undergo examination by the Commission services & publication with a 6-month opposition period before registration may be granted.

Four Irish products already have an EU Quality label:
Clare Island Salmon, Connemara Hill Lamb, Imokilly Regato, and Timoleague Brown Pudding. These products were worth €35 million to the Irish economy in 2010 and have a strong track record in the export market.

12% of Irish products bearing EU quality labels are sold within the Irish market, 82% are sold to other EU countries, and 6% are sold outside of the EU. In the EU as a whole the opposite is the case, as the vast majority of quality label products are sold within their country of production. This difference reflects the strong export-oriented nature of Ireland's food production industry.


After over two years of consultation, the Waterford Blaa/The Blaa has, this week, received Protected Geographical Indication (PGI status) and is now a "protected food species". The Blaa was one of five new quality farm products added to the European Register of Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI), this week.

The other foods indocturned into this European Food Hall of Fame were for a French goat’s cheese Rigotte de Condrieu (PDO); Italian cheeses Puzzone di Moena/Spretz Tzaorì (PDO) and Pecorino di Picinisco (PDO) and for a Slovenian soft cheese Mohant (PDO).

Congratulations ans well done to the Waterford Blaa Bakers Association and the Department of Agriculture in their long struggle to get recognition for this unique bread product.


This week's Guest Chef - Dave Houraghan

Dave Houraghan is the Head Chef at Woodhill House in Ardara. His cooking style is traditional French cuisine with a modern Irish twist and insists on using fresh Irish produce, especially fish & seafood from nearby Killybegs and Donegal-produced beef, lamb & pork. 
Dave Houraghan - Chef at Woodhill House in Ardara, County Donegal
Woodhill House is an historic coastal manor house dating back in parts to the 17th century and formerly the family home of the Nesbitts, local landlords and Ireland's last commercial whaling family of the 19th century. The 6th century religious relic, St. Conal's Bell, was mysteriously stolen from Woodhill House in 1845 and has never been recovered.
The elegant dining room contains antique furnishing from by gone days

The house which overlooks the beautiful Donegal Highlands is set in its own grounds with an old walled garden. It is half a mile from the sea and a quarter of a mile from the coastal town of Ardara.

"I love this time of year" says Dave. " It's a great time of year to go foraging for wild mushrooms in the woods around Ardara".

Toasted Devilled Kidney and Wild Mushrooms

Ingredients for 2 people:
Half a stick of French bread
200g mixed wild mushrooms, quartered
1 Pigs kidney (or 4 lambs kidneys)
50g Butter
1 Tablespoon plain flour
¼ Teaspoon hot smoked paprika
Cracked black pepper
15ml Brandy
100ml red wine

1. Slice the French stick horizontally and toast on both sides, leave aside to cool.
2. Melt half the butter in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms, when done set aside and keep warm.
3. Meanwhile slice the kidney lengthways but not all the way through, open like a book. Add the paprika to the flour and season with salt and pepper.
4. Dust the sliced kidney with the flour ensuring a good covering. Melt the remaining butter in the frying pan and fry the kidney for 2 minutes turning regularly.
5. Reintroduce the mushrooms for 30 seconds and mix with the kidney. Remove from the pan and cover to keep warm.
6. Toss the flour we used into the pan with the juices and stir well. Cook for 30 seconds, add the brandy and red wine. bring to the boil and reduce by half. Season to taste.
7. Butter the toast then spoon over the ingredients, drizzle the sauce over the top and garnish with torn parsley before serving.

Irish Duck Breasts, Parsnip purée & a Cranberry wine sauce

Duck is a very popular meat on the menu of many restaurants in Ireland today. It is a tasty alternative to chicken and at this time of year it is an introductory step for conservative eaters, to all of the wonderful Game meats that are now coming into season over the winter months. Duck, especially if you can get wild duck, will open your taste buds to a whole new range of delicious meats like pheasant, quail, Pigeon, Grouse and even Rabbit!

The secret to cooking a duck breast lies in dealing with the quite large amount of fat in the skin, but  without ruining the meat. To address this simply pour off the fat after you seal the skin-side, leaving a beautifully delicious and crispy skin, before you turn the breast to seal the other side. Keep this fat, as it is delicious for roasting potatoes and will keep for weeks in a jar in the fridge.

I recommend that you treat your duck breast as you would a steak and cook it to the same degree that you would eat a steak- I like mine just shy of medium - but please don’t over-cook your meat!

Duck Breasts with parsnip purée & cranberry wine sauce

My Ingredients:
500ml Red Wine
1/2 chicken stock cube mixed in 200ml boiling water
2tbls cranberry sauce
4 Irish Duck Breasts
3 Parsnips
50g Real Butter
a little olive oil
salt & black pepper
A few trimmed heads of Broccoli

My Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

2. Bring the red wine to the boil and reduce by two thirds.  Add liquid stock and reduce by half, add the cranberry sauce and simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon butter (this will give your sauce a wonderful shine and extra flavour) and season to your taste.

3. Trim the sinew off the meaty side of the duck breast and score the skin with a sharp knife. Rub a little salt and black pepper into the skin, this will also help to make it even crispier.

Parsnips have a delicious sweet taste that works well with game birds like Duck

4. Prepare the parsnip purée by peeling the parsnips and cutting them into chunks. Boil in salted water, cooking until tender. Drain and add a little butter & white pepper. Mash until smooth. If you wish you can use a hand blender to make the puree very smooth like you would get in a restaurant. Keep it hot under a lid.

5. I like to serve a little broccoli with this dish and I would steam the broccoli now, over the parsnips while they are cooking. Keep the broccoli hot under a little tin foil.

6. Heat a heavy metal frying pan but do not put any oil or butter on it.  Place the duck breast on the hot pan skin side down. Cook for 2 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Gently pour off the fat and turn the breasts to seal in the other side for another minute. 

The dry pan will make the skin crispy and you pour off the fat before you turn the Duck

7. Transfer the pan to the oven (or place the duck on a baking tray if your pan has a plastic handle) and cook for approximately another 6-8 minutes for medium. You can adjust this time depending on your preference.

8. Remove the duck breasts from the oven and cover with a dry cloth to let them rest for 3 or 4 minutes. When you cook any meat, it is essential to let it rest for a little bit before you carve it. This ensures that all the juices that are under pressure during the cooking are redistributed throughout the whole piece. As a result, less juice runs out of the meat when you cut into it.

9. To serve, slice the duck breast and sit it on top of the broccoli. Garnish with the parsnip puree and cranberry gravy.

If you wish, you can take another peeled parsnip, cut it into thin strips with a veg peeler and drop into some hot oil, as you would when making chips. Take them out after 20 seconds just as they start to colour and dry on some kitchen paper. They will go crispy and you can arrange these on top of your duck for that extra special touch!


Full Participating Restaurants Listing for Dine in Dublin 2011

From Monday 24th to Sunday 30th October, 
Dublin City Business Improvement District (BID) in association with the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) present Dine in Dublin - Restaurant Week.

This is a seven-day event which encourages food-lovers to sample some of the city’s wide range of cuisine at a fraction of the normal price. 

Chefs from participating restaurants at the Launch of Dine in Dublin 2011

Now in its sixth year, Dine in Dublin will see over 40 of Dublin’s restaurants opening their doors with set menu prices starting from as little as €15 per-person for a full three-course meal. 

A new offering to this year's Dine in Dublin is a wider price selection, with participating restaurants charging either €15, €20, €25 or €30, which includes tea or coffee. 

The List contains a wide & varied choice of food styles from around the capital and does offer some excellent value for  customers.

So, here is The List of all the Participating Restaurants in Dine in Dublin 2011:

Dine in Dublin for €30 Restaurants

101 Talbot Street
100 - 102 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
T: 01 874 5011

Bang Restaurant
11 Merrion Row, Dublin 2
T: 01 400 4229

Bedlam Restaurant
4-5 Castle Market, Dublin 2
T: 01 677 6001

 46/47 Highfield Road, Rathgar, Dublin 6
T: 01 496 1518

Bleu Bistro
Joshua House, 19b Dawson Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 676 7015

Brasserie Sixty 6
66 South Great George's Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 670 9852

9 Fairview Strand, Fairview, Dublin 3
T: 01 833 3681

1 L:ower Fownes Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
T: 01 671 0362

Chatham Brasserie
 31 - 32 Chatham Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 679 0055

Darwins Restaurant
80 Aungier Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 475 7511

Fallon & Byrne
17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2

T: 01 472 1000

Fire Restaurant
Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 676 7200

Gallagher's Boxty House
 20-21 Temple Bar, Dublin 2

T: 01 677 9723

IL Segreto Restaurant
13 Merrion Row, Dublin 2
T: 01 661 8700

The Church
Junction of Mary Street & Jervis Street, Dublin 1
T: 01 828 0102

The Farm
3 Dawson St, Dublin 2
T: 01 671 8654

The Green Hen
33 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 670 7238

The Washerwoman's Hill Restaurant
60 Glasnevin Hill, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
T: 837 9199

Wilde - The Restaurant
The Westbury Hotel, Balfe St, Dublin 2.
T: 01 646 3311

Dine in Dublin for €25 Restaurants

South William Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 671 8767

Boulevard Cafe
27 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 679 2131

Verres en Vers
Radisson Blu hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8
T: 01 898 2935

Brasserie Le Pont
25 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2
T: 01 669 4600

Cafe 31
Old Bray Road, Cabinteely, Dublin 18
T: 01 202 4767

Café Novo
The Westbury Hotel, Balfe Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 646 3348

Chili Club
2 Anne's Lane, Dublin 2
T: 01 677 3721

Citron Restaurant
The Fitzwilliam Hotel, St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
T: 01 418 5525

Dada Restaurant
45 South William Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 671 0777

Essence Bistro
75 Main Street, Swords, Co.Dublin
T: 01 895 6811

Francesca's at Brooks Hotel
Brooks Hotel, 59 - 60 Drury Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 670 4000

Gotham Café
8 South Anne's Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 679 5266

Il Vignardo
Isaac's Hotel, Store Street, Dublin 1
T: 01 855 3099

7 Jervis Street, Millenium Walkway, Dublni 1
T: 01 814 6777

L' Gueuleton
1 Fade Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 675 3708

La Cave
28 South Anne Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 679 4409

26 - 28 Clarendon Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 679 2000

The Dining Room by Conrad Gallagher
35 Dawson Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 612 7911

The Exchange
Westin Hotel, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 645 1318

The Unicorn
12b Merrion Court, Merrion Row, Dublin 2
T: 01 676 2182

Uisce Restaurant

Hilton Dublin, Charlemont Street, Dublin 2

Dine in Dublin for €20 Restaurants

2 South Great George's Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 677 1085

Café en Seine
Dawson Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 677 4567

52 Dawson Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 633 3957

Hop House - Kimchi Restaurant
160 Parnell St, Dublin 1
T: 01 872 8318

3 South Anne Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 677 4205

Mexico to Rome
23 East Essex Street, Templebar, Dublin 2
T: 01 677 2727

St Andrew Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 677 4799
38 - 40 Parliament Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 671 9308

T.P. Smith's
9/10 Jervis Street, Dublin 1
T: 01 872 4031

The Czech Inn
Essex Gate, Temple Bar,  Dublin 8
T: 01 671 1535

The Lombard
1 Lombard Street/44 Pearse Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 671 8033

The Pink Supper Club
35/36 Dawson Street, Dublin 2
T: 01 612 7999

Dine in Dublin for €15 Restaurants

Kealy's of Cloghran
Old Airport Road, Cloghran, Co. Dublin.
T: 01840 1138

For further details see:

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

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