If you’ve not yet watched, enjoyed and loved Small Green Fields, then do so now. Boil the kettle, shut the world away for 12 minutes and take in Imen McDonnell‘s gorgeous short exploring Ireland’s artisan food and farming community. Click Play Video above to get started.
For those keeping up with artisan food producers in Ireland, be it on Twitter or in the real world, there’s plenty of familiar faces appearing here.
Small Green Fields was produced and directed by Imen McDonnell as Farmhouse Films, edited by Carrie Shanahan with Michael Hartzel on camera.
I’ve spent a good part of the year working on various videos, but I haven’t come across anything like this in a good while that will light a fire in you for home.
In food-meets-ecommerce matters, The Butler’s Pantry have finally ventured into the online world, hot on the heels of having opened their tenth Irish store. Number 11 is thebutlerspantry.ie.
Not only that, but if you’re completely stuck for Christmas, or if you fancied putting your feet up while doing the cooking, they’re also able to provide a full hand-made Christmas menu, decided by yourself and delivered to your Christmas table or party with deliveries running up to 4pm on Christmas Eve.
Using seasonal local ingredients, all of their own produced is made and prepared in their kitchens in Bray. Since launching in 1987, they currently employ 100 staff with turnover approaching €5 million.
Given the recent survey by eBay.ie that showed Irish shoppers will be the biggest spenders this year with an average of €512.43 , almost €100 more than Swedish shoppers in second place, I’d say the online store launch comes at the right time to cash in on the Christmas shopping end of things.
Christmas looks set to pass me by this year as preparations for the wedding continue (I’m due to be married on 4 January) and as such, I’ve got my eye on set on a few things for the new year. The diaries for 2014 are already getting filled with launches, meetings, interviews and the rest.
The 2014 Events Guide
So, what I want to know is, have you anything planned for 2014 and more pressing, are you up to anything in January? I’m currently compiling the Any Given Food events guide and I’m looking for events, demos, tastings and launches taking place in January.
If you’ve got something to share and would like to be included in the listings, drop me a line here or leave your details in the comments below.
It’s been a few months now since the Tassimo hot beverage machine landed in the office. It’s called a ‘hot beverage machine’ as it’s not strictly coffee – you’ve got teas, chocolates, and it can also do cold drinks.
In being the helpful elf that I am sometimes, and in paying more attention to the searches that are bringing people to the blog, one of the more popular ones has been asking where to buy Tassimo discs or Tassimo pods in Ireland. Reading some of the broadsheets towards the end of November / earlier this month, I’m guessing a few people either picked them up in some of the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales (spotted them as low as under 60 quid) or they’re on the list for Christmas as an affordable option for hot drinks in the kitchen.
So, I’ve put together a list of a few outlets here, which may be of use to you. You can always check Tassimo.ie and punch your address or town in their Store Locator to see what options are nearby. Keep in mind that some places will still sell the machines, but no discs, the below listings (as of 9 December 2013) I’m reliably informed do stock the discs. Continue Reading
Biabeag (or small food to those of you without the native Irish tongue) is back in business and in January, its author, Keith Bohanna, kicks off a new series of events in Kilkenny based around real food and exploring the stories of passionate makers. It might sound like a mouthful, but Keith and a few others in the wings have assembled an interesting lineup for the first event which takes place on Saturday 25 January, 6pm at Highbank Orchards in Kilkenny.
What Happens On The Night?
Well, you’re going to meet three breadmakers from different parts of the country, each with a story to tell. They’ll share their story in their own words, then a discussion will likely kick off with everyone involved. Oh, and there will be tastings. Sure it wouldn’t be a food event without tastings so you’ll get to sample the produce from each of the makers below.
Meet The Breadmakers
Who’s going to be doing the talking on the night? Here’s who.
Declan moved from the hotel business into the bread making business in 1999, converting a small two-car garage at the front of his house into a tiny bakery. Drawing heavily from French baking techniques and styles of equipment, Arbutus employs five fulltime bakers and now distributes nationwide.
Josephine Plettenberg, Speltbakers
Jospephine runs Speltbakers, a small bakery producing spelt baquettes, rolls and soda loaves, scones and biscuits out of Gowran, Co. Kilkenny
There’s a small charge of €5 for the event which should run from 6-8pm anyway, again, on Saturday 25 January 2014. Places will be limited and can be booked online here.
Want To Share Your Own Event?
If you’re running your own event in the New Year, I’d love to hear about it. Click here to send in your event details for inclusion in the new food events guide kicking off in 2014.
What I’ve learned about 2013′s food trends
Baking’s not going away any time soon, gin really is coming back this time – and I’ve found quite the best toasted sandwich in Britain, writes Rachel Cooke for The Guardian.
Organic Food Festival tackles bad nutrition
Zimbabwe’s first organic and traditional food festival will promote diverse and nutritious local foods in a bid to resist the imposition of harmful and unsustainable food systems being pushed on citizens by a very well-resourced food industry. Will we get the same in Ireland?
Around this time of year, one of the biggest search terms drawing people to Any Given Food is the Cork Christmas Market. This year, the markets on Grand Parade are part of Glow, A Cork Christmas Celebration.
This year the markets run cross four weekends, running 10am to 8pm each day.
Thursday 29 November – Sunday 1 December
Friday 6 December – Sunday 8 December
Friday 13 December – Sunday 15 December
Friday 20 December – Monday 23 December
Who’s Going To Be There?
The first year I went down for the Cork Christmas Markets, I must have spent 4 or 5 hours on Grand Parade alone, and it’s very easy to do. There’s plenty of traders around, it’s design and layout works a treat, everyone is up for the conversation and there’s so much to eat, drink, see and sample.
Cork Coffee Roasters (Hot Chocolates/Organic & Traditional Teas/Mulled apple Juice)
HOT FOOD TRADERS
The Crepe Man (Sweet/Savory Crepes & Belgian Waffles)
Wok ‘n’ Roll (Currys/Noodles)
Hans Frankenfurter (Bratwurst (German Sausage)/Pulled Pork/Currywurst)
Pompeii Pizza (Wood fired Pizza)
Hammami Kebab Catering (Lebanese Food, Fresh Herb & Spices)
Glanmire Ices (Fresh Fish & Chunky Chips)
360 Catering – The Rebel Burger Co (Gourmet Beef Burgers)
Bad Boys BBQ (BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich/Hot Dogs/BBQ Beef Burger)
Barracuda Barbeque Company (BBQ Local Produce & Roast Herb Potatoes)
You’ve got a whole heap of activities taking place as well. This year there’s a ferris wheel, carol singers along with Tír na Nollag taking place in Bishop Lucey Park just up from the parade, transforming into ‘a magical faery village’, open free of charge each weekend from 4 to 8pm. For full details check out corkchristmascelebration.ie.
December is here. I don’t abide in any way talking about Christmas in November, but once December hits, I’m all over it. Mind you, I’m still not playing any Christmas music on the radio for a few weeks yet.
December brings with it a whole heap of events and mini festivals and if you’ve got anything coming up that you would like to share, pop an email to email@example.com with your details for an inclusion in the listings.
Here’s some of the events happening this month.
4-8 December: National Craft & Design Fair, RDS, Dublin
5-8 December: A Taste of Roscrea
7-23 December: Christmas Market at Wells House & Gardens, Gorey, Co. Wexford
8 December: Duckett’s Grove Christmas Craft & Food Fair
8-24 December: Christmas at Huntington Castle, Co. Carlow
12-23 December: Dublin Docklands Christmas Festival 2013
If there’s one time of year that I absolutely indulge in cheese, it’s Christmas. A month to go to the big day of the festival season, Bord Bia has the following helpful tips and advice to ensure your cheese board is a success.
7 Tips For A Successful Cheeseboard
Avoid too much choice. It’s better to have a couple of good size pieces of cheese than a lot of smaller bits. It looks better and the cheese will keep better.
Select your cheeses so that you have different sizes, shapes, flavours and texture. For example, you could have a soft, blue, hard, and goat.
Place your cheeses in order of strength – try not to have strong pungent cheeses beside delicately flavoured cheeses.
Leave the cheese at room temperature for approximately 2-3 hours before serving.
In terms of presentation, try serving cheeses on slate, marble, wooden board, or straw mat.
Serve with bread or cheese crackers leaving room beside each cheese for your guests to slice.
Apples, pears, or grapes make a nice addition along with honey, jellies, chutney or quince.
My Own Advice For Your Festival Cheeseboard
Start local. I’d hazard that a trip to your local supermarket or farmer’s market will yield a cheese that’s been produce within 20 miles of you, maybe closer. Plus you’ll be doing your bit to shop local at Christmas.
Mix it up. There are plenty of different types and styles of cheeses out there. Don’t rely on 50 shades of cheddar to get you through – bring in some goats cheese, sheeps cheese, keep the palette guessing.
Do pick up some chutney – spicy, fruity, whatever you’re into. I’ll have a mixed stash from Tastefully Yours (Waterford) and the T’Spoon Kitchen (Sligo) on the go this Christmas. Just make sure you’ve separate spoons for separate jars, and keep them coming.
Ditch the wine for some craft beer. We’re approaching the stage of having a microbrewery in every county in Ireland so nip down to your local off license or supermarket and grab a local craft beer. The former is likely to have more advice on the pairings. Better still, grab yourself a cheese that’s been rindwashed in craft beer.
It’s hard to beat the Carr’s water biscuit as a cracker for cheese. Go with something light enough, we’re not talking Digestive Biscuits here for crackers. Closer to home, Sheridan’s own range are a real treat, available countrywide.
EARLIER THIS month I picked up the Canon PowerShot G15 in the post for review. It’s been on the market just over a year, packs a bright F/1.8-2.8 lens, a 12.1MP CMOS sensor with DIGIC 5 and a gorgeous 3″ screen on the back. Oh, and it’s got full manual controls as well, in a compact camera. And it shoots in RAW. If you’ve been thinking about going down the dSLR route for your food photography but size and/or budget is an issue, then the G15 could be the ideal candidate to pop into your bag or join you at the table. Continue Reading