Compiled by MARIE-CLAIRE DIGBY
Go on, open that food stall
Market trading is a popular way to put new food products to the test, and if you’re tempted to offer your specialty to the public at a food market, a new guide from Irish Village Markets explains how to go about it. The booklet covers subjects such as insurance, licences, equipment, food safety and finance, and is free to download from irishvillagemarkets.com,
Banana nut brownie alert!
Glendalough Green café in Laragh, Co Wicklow is fast becoming cycling central, as hoards of lycra clad folk gather there at weekends before hitting the Wicklow hills. Sisters Clodagh and Philippa Duff make excellent cakes and serve a good strong cappuccino. Worth a visit for the banana nut brownies alone. You can also order picnic food in advance, so no need to slave over sandwiches in advance. Tel: 0404 45151
Comeragh lamb is coming
Good things are worth waiting for, that’s why you won’t find Comeragh mountain lamb on Easter dinner tables. The lean, flavoursome mountain lamb from the rugged terrain behind Dungarvan, Co Waterford is in season later than its lowland cousins, and later this month the first, milk-fed lamb of the season will be on sale online at comeraghmountainlamb.ie. Lemybrien farmer William Drohan (right) runs a flock of 700 of the hardy, black-faced ewes, originally brought to the area by English and Scottish landlords in the 1700s. His lamb is proving popular with chefs, including Michael Quinn (below), executive chef at Waterford Castle, who plans to serve it in the hotel’s Munster dining room as Assiette of Comeragh Mountain Lamb – braised shoulder with parsnip puree, roast loin with wilted spinach and spiced fillet with aubergine caviar and lamb jus.
Quinn, a gifted teacher who lectures at Waterford Institute of Technology and is returning to college to do a Masters in education in September, buys the lambs whole for the kitchen at Waterford Castle and butchers them himself. He can usually break down a lamb in 20 minutes, but recently spent a morning demonstrating and explaining the butchering process to a group of journalists visiting the area. Of particular interest was his treatment of the shoulder, which he boned, but left attached to the shin. It was then flattened out and tied up in a shape that made it look like leg. Describing it as an “Italian leg of lamb”, Quinn suggests slow roasting this cut.
Butchering a whole lamb is a module on the 10-week “Celebrating Local Food” night course Quinn teaches at WIT. On 10 Tuesday nights (6.30pm-8.30pm) this autumn, he will be joined by a local artisan food producer and participants will cook a three-course menu using their speciality. You can register for this year’s course (€350, to include ingredients), at wit.ie.
No added sugar, lots of taste
Glenisk, the Irish organic dairy that is celebrating 25 years in business, has launched a range of “Pure Original” yogurts, which have no added sugar – a surprisingly prevalent stealth ingredient in commercial yoghurt. The range, which comes in natural, mango, blueberry and mango and pineapple varieties, was developed following positive customer reaction to its sugar-free children’s and baby yoghurt selection. The large pots cost €1.99, multipacks are €2.69.
Ice cream class
Darina Allen will be joined by Kitty Travers, who sells her La Grotta Ices from a three-wheeled “Ape” van at trendy Maltby Street market in London, for a one-and-a-half day course in ice-cream, sorbet and granita making at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Co Cork on July 25th and 26th.
Travers, who also lectures at the School of Artisan Food in Nottinghamshire, uses natural and seasonal ingredients in her ices, and conjures up highly imaginative flavour combinations such as carrot and mandarine ripple, white peach with tarragon, and lemon and jasmine sorbet. The course costs €355 and includes two demonstrations and one practical session. To serve your ice-cream, you might like to make an ice-bowl decorated with flower petals like the one, above.