Ireland’s first Slow Food Weekend

 Ireland's first Slow Food weekend is coming up from the 28-30th March 2003.
Slow food members, artisan producers and bon viveurs will gather at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery for a weekend of conviviality - Delicious local food, stimulating conversation and fine wines. The latter will be supplied by Febvre who are the proud sponsors of the weekend.
 Febvre & Co.Ltd. are long established and highly respected wine importers based in Dublin. Wine buffs know that Febvre have an extensive range of wines from quality domaine houses. Their list also features wines from Slow Food producers in Italy and France, so this would seem to be the perfect marriage
of two organisations with a similar ethos and philosophy.

Slow Food is an international movement founded in 1989 in Italy by Carlo Petrini, as an antidote to the Fast Food Culture which is fast enveloping the world.

 It is now a ve in 40 countries worldwide with 60,000 members and 500 Convivia (chapters).
Slow food, whose emblem is the snail, has a cultural, educational, charitable and scientific agenda: It counters the degrading effects of industrial and fast food culture which standardise tastes; promotes the beneficial effects of the deliberate consumption of locally grown and indigenous foods; has taste education programmes for adults and children;
works towards safeguarding and promoting public awareness of culinary traditions and customs, supports artisanal food producers who make quality products; promotes a philosophy of pleasure; encourages tourism that respects and cares for the environment and is dedicated to helping those who need assistance.

There are five slow food chapters, (Convivia) in Ireland – West Cork, East Cork, Kerry, Dublin and Kilkenny.
The Convivia organise regular events and meetings for Slow Food members and the growing number of people interested in the slow food philosophy. 

For details visit the Slow Food website The Slow Food weekend starts on the night of Friday 28th March with a buffet supper, featuring the produce of local West Cork food producers who will join us.

Crostini with St Ola’s goat cheese and Tapenade, locally smoked fish, salad of quail with grapes, Gubbeen smoked bacon and hams, Frank Krycwzk’s salami, chorizo and pancetta, lots of salad and organic leaves, followed by
farmhouse cheese and sweet temptations served with Glenilen clotted cream.

After supper there will be lively music from The Cheesemakers, a West Cork group who play cello, guitar and fiddle. On Saturday morning, a restoring breakfast of Macroom oatmeal, Gubbeen, Caherbeg pork sausages, free-range eggs, Clonakilty black pudding, homebaked scones and soda bread, Arbutus
Lodge breads, farmhouse butter, local jams and honey, will fortify participants for the exciting day ahead.

Sadly, those who have booked to on go one of the ‘excursions’ won’t be able to linger over their delicious repast because they will need to pile onto the buses to depart at 10.00am.

There are three tempting Slow Food experiences to choose from –
John McKenna, food writer, will be taking a group to the Farmers Market in the nearby town of Skibbereen and then on to visit Dunworley restaurant for lunch. Chef Otto Kunze and his wife have an organic farm where they produce most of the produce for their unique restaurant.

Food historian, Regina Sexton, will lead a group to visit the unique English Market in Cork city, and then on to the award-winning Café Paradiso, a vegetarian restaurant, for lunch. The chef, Denis Cotter, is the author of two excellent books.
Darina Allen will take a group to explore the Farmers’ Market in
Midleton in East Cork. 

From there on to the seaside village of Ballycotton, to lunch at the Grapefruit Moon Restaurant (voted best newcomer restaurant by Georgina Campbell in the Jameson Guide), where Ivan Whelan will cook a special Slow Food lunch.

All excursions need to be pre-booked because spaces are limited. For those who would rather linger over breakfast, a food lovers guide to West Cork, incorporating a map, is being published as I write, so they can explore at their leisure, and food producers will be waiting to welcome the visitors.

On Saturday night, back at the Celtic Ross Hotel, a Slow Food feast is planned. Rory O’Connell, head chef at Ballymaloe House, has created a tantalising menu, again using an abundance of locally produced food – there will be fun and games and lots of music.

On Sunday morning a variety of workshops, seminars and a market where participants meet the artisan producers and stock up on lots of fresh local produce to take home – there will even be ice packs and suitable packaging available to bring home the goodies.
Sounds like a terrific weekend – for further details contact where you can book on the net, or contact email: or telephone Celtic Ross Hotel, 023-48722,
Lo-call 1850 272737, Fax 023-2348723 

Wild Garlic Soup

Both the bulbs and leaves of wild garlic are used in this soup and the
pretty flowers are divine sprinkled over the top of each soup bowl.

55g (2ozs) butter
140g (5ozs) diced onions
280g (10ozs) peeled diced potatoes
2 cups of wild garlic chopped, use both bulb and leaf
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1.2L (2 pints) home made chicken stock
125ml (4 fl ozs) cream or creamy milk
Garnish: Wild garlic flowers

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes,onion, and wild garlic and toss in the butter until well coated.

 Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and sweat on a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Add the stock and cook until the vegetables are soft. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a little cream or creamy milk to taste. Serve, sprinkled with a few wild garlic flowers.

Ardsallagh Goat Cheese with Cloyne Honey and Rocket

Serves 2
1 soft fresh Goat Cheese eg Ardsallagh or St Tola
rocket leaves
4 tablespoons pure honey
freshly cracked pepper

Just before serving, chop the rocket leaves coarsely, divide between two white plates. Cut the cheese into irregular cubes about ¾ inch. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the rocket leaves.
Grind on some freshly ground pepper . Serve immediately

Chicken Breasts with Gentle Spices

Serves 6

A gently spiced chicken breast dish made in minutes. Pork fillet or pork leg meat may also be used very successfully. The latter will need longer cooking. Even determined curry haters have enjoyed this deliciously spiced recipe.

6 chicken breasts, free-range and organic
1 heaped teaspoon whole cardamom pods (or ¼ teaspoon seeds)
1 heaped teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 heaped teaspoon whole cumin seeds
30g (1oz) butter
110g (4oz) onions, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
150ml (3 pint) Home-made chicken stock
150ml (3 pint) cream
flat parsley or fresh coriander

Warm the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan for a minute or two, just until they become more aromatic. Press the cardamom pods to extract the seeds, discard the pods. Grind to a fine powder with the coriander and cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar or in a spice grinder.
Melt the butter in a sauté pan, add the onion and sweat over a gentle heat until soft. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper, rub in the ground spices, add the chicken to the onion and sauté gently without browning for 2-3 minutes. Turn each piece so it is sealed all over.

 Add the chicken stock, cover the pan tightly and cook on a gentle heat for 8-10 minutes or until the chicken pieces are cooked but still nice and juicy. 

Remove the chicken to a serving dish and keep warm. Put the casserole back on the heat, add the cream, bring to the boil for 3 or 4 minutes and reduce
a little. Taste and adjust seasoning, add the chicken pieces back into the sauce, allow to bubble for 1-2 minutes, then arrange in a warm serving dish.
Garnish with flat parsley or coriander and serve with Scallion Champ or fluffy rice or orzo.

West Cork Rhubarb Tart

Serves 8-12


225g (8oz) butter
55g (2oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
350g (12oz) flour
450g (1lb) red rhubarb
175g (6½oz) sugar
1 beaten egg with pinch of salt, to glaze

First make the pastry. Cream the butter and sugar together and then add the eggs and beat for several minutes. Mix in the flour, little by little, to form a stiff dough. Chill for at least 1 hour, otherwise the pastry will be difficult to handle.

Roll out half the pastry to about c inch (3mm) thick and line a rectangular tin measuring 7 x 12 inches/18cm x 30.5cm, alternatively use an enamel, tin or pyrex plate.
Slice the rhubarb into 2 inch (1 cm) rounds, fill the tart and sprinkle with the sugar.

Roll the remaining pastry, cover the rhubarb and seal the edges. Decorate with pastry leaves, paint with egg wash and bake in a preheated oven 180C/350F/regulo 4 until the tart is golden and the rhubarb is soft (45 minutes to 1 hour). When cooked cut into squares, sprinkle lightly with caster sugar and serve with Glenilen clotted cream and Barbados sugar.
Note: This tart could also be filled with Bramley apple, gooseberries, Worcesterberries or damsons.

About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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