Irish buffalo burgers. Yes, that's a thing

Food File: an Irish water buffalo farm; teabags for Christmas, and recipes from Our Lady’s Hospice

Irish water buffalo

Wexford farmer Liam Byrne swapped cattle for water buffalo a couple of years ago, and now has the first meat from his own herd for sale. Buffalo is a "sweeter, milder tasting meat, that is higher in protein and lower in fat" according to Byrne, who now has 50 head of water buffalo grazing on his farm.

“We tasted water buffalo in the past and really liked it,” Byrne says and having researched the animals, which originate in Asia, he decided to “try something different, sink or swim”.

The buffalo are ready for slaughter at 20 months, “but are optimal at 30 months”. Byrne has found them to be hardy animals that require very little veterinary attention, though they are “not the easiest to handle” he says.

The Seafield Hotel & Spa Resort in Ballymoney, Co Wexford, nine miles from Byrne's farm, is selling Macamore buffalo burgers, with relish also made locally by Wild About, in its Village Bar & Grill.

Byrne is selling taster packs containing two striploin steaks, burgers, sausages and a kilo of ground buffalo meat, for €35 and orders can be place by emailing info@macamorebuffalo.ie.

Tea calendar

Instead of cheap chocolate, this Pukka Christmas Calendar counts down the days to December 25th by means of a different organic teabag for each of the days in the final month of the year.

It smells amazing and looks suitably festive. You’ll find the calendar in health food shops (rrp €8.20), and it can also be ordered online from pukkaherbs.com.

Second helping of recipes

The Mixing Bowl: Second Helpings, a follow on to The Mixing Bowl (2011) which raised more than €95,000 for Our Lady's Hospice & Care Services, is now on sale online at lightupalife.ie/mixingbowl.

There are 77 new recipes contributed by patients, residents, volunteers and staff, all of them tried and tested family favourites. It comes in a handy ring-binder format, with lovely illustrations by Sarah Brownlee, and costs €15.

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