ArchiveJuly 2009

Farmers’ Markets

The Farmers Market movement is coming of age – it’s now over twelve years since Myrtle Allen and I first set up our stalls in the Coal Quay side by side with fish smoker Frank Hederman, vegetable grower Caroline Robinson, Klaus and Hannah Balz with their beautiful bunches of fresh flowers and a couple of other brave souls. The bone-fide Coal Quay Traders were very amused by the motley crew but in a not insignificant way history was being made. There was a tentative rebirth of the market system which enables a growing number of farmers and producers of food to sell directly to those who wish to buy fresh local food. There are now over 140 farmers Markets in Ireland and they continue to grow. Unquestionably, some are more vibrant than others but all confirm that the Farmers Markets are holding up very well in these challenging times as customers discover the value for money and enjoy the overall shopping experience.

Midleton, whose award winning Farmers Market has been operating since 2000, is the first town in Ireland to have two weekly Farmers Markets. The Original Midleton Farmers Market is in the Fair Green from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. Over the years it has built up a loyal following and continues to gain new fans. Local Mayor Ted Murphy has a stall and has supported the market from the onset. It has a terrific mix of stalls from local farmers and artisan producers. The most recent addition to the market are Martin and Noreen Conroy who rear their own traditional breed of pigs then produce their own cured pork products – great rashers, sausages, crubeens. You can order caul fat and lard for special terrines and pastries. Sabrina Pavani sells homemade pasta, plump ravioli and several tempting sauces and Caitriona Simms range of cakes increases weekly. Midleton Farmers Market has been over subscribed for sometime now.

In this challenging climate a growing number of people are anxious to find a direct route to market. Rupert Hugh-Jones who manages the Mahon Point Farmers Market on Thursday mornings was also inundated with requests for stalls. Some time ago he was approached by the owners of the Midleton Retail Park to set up a market in the forecourt of 4Home Superstores. And so the Tuesday Market was launched on 26th May this year providing yet another opportunity for local people to celebrate the exceptionally high quality of food in the East Cork area. Ninety percent of the produce in the Tuesday Farmers Market comes from within a 20 mile radius of Midleton.
Several stalwarts like local farmer Dan Ahern and Arbutus Breads trade in both markets. Organic chicken, duck and organic beef is available as is Arun Kapil’s range of fresh spices and Indian curries. Soft and hard goats cheese from Ardsallagh and Ballymacoda. Newcomers also include Ballycotton Fish, a variety of organic and chemical free vegetables, Supersprouts from Kilbrittain…Several stalls selling home made cakes, Cornish pasties, tarts and quiches. Jams, preserves, local honey… The word is already spreading about Gar Granvilles steak sandwiches make from local butcher Frank Murphy’s well hung beef and Kelly Cope’s cupcakes. Both markets have live music and attract extra customers into the town of Midleton and enhance the business of the entire area. So grab your shopping basket and head for the Farmers Market in your area and fill it with beautiful fresh summer produce and then have fun cooking a delicious meal for family and friends.

Marsh Samphire with Melted Butter

8oz (225g) Marsh Samphire or Sea Asparagus
1-2ozs (25-50g) butter

Wash the marsh samphire well. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, throw in the samphire, and return to the boil for 3 or 4 minutes, drain. Toss in a little melted butter. Keep warm.

New Potatoes with Aioli

Serves 4-5

2 lbs (900g) new potatoes e.g., Home Guard, British Queens
2 pints (1.2 litres) water
1 teaspoon salt
a sprig of mint

Bring the water to the boil.  Scrub the potatoes.  Add salt and a sprig of mint to the water, and then add the potatoes.  Cover the saucepan, bring back to the boil and cook for 15-25 minutes depending on size.

Drain and serve immediately in a hot serving dish.

It’s vitally important for flavour to add salt to the water when cooking potatoes.


Mayonnaise is what we call a ‘mother sauce’ in culinary jargon. In fact it is the ‘mother’ of all the cold emulsion sauces, so once you can make a Mayonnaise you can make any of the daughter sauces by just adding some extra ingredients.

I know it is very tempting to reach for the jar of ‘well known brand’ but most people don’t seem to be aware that Mayonnaise can be made even with a hand whisk, in under five minutes, and if you use a food processor the technique is still the same but it is made in just a couple of minutes. The great secret is to have all your ingredients at room temperature and to drip the oil very slowly into the egg yolks at the beginning. The quality of your Mayonnaise will depend totally on the quality of your egg yolks, oil and vinegar and it’s perfectly possible to make a bland Mayonnaise if you use poor quality ingredients.

2 egg yolks, preferably free range
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of English mustard or 1/4 teaspoon French mustard
1 dessertspoon White wine vinegar
8 fl ozs (250ml) oil (sunflower, arachide or olive oil or a mixture) – We use 6 fl ozs (175ml) arachide oil and 2 fl ozs (50ml) olive oil, alternatively use 7/1

Serve with cold cooked meats, fowl, fish, eggs and vegetables.

Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the mustard, salt and the white wine vinegar (keep the whites to make meringues). Put the oil into a measure. Take a whisk in one hand and the oil in the other and drip the oil onto the egg yolks, drop by drop whisking at the same time. Within a minute you will notice that the mixture is beginning to thicken. When this happens you can add the oil a little faster, but don’t get too cheeky or it will suddenly curdle because the egg yolks can only absorb the oil at a certain pace. Taste and add a little more seasoning and vinegar if necessary.
If the Mayonnaise curdles it will suddenly become quite thin, and if left sitting the oil will start to float to the top of the sauce. If this happens you can quite easily rectify the situation by putting another egg yolk or 1-2 tablespoons of boiling water into a clean bowl, then whisk in the curdled Mayonnaise, a half teaspoon at a time until it emulsifies again.

Garlic Mayonnaise

ingredients as above
1-4 clove of garlic, depending on size
2 teaspoons chopped parsley

Crush the garlic and add to the egg yolks just as you start to make the Mayonnaise. Finally add the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning.

Note: Here is a tip for crushing garlic. Put the whole clove of garlic on a board, preferably one that is reserved for garlic and onions. Tap the clove with a flat blade of a chopping knife, to break the skin. Remove the skin and discard. Then sprinkle a few grains of salt onto the clove. Again using the flat blade of the knife, keep pressing the tip of the knife down onto the garlic to form a paste. The salt provides friction and ensures the clove won’t shoot off the board!
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil, Olive Oil and Irish Honey

The Ballymaloe Cookery School stall has a unique selection of heirloom tomatoes of all shapes and sizes.  Red, yellow, black, striped, round, pear shaped, oval.  They make a divine tomato salad with fresh buffalo mozzarella and lots of fresh basil.

Serves 4

8 very ripe heirloom tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 dessertspoon pure Irish honey
3 tablespoons Mani extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves

Cut the tomatoes into ¼ inch (5mm) thick slices, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix the oil and honey together and add ‘torn’ basil leaves, pour over the tomatoes and toss gently.  Taste, correct seasoning if necessary.  A little freshly squeezed lemon juice enhances the flavour in a very delicious way.

Californian Three-Stone Pie

A gorgeous Summer pie.

This pastry is made by the creaming method so people who are convinced that they suffer from ‘hot hands’ don’t have to worry about rubbing in the butter.

Serves 8-12

Break all the rules pastry

350g (12oz) butter
75g (3oz) castor sugar
3 eggs, preferably free-range and organic
500g (18oz) white flour, preferably unbleached

1kg (21/4lb) organic apricots, peaches and nectarines, mixed (about 4 peaches, 4 nectarines and 12 apricots) about 350g (12oz) of each
225g (8oz) sugar
3 tablespoons flour or cornflour

caster sugar for sprinkling

To Serve
softly whipped cream or crème fraîche

tin, 25.5cm (10inches) x 30.5cm (12inches) x 1cm (1/2 inch) deep

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4

First make the pastry. Cream the butter and sugar together by hand or in a food mixer (no need to over cream). Add the eggs and beat for a minute or two. Reduce speed to lowest setting and mix in the flour. Turn out onto a piece of floured greaseproof paper, flatten into a round, wrap and chill. This pastry needs to be chilled for at least 1 hour otherwise it is difficult to handle.

To make the tart.

Stone and slice the fruit into a bowl, sprinkle with sugar and flour and toss well.
Roll out the pastry 1/8inch (3mm) thick approx., and use about 2/3 of it to line a suitable tin. Fill the sugared fruit into the tart. Cover with a lid of pastry, seal edges, decorate with peach shapes and pastry leaves. Egg wash and bake in the preheated oven until the fruit is tender and juicy, approx. 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Sprinkle lightly with castor sugar and serve with softly whipped cream or crème fraîche.

Summer Fruit Salad with Sweet Geranium Leaves

Sweet geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens) and many other varieties of scented geraniums are every present on our windowsills here at Ballymaloe.  We use the delicious lemon scented leaves in all sorts of ways, occasionally we use the pretty purple flowers also to enliven and add magic to otherwise simple dishes.  The crystallized leaves, all frosty and crinkly are wonderful with fresh cream cheese and fat juicy blackberries.

I discovered this recipe which has now become a perennial favourite quite by accident a few Summers ago as I raced to make a pudding in a hurry with the ingredients I had at that moment.

Serves 8-10

4 oz (110g) raspberries
4 oz (110g) loganberries
4 oz (110g) red currants
4 oz (110g) black currants
4 oz (110g) small Strawberries
4 oz (110g) blueberries
4 oz (110g) fraises du bois or wild strawberries
4 oz (110g) blackberries


14 oz (400g) sugar
16 fl oz (450ml) water
6-8 large sweet geranium leaves

Put all the freshly picked berries into a white china or glass bowl.  Put the sugar, water and sweet geranium leaves into a stainless steel saucepan and bring slowly to
the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Boil for just 2 minutes.   Cool for 4-5 minutes then pour the hot syrup over the fruit and allow to macerate for several hours.  Remove the geranium leaves.  Serve chilled, with softly-whipped cream or Vanilla Ice-cream or alone.  Garnish with a few fresh sweet geranium leaves.

Summer Berry Jelly with Sweet Geranium Leaves

Sometimes when we have a berry salad left over, particularly if there is more juice than fruit we make it into a jelly.  Use 4 teaspoons of gelatine to each 600ml (1 pint) of liquid.  You’ll need 1.2 litres (2 pints) for a large ring mould.  Turn it out carefully onto a large white china plate when it is set, fill the centre with softly whipped cream and decorate with geranium leaves.


Farm to Fork Discovery Day – West Cork is the first in a series of guided days, where you visit and observe how some of the leading food producers create their award winning artisan food products. Providing a unique insight into the craft and skills of the people who make the products we enjoy. Learn first hand about what makes artisan food standout from mass produced foods.
There are two dates Thursday 13th August and Thursday 27th August from 9:00am to 7:00pm. The mini bus leaves from Bandon and takes the route to Drimoleague, Enniskeane, Ballineen, Timoleague and includes visits to Urru Culinary Store, Glenilen Farm, Hollies Organic Centre, Fehilly’s River Side Café, Ummera Smokehouse and Poachers Inn. Cost €125.00.  To book telephone 023-8854731 or email

Kids in the Kitchen fun cookery classes for children are scheduled throughout August at Ballymaloe Cookery School. These practical day long classes teach children the basic knife skills of chopping, slicing, peeling, how to make a chunky soup, a great pasta, a delicious main course, yummy vegetables, a couple of great salads and of course a few irresistible puddings, tarts, biscuits, cup cakes and homemade lemonade and even a pot of their very own jam to take home. Classes cost €205.00. For more details and to book phone 021 4646 785 or email

The Organic Centre produces a monthly newsletter ‘Rossinver Thymes’ that contains gardening tips, whole food recipes, news and upcoming courses at the Organic Centre. This brilliant little publication is available to members of the Friends Scheme which you can join online or by telephone 071 9854338.  As well as the monthly newsletter Friends enjoy free gardening advice and free entry to the gardens all year round plus a 10% on all purchases bar the café.

Claire Ptak Bakes

Claire Ptak makes wonderful cakes, it all started when she was little girl in Point Reyes, California – every time her Irish grandmother visited they baked cakes together all day long. At Christmas granny would send 15 different types of cookies – bliss. Claire couldn’t wait to open the parcel; all she wanted to do was cook. Once she took all the spices from the kitchen cupboard out to the sandbox to ‘make cakes’!

As soon as she could legally work – at 15 – she got a weekend job at a local bakery. While her pals were bebopping around the local mall she was learning how to make croissants.

This was followed by a three year stint at a cowboy dude ranch in Wyoming. There was a big rambling ranch house kitchen – Margie who ran it was interested in food, she encouraged the youngster’s interests. Claire, always desperate to learn more bought a ‘bunch of books’ and pored over them. At some point she decided that she should have a ‘proper career’ so she studied Film Theory at Mills College in Oakland, but every time she baked a cake everyone asked “why aren’t you baking?” Out of the blue a dream came true – an opportunity came up to be an intern and then work at Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’s iconic restaurant in Berkley, California. Claire said the three year experience in the pastry section changed her life. She honed her palette, was taught how to taste, how to combine flavours and a whole new philosophy about food. All the cooks and chefs at Chez Panisse ate the same beautiful fresh seasonal food as the guests. She added to her baking repertoire, fell in love with a British chap and moved to London. A stint with Sam and Samantha Clarke at Moro, Fergus Henderson’s St John and Anchor & Hope followed. In 2005, she managed to get a stall at the hip and vibrant Broadway Farmers Market in Hackney. Claire couldn’t wait to start her business which she called Violet Cakes, she baked all her favourite cakes and tarts; many were time consuming and too complicated to make. She baked a few little coconut cup cakes too as a filler.  They flew off the stall while the far more elaborate confections failed to sell, an interesting lesson in business. Now she sells about 1,000 cup cakes on her Violet stall on a Saturday mornings.  Nine different flavours, five favourites – chocolate, vanilla, lemon, salted caramel, coconut and three seasonal ones – that changes with the seasons – this week it was elderflower, raspberry and strawberry. All made from beautiful organic ingredients, fine butter and free range eggs. She also makes many Cupcake wedding cakes, provides lots of party pieces and every week Claire does the food styling for the Ottolenghi article in the Guardian. Her latest project is her first book on Boiled Sweets and Choccies. She also writes a food blog. All this because she loves baking…

If you are in London on a Saturday morning look her up at the Broadway Market in Hackney from 10am.


Claire came to the cookery school to teach a class last week for us. Here are some of the delicious things she cooked.


Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake with Chocolate Ganache


There are devil’s food cakes made with butter and ones made with oil. Both are delicious and good used in different ways, but this one is especially good filled and covered with dark chocolate ganache and decorated with cake crumbs and a blob of chocolate. If you have some rose petals, use those for additional decoration.


200 g dark chocolate (64-70%)     

250 g butter, softened

200 g sugar

200 g light brown sugar

4 (about 206ml) eggs

225 g milk

25 g lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla                           

300 g self-raising flour

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda     

25 g cocoa powder                        

1 teaspoon salt


Dark Chocolate Ganache to fill and cover

A garden rose

Gold leaf (optional)



1.      Preheat the oven to 150°C, fan. Butter and line a 10”x 3” round cake tin with parchment paper.

2.      Chop up the chocolate and put it into a heat-proof bowl placed over, a pot of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally to aid the melting process.

3.      Cream the butter and sugars until very light and fluffy in a stand mixer.

4.      Add the eggs and beat until emulsified.

5.      Remove the melted chocolate from the pot and wipe any water off the bottom of the bowl. Give it a gentle stir to release a little steam and add it to the butter and egg mixture.

6.      Measure the milk and add the lemon juice to it. It will curdle slightly but that is the intention. If you have fresh buttermilk, you could use that instead.

7.      Add the vanilla to the milk and lemon and set aside.

8.      Sift together the flour, soda, cocoa powder and salt.

9.      Add half of the flour mixture to the butter and chocolate and mix for a couple of minutes until incorporated.

10.  Add the milk mixture and beat until incorporated.

11.  Add the remainder of the flour mixture and mix to make a smooth batter. Pour into the prepared tins and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.


Dark Chocolate Ganache


For filing and icing a very rich cake.


224 ml double cream

200 g golden syrup

1 vanilla bean, split

600 g dark chocolate (66-70%)

100 g unsalted butter, very very soft


1.      Stir the cream and golden syrup together in a heavy saucepan and scrape the vanilla seeds into it. Add the pod as well and gently heat. Bring to just below the boil (a foamy layer of milk should just be starting to form) Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and chill. You can chill this overnight for optimum vanilla flavour.

2.      Place your chocolate in a medium stainless steel bowl and set over a barely simmering pot of water on the stovetop. Using a chocolate thermometer, heat to just below 115°F.

3.      At this point, re-heat your cream to 115°F as well. When the bowl of chocolate reaches 115°F, remove it from the pot.

4.      Pour the melted chocolate and the heated cream into a vessel such as a liquid measuring jug and using an immersion blender, blend well. Blend until it is thick and creamy. Add the very soft butter, bit by bit.

5.      Stir very gently from time to time until it reaches the desired consistency for spreading on a cake.


To ice and decorate:


1.      Once the cake has cooled, start by evening off the top with a serrated knife. Reserve the scraps for the decoration.

2.      Now split the cake into three layers with a serrated knife. Set the top and middle layers onto rounds of card or tart tin bottoms, or plates. The bottom layer should go onto the serving plate you intend to use.

3.      If the trimmings are still very soft, you can pop them into the oven for about 10 minutes to dry them out. Then place them in your food processor and pulse to a fine crumb. Set aside.

4.      Spread a thinnish layer of about a ½ centimeter of ganache over the bottom layer of the cake. Place the center layer over that and agin spread with ganache. Place the top layer on and then use your hands to evenly shape the cake into a symmetrical and even stack of layers.

5.      Take a generous scoop of ganache and pile it on top of the cake. Spread it out over the top and leave a little hanging over the sides.

6.      Now using a palette knife or offset spatula, cover the sides with heaps of ganache trying to avoid pulling any crumbs up into the ganache.

7.      Smooth the sides, removing any excess ganache. Smooth the top once again and make a nice swirl. Reserve a little ganache for the decoration.

8.      Sprinkle the top and sides with the cake crumbs and finish with a dollop of remaining ganache. If you have gold leaf, it makes a very elegant finish on the top of the blob of ganache. If you don’t, sprinkle with a rose petal or two. Keep in the fridge in an airtight container but be sure to bring it out of the fridge about an hour before serving or the butter in the ganache and the cake will be too hard.


Tip: If you think you might make a mess, a good trick is to slip pieces of parchment paper under the cake around the edge. Then after you cover it in the ganache, you can remove the paper and have a nicely clean serving dish.


Claire Ptak’s Mexican Wedding Cookies


225g soft butter

70g caster sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

310g plain flour

1 tablespoon brandy

100g pecans, roughly chopped

icing sugar (about 500 g)


1.      Cream together the butter, sugar, and salt.

2.      Add the flour and mix until the dough comes together, but no longer.

3.      Add the brandy and the chopped pecans

4.      Scoop into little balls and arrange on a cookie sheet. If you have a mini ice cream or truffle scoop this works very well. Alternatively you can use a teaspoon and roll the dough into little balls between your palms. You are going to freeze them before baking so you can cram them together on the sheet to put in the deep freeze and separate them later for baking.

5.      Bake at 170°C for about 20 minutes. They should be set but have barely any colour. They should just scoot if nudged with a finger.

6.      Toss in icing sugar while warm. This layer will melt a little. Let cool completely. Then sift with a LOT of sugar. You can sift out the biscuit bits from the first toss in sugar and use that to coat them the second time.

7.      Store in an airtight container in the fridge. They are delicious served cold with coffee or ice cream.



Claire Ptak’s Salted Caramel Cupcakes


125 g butter, very soft

200 g caster sugar

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

280 g self-raising flour

1 tablespoon lemon zest

80 ml lemon juice

80 ml milk


1.      Heat the oven to 160°C, fan.

2.      Cream the very soft butter and sugar until almost white and fluffy.

3.      Add the eggs and salt and mix until fully incorporated.

4.      Add half the flour until just combined.

5.      Add the zest, juice and milk and mix until combined.

6.      Add the remaining flour.

7.      Scoop into paper baking cup-lined cupcake tins.

8.      Bake for about 20 minutes.

9.      Remove from the tin and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the icing.


Salted Caramel Icing


The caramel:


115 ml double cream

½ vanilla pod, split down the side and scraped

60 g golden syrup

100 g caster or granulated sugar

15 g unsalted butter

½ teaspoon fluer de sel or other sea salt such as Maldon


  1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the cream. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add them along with the pod, to the cream. Bring the cream and vanilla to just under a boil. Try not to scorch the cream. When it is ready, it will start to exude wisps of steam and have a thin layer of frothy foam beginning to form at the edges of the pan.
  2. While the cream is heating, boil the golden syrup and sugar in another heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches about 290-300°F/140°C
  3. Add the butter and salt, and strain the cream mixture into the sugar mixture. Stir to combine.


For the icing:


50g butter

200g icing sugar

25 ml caramel (reserve the rest for something else. It freezes very well)                 

1 tablespoon milk                                                                                

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract                                 

pinch of Maldon salt                                         


1.      Cream the butter on a low speed with some sugar and gradually add the caramel, milk, vanilla and sea salt.

2.      Add the remaining icing sugar. The speed must be kept slow as to not incorporate too much air into the buttercream.

3.      Once all of the ingredients are added, beat the mixture for about 2 minutes, to get to the proper texture and to allow the sugar to dissolve. At this point you can add more sugar if appropriate. This varies with the air temperature and the darkness of the caramel.


Claire Ptak’s Chocolate Wafer Cookies


These are like Oreo cookies


Makes 6 logs – this is for a big quantity – you can scale it down yourself if you like

– icing quantities would need to be adjusted also.




12ozs (350g) butter

1lb 2ozs (500g) caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 free-range organic eggs

5ozs (150g) cocoa powder

13ozs (375g) plain flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


Vanilla Icing


2 1/2 fl ozs (65ml) milk

4ozs (110g) unsalted butter

1lbs 1ozs (475g) icing sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 scraped vanilla bean


Violet Icing


7fl ozs (200ml) milk

13ozs (375g) unsalted butter

1.5kg – 2kg (3lbs 5ozs – 4 1/2lbs) icing sugar

6 teaspoons violet essence


Espresso Icing


3 3/4 fl ozs (112ml) cold coffee

1 1/4 fl ozs (38ml) milk

10ozs (280g) butter

1.5kg (3lbs 5ozs) icing sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons Armagnac brandy

2 1/4 teaspoons fresh coffee grounds

2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract


First make the logs.

Cream together the butter and the sugar together very well.  Add the vanilla extract and eggs.  Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt.  Roll into logs and freeze.


Slice the log into 1/2cm (1/4 inch) thick and bake at 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3 for 8-10 minutes – let cool on parchment paper.


For the icing.

Cream the butter and half the icing sugar.  Add the liquid.  Then cream in the rest of the icing sugar on a low speed – about 3 minutes until creamy.


Pipe a blob of icing in the centre of one biscuit, then press another on top so you can just see the icing coming through.


Hazelnut Praline Truffles


150 g hazelnuts

50 ml cold water

200 g sugar

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)

225 g double cream

50 g unsalted butter

425 g dark chocolate, finely chopped and placed in a large bowl

cocoa powder for dusting



1.      Butter and line a 20 cm baking tin with cling film. The butter is to help hold the cling film in place. Set aside

2.      Toast the hazelnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet.

3.      Place the water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with the sugar. Add the cream of tartar and heat gently to dissolve. Stirring occasionally is ok. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up to high and bring to the boil. Make a caramel. It can be as light or as dark as you like.

4.      When you have reached the desired colour for your caramel, pour it over the toasted hazelnuts and let it set. Once it has set, break into pieces and then blitz to a fine powder in a food processor.

5.      Warm the cream, but do not let it come to the boil. Pour it over the chocolate and whisk gently until smooth and melted. Fold in the praline. Pour into your prepared tin.

6.      Chill the mixture in the fridge until set. This will take about an hour.

7.      When set, turn the chocolate block out onto a marble or other cold hard surface.  Remove the plastic and using a clean knife dipped in hot water (and then wiped dry) slice the block of caramel chocolate into 2 cm squares. Place back in the fridge to chill.

8.      Dip the squares of ganache into cocoa powder



Fool Proof Food

Claire Ptak’s Candied Flowers


A bouquet of fresh, edible flowers such as pansies, violets or garden roses.


free-range egg whites

caster sugar




A soft bristled painting brush or pastry brush


Dip the brush in the whites and then pat out on a paper towel to get excess white off of the brush. You don’t want to saturate the petals, only get them just damp enough to hold the caster sugar.


Sprinkle the petals with a generous amount of castor sugar and leave in a warm place to dry.



Ponaire Coffee Limerick

Ponaire (Irish for bean) import their own raw coffee beans from around the world and roast, blend and package them in their roastery in Annacotty, Co Limerick. They serve this excellent coffee in their Deli Coffee shop and also supply numerous restaurants listed in Georgina Campbell’s Top 100 Restaurants in Ireland. They have won three Bridgestone Awards for their coffee, a classic artisan product. Jennifer and Thomas Ryan can be contacted on (061) 339801, (087) 9095242) email,



Stuffed Olive Gourmet Store

in Bantry, Co Cork have a good selection of freshly made salads to eat in, sitting on a high stool by the window or to take away, a delicious, crunchy alternative to a heavy pub lunch. They also serve very good coffee and bake cakes daily. Their shelves are stocked with a very tempting array of locally produced goodies…jams and preserves from Gingergirl, Seaweed Sausages from Lo Tide (098) 42616, handmade artisan chocolates from Skellig and Cocoa Bean Chocolates Margie Kelly and Trish Messom opened this little gem of a shop in December 2006 and can be contacted on (027) 55883 or email Bantry Middle Eastern Barbeque

today at Mannings Emporium in Bantry at 2:00pm.Barbeque Festival

in Bantry starts on Friday 31st July to Monday 3rd August. There is a Food Fair and Barbeques on the town square with cookery demonstrations by local chefs on Saturday with the Hot House Flowers performing a free concert later. On Sunday and Monday, sample food from the barbeques outside seven pubs free of charge . Contact Danny Collins 087 2956225 for more information.


London Calling Again

I’ve been backwards and forwards to London a lot recently to work with my long suffering editor doing the final tweaking on the manuscript of my ‘Forgotten Skills’ book. I’m chained to the desk all day and well into the evening so I don’t get distracted by London’s many temptations. However the deal is we must be allowed to fortify ourselves with lunch or dinner so I’ve had the opportunity to try some of the new (to me) places and in the process found a few gems to add to my London list.

Hereford Road in Notting Hill serves a simply gutsy no-nonsense style of cooking in this small restaurant which was originally a Victorian butchers shop I enjoyed Crispy Rabbit Fillets with Aioli. The young chef Tom Pemberton has a terrific pedigree, I loved his food when he was head chef at Fergus Henderson’s St John Bread and Wine and he’s brought his sure touch, love of offal and seasonal ingredients to Hereford Row. We loved the Deep Fried Rabbit and Aoili, Cured Duck with Pickled Chicory and Buttermilk Pudding with Prunes.

Close to Borough Market was another great find, Magdalen in Tooley Street, they got a whingy review from restaurant critic AA Gill a few weeks ago. They promptly put it up on their website and are now even busier than before. Perhaps this is a consequence of having a bad review from the entertaining but acerbic Mr Gill. Daylesford Shop and Restaurant was lambasted a couple of months ago and despite the recession had the busiest three weeks ever, immediately after publication. They have expanded their facility in  Gloucestershire and now make three cheeses, a big variety of breads and the cookery school will open September under the guidance of chef Vadimir Niza The café serving delicious food is open every day, breakfast is served from 9:30am and dinner is served from 6pm to 9pm outside on the alfresco terrace.

Back to Magdalen, the enthusiastic young team, headed up by James Faulkes, have pooled their collective experience from Le Manor Aux Quat Saisons, The Fat Duck, La Trompette and my favourite gastro pub, Anchor and Hope. The result is beautiful confident cooking where the menu changes every day, incorporating seasonal produce and rare breed meat and fresh fish from the Market close by. I loved the thinly sliced Pigs Head with Pickled Red Cabbage and Fried Potatoes. The puddings were some of the best I’ve had around London and I managed to taste Lemon Pot with Cassis, Elderflower Cream and Strawberries, French Toast with Marmalade and Vanilla Ice Cream – all sublime as was Prune and Armagnac Ice Cream.

It’s also tough to get a table at Bocca di Lupo in Soho but it is well worth booking ahead to taste Jacob Kenedy’s Fried Baby Artichokes and Shaved Radish and Pecorino Salad and if you have to settle for sitting at the counter, look on it as a bonus – you can watch the chefs doing their magic.

My last top tip this time is the new flavour of the month Terroirs Wine Bar and Restaurant in William 1V Street, that’s another spot that got a dressing down from AA Gill. It too was packed to capacity. It has the feel of a French Bistro. The simple menu has many charcuterie choices and great bar snacks, Radish with Butter and Sea Salt, Duck Scratchings, Boquerones. The delicious Taramasalata and Crostini, quite different to the spooky pink stuff often served in Greek restaurants. There’s a whole section of Small Plates on the menu which are incredibly reasonable priced, snails, bacon and parsley £6.00. Broad beans, Pecorino and Peashoots both £6.00. Secretts Farm Salad half the price at £3.00 and lots more. There were four Plats du Jour, the most expensive of which was the Gilt Head Sea Bream, Cockles, Pequillo Pepper and Sea Purslane for £14.00. Again desserts and cheese were good with superb French Rocamadour from the Lot. A wobbly Panna Cotta with Raspberries was especially memorable. All these restaurants were fully booked despite the recessionary doom and gloom – the secret as ever was simple fresh food from superb ingredients, convivial atmosphere. Some like Magdalena, had starched white linen tablecloths, other simple timber tables, all had well chosen wine lists, reasonably priced. Despite the times you’ll need to book ahead, all except the Anchor and Hope take bookings.


You’ll be forgiven for thinking I did no work on the book but a girl has to eat to keep up the energy and after all, it’s all in the way of research. A special thank you to all the restaurants who shared these recipes with us.


Hereford Road Restaurant 0044 2077271144

Magdalen Restaurant 0044 2074031342   

Daylesford Restaurant 0044 1608731700

Bocca di Lupo 0044 207734223  

Terroirs 00442070360660


Magadelen’sDuck Ham


I duck Magret (these are the breasts of a duck that have been bred for foie gras)


Spiced salt:

20gms of coarse salt

1 tablespoon of picked thyme

1 bay leaf

6 coriander seeds

6 black peppercorns

1 strip each of lemon and orange peel


Blend all the spiced salt ingredients in a food processor for about 1 minute. Lightly rub this mix onto both sides of the duck breast and leave loosely covered in the fridge overnight. The following day wash the salt off quickly under cold water and pat dry. Wrap in muslin and tie, but not too tightly, with kitchen string. Hang on a string in a cool well ventilated area for 12 – 16 days. Test after 12 days by pinching the duck, it should feel firm but supple.


We serve this thinly sliced in a salad with confit duck, green beans and walnuts, a thin slice of foie gras and sliced radishes.


Daylesford Organic Blackcurrant Sorbet



50g/1lb blackcurrants

315ml/10 ½ fl oz sugar syrup

125ml/4floz water

1 egg white

A few sprigs of mint


Make a sugar syrup by dissolving 350g/ 10 ½oz sugar in a pan with 300ml/ 10fl oz water. Strip the currants from their stalks, wash, drain and dry on kitchen paper. Add to the sugar syrup and water in a non-reactive saucepan and simmer gently, covered, for 5 minutes. When cool, rub through a nylon sieve to remove the pips. Add the mint to the purée, cover and leave to infuse. Remove the mint when you pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for about 10 minutes. Then add the egg white and continue churning until the sorbet is firm enough to serve. Makes about 1 litre.


If you don’t have a sorbetier (ice cream maker) just pour the mixture into a plastic box to freeze. Remove from the freezer before it freezes and stir a few times to ensure a nice smooth texture.



 Daylesford Organic Sea bream with ginger


1 whole sea bream (400g/12oz)

3 tbsp light soy sauce

½ tsp white sugar

a handful of shredded ginger

4 shredded spring onions

1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Ground black pepper


A Thai dish that is pure and simple, with fresh clean flavours. Clean and score the fish, then place it on a plate or cooking foil and cover with the soy sauce, sugar and half the ginger. Steam until just cooked, about 20 minutes, and check underneath that it is done. Then add the rest of the ginger and the spring onions, and steam for another 2 minutes. Carefully remove the plate and the foil from the steamer with tongs, retaining the juices, and serve the fish whole, sprinkled with coriander leaves and black pepper.


Terroir’s Panna Cotta


(Serves 8)


1ltr x double cream

180g x caster sugar

2 x bourbon vanilla pods split

2.5 leaves of bronze leaf gelatine


In a large pan, bring the cream, sugar and split vanilla pods slowly to the boil and remove from the heat.

Soak the bronze leaf gelatine leaves in cold water until soft. Then whisk thoroughly into the cream ensuring all the gelatine has dissolved.

Remove the vanilla pods and pour the cream into a metal bowl. In a larger metal bowl, place some ice and water and sit the bowl containing the cream on the ice to cool it down.

The reason is to slightly set the cream before it goes into the moulds, otherwise all the vanilla seeds will sink to the bottom. Using this method gives a nice even distribution of vanilla.

When the cream has thickened and the vanilla seeds are suspended evenly, pour into individual moulds and place in the fridge to finish setting. (This should take 1 to 2 hours) To serve, dip the moulds in hot water and run the tip of a knife around the inside of the mould and turn the panna cotta out onto the plate. Serve with any fruit that is in season – delicious!


Terroir’s Taramasolata


1 x Whole Smoked Cod’s Roe (around 800-900g) 150g x day old white bread, no crusts milk

3 x cloves of garlic, crushed finely

Juice of 1 Lemon

1litre x Vegetable oil

150ml x Olive oil

Tabasco to finish

Remove the outer skin of the cod’s roe.

Soak the bread in the milk (enough milk just to cover) until soft.

Place the cod’s roe in a food processor with the soaked bread and the crushed garlic.

Process until smooth and then slowly add the vegetable oil in a steady stream as you would if making mayonnaise.

Repeat the process with the olive oil

Add the lemon Juice and finish with the Tabasco (to your own taste)


Bocca di Lupos’s Fried Artichokes ‘a la Guidia’


(serves 4 as a starter, 2 as a main):


4 young artichokes – these should be as large as possible without having any tough choke. You are looking for buds about 6-8cm across, with tightly closed leaves.

Sunflower oil – about 2 litres – at least 5cm depth in a deep pan about 20 cm wide



1)      clean artichokes 1 by 1. This is a little tricky, the aim being to remove any tough parts (which will be grass green), and leave any tender parts. If unsure at any stage, trim off s little and test between your teeth. Start by squeezing 1 lemon into a tub of water. Take one artichoke, break off the stem. Trim or snap off the tough outer green leaves, until you reach the tender ones within (these will have a yellow or pink hue). Use a paring knife to trim off any green bases of leaves to expose the paler heart. Trim off the tips of the remaining leaves, leaving about 3 cm of leaf – they should end up looking like anaemic rosebuds. Keep in the acidulated water whilst you clean the rest.

2)      Drain well – best if you blot the artichokes dry with a cloth. Season with salt and deep-fry slowly in sunflower oil (at 130-140 degrees) for 15 minutes until completely tender but not falling apart. Remove from the oil, and leave to cool.


First two steps can be done in advance, the cooked artichokes keeping for a few days in the fridge – they even freeze well once cooked.


3)      Reheat artichoke oil until almost smoking (190 degrees)

4)      Open artichokes out into flowers by inserting your thumb in the middle, and gently working the leaves out flat like an open flower. Fry upside-down in the oil (lower them in gently to keep them from turning over) for a few minutes until the leaves turn an autumnal brown

5)      Drain well (the oil may get trapped between the leaves), sprinkle with salt, and eat immediately


Bocca di Lupo’s Shaved Radish Salad


serves 4 as a starter


1 bunch, or about 8 radishes breakfast radishes

½ a black radish (available from Turkish shops), or 5cm green mooli (Chinese greengrocers) or mooli

A chunk of celeriac – about ¼ of a very small bulb – peeled

A little chunk of pecorino Romano – about 50g

A few sprigs flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

¼ pomegranate, picked – or 6 tablespoons picked seeds

1 tablespoon truffle oil

4 tablespoons X V olive oil

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

Salt & pepper


Make a dressing with the oils, vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.


Do everything else just before you serve – radishes dry out, and celeriac blackens with time. Wash the radishes (red & black), and shave thinly – best on a mandolin. Use a potato peeler to shave the celeriac and pecorino. Toss the lot with the pomegranate seeds and parsley, and dress lightly. Serve in haphazard but tall piles on individual plates, or in a bowl to share from.



Fool Proof Food

Magdalen’s French toast, Marmalade and Vanilla Ice Cream


Serves 4


4 slices of brioche.

Marmalade or other preserve

Vanilla ice cream


For the custard: 2 whole eggs, 460gms of double cream, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg, 1/2 a vanilla pod, 100gms of castor sugar, a shot of cointreau.


Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into a basin. Add all the other ingredients and whisk thoroughly.

Soak the slices of brioche in the custard for about a minute till sodden. Gently fry each side in butter with a sprinkling of sugar until golden. Remove from pan and spread with a thin layer of marmalade or other preserve with a scoop of ice cream. Serve immediately.


We make our own brioche, preserves and ice cream but all are available to buy.


Thrifty Tip


Poke drainage holes into used yogurt pots or old Tupperware pots to use as growing containers for seeds or cuttings.




SlowFood East Cork Summer Events

How to Butcher a Lamb and What to do with the Various Cuts Learn how to identify different cuts of lamb, how to find and recognise the best quality meat and match cuts to cooking methods at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, Wednesday 15th July at 7:30pm. Slow Food Members €45.00 and €45.00 non-members.


Slow Food East Cork Fun Cookery Class for Children – Saturday 18th July 9:30am to 2:00pm. During this fun morning kids will make savoury and sweet recipes and enjoy the dishes that they cook for lunch. SlowFood Members €50.00 and €55.00 non SlowFood Members.

Booking is essential, email  or phone (021) 4646 785.


Schull Agricultural Show and Farmer’s Market The village of Schull hold it’s Agricultural Show again this year on Sunday 26th July 2009 from 12 noon.

Schull Farmers Market sets up for the day with over 20 stalls of some very well known and delicious West Cork artisan foods for you to sample including Ted Berner and his Wildside Catering. For more details contact The Secretary: 028 28707




Strawberry Dreams

We’re at the height of the strawberry season at present, all along the main roads strawberry growers are doing their best to tempt us to indulge. So let’s feast on beautiful ripe berries while they are at their best. Eco Santa is the favourite commercial variety but a few growers are beginning to offer some heritage berries, it’s not easy because many of the older more flavourful varieties produce smaller berries which take longer to pick. Time is money and there is already a serious problem to be resolved to facilitate the employment of fruit pickers who are needed on a casual basis for a short period during the berry seasons, which is also weather dependent.

So let’s support our Irish soft fruit growers, otherwise we’ll have no choice as has happened with so many other products. There are a myriad of delicious ways to serve strawberries.


Homemade Strawberry Gelato with Fresh Strawberry Sauce


Serves 6-8

2 lbs (900g) very ripe strawberries

freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon

freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 orange

8ozs (225g) castor sugar

300ml (300ml) water

150ml (5floz) whipped cream


Dissolve the sugar in the water; boil for 7-10 minutes, leave to cool. Purée the strawberries in a food processor or blender, sieve. Add the freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice to the cold syrup. Stir into the purée, fold in the whipped cream. Freeze immediately preferably in a sorbietere. Store in a covered plastic box in the freezer. Scoop out into balls and serve on chilled plates with sprigs of fresh mint.


Fresh Strawberry Sauce

400g (14 ozs) strawberries

50g (2 ozs) icing sugar

lemon juice





Fresh mint leaves


To make the strawberry sauce, clean and hull the strawberries, add to the blender with sugar and blend. Strain, taste and add lemon juice if necessary. Pour over scoops of strawberry gelato and garnish with some fresh mint leaves.

Strawberry Tiramisu


Serves 10-12

150ml (5fl ozs) water

200g (7ozs) unbleached caster sugar

400g (14ozs) strawberries sliced

50ml (2fl ozs) crème de cassis or crème de framboise

4 eggs, separated

250g (9ozs) tub mascarpone cheese

1 x 200g (7ozs) packet boudoir biscuits (sponge biscuits)

50g (2ozs) flaked or slivered almonds

1 x 28cm (11 inch) gratin dish

Make syrup by dissolving half the sugar in the water, then boiling for 2 minutes. Add in the fruit. If using fresh fruit, turn off the heat and leave it to cool. If using frozen fruit, bring the syrup back to the boil and let it simmer very gently for 1-2 minutes, then leave to cool. Add the cassis or frambroise to the syrup.

Beat the egg yolks in a bowl with the remaining sugar until pale and thick. Beat in the mascarpone cheese. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whiles until they form stiff peaks. Fold them lightly into the egg and mascarpone mixture.

Strain the fruit from the syrup. Place the syrup in a wide bowl. Dip half the biscuits in the cooled syrup and use them to line the base of the gratin dish. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over, followed by half of the fruit. Cover the fruit with another layer of the biscuits dipped in the liquid. Spread over the remainder of the fruit, followed by the remaining mascarpone mixture. Cover and chill for a minimum of 6 hours, or ideally overnight, to allow the biscuits to absorb the juices and soften.

Meanwhile, toast the almonds by heating a dry frying pan, tossing in the nuts and frying for 2-3 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool. Use to sprinkle over the tiramisu just prior to serving.

Rose Gray’s Almond Tart with Strawberries

Serves 10-12

Rose Gray and Ruth Rodgers of the River Café demonstrated this tart when they were guest chefs here some years ago.


6 ozs (170g) flour

4 ozs (110g) unsalted butter

1 oz (25g) castor sugar

2 egg yolks


Almond Filling

10 ozs (285g) soft butter unsalted

10 ozs (285g) castor sugar

10 ozs (285g) whole almonds

3 eggs

1 dessertspoon Amaretto or Rum


1 lb (450g) fresh strawberries

1 x 12 inch (30.5cm,) tart tin with ‘pop-up base


First make the pastry.


Put the flour and butter into the food processor. Whizz for a few seconds then add sugar and egg yolks, turn off the machine just as the pastry starts to form a ball. Chill for 2-1 hour.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/regulo 4.


Line the flan ring and bake blind for 15 minutes. Meanwhile make the almond filling. Blanch the almonds in boiling water, remove the skins and grind in a liquidiser or food processor.


Whisk the butter with the sugar until soft and fluffy add the ground almonds, eggs and amaretto if available. Pour into the pastry case and reduce the oven to 160C/325F/regulo 3, and bake for approx. 40 minutes. Allow to cool, cut the strawberries in half or quarters and stud into the tart.


Fresh Strawberry Popsicles

Popsicles are the new cupcakes – all the rage, we used to call them ice lollies but these are not make from cordial they are made from pure strawberry puree – a revelation and lots of fun.


Makes (18floz) or 6 x 3floz popsicles


400g (14ozs) fresh strawberries

55g (2ozs) icing sugar

lemon juice

150ml (5floz) stock syrup


Clean and hull the strawberries, add to the liquidiser with sugar and blend. Strain, taste and add lemon juice and stock syrup.


Pour into 75ml (3floz) Popsicle moulds and freeze for 3 – 4 hours

Stock Syrup

Makes 28 fl ozs (825 ml)

1 lb (450 g) sugar

1 pint (600 ml) 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 and use for homemade lemonade, fruit salads…

American Strawberry Shortcake

Serves 10

10 fresh scones

225g (8ozs) strawberries

2 teaspoons caster sugar

284ml (9 1/2 fl ozs) carton double cream

2 teaspoons icing sugar


6-8 whole strawberries

fresh mint or strawberry leaves

icing sugar

First make the scones (recipe Irish Examiner Saturday 14th February 2009) While they are baking, prepare the strawberries by washing, hulling and cutting into quarters. Toss with the caster sugar and set or for schedule of cookery classes visit

Shortly before serving, whip the cream with the icing sugar. Split the cooled scones and top the bottom half with a blob of sweetened cream and a few sugared

strawberries. Add the tops sieve a little icing sugar over and decorate with whole or halved strawberries and fresh mint or strawberry leaves.

Strawberry Fool

What could be easier or more delicious, sharpen the strawberries with a few drops of lemon juice if necessary.

1lb (450g) strawberries

55g (2oz) caster Sugar

1 tablespoon lemon Juice

55g (2oz) whipped cream or a mixture of Greek style yogurt

lady finger biscuits

Whiz the strawberries and castor sugar in a food processor or blender. Pour into a bowl, add a few drops of squeezed lemon juice, swirl in whipped cream, taste and tweak if necessary. Pour into deep glasses and serve a few lady fingers with each for dunking.


Eton Mess

Serves 8

Meringue x 1

Strawberry coulis (see recipe Fresh Strawberry Sauce)

450g (1lb) strawberries

450ml – 600ml (15floz – 1 pint) whipped cream

First make the coulis (fresh strawberry sauce)

To Assemble

Slice the strawberries lengthwise in 2 or 3 pieces depending on size. Add 110ml (4fl oz) of coulis and toss gently. Break the meringue into uneven chunks roughly 2.5 – 5cm (1-2 inches). Spread the meringue onto a flat dish, add the cream. Fold gently, then spoon over the strawberries – this can be such a mess if you aren’t careful. Spoon into glasses or pudding bowls or pile up on individual plates. Pour a little more strawberry coulis over the top. Enjoy immediately while the meringue is still crisp. Divine!


Strawberries and Cherries in Tequila

A delicious combination with a Mexican twist.

1lb (450g) strawberries

1lb (450g) cherries

55g (2oz) caster sugar or more to taste

2 fl oz Tequila

1 organic orange and juice

Slice the strawberries lengthwise, cut the cherries in half, and remove the stones sprinkle with sugar, add the rind and juice of one organic orange and a generous glug of Tequila – taste and tweak if necessary.

Fool Proof Food

Rachel Allen’s Strawberry Daiquiri

A really refreshing cocktail to have on a Summer’s evening with friends.

Serves 2-4

150ml (5fl ozs) white rum or vodka

250g (9ozs) strawberries

75ml (3fl ozs) lime juice (approximately 3 limes)

100-125ml (3 1/2 – 4 1/2 flozs) stock syrup (see recipe above) to taste

crushed ice, to serve

Place the run, strawberries (or raspberries), lime juice and 100ml (3 1/2 fl ozs) stock syrup in a blender and whiz until smooth. Taste and add more stock syrup if necessary. Pour into tumblers half-filled with crushed ice.

Thrifty Tip

The price of milk has collapsed on the world market. Why not support your local dairy farmer and buy milk directly from the farm.



Work up an appetite for Sunday lunch with 4FM’s ‘Davis on 4’

Derek Davis talks to Ireland’s greatest chefs, food writers and bloggers every Sunday morning on Ireland’s newest radio station, 4FM, from 10am-12pm. In the coming months ‘Davis on 4’ will feature budget conscious restaurant reviews, wine discussions and many other food related topics such as recession friendly recipes, vegetable allotments and the best Irish cookery and wine appreciation courses, that will tantalise those taste buds on Sunday mornings.


Eimer Rainsford holds exclusive but affordable cookery classes for up to eight people at home in her specially designed kitchen in Sandymount, Dublin. Ballymaloe trained, Eimer was Head Chef for the Avoca group for 11 years and contributed to their award winning cookbooks.  Her food is refreshing, as she is bold with flavours and believes that “Food is to be enjoyed and ingredients understood” To book a class contact PinkGinger on (087) 9864964 email

Cronin’s Pub Crosshaven

Sit outside on a sunny day at Cronin’s in Crosshaven, Co Cork and enjoy a big bowl of fresh mussels with herbs, oysters or juicy big crab claws with freshly baked soda bread prepared by chef Denis Cronin and his team. Booking is advisable for dinner in the ‘Mad Fish Restaurant’ Wednesday to Saturday nights. The pan fried turbot with herb butter is really good. (021) 4831829


A Taste of Greystones

All retailers, restaurants and their chefs will be participating in this event to be held on the Church Road on Sunday 23rd August. Taste of Ireland, Euro Toques, Failte Ireland and Georgina Campbell are backing the event. For more information, telephone 01 2016990 or email


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