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Fine Dine at Mine

Still Time To Enter All-Island Schools Cookery Competition

With over 600 entries already in the bag, this week is your last chance to enter the Fine Dine at Mine All-Island Cookery Competition 2014.

It’s running with the Restaurants Association of Ireland in partnership with St. Angela’s College, Sligo and is open to all students in post-primary schools on the island of Ireland and Youth reach Centres in the Republic of Ireland.

5pm this Friday is the last chance for entries, the competition extended from its previous deadline. Continue Reading

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Hide Video Irish Food Exports in 2013

Food & Drink Exports Near €10bn in 2013

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Irish Food & Drink Exports Infographic

Judging by the figures released from Bord Bia today, 2013 was a bumper year for Irish food and drink exports, with export value nearing €10bn for the first time.  This represents an increase of 9% on the previous year and 40% in the last four years with revenues almost €3 billion higher than in 2009. Almost half of exports make their way to UK markets with other EU markets increasing by 11% over 2013. Ireland’s largest export type continues to be dairy products and ingredients, with exports increasing roughly 15% in 2013. Beverages and seafood exports declined marginally on 2012 but you’ll find the full details, facts and figures, right here.

Download infographic.

Mr & Mrs Any Given Food

Mr. & Mrs. Any Given Food

Three years ago she said yes. On Saturday, it was “I do”.

This one’s a short and sweet post just to say thanks a million to everyone over the past few months, weeks, days and hours for making the #alltimewedding an All Time Wedding. The setting, the day, the weather, the food, the people, all making something unreal happen.

For the past few years she’s been referred to as Mrs. Any Given Food-to-be, so I’m guessing I’ll need to do away with the ‘to-be’ part.

For now, I’m off to have some wedding cake for breakfast, only because I can. And maybe because we didn’t really think this far ahead and we’re out of milk. We’ve a whole load of new food adventures ahead, and I’m pretty sure we haven’t stopped eating since Friday.

Normal service shall resume shortly, but for the moment, my sincerest of thanks to everyone who’s been involved, sent their wishes, greetings, texts, updates, tweets, mails, and all the rest. Ye’re all legends.

Also, if anyone has a few eatery tips for London next week, they’d be very much welcome!

Tapas in Kilkenny

Tapas In Kilkenny: Lautrecs

I’m getting married in the morning. So what does one do in that instance? In my case, one goes for tapas with one’s family and tonight it was Lautrecs on St. Kieran’s Street, Kilkenny. I haven’t eaten in Lautrecs in years, back when they were a restaurant-restaurant. In recent times, however, they made the switch to a tapas bar and tonight didn’t disappoint.

Tapas at Lautrecs

Tapas at Lautrecs

Going for tapas by yourself is grand from an eating perspective, but there’s little adventure or excitement about it. Put five hungry bodies around the table, everyone wanting to order different dishes and now you’ve got your adventure.

Goats cheese filo parcel with apple and wild honey

Goats cheese filo parcel with apple and wild honey

Hitting the table were Mixed wild and forest mushroom crostini, Bruschetta – chopped tomato, garlic, basil pesto, Sweet Potato wedges, lightly fried, with truffle mayo, Goats cheese filo parcel with apple and wild honey (pictured), Patatas Bravas with smoked paprika mayo, Potato gnocchi with chorizo, spinach, smoked bacon, baby gem, parmesan, Roast Hereford spare ribs in barbecue sauce, Baked Potato with spring onion, chorizo, garlic, mozzarella, Mini tortillas with spiced ground beef, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, Marinated chicken skewers on salad leaves and a yogurt dip and Salt and chilli chicken with fine diced vegetables.

All of that.

Dessert just couldn’t be managed at all.

It’s a dimly lit space, still packing a nice atmosphere, plenty of draught, bottled and craft beers and wines, and with the early bird option, you can choose 3 tapas for €15 or 3 with a glass of wine for €20. There’s also sharing plates, a variety of gluten free dishes and servings available in group portions too.

With two weeks planned to hang around Kilkenny post-wedding, I’ll be looking to make a quick return trip. Check out Lautrecs.com for more.

Sunday Reads 15 December

Sunday Reads #4: Organic Wine, Food Crimes & Roasting Chestnuts

The good weather of the morning has made way for the rain and wind that’s been hanging around the past few days. So, if you’re installed in the house or somewhere cozy, put the feet up and digest these ten reads for your Sunday, bringing you up to speed on stories you may have missed this past week.

Got anything to share yourself? Drop a mail to me during the week on ken@anygivenfood.com.

Canon Powershot G15

Review: Canon PowerShot G15

Canon Powershot G15

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

Waterford Blaa

PGI Status For The Humble Blaa

The Waterford Blaa

Camembert Cheese. Parma Ham. And now, the Waterford Blaa. One of the finest ever exports from Waterford and one of the nicest bread products in the country has, after an almost five year process, received Protected Geographic Indication status. It’s also the first Irish food product in the five years to receive the status.

Try as local bakers might, I don’t think there’s any true replicating of the Blaa outside of Waterford and whether it’s a breakfast, lunch or dinner, there are few things nicer than frying up a few sausages and rashers, wedged into a Blaa.

During the 2012 Waterford Harvest Festival, a bunch of us were brought to M&D Bakery up Mount Sion Avenue way in Waterford for a walkthrough of the bakery and the baking process of Blaas, all topped off with a bacon Blaa and a mug of tea – hard beat. Brothers Michael and Dermot Walsh are third generation bakers and while the Blaa isn’t the only thing they produce, it’s quite possibly the best.

M&D Bakery in Waterford are joined by Hickey’s Bakery, Kilmacow Bakery and Barron’s Bakery in Cappoquin to make up the Waterford Blaas Bakers Assocation, who as a group were responsible for leading the drive to get PDO/PGI status for the Blaa.
Continue Reading

A Seasonal Guide To Growing Your Own Vegetables

A Seasonal Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables

An infographic design job landed across the desk to start the week off, which of course leads to some research (which has nothing to do with food), but I did happen across this nicely styled seasonal guide to growing your own vegetables.

If anything, it will show you that there’s still some time to get some peas sown, along with some garlic bulbs if you’re looking for a nice haul next spring or summer.

Aer Lingus Launch Bia Menu

Clodagh McKenna’s Bia Menu Hits Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus Launch Bia Menu

In what should be a welcome change for airline passengers who prefer to grab a bite on board rather than in the airport, Aer Lingus have announced the launch of their new Bia menu, designed by Clodagh McKenna. It’s rather timely for myself too with two Aer Lingus flights to catch this weekend.

The press release describes the new menu as bringing “gourmet food to the sky” with produce sourced from all over the country. The familiar Aer Lingus breakfast stays on the menu but is joined by the ‘Cheesy Mister’ (a croque monsieur), a Caprese Panini, a Chicken Caesar Wrap and a selection (trio) of sandwiches, all around a fiver. For something a little more artisan, there’s also a nice looking cheese board available for under a fiver with some Gubbeen cheese included.

Also landing on the menu (edit: after a weekend on the beer in Germany, this was a most welcome sight) are Tayto cheese and onion crisps and a Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, the former coming in around €1.50 a bag.

Update 19 November

Having had a chance to go over the menu and see some of the wares coming from the back of the plane (handy having a seat down that direction), it’s a pretty nice menu. It seems a little familiar in the offerings from previous Aer Lingus flights, albeit with some new options, some nicer photos and a softer price bracket for what you’re getting. The inflight crew are plugging away on the new menu, pushing Clodagh McKenna’s name which for both the airline, and herself, can only be a good thing.

The Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna

Guide: Michelin’s Eating Out In Pubs In Ireland 2014

The Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna

The Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna, one of the 34 Irish entries in this year’s Michelin’s Eating Out In Pubs guide for 2013/14.

NOVEMBER IS upon us, it wasn’t long coming around at all, and so too is the latest guide from Michelin, this time their Eating Out In Pubs guide for 2014 which features 34 pubs north and south of the border in Ireland.

I love a good restaurant, but it’s always a pleasure to get a great meal in a pub, so if you’re looking for suggestions (and I’ve managed to try a few of these in the past), then throw your eyes over this list (via).

  • Dublin: Chop House (Ballsbridge)
  • Co Down: Pheasant (Annahilt), Coyle’s (Bangor), Lisbarnett House (Comber), Grace Neill’s and Pier 36 (both in Donaghadee) and The Parson’s Nose and The Plough Inn (both in Hillsborough)
  • Co Cork: Mary Ann’s (Castletownshend), Poacher’s Inn (Bandon), An Súgan and Deasy’s (Clonakilty), Cronin’s (Crosshaven) and Toddies at The Bulman (Kinsale)
  • Co Clare: Morrissey’s (Doonbeg), Vaughan’s Anchor Inn (Liscannor), Wild Honey Inn (Lisdoonvarna) and Linnane’s Lobster Bar (New Quay)
  • Co Galway: Moran’s Oyster Cottage (Kilcolgan) and O’Dowd’s (Roundstone)
  • Co Kerry: O’Neill’s Seafood Bar and QC’s (both in Caherciveen)
  • Co Kildare: Ballymore Inn (Ballymore Eustace) and Fallon’s (Kilcullen)
  • Co Leitrim: Oarsman (Carrick-on-Shannon)
  • Co Louth: Fitzpatricks (Jenkinstown)
  • Co Mayo: Crockets on the Quay (Ballina), The Tavern (Murrisk) and Sheebeen (Westport)
  • Co Sligo: Hargadons (O’Connell Street, Sligo)
  • Co Tipperary: Larkins (Garrykennedy)
  • Co Westmeath: Fatted Calf (Glasson)
  • Co Wexford: Lobster Pot (Carne)
  • Co Wicklow: Byrne & Woods (Roundwood)

Are These The Best Pubs In Ireland For Food?

There’s just one entry for Dublin and none for my own home of Kilkenny, whose Campagne and Lady Helen restaurants were new recipients of Michelin stars in this year’s restaurant guide.

Up in the North West, I’ve a particular grá for Crockets On The Quay in Ballina, absolutely never fails to deliver a quality meal, whatever’s on the menu.

But with the Michelin guides coming in for criticism of late in terms of overlooking certain restaurants in Ireland, do you think that there are pubs not on the list deserving of a place? Is there any one pub in the country you would wholeheartedly recommend to send someone in for lunch or dinner?