Bits, bites, and bargains

Children enjoy making Rice Krispy buns with Kate Wright at the Clarinbridge Arts Festival.

Children enjoy making Rice Krispy buns with Kate Wright at the Clarinbridge Arts Festival.

This week is a collection of foodie comments and news that may be of interest.

Where would you get coffee and a generous slice of home made fruit cake, made with Guinness and real Irish butter for €3? If the porter cake was not to your liking you could choose home made carrot cake or lemon Madeira cake, and yes all for €3.

This same establishment will also serve you a bowl of homemade soup plus your choice of sandwich for €6, and I am talking real sandwiches, not some clingfilm wrapped soggy mess but the real deal. The answer is in The Blazer’s Bar in Craughwell, also known as Raftery’s. I have previously commented on their top quality food so it was great to see such a great offer. I reckon it must be the best value in the country. If you fancy Sunday lunch I recommend the four course meal for €18.95, served from 12.30 to 6.35pm. Raftery’s is one of the few places that serve bacon and cabbage, seven days per week, and it is its most popular main course. Irish people love bacon and cabbage yet it is very often missing from menus.

I popped into Kate Wright’s children’s cookery demonstration at the Clarinbridge Arts Festival and was greeted by 30 enthusiastic eight to 11-year-olds all dressed in aprons and learning how to make pizzas, Rice Krispy buns, spicy wedges, and decorated cup cakes. They were having a ball and Kate tells me that she is now providing cookery classes for kids as a novel way of entertaining kids at their birthday party. For bookings contact Kate at her restaurant, Cobblestones Café, Kirwan’s Lane, Galway, on (086 ) 6066494. Cobblestone Cafe was deemed one of the top 10 cafes in Ireland in this month’s Food and Wine magazine, well done Kate.

Those of you who may have frequented St Cleran’s Country House restaurant outside Craughwell will be aware that it has closed down and is for sale. I enjoyed many top class meals there, all prepared by Japanese chef, Kuma. I was delighted to see that Kuma is now in charge of the kitchen at Declan Corry’s new super deli/restaurant/butcher’s in Loughrea. Wishing Kuma and Declan all the best and I will report on the food when I get a chance to call in.

One of the great ‘spoil yourself’ pleasures is having a real ‘cream tea’. The name is probably a bit out of date as most people opt for coffee nowadays. The main ingredient is warm currant scones served with homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream. The only source of real clotted cream has been Devon in Cornwall, and my attempts to have some posted to me failed in the past as it was spoiled by the warm temperatures of post office sorting rooms. Now a Cork artisan farm called Glenilen are making the real thing and it is available in Dunne’s Stores for about €3.60 per 190 gram jar. It is absolutely top class — so go on and spoil yourself, it must be the cheapest way to indulge in a real gourmet pleasure. Make a few scones, smother on some clotted cream while still warm, spoon on strawberry jam, and you will be transported to a better place, for a few minutes at least.

The Twelve in Barna has received another wine award, it has just been chosen as the best wine destination by Georgina Campbell. This follows on the coveted Wine Spectator award earlier this year.

Finally for all you beer connoisseurs the second beer festival is on in the Black Box this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Beer is being taken quite seriously by some chefs and several Michelin starred restaurants have a beer section on the wine list.

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