Farm Shops, we need many more all around the country so farmers can sell and add value to their produce and local people can buy directly from the farm. It’s a whole other shopping experience and reconnects children with how their food is produced.
There are already several brilliant examples; Tinahely farm Shop on the Shilleagh road in Co Wicklow is enchanting. It is owned and run by ex-dairy farmers Philip and Rebecca Hadden. A couple of years ago the cows were not paying their way so they needed to use their combined talents and resources to think of another way to earn a living. They set about converting their sheds into a farm shop and cute little cafe where customers can now enjoy their really delicious home made cakes and snacks of local food. Recently we tasted Clarkes smoked Salmon from Ballina on Jo Allen’s Harvest loaf made from Uncle Aidan’s stone ground wholemeal, so delicious. That wheat is grown and stone ground in a special French mill on their farm in Ballindaggin, Co Wexford.
Rebecca had made a silky Jerusalem artichoke soup which people loved when they tasted and then rushed to buy some of the fresh tubers to have a go at making their own.
There are some ducks and a lovely flock of happy lazy hens ranging freely so customers can add freshly laid eggs to their basket. The Big Barn now houses an eclectic collection of animals, a couple of llamas, both Saddleback and Mangagalese pigs, several goats and donkeys and ponies, Kerry cattle and Dorset Horn sheep that were brought into Ireland by Rebecca’s grandfather Maurice Allen for the first time in 1933. All warm and comfy in deep beds of straw in the frosty weather. Kids of course love all that and there are plans for a self-guided farm walk in the New Year. Contact Philip Hadden 087 8168457 – http://tinahelyfarmshop.com/ . Tinahely Farm Shop, Coolruss, Tinahely, Co Wicklow, – on the Shillelagh road – Open – Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm – Saturday 10am – 4pm.
Olivia and John Hallahan opened a farm shop on their farm at Castlemary near Cloyne, East Cork every Saturday from 10am to 4pm – selling homemade goat cheese, yogurt, goats milk, goats meat (delicious) and some of Olive’s fresh baking 021 4652832 – Turn at L36511 – brave new world!
Castlefarm Shop in Narraghmore in Co Kildare also has a loyal following – Jenny and Peter Young sell organic beef, vegetables, pork, eggs, honey, apple juice and cheese, home baking, ice cream and preserves from their organic farm and operate an honesty box system for their free range eggs. The shop opens the last weekend of every month and visitors can enjoy monthly complimentary food talks, farm walks, help collect eggs and watch the cows being milked – 0876785269 – www.castlefarmshop.ie
Chilled Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Avocado and Roast Hazelnuts
50g (2oz) butter
560g (1 1/4 lb) onions, peeled and chopped
1.15kg (2 1/2 lbs) Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed, peeled and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
1.1L (2 pints) light chicken stock
600ml (1 pint) creamy milk approx.
4 tablespoons of chopped roast hazelnuts
4 tablespoons of hazelnut oil
4 tablespoons of chopped chives
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the onions and artichokes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, cover and sweat gently for 10 minutes approx. Add the stock and cook until the vegetables are soft. Liquidise and return to the heat. Thin to the required flavour and consistency with creamy milk, and adjust the seasoning.
This soup may need more stock depending on thickness required.
Peel and dice the avocados. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the avocado and chopped roasted hazelnuts over the soup, drizzle with a little hazelnut oil and chopped chives.
Uncle Aidan’s Harvest Loaf
Makes 2 loaves
This simple and delicious recipe was given to me by Jo Allen.
700g (1.5lb) Uncle Aidan’s Authentic Stone Ground Flour
2 tablespoons oat bran
2 teaspoons bread soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 litre (1 1/3 pints) buttermilk
2 tablespoons oil
2 free range eggs
2 x 2lb loaf tins – greased.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Mark 4.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, mix buttermilk, oil and eggs in a separate bowl, then add to the dry ingredients.
Put the mixture (it will be very sloppy at this stage) into the greased loaf tins
Cook in the pre-heated oven 180°C/350°F/Mark 4 for just over one hour or until fully cooked through. Cool on a wire rack.
Uncle Aidan’s Authentic Stone Ground Flour – Ballyminane Mills, Co. Wexford – 0539255162 – www.ballyminanemills.com
Smoked Salmon, Tomato and Leek Tart or Tartlets
Fresh salmon or smoked mackerel may be substituted to delicious effect.
Makes 10-12 tartlets or 1 tart (approx.)
4ozs (110g) flour
2 ozs (55g) butter
1 beaten egg
5 ozs (140g) smoked salmon or fresh salmon, diced 1/3 inch (5mm)
½ lb (225g) very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and the flesh cut into ½ inch (1cm) dice
1 oz (30g) butter
½ lb (225g) finely sliced leeks
Salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar
8 fl ozs (225m) cream or 4 fl ozs (100m) cream
4 fl ozs (100m) milk
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
Pinch of smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
1 x 7 inch (18cm) flan ring OR 10 tartlet tins (the ones we use measure 3 inches (7.5cm) at the bottom, 4 inches (10cm) at the top and are 1 inch (2.5cm) deep.
First make the shortcrust pastry.
Sieve the flour into a bowl, cut the butter into ½ inch (1cm) dice, rub into the flour with the tip of your fingers, and bind with the beaten egg, tossing lightly with a fork. (Add it gradually, just enough to make a dough).
Cover with Clingfilm or waxed paper and rest for ½ hour in the fridge before use.
Preheat the oven 180°/350°F/regulo 4
Roll the pastry out thinly and line the tart or individual tartlet tins with pastry, then line with kitchen paper and dried beans. Bake blind for 20-25 minutes approx. until par-cooked (the tartlets will take 8-10 minutes).
Meanwhile melt the butter in a saucepan, add the leeks, season with salt, & pepper, cover. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the leeks are almost soft, keep aside. Add the chopped tomatoes, toss and cook for 1-2 minutes , add a little sugar if the tomatoes are not very ripe. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.
In a bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, eggs and egg yolk. Season with paprika, salt and freshly ground pepper, add the cooked leeks and tomatoes, diced smoked or fresh salmon, stir gently. Add the dill.
Spoon into the pre-baked tart or tartlets and bake in a preheated moderate oven 180C\350F\regulo 4 for 2 minutes approx. or until just set and golden on top. The tartlets will take 30-35 minutes. Remove from the tin. Serve warm or cold.
Raspberry and Coconut Slice
So simple but terrifically good.
6 ozs (175g) soft butter
6 ozs (175g) castor sugar
2 eggs, preferably organic and free-range
6 ozs (175g) self-raising flour
homemade raspberry jam
unsweetened desiccated coconut
10 x 7 inch (25.5 x 18 cm) Swiss roll tin, well-greased
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/regulo 4.
Put the butter, castor sugar, eggs and self-raising flour into a food processor. Whizz for a few seconds to amalgamate. Spread evenly over the base of the well-buttered tin.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes approx. or until golden brown and well risen. Allow to cool.
Spread the surface with the raspberry jam and sprinkle with desiccated or shaved coconut. Cut into squares. Remove the biscuits from the tin if keeping for a few days unless the tin is coated with Teflon. Store in an airtight cake tin interleaved with silicone paper.
Schipol Airport in Amsterdam is one of the most fun places to be delayed. Brilliant facilities, apart from the Rijcs Museum, the library, massage, rest rooms, meditation area… Don’t miss Dutch herrings, smoked eel, and my favourite teeny Dutch pancakes called poffertjes.
Wendy’s Festive Marmalade – I found a pot of Wendy’s marmalade in my pantry after Christmas – slathered it on my toast before realizing it belonged to my son-in-law, it was so good, made with oranges, mandarins, lime and gin. To restore harmony in the household, I rang Wendy to replace it, she tells me there are still a few pots left and if you rush you can find them at her stall at Mahon Point Farmers Market next Thursday or at the Natural Foods Bakery in Blackrock, Co Cork – worth making a detour for www.mahonpointfarmersmarket.com and www.thenaturalfoodsbakery.com
Irresistible Breakfasts and Brunch – half day cookery course at Ballymaloe Cookery School on Monday 4th February – 1.00pm-5.00pm. Learn how to introduce a variety and fresh tastes on the breakfast menu with lots of advice on finding the best quality ingredients – especially those in the guesthouse/bed and breakfast business. Sizzling rashers, juicy sausages, free range eggs, flavoursome mushrooms, fruit compotes, mueslis, freshly squeezed juices, homemade breads, jams, preserves, marmalades, muffins… Booking Essential 021 4646785 or www.cookingisfun.ie