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.

Continue reading

Advertisements

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

Craft beer drinkers can tell their Elbows from their arses



Another lovely little bit of news for Irish craft beer drinkers (and anyone else in Ireland who claims to be fond of a pint) comes with the arrival of a new brewing company, launching three new beers.

Cork-based Elbow Lane will be debuting Angel Stout, Wisdom Ale and Elbow Lager over the next two months and having had the privilege of an early tasting, The Swashbuachaill can only raise a glass to these new arrivals and the continuing rude health of the truly burgeoning craft beer sector, seemingly unaware of the global economic meltdown. Continue reading

Christmas at Douglas Farmer’s Mkt

After a week of nocturnal childherding a sickening Daddy’s Little Girl, I handed her over to Mrs Swashbuachaill at 8 of the A.M. and repaired to the boudoir for a couple of hours shuteye. Which meant I reached Douglas Farmer’s Mkt, where the bulk of my weekly shopping is done, well after 12pm to a market that closes at 2pm on the last weekend before Christmas. Bedlam in the shopping centre and car park around the market but, within, a little haven for me to practice coffee drinking and yapping on an industrial scale. There are a lot more fabulous stalls than those featured but I had to do a little shopping as well including securing the bones of my Christmas Dinner so more pics will have to follow at a later date. There’s one more market on next Saturday, Christmas Eve, and many of the same stallholders are also in Mahon Mkt on Thursdays. Bear with me on the technical front – it’s the first time I’ve tried to do any class of moving image thingamajig. Anyhoo, click back and have a look and do, please, let me know what you think including advice on how to make it better! Happy Christmas!

Porcini Dust – the new sundried tomatoes?

Fresh chanterelles from Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms

A few weeks ago, as I was leaving Mahon Farmer’s Market with little Isabel under my arm, racing off to collect Hector from playschool and already 15 minutes late, I spotted a tiny stall selling mushrooms. Lucy Deegan and Mark Cribbin are the owner/operators of Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms and this – on the community stall, a class of guest spot each week at Mahon – was one of their first real forays into the market world. Continue reading

(A lot) more on the Belling West Cork Artisan Food Awards

Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery

On a mid-afternoon in early December, winter-weak light already fading and a damp cold sucking the life out of bones, you’d imagine any right-thinking folk would have taken to the fireside with a pile of logs, a stack of papers and a nice hot toddy. But, no, through the doors of the West Cork Hotel, in Skibbereen, they flowed in an unwaveringly steady stream until the large reception hall was nicely full, buzzing with life and laughter.

By 4pm, the place was jampacked, collars were opened, coats discarded and some serious inroads being made into wine, cava and highly toothsome nibbles courtesy of chefs Mickael Viljanen of Gregan’s Castle, Co Clare and Rory O’Connell of Ballymaloe – all in all, the equal of any cosy fireplace and a helluva lot more stimulating than the Sunday papers. Continue reading

Belling West Cork Artisan Food Awards – The Winners

Just a quick post to detail the winners of the inaugural winners of the Belling West Cork Artisan Food Awards, announced this afternoon at a ceremony in the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen.

Veronica Steele (Pic: John Carey)

Veronica and Norman Steele’s Milleens Farmhouse Cheese, of Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula, and Madeleine McKeever’s Brown Envelope Seeds, of Turk Head near Skibbereen, were each awarded the 2011 Belling Trophies (Milleens for the Originals category and Brown Envelope for the Newcomer category), along with a cheque for €5,000, the biggest prize in Irish food.

Madeleine McKeever (Pic: John Carey)

More on this tomorrow, particularly the down and dirty on some stunning food prepared by guest chefs Mickael Viljanen of Gregan’s Castle and Rory O’Connell of Ballymaloe.