The weather forecast was horrendous for the entire weekend, gales, thunder and lightning, torrential rain with intermittent patches of sunshine. I’d already got drenched to the skin on Saturday at the Market and didn’t relish the thought of driving 2½ hours in the rain to Baltimore with the distinct prospect of getting soaked to the skin again – yet, I was so tempted that in the end I threw caution to the wind and headed west to the second annual Slow Food Fair at the Baltimore Festival. These events are so convivial that once you’ve been to one and felt the camaraderie and buzz, you simply don’t want to miss the next one. Two marquees had been erected at the quay. By noon food producers from all over West Cork had set up their stalls and were proudly displaying their produce. Almost before they had put the finishing touches to their display they were besieged by eager customers. Ace cook Clodagh McKenna had set up a buffet at once end of the marquee – for 12 Euros or 10 Euros for Slow Food members, one could fill one’s plate with utterly delicious food, much of it from local producers. Fresh crusty focaccia from Kalbos in Skibbereen, gorgeous jambon, pork rillettes, pate and glazed bacon from young Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen. Clodagh’s Pasta and seaweed salad with the seaweed provided by Olivier from Sea to Land in Co Kerry. New season’s Beetroot, cous cous and butterbean salad, Fig, apple, walnut and Cashel Blue salad, Potato, Scallion and chive flower salad, Curried chicken, mango and cashew nut salad. A delicious Tomato and Gubbeen bacon frittata, Ummera smoked chicken and smoked fish from Sally Barnes’ Woodcock Smokery and Frank Hederman. Homemade mayonnaise and several delectable relishes, Frank Krycwzk’s award winning salamis, Durrus, Gubbeen and Milleens farmhouse cheese. I also had my first taste of the new Carbery Blue Cheese and enjoyed everylittle crumbly morsel. Clodagh was flanked on one side by Judy Wotton, who makes Ardagh Cheese between Baltimore and Lough Ine. She milks her 9 goats by hand and makes a memorable cheese. This indomitable lass also makes a delicious range of pasties, scotch eggs and pies to sell at the Skibbereen Market. Judy Rathffer makes a range of traditional breads. Meredith Benke and Cullen Allen were doing a roaring trade filling dishes of Carrageen Moss pudding or homemade ice-cream with rhubarb and strawberry compote. Those with not such a sweet tooth could choose homemade cheese biscuits and farmhousecheese. Mary Pawle of Mary Pawle Wines had brought some of her organic wines up from Farranfore, St Nelly red and the white St Jean both from Chateau de Bastet, were delicious with the feast we brought to eat for lunch. Lorenzos who sell in the Clonakilty Farmers Market, make a range of salads – hummus, Butterbean salad, Tonnato Sauces, Haloummi cheese. Shorescape from Bandon had a range of smoked fish, gravlax, salmon pate, trout and tuna, while Dave Owen of Roaringwater Bay Oysters in Baltimore, opened sweet briny oysters in the corner beside the band, who were aptly named the Cheesemakers. The Olive Stall was outside under the awning beside Fiona Burke’s tempting array of farmhouse cheeses, Frank Hederman’s smoked fish, and the Fergusons’ Gubbeen products. There were hot dogs sizzling on a barbecue and a whole marquee of Fuchsia brand products, including Bill Hogan’s splendid Gabrieland Desmond cheeses. The rain did eventually come but not enough to dampen the revellers enthusiasm. If you would like to join the Slow Food Movement, or have some more information, contact Giana Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 028-28231. www.slowfoodireland.com
Curried Chicken Salad with Mango and Roasted Cashew Nuts
Serves 8-10 1.35kg (3 lb) chicken breasts, poached and skinned then cut into bite sized bits 12 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 mangoes peeled, stoned and cut into 1cm (2 inch) pieces 170-225g (6-8oz) chopped celery 4 chopped scallions including green part 110ml (4fl oz) natural yoghurt 110ml (4fl oz) Home-made Mayonnaise 12 teaspoons curry powder 2 teaspoon ground cumin 140g (5oz) roasted cashew nuts 2 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander, optional Mix the cubed, poached chicken in a large bowl with the freshly squeezed lemon juice, season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the diced mango, celery and scallions. Whisk the yoghurt with the home-made mayonnaise, add the cumin and curry powder, mix well. Taste and correct seasoning. Just before serving add the roasted cashew nuts, scatter with chopped coriander or parsley and serve.
Glazed Loin of Bacon
1.8-2.25 kg (4-5lb) loin of bacon, either smoked or unsmoked
400g (14ozs) 1 small tin of pineapple -use 3-4 tablesp. approx. of the juice
340g (12oz) brown sugar (demerara)
whole cloves 20-30 approx.
Cover the bacon in cold water and bring slowly to the boil, if the bacon is
very salty there will be a white froth on top of the water, in this case it
is preferable to discard this water. It may be necessary to change the water
several times depending on how salty the bacon is, finally cover with hot
water and simmer until almost cooked, allow 15 minutes approx. to the lb.
Remove the rind, cut the fat into a diamond pattern, and stud with cloves.
Blend brown sugar to a thick paste with a little pineapple juice, 3-4
tablespoons approx., be careful not to make it too liquid. Spread this over
the bacon. Bake in a fully preheated hot oven 250C/475F/regulo 9 for 20-30
minutes approx. or until the top has caramelized.
Note: We use loin of bacon off the bone.
Frank Krycwzk’s plate of Charcuterie with Gherkins and Caper berries
Frank Krycwzk makes a variety of delicious and interesting salamis at Dereenatra near Schull. 3-5 slices of salami per person, depending on size 1-2 gherkins per person 1-2 caper berries per person 3-4 olives per person 2-3 rocket leaves drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional) Accompaniment – crusty Focaccia or Ciabatta Arrange a selection of salami for each person on a large white plate. Garnish with gherkins and caper berries, add few olives and three or four rocket leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.
Strawberry Ice Cream with Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote
Rhubarb and strawberries are a wonderful combination and now that strawberries have a longer season we can enjoy them together. Try this with new season’s Irish strawberries. Serves 6
Strawberry Ice Cream
900g (2 lb) very ripe strawberries Juice of 2 lemon Juice of 2 orange 225g (8oz) castor sugar 300ml (10 fl oz) water 150ml (5 fl oz) whipped cream Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote 450g (1 lb) red rhubarb, e.g. Timperely early 450ml (16 fl oz) stock syrup (see below) 225-450g (2-1 lb) fresh strawberries, Cambridge Favourite, Elsanta or Rapella Garnish: Mint leaves or Lemon balm leaves
First make the Ice Cream. Dissolve the sugar in the water, boil for 7-10 minutes, leave to cool. Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender, sieve. Add orange and lemon juice to the cold syrup. Stir into the puree, fold the whipped cream into the puree. Freeze immediately in a >sorbetiere or ice cream maker according to the manufacturer=s instructions. Next make the compote. Cut the rhubarb into 1 inch (2.5cm) pieces. Put the cold syrup into a stainless steel saucepan, add the rhubarb, cover, bring to the boil and simmer for just 1 minute, then turn off the heat and leave the rhubarb in the covered saucepan until just cold. Hull the strawberries, slice lengthways and add to the rhubarb compote. To serve Scoop out the ice cream into a pretty glass bowl and serve with the chilled compote. Decorate with fresh mint leaves. Stock Syrup 450g (1 lb) sugar 600ml (1 pint) water To make the stock syrup: Dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes then allow it to cool. Store in the fridge until needed.