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Kilkenny Double Winner at Irish Restaurant Awards

Campagne, Kilkenny

Campagne, Kilkenny, winner of Best Restaurant in Ireland at last night’s Irish Restaurant Awards

When I mentioned on Twitter last night that we really do have some kickass restaurants in Kilkenny, that may have been before Campagne continued its winning streak since the its doors opened locally, by being named Best Restaurant in Ireland at last night’s Irish Restaurant Awards or “the food oscars”. Continue Reading →

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National Vegetarian Week Gets Underway

National Vegetarian Week 19-25 May 2014

National Vegetarian Week 19-25 May 2014

National Vegetarian Week kicks off today and Dee’s Wholefoods are sponsoring the week again in a drive to promote vegetarian meals and cooking over the course of the week by spurring people – presumably the non-vegetarians – to pick up the challege of trying a vegetarian dish for a single meal, a day or the full week.

At Chez McGuire, I’m the meat eater in the house, though being married to a vegetarian has seen a real increase in us cooking and prepping vegetarian dishes at home, particuarly over the last few months as we turn more to home cooking than eating out during the week.

In truth, after a week of mixed lunches and dinners out and Saturday and Sunday spent consuming goodies picked up at Litfest over the weekend, I could do with a couple of days of homecooked meals and this seems like a good time to hit it as well. I’ve a few Japanese and French recipes I’ve been looking to try as well off the back of some new books I’ve picked up so if they make it to the kitchen, I’ll keep track of them here.

There’s an #irishvegweek hashtag to follow on Twitter and you can check out Irish Vegetarian Week on Facebook or pick up a few menu ideas on the website.

National Vegetarian Week Recipes 2014

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Any Given Food Podcast, Now on iTunes

Any Given Food Podcast on iTunes

At the start of the week I published the first of a series of recordings from Outstanding By Design, held in Kilkenny last weekend. Rather than release the audio as straight downloads, I’ve decided to package them up as podcast releases and distribute them via iTunes.

This, marks the first outing for Any Given Food Podcasts, and while the first chunk of audio that are going to be released are recordings from sessions from Outstanding By Design, I’ll be adding regular podcasts as a mix of chat and music over the coming weeks and months.

As a background to this, I began podcasting through KilkennyMusic.com back in 2006, won the Best Podcast award at the Irish Web Awards in 2008 for work on The Playlist Mix (a weekly music show over two years) in 2012 and 2013 returned to music podcasting with a short series called the Stereo Mixtape.

In 2012 however, the podcasting turned to broadcasting when I took up the reigns of a weekly arts talk show on KCLR, The Arts Show, which has drawn to a close in recent weeks. While I still contribute arts for broadcast several times a week, the idea of producing a food-oriented podcast has been bubbling away for a few months.

With that in mind, over the coming weeks and months you’ll hear me calling out for features, looking to speak with those who have a food story to tell, an event or festival coming up, a new product to launch, come what may. Keep an eye on the blog, Twitter and Facebook for those callouts or if you fancy a chat yourself, feel free to drop me a line at any time.

For now, it’s time to nip to iTunes to subscribe to the podcast, or you can add http://feeds.feedburner.com/anygivenfood/podcasts to your favourite podcatcher or podcast app.

Also, if you’ve got any questions about getting into podcasting, audio recording, getting set up on iTunes, Amazon S3 (my preferred host for audio podcasts), feel free to shout!

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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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Food & Drink Exports Near €10bn in 2013

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 →

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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.
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