Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine

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After months of exciting plotting and planning the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Litfest got underway at the Grain Store in Ballymaloe last night. Cooks and chefs, winemakers, craft brewers, distillers, cidermakers, food writers, bloggers, food and drink lovers and bon viveurs converged on Ballymaloe from all over the world to meet and mingle.
Kerrygold Ballymaloe Litfest 2, promises to be even more exciting, stimulating and fun-filled than last year’s festival. The Litfest team have planned another weekend packed with cookery demos, wine tastings, readings, workshops, debates, literary lunches and dinners. We are thrilled and delighted to have yet another star studded list this year – a mixture of international guest speakers and a strong Irish presence in both food and wine. There are 60 speakers and more than 100 events to choose from. Check out www.litfest.ie.
The winners of the Ballymaloe Cookery School Moth International Poetry Prize were announced last night. First prize went to Ann Gray from Cornwall for her evocative poem My Blue Hen.
Children from local schools involved in the East Cork Slow Food Educational Project wrote about their favourite farmers, fishermen and food producers, the results were enchanting and winners will be announced on Saturday at 6pm in the Grainstore.
The Fringe Festival will be held in the Big Shed (virtually the size of an airplane hangar) once again . It was the throbbing heart of the event last year. Here you will find a host of free activities – the fringe programme will be jam-packed with child friendly activities, crafts, art, music, food, conversation and fun. Camilla Houstoun who creates magic everywhere she goes has so many exciting events and projects planned for the Children’s Area. Anyone who has purchased tickets to any event has free entry. Gardeners, foragers, bakers, brewers, artisans, bloggers and fans will eat, drink, boogy and be very merry.
What’s unique about the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Litfest is the opportunity to rub shoulders with your favourite food writers and chefs.
So head for Shanagarry this weekend, there’s literally something for everyone, it’s an all weather event held in the Grain Store, the Big Shed at Ballymaloe House and the Ballymaloe Cookery School – and there’s a shuttle bus between the two for ease of transport.

Lilly’s Quinoa Salad with Pistachios and Pomegranate

Taken from Lilly Higgins – Dream Deli – don’t miss her discussion in Ballymaloe House on Saturday at 11.30am

You can use any sprouted seeds or peppery rocket or watercress instead of the brocco shoots

650g butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
3 tbsp olive oil
200g quinoa
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sumac
450ml stock or water
120g pistachios, shelled, toasted and chopped
50g brocco shoots (a mixture of alfalfa, broccoli, clover and radish sprouts)
20g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 pomegranates, seeds only

Serves 6

Preheat the oven to 200C
Toss the cubed butternut squash in the olive oil and place in a roasting tin. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until golden around the edges. Stir halfway through the cooking time to ensure an even colour.
Place the quinoa in a medium pan and dry fry with no oil over a high heat for a minute or so. Add the spices and stir to coat evenly, then pour over the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to stand for a further 30 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and gently mix through the pistachios, brocco shoots, parsley and butternut squash cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the pomegranate seeds over the top before serving.

Donal’s Beef Carpaccio with Beetroot and Fennel

Taken from Donal Skehan Homecooked – don’t miss his Food Photography in Ballymaloe Cookery School on Sunday at 3pm.

Serves 6-8

2 tbsp oil, for frying
900g beef fillet, trimmed
4 tsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
50g Parmesan cheese shavings, to garnish

For the beetroot and fennel
675g raw baby beetroots
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
50g watercress, well picked over
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ lemon

For the horseradish dressing
4 tbsp grated or creamed horseradish
100g crème fraiche
75ml single cream
2 tbsp snipped chives

Preheat the oven to 220C (425F), gas mark 7. Remove the beef from the fridge 30 minutes before you intend to use it to allow it to come back to room temperature.
Scrub the beetroots, then trim off the tops. Pat dry with kitchen paper. Place in a roasting tin and drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper, then cover with foil and roast for 20-30 minutes until tender. They are done when you can pierce them easily with a sharp knife. Leave to cool, then cut each beetroot in half and toss back into the cooking juices to keep them moist.
Smash the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar until roughly ground and then sprinkle on to a board with the rosemary and half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix together and then roll the beef all over it, pressing onto the meat to encrust it.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat until it is smoking hot. Add the meat to the pan and sear for about 6 minutes until well browned all over and slightly crisp, turning regularly. Remove from the heat and leave to rest on a board, uncovered for at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the horseradish dressing. Place the horseradish, crème fraiche, cream and chives in a bowl and mix well to combine, then season to taste. Add a few tablespoons of water to loosen the sauce, if needed.
When the beef has rested, slice it as thinly as you can (see the freezing suggestion in the recipe introduction) and arrange in an overlapping layer on large plates. Scatter over the roasted beetroots and drizzle some of the beetroot cooking juices on top, then dribble over the dressing.
Dress the fennel and watercress with the extra virgin olive oil. Squeeze over lemon juice and then scatter the salad over the finished plates. Garnish with the Parmesan shavings, a good dollop of crème fraiche and add a grinding of black pepper to serve.

Raspberry Macaroon Tart

Taken from Lilly Higgins – Make Bake Love

Serves 8-10

This is a lovely light tropical tart. The lime zest in the coconut topping is fresh and summery. It’s so easy to make and is a great recipe for kids to help with. You can leave out the lime zest and jam if you like and drizzle the top with melted chocolate instead.

For the base
75 g caster sugar
50 g butter, softened
1 egg yolk
90 g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
200 g raspberry jam

For the topping
2 eggs
60 g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lime
160 g desiccated coconut
20 g flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and flour a 28 cm loose-bottomed tart tin.

Cream the sugar, butter and egg yolk together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the bowl and stir until the mixture clumps together and resembles breadcrumbs. Press into the base of the tin with floured fingers. Spread the base with the jam.

To make the topping, lightly beat the eggs and sugar together to combine. Fold in the lime zest and coconut. Spread the topping over the jam. Sprinkle with the almond flakes and press down gently.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until slightly browning and golden. Cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.

Hot Tips
Ballycotton is buzzing with excitement. The Mary Standford Lifeboat has returned to Ballycotton for restoration after 78 years. Cor Cois Farraige Choral Group are holding a fundraising concert in Garryvoe Hotel on Sunday 25th May, to raise money so the renovation work can begin – Tickets for sale on the night.

A date to keep free for your diary;
Sheridans Irish Food Festival continues to gather momentum every year. This year’s event is on Sunday 25th May in Pottlereagh, close to Kells, Co Meath. Meet many of the real Irish producers in a beautiful rural setting with a fun and informal ambiance – not to be missed.
For a full schedule of events www.sheridanscheesemongers.com

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Darina Allen
By Darina Allen

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