ArchiveMarch 2002

First of the Goats Cheese

Wandering through the English Market in Cork the other day I saw the first of the little Min Gabhar, the sublime Goats cheese made by Luc and Ann van Kampen in Co Wexford. This signalled the beginning of this year’s goat cheese season. The Min Gabhar is a sister cheese of Croghan
Luc and Ann have 100 goats (British Saanen, British Alpine, Anglo Nubian and Toggenburg) and make cheese from March to November, though they started a bit earlier this year because the goats started kidding immediately after Christmas
The Min Gabhar rolled in cinders is quite exquisite. They are also producing a fresh cheese in rolls, as yet this is only available through Sheridans Cheese Shop in South Anne St, Dublin and locally in Co. Wexford. Luc and Anne have won numerous prizes, including Silver and Bronze at the British Cheese Awards in 2001, best overall farmhouse cheese at IFEX in Belfast in 1999, 3 overall prizes at IFEX in 1996 – in fact they nearly always win a prize in any show they enter. Luc prefers to eat them on their own or with a glass of fruity red wine, but they may be used in countless recipes too.
St Tola and Lough Caum from Inagh were originally created by the much loved farmhouse cheesemakers, Meg and Derek Gordon.
In a remarkably successful transition, Meg and Derek have initiated John McDonald into the art of cheesemaking. The St Tola log which comes charmingly wrapped in a piece of net like your Granny’s dance frock, has won a place in the hearts of all goat cheese lovers.
Up to relatively recently, Irish people in general, weren’t great chevre fans, but now goat cheese salad, pasta, croquettes and soufflés are all hot items on restaurant and dinner party menus.
The quality of Irish goat cheese is fantastically good – still too many chefs opt for the cheaper imported French or Dutch log just because its cheaper. Next time you order a goat cheese salad in a restaurant, ask if its Irish goat cheese, chefs should highlight the name of the Irish cheese on their menu and serve them proudly, to support the farmhouse cheesemakers and to educate their customers.
At Ballymaloe we’re fortunate that our local goat cheese makers staggered the kidding so we have the creamy Ardsallagh goad cheese virtually year round. Jane Murphy knows each of her 200 goats by name and was in a great state of excitement last week when one of her Nubian goats had just kidded. It takes about ten litres of goats milk to make just over a kilo of goat cheese.
Ardsallagh is available from the Midleton Farmers Market and selected shops countrywide.
Celebrate the new goat cheese season this weekend and have fun with one or two of these recipes.
Ardsallagh Goat Cheese – Tel. 021-4882336
Inagh Farmhouse Cheese – Tel 065-6836633
Croghan & Min Gabhar Cheese – Tel -053-27331

Goat Cheese and Thyme Leaf Souffle

Serves 6
We bake this souffle until golden and puffy in a shallow oval dish instead of the traditional souffle bowl, it makes a perfect lunch or supper dish.
90g (3oz) butter
40g (1½ oz) flour
300ml (½ pint) cream
300ml (½ pint) milk
a few slices of carrot
sprig of thyme, a few parsley stalks and a little scrap of bay
1 small onion, quartered
5 free range eggs, separated
110g (4oz) crumbled goat cheese, we use St. Tola or Ardsallagh goat cheese
85g (3oz) Gruyere cheese
55g (2oz) mature Coolea or Desmond farmhouse cheese (Parmesan – Parmigiano Reggiano or Regato may also be used)
a good pinch of salt, cayenne, freshly ground pepper and nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Garnish: Thyme flowers if available
12 inch (30cm) shallow oval dish (not a souffle dish)
Preheat the oven to 230C/450G/regulo 8
Brush the bottom and sides of the dish with melted butter.
Put the cream and milk into a saucepan, add a few slices of carrot, a quartered onion, 4 or 5 peppercorns and the fresh herbs. Bring slowly to the boil and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain and discard the flavourings, (we rinse them off and throw them into the stockpot if there is one on the go.)
Melt the butter, add the flour and cook for a minute or two. Whisk in the strained cream and milk, bring to the boil and whisk until it thickens. Cool slightly. Add the egg yolks, goat cheese, Gruyere and most of the Coolea or Desmond (or Parmesan if using.) Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, cayenne and nutmeg. Taste and correct seasoning. Whisk the egg whites stiffly and fold them gently into the mixture to make a loose consistency. Put the mixture into the prepared dish, scatter the thyme leaves on top and sprinkle with the remaining Coolea or Desmond cheese.
Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until sides and top are nicely puffed up and golden, the centre should still be creamy. Garnish with thyme flowers.
Serve immediately on warm plates with a good green salad.

Ardsallagh Goat Cheese with Roast Pepper, Rocket Leaves, and Tapenade Oil

Serves 5
10ozs (285g) Ardsallagh goat cheese (or a similar fresh mild goat cheese)
seasoned flour
beaten egg
flaked almonds
white breadcrumbs
2 large red peppers
Extra virgin olive oil
Tapenade Oil
110g (4ozs) stoned black olives
1 scant tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
170ml (6fl.ozs) olive oil
A selection of lettuces and rocket leaves
4 tablesp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tablesp. Balsamic vinegar
½ clove garlic crushed
salt and freshly ground pepper
Wild garlic flowers in season
First divide the Ardsallagh goat cheese into 25 balls, chill.
Next make the Tapenade oil
Coarsely chop the stoned black olives, add the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Whisk in the olive oil as you whiz and process to a coarse or smooth puree as you prefer.
Coat the cheese in seasoned flour, beaten egg, flaked almonds, breadcrumbs. Arrange in a single layer on a flat plate. Cover and chill well.
Roast the peppers in a preheated oven 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 for approximately 20 minutes. Put into a bowl, cover the top with cling film and allow to steam for 5 or 10 minutes. Peel, remove seeds and cut into strips.
Next make the dressing Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Heat the oil in a deep fry or a pan to 200°C
Fry the goat cheese croquettes in batches until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
Toss the lettuces and salad leaves in a bowl with just enough dressing to make the leaves glisten.
Divide between the six plates. Put five croquettes on each plate, decorate with strips of roast red pepper, rocket leaves and a drizzle of Tapenade oil.
Scatter some wild garlic flowers over the top and serve immediately

Crispy Hot Goat Cheese Salad with Beetroot Julienne

Serves 4
2 small goat cheese or 4 slices 1 inch (2.5cm) thick cut from a log
seasoned flour
white breadcrumbs
frizzy lettuces and salad leaves eg. golden marjoram, purslane, sorrel leaves, chive flowers, sprigs of chervil
Vinaigrette made from:
3 tablesp. walnut oil
1 tablesp. peanut oil
2 teasp. Dijon mustard
1 tablesp. wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large or 2 small beetroot peeled and cut into julienne or very thin rounds
oil for deep frying
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/regulo 6.
Wash and dry the lettuces. Mix all the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Dip the pieces of cheese, first in seasoned flour and then in crumbs, dab with a little walnut or olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a hot oven for 8-10 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden.
Cut the beetroot into julienne or into very thin rounds, toss in cornflour and deep fry until crisp at 150°C/300°F/regulo 2.
Drain on kitchen paper, keep warm.
Toss the frizzy lettuce and salad leaves in a little dressing - use just enough to make the leaves glisten.
To serve:
Divide the salad between 4 plates, put a crispy cheese in the centre of each, garnish with crispy beetroot julienne, a few fresh walnut halves and some sprigs of chervil.

Goat Cheese and Rocket Bruschetta with Tomato and Chilli Jam

Serves 1
Italian bread or a ¾ inch slice of good quality French stick
1 clove garlic, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil
Rocket leaves
Fresh goat’s cheese eg. Ardsallagh, Croghan or St Tola
Tomato and Chilli Jam (see recipe)
A few olives
Just before serving chargrill or toast the bread. Rub the surface with a clove of garlic, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Drop a few rocket leaves over the bruschetta, top generously with goat cheese. Drizzle with Tomato and Chilli Jam.
Pop onto a large plate, add a few olives and some freshly cracked pepper.
Serve immediately.
Variation: Tapenade is great with this brushchetta also.
Tomato and Chilli Jam
This zingy jam is great with everything from fried eggs to cold meat. Terrific on a piece of chicken breast or fish or spread on bruschetta with goat’s cheese and rocket leaves.
500g (1lb 2oz) very ripe tomatoes
2-4 red chillies
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
about 2.5cm (1inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
30ml (1fl oz) fish sauce (Nam Pla)
300g (11oz) golden castor sugar
100ml (3½fl oz) red wine vinegar
Peel the tomatoes and chop into 1cm (2 inch) dice. Puree the chillies, garlic, ginger and fish sauce in a blender. Put the purée, sugar and vinegar into a stainless steel saucepan, add the tomatoes and bring to the boil slowly, stirring occasionally. Cook gently for 30-40 minutes, stirring every now and then to prevent sticking.
When cooked pour into warmed, sterilized glass jars. Allow to cool. Store in the fridge.

A Culinary Education

On Thursday last we all packed into a bus at the crack of dawn, well 7.15am, to head off into the Knockmealdown mountains on our school tour. A bus full of excited students of 10 nationalities and ranging from 18-50 years of age, full of anticipation.
We headed for Clogheen where Dick and Anne Keating make Baylough farmhouse cheese from the milk of their Friesian and MRI herd. They’ve just started into the new season, having had a break since November.

Ann is a pragmatic lady with an indomitable spirit, characteristics of many of the Irish farmhouse cheese-makers. As she cut the curd she delighted the students with the story of how she initially taught herself how to make cheese and gradually perfected her cheddar type which is now called Baylough.

She explained the cheese-making process in detail to the fascinated students, the importance of the quality of the milk, the function of the starter, which gives the cheese its unique flavour and character. They saw how the rennet coagulated the milk which is then cut into curds and whey. The cheesemaking process can’t be hurried or delayed, it has its own rhythm and is ever changing as the year progresses – the best cheeses are made from summer milk when the cows are grazing on the rich green pasture.

Anne makes five cheeses, the traditional Baylough is the original cheese, aged for a minimum of three months, some are waxed (they are first painted with a liquid wax and then dipped in a hot wax), but demand grows for cheese wrapped in cheesecloth in the traditional way. Anne is pleased with this development, because the cheeses gain an extra complexity of flavour as they age and are increasingly sought out by cheddar connoisseurs. Ann has also built up a loyal following for her garlic and garlic and herb, versions, which are also available smoked.
From small beginnings in her own kitchen Anne’s business has now grown into a custom built dairy with dedicated cold rooms and a packing room.

She is loud in her praise of David Mitchell from Mullinahone Co-op who offered not only inspiration but practical help as she struggled to learn the art of cheesemaking initially, Tim Cogan and his colleagues from Moorepark are also an ongoing support, the business now employs two part-time staff in summer, and Anne simply can scarcely keep up with the demand for Baylough. It now sells at Peter Ward’s Country Choice in Nenagh, McCambridges in Galway, Sheridans in Dublin, Trevor Irvine in Carrick-on-Shannon, On the Pigs Back in Cork’s English Market, Al Vinos in Athlone, Hudsons Wholefoods in Ballydehob, and I regularly see people buying it at Cork Airport to present to friends.
We left Anne and Dick as they were preparing to fill the moulds and sped towards Dungarvan.
We had the most delicious lunch at the Tannery – we’re big fans of Paul and Maire O’Flynn’s cool and sophisticated restaurant. The spiced parsnip and coconut soup drizzled with olive oil was light and full of delicious flavours. Pudding was poached apple with caramel ice cream and cinnamon biscuit.

The students tucked in and polished off every morsel – and they loved when Paul, who is naturally shy, came out and shared his advice and experience of the highs and lows of the restaurant business with them.
Next we sped towards Cork to visit the indomitable Frank Hederman to learn the secrets of smoking fish at his traditional smokehouse at Belvelly near Cobh. Frank has built up an enviable reputation for his artisanal products, salmon, eel, mackerel, sprats, mussels, herrings, hake… and now sells not only in the Cork, Temple Bar and Midleton Farmers Markets, but in other selected outlets around the country and Fortnum and Mason’s in the UK, and he exports to Germany. Yet another example of an artisanal producer who has helped to enhance the image of Irish food abroad .

No culinary education is complete without a visit to the Cork Market, this food lovers paradise continues to gather momentum. It is unique, the only covered market of its type in Ireland, open 6 days a week. A recent annex to Toby Simond’s Olive Stall run by Jenny Rose and situated opposite O’Connells fish stall, sells fat juicy sandwiches made with ciabatta, delicious salads, tapenade, couscous and other goodies.
The Organic stall owned by Mark O’Mahony sells a wide range of organic products, some fresh vegetables and organic meat butchered by Willie Beechinor. They are situated in the middle aisle opposite Mary Rose Daly’s new coffee shop ‘Coffee Centrale’ and close to Mr Bell’s ethnic ingredients stall and Isobel Sheridan’s treasure house of gastronomic temptations ‘On the Pigs Back’. Mary Rose, one of the markets best loved characters, dispenses latte, expressos and cappuccinos with great good humour and aplomb.

I just love showing the students around the market – showing them the skirts and tripe, kidneys, pigs tails, corned beef and telling them about the history of Cork which has been a trading port back to the time of the Phoenicians. I wonder whether Cork people realise that they are the envy of food lovers all over he country with the variety of produce they have access to, from Paul Murphy’s selection of Irish honeys to fine fresh meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, cheeses, breads, cakes, nuts, grains. It was unbearably tempting, so laden with bags we headed for the Long Valley for a little sustenance before we headed back to Shanagarry for a delicious market supper.
Paul Flynn from the Tannery has generously shared some of his delicious recipes with us.
The Tannery Restaurant, 10 Quay Street, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, 058 45420

Tannery Parsnip and coconut soup

- serves 4 - 6
1 medium onion chopped
10 medium parsnips peeled and chopped
3 sticks celery
1 teasp Singapore laksa paste
½ teasp curry powder
1 standard tin coconut milk
2 pints (1.2L) chicken stock
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to season
few sprigs coriander to garnish

Sweat the onion, curry powder and paste for two to three minutes until the onion is transparent. Add the parsnips and celery and sweat again for another two to three minutes. Add the stock and simmer for 20 minutes or until the parsnips are cooked through. Add the coconut milk and cook for a further two minutes. Blitz with a hand held blender, add the honey and season with salt pepper. Garnish with coriander

Paul Flynn’s Cinnamon biscuits

150g (5 oz) flour
115g (4¼ oz) butter
50g (2oz) castor sugar
115g (4¼) brown sugar
1 egg
2 ½ teasp. cinnamon powder
Beat the sugar and butter until creamy and white. Add the egg. Fold in the
flour. Chill for at least an hour.
Roll out and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 180C (350F/regulo 4) for 10 to 12 minutes until golden but still softish. They will completely crispen up when cold.
Serve with Caramel Ice-cream or on their own with a cup of tea.

Ballymaloe Caramel Ice-cream with Caramel Sauce and Bananas

Instead of bananas you could also try this ice-cream with poached apples and Paul’s cinnamon biscuits
Serves 6-8
50g (2 oz) sugar
125 ml (4 fl.oz) cold water
125 ml (4 fl.oz) hot water
2 egg yolks, preferably free range
½ teaspoon pure vanilla essence
600 ml (1 pint) softly whipped cream
Put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy (keep the whites for meringues). Combine the sugar and 125 ml (4 fl. oz) cold water in a small heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove the spoon and boil until the syrup caramelises to a chestnut brown. Quickly pour on 125 ml (4 fl oz) of hot water. Do not stir. Boil gently until it again becomes a smooth, thick syrup and reaches the ‘thread’ stage, 106-113C/223-236F. It will look thick and syrupy when a spoon is dipped in. Pour this boiling syrup onto the egg yolks. Add the vanilla essence and continue to whisk until it becomes a thick, creamy mousse. Fold the softly whipped cream into the mousse, pour into a bowl, cover and freeze.
Caramel Sauce
225 g (8oz) sugar
75ml (3 fl oz) cold water
250 ml (8 fl.oz) hot water
2 bananas, sliced

Dissolve the sugar in 75 ml (3fl.oz) of cold water over a gentle heat. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved, then remove the spoon and continue to simmer until the syrup caramelises to a pale-chestnut colour. If sugar crystals form during cooking, brush down the sides of the pan with a wet brush, but do not stir.
Remove from the heat, pour in 250 ml (8 fl.oz) of hot water and continue to cook until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is quite smooth.
Allow to get cold.
To Serve: Scoop the ice-cream into a chilled bowl or ice bowl. Slice the bananas at an angle and add to the sauce. Spoon over the ice-cream or serve separately.
Caramel Sauce keeps almost indefinitely in a glass jar in the fridge or any cold place.


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