Trips to Wexford, for me, are like a bus. A really late bus. Nothing for years and then all of a sudden I find myself heading to Wexford twice in two months. Only a few weeks ago I was down in Wexford Opera House for a day with some reps from local theatre companies and in a few weeks time, I should be able to make the trip to the Wexford Food Festival, kicking off on May 20th.
Headlining the 2011 festival celebrity chefs Catherine Fulvio and Wexford’s Phelim Byrne will demonstrate a range of cuisine cooking styles including Italian and Thai themed dishes.
This year’s programme will see an open air food producers market brought to Trimmer’s Lane in the heart of Wexford for two days, additional food stands will be found in The Bull Ring and elsewhere in the town creating a delightful food trail. To add to the festival atmosphere a tasty side helping of music and family fun entertainment will ensure locals and visitors alike can enjoy the events around town.
Also featuring on the festival programme, a cake and craft sale by the Wexford Federation ICA, a hog roast (pig on a spit!) by Kelly’s Resort Hotel and a special 5 course evening meal with wine courses hosted in the renowned La Dolce Vita, Jacques Bistro Wexford in Trimmers Lane and in Kelly’s Resort Hotel, Rosslare.
The festival is an evolution of the successful Wexford Food Fair, now morphed into a three day affair taking place in Wexford town. While there will be all sorts of demos, a restaurant trail and other ticketed events, I’m looking forward to seeing what the open air producers market at Trimmers Lane throws up, running on the Friday and Saturday from 11am – 4pm each day. You can check out the current state of the schedule of events here.
For the full run down on the festival, check out WexfordFoodFestival.ie or follow @wexfordfoodfest on Twitter.
EASTER SUNDAY. A day long remembered by me as one spent tearing the foil off whatever Easter eggs are around. Flash forward to present day and to be honest, it’s pretty much the same thing. Only these days I’m more likely to leave the Easter egg in the freezer and get a good week out of it instead of an hour or two.
This year, Easter Sunday happened to fall the day after closing Shifting, the latest production by The Devious Theatre Company. After a week of days spent in the office and nights spent in the theatre, with a cleanup pending yesterday (Bank Holiday Monday), Easter Sunday was going to be a day given over to food and taking things nice and handy. And with two foodie treats delivered to Chez McGuire for the weekend, I was sorted for the day’s cooking.
First up came breakfast. After wrapping the post-show celebrations somewhere around the 5am mark, a big breakfast was needed to set up the day. For a while now, I’ve been getting the odd recipe tip from “Mammy H”, mother of Devious Theatre’s makeup artist, Linda Hanbidge. With a family farm in Wicklow, Linda arrived to Kilkenny for the show on Saturday night with two dozen farm fresh duck eggs that “fell out of the ducks” on Friday or Saturday. The only occasion I’ve had to eat duck eggs is whenever I get to Sligo to see the folks, with a duck farm located a few miles from the house as such, their arrival was a first for the house.
The Mammy H way involves cooking the eggs in a little vinegar and salt, so the white wine vinegar and sea salt I have in the press finally got to meet and the outcome was well worth waiting for. They’re big eggs to be cooking but in trying them again yesterday morning, my usual method of dropping into boiled water and letting them cook as they come off the boil for about 2 minutes is just the job. The fried breakfasts have gone to grilled breakfasts around these parts which lead to the above – some grilled Truly Irish sausages (82% pork), grilled Ballyfree turkey rashers, Hodgin’s gluten-free white pudding and a poached duck egg with a little pepper on top.
So, Rosemary, many thanks for the breakfast – and for the remaining 20 duck eggs in the fridge.
With a large breakfast as above, the afternoon spent sleeping on the couch, the only thing to concern myself with was dinner, already planned from Friday. Lucinda O’Sullivan posed a question on Twitter asking if people still observed (I may be paraphrasing) eating fish on Good Friday, my response being that I’m not the world’s biggest fish eater so chicken would be on the menu. Sure enough, chicken was on the menu, but as the tweets progressed and mails were exchanged over the day, I wound up with six large trout fillets courtesy of Mag Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout Farm here in Kilkenny (or about 20 minutes from the house here), arriving via Keith Bohanna.
I’ve tried Mag’s trout paste / paté over brown bread – divine – but despite only being out the road, I’ve never tried the Goatsbrige trout proper. After Sunday night’s cooking, consider me a convert.
Following Mag’s suggestion for the covering the trout fillets with mayonnaise and some ground almonds before cooking, I’m in no doubt that the remaining four fillets, now in the freezer, will be devoured. I say four as they were that good I had to have a second one. I did tweak the sauce a small bit by adding a tea spoon of whiskey mustard and some garlic but followed the recipe found here (PDF download) while drooling over the other cooking suggestions.
For cooking, I gave the George Foreman grill a light spray of oil and locked the top half of the grill in its toaster-type mode (the one I have in the kitchen also allows the top of the grill to hover over the food as opposed to lay in direct contact with it, functioning more as a traditional grill), leaving 15 minutes to cook as the ground almonds and mayonnaise combined into a delicious sauce.
With the fish almost cooked to white, the result was a soft-textured gorgeous piece of fish that was the absolute making of dinner. Skipping the suggested green salad accompaniment, I opted for some fresh brown bread from Tess’s Homestyle Baking (also here in Kilkenny) along with some stir fried vegetables.
If it was Mag’s mission to convert me to eating trout, consider it job well done. So, to Mag and Rosemary, with the family in Sligo and herself in Chicago, many thanks for keeping me fed this past Easter Sunday!
It’s Easter Sunday. A lazy Easter Sunday too, thankfully. A late breakfast with some awesome poached duck eggs, an afternoon sleep on the couch and an evening that features a bit of cooking and a DVD. Of course, one can’t forget the Galaxy easter egg chilling in the the freezer for later on.
Shifting is done and dusted, the evenings are coming back and with reading time back on my hands this week, it’s time for the 21st foodie roundup, a selection of ten blog posts from Irish food bloggers this past week that you may have missed.
Hope your Easter Sunday is treating you well!
ROVING REPORTER Mrs. Any Given Food to be is in Chicago for a few days. You know, it was grand at first. Photos were coming in by text or email of the fancy buildings and the hotel. Then it was the Harpo Studios, the Red Head Piano Bar and the Apple Store. But when she started sending me photos of food on offer at some of Chicago’s eateries, well, that’s just plain unfair. Mind you, if it was any other week of the year, I’d be there snapping away like the best of them.
She’s not a food blogger herself, but she’s well gotten used to me taking photos of everything on the table when we go out for a meal so she’s becoming a dab hand at the mobile food photography. Here’s some of what’s been happening in Chicago. If only I could get her to start blogging or even hit up Foodspotting…
This one comes from Sweetwater. It’s a hot cookie in pan, covered with vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream & chocolate with mint leaf on top at Sweetwater. Yes. She’s supposed to be dairy allergic and following a gluten-free diet. Go figure.
This one comes from Quartino on North State Street & Ontario. It even comes with apologies for the low quality due to the “romantic lighting”. Chicken with lemon, almonds and spice.
A mini margharita pizza from the same restaurant. Cheese, tomato and lots of basil on a thin and crispy base.
Finally, a large tapas plate with roast peppers and capers (dish one), artichokes, carrot and onion mix (dish two), some sheeps cheese, walnut bread and an apricot sauce in the mini pan on the left.
So if you’re reading this, dear, in Chicago, that’s how it’s done. All that said, I’m hoping to get a trip stateside later in the year to split a week or two between Canada and the US with my own spin to Chicago very much on the cards. If you’ve a suggestion for a place to eat, I’m all ears. Herself is off out of Chicago today, moving into Indiana, I’ll be keeping the eyes peeled on the email in the hope there’s more food photos coming this way.
If you’ve thought of expanding an existing business or you’ve always wanted to open a coffee shop in Kilkenny, now’s a chance to look at doing it in a venue that has a fantastic heritage and year-round foot trade.
Rothe House Trust, who manage Rothe House & Gardens (soon to be museum and gardens if my reading of the paper last week was correct) are inviting expressions of interest for the running of a café in the Third House at Rothe House. Open all year round, you’ll find Rothe House on Parliament Street (website here).
The cafe is intended to form part of the final phase of the Conservation Plan at Rothe House, a plan which will have seen somewhere in the region of €3M worth of renovations done to the house once the final phase is complete. The cafe would open at the same time as the new exhibition at the house later this year.
If you are interested, you can contact Roisin McQuillan, CEO, by post to Rothe House & Gardens, Parliament Street, Kilkenny or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with applications invited up to Friday April 29th.
If there’s one thing I love doing it’s eating out in restaurants. Absolutely mad for it. On a local level, contrary to trying to save a few quid in the week, I still reckon I’m eating out twice a week. Of all the places to eat in Kilkenny, I reckon Campagne is the one place I’ve not tried and after seeing the results of the Leinster awards for the Irish Restaurant Awards 2011, which took place on Monday night, I may get my skates on and sort that one out quickly.
Of the six awards up for grabs for Kilkenny, three went to Campagane and my congratulations to Garrett Byrne, Brid Hannon and co. at the restaurant.
The winners look like this
If you’re on the hunt for winners locally, you’ll find Campagne at 5 The Arches, Gashouse Lane (top of John Street, turn left and then right, parking available at John’s Green). The Two Dames coffee boutique can be found on John Street, they do fantastic bagels, soups and it’s a great place if you’ve got sweet tooth. You can find them on Facebook here. The Hibernian Bar is part of the Hibernian Hotel, found on the corner of Patrick Street and Ormonde Street. Limited parking (metered) is available on Patrick Street while there’s a multistorey on Ormonde Street. Kilkenny Rivercourt Hotel is located right at John’s Bridge in the heart of Kilkenny. If you’ve got a sunny day in Kilkenny, it’s a great place to head for an outdoor lunch or a pint.
For the food bloggers among you, you’ll also get free wifi in the Hibernian or Rivercourt as well, often a bonus when going to lunch. Congratulations to all the local winners and good look in the regional and national awards!
Getting things gradually back on track, I’ve finally got the time to click ‘publish’ on Foodie Roundup #20, due about 3 weeks back and sitting buzzing at me in the drafts since Sunday morning. I’ve made my way to Dublin a Kitchen Hero do at the Westbury for the afternoon so while I beat off traffic blues with a top class latte from Cafe Cagliostra, here’s ten posts you may have missed during the week from some of Ireland’s top food bloggers.
Getting my Sunday mornings back thanks to the opening of Shifting next weekend, normal service should resume once more. Also realise that I didn’t bring any class of a jacket or jumper to Dublin so here’s hoping the rain stays off for the afternoon’s stroll across town.
FORGIVE ME father, it’s been a few weeks since my last blog post. I’ve allowed work, the theatre, a magazine, more theatre, more work, music and even more work to consume me. A lot of which I’ve managed to lay to rest in the past week, much to my delight. In fact, you know it’s been a too long between posts on the blog when your mother checks in with you on Facebook asking where your Foodie Roundup is. Thankfully, it will be back again on Sunday morning, right where it should be. No point rounding things up when you haven’t had the opportunity to read them in the first place.
So, while I catch up with myself and the blog and put myself on track, here’s a few things that have happened in the past 2-3 weeks. Also, while I missed, completely, So Sligo, I’m aiming to make amends by taking a spin to the Waterford Food Festival next week. If you’re heading that way, let me know.
I lie. Well, kind of. It turned into a 22.5 day detox. No beer, no chocolate, no crisps, plenty of water, plenty of green tea, a pound dropped here there and everywhere. Then Wild Harvest kicked in, a show I was doing with Watergate Productions. Office by day, theatre by night, bridged by a takeaway and topped off with a pint. Or two. For five nights. Ruined.
As a result of long hours in the offices – I’m splitting time between my own office on the edge of town and a temporary office in town – my home cooking has suffered something fierce and Wong’s Deli on John Street will have me broke before the year is out. So I made a promise that for April, I would cook something – anything – no matter how simple or technical, to get my cooking back on track. So far, it’s working and last night the cast of Shifting that were hanging out in the kitchen between scenes devoured a spicy tomato and chorizo pasta dish I had whipped up for dinner.
I’m back on the bike, in a big way. Or at least three days a week knocking out 20 miles a day. This June Bank Holiday weekend I’m off to Cork, cycling back to Kilkenny with a gang from the “old neighbourhood” (hell, I still live there but most of the others have come and gone from it). It’s a fundraiser for the Chernobyl Children’s Project but I’ll have more about that in another post. The week of Wild Harvest virtually undid everything the previous 22.5 days had achieved so it’s time to knock myself into shape and raise some money for a good cause in the process.
I’m back behind a mic and I’m producing a new music podcast that gets released every Sunday evening. It’s called Indie Switch and each Sunday you get six new bands, leading to a free downloads and music videos across the blog (IndieSwitch.com). In a former life I won Best Podcaster at the Irish Web Awards for the Playlist Mix. That show started on March 25th 2007 so it was fitting to start Indie Switch on March 25th 2011. We’ll see how it goes. It’s 30 minutes, give or take, and aims to help you discover new music albeit largely driven from my own wide taste in music. Still, you never know what gems you might find in there.
Shifting, with The Devious Theatre Company, owns my evenings for the next few weeks as the new class of Devious Theatre take to the stage in an original comedy about making the first move (in more ways than one). If you find yourself in Kilkenny, the show runs at Kilkenny Arts Office, 76 John Street, Kilkenny from April 18th – 23rd. You can buy tickets online or find out more at DeviousTheatre.com.