Bits and bites of foodie news

Lamb shank and a pint of plain at Cullen’s Cottage restaurant.

Lamb shank and a pint of plain at Cullen’s Cottage restaurant.

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.

I called to Raftery’s in Craughwell to have their smoked bacon and cabbage dinner (on the menu every day for €9.95 ) and noticed that they have added a €6.95 dinner special. It changes each day and examples would be bangers and mash or spaghetti bolognaise. They are also selling lots of their great value coffee/tea with homemade porter cake for €3 a pop. You should also ask if they are still offering the free mid-strength Bulmer’s with every main course.

I recently attended the backyard farming course I mentioned a few weeks ago, and I must congratulate Nathan, Lucy, and the team for a very informative and inspiring Saturday. At a cost of €85 it would be a great present to give anyone. I fail to believe that any attendee will not go away determined to grow their own. The totally organic lunch, prepared from the garden, was super and if you want any slips or cuttings from their garden, just ask and you shall receive. Their contact number is (087 ) 051 7555 and the website is http://the-school-of-sustainability.com/booking.html

The afternoon session is given by Tommy Carroll who talks about keeping hens and other fowl. He is a fountain of knowledge and will be able to help you on the road to having hens for a supply of fresh eggs every day.

On quite a different note, Ashford Castle has launched its new menu at Cullen’s Cottage restaurant situated in the grounds of Ashford in Cong. The cooking is the same standard as in the castle as it is all supervised by Stefan Matz, the executive head chef. However it is in a totally different price league, eg, shank of local lamb with champ and roasted vegetables for €19.50, or honey caramelised pork belly with roasted potato salad for €16. The wild mushroom soup for €6.50 must have about four or five different types of mushrooms and it was a meal in itself. Warm rhubarb crumble with homemade vanilla ice-cream for €5.50 was also gorgeous. If the weather is good try to get a table outside and I guarantee you will stay until sunset. Contact (094 ) 9546003. As this is the 70th anniversary of Ashford as a hotel it is planning some special events during the year and the hotel is trying to source a copy of a menu from 1939. If anyone has one please contact me and I will pass it on. There is a complimentary dinner for two if anyone can provide a copy of the menu.

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