Cupcakes in a Time of Crisis

Cupcakes

After speaking at a recent food conference at UCC, Innovation in Irish Food and Drink: Past, Present and Future, I was subsequently invited by Airfield Estate CEO Gráinne Kelliher to deliver something similar at their inaugural Airfield Estate Irish Foodscape talks series. Airfield Estate is a wonderful 38-acre working city farm in Dundrum, in Dublin, complete with livestock, splendid gardens and an excellent restaurant, Overends, it operates as both an educational and recreational facility and is the type of local resource that would be the envy of any major European city. The Overend family were the original owners and Naomi and Leticia Overend and, in a truly enlightened move, established Airfield as a charitable trust in 1974.

It was a wonderful day with great and very varied speakers (http://www.airfield.ie/archive/airfield-estate-food-series/) including the legendary Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and seems to have gone down well with the audience. Due to time constraints, I had to give my own brand of waffle a severe trimming on the day so was asked by Airfield Estate to subsequently post the entire lecture online. Here it be: Joe McNamee _ Cupcakes _ April 2017

 

 

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Idá’s Restaurant, Dingle

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The Swashbuachaill was abroad once more, down in Dingle for the annual food festival and what is also becoming an annual event, a return to one of my very favourite restaurants, Idá’s, owned and operated by the sublimely talented Chef/Proprietor Kevin Murphy. On this particular night, I got to hang out in the kitchen for the first service (and take a few pics) before sitting for the second service, a nine-course meal, each course paired with superb organic/’natural’ wines from Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau, in Kilkenny, and also ‘scored’ with music especially selected by Dublin-based DJ John Casey. Here’s my subsequent review from the Irish Examiner.  Continue reading

Sage Words

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Another Irish Mail on Sunday restaurant review from last year, this time of Sage restaurant, in Midleton, Co Cork, run by Chef/Proprietor Kevin Aherne — great restaurant and a great chef! Continue reading

Pilgrim’s Progress

april 2016 pilgrims

This is a review I wrote for the Irish Mail on Sunday, last August, 2015. Pilgrim’s is a very fine little restaurant based in Rosscarbery, in West Cork, owned and operated by chef Mark Jennings and his partner, Sarah-Jane Pearce, who runs front of house. It took just a single meal for it to be instantly installed as one of my most favourite dining establishments around, offering some genuinely original interpretations of superb local, seasonal produce in a wonderfully zen-filled setting.

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Dishing Up the Nosebag at A Taste of West Cork Food Festival 2015

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Cold Smoked Loin of Tuna, Lemon Basil Aioli; Smoked Mackerel, Wasabi Crème Fraiche; Gin Gimlet Scallops, Cucumber Risotto, Pickled Samphire. (Photo: Trish Deseine)

It has taken The Swashbuachaill some weeks to recover from his recent foray back into the professional culinary world when he presented a nine-course menu in the magnificent surroundings of Uillinn, home of the West Cork Arts Centre, in Skibbereen, as part of the Taste of West Cork food festival. He was delighted and honoured to be invited by chairperson Helen Collins and the festival team to participate in this wonderful celebration of some of the finest food to be found anywhere in the world and it was billed as ‘The Menu Cooks The Menu” a nod to his epicurean alter ego and the title of his weekly food column, The Menu, in The Irish Examiner, the idea being to showcase some of the very splendid Irish produce he features each week in the aforementioned publication.

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And, Lo, he Did Emerge from the Jungle!

Behind the counter at Elbow Lane Brew & Smokehouse – a fine new addition to the Cork dining scene

It is some time since The Swashbuachaill has graced this fair forum, buried, as he has been, under an unforgiving pile of children, academia and actual paid work and he is still desperately scrambling to catch up with himself. So, instead of posting new material, he shall take the slacker’s option and simply upload some of the paid-for work of recent times, such as the following, from the Irish Examiner, yet another annual summer round-up of dining choices in Ireland. (Can’t emphasise enough, though: this is not a definitive ‘best of’ list; rather, excellent options encountered on The Swashbuachaill’s travels around this fair isle during the previous 12 months.)

http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/foodanddrink/features/food-columnist-joe-mcnamee-is-back-with-his-annual-foodie-awards-339342.html

Food fraud Ain’t Just Flogging Horse-burgers

Spinach & Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms' Shiitake Tart

Spinach & Mushroom Tart made with Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms’ Shiitakes

I find it truly disheartening when certain restaurants or retailers choose to exploit the integrity of fine growers and producers and, ultimately, the consumer by perpetrating food fraud—here’s a piece I wrote on the subject, now up on the Irish Food Writers’ Guild website, after yet another ‘episode’, this time involving Ballyhoura Mushrooms.

And in case the link doesn’t get you there directly … Continue reading