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Two Irish Food Companies Win Donegal Enterprise Awards 2012

Ireland's most northerly food company, Inishowen Country Kitchen has carried away the prestigious Donegal Business of the Year Award at the 2012 Enterprising Donegal Business Awards, held on Friday evening in the Silver Tassie Hotel, Letterkenny.
Owner Joseph Doherty, who took over the business in 2009, also won the Business Achievement Award category. The company which employs 25 people in Drumcarbit, Malin produces salads, garlic breads, desserts, trifles and prepared vegetables for retailers throughout Ireland including major multiples such as Tesco.

Ian Ireland, CEO of Donegal Creameries, and Seamus Neely, Chairman of Donegal County Enterprise Board, presented the awards during the black-tie dinner event which attracted a huge turnout from the local business community.

Ian Ireland, Donegal Creameries, Joseph Doherty (Winner) and Seamus Neely, Donegal County Enterprise Board, 

"I'm absolutely delighted", said Joseph.  "It has taken a lot of hard work for the past 3 years and growing the business to make it sustainable.  I'd like to thank the staff here in Malin and all of our customers for making this possible.  Word travels fast if you provide a good product and good
service and our customers have been our best sales staff.  I'd also like to thank my family whose own connection to the food industry has helped greatly and finally Michael Tunney, Ursula Donnelly and Danny McEleney of Donegal County Enterprise Board for their great support over the past 3 years."

"The amazing expansion and success of Inishowen Country Kitchen reflects its commitment to providing high quality food and its passion for creativity" said Michael Tunney, CEO of Donegal County Enterprise Board. "Joseph and his staff are a great example for other companies in the
county to show what can be achieved through innovative products and good customer service combined with hard work and determination." See: Here for More

Joseph Doherty has always been hands-on at Inishowen Country Kitchen
This year's Emerging Business Award also went to an Inishowen food company, Claire the Bakers, owned by Claire Doherty and her husband Aaron Gallagher.


Opened in Carndonagh in 2010, Claire the Bakers provides healthy lunches, home-baking and hand crafted cakes. The company has grown rapidly and now employs 7 people. See: Here for More

Other winners included Michael and Helen Masterson of Moll Industries Ireland , Donegal Town who won the Business Development Award. This year's Innovation Award went to Stephen McGinley for his FarmFeeder (YouTube Link) system and a special award for Community Enterprise was awarded to the Castlefinn Partnership Initiative (CPI) organisers of the North West Garden Show.

The Enterprising Donegal Business Awards are an annual event to acknowledge the contribution of local entrepreneurs to the economic and social fabric of the county. Sponsored by Donegal County Enterprise Board, each year an overall County award is made to one of the category winners,
and this company goes on to represent Donegal at the National Enterprise Awards in Dublin.  Previous winners of Business of the Year award have included Swilly Group, Gartan Technologies and DS Environmental Services.


Ulster Regional Winners for the Irish Restaurant Awards 2012

The Ulster Regional Final For The Restaurant Awards 2012 sponsored By Santa Rita / Sunday Independent Life Magazine took Place In The Merchant Hotel, Belfast Tuesday 27th March 2012.

The List of Winners in each of the following categories were:

Best Customer Service

Antrim                          Berts Jazz Bar@ The Merchant Hotel
Armagh                         Pot Belly Restaurant
Cavan                            Mac Nean House & Restaurant
Derry                            City Hotel
Donegal                         Harveys Point Hotel
Down                             Cullodon Hotel
Fermanagh                   Dollakis
Monaghan                    Snaffles Brasserie@ Castle Leslie
Tyrone                         Oysters

Best Gastro Pub Sponsored By Faustino

Antrim                         The Morning Star
Armagh                        Digbys
Cavan                           The Blackhorse Inn
Derry                            Badgers Bar
Donegal                        Harrys Bar
Down                            Currans Bar
Fermanagh                  Customs House
Monaghan                    Andy's Bar
Tyrone                         The Brewers House

Best Casual Dining Sponsored By Joseph Drouhin
Antrim                         Il Pirata
Armagh                       Zio Restaurant
Cavan                          Pol O D's
Derry                           Flaming Jacks
Donegal                       The Harbour Restaurant
Down                           Strudle Bistro
Fermanagh                 Dollakis
Monaghan                   Conors Bar At Castle Leslie
Tyrone                        Deli On The Green

Wine Experience - Ulster - Sponsored By Thomas Barton

Harveys Point Co. Donegal

Kids Size Me – Ulster- Sponsored By Heinz

The Old Castle Bar & Red Hugh Restaurant

Best Hotel Restaurant

Antrim                        River Room Restaurant At Galgorm Resort & Spa
Armagh                      Newforge Country House
Cavan                         Setanta Restaurant At The Slieve Russell
Derry                         Ardmore Restaurant At Beech Hill Country House
Donegal                      The Weeping Elm Restaurant At Rathmullan House
Down                          Portaferry Hotel
Fermanagh                The Catalina Restaurant At Lough Erne Resort
Monaghan                  The Restaurant At Nuremore Hotel
Tyrone                       The Kitchen Restaurant At Lylagan Country House

Best Chef Sponsored By Tipperary Water

Antrim                        Damian Tumilty, Cafe Vaudeville
Armagh                      Dean Coppard, Uluru
Cavan                         Gearoid Lynch, The Olde Post Inn
Derry                          Ian Orr, Browns Restaurant & Champagne Lounge
Donegal                      Kelan Mc Michael, The Weeping Elm At Rathmullan House
Down                          Joery Castel, The Boat House
Fermanagh                Noel McMeel, Lough Erne Resort
Monaghan                  Andrew Bradley, Snaffles Restaurant At Castle Leslie
Tyrone                       Hayden Gamble, Vanilla

Best Restaurant Sponsored By Santa Rita

Antrim                        James St South
Armagh                      Uluru
Cavan                          Mc Nean House & Restaurant
Derry                          Browns Restaurant & Champagne Lounge
Donegal                      The Mill Restaurant
Down                          The Boathouse
Fermanagh                Watermill Restaurant
Monaghan                  Snaffles Restaurant At Castle Leslie
Tyrone                       Vanilla

All County winners will now compete for the Regional and All Ireland Title which will be announced at the Irish Restaurant Awards in the Burlington Hotel Dublin on Wednesday 14th May 2012 2. . 
There are 3 components to phase two  of the process. Each element is independently assessed by KPMG.

1. Mystery Guest Visit (35%) This component of the awards is conducted by Prism Consulting headed by Hugo Arnold, independent food writer and consultant. ( All County Winners receive a mystery guest visit throughout the month of April.

2. National Awards Academy (55%) Our National Awards Academy is made up representatives from each of the regional judging panels and will meet in May to Judge the County Winners.

3. Menu Judging (10%) All County winners and the Dublin Shortlist in each category are asked to submit a copy of their food menu and wine list for judging.

For Further Details Please Contact:
Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive, - 086 8263311.

Win some Keogh's Farm Shamrock-Flavoured Potato Crisps!

Keogh’s Farm create the World's 1st Shamrock Flavoured Potato Crisps

Keogh’s, the entrepreneurial Irish farmers who have been growing potatoes in north county Dublin for over 200 years, have launched the world’s first-ever commercial shamrock flavoured food delight. Keogh’s have just launched their hand cooked Shamrock and Sour Cream Irish potato crisps to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. 

We Have some Shamrock Crisps, T-shirts & more to Win
here at the bottom of this Blog Post!
The crisps have a slight Lemon/Peppery taste almost like freshly picked watercress which is expected as Shamrocks are related to that plant family. This simple idea may turn out to be a bigger internationally-selling product than the family realised! Demand from abroad is high, ahead of St Patrick’s Day, due to the unique Irish nature of the Keogh’s Shamrock and Sour Cream potato crisps.
The crew love checking the quality at Keogh's Crisp factory!
They have been specially created on the Farm for St Patrick’s Day & available for a limited time only. The limited edition Shamrock flavoured potato crisps will be available to buy in Superquinn stores and select independent retailers nationwide from March 1st 2012 and online at

The Keogh family have developed many commercial lines from their original potato farming

“We are the only potato growers in the world who offer fresh potatoes and potato crisps from the same farm side by side in the same store and we sleep, eat, breathe potato crisps and potatoes. The idea for a Shamrock crisp came from our absolute pride in being Irish farmers and a constant need to be innovative in our offering, we are very excited about them and already have interest from abroad” commented Tom Keogh, Keogh’s Farm.

Ireland's patron saint, St Patrick, depicted holding the Shamrock

According to Irish legend, the druids in Ireland looked at the shamrock as a sacred plant because its leaves formed a triad. Three was a mystical number in the Celtic religion. Then St Patrick, who was thought to be born in Wales, used the shamrock in the 5th century to teach people about Christianity as he travelled around Ireland. He told people that each of the three leaves illustrated the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit of the Holy Trinity.

The Shamrock & Sour Cream Crisps have been specially launched for St Patrick's Day!

The Shamrock come from Living Shamrock in Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry. This area in Ireland has been producing fresh shamrock for the American President since 1952!

The Shamrock has been recognised as a symbol of Ireland for many centuries

Keogh’s are the only “on-farm” producers of hand cooked potato crisps in Ireland, having recently set up a small ‘crisping house’ on their farm, hand cooking crisps in small batches and turning them from “crop to crisp” on the same day. Keogh’s have been growing potatoes in north county Dublin for many generations and these Irish farmers really know how to grow a spud with love. Keogh’s Shamrock and Sour Cream flavour potato crisp is available in a large sharing bag for €2.49.
We have a Keogh's Farm St Patrick's Day Foodie Bag for one lucky reader - which will include an I Love Spuds T-Shirt, an Easy Spud pod and some bags Keogh’s Shamrock and Sour Cream crisps! 

To win this unique prize simply leave a comment here at the bottom of this post. The competition will run until Wednesday 14th March. 

You can also leave a comment on our Facebook Page to Enter at
You must leave an email contact to enter the competition so we can contact you if you win! 
Good Luck!

To find out more about Keogh's hand cooked crisps visit: or see their Facebook page at 

There is a Full List of Shops that Stock Keogh's Farm Crisp Here

Thank you for all the entries via the Blog, Facebook & Twitter. The winner is  Bill King @BilllKing

And Bill just sent us this lovely pic from Wales!

A Simple Irish Soda Bread

You may well see a host of different recipes for Soda Bread popping up in magazines and all over the internet. Many of these are good wholesome and simple recipes that have been handed down for a few generations. Some of them, however, have no resemblance to the traditional and basic Soda Breads that we, here in Ireland, have grown up with.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread ready for Breakfast!
So here is my simple Soda Bread recipe. It uses baking powder, which is a mix of baking soda and cream of tartar, instead of just baking soda. This bread is quick and easy to make and it tastes great served with butter, my home-made Rhubarb & Ginger Jam (recipe)   or Blackberry and Apple Jam (recipe) and a big mug of hot tea!

My Ingredients:
800g household (plain) flour
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
pinch of salt
200g real butter
1 fresh egg
300ml cold water + 100ml milk (mixed together) approximately

Preheat the oven to 175°C, 345°F, Gas mark 4.

Cross the top of the bread to let the heat get in to the centre
 My Method:
  1.  Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together quickly with a whisk, or slowly with a sieve if you prefer.  Rub the butter into the flour, with your fingers, until it is all finely mixed in.
  2. Beat the egg, milk and water together in a jug and add 80% of this (you can't take it out again!) to the dry ingredients. Mix this in with your hand and bring it quickly together into a soft dough. Add the rest of the liquid if you need it. Do not over knead the dough or you will make the bread 'heavy'.
  3.  Turn it out on your worktop and knead it gently, turning by 1/4 each time and just enough to smooth the face of the dough – 6 or 7 turns should do it.
  4.  Place it, smooth-side-up, on a floured baking tray and flatten the bread to about 3.5cm (1 and a half inches). Cut a cross in the top of the dough, cutting no more than ½ way through the bread. Gently push the knife to both sides as you cut to widen the gap.
  5. Pop it into the oven, on the middle shelf, for 40 minutes. 5 minutes before cooking time is up, remove the bread from the tin, turn it upside down and pop it back in the oven to finish cooking. This will give the bottom crust a nice crunch.
  6.  Test the bread, by inserting a skewer into the thickest part, to make sure it’s cooked and if not give it another 5 minutes in the oven. The skewer should come out clean when cooked. Slide the bread on to a wire rack and let it cool before cutting it.

Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) needs an acidic addition (traditionally buttermilk) to make it rise and would have been the original method of raising the bread. 
Baking Powder is made with baking soda but has Cream of Tartar added to it, as an acidic agent. You can still add a little buttermilk, for taste purposes if you wish.

Cutting the cross in the top of the bread had originally nothing really to do with aesthetics!  It was done to let the heat into the centre of the bread so that it would bake evenly. It was also a form of portion control and facilitated breaking the bread into even pieces when you were out working in the fields or the bog! Make this for your family & friends and do enjoy!

and my Blackberry Ice Cream is Here!


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