Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Campaign: The Campaign For Raw Milk

Spending a number of weeks baking with and drinking raw milk, I am very saddened to learn that the Irish government are proposing to ban the sale of raw milk in Ireland. On the back of this proposed ban, the campaign for Raw Milk was established under the formation of farmers, food sellers, food organisations, chefs and consumers- who collectively established a committee for the campaign for raw milk in Ireland. The common aim is to represent the rights of producers and consumers to purchase raw milk- in short the campaign is for the freedom of choice to purchase raw milk in Ireland.

The desired outcome is that regulations on the sale of raw liquid milk in Ireland are introduced. The aim of this is to allow consumers the freedom to make an informed choice while also minimising and managing potential risks. 

The campaign for raw milk has five suggestions going forward:

  • A working group is set up comprising of representatives of the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and the FSAI along with industry representatives.
  • The group is given a fixed period of time to agree: regulations, a code of best practise and labelling requirements which would minimise the public health risks from the sale of raw milk but would also allow for consumer choice.
  • During this period only licensed dairies that are approved to process milk for use in the production of raw milk products for sale would be allowed to sell raw liquid milk.
  • Interim labeling requirements would be introduced immediately.
  • At the end of this period the Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Health would be in a better position to make an informed decision based on the alternative option of regulated sales versus an outright ban.

Elisabeth Ryan, of the Sheridans Cheesemongers has updated me to say that they are still awaiting the recommendation from the joint Oireachtas committee after their presentation in October 2011 and remain hopeful of a favourable recommendation.

In the meantime, if you wish to support the campaign, you can do so by clicking the following link:

Here is a very interesting article published recently in The Guardian:

I hope you join me in getting behind this campaign.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dermies' Shopping Bag: Organic Just Food Company...


For those of you who are following my blog, you may remember that last week I made the most delicious chickpea stew. Although it does not sound like the most exciting dish in the world, I have to say it is one of my favourite dishes- bursting with goodness. Chickpeas are so good for you, so nutritious, incredibly high in protein, packed with lots and lots of zinc and is one of your five a day.


We all lead busy lives and it is just not practical for us to make soup from scratch all the time. When I am run off my feet and want to reach for a healthy lunch to go, I reach for 'Organic Just Food Company Moroccan Chickpea Soup'. Set up in 2004 by a true Irish food hero Deirdre Hilliard, the company has grown from humble beginnings at Midleton Farmer's Market to now being stocked in every supermarket across the country. "We believe that food cooked in small batches tastes better and is better. Smaller batches also cook quicker and closer to the time of consumption which has taste, nutritional and food safety benefits, and allows us to respond to natural differences in ingredients", explains Deirdre.

Just Organic soup range is without doubt one of the best soups in the Irish supermarket today. It is packed full of local produce, is three of your five a day and is simply scrumptious. If you want a perfect partner with this soup dollop some Glenilen Crème fraîche on top and serve with some crispy freshly cut Arbutus sourdough bread with some Glenilen country butter. A full list of stockists can be found here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dermie's Weekly Shopping Bag- Gookies!

Last week, I popped into get a few items in Supervalu in Midleton, as I scanned the chilled section, one product leaped off the shelves and I thought I have to try these. That product was 'Gookies', the packaging is fantastic, so warm, so innovative and bright - this is a winner. Gookies is a one to watch and you have got to try them.

Gookies is a unique range of Irish made gluten-free, wheat-free (but unlike most wheat-free products, it's not taste-free, they're yummy!). The company was formed over a year ago by Midleton based entrepreneur Muriel Coughlan. The ready to bake dough is refrigerated and are available in milk chocolate, triple chocolate, cranberry and white chocolate and natural flavour.

Commenting on her success, Muriel explained the moment when she got a rush of blood to the head and experimented with gluten free cookies: 'I have been a coeliac myself for four years, I have been completely frustrated by the lack of tasty snacks in cafes, restaurants and shops so I decided to start my own business providing ready to bake, wholesome and delicious cookies that are gluten free and wheat free. It was only when I took them to the market that I realised that they had such a broad appeal'.

Muriel called into the school to drop off some more samples to me Friday, I baked a few batches and before they even cooled they were snapped up. I had a few friends over for tea earlier and everyone wants to know where they can buy these gookies- 'they're gluten free? No way?' they asked. Yes way, and they're delicious!

Gookies facebook page here outlines where you can find Gookies in-store. They are only available in selected stores for now but this product is a one to watch so expect them to be in alot more stores in 2012.

Gookies cookies are fabulous warm as a dessert with some ice-cream or involve the kids with the baking and have them as an afternoon treat with some ice cold milk.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Diarmuids' Shopping Bag: Glenilen Farm

Welcome to the first Diarmuids' Shopping Bag review, this week I decided to review the Glenilen Farm range of products which are available in all Dunnes, Supervalu, Tesco and Superquinn.

Glenilen Farm is an Irish owned company based in the beautiful town of Drimoleague, near Bantry in West Cork. All their products are all natural with no colourings, additives or preservatives. One of their most popular products in their range is their yogurts- Strawberry, Raspberry, Plum, Apple and Rhubarb. All of which come in a cute distinctive glass jar. Some say that the yogurt has a strong taste, even a bitter taste, with a kick to it, but there's no disputing that this yogurt is the real deal. Many others on the market place have a high sugar content or are overly processed- not these guys, they are fresh, tasty and wholesome. Perfect just natural for breakfast with some muesli or as a light morning snack with some fruit. They are also perfect for breakfast when you have friends over, it makes quite the impression.

You might also be keen to taste their cheesecakes, mooses, their wonderful Crème Fraiche, their chocolate pots and country butter. Be sure to check them out every Thursday at Mahon Point Farmer's Market.

Glenilen Farm Website