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New Collection of Festive Recipes launched by Ireland's only Community Chef!

The Christmas period can be a very stressful time for a family and sometimes the pressure of preparing a "perfect" Christmas Dinner can be too much for some Mums and Dads.

Community Chef Brian McDermott, from Donegal, has teamed up with the Craft Butchers of Ireland and produced a new "Collection of Festive Recipes" which will help to take the take the pressure off the home-cook and leave more time for festive fun! This is a new simple guide to a perfect Christmas Dinner!

A Collection of Festive Recipes by Community Chef Brian McDermott 

Brian McDermott is Ireland's first dedicated Community Chef and is passionate about food, reducing salt, tackling obesity, growing his own and supporting local produce. His innovative and relaxed style of cooking is featured at food festivals from Donegal to Cork, where he shares the stage with his good friend and mentor Neven Maguire.

The "Collection of Festive Recipes" booklet is being launched Wednesday 12th December and can be picked up, for free, in Craft Butchers shops all over Ireland.

Chef Brian takes you through all aspects of the perfect Christmas Dinner giving tips from a wonderful simple Soup, a Smashing Stuffing & mixed Roasted Potatoes and Vegetables. His fresh Cranberry Sauce recipe will make a wonderful change from the usual and his easy-to-make Baked Alaska will be a family favourite for years to come.

Brian's Tasty Christmas Turkey

The "Collection of Festive Recipes" booklet gives comprehensive instructions on how to prepare and cook your Christmas Turkey and Festive Glazed Ham with ease and includes extra cooking tips for all the dishes! You can pick up a free copy of the booklet in your local Craft Butchers or Download the eBook version at

Check out Brian's website at

Brian McDermott, from Moville, Co Donegal, is Ireland’s first dedicated Community Chef and author of a successful cookery book “Reunite with Food”. He has a weekly radio slot on BBC Radio Foyle. Brian encourages communities across Ireland to eat healthy on a budget while improving their nutrition and well-being.

Brian runs a Cookery School in Moville, Co Donegal and is also the founder of "Cookery School Live" Ireland's Only Mobile Cookery Demonstration Theatre. This purpose-built demonstration unit is available for Food Festivals, Schools, Fundraisers, Pop Up, Cookery School, Product Launches, Cookery Competitions, Ready-Steady-Cooks.

September 2012 saw the introduction of “The Certified Craft Butcher of Ireland” accreditation. This is an independently audited standard of the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland, thereby guaranteeing the highest standards in food, customer service and product knowledge.

Throughout the cities, towns and villages of Ireland, the local Craft Butcher continues to serve the local community as he has done for many generations passed. Behind the counter of your local butcher shop are the many familiar faces you have come to know and trust, with their many years of knowledge and skill in their craft.

See for further information on Community Chef Brian McDermott

See for further information on Craft Butcher Certification

An eBook version of the Collection of Festive Recipes is available to download at


Christmas Cooking Demonstration for St Vincent de Paul

Are you looking for some festive tips and creative ideas for preparing your Christmas dinner?

Award winning Donegal chefs Gary O’Hanlon Viewmount House & Donegal Food Strategy Ambassador with Healthy Eating guru Brian McDermott are hosting a Cookery Demonstration in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny, Co Donegal on 11th December at 7.30pm.

Donegal Chefs Gary O'Hanlon and Brian McDermott

This fundraising event in aid of St Vincent de Paul North West is being organised by the Donegal County Enterprise Board as an initiative under the recently launched Donegal Food Strategy.

The two friends will serve up some exciting new ideas to help you prepare to cook your turkey dinner with a modern twist! First Brian will prepare a delicious starter and a show you how to get that traditional ham just perfect, followed by Gary showing some funky alternatives with vegetables and stuffing that are guaranteed to whet your appetite. 

Brian will then prepare a simple yet very tasty dessert and Gary will finish up by creating an appetising dish for the days after Christmas using up all that leftover turkey! Local produce will be used where possible and Recipe Cards will be available for you to take away, so that you can recreate the dishes at home. It promises to be a great evening's food, chat and craic!

Admission is only €10 and this includes a tasting of Christmas Fare. Proceeds of the evening will go to the St.Vincent de Paul North West Region. 

Tickets are available from:
Donegal County Enterprise Board Offices 
Tel: +353 (0) 74 9160735 or email:
and from 
The Mount Errigal Hotel 
Tel: + 353 (0) 74 91 22700 or email:


LIVE Traditional Irish Music Webcast - 7th December

Some of Ireland's top Traditional musicians: 

TG4 Musician of the Year, Brian Rooney, Lifetime Achievement Award winner Danny Meehan and one of the most distinctive voices in modern traditional Irish music, singer Rosie Stewart - will all appear during the next live webcast on on Friday next, December 7th 2012.

The webcast will stream free-to-air from 10pm GMT and the Live Music Session is likely to continue well into the night! CLICK HERE FOR YOUR TIME CONVERSION

Live Traditional Irish Music Webcast!

Friday December 7th at 10 pm GMT

The venue is The Fiddlestone Bar, an intimate pub in the heart of Belleek, Co. Fermanagh and the occasion centre around the 6th Annual John Joe Gordon Festival which takes place over the same weekend.

Ahead of the webcast, have got CD Prizes, Concert Tickets and even a chance to attend a Fiddle Master Class! Check out their Competition page HERE.

Other musicians set to appear in the webcast include Jim Connelly (button accordion), Gary Fitzpatrick (flute), Kathleen Meehan (banjo), Seán McManus (singer), Emma Fitzpatrick (bodhrán), Liam McManus (flute and dance), and Emmet O’Halloran (button accordion) who will act as host for the evening.

The session will give people far and wide a taste of the Christmas season as it swings into gear. The decorations are being put up as we speak, so for many of the fans of traditional Irish Music all over the world, this is a great chance for you to get up close and personal with a fireside music session without having to leave the comfort of your own home!
TG4 Musician of the Year, Brian Rooney

TG4 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Danny Meehan

So, whether you’re wrapping up at work in the United States, getting up for breakfast in Australia or anywhere else in-between, make sure you join in for this special Christmas Irish 
Music Webcast on

The Date: Friday December 7th
The Time: 10 m GMT
The Place:

To WIN those CD Prizes, Concert Tickets and even a chance to attend a Fiddle Master Class! Check out the Competition page HERE.

You can send your Christmas messages to your friends, at home or abroad, in to the show Live on the message board, during the webcast and they'll read as many out on air as they can!


My Favourite Stuffing Mix for Christmas or Anytime!

This is a stuffing recipe that I have used for many years. It is versatile and adaptable and can be used with any type of meat. This makes enough for 8 people - generous portions!

You really can add whatever herbs you like to your stuffing!

My Ingredients:
250g (10oz) butter
200g (8oz) diced onion
100g (4oz) diced red onion
100g (4oz) grated carrot
1 tblsp chopped thyme
1 tblsp chopped parsley
1/2 tspn cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic diced
1 tablespoon of Mixed herbs
300g (12oz) white breadcrumbs made with crusts and all
300g (12oz) wholemeal breadcrumbs made with crusts and all
Use Gluten Free Bread if you wish

My Method:
1. Simply place the butter and all other ingredients, except the crumbs, on a medium heat and cook gently, stirring, until the onions and other veg are soft.

2. Add the breadcrumbs and mix in well until the crumbs have absorbed all the butter and juices.

3. If the stuffing feels a little dry (depending on the type of day, the weather, the heat of the kitchen or one of another hundred amazingly uncontrollable conditions) I tend to add a little splash of my favourite white wine at this stage and mix well and then add a little of the cooking juices from the cooked turkey just before serving.

From my 10 Tips for the Perfect Turkey & My Stuffing Recipe see Full Post Here


Winner of Eurotoques Ireland 2012 Young Chef of the Year 2012

Eurotoques Ireland 2012 Young Chef of the Year 2012

For background details see this post:


A Little Taste of Christmas in Donegal Town Sunday 25th November

The Donegal Town Annual Christmas Food Event ‘A Little Taste of Christmas’ will be held this Sunday, 25th November 2012, from 11am to 6.30pm in the Abbey Hotel , Donegal Town.

This festive fun day marks the launch of the Christmas period in Donegal Town, in conjuction with the official switching on of Christmas Lights, on the Diamond in the centre of town, at 7.30pm.

Over 60 stands are taking part in an indoor Festive Market which will be offering the very best of quality local goods in food, craft, wooden traditional toys and decorations, along with a host of Christmas gift ideas, entertainment and much more throughout the day.

Organised by the Taste of Donegal Food Festival committee, under the direction of the local Community Chamber, this promises to be another exciting day full of the tastes and spirit of Christmas. The committee have built up a solid reputation, over the last few years, for putting on professional and entertaining shows aimed at encouraging shoppers to buy local whenever they can.

Community Chef Brian McDermott at last years Donegal Taste of Christmas

Cookery Demonstrations will operate throughout the day in the Demo Area - This year they are:

12.00pm - 1.00pm
Siansplan Christmas E-Book Launch
1.15pm - 2.15pm
Brian Mc Dermott Community Chef
2.30pm – 3.30pm
Anthony Armstrong WACS
3.45pm – 4.45pm
Brian Mc Dermott Community Chef
5.00pm – 6.00pm
Anthony Armstrong WACS

McGettigan's famous Sausages will be one of the many local stands exhibiting

Childrens Events during the day

12.00pm – 7.00pm
Santa’s Grotto
1.00pm – 6.00pm
Christmas Movies
1.00pm – 4.00pm
Face painting
6.00pm - 7.00pm
Mr Scallywags Christmas Puppet Show
Christmas Light Switch On with Santa & Friends

Products on display and for sale will include:

Hampers, Breads, Cakes & Puddings, Wine’s, Champagne andLiqueurs. Cheeses, Chutney, and Relish’s. Hotel and Restaurant Vouchers, Jewellery, Toys for Big Boys, Robots, Pets & Accessories. Ladies and Gents Gift sets with Perfumes and Aftershaves. Christmas Cards, Calendars & Candles. Health, Hair, Lifestyle, Beauty & Dental Products with expert advice, Ladies and Gents Clothing including Handmade Tweeds & Knits, Electrical Goods, Confectionery, Photography, Art work and Pottery, Household, Furniture, Garden& Wood Products. Cooking Oils, Turkey and Ham!

Edel Doherty from Turning Point Design see

You can Download the Donegal Taste of Christmas Festival Stand layout, in PDF format, HERE.

Entry fee to the Taste of Christmas Venue at the Abbey Hotel is €3 for adults and €1 for children and the Town's Christmas Lighting ceremony is Free on the Diamond at 7.30pm.

For more see


Winners of the Good Food Ireland 2012 Food Experience Awards

Good Food Ireland was established by Margaret Jeffares in November 2006, after identifying a gap and opportunity in the development of a strong food and tourism proposition for the island of Ireland. The aim was to link the agriculture & food sector with the hospitality sector and it has worked very successfully!

The Good Food Ireland Food Experience Awards 2012

The members of Good Food Ireland share a passionate belief in well-prepared and well-presented Irish, local and artisan food along with excellent standards of accommodation and hospitality services. The group has quite a rigorous set of standards that all members must adhere to.

The Good Food Ireland (GFI) Food Experience Awards 2012 celebrate their choice of excellence in their members. This year's awards, in association with Kerrygold, were held in The Shelbourne Hotel on Tuesday, November 20th with special guest attendance by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D.

And the winners are:

Good Food Ireland Ambassador of the Year 2012
Ed Cooney, Executive Chef, Merrion Hotel, Dublin   @Edcooney

GFI Restaurant of the Year 2012
Restaurant FortyOne at Residence, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin

GFI Café of the Year 2012
Cafe Rua, Castlebar, Co Mayo

GFI Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year 2012
Farmgate, Midleton, Co Cork

GFI Cookery School of the Year 2012
Ballymaloe Cookery School, Co Cork

GFI Culinary Haven 2012
Renvyle House Hotel, Co Galway

GFI Culinary Hotel of the Year 2012
BrookLodge, Co Wicklow

GFI Food Lover’s Choice Award 2012
Kai Cafe and Restaurant, Galway city

GFI Food Producer of the Year 2012
The Foods of Athenry, Galway

GFI “Come and See” Producer of the Year 2012
The Apple Farm, Cahir, Co Tipperary

GFI Food Pub of the Year 2012
Hargadon’s, Sligo town

GFI Local Food Shop of the Year 2012
The Food Store, Claremorris, Co Mayo

Good Food Ireland Supreme Award of the Year 2012
Aniar Restaurant, Galway

Regional Newcomer Winners were: 

South: Sage Restaurant, Midleton, Co Cork and Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny (Joint winners)
West: Aniar Restaurant, Co Galway
North: Balloo House, Killinchy, Co Down
East: Harte’s Bar and Grill, Kildare Town

For more about Good Food Ireland visit their website
at and follow them on Twitter @GoodFoodIreland

Congrats to all involved in raising the standards of Modern Irish Hospitality & Food!


The Big Mac Fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin

On the 24th November I'm taking the kids for a Big Mac. We don't have one here in Donegal Town so I'll have to drive 30 miles to Letterkenny to get there. I have my reasons. 

This Saturday, for one day only, McDonald’s will donate €1 to Ronald McDonald House (RMHC) for every Big Mac sold in Ireland.  

RMHC, the independent charity that funds and operates Ronald McDonald House in the grounds of Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin, has today launched McHappy Day 2012. All proceeds raised on Saturday will go to The Ronald McDonald House. I had a family reason, a few short few years ago, to use this great facility and we would get involved in fundraising locally for this charity.

The charity provides accommodation and a caring and supportive environment for families whose children are seriously ill and are hospitalised or undergoing medical treatment at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin 12. 

Ronald McDonald House at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin

RMHC Ireland Ltd. was set up in 1997 and the first Ronald McDonald House in Ireland opened in 2004. The House has a total of 20 en-suite family bedrooms in two separate buildings, each of which is adjacent to the Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin. The original building has 16 bedrooms and the second building which opened in March 2010, has 4 bedrooms. Each bedroom has a direct telephone line so parents can be quickly and easily connected to the hospital. 

€1 is being donated from every Big Mac sold in Ireland on Saturday, 24th November

Each room can accommodate up to four family members at a time. There are three kitchens and a large dining area in main building with a toddlers’ room, a TV room, a library and full laundry facilities. There is also a small garden and a dedicated children’s play area. The second building is also fully equipped with its own cooking, dining and laundry facilities.

McHappy Day is RMHC’s national fundraiser and will take place on Saturday, 24th November. McDonald’s Restaurants of Ireland and Owner Operators nationwide are showing their support for the charity with €1 being donated from every Big Mac sold on the day. RMHC will also be selling festive Santa hats in McDonald’s restaurants nationwide from 24th November until 5th December. 

With running costs of €300,000 a year, the charity receives no funding or financial support from either the hospital or the Government and relies on fundraising and donations to be able to continue to provide a ‘home away from home’ for over 2,200 families to date from across Ireland. 

The charity receives no government aid and is dependant on fundraisers and donations

Leinster and Ireland rugby star Shane Jennings (who is also on the charity's Board of Trustees)  today said: “Ronald McDonald House is an important resource for parents who are caring for children who are seriously ill. Having to be out of home for long periods of time to be close to their children can cause major stress emotionally and financially, this is where RMHC steps in. The idea is simple, nothing else should matter when a family is focused on healing their child.” 

Marian Carroll, Volunteer CEO of the RMHC said: “McHappy Day is our biggest annual fundraiser where all proceeds will go directly to the Ronald McDonald House. RMHC receives no government funding, relying on support of the public and fundraising initiatives to keep this important facility in operation."

Marian added, "This Saturday, for one day only, McDonald’s will donate €1 to RMHC for every Big Mac sold, so go on treat yourself!" McDonalds use 100% Irish Beef in their Burgers and every euro helps and we are calling on the public to show support and get down to your local McDonald’s this Saturday. McHappy Day Santa hats will also be on sale for €2 for a limited time only in restaurants nationwide."

Shane Jennings, Leinster & Ireland Rugby star, at the launch of the RMHC fundraiser

RMHC is an independent charity run by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Charity. For more about the Ronald McDonald House charity or to make a donation go to

This is a very excellent facility for family visiting sick kids in Our Lady's Children's Hospital, in Crumlin and this fundraising day is a very good cause, so if you don't normally eat much fast food make this fundraising day a good enough reason to have a Big Mac!


SMORGASBOARD - Win the Ultimate Board Game for Foodies!

Do you like fun & food with friends? Then you’ll love SMORGASBOARD®, a fun new game for foodies created by Irish husband & wife entrepreneurs, Richard Kelly & Maggie Leonard who form RichArt.

Born from a passion for food and a love of design, Richard & Maggie have spent the last two years developing SMORGASBOARD® and once the concept for the game was perfected, they used the Irish small business funding website FUND.IT to help get it to the production stage. The game has been wonderfully illustrated by the award winning designer Steve Simpson whose work has exhibited in London, LA and New York.

Players take on the guise of aspiring chefs as they work their way around the board in search of gastronomic success. The object of the game is to be the first team of chefs to graduate from Rick’s Culinary Academy! The losers... do the dishes! Divided into teams of two or more players, teams choose a Chef token to represent them on the board: Mister Broc, Señor Gamba, Monsieur Fromage, or Les Champs. All teams start at the space marked 'Start'. Play moves along the figure eight path towards 'Rick's Culinary Academy'.

To successfully graduate from Rick's Culinary Academy, teams must answer questions and complete activities from four food-related categories:

4BIDDEN-FRUIT: To win this category, your team must correctly guess the food related word by selecting a member of your team to describe the word, in the time allowed, without using the word itself or the '4' forbidden words.
KITCHEN-KAOS: To win this category, your team must correctly identify the food related word in the 'Word Jumble' anagram, correctly identify the 'Missing Ingredient' in the classic recipe, or correctly identify the 'Spoiler' that would spoil the classic recipe, in the time allowed.
NUÜDLE-DOODLE: To win this category, your team must correctly guess the food related word by selecting a member of your team to draw the word on the paper provided in the time allowed. However, once the pencil touches the paper, they may not lift it again until your team has correctly guessed the food related word or the time has elapsed. Prepare for noodle shaped drawings!
TASTO-QUEST: To win this category, your team must correctly answer the 'General Knowledge', 'True or False', or 'Multiple Choice' question in the time allowed.

 SMORGASBOARD® is manufactured at Hasbro Ireland in Co. Waterford and proudly carries the 'Guaranteed Irish' logo.


Richard has kindly given me a copy of SMORGASBOARD®  hot of the production line, to give away here as a Blog prize! To enter you simply:

1. LIKE the SMORGASBOARD® Facebook Page

2. LIKE the Irish Food Guide Facebook page

3. If you're not on Facebook JUST LEAVE A COMMENT with your NAME on This Blog Post.

This Competition will run until 1st December and the winner will be posted here on the blog.

This SMORGASBOARD® board game will make a perfect Christmas for the foodie in your Life. The game is available in these shops now and can also be purchased online at and you can follow them on Twitter @richart_games.

And the Winner of the @richart_games SMORGASBOARD game from the Irish Food Guide Blog competition is Kat Laing @ThePurplePage1  - We'll be in touch!


ASADOR - A Barbecue Restaurant opens in Dublin

Barbecued Food in Ireland took on a whole new twist last week, when a new restaurant officially opened it's doors last Thursday, 8th November and the concept of "Barbecuing in Style" was born.

The brainchild of Shane Mitchell, Rebecca Murray and John Quinn, ASADOR serves all the classic flame-grilled foods: Steaks, Chicken, Burgers, Lamb & Pulled Pork along with Lobster, fresh seafood and all the other traditional barbecue favourites are served with flair and a touch of class!

Everything is cooked over fires of oak, apple and lump wood charcoal
The food is all cooked on a wood-fired, bespoke 7-foot long Parrilla-type Grill. The word Asado means Barbecue in South America and  Asador means the Barbecuer or Chef. In Spain & Portugal the term Asador is usually applied to the style of cooking on a Barbecue Grill!

Only the finest Irish Steak is cooked on the Barbecue 
The three friends from Dublin had discussed the idea of a barbecue restaurant for many years. They wanted a new concept which was not in Dublin and one that would impress. Following some great meals in restaurants while on holiday in Spain and Portugal, the idea of using this type of barbecue grill, with all the theatre that goes with it, was born.

Head Chef, Eric Mooney - pic Tony O'Shea, sunday business post
The Head Chef, Eric Mooney, worked for the One Pico Group for four years and previous to that spent tome in the kitchens of Bon Appetit and Chapter One. He also lived and cooked in Spain for some time. "It's all about the balance of the flames, the flavour and the food. cooking modern cuisine using ancient methods". You can see the restaurant's menus here.

A bright and colourful and comfortable looking restaurant
The restaurant manager is Richie Huggard, who joins from the Residence member's club on St Stephen's Green. "We are open for Lunch, Brunch, Pre-Concert & Dinner, small or large parties. ASADOR is set to be one of the most sensory and satisfying dining experiences in the city and you can follow the restaurant on Twitter too @asadordublin"

Lemon wrapped Scallops on the Grill
For more see 
ASADOR, 1 Victoria House, Haddington Road, Dublin 4. Ph: 01 254 5353  - email:


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