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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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?
Blas na hÉireann, the 2013 National Irish Food Awards, took place at the Dingle Food Festival this weekend gone. The awards celebrate the best of food producers from artisan through fully commercial operations, recognising along the way the quality of food products, packaging, export opportunities, product innovation and more.
The above photo (via) comes from Olivia Curran’s An Olivia Chocolate, named as Supreme Champion for 2013 who also took home gold for her luxury box (12) chocolates, Irish Cream Hot Chocolate Pot and a silver for her Irish Cream Coffey Mocca Pot.
Here’s some of the key award winners announced on Saturday
There might be any trace of the Liam McCarthy knocking around Kilkenny for the next twelve months or so, but some new silverware in the form of two Michelin stars has hit Kilkenny – one each for Campagne in the city and The Lady Helen at Mount Juliet in Thomastown.
From the list released online today, Campagne and The Lady Helen at Mount Juliet are the newcomers while Bon Appétit (Malahide, Dublin), Aniar (Galway), L’Ecrivain (Dublin), Chapter One (Dublin), Thornton’s (Dublin) and the Cliff House Hotel (Ardmore, Waterford) all retain their Michelin stars for 2014.
Locks Brasserie in Dublin has lost its star for 2014. Guildbaud’s in Dublin retains its 2-star Michelin rating, the only 2-star in the country.
Campagne and The Lady Helen have been cleaning up locally and nationally in terms of restaurant awards and recognitions over the past few years but the addition of the Michelin star to each restaurant is testament also to the work being done not only by the likes of Garrett Byrne and Brid Hannon (Campagne) and Cormac Rowe (Lady Helen) and their respective teams, but also for food producers locally in Kilkenny with both restaurants strong on sourcing products locally.
Here’s to a possible session at this year’s Savour Kilkenny to see how both chefs have gone and built Michelin-starred kitchens and menus.
The winners of the first year of the Arthur Guinness Projects fund were announced earlier today and with 92 projects in the food category, the panel of judges led by Dylan McGrath saw fit to award the following projects funding for 2013/14. The panel of judges for the food side of things included chef Dylan McGrath, four-time Irish Barista Champion Colin Harmon of 3FE, Michelle Darmody of The Cake Cafe and Barry Broderick of Broderick’s Bars & Cakes.
Of course, it’s not just food on the go as music, sport and the arts are all represented as a new fund which will inject up to €3m over three years to creative projects in Ireland.
All in all, 14 projects will be awarded funding, close to a half million Euro. Here’s a look at the projects that will take home funding from the food sector. Continue Reading
The 2013 Food & Wine Magazine Restaurant Of The Year Awards took place over the weekend in The Four Seasons hotel, Dublin. While Kilkenny might not be going all the way this year in terms of hurling, the county continues to represent well on the food awards front with yet another win for Garrett Byrne (Best Chef, Leinster) and Campagne (Best Restaurant, Leinster) in the bag. Here’s a look at this year’s winners.
The shortlists (announced back at the start of August) and the winners list produced some new faces, great to see as the food and restaurant industry in Ireland continues to rise.
If I’m missing anything off the list, just let me know, but congratulations to all the winners and those commended at the awards yesterday as well. Hopefully the new accolades will keep people walking in your doors and keep the good food coming.
Myself and Mrs. Any Given Food-to-be like to hit restaurants whenever is possible. While we do the majority of our eating out locally, I rarely write up restaurants or good meals out in Kilkenny, bar taking the usual photographs. Sometimes weeks can go by without heading out for a meal, sometimes we’ll fit a few in a week. In trying to shake the ‘creatures of habit’ notion, as humans are, we’re re-visiting restaurants we haven’t been to in a few months.