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Wagamama help with GORTA’s Soup for Life appeal

Wagamama are offering ‘soupport’ to GORTA as part of their Soup for Life appeal, taking place during National Soup Week, beginning on Friday 8th April 2011.

From 8th-15th April 2011, for every Chicken Ramen soup purchased in Wagamama restaurants across the Republic of Ireland, Wagamama will donate €1 to GORTA, to help with their overseas work.

GORTA, Ireland’s longest established overseas development agency aims to improve long-term food security primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. Their vision is a world where there is no hunger and where the poorest rural communities have the means to create a positive future for themselves and their children.

Wagamama say they are proud to support this vision by taking part in the Soup for Life appeal.

"Throughout its 12 years in Ireland the Wagamama philosophy has remained unchanged: to combine fresh and nutritious food in an elegant yet simple setting with helpful, friendly service and value for money" a spokesperson said.  

"Positive Eating & Positive Living"

The Wagamama ethos, developed since the first restaurant opened in London in 1992, is to combine great, fresh and nutritious food with helpful, friendly service and value for money.

The Dublin city centre restaurant on South King Street opened its doors for the first time in 1998 and they expanded to Cork in 2005. In July 2010, they opened a 2,500sq ft restaurant seating 100 in Blanchardstown.

For more information regarding GORTA and the Soup for Life appeal visit and and

Soup For Life - National Soup Week Starting Friday 8th April

Calling All Restaurants!

For the second year running, Gorta has launched its exciting spring fundraising initiative called Soup for Life. They are asking soup lovers and foodies alike to help make hunger history by gathering friends, family and colleagues for a fun get together over a pot of soup and make a contribution to gorta’s work fighting hunger in Africa.

Gorta are inviting all restaurant owners to make a donation of €1 for each bowl of soup you sell during National Soup Week (8th - 15th April 2011). You can join all of the restaurants, hotels, pubs and cafés who participated last year and get involved for a day, a couple of days or maybe even the whole week!

For a List of Participating Restaurants and more Vist their Blog at: 

See all of the soupporters who have already signed up, and are helping to make hunger history.

Why get involved?
■Online publicity
■Media campaign
■Photo opportunities
■Corporate responsibility

What are the benefits?
'Soup for Life’ creates an opportunity to reflect on the difficulties families in the developing world face in providing for themselves and their children, and also the work that gorta does to ensure communities in sub-Saharan Africa have the tools and the knowledge to become self-sufficient.

Have a Look at their Video Promo...
Gorta supports agricultural activities including livestock rearing, irrigation schemes and other water-based projects as well as the support of education, healthcare initiatives and income-generating activities. Visit to get more information on our overseas programmes. You can help fund these initiatives through participating in the ‘Soup for Life’ campaign.

The Poster for your Restaurant is Available to download here...


Don't forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this post!

Connaught Regional Winners at the RAI Irish Restaurant Awards 2011

The Restaurant Association of Ireland #raiawards11
The Irish Restaurants Awards for the Province of Connaught
were held on Monday 28th March 2011, in The House Hotel, Galway.

The Full List of Regional Winners for Connaught are:

2011 Best Customer Service Award Galway - Lough Inagh Lodge
2011 Best Customer Service Award Leitrim - The Cottage
2011 Best Customer Service Award Mayo - Café Rua
2011 Best Customer Service Award Roscommon - The Purple Onion
2011 Best Customer Service Award Sligo - Davis Restaurant @ Yeat’s Tavern

2011 Best Wine Experience - Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo

2011 Best Casual Dining Award Galway - Bar 8
2011 Best Casual Dining Award Leitrim - Courtyard Kitchen
2011 Best Casual Dining Award Mayo - Sol Rio
2011 Best Casual Dining Award Roscommon - Meet You Here Café
2011 Best Casual Dining Award Sligo - Bistro Bianconi

2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Galway - Rosleague Manor
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Leitrim - Lough Rynn castle
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Mayo - The Kitchen Restaurant @ Mount Falcon
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Roscommon - Abbey Hotel
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Sligo - Romleach Lodge

2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Galway - O’Dowds
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Leitrim – The Oarsman Bar
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Mayo - Bar One
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Roscommon - The Purple Onion
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Sligo – Hargadon’s

2011 Best Chef Award Galway - Jess Murphy, Bar 8
2011 Best Chef Award Leitrim - Piero Meilis, The Courthouse
2011 Best Chef Award Mayo - Phillipe Farineau, Mount Falcon
2011 Best Chef Award Roscommon - Vincent Meldrum, The Purple Onion
2011 Best Chef Award Sligo - Moria Tighe, Cromleach Lodge

2011 Best Restaurant Award Galway - Asian Tea House
2011 Best Restaurant Award Leitrim - The Cottage
2011 Best Restaurant Award Mayo – The Market Kitchen
Y011 Best Restaurant Award Roscommon - The yew Tree
2011 Best Restaurant Award Sligo - Coach Lane @ Donaghy’s

The County winners will now compete for the Regional and All Ireland Titles in the Burlington Hotel Dublin on Wednesday 25th May 2011. See for more.

Congratulations to all those took part from zack at the @irishfoodguide

A Quick & Easy Beef 'n Beer Casserole

This is a tasty wee recipe for a Beef Casserole using Beer and in this case we'll add Copper Coast Beer from Dungarvan Brew Co!

An orange works well in any recipe using beer to counter-balance the slight bitterness of the hops as it cooks out. Otherwise the flavours could be a little over-powering.

I always cut the meat and vegetables in any slow cooking dish to roughly the same size. "Chunky-cut" I call it but bite-size is the same thing!

My Ingredients:

1 kg Stewing or Braising Beef
75g Butter
225g Onions Roughly chopped
225g Chunky-cut Carrots
100g Roughly chopped Celery
2 cloves garlic, chopped small
1 tblsp Flour
1 tspn Wholegrain Mustard
1 tblsp Brown Sugar
1 tspn each of chopped Thyme, Parsley and Marjoram
1 Orange, simply cut in quarters, skin on
500ml Copper Coast Beer from Dungarvan Brew Co (...but any beer will do!)
Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper

My Method:
1. Cut the meat into bite-sized chunks. Melt 1/2 the butter in a large pan, add the meat and brown on all sides over a high heat. Remove with a spoon and set aside.
2. Turn down the heat to medium and add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic to the pan with the remaining butter and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Add the flour, mustard, sugar and beer and mix well. Stirring most of the time, cook out until it thickens.
4. Return the meat to the pan, add the orange and herbs. Season with a twist of salt and pepper.
5. Mix well then cover and simmer very gently for 1½ to 2 hours until the meat is tender.

Simple and delicious!

Dont forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this post!

I think this Jacobs Advert takes the Biscuit!

I loved Moulin Rouge, the movie, the music and the madness of it all - but I think that Jacobs have gone a little too far with this new ad for Kimberley, Mikado & Coconut Cream biscuits.

Funny, I actually love the filming, the music and the madness of this ad but I think that it should be aired after the watershed at 9pm because there are some implications here that my 7-year-old son was embarrassed by when he first saw it!

And I’m not sure that he was even aware of what exactly he was embarrassed about!

Here’s the full-length ad – have a look….

Now, if the idea behind the advert was to cause a bit of controversy and attract loads and loads of free publicity, then it certainly has done its job! But I think it’s a bit rich for the early afternoon, after-school RTE schedule.

That’s my sixpence.

Don’t forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this post!


McVitie’s VIP Campaign – McVitie’s VIP Club

CPM launches McVitie’s VIP Club
at a Supervalu outlet near you!

CPM, Ireland’s leading field sales company, is delighted to announce that it has teamed up with United Biscuits Ireland, to build awareness of their new McVitie’s VIP Campaign – McVitie’s VIP Club.

Last Saturday, 12th March, saw a great start to this partnership, with CPM staff launching the campaign in 21 Superquinn stores nationwide, giving away promotional samples of McVitie’s biscuits to customers.

Superquinn customers were pleasantly surprised when they arrived at their local stores, to receive a sample pack of biscuits and to find out more about McVitie’s VIP Club. CPM will also be launching the campaign in 122 Supervalu’s across the country this Friday 25th and Saturday 26th March 2011.

McVitie’s VIP Club is a loyalty scheme whereby customers purchase a pack of McVitie’s Biscuits with the VIP promotion on-pack, this ranges across 60 products in their portfolio, including brands such as Digestives, Jaffa Cakes, Rich Tea and Penguin. Then the customer registers their details on to become a member of the McVitie’s VIP Club.

Once registered the customer enters the pack code from the VIP biscuit pack, this entitles them to points (different packs are worth different points values e.g. McVitie’s Mini Digestives 40g = 1 point, while Digestive 400g = 3 points and McVitie’s Chocolate Digestive Twinpack = 10 points.

Once the customer has collected points then they can use their VIP Club points to claim treats on the website, against such prizes as:
5 points = Music track downloads,
15-45 points = McVitie’s branded Mugs & Biscuit Tins,
70-90 points = DVD’s, Books & Puzzles,
90-300 points = Afternoon Tea for Two, Pottery Teapot, Coffee Cafetiere,
300-1000points =Radios, I-pods & getaways 

The campaign launch will run on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th March 2011 at  Supervalu stores in some key locations including Cavan, Cork, Clare, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Meath,

CPM is the leading partner for outsourced field sales solutions, with impressive clients like Microsoft, eircom, Bord Gáis and Mars. The special relationship CPM has with clients is all about commitment, transparency, trust and performance – old fashioned values that work very well in a very modern world, and which is also the reason its client base continues to grow, with some of the biggest brands and indigenous companies in Ireland requesting their services.

McVitie’s promotional sampling

10am – 5.30pm – Friday 25th and Saturday 26th March 2011

Munster Regional Winners at the RAI Irish Restaurant Awards 2011

The Restaurant Association of Ireland #raiawards11

The Irish Restaurants Awards for the Provence of Munster
were held tonight (Monday 21st March 2011) in Cork City Hall.

The Full List of Regional Winners for Munster are:

2011 Best Customer Service Award Limerick - The Mustard Seed
2011 Best Customer Service Award Cork - The Cornstore
2011 Best Customer Service Award Kerry - Mulcahys
2011 Best Customer Service Award Clare - Gregans Castle
2011 Best Customer Service Award Tipperary - The Old Convent
2011 Best Customer Service Award Waterford - O'Brien Chop House

2011 Best Wine Experience Award Munster - Hayfield Manor

2011 Best Casual Dining Experience Award Cork - Farmgate Cafe
2011 Best Casual Dining Experience Award Limerick - La Cucina
2011 Best Casual Dining Experience Award Kerry - Jam Cafe Deli Bakery
2011 Best Casual Dining Experience Award Clare - Cullinans
2011 Best Casual Dining Experience Award Tipperary - Cafe Hans
2011 Best Casual Dining Experience Award Waterford - Bodega

2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Tipperary - Inch House
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Clare - Gregans Castle
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Kerry - Carrig
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Limerick - The Mustard Seed
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Waterford - The Munster Room, Waterford Castle
2011 Best Hotel Restaurant Award Cork - Longueville House

2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Cork  - Cronins
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Limerick - Aubars
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Kerry - Allos
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Clare - Roadside Tavern
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Tipperary - Larkins
2011 Best Gastro Pub Award Waterford - Becketts

2011 Best Chef Award Waterford - Paul Flynn, The Tannery
2011 Best Chef Award Tipperary - Dermot Gannon, The Old Convent
2011 Best Chef Award Clare - Michael Viljanen, Gregans Castle
2011 Best Chef Award Kerry - Martin Hallissey, Packies
2011 Best Chef Award Limerick - Tony Scharz White Sage
2011 Best Chef Award Cork - Brendan Cashman Augustines

2011 Best Restaurant Cork - Les Gourmandises
2011 Best Restaurant Limerick - The River Bistro
2011 Best Restaurant Kerry - Out of the Blue
2011 Best Restaurant, Tipperary - The Old Convent
2011 Best Restaurant, Waterford - The Tannery
2011 Best Restaurant, Clare - The Wild Inn

Congratulations to all those that won from zack at the @irishfoodguide

Tourism Industry Regulation Poll

Due to recent queries to @adriancummins of the Restaurants Association of Ireland and other recents debates in Irish Food Media and on Twitter, we now ask...

Year of Crafts in Ireland Events Search

Here is a handy Search box that will give you results for up-coming Crafts Events in Ireland with the Information courtesy of

Year of Crafts in Ireland 2011

Events Search



Don't forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this Post.

Journal .ie Survey reveals Irish Hotels Better Value than ever!

Author of this Post, Jenifer O'Connell is the Editor of - Ireland's online community for news. Columnist with The Sunday Business Post and occasional broadcaster.

You can follow Jenifer O'Connell on Twitter: @jenoconnell

Chef Joe Clinton wins the New National Irish Dish Competition

A Donegal Based Chef has Won the 'Failte Ireland' New Irish National Dish Finals
at the So Sligo Food Festival 2011.

In celebration of Irish food and the talent of our people and the glorious ingredients that are natural to us, amateur and professional chefs fought in the kitchens of Sligo today to create a new signature dish for Ireland. 

The aim of this competition was to create a new Irish national dish, suitable for service in all of Ireland's  finest restaurants.

This prestigious competition was open to all chefs and cooks – professional and amateur and the winner of the New Irish National Dish Final was Joe Clinton, who works with his wife Dee, out of the kitchens at Smuggler's Creek Rossnowlagh, in County Donegal.

Chef Joe Clinton

Two hours were allowed to prepare, cook and present an innovative modern Irish dish, two portions of each, of competitor’s choice.

Local produce had be used in the completion of the dishes, proof of ingredients sourced locally had to be submitted prior to the competition with the chef's competition application. Competitors had to provide all ingredients and service plates.

Joe Clinton's dish consisted of Saddle of Venison with a fresh horseradish & prune cheese, marinated Venison Liver with a wild mushroom stew, mustard seed infused celeriac cream
and an orange flavoured roast beetroot.

The Winning New Irish National Dish created with Wild Irish Venison

Marks were given for creativity, plate presentation and proper professional, preparation, presentation and service of the dishes.

Joe, a long time member of the Irish Culinary Team Leader won the World Professional Irish Stew Championships last year and has been a leading, though sometimes controversial, member of the Panel of Chefs of Ireland for over a decade.

He has been a Multi-winning Gold Medal achiever for many years on the International Culinary Championship Circuit and is recognised as one of the world's top competition-level masters of the culinary arts.

Don't forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this post!

The #inishfood Menu in it's Full Glory!

The Saturday evening #inishfood Feast at Harry’s Bar , Donegal, was simply Supreme!

No menu was tendered. Anticipation is an excellent starter!
As the Six Courses of platters were delivered to our tables the serving staff explained, with a wonderfully refreshing enthusiasm, their well-imparted knowledge of the food being provided. (Why all restaurants can't take the few extra minutes that Harry's Bar has done to educate their floor staff on the menu they are serving, I'll never know.) Ultimately, the floor staff is the link between the kitchen and the diner.
We started off with good fresh breads, a rendered porkfat with rosemary and butter.  A tasty selection of four butters was delivered to the table, one of which was hand-made by Imenm with Ella McSweeney as part of a production demonstration earlier in the  day.
First, up came a selection of Pates: A smooth Brawn Terrine, A rough Pork, Prune & Wild Garlic pate and a Chicken Liver Parfait all served with the home baked and toasted brioche & a  cranberry chutney. All delicious and plenty of each to give us all an appetite for what was still to  come.
Harry's Bar has always advocated the use of the fresh fish that comes in off the local fishing boats on a daily basis. The next course was proof of this: Greencastle Scampi in a light  crumb,  Breaded Langoustine on skewers and a Salt Cod Fish Cake with a  simple tartare dip and chunky Lemon wedges. This was accompanied by a little shot glassful of a Langoustine & Cognac Bisque - a wonderful side addition to this sea-to-the-plate course of Donegal Seafood.
This was followed by a Shin of local Beef cooked inside homemade Ravioli and tossed in a celeriac, wild garlic & horseradish cream. Light and lovely, this was a great dish to share with the great company we were in!
Next up in this roll call of #inishfood Honour came the House Dry-Cured Greencastle Pollack served on a lightly spiced sweet Red Pepper sauce and topped with a little dried filo-pastry slice.
With almost 70 food writers, chefs, food-stylists and food producers from all over Ireland in the Restaurant, the style, presentation and delivery of this #inishfood feast was impeccable! 

Our next platter on the table came as a selection of Rare Breed Saddleback Pork from Marshall's Farm in Burt (which is only fifteen minutes from the venue) and Wild locally culled Venison. The Confit of Venison rolled in hazelnut breadcrumbs with amaretto & butternut Squash puree and a beetroot jelly was a melt in the mouth dish combining some distinct flavours into a perfectly balanced mouthful. This was served with a finely sliced carpaccio of Venison Loin, rolled in cumin & cardamon.
The Confit of Shoulder of Pork came with a delicate Cauliflower puree and a slow-roast pork Belly. The most impeccably cooked crackling left most of the diners begging for the secret but Donal's chef Raymond Moran was giving nothing away! To top off this amazing platter of locally farmed meat was some of Jack McCarthy's famous Chocolate, Pistachio & Mint flavoured Black Pudding. The combination of these flavours, through the rich dark pudding, left a taste of true passion on the lips. Genius.
By this stage many of those collected for the event were halfway to Foodie-heaven. The Dessert plate put the icing on this  #inishfood cake! A delicate panacotta flavoured with locally made McDaid's Football Special (a unique fruit-flavoured soft drink) was served with a quenelle of Sligo-based Yeat’s Country Foods cream cheese Cheesecake with white chocolate & Donegal made Tyrconnel Whiskey. Added to this was a Braemar Farm buttermilk Ice cream which rounded the meal and mellowed the palette’s amalgamated flavours.

I have to say congratulations to Donal, Kevin, Raymond, their friends, families and all the extended Harry's Bar and Restaurant Foodie Family for a wonderful evening.
It was certainly one that will be talked about for some time to come!!

Don’t forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this Post!

What a great way to meet some great people! For all of you who couldn't get up to Donegal for the world's first Twitter-based pop-up Food Festival.. don't miss the next one!!

Irish Stew Poll - Garlic or No Garlic?

A few of us had a wee debate over the weekend about Irish Stew. We agreed on the making of the basic Lamb stew but couldn't agree on the addition (or not) of Garlic.

I always put garlic ( and chopped wild garlic leaves when I can get them ) in my stew so -

How do you make yours ?

Poll Closed on Calorie Count issue - and the winner is...

We had a total of 26 votes (well it was my 1st Poll!!) and surprisingly the results show that in a ratio of 2:1 you voted in favour of menus displaying the calorie count of the food served.

Q: Do you think Restaurants should show a Calorie Count on Menus

Here are the results:

Personally, I don't want to know!

Comments, as always, very welcome...
Don't forget to feed the fish at the bottom of this post!!

A Calorie Counter for Everyone in the Audience!

It Looks like the Calorie Counting Snowball is not going to stop. And so, I found some Calorie Counters that you can stick on your own Blog or Website.

Thanks to...
...for the Calorie Counter Codes

First, here is the Code for a Website or a Blog on Blogger:

<iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"
        title="Calorie Counter"
        style="width: 255px; height: 420px;">
        <a href=" Counter</a></iframe>

Highlight the Code, Copy, (in Blogger>Design>Add Gadget>HTML/JavaScript-Add third-party functionality or other code to your blog) Paste>Save.   - Now 'View Blog' and that's you sorted!!

For your website, add the code within the 'body' tags, save the page. FTP up to your website, click 'Refresh' and that's you sorted!

mmmmm... the Wordpress Code seems to have a wee problem- hang on there...

No, not having any joy there. I have contacted the site and will update you on advice recieved.

Ok - In the meantime you can go to and while there:

Alt>File>Send>Shortcut to Desktop.

This will put a Link on your Desktop to the site that gave me the code widget. Now you have your own Calorie Counter on your Desktop... and that's you sorted!

I have one on the site here at the bottom of this Page.

Enjoy the counting!

Crepes, Pancakes & Crepe Suzette!

There's only a little difference between Crepes and Pancakes. Traditionally crepes are a lighter mix, made thinner served with a sweet sticky sauce or filled with a variety of sweet or savoury fillings. Our Irish-style Pancakes are a more 'homey' thicker mix, made sometimes with buttermilk and served with little more than real butter and homemade jam or local honey.

We make these for breakfast quite regularly and this morning crepes were the order of the day. update- There's a link to my Irish Pancakes at the bottom of this post.

So, here is this Morning's Recipe for Crepes.

My Ingredients:

200g plain flour
pinch sugar
pinch salt
2 eggs
225ml milk
butter for the pan

My Method:

1. Put the flour into a mixing bowl and give it a quick whisk to lighten it and smooth any lumps (much handier than sieving).

2. Add the salt, sugar, milk and eggs

3. Whisk together until creamy making sure there are no lumps.

Then leave to stand for 10 minutes. Whisk again before you start using the mix.

To cook the pancakes, you will need a good heavy-based non-stick pan. Heat the pan at the 2nd highest setting. A good medium-hot pan and you'll have perfect crepes.

Rub a little butter on the pan. I use the back of a spoon for better control of the spread.

Using a standard sauce ladle, or pouring cup, pour 75ml batter into the centre of the pan. Tilt the pan around in a circular motion until it is completely covered.

Cook for about a minute or until set around the edges. Gently turn the pancake over and cook for about 30 seconds. It should be golden and just starting to brown on both sides.

Flipping the crepe is good fun but takes a little practice. The knack is to loosen it with your spatula and then quickly shake the crepe 'away from yourself' until it sits on the side of the pan opposite you.

Getting ready to flip the pancake

Over it goes!

Then in one quick flick you toss it one more time in a curling motion so the crepe has no choice but to curl back into the pan!

Catching the crepe is another matter. This just takes a bit of practice!

Place them on a plate with a tea-towel on top to keep them warm and repeat until all the batter is gone.

Now spread the crepe with what ever you want: butter, lemon-juice  & sugar, honey, syrup, jam, peanut butter, chocolate spread... the choice is endless.

A Simple Crepe Suzette
One of the most famous crepes is the Crepe Suzette with its delicious Orange Liquour Sauce & Ice cream. Here's a quicky version of the Orange sauce...

My Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup pure orange juice
dash Orange Liquour (Grand Marinier, Cointreau etc)
1 tbls Butter

My Method:
Place 1 cup of sugar in a heavy bottomed pot and add enough water to just cover it. Stir once and bring to the boil. Do not stir the mix again at this stage. Watch carefully as the water evaporates and the boiling sugar mix comes to a slower boil...

As the mix starts to colour golden around the edges pour in 1 cup of pure orange juice, a dash of orange liquor and the butter.

The whole mix will boil up into a terrible mess but that's OK. Let it come back to the boil stirring gently and now turn Off the heat. The sauce will come together into a delicious light, buttery, orangey sauce.

Place a scoop of your favourite Ice Cream on a crepe, fold it over and drizzle the Orange sauce over the top. And that's a simple Crepe Suzette!

My son Finn simply adores crepes and pancakes

Here's a link to my Old Fashioned Pancakes, a Story and Recipe


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