Coffee — the uber-cool beverage

Thu, Aug 07, 2008

When I was a lad the really cool thing to drink was Irel coffee. This came in a bottle and was a sticky black treacle like substance which you mixed with sugar, hot water, and a lot of milk. Later came Nescafé powdered coffee in a tiny tin, not much bigger than a tin of shoe polish, and if you used more than a half teaspoon you were in mega trouble. As time marched on pubs started to serve food and we had Cona coffee machines, which were good if your cup was served directly after it was made, however it could be (and often was) two, three, or four hours old. I have several memories (some quite recent) of sending coffee back while complaining that it was burnt/old only to be served a new ‘fresh’ cup from the same disgusting brew. The ‘fresh cup’ was inevitably accompanied by a comment like, nobody else complained!

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Smoked chicken salad with mango and caramel cashews

Thu, Aug 07, 2008

This tasty Mediterranean style salad recipe comes from food company Kylemore. The nuts, seeds, and olive oil provide lots of heart-healthy monounsaturates.

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Fine forecourt dining

Thu, Jul 24, 2008

Where could you get a dinner of braised lamb shank with roast potatoes and peas, cooked by a chef who has worked with Paul Rankin of Gourmet Ireland fame, for €6.99? The answer is at the Spar Express shop in the Corrib Filling Station at the Hill in Loughrea. I called in there recently and decided to browse the deli counter. I was surprised to see a selection of main courses just removed from the oven. They had roast breast of turkey cut in very thick juicy slices, roast of beef, lamb shanks, and pork pieces in a barbecue sauce.

They looked so good I chatted to the chef, Brian, who told me that it was his aim to produce restaurant quality food in a filling station kitchen, with full main courses costing only €5.99 or €6.99. He has 13 years’ experience in restaurant chefing, and with experience like working for Paul Rankin he knows what he is about. I tasted the pork pieces and they were way ahead of my expectations, very tasty and melt in the mouth. The lamb shank had been cooked for 2.5 hours and fell of the bone. He also does bacon and cabbage and emphasised that he uses collar bacon for flavour. The potatoes are perfectly roasted in the oven and not deep fried as is often the case in filling stations.

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Teriyaki pork with beansprouts and carrot salad

Thu, Jul 24, 2008

This is tasty low fat dish, but you don’t have to be on a diet to enjoy it!

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Cases of bubbles

Thu, Jul 17, 2008

To mark the final in our short series of Cases Wine Warehouse wine columns, we are finishing in style by covering that most celebratory of drinks — champagne, or sparkling wine. Bubbly used to be for very special occasions but now, thanks to the great value on offer from all over the world, it is for any special occasion! Bubbles in wine bring celebrations to life. They bring an immediate sense of occasion to any event. Sparkling wines are the wine world’s way of saying “thank you”, “well done”, “congratulations”, “let the show go on”, or “it’s Friday!”.

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Raclette — the DIY cheese dinner

Thu, Jul 17, 2008

What is raclette? It is an uncooked semi-hard cheese and its name is derived from the French verb racler, which means to scrape. There are lots of factory made raclette cheeses, however the one I am recommending is made by a very famous cheese maker Marcel Petite and comes from the Jura mountain region in France.

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Get cooking... Pork

Thu, Jul 17, 2008

Pork is a delicious, versatile, and healthy meal option that can be prepared and ready in minutes. Pork is a great option either as a tasty simple meal for one, or a delicious family feast that gives value for money. These recipes can also be finished on the barbecue for a perfect outdoor treat.

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