KC Blakes and Monivea Village Market

KC Blakes

KC Blakes is launching a new brunch menu every Wednesday to Saturday from 12 noon to 2.30pm. The menu is designed to offer good value with the best of ingredients and everything cooked to order. If you are tight for time just ring in your order to (091 ) 561826 before 12 noon. Your food will be ready at the time you plan to be there.

They have a selection of sandwiches made with freshly baked foccacia and the one I tried was the baked ham and red onion jam. The ham was home cooked and sliced thickly with a knife as opposed to shaved on a slicer. It came with a really good helping of red onion and salad and was excellent. It costs €6.99 and includes a free coffee. Other foccacia sandwiches are tandoori chicken with mint dressing, buffalo mozzarella and pesto, and grilled chicken with goat’s cheese and Ballymaloe relish. All the sandwiches include a free coffee.

The picture shows their fish and chips dish. The fish is supplied locally every day and served with minty mushy peas, tartar sauce, and home fries, €12.99. If you like mussels there is a very large bowl of mussels steamed in wine and herbs for €8.99. The 200 gram homemade steak burger with home fries, crispy bacon, cheddar, and chilli mayo sounds good for €9.80. All fish, meats, and poultry are locally sourced, for example the meat for the burger is Aberdeen Angus from Heaney Meats.

Monivea Village Market

The wave of country markets is spreading and the latest is in Monivea. Monivea is similar to the Kinvara market in that it is located in the rear of a premises in the village so that many of the stalls are covered and there is a good atmosphere. There is an open grassy area with benches where you can sit down on and snack away at your purchases. It is trading now for just four weeks and most traders told me they sell out each Saturday. It is open from 10am to 2pm. There is also room for further expansion indoors (as winter will be unkind to stalls ) in an area that was once Fahy’s bakery where all the old ovens are still there unused for maybe 30 years or more. It is an interesting market with some really diverse stalls. You can buy a complete home bee keeping set up for €320 and this includes a very unusual wooden hive, a stock of some 3,000-6,000 honey bees, training, and help. There is also a Galway Beekeepers’ Association which I am sure would be a help for the first year. There is only a very short time left to purchase one as the season for the supply of bees ends soon.

During 2009 Ireland lost one third of all its bees, as did most other places around the globe including the USA. This is extremely serious for many parts of the natural world; hence promoting bee keeping is a really worthwhile pursuit. A hive can be kept in your back garden and, if looked after, will provide a family with natural honey for life. The 3,000-6,000 bees you get with the hive will expand over time to about 40,000. Apparently a honey bee is the least likely to sting so do not worry about that part of the process.

I met Julie Murphy from BrainGrain Health Bars, and if enthusiasm was infectious then all who came into contact with her would be injected with a large dose of same. She makes a nutrition bar that has just about every good seed that is possible, it is like an energy bar for the day but with no sugar other that derived from the ingredients, such as dates. I have had bars like this before and by and large they taste dreadful, this one is very good. It is also available gluten free. One of these could keep you going for the day and I think athletes could do a lot worse than eating these regularly. They contain dates, oats, barley and rye flakes, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, sultanas, currants, grape juice, white tea, coconut, sunflower oil, and spices, and for €2 that is a lot of goodness. Julie also serves the most delicious home made pea soup and her contact details are (087 ) 9448185 or look up www.Thebraingrainbar.com Sweet Cakes is a stall selling homemade cupcakes with lots of delicious toppings and flavours. It is run by Mary Murphy and everything is cooked the day before in her home. She will also make a big tier of cup cakes for your wedding, for example 150 cup cakes all colour coordinated in a specially made frame to make a big impact in the wedding dining room. I tried the cookie dough mixture cup cake and it was delicious. There are blueberry cup cakes, carrot cup cakes, chocolate cup cakes made with 70 per cent high quality couveture chocolate and they cost €1.50 each. While I was chatting to Mary there was a string of kids arriving to buy their favourite cup cake, invariably the ones with the hundreds and thousands on top were a great hit.

You can also buy live chickens and a chicken coop to hold them; fresh fish from Island Fish, organic vegetables, plants, crépes, some very rare concerts on DVD, one local man even has some cars for sale. The message from the organisers is that they want more stall holders but they must complement what is there, and the contact details for the committee are (087 ) 6343864. The daily charge is €15 per stall including public liability insurance, which seems a good deal to me. I would encourage anyone with an idea and who wants to test the market, particularly if living in the area, to consider having a stall. They are having a big day on Saturday July 10 complete with face painting, music, Galway Bay FM Baycaster, and more. Why not put that date in your diary and bring the kids, it’s only about 10 minutes from Athenry.

Finally, I met Fionnuala from the Little Bakehouse and she also bakes everything at home for the market. She has some traditional items for sale which I have not seen for a while, such as cheese scones with garlic cheddar and chives, also freshly made potato cakes served with chilli sauce were flying out to customers and are delicious. I bought one of her apple crumbles as the sample taste was so good. There are two sizes available, €3 and €5, and that is one item I will be back for – delicious.

I think markets like this that have character, lots of local artisan producers and, very importantly, access to cover for the bad days are a winner, and all credit is due to the organising committee. Check out their website on www.moniveavillagemarket.com

My email address for suggestions/replies is [email protected]

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