Kate’s Orantown Centre and choosing a good oil

BIA devil

Kate Wright has moved from her Cobblestones Cafe in Quay Lane, Galway, to a location upstairs in the Orantown Centre in Oranmore. A courageous move, I would think, but I am sure the legendary high rents in the city have something to do with it. Similar to the article last week about the new owners in Loughrea, these premises have also had two previous incarnations. The fact that Kate makes absolutely everything on site every day should make the difference and help make this a success.

Kate’s speciality has always been freshly made scones, cakes, and a lunch special favouring people who like vegetarian options. I have had her quiches in the past and they are excellent. There is always at least one meat based dish at lunchtime for the carnivores out there, typical lunch special price is €7.95. I called in to see her new venture mid afternoon last week and, as you can see from the picture, it was quite busy. Kate uses coffee by Lavazza and I had a slice of her warmed chocolate cake, both were excellent. The decor is simple but little details like cushions on the seats and loads of vases filled with fresh tulips give it a homely feel. Kate’s will be open every Monday to Saturday from 8.30am to 5.30pm and for those who are interested Kate will be giving her cookery classes shortly. For more information, call in and speak to Kate.

Olive oil and rapeseed oil — how to choose

Not that many years ago, it was difficult to find more than perhaps two olive oils in any shop. Now take a look at the shelves of somewhere like Tesco, it has row after row of oils and it is fairly difficult to decide what is the best.

There are four grades of olive oil. Regular olive oil is the lowest quality and the cheapest. It has had chemical and heat treatment during its production. The next level up is virgin olive oil; this has been produced without chemicals but has been manipulated and heated during production. Now we move on to extra virgin olive oil, the one recommended in most books and television programmes. Most extra virgin olive oils are very good but there is a further level that you can go to and is the very best for salad dressings, making dips, and of course just dipping on your crusty bread.

My recommendation is to seek out and find cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. This is the highest grade of olive oil and difficult to find, and in fact I could not find any among the shelves in Tesco.

To produce this oil the olivGA_2403_E1_079e paste is pressed at room temperature or colder in a very, very, slow process and what you get is the very finest olive oil. It is very high in monounsaturated fats (the good ones ) and really not all that suitable for frying as a high heat will destroy some of its excellent health benefits. You can of course use it for frying but be careful and do not let it smoke.

Where to find it? The term ‘cold pressed’ is unregulated so you need to find a shop that has the knowledge to select very good olive oil producers, eg, Sheridan’s, Woodberry’s Wine Shop, and Mister Beans in the Eyre Square Shopping Centre. The oil is from the Holy Land and called Taybeh, it contains zero cholesterol and five times more monounsaturated fat than polyunsaturated. It is a Fairtrade product and there is no bargaining with the local farmers to get them to sell at a low price. The bottle costs €15 and tastes gorgeous. When seeking out a good oil it should always be in a dark glass bottle and stored in a cool cabinet, not necessarily in a fridge as it will turn cloudy and viscous.

My second recommended oil is also available in Mister Beans and is one you will hear a lot more about. It is called Donegal cold pressed rapeseed oil. Several chefs are now using this including, I believe, Jess Murphy in Bar 8 on the Docks. This is what I am using for cooking and, while having a highish smoke content, you still need to be careful not to overheat the pan. It contains Omega 3, 6 and 9 and it has 11 times more Omega 3 than olive oil.

What is really great about it is that it is 100 per cent Irish, grown in small farms in Donegal, then dried and stored in Castlederg. The seed is cleaned, pressed, and cold filtered to produce the oil you see in the bottle. It costs about €3.95 for 500ml and should be on your shopping list. Have a look at the website for some recipes and information, www.donegalrapeseedoilco.com Finally there is a new Italian cook book being launched on Monday March 28 in l’Arco Italian restaurant in Ballyvaughan at 7.30pm. It is called Inside the Italian Kitchen and written by Anne Kennedy the food writer and Marco Roccasalvo, who has his own restaurant in Bray. There will be a cookery demonstration the next day, Tuesday March 29, at 7pm. For more info call David Quin on (087 ) 8662958.

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