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My Wild Atlantic Kitchen Cookbook published by Maura O’Connell Foley

My Wild Atlantic Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections is a compilation of Maura O’Connell Foley’s favourite recipes created throughout her career in Kenmare, County Kerry spanning over six decades. The dishes contained in the book follow Maura’s ethos of keeping food simple, cooking with care and using the best available local Irish produce.



Several years in the making, this book is a comprehensive collection capturing over 250 recipes of the food Maura has loved to cook throughout her life and successful career as a cook and restaurateur.

Since the early 1960’s Maura has been a chef owner of several successful businesses in Kenmare. Born in London during the war in 1942, she returned to Kenmare and opened a cake shop at the age of 19 with her mother, Agnes, who had worked as a professional baker in Fraser’s Tea Shop in Haverstock Hill, London.

Maura O'Connell Foley author of My Wild Atlantic Kitchen
Maura O'Connell Foley, author of My Wild Atlantic Kitchen

In 1963 Maura and Agnes expanded the business and opened  a restaurant, with Maura following her true passion of cooking in the kitchen mainly with fresh local fish including sole, cod, Atlantic prawns and lobster. She is largely self-taught, having completed a short course at Le Cordon Bleu in London in the 1960’s and undertaking stages with great chefs including Sonia Stevenson, the first woman to earn a Michelin star in the UK.

In the early 1980’s she renovated an old school house in Kenmare, where she had once been a student herself, and opened The Limetree restaurant with her husband Tom. During her tenure at The Limetree, she received great acclaim both nationally and internationally and earned a Michelin Red M. Later, in the early 90’s, she converted her uncle Packie’s grocery store to a more informal restaurant, simply called Packie’s Food and Wine. In 1990 she purchased a large run-down Georgian house and after five years of meticulous renovations Shelburne Lodge opened to guests in 1996. Maura and her husband Tom, continue to run Shelburne Lodge today.

Dover Sole Stuffed with Atlantic Prawns and Brandy Cream Sauce


My Wild Atlantic Kitchen features stand-out dishes from the first tea shop she and her mother Agnes opened in 1961, The Purple Heather Restaurant and Piano Bar, The Lime Tree Restaurant, Packie’s Food and Wine and also from Shelburne Lodge Guesthouse which she continues to run today with her husband Tom.

Maura said, “Over the years, I was approached on many occasions to write a book, but I just didn’t make the time. I finally put pen to paper, and I can tell you it has been a tremendous effort! The recipes are a diverse collection of the food I have loved to cook at various times in my life”.

Maura’s recipes are seasonal, classic and carefully organised into eight chapters in the book: Breakfast, Starters, Fish, Meat, Vegetables, Desserts & Baking, Sauces, Stocks & Staples, as well as a dedicated section on Dinner Parties. Examples include Drop Scone Pancakes with Dry Cured Bacon and Apple Syrup, Confit of Duck Leg with Pear and Ginger Salad, Twice Baked Hazelnut Goat’s Cheese Souffl√©, Seafood Sausage with Beurre Blanc, Smoked Cod Cakes, Beef and Guinness Casserole, Dover Sole Stuffed with Atlantic Prawns and Brandy Cream Sauce, Chocolate Pots, Irish Barmbrack & Butter Pudding, and Spicy Apple and Rum Pudding.

Garlic & Ginger Crusted Monkfish

Working in close collaboration with Kenmare based graphic designer √Čamonn O’Sullivan of Anchor Studio, the project was very much a labour of love, with Maura and her family undertaking the task of lovingly creating a beautiful book that would be a testament to her years of hard work and dedication to her craft.

Not only is this a cookbook, My Wild Atlantic Kitchen features Maura’s culinary recollections and stories woven throughout, accompanied by over 100 images of her recipes captured by Lynda Kenny and Maria Bell. In keeping with her love of art and the Irish landscape, the book includes photography by nationally renowned landscape photographer Norman McCloskey, illustrations by artist Christine Bowen and paintings from internationally acclaimed Irish artist Pauline Bewick.

Maura's Tunisian Orange Cake


The foreword is written by Irish Michelin starred chef Derry Clarke of L'Ecrivain Restaurant
in Dublin. He says “This book is the culmination of 60 years of passion, hard work and imagination and is a summary of Maura’s life working in busy kitchens. These recipes are timeless, classic and detailed. This is a book I feel every cook should have in their kitchen as there are so many brilliant and varied recipes. This is a book recording Maura’s legacy through the many years she has been at the forefront of Irish cooking. As a fellow chef, I am proud to know her and respect her for all her achievements.”


My Wild Atlantic Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections (RRP €35) is available from the 26th of March on Amazon or directly from www.MyWildAtlanticKitchen.com and selected independent bookstores, hotels and stores nationwide.


Keep up to date with the latest news by following My Wild Atlantic Kitchen
on Instagram @MyWildAtlanticKitchen.

New Cavan Food and Drink Producers Brand Launched

A new food and beverage brand and producer directory for County Cavan, ‘Created in Cavan’, was recently launched on Wednesday, 26 February, in the Town Hall in Cavan Town.



This new brand, with its bold, distinctive logo, will provide consumers locally, nationally and on the international stage with the assurance that they are purchasing food or drink that has been lovingly created by dedicated local producers to reflect the unique landscape and culture of County Cavan.

Created in Cavan’ gives food and drink producers from the county a platform to showcase their wares and better communicate their unique food story. 

An initiative of the Cavan Food Network, funded by Cavan County Council with assistance from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, ‘Created in Cavan’ is an expression of the collective community of food and drink producers and food tourism services participating in the supply, production and service of quality local food and drink across County Cavan.

Members of the Cavan Food Network Working Group, (from left)
Margaret Farrelly, Margaret’s Eggs; Tara Smith, LEO Cavan; Kieron Moran, Moran’s Mega Jam; Charlene Brady, Charlene's Wholesome Pantry; Adrian Carter, Crover House Hotel; Cavan Food Network Chairperson Jonathon Scott, Scott’s Irish Cider ; Katrina Murphy, Katrina’s Artisan Cakes; Norbert Neylon, Oak Room Restaurant; Joanne Hayes, Cavan Tourism Development Officer; Deirdre Donnelly, Food Strategy Coordinator, Cavan County Council.

The Cavan Food Network works to enable consistent quality and a wide range of choice and variety in its produce, and now local consumers and tourists can be sure that wherever they see the‘Created in Cavan’ logo they are guaranteed quality local food and drink and memorable food-based visitor experiences.

Speaking at the launch at Town Hall Cavan Arts Centre on Wednesday afternoon, ‘Created in Cavan’ Brand Ambassador Neven Maguire said, “I feel proud to promote Cavan. I’m proud of where I come from. I love when people come from all over the country to our restaurant - they always comment on the good food and the local produce they’ve eaten in Cavan. 

Cavan Chef, Neven Maguire of MacNean House Restaurant, speaking at the launch of the Created in Cavan brand

“At the end of the day, as chefs, we are only as good as the produce that we use.Each food producer has a story to tell and we need to showcase what we have in this county, because it’s an exciting time for Cavan,” added Neven.

Cavan County Council Food Co-coordinator, Deirdre Donnelly said “This is a great day for Cavan food and drink as we launch our bold new ‘Created in Cavan’ brand and publish the first edition of the Cavan Producer Directory. Such exciting developments speak to the value of local collaboration and we in Cavan County Council look forward to continued partnership with the Cavan Food Network as we strive to continually grow and improve the Cavan food and drink offering”.

Chair of the Cavan Food Network, Mr Jonathon Scott said “As food and drink producers we are incredibly proud of our county and its produce and the ‘Created in Cavan’ brand will allow us to carry that message with us at shows and on shelves across the country and further afield.”

Director of Services with Director of Services, Planning, Community,and Economic Development with Cavan County Council said “Cavan County Council is delighted to work with the Cavan Food Network to deliver this exciting new brand, a key output of the Cavan Food Strategy. 

“I would like to commend all who have brought this project to fruition including our Food Strategy coordinator Deirdre Donnelly, the members of the Cavan Food Network, our elected members who have supported the development of Cavan food and drink from the outset, and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who provided financial support through the Rural Innovation and Development Fund.



“Supporting our local food and drinks businesses is also central to supporting the local economy. ‘Created in Cavan’ aims to bridge the gap between the fantastic food and drinks industry in Cavan and our local tourism industry. By doing this, we can build our food identity, boost local economies and reduce the environmental impact for everyone,” added Mr Jennings.

Chairperson of Cavan County Council, Councillor Shane P O’Reilly, said “Cavan food and drink, and Cavan hospitality is worth shouting about, and this brand conveys gives our industry the means to do so. I’m sure all of our local producers will get behind this wonderful new initiative, and I would encourage the people of Cavan to look out for the ‘Created in Cavan’ logo on shelves and in hotels, cafes and restaurants.”

For more information on ‘Created in Cavan’ and the Cavan Food Network, or to get involved, email  food@cavancoco.ie 

Pancake Tuesday & an Old Fashioned Pancake Recipe

Pancake Tuesday (or Shrove Tuesday - depending on your people's history) when I was a wee boy, was a very important day in the family calendar. It was the day when you had to tell the rest of the family exactly what you were giving up for Lent, which started the next day, on Ash Wednesday.

The reason for making such a declaration was so that all your brothers and sisters could keep an eye on you and each other and make sure you weren't breaking your fast!

In general it was Sweets that we gave up for Lent, but we were allowed to put any presents that were given to us into a big jar or box to keep for the 40 days duration of the fast. We were allowed to 'break Lent' for St Paddy's day which usually left you with a sore tummy after gorging on your stash of goodies.




Pancake Tuesday was traditionally a serious day in the Christian religious calendar. It marked the day before Jesus Christ went into the desert to think about his future and fight temptation. So that's what we had to do too, when we were younger!

Because many people went off meat, eggs, tea, milk and other things like this during Lent in the older days, Pancakes were made and ate for all meals during this day to use up any food products that needed using up.

Pancakes were probably the first thing I ever learned to make from my mum and I still enjoy making them, with sweet or savoury fillings, for any reason. There is not much difference between Crepes & Pancakes, a thicker mix and a smaller pour is about it!

One of my neighbours makes her Pancakes with buttermilk and duck eggs, which are Delicious!! If you don't have any buttermilk add a dash of lemon juice to the milk. This gives a wee zing to the flavour and also helps create a lighter batter by reacting with the baking powder.


This is a simple recipe for Old Fashioned Pancakes:

My Ingredients:
150g flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
pinch salt
pinch sugar
2 eggs
300ml milk
60g butter, melted
a little oil for the pan

My Method:
1. Put the flour into a mixing bowl with the baking powder 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.



4. Pour in the melted butter and whisk into the mix. The butter lifts the taste of the pancake and helps them get a lovely golden-brown colour in the pan.


You will need a good heavy-based frying pan. Pre-heat the pan to medium for perfect pancakes.


Pour them gently but quickly on to the pan
I don't let the pancake mix stand because the mix tends to thin as it stands - that's just fine if your making very thin crepes.  Just rub a little oil on the pan with a kitchen towel.


5. Pour 3 or 4 scoops of the pancake batter onto your hot pan. You don't have to shake or stir the pan, just let the pancakes find their own place.


6. Let them cook until the bubbles start to rise and just start to pop on top of the pancake. This means they are ready to turn.




7. Cook on the other side for about 30 seconds and that's them ready!!


Get them off the pan and repeat the process until all the mix is gone. A tea-towel over the top of the pancakes will keep them warm. That is if you can keep little hands off them in the first place!



Enjoy with your favourite spreads. I love my pancakes with real Butter and home-made Jam or real honey!

Here's a link to my post with the recipe for 
Crepe Suzette: http://www.irishfoodguide.ie/2011/03/crepes-pancakes-crepe-suzette.html

Pancakes in the Old Days - The Irish Cultures & Customs Website
Here is a link to a website with a nice nostalgic piece of Irish Pancake history that I found. It tells the Irish pancake story from a time back quite a few years more than my memories and from a family of Irish living in London in the 40's & 50's. Lovely.



zack

Make your own Home-made Haggis for Burns' Night!

In 1801, some five years after the famous Scottish poet Robert (Robbie) Burns' death, nine of his friends sat down to dinner, to celebrate his extraordinary life and to gave thanks for his friendship. Little did they know that this remembrance would resonate down through the centuries and span all across the world. Over the years, the informal theme from that evening has developed into the ritual known internationally known as Burns Night.

Presenting and Toasting the Haggis have become part of the ritual of a Burns Night event!
Here in County Donegal, with the historic association of many Donegal people with Scotland and Scottish traditions, we have long been enjoying the lightly spiced and peppery flavours of this famous dish. Haggis is traditionally eaten on Burns Night which falls on the 25th January which is the birthday of the Scottish poet. Many venues celebrate Burns Night on the weekend closest to the 25th.
(See at bottom of this post for details of the 2020 Donegal Burns Supper celebration)


Robert Burns - Celebrating the poets birthday has made the Haggis world famous!
The Haggis, which tastes a little like our Irish black and white puddings mixed together, is a very old traditional dish that combines meats, spices and oatmeal.  A traditional Scottish recipe for haggis would involve the boiled and minced liver, lungs and heart of a sheep mixed with chopped onions, toasted oatmeal, salt, pepper, and spices.

The mixture would then be stuffed into the cleaned sheep’s stomach, sewn up and then boiled gently for several hours! The dish is usually served with "neeps (mashed buttered turnip) and tatties (potatoes)", a whiskey sauce, a few readings of some poetry, along with copious amounts of whiskey to toast the Haggis!


A Traditional Haggis with Neeps (Turnips) and Tatties (Potatoes) & a Wee Dram of Whiskey!

Creating a Burns Night event at your home or restaurant is a splendid reason to go out to eat and drink with friends in January! Although the traditional date is the 25th January, most restaurants and hotels celebrate a Burns Night event on the Friday or Saturday closest to that date.

That's me when I was asked to assist with a Burn's Supper put on recently by members of the local Ulster-Scots community. It was an honour to be asked and a sign of the changes being achieved in Irish historical relationships.

Here is my version of an old Haggis Recipe, where instead of a sheep’s stomach you cook the Haggis in a casserole dish.


My Ingredients:
500g minced lamb
500g minced beef
125g suet (beef or vegetable)
500g beef liver
100g of porridge oats
300ml of  meat stock (strain this from your boiled beef and lamb - see method)
250g finely chopped onions
½ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground mace
½ tsp of cayenne pepper
¼ tsp ground coriander
butter for greasing
a few twists of sea salt
a few twists of ground black pepper


My Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
2. Cover the roughly-cut liver with cold water, bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. Strain and dump away this liquid and then chop the cooked liver with the onion, in a blender or on a board.
3. Cover the lamb & beef mince with water and bring to the boil in a large pot. Cook out for approximately 30 minutes. Keep 300ml stock from this cooked meat and pour away the rest.
4. Give the porridge oats a rough chop and toast them on a hot pan, shaking occasionally to make sure they don't burn.
5. Now mix all the ingredients together with the meat stock and transfer this mix to a well buttered casserole dish. Cover and seal with a layer of tin-foil.
6. Cook in the oven at 160°C for about 2 hours.
7. Meanwhile cook and mash some Turnips with real butter, white pepper and a drizzle of honey. Cook and mash some potatoes with real butter and white pepper.


Invite your friends around and make your own home-made Haggis for a Burns' Night Supper!

For the Whiskey sauce:
500ml cream
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 shot of whiskey
sea salt
ground white pepper
3 tbls chopped scallions

To make the whiskey sauce, heat the cream in a pan over a medium heat. Add the wholegrain mustard, Dijon mustard, scallions and whiskey and stir with a small whisk. Increase the heat until the mixture is simmering and cook for 1-2 minutes until it reduces and thickens up a little. Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and ground white pepper.

To serve:
Spoon out the Haggis, accompanied with mashed turnips and potatoes and drizzle with the whiskey sauce. I like to stack the Haggis, using a serving ring (see pic above) for presentation and then drizzle the sauce around it!

Donegal Burns Supper & Weekend Celebration
One of the longest established and most famous Burns' Night events held in the republic of Ireland has been the Annual Burns' Supper & Ceilidh hosted by Deirdre McGlone and Family, previously owners of Harvey's Point Hotel, in County Donegal.

This year, you can the McGlone Family & friends for a fun weekend in celebration of the life, works and spirit of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns, and the shared bond between Donegal and Scotland. The festivities will be held in the cosy and welcoming Travellers Rest Pub and the Breesy Centre, Cashelard, County Donegal.


The weekend will feature the usual mix of wit, wine, whisk(e)y and wisdom, accompanied by fine flavours of Scottish food, music, poetry and dancing. Friday hosts a Scottish sing-a-long in the Travellers Rest. On Saturday morning, there will be a guided walk with a hot toddy or two!

The main event, the Burns Supper, will be held in the Breesy Centre, Cashelard, on Saturday evening, starting with a welcome reception to the sounds of the Ardahy Pipe Band, followed by fun and formalities and a delicious three course dinner. Tickets for the Burns Supper are €35 per person.

For full details, contacts and booking information see: https://deirdremcglone.com/deirdres-diary/burns-weekend-celebration/


Zack

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