Chicken leg with pistachio and apricot

Thu, Apr 16, 2009

The chicken is probably the most intensively reared animal in modern agriculture. Chicken produces a highly versatile meat which up until the early 20th century was considered a luxury food.

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Heneghans opens new premises at The Bridge Mills

Thu, Apr 16, 2009

Twenty years ago, in April 1989, Frank and Ellen Heneghan opened their first cafe in The Bridge Mills. They painstakingly restored the derelict corn mill that had functioned until the 1970s.

In 2004, they expanded their Sea Road Floral premises, opening the budding cafe, serving vegetarian cuisine and home baking. Following on the award winning success of the Budding Cafe, they are opening an additional outlet.

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Making the case for a picnic

Thu, Apr 09, 2009

Every Galwegian is looking forward to the last section of the motorway from Galway to Athlone opening. This will mean that you can hop in your car and be at the Liffey Valley Centre in approximately two hours.

However, can anyone please tell me why we should not be allowed to eat, rest, or go to the loo on our long awaited motorway? And although my title above suggests that you bring a picnic there is, I’m afraid, no facility to pull in and eat! The Government is looking for ways to get revenue — well surely a very simple idea would be to auction or rent six or eight pieces of the already compulsory acquisitioned land on the Galway/Dublin motorway and I can guarantee that there would be a queue of people willing to find several million for such guaranteed revenue generating enterprises.

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Connemara hill lamb/uain sléibhe Chonamara

Thu, Apr 09, 2009

Parma ham, feta cheese, champagne, Parmigiano reggiano, Roquefort cheese, and Connemara hill lamb. So what do these and a select number of other great foods have in common? PGI or protected geographical indication — in other words the lamb reared in exclusive designated areas of Connemara is recognised as being unique, and as such is protected under EU law. The achievement of gaining this unique status is such that Greece has fought a legal battle for the past 20 years to gain this status for Feta cheese. Now that’s something for each and every person in Galway to be proud of. Anyone familiar with Connemara hill lamb will have little difficulty verifying why hill lamb is so special. The lambs tend to mature at a slower rate, which allows the meat develop a deeper, fuller, flavour. Also the diet of the lamb, which includes a distinctive selection of herbs and heathers, adds considerably to the succulent taste and texture of the meat.

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Market day in Clarinbridge and lunch in the Radisson

Thu, Apr 02, 2009

Last Sunday saw the launch of Galway’s newest market in Clarinbridge. It will be held on the last Sunday of each month beside the garden centre at the rear of Centra. There was a superb turnout of 19 market stalls selling cakes, breads, home-made soups, oysters, farm fresh eggs, jams, pancakes, chutneys, and home-made fudge, plus several jewellery and hand crafts stalls. It was very busy with one trader telling me that she had sold 48 cakes of brown bread by 1.30pm. It starts at 12 noon and closes at 6pm, and a stall can be purchased for €20 which seems very good value indeed. I predict that it is going to be very popular, particularly in the summer months, so if you are thinking about a stall there, book your space now before it is full. As always I encourage you to attend and support all local markets in your area and I wish the Clarinbridge Market and all its stall holders every success.

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Magnificent monkfish

Thu, Apr 02, 2009

A big ugly swimming mouth, a stomach attached to a tail, or simply plain ugly, Lophius piscatorius may be many things, but pretty it is not. The monkfish is an extremely popular fish on the tables of Irish restaurants, and for good reason. The meat is delicate and firm in texture with an extremely pleasant aftertaste, particularly when simply cooked in a little butter and finished with no more than a squeeze of lemon juice.

This fish can grow big as well, up to two metres, and considering the head often accounts for two thirds of the animal’s weight the fish can easily be perceived as a monster of the deep. Interestingly the correct name for what we know as monkfish is in fact angler fish, and in Ireland the fish is sometimes known as frogfish. The tail of the monkfish is where most of the meat is obtained, but on larger fish a good amount of the meat can also be obtained from the cheeks. Another reason for the popularity of the monkfish is the absence of bone in the fillets of the fish, although it is important to bear in mind that there is a skin-like membrane underneath the skin of the fish which tends to toughen the flesh if not removed before cooking.

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Celebrate with spring lamb

Thu, Apr 02, 2009

There is no better way to celebrate Easter than with spring lamb! Bord Bia has come up with some great new recipes which combine both traditional and far away flavours to deliver versatile and mouthwatering dishes.

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Have a Happy Easter at the Harbour Hotel

Thu, Apr 02, 2009

The Harbour Hotel with the K Bar and Krusoes restaurant serving fresh, good quality, food, is located just two minutes’ walk from Eyre Square, and with easy access from all routes is the perfect setting for Easter Sunday lunch.

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Designer tea

Thu, Mar 26, 2009

Now that we have had 10 years of coffee houses springing up in every conceivable space, the ‘cup of tea’ has nearly been consigned to history. Indeed the phrase ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’ seems to be taken by many to read as, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee?’ Except for a certain generation where the ‘cuppa’ still reigns supreme, most people are now devoted coffee consumers.

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Simple steps to weight gain

Thu, Mar 26, 2009

Ninety nine per cent of people simply do not consume enough food calories and are eating the wrong food. It happens time after time and someone will ask me how to gain weight, my first question is: “What have you eaten today?” and without a doubt most will say not much. You have to eat to fuel the body, plain and simple. Most men do not consume sufficient amounts of protein, complex carbs, fats, and they keep feeding on simple carbs that won’t help in weight gain and muscle gain.

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Duck — a tasty treat for any occasion

Thu, Mar 26, 2009

Duck meat is succulent and full of flavour but all too often only consumed on special occasions. There are many breeds of duck, each with its own distinctive culinary attributes. The Indian runner, Aylesbury, Peking, Norfolk, Long Island, Gressingham, Barbary, Rouen, and mallard are just some of the species of duck available for the table.

Wild duck should always be consumed within three days of killing and the duck shooting season is from September 1 until January 31. The duck was originally domesticated in China well over 2,000 years ago. Almost all domesticated duck in the western regions stem from the mallard duck, although some breeds are more suited to egg laying such as the Indian runner. Duck eggs, although not commonly used in most kitchens, make excellent eating and are also superb for baking due to them having a proportionally larger yolk than hen’s eggs. Duck eggs should always be consumed well cooked due to salmonella risks associated with the eggs of water fowl. The Galway market is the place to find fresh organic duck eggs, and if you get an opportunity to pick up a dozen don’t hesitate to give them a go.

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Alan & Susan’s Pantry, Oranmore

Thu, Mar 19, 2009

I have made passing reference to this super new deli and now that they have had time to source all the goodies it is worth telling you about some of the unusual and great tasting items I have sampled. The word ‘deli’ is a highly abused term over the last few years and there are so many it is hard to tell the good from the bad — indeed a real deli is a distinct rarity and this is certainly the best for many miles around the Oranmore area. It is tucked around the corner from Main Street, Oranmore, facing the astroturf pitch with loads of free parking, even at the front door.

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Eggs — a local food for any time

Thu, Mar 19, 2009

With all the talk of an economic meltdown it’s easy to consider locally produced food as a luxury that is for many beyond reach. The truth of the matter is fortunately far different — it’s possible to walk into almost any shop in Galway and find locally produced free range eggs.

Galway has a number of egg producers ranging from Galway free range eggs, Corrib eggs, Rockland eggs, and Piggott Pearse and Sons of Gort. Eggs are possibly the ultimate fast food and are considered a nutritionally whole food as all essential nutrients can be found in an egg. A freshly laid hen’s eggs simply boiled for three minutes and served with hot buttered toast is a feast fit for any person and any occasion. Also due to eggs containing a high proportion of protein a simple boiled egg is an excellent way to keep hunger at bay. Interestingly when it comes to boiling an egg the one rule to follow is not to let the egg boil, but rather allow the water simmer in a very gentle way.

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Pizza prize for Bistro Bianconi

Thu, Mar 19, 2009

A team from Galway-based pizza company Bistro Bianconi has scooped a coveted award for best non-traditional pizza at the World Pizza Games in Las Vegas.

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Thai style chicken with noodles and chilli

Thu, Mar 19, 2009

Thai cookery is in many ways unequalled in producing fine broth type dishes. The use of lime leaf, lemongrass, and coriander which are often enhanced with coconut milk and basil can produce broths with incredible depth and style. Another advantage of poaching foods in a broth is the healthy benefits of this cookery style. Although coconut milk has a high fat content it can easily be substituted by a low fat alternative. Another great thing about Thai food is that once you master the basics of how to balance the various Thai spices and flavours it is easy to alter a dish to include fish and vegetables. Aubergines work very well in Thai cookery. Thai fish sauce or nam pla is essential to achieving an authentic Thai flavour. Don’t be put off by this strong smelling condiment — when used correctly it can make a good dish great. Another handy point when using Thai curry paste — the green paste is the hot one and the red paste is the mild.

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A night at Oscar’s

Thu, Mar 12, 2009

I called to Oscar’s Bistro very early on a Saturday evening, at 6.15pm, and was surprised to find several diners there already. They open at 6pm. By 6.30pm the restaurant was filling up nicely and there was a good atmosphere. One of the most striking differences since my last visit was the new pictures on the walls. There are very large stunning images, and upon further enquiry I discovered that they were all taken by the owner/chef, Michael O’Meara. In fact on the reverse of Oscar’s business card are the details of Michael’s other passion, www.foodandwinephotography.com. I recommend that you have a look as some of the images are stunning.

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Classy cocktail classes — the perfect girls’ night out at the House Hotel

Thu, Mar 12, 2009

The art of cocktail mixing is known by very few, so why not add yourself to the elite list and learn to make the perfect Cosmopolitan? The city centre boutique House hotel is now offering the chance to learn from a professional mixologist how to create your favourite cocktails.

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Let food be thy medicine

Thu, Mar 12, 2009

“Let food be thy medicine” — Hippocrates, c400BC

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Fresh Irish crab

Thu, Mar 12, 2009

Far too often the only use given to this versatile and decadent decapod, this abundant and delicious crustacean, is to eat the claws and forget about the rest. Fresh crab when sold whole is one of the best value shellfish on the market. The culinary uses of crab are immense and range from simple soups to some of the great classic recipes of the world.

There are many species of edible crab common to Irish waters. The most popular crab used for the table in Ireland is the common or edible crab. The shell of the common crab is about eight inches wide and reddish brown in colour. Other superb table crabs are the velvet crab and the spider or spiny crab.

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Restaurants — by design and some cool deals

Thu, Mar 05, 2009

A successful eatery is one where you feel good and do not want to leave, and one to which you will return regularly. It must of course provide great food and great service at an acceptable price. The more intangible ingredient is the atmosphere, the look and feel of the place. Some places have it naturally, eg, Moran’s of the Weir; others have to design it, and a stunning example of this would be the grand salon lounge in the g Hotel. Not everyone may love it but for many it has a wonderful wow factor as well as being an extremely comfortable space to relax in.

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