Click here to visit our Irish Food Tours website

IrishFoodTours.ie - Arranging Food Tourism Visits to Artisan Food Producers all over Ireland for Tour Operators

Share This Story

How to Cook a Turkey & my Favourite Stuffing Recipe

The turkey is the centrepiece of both the traditional Christmas Dinner, Thanksgiving Dinner and the 4th of July Dinner and it's also great for any other special occasion, which is why cooking it properly is so important. Mess it up and not even the best side dishes will save you! 

Turkey is becoming very popular because it is relatively low in cholesterol and high in vitamins that boost the immune system. It's also very juicy and tasty! 

So here are some tips on how to prepare & cook your perfect Turkey! 

A juicy & tender whole roasted turkey really does add to the sense of occasion at Christmas or Any time!
1. First things first. Buy a Fresh Turkey if you can. Don't buy a turkey that has been pre-stuffed as mishandling or incorrect cooking can cause bacteria to multiply inside the stuffing.

2. It's so important that if you're buying a frozen bird, that you thaw your turkey completely before cooking. If it’s done improperly, bacteria can multiply to a point where even oven temperatures won't be able to kill all of them off. This can cause food poisoning. 
The safest thing to do is to thaw your turkey in the fridge, but if you don't have the room, put it into a roasting tray in a cool room, covered with a dry cloth until it defrosts. You should leave the turkey in its original wrapper until you're ready to cook it.

3. If you're placing the turkey in the fridge (raw meat should always go the bottom shelf) also put it on a tray to catch all the juices that may leak out.  It takes approximately 2 days for a 15 pound turkey to fully defrost.

4. Don't wash your Turkey. The water splashing around will spread more bacteria than you are washing off it.

5. Add some extra flavour by loosely filling the cavity of the bird with some peeled vegetables like carrots, celery, onion & garlic which work great together. 

6. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with real butter and season it with sea-salt and ground black pepper. Cover the complete bird with streaky bacon to add more flavour and to keep it from browning too much. Don’t forget to cover the legs too!

7. Loosely cover the complete bird with tin foil and scrunch it up around the edge of the tray. Once you get the turkey in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door! Every time you open the door the temperature drops and all the moisture escapes increasing the likelihood of a dry bird.

8. Have your oven Pre-heated to 180°C (170°C for fan assisted ovens), 365°F, so that the turkey is going into a hot oven.

The simple rules for Turkey cooking times are: 

If it weighs Less than 4kg (8½Lbs) weight cook for 20 minutes per kg
then add 70 minutes extra time.

If it weighs More than 4kg (8½Lbs) weight cook for 20 minutes per kg
and add 90 minutes extra time.

  • To Convert Pounds (lbs) to Kilograms (kg) multiply by 0.46
  • To Convert Kilograms (kg) to Pounds (lbs) multiply by 2.2

Here's a cooking Time example:
20 lbs weight Turkey = 20 x 0.46 = 9.2kg weight

9.2 kg x 20mins =184 minutes.
Add 90 = 2
74 minutes. 
Divide this by 60 (minutes in an hour) = 4 hours and 35 minutes Turkey Cooking Time.




8. About 30 minutes before the turkey should be done, remove the foil from the breast to crisp up the skin.

9. Test the turkey using a sharp pointed knife by inserted the knife the meaty area above the top of the leg. Push in the blade and the gently ease down on it. Juice from the turkey will run down the blade.
If the juices run clear then it is cooked. If there are traces of pink in it give it another half an hour in the oven and test it again.


If you have a cooking thermometer ensure that the centre of the thickest parts return a temp of 75°C.

10. After you take the turkey out of the oven let it rest, under the loosened foil, for about 15 minutes before carving. This lets the hot juices relax and spread evenly through the meat, giving a moist and juicy bird.

No. 11. Relax and Don't Panic... :)

My Favourite Stuffing Mix

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

This is my recipe but you 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.

Enjoy your Turkey!

zack

Ireland Rugby legend Keith Wood opens Upstairs at Wood & Bell, a new Fine Dining Restaurant

A new restaurant by the celebrated former Ireland rugby player Keith Wood is now open in Killaloe, Co Clare, called Upstairs at Wood & Bell. Keith, who is from Killaloe and has a long-held enthusiasm for good food, co-owns the new restaurant with his business partner Malcolm Bell.


Talking about the opening, Keith said, “I have wanted to open a restaurant in my native Killaloe for as long as I can remember. Having travelled the world with rugby and eaten in some incredible restaurants, I relished the thought of one day having the opportunity to put a twist on some of their famous dishes."

"Upstairs at Wood & Bell stems from a conversation over dinner in Chicago with Malcolm Bell, on the eve of the magnificent Ireland win over the All Blacks. Twelve months later we are ready to make that dream into a reality,” he said with a smile.

Keith Wood, Chef Paddy Collins & Malcolm Bell
Keith has installed a confident restaurant team led by executive chef Paddy Collins and sous chef Noel Heaney. Paddy has created a succinct and assured menu offering classic, French-influenced Modern Irish dishes, featuring plenty of seasonal, locally grown and locally supplied ingredients.

All of the herbs and most of the fruit and vegetables are supplied from the restaurant’s own gardens year-round, an extensive and picturesque plot overlooking Lough Derg and managed by Keith’s wife, avid gardener Nicola Wood.

Starters include: Langoustine & Shellfish Bisque with Sourdough & Pancetta Crumb; Lamb Belly with Puy Lentils, Squash & Mint; Beech Smoked Salmon, Sexton Crab, Apple & Yuzu; Goat’s Curd, Charred Gem Lettuce, Figs & Truffle Honey; and Seared Chicken Livers, Shallot Tarte Tatin, Crispy Skin & Port.

Main course dishes include: Skeaghanore Duck, Roast & Pickled Beets, Onion & Confit Leg; Trout, Rainbow Chard, Clams, Squid Ink & Kombu; Beef Fillet, Oxtail & Marrow, Turnip Texture & Chanterelles; Black Sole, Seared Scallops, Saffron Potatoes, Sprout Tops & Lemon; and Corn-Fed Chicken, Confit Leg, Smoked Thigh, Celeriac & Tomato Essence.

Dessert will include: Fried Brioche, Spiced Plums & Vanilla; Semolina Pudding, Morello Cherries & Biscuit; Gingerbread Parfait, Candied Ginger & Hazelnut Brittle; Flourless Chocolate, Honeycomb, Soil & Air; and a Cheese Board with Quince.


Executive chef Paddy Collins said, “Having worked and run kitchens for 16 years, it is every chef’s dream to find owners with the same drive, passion and vision as I have with Keith and Malcolm. It’s not often that a chef has the opportunity to run a kitchen with everything we could need growing in our own gardens and glasshouses overlooking Lough Derg. With my sous chef Noel and all the Wood & Bell team, we hope to help make this beautiful village of Killaloe the next great Irish food destination.”



The restaurant is a smartly presented room, decorated in classic tones and colours, with lots of period details and impressive furnishings, fitting in with its charming location in the beautiful, lakeside village of Killaloe in Co Clare. 

Keep up-to-date by following Wood & Bell Restaurant & Café on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 



Upstairs at Wood & Bell is located on Main Street, Killaloe, Co Clare.
Opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 5.30-9.45pm. Advance booking is advised by calling 061 517 480, or email info@woodandbell.com.

Watch the Newgrange Winter Solstice 2017 Live Online for the 1st time!

Fáilte Ireland and the OPW have teamed up to give everyone an opportunity to watch the 2017 Winter Solstice effect within the passage tomb at Newgrange.

A unique live stream will be established from the visitor attraction on the mornings of Wednesday and Thursday, December 20-21 (from 8.30am both days).


Welcoming the initiative, Minister of State for Tourism and sport, Brendan Griffin TD said: “This is a fantastic way to share the unique magic of Newgrange with a much larger audience. It is also a great way to highlight the type of compelling history and heritage that Ireland offers as a destination.”

Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran added: “Newgrange nestled in the Boyne Valley is an important historical site in Irelands Ancient Heritage which attracted over 207,000 visitors in 2016.

"Our annual Winter Solstice Lottery received over 33,000 applications to witness this event with winners from as far as Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the United States of America, showing the continuing fascination the Solstice has the world over.”




The live stream will also be embedded and available to watch on the Ireland’s Ancient East website on a special page at www.irelandsancienteast.com/wintersolstice which will also provide context within the wider ancient Ireland and Boyne Valley story.

Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Ireland’s Ancient East, Jenny De Saulles, today explained the importance of Newgrange for the tourism brand: “The Newgrange site is one of the jewels in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East and we are delighted to be teaming up with the OPW to share its story with as wide an audience as possible.



"The history, heritage and the ancient atmosphere of Newgrange conjure up everything special about Ireland’s history and unique past and we are really happy to bring these elements to a wider audience.”

Interested viewers who subscribe in advance to the Ireland Ancient East YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/irelandsancienteast will get alerts and be prompted to tune in at the appropriate times.

Zack

"The Mixing Bowl, Second Helpings" Cookbook launched for Our Lady's Hospice

In 2011, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Dublin, launched a cook book called The Mixing Bowl, which contained a collection of recipes contributed by the residents and clients of the Extended Care Unit (ECU) and the Community Reablement Unit (CRU) in Harold’s Cross. The cookbook was a great success and sold 9,000 copies, raising over €95,000. Six years on, they are now delighted to bring you the sequel!


The Mixing Bowl, Second Helpings is a special collection of tried and trusted family recipes that have been generously shared by 67 patients, residents, volunteers and staff of Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services. A longtime volunteer at the Hospice, Cepta Lyons, spent two years working with staff and patients to bring the book together.


With 77 recipes and beautiful photographs, the eclectic mix in the book includes typical family favourites served from breakfast through to supper time, in homes all around Ireland for generations and still today.

Some of the featured recipes include:

  • Una and John Fletcher’s Lemon Butter Cake, a recipe that has been part of their repertoire throughout the 57 years of marriage they have shared.
  • Patricia Betts’ Boatman’s Stew, so named in honour of her father, Patrick, who created it while working as “Master” on a coal barge on the Royal Canal.
  • Alice Victory’s Speedy Banoffee, which although now has been safely tried and tested, it once caused the ruin of her kitchen as a result of an exploding can of condensed milk!


Charity patron and renowned chef Neven Maguire shared his recipe for ‘Chicken Thighs Braised in Cider with Sweet Potatoes’ saying, “This is one of my all-time favourites, one that I find myself returning to again and again. It has tons of flavour but takes very little time to get in the oven compared to traditional casseroles".


Neven added, "This book is a beautiful collection of firm family favourites that every home should have in its kitchen. It contains not only the recipes of meals enjoyed by families throughout the country but the memories of the moments that have accompanied them. This is the type of book you pass down to a son or daughter and I’m very proud to be supporting such an important book for such a worthy charity.”

The Mixing Bowl, Second Helpings costs €15 and is available in all good books shops nationwide. 

It is also on sale in Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services in Harold’s Cross and Blackrock or online at www.lightupalife.ie/product/mixingbowl/

Zack

Sliabh Liag Distillery Launches An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin

Sliabh Liag Distillery is Donegal’s first distillery in 175 years and the directors, James and Moira Doherty, are passionate about creating brands inspired by local lore and legends, rooted in the Donegal Gaeltacht, where the new distillery will be built on the slopes, near the Sliabh Liag Cliffs.

The Sliabh Liag Distillery will officially launch An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin this weekend, on Friday 27th October. An Dúlamán is inspired by the Donegal coast and the ingredients found around the Sliabh Liag peninsula.



The new gin’s name comes from the traditional song Dúlamán na Binne Bhuí, translated as Collecting Seaweed from the Yellow Cliffs, which was sung by the famous Donegal band Clannad, among others.

The inspiration for An Dúlamán came about during a foraging seaweed trip in Donegal, as James Doherty explains. “My wife Moira was out picking Dillisk (Palmaria palmata) with my aunt at Muckross Head, close to Killybegs, and she asked the question ‘has anyone ever put this into alcohol?’. The seeds of an idea were born that day and we’re delighted to be able to share the result this weekend.”

An Dúlamán Gin has a recipe unique to the gin category. The coast around the Sliabh Liag peninsula has long held a rich bounty for the shore gatherer and, in An Dúlamán, that knowledge and some modern innovation have brought a unique “umami” twist to the world of gin.


“An Dúlamán is made using only the finest Donegal Sweet Kombu (Sugar Kelp), Dillisk (Dulse), Pepper Dulse, Carrageen Moss and Channel Wrack", adds James. "The Pepper Dulse, sometimes known as the “truffle of the sea” is the most sensitive of these coastal treasures and can only be harvested on a full moon when the tides and the wild Atlantic work in our favour".

“Once collected, each botanical is treated on its own merits. Some are dried to intensify their flavours and others frozen to capture the delicate umami essence. Following this, some of the ingredients go into Méabh, our hand beaten copper pot still, and we add the more challenging ones into the flavour basket to be distilled into An Dúlamán, Irish Maritime Gin. The result of this devilishly narrow cut is a taste that captures fresh juniper, an umami richness and the dry tang of sea breeze,” says James.


James knows the drinks industry well having held senior positions with major drinks suppliers SABMiller in Asia, Foster’s in Australia and William Grant & Sons. He and his wife Moira are joined by James Keith, the Hughes family, Dom De Lorenzo and John Davidson in their mission to reclaim the distilling heritage of Donegal.

“The artisanal gin category is exploding and with Donegal officially the coolest place on the planet", say Moira. "We feel it’s an exciting time for the county and we want to thank everyone from the local community and further afield who helped us along the way.”

James believes the new distillery will boost employment in the local community, while also bringing more visitors to the area. “We have 5 employees today and with construction on the main Sliabh Liag Distillery, we will create employment for up to 40 people once the distillery and visitor centre is fully operational. The Sliabh Liag Cliffs are Donegal’s main visitor attraction with almost 200,000 visitors each year.

Impression of the Sliabh Liag Distillery, when all the work has finished
Food & Drink Tourism in Ireland is an area of huge growth and there’s been an explosion of craft gin in recent years. Construction of the new distillery will begin next year. The company has a portfolio of four spirits brands and has already launched its first expression, an independent bottling of Irish Whiskey named The Silkie.

An Dúlamán is presented in a dark bottle reminiscent of those found on the Armada wrecks along the coast of Donegal. The bottle’s labelling in drawn by a local artist and inspired by the Book of Kells. Each bottle is hot wax sealed and the batch numbers are linked to the lunar phases!

The launch of An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin takes place on Friday 27th October, from 8pm – 10.30pm at An Dúlamán Gin Palace, Sliabh Liag Distillery, Line Road, Carrick, Co. Donegal.

For more information visit  www.sliabhliagdistillery.com

Follow An Dúlamán Gin & Silkie Whiskey on Twitter here:
and


For further enquiries contact the distillery at info@sliabhliagdistillery.com.

Zack

New Irish International Fashion and Food Summit in Sligo this November

The inaugural Irish International Fashion and Food Summit (IIFFS), takes place in Sligo from the 3rd – 5th November, and it's a summit like no other! It’s a combination of Fashion & Food, and it is being held in one of the most outstanding places of beauty in Europe – Sligo!


Fashion & Food have always been linked at the hip, and the concept of an International Fashion and Food Summit, held here in Ireland, was developed by Joanne Costello, a Sligo native and a graduate of fashion styling from the prestigious Central St. Martin’s College of Art & Design, London.

"The reason for a Fashion and Food Summit is to provide a platform to allow each industry to be inspired both creatively and commercially", said Joanne. "As well as being a showcase for both Irish fashion and Irish food, it will also allow interaction with international experts from both industries".


The IIFFS Food Series will feature a vast array of Ireland's most recognised and respected chefs, business owners and operators, critics and producers. The three day event will see numerous presentations and exciting opportunities for audiences to interact with a wealth of Culinary Personalities the likes of which has never been seen before in Sligo.

Philip O’Brien, Event Director said “the culinary aspect to the IIFFS is very exciting, we have such an abundance of talented chefs, producers and food entrepreneurs in Ireland that all who attend the food series should learn and gain inspiration. One of the aims of the IIFFS is to generate debate and profile for Irish culinary reputation internationally and we will get input and perspective from those who have been and those who are pushing the boundaries”.

Some of the Irish chefs and food producers that are speaking at the event include Danni Barry, Mickael Viljanen, Denis Cotter,  Jess Murphy, Prannie Rhattigan, Mags Kirwan, Deirdre Gysling, Ciaran Sweeney, Pádraic Óg Gallagher along with a host of others, who will speak about their unique experiences and will discuss the future of Irish food and food tourism.



In tandem with the Food series, the Fashion and Design events feature renowned international and national industry and business experts delivering workshops and talks on the business of fashion as well as inspiring creativity in various areas of the industry.  This continues the summits central theme of inspiring and educating entrepreneurs in the creative sectors and providing tomorrows successful chefs and fashion industry professionals with the tools and knowledge to run commercially sustainable creative businesses.

For more info see www.iiffs.ie and Tickets can be purchased at www.iiffs.ie/tickets-purchase

Follow the Irish International Fashion & Food Summit on Twitter at



See you there! Zack.

Kellys Butchers open a new Food Tourism Économusée

Mayo’s first Économusée (roughly translated as a 'Working Museum') was officially opened on Thursday 12th October 2017, at Kelly’s Butchers, Newport by Maireád Lavery, Editor Irish Country Living – Irish Farmers Journal. The Économusée movement is an international network of artisans which was started in Québec, Canada and is steadily spreading worldwide. Kellys is just the third food Économusée in Ireland.

To become a member of the Économusée movement, a producer must "use traditional craft techniques in the production of its products and open its doors to the public in order to share the knowledge of its artisan crafts people." 

Technically, an Économusée is a Tourism Experience at an artisan producers workplace, where you can learn about the product, its history and its production.

These rural artisan food and craft producers are supported to develop a tourism aspect to their operations providing a learning and interpretive experience for visitors. In Kelly’s case, the visits will be by pre-booking only. The Économusées form a tourism-based network, or trail, which helps the businesses expand their sales, to sustain employment and offers an enhanced visitor experience.

Maireád Lavery, Editor Irish Country Living with Master Butcher, Sean Kelly
For over 80 years Kelly’s Butchers in Newport, Co. Mayo have been quietly making their mark with superior black and white puddings, the traditional putóg and speciality sausages. The company motto is “We make up to a standard, not down to a price” a confident declaration of a commitment to premium quality. The family business maintains their traditional methods and recipes, using only the highest quality Irish ingredients and these time-honoured processes are now the focus of the Économusée. Kelly’s sought-after artisan products are multiple award winners both in Ireland and internationally.



An Économusée is an important heritage tourism attraction and contributes to the sustainability of rural areas through the creation of direct employment and by providing an attraction that disperses tourists to rural regions.

Speaking at the opening, Mairéad Lavery said, “Kelly’s involvement in the Économusée movement arose because of The Craft Reach project, which is led in Ireland by Teagasc and funded by the EU Northern Periphery and Artic (NPA) Programme 2014-2020. The term Économusée is copyright protected and it is a recognised badge of quality which carries the tagline ‘Artisans at Work’. A network of 80 Économusées now exists internationally, with 45 based in Canada and 35 in 7 European countries including Ireland, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Norway and Sweden."



There are five Économusées in Ireland. Three are food producers, two are craft based, and there are plans for more in 2018.

Dr. Kevin Heanue who is leading the project for Teagasc commented, “The Économusée concept is an innovative model of rural enterprise support which helps artisan producers diversify their businesses into the cultural tourism market by providing them with a 6 step template to help them structure the visitor experience and also links them with an international network of like-minded artisan producers. The network will benefit greatly from a producer with the reputation of Kelly’s becoming a member”.

Kenneth, Cormac, Sean & Seamus Kelly carry on the family business
founded more than 80 years ago by Dominic Kelly

 The Kelly’s Butchers Économusée is well placed to attract the “culturally curious” tourist, who represents a significant market segment in Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland’s marketing strategy. As Seán Kelly said, “The Économusée is all about bringing our history right into the present day. It’s a showcase for the time honoured, traditional ways of making black pudding and a chance for us to introduce visitors to Newport and our local area”.

An insight into the Économusée Network - the types of businesses, their location and background can found at www.economusee.eu

For more information on Kelly’s Butchers go to www.kellysbutchers.com

This is a great addition to the Food and Tourism Network for North Mayo and another wonderful foodie destination for food tourists to visit, when they come to Ireland.

Zack

My Traditional Irish Christmas Cake

Christmas cakes are made in many different ways, but generally they are variations on the classic fruitcake. They can be light, dark, moist, dry, heavy, spongy etc. The cakes are made in many different shapes, with frosting, royal icing, a dusting of icing sugar or simple and plain.

The spices and dried fruits in the cake are supposed to represent the exotic eastern spices brought by the three Wise Men to the newborn King! The fruit is all soaked overnight in the whiskey, in a covered bowl, before use.

I always make three cakes - one for Christmas Day and two to eat every day for tea until then!

My Christmas Cake Ingredients:
150g (5oz) raisins
125g (4½oz) stoned dates
125g (4½oz) sultanas
100g (4oz) glace cherries
100ml (4 fl oz) Irish whiskey
(all of the above are soaked together overnight before making the cake)

225g (8oz) real butter
extra butter for greasing
200g (7oz) soft brown sugar
4 eggs
grated rind of 1 lemon & 1 orange
2tbls black treacle (light molasses)
225g (8oz) plain (all purpose) flour
½ tsp salt
1 rounded tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground clove
50g (2oz) ground almonds
50ml (2 fl oz) extra whiskey 

My Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F), Gas mark 2. Grease a 20cm (8") cake tin and line it with greaseproof paper. Wrap some Newspaper around the outside and tie it with string. This will help the outside of the cake from browning too much during the cooking and prevent it from drying out.

2. Beat together, in a bowl, the sugar & butter until creamy. Gradually add the eggs, dusting a little of the flour in with each egg added. Add the treacle & grated fruit rinds and mix well.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl of soaked fruit and add the salt, spices and almonds. Stir all of this together, mixing well.

4. Fold the fruit mix into the egg mix, stirring evenly. Spoon the completed mix into the cake tin. Pull a little dip back in the middle of the cake so that when it rises, it will level itself off better.

5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 3 hours. If it is browning a little too much cover it loosely with tinfoil. Cook for another ½ hour. The cake is cooked when a fine skewer, inserted into the centre, comes out clean and dry.

Make small holes all over the warm cake with a skewer and spoon the extra 50ml whiskey over the holes until it has all soaked in. Leave the cake to cool in the tin. 

When the cake is cold, remove it from the tin, peel off the lining paper, then wrap it first in clean greaseproof paper and then in foil.

A small amount of brandy, sherry or whiskey (depending on your own favourite drink) should be spooned over the cake every week until Christmas. This process is called “feeding the cake”. 

You also should turn the cake over, each week, before you pour another little bit of your favourite drink over it. This ensures that all that lovely alcohol penetrates to the very middle of the Christmas cake and definitely creates that "Yum!" factor on Christmas Day. Enjoy!

Zack

Chef Jean Michel Chevet takes over as Executive Head Chef at The IVY at Dunboyne Castle Hotel

The IVY at Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa have announced the arrival of their new Executive Head Chef, Jean Michel Chevet. Dunboyne Castle Hotel is located at Castlefarm, Dunboyne, Co. Meath, just 18 km from Dublin City Centre and 20 km from Dublin Airport.


Jean Michel takes the helm at the award-winning IVY restaurant where he will lead the culinary team and plans to bring Dunboyne Castle’s restaurant offering to new heights. He has designed a new autumn/winter menu that is sure to tempt the taste buds - Click Ivy Menus. Jean Michel’s says his menu is "defined by innovative and wonderfully flavoursome dishes, along with his ability to preserve the original flavours of fresh, local ingredients."

Chef Jean Michel Chevet takes over the kitchen at IVY Restaurant in Dunboyne Castle, County Meath
 French born and classically trained Jean Michel’s food philosophy champions the use of the finest selection of seasonal, Irish produce to create quality cuisine. Having developed his skills in Michelin Star restaurants across the globe as well as in some of Ireland's top establishments like Ballyfin House and Lough Rynn Castle, Jean Michel brings with him over 20 years of experience.

Pan Fried Scallops, Cauliflower Couscous, Bacon Crisps, Juniper, Orange
Some of the gastronomic highlights featured on the brand new á la carte menu includes fresh crabmeat rolls, served with avocado purée, grapefruit and apple or fillet of brill, served with asparagus risotto, brown shrimps in a red wine beurre blanc, along with a selection of mouth-watering desserts including a pistachio and strawberry mille feuille with pistachio sponge and strawberry sauce.

The IVY Restaurant at Dunboyne Castle, County Meath
The IVY at Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa prides itself in producing an exquisite menu and pushes the boundaries to deliver an experience like no other. Having showcased its enticing menus throughout the years, the restaurant was awarded 2 AA Rosettes in 2013 and has since retained the coveted accolades that recognise culinary excellence. Dunboyne Castle also boasts 145 luxury rooms, along with an exclusive spa where guests can relax and rejuvenate.

Rhubarb Parfait, Brioche Crumb, Roasted Apricots, Raspberry Coulis
Speaking at Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa, Gráinne Ross, Managing Director, commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Jean Michel Chevet to Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa as our new Executive Head Chef. His culinary skills and passion for food are unparalleled. Our guests are at the heart of our business and we are delighted to treat them to an experience that is sure to warm their stomachs and hearts, throughout the winter months and beyond.”

Commenting on his new position Chef Jean Michel Chevet said, “The IVY at Dunboyne Castle has a superb reputation and I'm excited to come on board in the role of Executive Head Chef here. I hope not only to uphold the quality of the IVY offering but also to give it my own personal touch and take it to a new level that will really wow guests of the hotel and diners at The IVY.”

For more details and bookings see: www.dunboynecastlehotel.com and
you can Follow Dunboyne Castle on Twitter here:


Zack

Food On The Edge calls for Food to be a compulsory subject in all Irish Schools

The two-day international food symposium Food On The Edge finished up in Galway on Tuesday last, the 10th of October. More than 400 people attended on each day of Food On The Edge, Social Media Hashtag #FOTE2017, which was held in the Black Box theatre in Galway city. More than 50 of the world’s best international and Irish chefs and food leaders took to the stage to share their food stories and debate topics. Over 70 Irish food producers showcased their produce, to some of the world's best chefs, in the Artisan Food Village at the event over the two days.



The major theme of Food On The Edge 2017 was Action & Reaction and a number of speakers presented personal stories about how they have been inspired to take action in reaction to issues spoken about in previous years at Food On The Edge.

The actions that high-profile chefs have taken to address Hunger and Nutrition was a key theme, with Daniel Burns of Torst and Luksus in Brooklyn saying, “As chefs we can influence social change, act locally and spread the word globally.”  South African chef Margot Janse, founder of the Isabelo charity, and Spanish chef Quique Dacosta (Quique Dacosta Restaurant), ambassador for Action Against Hunger, also devoted their food stories to the topic of hunger and nutrition. 

CEO of Concern Worldwide, Dominic MacSorley, opened this year’s Food On The Edge with a talk on the topic of Reaching Zero Hunger.

The Food On The Edge team: (L-R) Edel McMahon, Event Administrator & Graphic Design,
Ruth Hegarty, Sponsorship Manager, JP McMahon, Symposium Director, Drigin Gaffey, Event Co-Ordinator
and Olivia Collins, Communications Manager, at Food On The Edge 2017
Tuesday the 10th of October was also World Mental Health Day and Mental Health in the Hospitality Services was another key theme. It was addressed by Irish-born, London-based chef Anna Haugh (Bob Bob Ricard), North American writer & author Kat Kinsman (Chefs With Issues) and North American chef Elise Kornack (from the former Brooklyn restaurant Take Root).

Another key theme was Work-Life Balance in the life of the chef and restaurateur, which was addressed by Norwegian chef Esben Holmboe Bang (Maaemo), who spoke about how he is taking steps towards creating a more healthy work environment for chefs and staff by having introduced a three-and-a-half day week followed by a four-day week.

Magnus Nilsson of Faviken, Sweden, said he believes that innovation and creativity can be increased by time out from work. “No one in the team should be indispensible and everyone should want to be there and not to have to be there,” said Nilsson and he encourages a policy of five weeks’ holidays per year and a healthy work-life balance.

“Head chefs forget to look after themselves,” said Nicolai Norregaard (Kadeau, Copenhagen) who also advocated for a better work-life balance in the industry.

Chef JP McMahon, Director of Food On The Edge, with Chef Magnus Nilsson, Faviken, Sweden
and Netflix's Chef's Table and Chef Robin Gill, The Dairy, Clapham and Masterchef Ireland
Education was another key theme and JP McMahon shared his “action & reaction” story about his new Education Agenda campaign to get food introduced as a proper subject in schools in Ireland. JP said, “I want to emphasise the importance of food and food education in Ireland. It’s essential to have food as a mandatory subject on the school curriculum. I think it’s really important that we do that. Food education can help combat childhood obesity, poor eating habits and it teaches the importance of Irish food culture.”

Four sixth class children from Galway Educate Together National School (where JP’s two daughters attend) concluded Food On The Edge by going on stage to read out essays they had written on the subject of the future of food.

JP McMahon closed the event by asking each person in attendance to sign a letter he had written to Ireland’s Minister for Education, Mr Richard Bruton, requesting that a Food Subject be made mandatory on the school curriculum.

Over 450 participants at Food On The Edge signed a similar Letter to Minister Bruton

After the two days of talks, the organisers of Food On The Edge took the speakers on a two-day trip to visit Irish food producers. Last year the trip saw the group explore Connemara, while this year they visited The Burren, taking in Kelly’s Oysters, Dunguaire Castle, The Burren Smokehouse and St. Tola Goat Farm, among others.

Super Congratulations to the passionate and dedicated team behind Food On The Edge and I'm certainly not going to miss Food On The Edge 2018! #FOTE2018


New Halloween Mystery Food Tours in Galway

Galway Food Tours is celebrating Halloween in their own unique style, with a series of Mystery Food Tour throughout Galway City.

Galway Food Tours are walking tours of Galway run by Sheena Dignam who brings people to taste produce from some of Galway’s culinary favourites and some hidden gems too!



The Mystery Food Tours will run on Thursday 26th October and Thursday 2nd of November at 6pm and there is a maximum of 20 people per tour so pre-booking is essential!

The four venues you're going to visit will be kept secret until you start the tour, but they will all be within walking distance of Galway City Centre and around the Galway Westend area.

At the four mystery venues, there will be a celebration of local foods and of course there will be Wine
& Cheese tasting, Poitin and Storytelling around an open fire, sampling of signature Drinks and
Desserts, board games and some spooky ghost stories as the Food Tour moves through the dusky streets of Galway.

“Halloween is such a fun holiday and we wanted to celebrate it this year with some spookiness!" said Sheena Dignam, owner of Galway Food Tours. "We have four really cool food venues on board and the Food and Drink pairing (along with some games and goulish stories) will make for a great night out, with a difference, over Halloween!”

Check out Galway Food Tours across all social media platforms..

The Halloween Mystery Food Tour is priced at €55 per person (plus booking fee unless you contact Sheena directly) and will run at at 6pm on Thursday 26th October & 2nd November. Tickets for the Halloween Mystery Food Tour are available on www.galwayfoodtours.com

Sounds of the Afternoon Sea - A Feast of Irish Seafood at Savour Kilkenny

Now in its 11th year, Savour Kilkenny has brought some of Ireland’s finest food producers, chefs and epicureans to the medieval city to enjoy a weekend of culinary delight and innovation. This year, Kilkenny Civic Trust welcomes festival goers to enjoy three unique events taking place as part of the Savour Kilkenny 2018 programme.


From noon to 5pm on Saturday October 28, the Medieval Mile Museum will invite the public to step back in time as craftspeople demonstrate medieval skills including; cooking, leatherwork, coin striking, weaving, arrow making and fletching. This event is free to the public and no booking is necessary.



At 5.30pm on Saturday evening, Executive Chef at Kilkenny’s prestigious Butler House, Ger Dunne, will present a demonstration in culinary skills at the Marble City Stage. Ger is renowned for his respect of local seasonal food and evolving style which creates unique dishes full of flavour, underpinned by a contemporary, less formal approach to fine cuisine. Again, admission to this event is free.

Executive Chef Gerard Dunne, Butler House, Kilkenny

Meanwhile, on Sunday afternoon at 3pm, Butler House will host Sounds of the Afternoon Sea. Conceptualised by Executive Chef Ger Dunne, this dining experience will feature a selection of the finest and most delicious seafood savouries - crabmeat with toasted brioche, lobster with caviar, mini bloody Mary prawn cocktails, Harty Oysters and Irish smoked salmon on Guinness bread - combined with some classic sweet pastries. 


“It’s a huge privilege for us to be involved with a superb Savour Kilkenny programme,” said CEO, Ciaran Conroy, Kilkenny Civic Trust. “We hope all those coming along to the festival take the opportunity to visit the events at Kilkenny Civic Trust properties. Our doors are open to everyone at Butler House and the Medieval Mile Museum and we’d like to wish Savour Kilkenny the best of luck with their enormously successful event.”

Sounds of the Afternoon Sea
Venue: Butler House and Garden
Date: Sunday 29th October
Time: 3pm
Admission: €35 per person. Booking Essential.

To Book, Telephone: +353 (0)56 772 2828 or Email: info@butler.ie


Ennis’ Favourite Dessert 2017 is White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake on an Oreo Base

This recipe for a White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake on an Oreo Base, by Chef Bernie Kelly at The Old Ground Hotel, Ennis, County Clare, was the winner of the Ennis’ Favourite Dessert Competition for this years' Ennis Food Festival.

Chef Bernie Kelly, from the Old Ground Hotel, wanted to share her winning Cheesecake Recipe with you all, so here it is!

Ennis Favourite Food 2017 White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake on an Oreo Base recipe Irish Food


White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake on an Oreo Base

Base
250g oreo biscuits crushed
125g melted butter

Filling
500g Cream Cheese
200g caster sugar
4 ½  Gelatine leaves softened
250g White Chocolate melted
650g Cream – lightly whipped
Raspberries

Glaze
300g raspberry puree
3 gelatine leaves softened

Method:
1. Make the base with crushed Oreo biscuits & melted butter and press onto lined 10” base biscuit tin.
2. Beat the cream cheese & sugar together.
3. Heat 200g of the lightly whipped cream until warm only, add the gelatine & mix until melted.
4. Add the melted white chocolate to the gelatine cream mix, then pour onto the beaten cream cheese.
5. Mix together and then fold in the rest of the lightly whipped cream until combined.
6. Finally add in the raspberries, stir and pour onto prepared biscuit base. Pop it in the fridge until completely set.
7. For the glaze, heat raspberry puree and add softened gelatine, pour over the cheesecake  when cool and let the glaze set before serving.


The 2017 Ennis Food Festival takes place this week from the 12th - 15th October with loads of great people cooking and showcasing loads of great Irish Food. Full details are available at www.ennisfoodfestival.com


Fáilte Ireland launches New Taste of Place Food Charter for National Visitor Attractions

Food Tourism is an increasing part of the global tourism industry and Ireland is becoming well positioned to showcase our excellent quality food and build a modern Irish Food Tourism industry.

Tourists and travellers, all over the world, are seeking out locally sourced dishes and the stories of the people and the production behind the food. This growing interest in experiencing local food presents an ideal opportunity for Irish Visitor Attractions to create and deliver more authentic food experiences that are reflective of the area in which they are located.


Fáilte Ireland, is today rolling out a new food innovation programme ‘Taste of Place’ for Ireland’s Visitor Attractions, including sites of historical or cultural interest, museums, national parks, and interpretive centres, to improve and enhance the food and drink on offer at these sites and bring it into line with the standards of modern Irish Food that is being offered in Ireland's best restaurants and hotels.

Modern Irish Food by JP McMahon at Aniar, Galway


This new programme has been developed by Fáilte Ireland, to ensure that visitors to Ireland get a real Taste Of Place at national visitor attractions and it will also help encourage businesses in the Irish Food sector, who's food offering may be lacking Irish Food provenance on their menus, to up their game.


The programme aims to support catering teams at high density attractions in delivering an authentic and quality food and beverage experience that is rooted in place by:

  • Introducing more menu options that reflect the culinary traditions of a local area.
  • Sourcing ingredients from local Irish suppliers.
  • Linking elements of the food offering to the wider destination brands.



Food Services who commit to the changes outlined in the charter will complete an intensive three day programme with cookery demonstrations from renowned Irish chefs, JP McMahon in Galway, Paul Flynn in Waterford and Domini Kemp in Dublin.  The locations and dates of these Cookery demonstrations are:

  • Wild Atlantic Way: Aniar Restaurant, Galway, October 2, 16 & 23.
  • Ireland’s Ancient East: Tannery Cookery School, Waterford, October 10, 11 & 12.
  • Dublin: Cooks Academy, Wicklow Street, October 11, 18 & 25.


The three-day workshops will include an introduction to how food motivates the tourist with participants discovering the latest tourist trends and culinary concepts together with best practice examples of where local authentic food offerings drive revenue growth in business and enhance value perception.  Participants will also get a variety of cookery demonstrations and take part in working sessions to inspire change and deliver a renewed food and beverage offering.

Modern Irish Food by Colin McKee at Harveys Point, Donegal

"With visitors to Ireland spending some €2.2 billion on food every year,  it is our job as the tourism industry, to ensure we put our best foot forward when it comes to giving them the experiences they want," said Sinead Hennessy, Food Tourism Officer with Fáilte Ireland. 

She added, "From the tourist’s perspective, the food and beverage offered at visitor attractions is a core part of the entire experience and should be viewed as a critical revenue driver and not ancillary to the visit.  This new ‘Taste of Place’ charter is the first step in ensuring that visitors to Ireland’s attractions encounter an enhanced offering that is reflective of Ireland’s growing food reputation.”


To be eligible for the ‘Taste of Place’ charter, participating attractions must:
  • Complete a baseline survey detailing current sourcing practices.
  • Successfully complete Failte Ireland’s Taste of Place development programme.
  • Verify commitment to sourcing 50% of food items from Ireland and/or the local area.
  • Verify commit to sourcing 25% of drink items from Ireland and/or the local area.
  • Identify provenance of local food and drink on the menu.
  • Include one signature dish dedicated to the destination brand on the menu.
  • Undergo an evaluation to verify the commitment.



Participating attractions on the Wild Atlantic Way include:
Kylemore Abbey, Galway
Lisadelle House, Sligo
Glenveigh National Park, Donegal
Westport House, Mayo
Foxford Woolen Mills, Mayo
Glenkeen Farm, Mayo
Bunratty Castle, Clare
Ailwee Caves, Clare
Tralee Bay Wetlands, Kerry
King Johns Castle, Limerick


Participating attractions in Ireland’s Ancient East include:
Wicklow Gaol, Wicklow
Hook Lighthouse, Wexford
Jameson Experience, Cork
Bru Na Boinne, Meath
Waterford Treasures, Waterford
Newbridge Silverware, Kildare
Castlecomer Discovery Park, Kilkenny
House of Waterford Crystal, Waterford


Participating attractions in Dublin include:
National Botanic Gardens
Kilmainham Gaol
Glasnevin Cemetary
Dublin Zoo
Trinity College
Abbey Theatre
National Library
Teelings Irish Whiskey Distillery
GPO - Witness History
Richmond Barracks

This is an excellent step forward by Fáilte Ireland to raise the standard of Irish Food on offer at national Irish Visitor Attractions and to create and deliver more authentic food experiences and food memories for international visitors to Ireland. 

Guests on an Irish Food Tour to Donegal Craft Bakery in Donegal Town

Online images of modern Irish food from these internationally recognised visitor attractions will help change the traditional perceptions that international tourists have of Irish food and will certainly assist the further development of Irish Food Tourism.

Zack

The Irish Food Guide is...

My photo

The Irish Food Guide Blog www.IrishFoodGuide.ie includes news, foodie chat, recipes, award results, links and other general information on the Food & Tourism Industry in Ireland.

It is written & curated by Zack Gallagher, Donegal Town, Co Donegal, Ireland.

“My Blog is a slice of the Irish Food ‘Network’. I’m a Chef with over 27 years experience and also have a background in media. I’m passionate about Irish Food Tourism and I believe that a rising tide really can lift all boats!”

Supporting Irish Food created by passionate producers and encouraging the Irish food & hospitality industry to use modern social media methods to increase their business.

Zack is building an all-Ireland Food Tourism network to assist Tour Operators bringing guests into Ireland to connect easily with artisan Irish food producers, so as they can experience the provenance and personality behind our Irish food Visit www.IrishFoodTours.ie

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