I’ve already posted some photos from the Meet The Makers / Real Bread Ireland night in Kilkenny on Saturday, but here comes the video. It’s a locked off camera so don’t expect Hollywood, but if you missed out on the event you can watch and listen back to the conversation between all involved on the night. Continue Reading →
So tonight so the first of the 2015 Biabeag events take place at Highbank Orchards along with the launch of Real Bread Ireland.
The first half of the night was given over to a catchup with Declan Ryan (Arbutus), Joe Fitzmaurice (Riot Rye) and Josephine Plettenberg (Speltbaker) to see how they’ve progressed over the past year. All three were involved as the first producers with the Biabeag series kicked off in January 2014 so it was interested to see how things have moved and expanded, in particular around Joe Fitzmaurice and his transition from the Cloughjordan Wood Fired Bakery to Riot Rye. Continue Reading →
January first is not the day to be making food resolutions for the year ahead. Or, at least, not the day to be acting on those resolutions. You need a warm up period, that adjustment window that lets you get ducks in a row, shop for what you need, and go from there.
Especially too when you’ve a wedding anniversary to contend with. I was married 4 January last year so I’ve opted to push everything out to 5 January to get the last of the drinks, crisps, dinners, snacks in – you name it.
That said, I’ve made my food plans for 2015, from the basic dietary ones to the richer ‘have to visit this restaurant’ ones and as a start, they look like this. Continue Reading →
Well, that was a quick year.
Honestly, 2014 has to be one of the quickest years I’ve ever experienced. It’s been a food-filled, pants-expanding kind of year that’s been packed with some huge changes in love, life, business and writing.
Kicking Off With A Bang
2014 was always going to kick off with a bang when Ms. Any Given Food became Mrs. Any Given Food on 4 January and things kind of snowballed from there. I think getting married put a different perspective on all things work and play, the former overruling the latter on many occasions which should be a lot better balanced in 2015.
Married life has brought with it an ton of fun meals out (something we’ve always enjoyed) but also a huge increase in home cooking, with Mrs. Any Given Food also finding her bakers touch, turning out a wild array of cakes and treats which have contributed to that pants-expanding feel to the year.
Getting Out And About
2014 was a great year for events. The second coming of Ballymaloe Litfest was just as good as the first, the Biabeag events in Kilkenny drew many a food lover to the Marble City, I managed some restaurant & hotel trips, cooking nights, festivals and more.
Not enough as I would have liked, but certainly enough to satisfy the cravings.
Looking back at the Any Given Food archives for 2014, things notably slowed down around August 2014, which is the point in the year where work ramped up. The Kilkenny Arts Festival was kicking off, So Kilkenny had its soft launch which meant rather than sitting at restaurants I was on the sidelines of matches, covering local news, filming gigs, writing more articles in four months about Kilkenny and its going ons than I had about food all year.
Couple a trip to the Dublin Fringe Festival with Devious Theatre in September in with producing a 20-part radio comedy series (due for broadcast early 2015) and a return to the stage with War Of Attrition throughout December and the latter stages of the year meant taking the foot off a lot of things food related and in particular, Any Given Food.
All of that too before the day job took off at a rate of knots into the end of the year.
Moving Into 2015
Moving into 2015, however, and the diary is already filling up with food events. So Kilkenny is under control with a team behind it, and while I’ve plenty enough planned out for Any Given Food and food writing in 2015, I’m also commencing work on another publication in January, more on that in due course.
I’ll be out and about with the camera and recording gear in 2015 again for the next round of Biabeag events and after producing a small number of food-related podcasts during 2014, I should be starting the 2015 series of podcasts off again in February combining food chats and recordings from food events.
I’m pretty sure that Any Given Food turns five in 2015 as well so it will be good to be on game and more focused on food writing. You can just hear the resolutions starting to creep out of me now…
Finally, A Thanks
At the end of it all, we’re drawing a line under 2014 and I think if there was ever a year of transition on all fronts for me, it was this one.
Thanks to all who’ve made contact on all matters food over the course of 2014 and wherever you go and whatever you do in 2015, may you knock the hell out of it.
I know I will.
Finding Irish food online, or more specifically, Irish artisan food producers who retail in the online space, has just gotten easier thanks to an extension of Keith Bohanna’s Biabeag.com.
Over the Christmas period, Keith has just turned the keys on Biabeag Online as a way of aggregating data on Irish food producers and online stores where you can buy Irish food related products.
This site is an attempt by me to bring together a kinda structured listing of all the places online that you can buy Irish small scale food products. With the exception of multiple retailers who don’t need the assistance of this or anyone else.
Small scale food production is hard and routes to market are tough once you get beyond the food markets which are thankfully more plentiful now. While shopping for food online is not really my personal thing I do live in Kilkenny where we have a multiplicity of great independent food retailers. Not everyone is as lucky.
A growing resources that’s also accepting suggestions for inclusion, you can browse over 40 entries online now.
Between gigs, work projects, a break away, a family wedding and an exhibition launch, it’s been a fairly hectic few weeks so it’s only now I sit down to write about a great night enjoyed at Talavera, the Radisson Blu St. Helen’s Italian restaurant on the Blackrock end of the Stillorgan Road in Dublin.
A few weeks ago I had been invited as part of a small group up to the hotel to hit the kitchen with chef Giancarlo Anselmi for what would be a journey across Italy from top to toe with some gastronomical hidden gems unconvered and cooked up. Continue Reading →
The lovely folks at Knorr have sent along not one but five flavour pot hampers to give away and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing this Friday. To get your name in the hat, simply leave a comment below this post – no tricky questions involved!
You may have seen the ads on the TV, you may have already tried them, but if you haven’t, the Knorr Flavour Pots are designed to add flavour to any meal and while each pot pack comes loaded with recipes and ideas on how to use them, but for the pots that I’ve used in cooking myself, there’s no science needed – just fire the contents of the pot in, stir, and serve. Continue Reading →
Fancy meeting a trio of chocolate producers in Kilkenny this weekend?
The final Biabeag Meet The Makers event takes place in its home at Highbank Orchards this coming Saturday evening, 6.30pm.
Regular readers of Any Given Food will know I’ve had a hand in covering all of the events this year and this weekend will be no different, but what better way to send the year home than with some serious talk and tastings around all things chocolate.
One of the gems on the chocolate front in Kilkenny is Mary Teehan of The Truffle Fairy. Truffles, dark chocolates and a definite contender for Best Brownies In Ireland (may be somewhat of a fictional award I’m adding here), Truffle Fairy can be found in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny and most days at the Thursday farmers market in Kilkenny.
Wexford-based Bean and Goose have some solid branding and single-origin bars behind them and they’re only off and running not much more than a year. Co-founder Karen Keane will be in the hot seat / couch on The Green Room stage.
Adding international flavour to the night is Blyss Chocolate’s Alyssa Jade McDonald who I’ve been introduced to via Keith and know online simply as BlyssLyss. As a chocolate maker, Alyssa has a serious passion for chocolate and story to match, sharing hers from bean to bar, plantation to mouth.
Get Your Tickets
You can either buy your tickets here for the wallet-friendly price of €8, or hop over to So Kilkenny (my way of introducing you to my next project) and leave a comment on the event post telling me what your favourite chocolate is. If you do that before 6pm Thursday, it could be your name out of the hat for a pair of tickets for the final night of the year. These events have been sold out, jam packed and thanks to the limited capacity and craic had, they’re literally ‘hot’ tickets.
For more, see biabeag.com.
I’ve made this recipe previously but going back through the bulging drafts box realise I never got around to publishing it the first time, so here goes…
Over the summer, I was sent two bottles of liqueur from Ruby Blue Liqueur in Northern Ireland.
Owned and produced by Hughes Craft Distillery, a small batch producer based in Co. Antrim, the Ruby Blue liqueurs are produced using only real fruit, Irish grain spirit and a little Irish mystic, ultimately creating what they regard as the cleanest, most natural, berry and spiced liqueurs on the market. Continue Reading →
For a lover of all things food, there’s nothing quite like a day at the food market as part of Savour Kilkenny. It has changed and developed over the past few years into a pure hive of activity – talks, tastings, demos, cook-offs, debates, and all backed by a village-load of traders and food producers who are cooking from the early hours of the morning. Continue Reading →