Sizzling summer at the Dáil

Thu, Jul 09, 2009

The Dáil bar is celebrating summer with some very tasty special offers. A little taste of a Mexico is being presented by a sizzling fajita deal, with a choice of chicken or vegetarian filling, and accompanied by a free beer or glass of wine for €12.95.

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Ten ways to lose fat without even trying

Thu, Jul 09, 2009

Fat loss does not have to be painful. Try these simple tips and see just how easy it can be.

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Warm Asian tuna salad with pickled ginger and fresh coriander, served with sushi rice

Thu, Jul 09, 2009

This delicious salad comes from Kylemore. Fresh tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, offering a boost to heart health as well as improving concentration and memory.

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Make your own cocktails

Thu, Jul 02, 2009

Thanks to television shows and movies, cocktails have made a big revival in the past few years. The last big cocktail phase was during the fifties and sixties when every fashionable hotel had a cocktail bar with lots of starched collars, crisp white uniforms and bow ties. In 2009 the typical uniform for a cocktail barman seems to be black, although usually with the addition of a very flashy tie. The use of the word cocktail dates back to 1806 in New York so they have been around a long time, yet many have stood the test of time and have the same ingredients today as they had 100 years ago. A typical cocktail contains about 30-40 per cent high strength alcohol with the remainder being flavourings of one kind or another.

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Strawberries

Thu, Jul 02, 2009

The weather over the past week has forced me into a difficult decision. Is it barbecue time, or possibly a piece on the versatility of salad? But a delivery of fresh Irish strawberries into the restaurant quickly made up my mind. Is there any fruit to herald the beginning of summer superior to a fresh sun ripened strawberry? In the middle of winter it’s not uncommon to come across, in the shops, these hard lumps of things that look like strawberries but taste of something far removed from a sweet Irish-grown berry. Especially when topped off with a little whipped dairy cream, no chef can better strawberries and cream. Strawberries grow particularly well in Ireland, and more so during the rare sunny summers. They ripen a little slower than on the continent, developing high sugar content.

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Achill to celebrate the sea with Féile Bia Na Mara

Thu, Jul 02, 2009

TV master chef and author Clodagh McKenna will be the star attraction when Achill Island revives its traditional Féile Bia Na Mara from July 9 to 12. The Achill Seafood Festival is supported by Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

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Trends in eating out

Thu, Jun 25, 2009

I have noticed that the traditional types of customers in many restaurants have changed over the past few years. The most noticeable is that women are now a serious force to be reckoned with and any restaurant which does not focus on their needs will suffer. On every single occasion that I have eaten out in the last 12 months there have been large tables of women’s groups dining, committees, hen nights, group of friends, groups from work, etc, and the same cannot be said of the men folk. What does this mean? I have not got a clue, but it is certainly good for the restaurant trade. Yet I have not seen any restaurant aiming its marketing directly at this group, eg, free cocktail for any group of more than X, or some such enticement.

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Enjoy the fruit of the sea

Thu, Jun 25, 2009

Few people with a taste for seafood would pass up the opportunity to indulge themselves in a feast of fresh prawns. These little fellows can quickly become addictive. There is an endless variety of ways to cook and serve prawns and they always give an impression of good taste.

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KC Blake’s Pantry opens in Oranmore

Thu, Jun 18, 2009

KC Blake’s is open for business six days per week from 10.30am until 7.30pm Tuesday to Saturday, and on Sundays from 12 noon to 5pm. The company’s aim is to produce restaurant quality food for you to eat at home. So what is the difference between certain large supermarket dinners and KC Blake’s offerings except the price? I put that question to Vicky as today price is an issue for most people. The difference is that all the raw materials are sourced in Galway and of the best quality available, the fish, the meat, the fruit and vegetables, and even the packaging are all sourced locally. There are absolutely no flavour enhancers or preservatives and everything is handmade by the team of chefs. Everything is cooked fresh each day and delivered to The Pantry so it is as fresh as possible.

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Great deals for barbecues

Thu, Jun 18, 2009

Offering the finest in lean and succulent meats is Brendan Loughnane Master Butchers on the Headford Road. Located beside Tesco Express, the family business has traded for three generations. Outlets in both Loughrea and Galway city have proven the company’s dedication to customer service.

Loughnane prides himself on offering high quality and value for money. All beef served in Loughnane’s store comes directly from his own farm.

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Cava celebrates first year in business

Thu, Jun 18, 2009

Open now for more than a year, Cava, the stylish Spanish restaurant and tapas bar on Dominick Street has established itself as one of Galway’s finest eateries. With relaxed yet formal dining, Cava offers an opportunity to experience the culinary depth of Spanish cooking without having to hop on a plane.

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Get dating with It’s Just Lunch

Thu, Jun 18, 2009

It’s Just Lunch, the dating agency for busy professionals, is in its second year of operation in Ireland and has enjoyed some great success. Many of the company’s clients are celebrating anniversaries at this time and franchise owner Anne-Marie Cussen couldn’t be happier.

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Free range meat direct to your door

Thu, Jun 11, 2009

Brendan and Derek Allen are the inspiration behind Castlemine Free Range. They are the latest generation to be involved in the family farm in Four-Mile-House, Co Roscommon. The Allen brothers saw an opportunity to move away from the more intensive farming methods to more traditional, slow growing style of farming. Their farming philosophy is simply that slowly grown equals greater taste.

They produce beef, lamb, rare breed pigs, and poultry and are familiar faces at the farmers’ market in Moycullen. They also have just launched an extensive meat box scheme and have put together a number of set beef and lamb boxes which vary in size, contents, and price. If you prefer to choose your own contents they will also put together a meat box based solely on your requirements. All meat boxes are delivered direct to your door and they offer free delivery in Galway and surrounding areas. As well as once off deliveries, a regular delivery of their high quality produce can be arranged. More details are available by calling Brendan on (090) 6629886 or by visiting www.castleminefarm.ie

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Bits and bites of foodie news

Thu, Jun 04, 2009

This week, I want to cover several smaller bits of news and suggestions for places to visit. I recently found a great place to buy free range eggs and the method of payment is definitely a novel one. Just outside the front door of his house, ‘The Egg Man’ has a crate of fresh newly laid eggs each day. You open the box, select your quantity of eggs (which are wonderfully ungraded, so you can choose massive ones if available), you then calculate the cost at €1.50 per half dozen and put the money in the letterbox. It is called an “honesty box”, and does not give change! The yolks are deep reddish/gold and they taste great, they are also wonderful for cooking. If you want to call to him, take the road across from the water tower in Clarinbridge, drive past Walsh’s Crane Hire and after about one mile on the right hand side you will see a sign outside a bungalow ‘Free Range Eggs’. The Egg Man has also launched a delivery service and guarantees 20 per cent cheaper than retail prices. Call (087) 7682464.

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Currying favour

Thu, Jun 04, 2009

Curry is one of the most traditional English dishes dating back to the East India Trading Company. Curry may be delicious when made well, but Indian food it is not. Now the spices and their combinations used in curry are indeed very much Indian, but in India they tend to be fresh and far more fragrant than what we see in Ireland. The name curry originated from the word kari, which means spiced sauce. Curry powder was a British invention which allowed the spice combinations of the Indians to become far more user friendly, also transporting a powder is a lot simpler than moving complex varieties of foods across continents.

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Delicious chicken

Thu, Jun 04, 2009

Enjoy some al fresco dining with these delicious chicken recipes from Bord Bia, perfect for a barbecue or a sunny weekend lunch.

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Delicious chicken 2

Thu, Jun 04, 2009

The absolutely best way is to roast a whole chicken with lots of garlic cloves, a few sprigs of rosemary, lemon wedges stuffed into the cavity, and seasoned with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cook until the juices run clear. An hour or two later, take the meat off the bone and make the salad. If you haven’t time to roast a chicken then you can just grill a few chicken breasts, slice them up, and make the salad.

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The journey to Abalone

Thu, May 28, 2009

Alan Willliams was born in the heart of the traditional music area that is Doolin/Lisdoonvarna in County Clare. He is one of five children and grew up on a farm. One of his early influences was his grandmother, who regularly cooked his favourite meal of bacon and cabbage. They had five gardens, they killed their own pigs, and were self sufficient in many respects. This seems to be a common thread with good chefs, honest home grown food from an early age.

From the age of 12 Williams started working summer holidays in the local hotel, scrubbing pots and preparing vegetables. While there he knew that he would always be a chef. When he left secondary school he did a three months cookery course in Portumna and found that he was being taught all the things he had learned back in those summer holidays in the hotel kitchen in Lisdoonvarna. After his stint in Portumna he worked in Park House Restaurant and a place I well remember called The European Table in Middle Street. Williams reckoned he had missed out on formal cookery school so was delighted when he was accepted into a two year professional cookery course in GMIT. This lasted about 12 months as he was working at the same time and did not like any of those parts of the course that did not involve actual cooking. The practicalities of cooking is what appeals to Williams, not all the paperwork and study.

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Connemara lamb pie to be launched at Conamara Bog Week

Thu, May 28, 2009

Conamara Bog Week, the annual festival which takes place in Letterfrack, will this year celebrate its 25th birthday.

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Galway cookbook tantalises the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover

Thu, May 28, 2009

Take 10 very talented local chefs, add one Euro-toques organisation, mix in a dollop of creativity and generously sprinkle with passion, to create one very tasty and impressive pocket-sized recipe publication entitled The Galway Ingredient. The book is crammed full of mouth-watering recipes, each one carefully designed with delicious local produce in mind. Teagasc sponsored the book, which marks the milestone that is The Volvo Ocean Race Stopover. At the forefront of this project are chefs Gerry Galvin, editor and former owner of the renowned Drimcong House Restaurant, and Michael O’Meara, responsible for photography and owner of Oscars Bistro. The remaining, equally artistic, chefs are all Galway locals. The delectable recipes chosen for the book are a testament to the hundreds of prestigious awards with which the group have collectively been accredited with. “ Each of the contributors to The Galway Ingredient have worked exceptionally hard to ensure that the end result is something that, not only they, but that Galway can be proud of, and I believe they have surpassed all expectations” said Gerry Galvin. “Teagasc was our perfect partner for the project, which has enabled us to present food of the locality at its freshest and best,” added Galvin. Gerry Scully, programme manager of Teagasc, also expressed his pleasure on, working with Euro-toques International, describing the organisation as “undisputed leaders in the promotion of best quality food and safeguarding culinary heritage”. The Galway Ingredient is available at the Galway Tourist Office and on all Fáilte Ireland promotional stands in the Volvo Ocean Race Tented Village. For more information on Euro-toques, Galway, visit www.eurotoquesirl.org

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