ArchiveDecember 2003

Cheap food is an illusion

Almost every week I get queries from people at their wits end trying to cope with food intolerances and special diets. Sometimes just one food has to be eliminated, but more often than not it’s a whole food group. I can sometimes be of assistance but I don’t feel sufficiently qualified to be of real help. My first advice is to seek out as much organic or bio-dynamic food as possible and to eliminate processed food totally from your diet. If its an option, grow as much as you can yourself, even if its only in tubs or window boxes. As more and more people are being advised by their doctors to omit certain foods from their diet, dairy, wheat, yeast, sugar, pork, chicken, mushrooms, oranges …. One has to ask – what’s going on – why are so many people unable to tolerate these foods any longer? The answer is no doubt complex but the reality is much of our food is being produced in an increasingly intensive way, the main criteria being price not quality. In very intensive production systems animal and plant are being pushed beyond their natural limit, consequently everything is cracking at the seams and its one crisis after another.
Farmers are caught in a Catch 22 situation, as the multiples force farmers and food producers to produce food below an economic level. Backed into a corner, they have two stark choices – throw in the towel in despair, sell up, feeling despondent and defeated, or intensify further. The latter usually means less healthful food produced with more chemical inputs and artificial fertilisers in the endless quest to produce cheaper food. In both cases we are all losers.
Cheap food is an illusion. As Professor Jules Pretty of the Centre for Environment and Society at the University of Essex, clearly states in his study ‘Crops without Profit’, there is no such thing as cheap food, the reality is as tax payers we pay three times over for the seemingly ‘cheap food’ on the supermarket shelf. Once at the checkout, again through our taxes to provide the subsidies to support this unsustainable system of production, and a third time to clean up the environment and contribute to the health service.
As long as this mindset continues we will have more and more problems, not only with allergies and food intolerances and food related illness, but also with obesity which I predict will be the most expensive drain on the Health Service and consequently the tax payer in the coming years.
Minister Martin needs to urgently focus his attention on the national diet, after all Benjamin Disraeli observed that: –

“The health of a people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their power as a State depends.. The Irish diet has changed utterly in the past 20 years with an extraordinary decline in the past 4 or 5 years as a startling percentage of the population live on convenience food and out of hot counters with scant regard for freshness or nutrition. The majority of the population has forgotten about the seasons and care little for fresh or local. Increasingly GP’s are coming across cases of malnutrition in teenagers, not from impoverished families, but simply as a consequence of eating a diet of nutrient deficient junk food. Few connect the food they eat with how they feel – a disastrous and alarming situation considering that since time began, in every culture there is a saying akin to ‘your health goes in through your mouth’. What kind of twits are we to think that we can shovel any kind of old rubbish into ourselves and then expect to feel full of energy and vitality.
For those with, or cooking for someone with maybe one or several food intolerances, every meal is a challenge. In acute cases, of which there are a growing number, peoples’ resistance and immune system break down and life becomes a nightmare of ill health. Chupi and Luke Sweetman authors of a recent book ‘What to eat when you can’t eat anything’ faced exactly this situation. They tried every medical solution to no avail, eventually with the help and guidance of nutritionist Patricia Quinn, they embraced a diet of whole naturally produced food, organic whenever possible and eliminated all processed food: yeast free, dairy free, wheat free and sugar free, additive, colour and preservative free.
Panic set in, what was left to eat? Gradually they developed new ideas – everyone got involved, racked their brains, lots of fun experimenting and tasting. Others in a similar position shared their successes. They soon realised there was a real need for a cookbook where they could share their experience with others in a similar situation.
This new way of eating has transformed their lives and health and it was a joy to see them glowing with good health posing for photographs for the book which was a collaboration between themselves and Patricia Quinn as they shared the recipes, ideas and experiments. This book will be a lifesaver for the many people who feel at a loss to know how to cook when many staples have been eliminated. Whether or not this has been the case, seek out as much free range, local, organic food as possible – for a growing number of people its no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.

‘What to eat when you can’t eat anything’ by Chupi and Luke Sweetman, published by Newleaf, an imprint of Gill & Macmillan. www.whattoeat.net

Bridget Jones Chicken

Feeds 4:
This is the most wonderful- and incredibly simple - dish imaginable. All the ingredients are just roughly chopped, packed into a casserole, drizzled with olive oil and popped into the oven. We called it Bridget Jones Chicken because the night we first made it was the night the film came out on video. It was 'Chop! Hurl! Grind! Drizzle!' and into the oven you go! And then we all dashed for the sofa and the video.

What you need:
4 chicken breasts, or thighs, chopped into good-sized chunks
5 potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
a few slices parma ham or smoky bacon torn into shreds
4 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 onions, peeled and quartered
1 bulb fennel, chopped into chunks
1 handful fresh rosemary sprigs juice of half a lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

What you do:
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Pack all the ingredients tightly in a good-sized casserole or ovenproof dish, giving everything a good mix to ensure all the ingredients are well coated in oil and herbs. Season generously with lashings of freshly ground black pepper and sea salt and drizzle with oil. Put on the lid or cover with foil and pop into the oven. Pot roast for 1 to l½ hours, or until the potato chunks are soft through and through.

Crunchy Nut Granola

Makes 1 lot:
An excellent standby for when the munchies hit! Granola is a good way to start the day. Our blood sugar levels are very low in the mornings and the dried fruit in this recipe raises blood sugar and the grains help to sustain it. Some people prefer Granola without the dried fruit- do try it to see which you prefer. Granola is also excellent as a sweet, or pud, with some bio-live yoghurt and fruit. Cooking Granola is simple, you just need to keep an eye on it in the oven and take it out when it's golden.

What you need:
3 tbsp sunflower oil
3 tbsp local honey
2 cups oat flakes
2 cups jumbo oat flakes
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp almonds, chopped
1 tbsp brazil nuts, chopped
1 tbsp currants, washed
1 tbsp dates, washed and roughly quartered
½ tbsp dried papaya, chopped and washed

What you do:
Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F/gas mark 1. Melt the honey and oil in a large saucepan on a gentle heat, being careful not to let the mixture come to the boil. When the honey has melted, remove the mixture from the heat. Add the remaining ingredients, minus the dried fruit. Stir and mix until well coated. Spread out on a large baking tray and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Half way through the cooking, remove from the oven and mix thoroughly. Return to the oven. The granola is cooked when it is crisp and golden. Take out of the oven, stir to break up the lumps and allow to cool. Add the dried fruit and mix again. Store in an airtight container. Serve with your favourite milk as a breakfast or snack, or with some stewed fruit as a dessert.

Jammy Doughnuts

Makes approx. 10 doughnuts:
These Doughnuts are inspired by Darina Allen's Balloon Recipe (from Simply Delicious Meals in Minutes); we've just made them more accessible. Thanks Darina.
(About the jam: homemade -in your home -is best,
but sugar- and rubbish-free jam will do.)

What you need:
1 cup/150g white spelt or organic wheat flour
2 tbsp local honey
1 tsp bread soda
½ cup/125 ml rice, oat or goat's milk

sunflower oil for deep-frying

5 tbsp raspberry jam

What you do:
Put the oil onto a medium-high heat. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the honey and milk. Beat to a gloopy consistency. The oil should have been heating up for about 7 minutes now, so get a tablespoon of mixture and, using your finger, push the mixture off the end of the spoon into the hot oil, being very careful. Repeat. Cook the doughnuts for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Half cut each doughnut along its middle and put in 2 tsp jam per doughnut. Serve at once while still warm. 

Note from Darina – I learned how to make Balloons from my mother-in-law Myrtle Allen when she used to make them for children’s tea at Ballymaloe.

Quickie Pizzas

Feeds 4:

There’s something about pizza that nothing else quite replicates. But pizza does take a certain amount of work, so here are some Quickie Pizzas perfect as a
snack, a quick lunch or a mid-evening filler. They don’t take as much time or energy as normal pizza, but you still get that lovely pizza hit.

What you need:
2 Farls (see recipe), sliced open
4 very ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 red onion, sliced paper-thin
enough organic mature cheddar, or feta, to cover the pizzas
1 tbsp mixed fresh rosemary, basil and parsley, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

What you do:
Pre-heat the oven 150°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Slice the
Farls open to get 4 separate pizzas, pop into the toaster for a minute or two to crisp up. On the cut side, layer the tomatoes, then the onions and then the cheese. Season generously with olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Pop into the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot. You can serve these as a main meal with a Green Salad to fill up the corners.
Different toppings
Our favourite pizza is definitely a Margarita, so it is no surprise that the above is topped with a quick imitation of that pizza. You can, however, use other toppings, say 6-8 slices parrna ham underneath the tomato layer for a meat version of the above. You could try Spinach Frittata spread across the base, topped with feta cheese or 6 tbsp creme fraiche, cooked as above. The only limit is your imagination.
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The Ultimate Veggie Burger and Chips

Feeds 4:
For years we tried to make a veggie burger that a) tastes nice; and b) didn’t disintegrate on contact with heat. Success at last! We absolutely adore these
burgers. A note of advice: you must use all the toppings to get the Ultimate hit. On the subject of bread, we find Farls to be so perfect and so easy we always use them. However, if you want to replace them with suitable ‘Green’ bread, do.

The Burgers

What you need:
1 tsp each ground cumin and coriander
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup/110 g gram flour
1 tin cooked chickpeas, drained and whizzed
4 scallions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

The Buns
What you need:
3 cups/450 g white spelt or organic wheat flour
1 tsp bread soda
3/4 cup/188 ml water or rice, oat, soya or cow's milk
1 tbsp bio-live natural yoghurt

The Extras
What you need:
8 slices organic feta cheese
2 tomatoes, very thinly sliced
salad leaves
¼ red onion, very thinly sliced
2 tbsp Mayonnaise (page 159)
Harissa (page 160)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
homemade chips 

What you do:
Get your burgers together first. Whizz the chickpeas to a lumpy consistency. Add the rest of the burger ingredients and combine with a spoon -if it's too
sticky, add more gram flour. Season generously. There should be enough mix for about 8 burgers -just store whatever you don't need in the fridge. Dust your hands with plenty of flour, take 4 handfuls of mix, roll each into a ball then flatten into burgers about 1 cm thick. Now you can get the chips on. Warm half a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the 4 burgers and cook on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side or until done to your liking. While the burgers are
cooking, make the buns. Mix all the bun ingredients together, to form a soft, not too sticky dough. Divide into 4 balls and flatten to 1 cm thick. Put another
frying pan on a medium heat and sprinkle with flour. When the flour starts to brown, put the Buns on for about 4 minutes per side. To serve, slice the Buns in half, plonk on the burger, add a couple of slices of cheese, a twist of pepper and salt, a few salad leaves, the red onion, the tomato, some Garlic Mayonnaise and some Harissa. Serve with Pomme Frites or plain ol' Chips and a Green Salad.
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Foolproof Food

Farls

450g white spelt or wholegrain spelt or organic wheat flour
1 teasp. bread soda
188ml water or rice, oat, soya or cow’s milk
1 tablesp. bio-live natural yoghurt

Put the flour and bread soda into a mixing bowl and combine. Pour in your chosen liquid and the yoghurt, mixing with a knife (strange, I know, but it works), until you have a soft, dry dough. You can shape the farls as you please but the traditional way is to form the dough into a ball and roll out into a circle less than 1cm thick and slice into 4 quarters. Put a heavy-bottomed pan on a medium heat and sprinkle with flour. When the flour starts to brown, place a farl onto the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes per side until lightly browned. Take the farl off, sprinkle some more flour onto the pan and continue with the rest. Keep in a warm place until you’re ready to eat.

Hot Tips

New Year Resolutions –

Learn to cook - book some afternoon cookery demonstrations at Ballymaloe Cookery School – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday – 1.45-4.45 Tel. 021-4646785

Visit your local garden centre and buy some vegetable seeds to start your own little vegetable plot. A few cabbage plants would get you off to a quick start.

Order half a dozen hens so you can have your own wonderful free-range eggs- the scraps from the kitchen come back as eggs – so you’re a winner all the way.

Resolve to plant a little herb garden, order parsley, thyme, chives, annual marjoram and rosemary to get you started.

Resolve to put real energy into sourcing fresh, locally produced food in season for the good of your health – its often been said that if you don’t put it on the table you will give it to the doctor and the chemist.

Christmas is coming

For many people Christmas has totally lost its appeal– it has developed into a kind of tyranny, an ordeal that one braces oneself to survive. The traditional shopping expedition has become unbearable as many of our capital cities are in chaos both from traffic jams and road works. A despairing Cork city restaurateur told me last week that having already endured 6 months of disruption to her business, because of the city centre development plan, she was told last week by the City Council that the work would definitely be completed by November 2004 – her reply was unprintable.

Understandably, fewer people are prepared to endure the extra hassle to do their Christmas shopping in the city centre, yet no Christmas is complete without a visit to the English Market in Cork to source some extra goodies. 

A visit to your local deli, Farmers Market and specialist shop can provide a range of delicious foods to make Christmas less stressful.

If you stock up with pate and terrines, boudin blanc, artisan cured meats, salami and chorizo, a selection of smoked fish, black and green olives, some farmhouse cheese, Medjool dates and plump figs, you are ready for any occasion or emergency. Seek out a Paneforte di Siena or Pannetone wrapped in gold paper with a huge bow, these delicious confections could save you making either a Christmas cake or plum pudding.

If your family will allow you to break with tradition why not throw caution to the wind, forget about the standard fare and cook a simple meal. Make a huge pot of soup ahead, a silky leek and potato or a root vegetable soup, would be light and delicious. Just reheat on the day.

Smoked salmon carpaccio with a little dice of avocado and red onion would make a delicious second course.
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Main course could be a loin of free range, preferably organic pork with lots of crunchy crackling. I love to serve it with Spiced Aubergines and rustic roast potatoes. Alternatively, a haunch of venison served with Francatelli Sauce and a bubbly gratin dauphinois is a delicious combination and so easy.

The sauce and potato dish can be made ahead and the barded haunch just needs to be roasted, a mere 10 minutes to the pound, and allow a half hour’s resting time in a warming oven, so the juices redistribute evenly through the meat. 

Try this roulade filled with jewel like pomegranate seeds to round off the meal. We also love it filled with a kumquat compote.

Don’t forget to order in some bubbly or a delicious prosecco to get the Christmas spirit and a few stickies - delicious dessert wines to sip with the pud before you curl up in front of the fire.

Happy Christmas to all our readers.

Winter Leek and Potato Soup

Serves 6 - 8
The classic winter soup loved by all age groups.
55g (2 oz) butter
450g (1 lb) potatoes, peeled and cut into 3 inch (5mm) dice
110g (4oz) onion, peeled and cut into 3 inch (5mm) dice
340g (12oz) white parts of the leeks, sliced (save the green tops for another soup or vegetable stock)
salt and freshly ground pepper
900ml (12 pints) light home-made chicken stock
120ml (4 fl oz) cream 
120ml (4 fl oz) milk
Garnish
finely chopped chives

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, when it foams, add the potatoes, onions and leeks, turn them in the butter until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover with a paper lid (to keep in the steam) and the saucepan lid. Sweat on a gentle heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not coloured. Discard the paper lid. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are just cooked. Do not overcook or the vegetables will lose their flavour.
Liquidise until smooth and silky, taste and adjust the seasoning. Add cream or creamy milk to taste.
Garnish with a swirl of cream and some freshly chopped chives.

Vichysoisse

A tablespoon of finely sliced buttered leeks served in the centre of this soup makes a more substantial version.
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Carpaccio of Smoked Salmon with Avocado, Red Onion , Dill and Horseradish Cream
Serves 8

6-8 ozs (170g-225g) Irish smoked salmon very thinly sliced
1 avocado depending on size
1 small red onion finely diced
1 tablesp. chives
1 tablesp. dill
1 tablesp. chervil or flat parsley

Horseradish Cream

12-3 tablesp. grated horseradish

2 teaspoons wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 teaspoon mustard
3 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
8 fl ozs (250 ml) barely whipped cream

First make the Horseradish Cream
Scrub the horseradish root well, peel and grate on a ‘slivery grater’. Put the grated horseradish into a bowl with the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar. Fold in the barely whipped cream but do not overmix or the sauce will curdle. There will be more than enough for this recipe, but save the rest for another dish. It keeps for 2-3 days: cover so that it doesn=t pick up flavours in the fridge.

To serve:
Arrange the thinly sliced smoked salmon in a single layer over the base of four large plates. Peel and cut the avocado into a ¼ inch (5mm)dice. Drizzle some Horseradish Cream over the salmon then a sprinkle of avocado and red onion dice.

Garnish with snipped chives, chopped dill and chervil or flat parsley sprigs.
Finally a little freshly cracked pepper.
Serve with crusty brown yeast bread.
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Roast Pork with Crackling and Spiced Aubergines
Serves 6-8

1 x 2.25kg (5 lbs) loin of organic free-range pork with the skin rind intact. (You will most certainly need to order the joint ahead to ensure that the rind is still on – no rind – no crackling!)
2 tablespoons chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, chives, marjoram, savoury, perhaps very little sage or rosemary)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Spiced Aubergines (see recipe)
Rocket leaves

Score the skin at ¼ inch (5mm) intervals running with the grain – let your butcher do

this if possible because the skin, particularly of free range pork can be quite tough. This is to give you really good crackling and make it easier to carve later. 
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/regulo 5. Put the pork, skin side down on a chopping
board season with salt and black pepper, sprinkle with freshly chopped herbs. Roll up tightly and tie with cotton string. Sprinkle some salt over the rind and roast the joint on a wire rack in a roasting tin. Allow 25-28 minutes per 1lb (450g). Baste with the rendered pork fat every now and then. 

Meanwhile cook the Spiced Aubergines , see recipe

Just before the end of cooking time remove the pork to another roasting tin. Return to the oven and increase the temperature to 230C/450F/regulo 8, to further crisp the crackling. When the joint is cooked the juices should run clear. Put the pork onto a hot carving dish and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes in a low oven before carving. Serve two slices of pork per person with some Spiced Aubergine and garnish with Rocket. 

Rustic roast potatoes and a good green salad would also be great. 

Spiced Aubergine

Serves 6
1 inch (2.5cm) cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 large cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely crushed
50ml (2 fl ozs) water
800g (1¾ lbs) aubergines
250ml (8 fl ozs) approximate vegetable oil (we use Arachide) 
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
350g (¾ lb) very ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped or 1 x 400g (14ozs) tin tomatoes + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon freshly ground coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric 
a teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like) 
Sea Salt
55g (2ozs) raisins

Cut the aubergine into ¾ inch (2cm) thick slices. Heat 175ml (6 fl ozs) of oil in a deep 10-12 inch (25-30cm) frying pan. When hot, almost smoking, add a few aubergine slices and cook until golden and tender on both sides. Remove and drain on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Repeat with the remainder of the aubergines, adding more oil if necessary. 

Put the ginger, garlic and water into a blender. Blend until fairly smooth. 

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in the frying pan. When hot, add the fennel and cumin seeds, (careful not to let them burn). Stir for just a few seconds then put in the chopped tomato, the ginger-garlic mixture, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the spice mixture thickens slightly, 5-6 minutes. 

Add the fried aubergine slices and raisins, and coat gently with the spicy sauce. Cover the pan, turn the heat to very low and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Serve warm.
The spiced aubergine mixture is also good served cold or at room temperature as an accompaniment to hot or cold lamb or pork. 

Rustic Roast Potatoes

Serves 4-6
6 large 'old' potatoes eg. Golden Wonder or Kerrs Pinks
Olive oil or beef dripping (unless for Vegetarians)-duck or goose fat are also delicious
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/regulo 8. Scrub the potatoes well, cut into quarters lengthways or cut into thick rounds ¾ inch (2cm) approx. Put into a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and toss so they are barely coated with olive oil. Roast in a preheated oven for 30-45 minutes depending on size. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve in a hot terracotta dish.

Roast Haunch of Venison with Francatelli Sauce

Serves 20 people approx.
A haunch of venison makes a splendid party dish.
1 haunch of venison - approx. 6-7 lbs (2.7-3.2kg) in weight
To lard venison
8 ozs (225g) back fat or very fat streaky pork or pork caul fat
Marinade 
1 dessertspoon mixed fresh herbs, thyme, savory, marjoram and sage
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 fl ozs (120 ml) dry white wine
Gravy
1 pint (600ml) beef stock
Roux (optional)
Francatelli sauce (see below)

First lard the venison. Cut the pork back fat into 3 inch (5mm) wide strips. Insert a strip into a larding needle, draw a lardon through the meat to make a stitch; trim the end. Repeat the stitches at 1 inch (2.5cm) intervals to make horizontal rows, positioning each row about 2 inch (1cm) away from the previous row, repeat with the remainder of the fat. Put the haunch into a shallow dish, stainless steel or cast iron, not tin or aluminium. Sprinkle it with the freshly chopped herbs. Pour the olive oil and wine over the meat. Cover the dish or tray and marinate the meat for about 4 hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight, turning the meat occasionally. The liquid from this marinade will be used to baste the meat during cooking.

To Cook: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/regulo 4. Weigh the venison and calculate 10 minutes to the pound. We like our venison slightly pink and still very juicy, so I usually turn off the oven then and leave the meat relax for 20-30 minutes. During the cooking time baste every 10 minutes with the oil and wine marinade and turn the joint over half way through. When the venison is cooked, remove to a serving dish while you make the gravy.

Degrease the roasting pan, add about 1 pint (600ml) home-made beef or venison stock and perhaps a dash of wine. Bring to the boil, scraping and dissolving the sediment and crusty bits from the pan. Thicken slightly with a little roux, taste and correct the seasoning, pour into a warm gravy boat.

To serve the haunch of venison: Serve the haunch of venison on a large serving dish surrounded by roast potatoes, red cabbage, celeriac puree or brussels sprouts would be a delicious accompaniment. Carve on to very hot plates.

Note: It is very easy to overcook venison mainly because it goes on cooking after the oven has been turned off.

Francatelli Sauce

This sauce was invented by Queen Victoria's chef, Francatelli. It tastes delicious and is very easy to make.
2 tablespoons port wine
2 lb (225g) redcurrant jelly
small stick of cinnamon, bruised
thinly pared rind of a lemon
Simmer together for 5 minutes, stirring. Strain into a hot sauceboat.

Foolproof Food

Gratin Dauphinoise and variations

There are many wonderful French potato gratins that I love, but if I were forced to choose one I think it would have to be this sinfully rich Gratin Dauphinoise. This is a particularly good version of the classic recipe because it can be made ahead and reheated with great success.

Serves 4-6

2 lbs (900g) even sized potatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
9 fl ozs (275ml) milk
9 fl ozs (275ml) double cream
Small clove garlic, peeled and crushed
Freshly grated nutmeg

Peel the potatoes with a potato peeler and slice them into very thin rounds (c inch /3mm thick). Do not wash them but dab them dry with a cloth. Spread them out on the worktop and season with salt and freshly ground pepper, mixing it in with your hands. Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the potatoes and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add the cream, garlic and a generous grating of nutmeg and continue to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the potatoes do not stick to the saucepan. Just as soon as the potatoes are cooked take them out with a slotted spoon and put them into one large or six small ovenproof dishes. Pour the creamy liquid over them*

Reheat in a bain-marie in a preheated oven 200C/400F/regulo 6, for 10 - 20 minutes or until they are bubbly and golden on top.

*Can be prepared ahead to this point.

Variations:
Smoked mackerel and Potato Gratin
Remove skin and bone from 8ozs (225g) smoked mackerel and divide into chunky bits. Put a layer of smoked mackerel and a sprinkling of chopped parsley in the centre as you put it into the dishes.

Smoked Salmon and Dill Gratin
Substitute 6 ozs (170g) smoked salmon cut in small cubes and 1 tablespoon of dill in the above recipe.

Potato and Chorizo Gratin

Substitute 6-8ozs(170-225g) of Chorizo or Kabannossi sausage in above recipe.
Crispy bacon, mussels, shrimps etc , may also be used .

Meringue Roulade with Pomegranate Seeds and Rose Blossom Water

Serves 6 - 8
4 egg whites
8 ozs (225g) castor sugar
½ pint (300ml) whipped cream
2 pomegranates
1-2 teaspoons rose blossom water 

Garnish
Pomegranate seeds
Rose petals if available (make sure the rose hasn’t been sprayed)
Berried holly
Swiss roll tin 12 x 8 inch (30.5 x 20.5cm)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC\350ºF\regulo 4. 
Put the egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl of a food mixer. Break up with the whisk and then add all the castor sugar together. Whisk at full speed until it holds a stiff peak 4 - 5 minutes approx.

Meanwhile, line a Swiss roll tin with tin foil, brush lightly with a non-scented oil (eg. sunflower or arachide). 

Spread the meringue gently over the tin with a palette knife, it ought to be quite thick and bouncy. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Put a sheet of tin foil on the work top and turn the roulade onto it, remove the base tin foil and allow the meringue to cool.

Meanwhile, cut the pomegranates in half around the equator, open out and flick out the seeds. Sprinkle with a few drops of rose blossom water. 

Keep the seeds from half a pomegranate aside to decorate the roulade. 

To Assemble

Spread the whipped cream and remaining pomegranate seeds over the meringue, roll up from the wide end and carefully ease onto a serving plate. Pipe 6 –8 rosettes of cream along the top of the roulade, decorate with the reserved pomegranate seeds and rose petals if available. Surround with berried holly.

Serve, cut into slices about 1 inch (2.5cm) thick.

Note: This roulade is also very good filled with raspberries, strawberries, loganberries, sliced peaches, nectarines, kiwi fruit, bananas, or mango and passionfruit.

Top Tips

Game – Paul Fletcher of Premier Game in Cahir, Co Tipperary has a fantastic selection of game for sale, including venison, pheasant, partridge, grouse, mallard – tel. 052-67501

Rose blossom water is available from Mr. Bell in the English Market in Cork, Asia Market in Dublin and other ethnic shops.

Riedel wine glasses – treat yourself or for a special wine lover’s present – available from Mitchell’s in Kildare Street, Dublin tel. 01-6760766

Terroirs in Donnybrook in Dublin - wine and food – more gifts for wine buffs – decanters, corkscrews, knick knacks, hampers, cigars – check out www.terroirs.ie 
info@terroirs.ie Tel 01-6671311 Fax 01-6671312

Temple Bar Markets – Cow’s Lane Market - Saturdays 10-5.30, Temple Bar Food Market Saturday 10-5 and Wednesday 11-3, Temple Bar Book Market – Saturday 11-6

www.templebar.ie

Paul Flynn

Paul Flynn, chef-patron of the Tannery Restaurant in Dungarvan bounced into the cookery school last week, looking every inch a mischievous little boy in a chef’s rigout. He was all set to do a master-class as a finale to their 12 week Certificate Course. I didn’t know it then but he’d confessed to Emer (who assisted him), that he was scared to death because this was only the second demonstration he had ever done in his life. Well, I have to tell you he’s a complete natural, the students were spellbound from the outset, can’t think why RTE haven’t snapped him up ages ago. His self-deprecating humour and passion for food had the students – all 10 nationalities, drooling over all kinds of unmentionable bits of pig that they wouldn’t have dreamed of cooking before.
Paul, spent nine years with the irrepressible Nico Ladenis in London, and many more with Marco Pierre White before opening his own restaurant in his home town with his wife Maire. Running his own place with a free hand to cook whatever he fancied proved to be quite a learning curve, as he and his curious customers got the measure of each other. It wasn’t long before the word got out to lovers of good food that it was well worth making a detour to lovely Dungarvan, to Paul and Maire’s minimalist restaurant.
The food has won many accolades and has recently been voted ‘Best Restaurant in Munster’ by Food and Wine Magazine. Paul wrote a highly entertaining column in the Irish Times Magazine for several years which formed the basis of his recently published cookbook: An Irish Adventure with Food named as Cookbook of the Year, also by Food and Wine Magazine.
This is a highly personal account of Paul’s love affair with food and his fascination with fresh seasonal ingredients. He writes brilliantly and wittily – the book is peppered with wonderful quotes that can’t fail to get even the most blasé disinterested cook excited about even the most mundane ingredients, eg “Parsnips are fantastic. I like the way they lie in greengrocers, ugly and muddy, crying out to be scrubbed and peeled to reveal their creamy flesh”. He loves cooking offal and the cheaper cuts of meat.
He bemoaned the passing of ox cheek, “meltingly delicious, as rich as Bill Gates”, no longer available from Irish butchers because of the ox heads being sent to the SRM licensed disposal plants to be incinerated. His demonstration was entitled ‘Piggy Pleasure’, so he cooked us lots of delicious dishes with the succulent cheaper cuts of pork and bacon. Spring rolls filled with crubeens and served with choucroute and apple and cinnamon butter. A ham hock terrine made with shoulder of bacon with sage and onion, Glazed belly of pork with Savoy cabbage, celeriac and potato puree.
While he waited for the pork to caramelise in the oven he whipped up a bacon and cabbage risotto which he raised to fluffy new heights with a few spoonfuls of horseradish cream borrowed from the terrine – modern Irish fusion food at its very best.
We had no dessert but I rather fancy his banana gingerbread served with a few extra caramelised bananas. Paul’s book has recently been awarded the ‘Cookbook of the Year’, so you’ll need to rush out to secure a copy before Christmas.
An ideal present for a foodie friend or maybe a gift token for lunch at the Tannery would whet the appetite to start experimenting yourself.

‘An Irish Adventure with Food’ by Paul Flynn, published in Cork by the Collins Press.

The Tannery, Dungarvan, Tel. 058-45420

Honey & Ginger Roasted Parsnips

(from An Irish Adventure with Food by Paul Flynn)
These are essential Sunday lunch grub, golden, crispy and glistening.

Serves 4

8 small parsnips (peeled and with the tops cut off)
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
50g (2oz) butter
1 good tablespoon of honey
1 pinch of ground ginger
1 tablespoon toasted almonds

Cook your parsnips in boiling salted water until they are three-quarters cooked. Remove from the water and allow to cool. You can take your parsnips to this stage beforehand. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/gas 4. Heat the oil in a roasting tray on the hob and add the parsnips. Turn round in the oil for a couple of minutes then place in the oven for 10 minutes, turning once or twice. They should be starting to get brown and crispy. Drain off any excess oil then add the butter, honey and ground ginger, salt and pepper. Put back in the oven for 5 minutes taking care the honey doesn’t burn by shaking the tray and rolling the parsnips round every so often until they get a nice amber colour. Remove from the oven, put into a serving dish and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies with Special Hot Chocolate

(from An Irish Adventure with Food by Paul Flynn)

Makes 25 cookies (approx.)
150g /5oz butter
75g /3oz caster sugar
75g /3oz ground hazelnuts
300g/11oz flour
pinch baking soda
225g/8oz small chocolate pieces of good quality plain chocolate

Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the hazelnuts, flour, baking soda. Beat until the mixture comes together. Add the chocolate chips. Divide in two halves and roll in clingfilm into a sausage shape to refrigerate for one hour. When ready to use, peel away the clingfilm. Cut in half centimetre slices and place on a greased baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven, 170C/gas 3 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. If you wish you can freeze this mixture to be taken out when you fancy.

 

Special Hot Chocolate

Serves 4
600ml/1 pint milk
225g/8oz good quality plain chocolate, chopped
sugar to taste
Boil the milk, pour on top of the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add sugar to taste. This can be laced with your favourite liqueur. Try Tia Maria, Cointreau, Amaretto or Brandy.

 

Terrine of ham hock with sage and onion

Serves about 10

1 shoulder of bacon – boiled and kept in bacon water. This can be done a day or two before.

1 2lb loaf tin lined with cling film that overlaps the edges
1 large onion finely diced
1 handful fresh sage, finely chopped
1 handful of prunes in Armagnac, moderately chopped (or some prunes soaked in tea may be used)
75 g/ 3 oz butter
1 splash of sherry or cider vinegar, optional
black pepper

Boil the ham until falling off the bone. Then allow to come to room temperature. Then chop into 2 cm pieces along with most of the fat. This is essential to make it stick together.

Sweat the onions very gently until they are a golden colour. Then add the sage. There must be no bite to the onions at all. Add a little salt and black pepper to the onions, then add the ham. Now add the chopped prunes and splash of vinegar. Mix everything together and pile into the terrine or loaf tin as tightly as you can. Bring the clingfilm back from the sides and overlap on the top, piercing four or five holes in it. Place the terrine in the fridge for two hours to set a little, then take out again and at this point you need to get a piece of wood or strong plastic to use as a press. This should just fit into the top of the tin. (A handyman or woman might knock that up for you). Place a heavy weight (3 or 4 kg) on top. (a few bags of sugar will do the trick). Refrigerate overnight and turn out. Slice, present and accept acclamation. Serve with toast and chutneys. This keeps for 2/3 days. (Ideal for around Christmas time)

Banana Gingerbread

(from An Irish Adventure with Food by Paul Flynn)

This makes one 900g/2lb loaf tin

Serves 8

225g/8oz self-raising flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
110g/4 oz treacle
110g/4 oz butter
110g/4 oz Demerara sugar
175g/6 oz golden syrup
1 egg
3 ripe bananas

This is combination of bananabread and gingerbread. It freezes superbly. Its great for an afternoon tea and its light enough to be used as a dessert, which we do in the restaurant.
Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 2½. Mix the flour and ginger in a bowl. Melt together the treacle, butter, sugar and golden syrup. Beat the egg and mash the bananas well. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Leave to rest for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out on a wire tray.
This is delicious with some whipped cream and a dash of maple syrup. If you want to go a little further, caramelise some bananas, (see recipe), and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
To reheat, slice and place in the microwave for a very short time: a few seconds should do it.

 

Glazed Bananas

4 ripe bananas

2 tablespoons Demerara sugar

Peel the bananas, cut them in half lengthways and half them again.
Cover the cut side of the bananas with the sugar and slowly caramelise with the gun or glaze under the grill until all the sugar has turned to caramel.

Foolproof Food

Ballymaloe Mincemeat

Makes 3.2 kilos approx.
2 cooking apples, eg. Bramley Seedling
2 lemons
450 g/1lb beef suet or butter – chilled and grated
pinch of salt
110 g/4oz mixed peel (preferably home-made)
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
225 g/8oz currants
450 g/1lb sultanas
900 g/2lb Barbados sugar (moist, soft, dark-brown)
62 ml Irish whiskey

Core and bake the whole apples in a moderate oven, 180C350F/regulo 4, for 45 minutes approx. Allow to cool. When they are soft, remove the skin and mash the flesh into pulp. Grate the rind from the lemons on the finest part of a stainless steel grater and squeeze out the juice. Add the other ingredients one by one, and as they are added, mix everything thoroughly. Put into jars, cover with jam covers and leave to mature for 2 weeks before using. This mincemeat will keep for a year in a cool, airy place.
Top Tips

Some ideas for Christmas presents –

Gift token or an apple tree from Irish Seedsavers Association, Capparoe, Scariff, Co Clare. Tel 061-921866

Hamper from Sheridans Cheesemongers – Tel 01-6793143 or 046-30373 – cheese@eircom.net

Hamper or voucher for Country Choice in Nenagh – Tel. 067-32596

Gift subscription for Food and Wine Magazine – Tel 01-240 5324 – Food and Wine Subscriptions, Smurfit Communications, 2 Clanwilliam Court, Lr Mount St. Dublin 2

Clodagh McKenna will be doing little hampers of her pates with chutney – available from Urru in Bandon, Cook and Vine in Skibbereen, The Courtyard in Schull, Clonakilty Old Store, The Ballymaloe Shop – also from her stall in Midleton, Clonakilty and Bantry Markets. Tel. 087-8631602.

For glamorous foodies – Jo Malone cosmetics are offering wonderful scents and creams with flavours of mandarin, basil and lime. .. from Brown Thomas in Dublin.

Fruition Fruit Baskets – for all occasions including Christmas – finest seasonal fruit – nationwide delivery – contact Grainne O’Kane at 01-672 9676 or 086-8290835, grainne@fruition.ie www.fruition.ie

Party pay back time

Party Food - Its coming to the time of year when even the most intrepid cooks decide to gather up courage and ask a few people around. Its pay-back time for all those parties you’ve enjoyed. 
One could pop around to the local supermarket or deli and pick up some tempting treats. One could even splash out and take them all to a restaurant but that would put a serious hole in your bank balance.
Much more fun to gather a few pals together and to whip up a simple meal. Believe it or not, its not rocket science, a visit to Cork, or Temple Bar or Galway Market, or many of the Farmers Markets around the country will provide a selection of locally smoked fish. A plate of smoked mussels, eel, salmon, tuna and maybe a few roll mops with some horseradish sauce, sweet dill mayo and a cucumber pickle make a delicious starter with lots of brown crusty brown bead. Here’s a nice recipe, but if baking is not your forte McCambridge’s brown soda bread is available country wide. Many local shops sell freshly made soda bread. Alternatively, why not make a big pot of soup – so easy to serve – filling and comforting.
Thai Green Chicken Curry is simple to make even for novice cooks, get the pals to help with the chopping. Buy really good quality Irish free-range chicken as a base. This recipe can be made ahead and reheated, in fact it also freezes well so it could be cooked well ahead. Basmati rice and a few poppodums and a good green salad would complete the main course.
Have fun laying the table and decorating the house. Lots of candles to create a festive atmosphere, paper lanterns, sparklers and a real Christmas tree. Thread popcorn or dolly mixtures to make edible garlands. Dip chillies in chocolate for fun nibbles. Serve candied nuts with the drinks and a homemade choccie with the coffee. This Almond Meringue is a gem of a recipe, it can be filled with all kinds of fruit – kumquats, the baby of the citrus fruit family are in season and their lively taste cuts through the sweetness of the meringue. Decorate the serving plate with holly, add a few snowmen, dredge with icing sugar, add a few sparklers and bring to the table alight. Good coffee and a homemade chocolate and a glass of sloe gin will round off a terrific party. Don’t forget the crackers, silly hats and jokes.
Happy Christmas. www.cookingisfun.ie 

A Plate of Locally Smoked Fish with Horseradish Sauce and Sweet Dill Mayonnaise

Serves 4
Occasionally we serve just three different types of smoked fish for example salmon, mussels and trout on tiny rounds of Brown Bread, topped with a little frill of fresh Lollo Rosso. A little blob of cucumber pickle goes with the smoked salmon, a blob of home made mayonnaise is delicious with Frank Hederman’s marinated smoked mussels and a blob of Horseradish Sauce and a sprig of watercress complements the pink smoked trout - These three delicious morsels make a perfect light starter. 

A selection of smoked fish - smoked salmon, smoked mussels, smoked mackerel, smoked trout, smoked eel, smoked tuna, smoked hake and smoked sprats.
Garnish
segments of lemon
sprigs of watercress or rocket leaves

Cucumber, salt, freshly ground pepper, sugar, verjuice or rice vinegar

First make the horseradish sauce and sweet dill mayonnaise. 
Slice the salmon into thin slices down onto the skin, allow 1 slice per person. Cut the mackerel into diamond shaped pieces, divide the trout into large flakes. Skin and slice the eel. Thinly slice the tuna and hake. 
To serve 
Choose 4 large white plates drizzle each plate with sweet dill mayonnaise, divide the smoked fish between the plates. Arrange appetizingly, put a blob of horseradish sauce and cucumber pickle on each plate. Garnish with a lemon wedge and sprigs of watercress or rocket leaves and maybe a few very thin slices of cucumber, seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper, sugar and a few drops of verjuice or rice vinegar.

Brown Soda Bread and Scones

Makes 1 large or 2 smaller loaves
560g/1lb 4oz brown wholemeal flour (preferably stone-ground)
560g/ 1lb 4oz plain white flour
2 teaspoons (10g) dairy salt
2 teaspoons (10g) bread soda (Bicarbonate of Soda/Baking Soda) sieved
1 ¼ - 1 ½ pints/700- 850 ml sour milk or buttermilk

First preheat the oven to 230C/450F/regulo 8

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large wide bowl, make a well in the centre and pour all of the sour milk or buttermilk. Using one hand, stir in a full circle starting in the centre of the bowl working towards the outside of the bowl until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, a matter of seconds, turn it out onto a well floured board. WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS. Roll around gently with floury hands for a second, just enough to tidy it up. Flip over and flatten slightly to about 2 inches (5cm) approx. Sprinkle a little flour onto a baking sheet and place the loaf on top of the flour. Make with a deep cross and bake in a hot oven 230C/450F/regulo 8 after 20-30 minutes reduce the heat to 200C/400F/regulo 6 for approx. 30-50 minutes or until the bread is cooked (In some ovens it is necessary to turn the bread upside down on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before the end of baking) It will sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Winter Celery Soup with Cashel Blue and Toasted Hazelnuts

Serves 8-10
13 lbs (560g) celery, finely chopped
12 ozs (45g) butter
5 ozs (140g) onion, chopped
5 ozs (140g) potatoes, cut into 3 inch (5mm) dice
salt and freshly ground pepper
12 pints (900ml) homemade chicken stock
3-2 pint (150-300ml) creamy milk
Garnish
2 tablesp. hazelnuts, skinned, toasted and chopped
2 tablesp. Cashel Blue or Crozier Cheese, crumbled
a few tablesp. whipped cream
sprigs of chervil or flat parsley

Use a potato peeler to remove the strings from the outside stalks of celery.
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes, onion and celery; toss in the butter until evenly coated. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover with a paper lid (to keep in the steam) and the saucepan lid and sweat over a gentle heat for 10 minutes approx., until the vegetables are soft but not coloured. Add the chicken stock and simmer until the celery is fully cooked, 10-12 minutes approx. Liquidise the soup, add a little more stock or creamy milk to thin to the required consistency. Taste and correct the seasoning.
Serve the soup piping hot with a little blob of whipped cream on top. Sprinkle with the crumbled Cashel Blue, chopped hazelnuts and a sprig of chervil or flat parsley.

Shermin’s Thai Chicken Curry

Serves 4-6
550ml (20fl.oz) coconut milk
1 tablesp. green curry paste
1 Thai green chilli, pounded (optional – if you like a hotter curry)
200g (7oz) chicken, cut into little finger size pieces
2 aubergines, cut into ½ inch (1cm) cubes
2 kaffir lime leaves
½ tablesp. palm sugar or a little less of soft brown sugar
2 tablesp. fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tablesp. soya sauce
1 large red chilli
10-20 basil leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the wok on a low heat. Pour 4 fl.ozs (125ml) coconut milk into the wok. Add the green curry paste and a pounded green chilli, and mix well. Add the chicken strips, increase the heat to medium. Cook until the chicken changes colour, then add the remainder of the coconut milk, aubergine dice, kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar and fish sauce. 
Stir constantly on a medium heat until the curry boils and foams up, then reduce the heat and simmer, continue to stir all the time uncovered otherwise the sauce may separate – It should be cooked for a total of 10-12 minutes. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Foolproof Food
Plain Boiled Rice
I find this way of cooking rice in what we call ‘unlimited water’ to be very satisfactory for plain boiled rice, even, dare I say, foolproof. The grains stay separate and it will keep happily covered in the oven for up to half an hour.
Serves 8

14 ozs (400 g) best quality long-grain rice, eg. Basmati rice 
8 pints of water
2 teaspoons salt
A few little knobs of butter (optional) 

Bring 8 pints of water to a fast boil in a large saucepan. Add salt. Sprinkle in the rice and stir at once to ensure that the grains don’t stick. Boil rapidly, uncovered. After 4 or 5 minutes (depending on the type of rice), test by biting a few grains between your teeth - it should still have a slightly resistant core. If it overcooks at this stage the grains will stick together later.
Strain well through a sieve or fine strainer. Put into a warm serving dish, dot with a few knobs of butter, cover with tin foil or a lid and leave in a low oven, 140ºC/275ºF/regulo 1, for a minimum of 15 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff up with a fork and serve.
* see Top Tips

Almond Meringue with Kumquats

Serves 6
12 ozs (45g) almonds
2 egg whites 
42 ozs (125g.) icing sugar
Filling
2 pint (300ml) whipped cream
2 lb (225g) kumquats – see recipe
wafers of chocolate, optional

Check that the bowl is dry, spotlessly clean and free of grease. Blanch and skin the almonds. Grind or chop them up. They should not be ground to a fine powder but should be left slightly coarse and gritty. At a pinch one could use nibbed almonds but they won’t taste quite so good. Mark two 72 inch (19cm) circles on silicone paper or a prepared baking sheet. Mix all the sugar with the egg whites at once and beat until the mixture forms stiff dry peaks. Fold in the almonds. Divide the mixture between the 2 circles and spread evenly with a palette knife. Bake immediately in a cool oven, 1501C/3001F/regulo 2 for 45 minutes or until set crisp and just brown on top. Allow to cool.

To Assemble
Sandwich the meringues together whipped cream and drained kumquats. Chill for some hours before serving. Decorate with rosettes of whipped cream and wafers of chocolate.

Kumquat Compote

½ lb (225g) kumquats
5 fl.ozs (150ml) water
5 ozs (150g) sugar

Cut the kumquats into four slices and remove the pips. Put the kumquats in a saucepan with the water and sugar and let them cook very gently, uncovered for half an hour.
Allow to cool and drain off excess juice before using as a filling for the meringue. 

Hot Tips

Sources of Smoked Fish – 
Smoked Tuna – Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery, Gortbrack, Castletownshend, Co Cork
Tel. 028-36232
Smoked Eel and Mackerel – Frank Hederman, Belvelly Smokehouse, Belvelly, Cobh, Co Cork. Tel. 021-4811089
Smoked Salmon – Sally Barnes, Frank Hederman, 
Anthony Creswell, Ummera Smoked Products Ltd., Timoleague, Co. Cork, Ireland (recently awarded Silver and Bronze medals in the UK Guild of Fine Food Retailers Great Taste Awards 2003)
Tel:023 446644 Fax 023-46419 www.ummera.comhttp://www.ummera.com 

Bill Casey, Shanagarry Smoke House, Shanagarry, Co Cork. Tel. 021-4646955
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2004 – The International Year of Rice
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2004 the International Year of Rice – it is the staple food for over half the world’s population, including many of the poorest of the poor. To address the problems of hunger, food scarcity, malnourishment, poverty and inequality, there is an urgent need to develop rice based production systems in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way.

Ely Winebar and Café – 22 Ely Place, Dublin 2 – Tel. 01-6768986
Well worth seeking out if Christmas shopping in Dublin – around the corner from The Shelbourne – an unusual wine list offering a huge selection of carefully selected wines, with over 70 available by the glass.
Menus feature organic produce from the Robson’s family farm in Co Clare – including Burren lamb. Great coffee and delicious chocolates.

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