Yes, that is Katy Perry holding a bag of popchips. While she didn’t arrive with the box that was sent my way last week, six absolutely tasty bags of popchips did and they weren’t long in lasting.
Relative newcomers to the Irish market, popchips (an American crisp) are neither fried or baked, instead popped with heat and pressure to form a crisp. For the health conscious amongst you, they’ve got a pledge which reads ‘no fake colours, no fake flavours, no preservatives, no fluorescent orange fingertips, and no wiping your greasy chip hand on your jeans’. Continue Reading
[box type="note" size="large" style="rounded"]Want to win a copy of Food For Friends? Read on to the end of the post to find out how – winner drawn on Friday![/box]
Food For Friends is the third book written in the past few years by Kilkenny chef Edward Hayden (he of TV3′s Ireland AM), published 29 April by The O’Brien Press. I had made the launch of Edward’s second book, Food To Love, two years ago, a jam-packed affair in the Springhill Court Hotel in Kilkenny with hundreds of fans of Edward piling in to get copies of the new book, just fresh off the press. The same occurred on the launch of Food For Friends, no doubt Edward’s character and reputation alone doing a lot of the selling of the early copies of this latest installment.
The book is already in the bestsellers list, hitting #6 in the hardback non-fiction charts within two weeks of its release. But is it any good? Continue Reading
This Sunday in Acton’s Hotel in Kinsale will see Ireland’s top chowder chef crowned as part of the 2013 All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off. The Cook-Off itself brings together 32 chefs, fishermen and some commercial chowder producers together to wear their county colours, represent their own county and bid for the title of Ireland’s best chowder chef.
Chowder dishes are only something I’ve recently warmed too (and if memory serves me right, Mag Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout in Kilkenny brought a cracking chowder dish to FoodCamp in Kilkenny last year) but if you’re a hardcore chowder fan then Kinsale is the place to be this coming weekend.
Last year’s winners – The West Bar in Westport (Co. Mayo) take off this summer to represent Ireland at the Newport, Rhode Island Great Chowder Cook-Off. That same prize is on offer for this year’s winner along with a few other goodies.
The Cook-Off is part of a wider weekend Family Festival running in Kinsale on Saturday and Sunday which sees the town turned into a huge open air market with plenty of activities and food stalls from local businesses and restaurants.
Entry to the Cook-Off itself costs €10 with your ticket getting you samples of all chowders cooked on the Sunday (presuming that’s going to be 32 different chowder dishes to sample). Seen as you’re getting to sample so many, your ticket also makes you a judge for the event with everyone getting a voting card on the way in to score their favourite chowders over the course of two hours. You can grab tickets on the door on the day or in advance from Acton’s Hotel directly.
All the information you’ll need you’ll also find on Kinsale.ie.
Entries are now open for this year’s Blas na hEireann, the National Irish Food Awards. Each year, the awards search for and celebrate the very best of food and drink produced in Ireland. This year, organisers have introduced a new Producer Development Programme and there’s a new Chef’s Choice award.
Entries this year are €35 per product if you register before 31 May. The ultimate deadline for submission this year is 15 July with submissions between 31 May and 15 July costing €45 per entry.
The first round of judging takes place in August with shortlisted producers notified in September. The final round of judging then takes place on 3 October with the award ceremony proper taking place on 5 October.
Some of the winners from last year include Una’s Pies Chicken Leek and Cheese (Grand Champion), Gallagher’s Bakery’s Plain Soda Bread (Most innovative product), Atlantis Seafood’s Surf n Turf-smoked scallops and black pudding (Seafood Innovation) – and that’s not to mention the 50 category winners with awards at gold, silver and bronze level.
Find out more and get registered today by visiting IrishFoodAwards.com.
Earlier this week a lovely hamper of Knorr Create More sauces arrived into the office, meaning I’ve a few dishes to be trying out this Easter weekend. Among the sauces was a reminder that there’s a Knorr Create More challenge running, closing at midday tomorrow (Good Friday). Get thee to the Challenge Steve page to submit your challenge and you could win one of ten iPad Minis that ae up for grabs.
ONE OF Kilkenny’s rural towns or larger villages is in line to be named Kilkenny’s Town of Foods in the next six weeks with over €750,000 in grant-aid support available to the winning town in a competition launching today.
Spearheaded by Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, the Town of Foods is an open competition for said towns and villages in Kilkenny with the overall winner receiving grant-aid and support needed to transform their town or village into the county’s Town of Food.
The benefits for the winner include support for local small foro producers, increased employment, food training facilties and more.
Grant-aid of up to a maxiumum €500,000 at a 75% rate of costs towards the development of a Town Food Hub is among the top offers from LEADER, along with with up to €75,000 at the same rate towards marketing.
Towns seeking to apply must have a population of 500 or greater and expressions of interest 6 February. Following this, the deadline for submission of applications is 27 February with the winner being announced by Kilkenny LEADER Partnership on 6 March of this year.
For more details check out CKLP.ie.
A GALWAY bar and restaurant has claimed top spot in the Hellmann’s best sandwich competition to be crowned Ireland’s top sandwich. Aidan Cleary at the Cellar Bar and Restaurant in Galway fought off the competition with his ‘Cellar Cajun Spiced Chicken Ciabatta’ (pictured above) recipe to take the title.
Locals to me here in Kilkenny, the Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel (who have a cracking bar menu and equally cracking crab cakes) came in as runners up alongside McCambridge’s, also of Galway.
The three bars also get new professional panini grills worth over €600 thanks to their customers’ votes.
McCambridges’ entry, by Sinead McCambridge was their Christmas Cracker sandwich while the Hibernian’s David Magee came close with his Warm Toasted Ciabatta with Beef Medallions.
The folks at M&D Bakery in Waterford, run by Michael and Dermot Walsh, have been in touch to say they’re running a Christmas Hamper giveaway via Facebook over the next two weeks. M&D’s was one of the stops on our Waterford food tour this year around the Waterford Harvest Festival where we were shown the ins and outs of the bakery while being treated to a bacon blaa and a mug of tea for good measure. Their blaas are stuff of legend and is one of only a handful of Irish products that have sought the EU’s Protected Geographical Indication status, also bestowed on the likes of Connemara Hill lab and Timoleague brown pudding.
So if you fancy getting your hands on
then get thee to the M&D Bakery Competition on Facebook.
Given I’ll be sticking around Kilkenny myself this Christmas, I’ll have to try get my hands on some for the freezer for Christmas morning. Granted, it won’t be the same thing as pulling a fresh blaa off the shelf but a sausage and bacon blaa on Christmas morning – or my ritual of a crisp sandwich – would be the absolute business.
BEFORE MOVING house, the only thing that was a regular feature in the freezer was a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. Me, I’m a big fan of their Coconutterly Fair ice cream, but when it comes down to it, I’m not going to refuse a helping of any of their range.
One of the more recent additions to the Ben & Jerry’s line has been the Vermonster, drawn from the Vermont homeland of Ben & Jerry’s. Not to be confused with the ‘Vermonster Bucket’ that sees some of the Ben & Jerry’s stores in the US which offers an enormous 20 scoops of icecream in a single bucket, the store bought Vermonster is a gorgeous maple syrup ice cream blended with caramelised pecans and caramel swirls that should go down quite well beside the fire for the autumn.
(As a side bar, if you’ve never tried maple syrup and white pudding together, you’re missing out – but that’s another story altogether).
Anyway, to mark all things autumnal and Vermonster, here’s your chance to get a free large up of Ben & Jerry’s, along with two Ben & Jerry’s shovel spoons to match.
I’ve got two sets to give away, so if you fancy trying a 500ml tub of Vermonster, or any other tub of Ben & Jerry’s for that matter, just leave a comment below. I’ll pick two winners Wednesday evening and have your goodies in the post to you by Thursday morning, giving you time to stock up for the bank holiday.
Winners will receive a voucher for a free tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream up to the value of €5.99, at any participating retailer. No change is given. Coupon valid until March 2013. Open to Republic of Ireland readers only. Competition closes 6pm Wednesday October 24. Winners picked at random. Vouchers in the post Thursday morning.
All entrants were entered into RandomPicker.com with all entrants on an even weighting. The winners, named in the screenshot above taken at 7:05pm are Andrea and LornaM – goodies in the post to you first thing in the morning!
There are less than three days to go until the closing date for the Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year competition, the search is still on for young heroes of Irish cooking. Closing date for online applications for budding chefs is this Wednesday, 26th September at YoungChef.ie. Ross Lewis, Kevin Thornton, Mary Ryan, Gearoid Lynch and Eleanor Walsh along with many more are encouraging chefs between the ages of 18-26 years from any sector of the food industry to apply online to the Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year Competition 2012 before Wednesday for the opportunity to kick start their culinary careers.
Mary Ryan, 26, winner of the 2010 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year Competition, who now works in l’Ecrivain as a result urges those to apply for the competition that prides itself in accelerating the careers of young, passionate aspiring chefs. Applying for the competition is a great opportunity for chefs who want to stand out to those who matter and gain invaluable experience along the way.
In association with Failte Ireland, the competition aims to search for Ireland’s Young Food Heroes that can contribute to developing Irish cooking and promoting it at home and abroad. All stages of the competition promote Euro-toques principles of local and seasonal sourcing and aims to get Young Chefs thinking about “What Irish Cooking means today.”
Five finalists will be announced early November and showcased at an exciting pop up event in Dublin’s City Centre. The final of the Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year will take place on November 25th and the winner will be revealed at an exclusive mystery event. Members of the public will have the chance to win tickets to both events by logging onto YoungChef.ie.
Judges for the final will include Dublin born Guest Chef Trevor Moran, Sous Chef at Restaurant Noma, Copenhagen that holds two Michelin stars and was voted best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine for 3 years running (2010, 2011, 2012). The Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year will win an all -expenses paid stage in a top international restaurant, amongst other exciting opportunities.
For more information and to apply visit Youngchef.ie