Monday, February 27, 2012

Eat It, Drink It, Slurp It, And Make Hunger History!

 Soup For Life 05th- 11th March 2012

Last month, I met the enthusiastic entrepreneurial duo; Cully & Sully in Ballymaloe Cookery School. The two were promoting an innovative campaign with Gorta- the freedom from hunger council of Ireland. The campaign is one of many to promote 'National Soup Week' in Ireland which will run from March 5th to 11th 2012.

This is the second year running in which Cully & Sully have teamed up with the Soup for Life campaign. For each delicious Cully & Sully soup carton sold during March 5th to 11th of March, 5cent will be donated to the excellent cause of trying to bring much needed funds to fight against malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa. All money raised will go towards providing seeds and seedlings, rooster hens and training and planning on all aspects of nutrition and food security. Cully & Sully above were pictured at the Ballymaloe Cookery School gardens.

If you want to raise funds for this fantastic campaign, you can host your own Soup for Life event. Alternatively, you can have lunch at anyone of the many cafes, restaurants and deli counters who are supporting this event. For a full list of participants, you can log onto the Soup for Life website:

Soup for Life 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Food Writing Course with Hugo Arnold

Today was a very informative day as my housemates and I attended Hugo Arnold's Food Writing Course in the school. Hugo Arnold has written for numerous newspapers and magazines and is the author of 11 cookery books including two for Wagamama and five for Avoca. He is currently working on a book for Giraffe restaurants.

Food writing and writing cookery books is my ultimate dream but I've an incredible challenging path ahead to get there but one day I will get there. Hence why today was such a great experience for me, we spent the morning discussing how to go about creating a cookbook, how to write articles and how to properly brainstorm. I wish I had the luxury to brainstorm and construct my posts but for now, that's not possible.

We broke for lunch and had pizza where I met other bloggers such as Sheila Kiely of Gimme The Recipe who posts incredible recipes. Fellow students on the course are blogging too, one of the best is Lisa Devlin, check Lisa's well written blog here: Fork and Fizz. In the afternoon, I wrote up a recipe using Hugo's method and then a restaurant review of last night's dinner in Farmgate Café

A book I would highly recommend is The Flavour Thesaurus, check it out it is well worth a read. Tonight is my first Saturday night off in weeks, mega excited :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Product of the week: O' Egg

The first lesson I was taught in baking was that the very best cakes come from the very best ingredients. A wise baker once told me: 'if you can't get your hands on the best eggs, forget about making the best cake!'. A wise baker he was and a theory which has proven to stand the test of time.

Earlier this week, I baked the most splendid sponge cake for my dear friend, Kate for her birthday. Kate popped by for some light Afternoon Tea and cake but her attention was drawn not to the fabulous cake but to the eggs on the counter. The eggs were from O' Egg packaged in a bright Coco-Chanel pink packaging and inside were some wonderful free-range Irish white eggs with a pink cancer ribbon stamped on each egg.

O' Egg pride themselves on being 'Ireland's tastiest free range eggs produced in the old fashioned artisan way'. Their eggs come straight from the family farm where the chickens graze the lush green grass and roam around the fields in delightful pure surroundings. It is delightful to see that O' Egg are standing their ground in an era of mass production to continue on their business of old fashioned artisan free range production.

This pancake Tuesday, try O' Egg in your pancakes for a crisp, fresh and simply delicious pancake. O' Eggs are perfect for an Eggs Benedict on a Sunday morning or in a delicious sponge cake for Mother's day. For every pink box sold, they generously contribute to the Action Breast Cancer fund. They can be found in all leading multiples, Donnybrook Fair, Dublin and Fallon & Byrne, Dublin.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dermie's Weekly Shopping Bag: Country Kitchens Bakery Bagels

There is nothing more I adore on a Saturday morning then a nice run to work up an appetite for a big breakfast. This morning, I did just that and on the way home I picked up some cinnamon & raisin bagels in the local supermarket to accompany my bacon which I purchased from the local farmer and soft cheese I took home from the school.

As I toasted the bagels, a very distinctive scent of cinnamon filled the kitchen and I felt as though I had baked them myself. Then I thought, I really must share this on my blog as they are the perfect Saturday morning treat. Country Kitchen Bagels are very unique with excellent packaging, low in fat and baked 'the traditional way for better flavour'.

Operating from their custom built bakery in Midleton, Co. Cork using traditional methods and recipes to develop their range of breads and bagels- Country Kitchen Bakery bagels are without hesitation the best bagel in the supermarket aisle. They are perfect for the sporty type as they come in wholegrain and you can add some chicken into the bagel for an excellent post-workout snack. They are also an ideal treat for the big kids lunch box or smothered in cream cheese with some freshly chopped chives with delicious salmon for that self indulgent light afternoon snack.

Country Kitchen Bakery bagels are widely available in Tesco, Superquinn, Supervalu and other large stores nationwide. Further information can be found on their website: Country Kitchens Bakery.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Product of the week: St Tola Organic Goat's Cheese

One of the favourite activities we like to do in our cottage is to open a nice bottle of wine and discover some great Irish Farmhouse Cheeses. Last night, we placed St. Tola Crottin, which was covered in a distinctive fine layer of black ash, on the cheese board and soon the neighbours came in one by one to join us.

St. Tola Organic Goats cheese is certainly in a league of its own. A flake of St. Tola's really just melts on your tongue, its distinct flavour is totally different to Ardsallagh which is milder and different in texture- St. Tola has a much more flaky texture. The perfect partner is a nice bottle of Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc for the perfect night in with some delicious cheese biscuits.

St. Tola is available from all large retailers, local Farmer's Market and other outlets dotted across the country. For your local stockist, click here.

If you're looking for unique idea to spend Valentine's night, try St. Tola's cheese with some lovely glass of Sauvigon Blanc and some nice music.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bliss In A Teacup...


You may remember last Friday I blogged about my week of cakes and how I would like to set up my own tea shop serving a selection of nice teas and fluffy cakes. I really want to start a campaign to revolutionise Afternoon Tea in Ireland and bring it back on more of the menus of cafes and hotels around Ireland. It is something I am very passionate about and I feel there is a bigger demand for good Afternoon Tea in Ireland. We are lagging behind our English neighbours and with such excellent cafes and hotels in Ireland, I feel we should be leading the way in Afternoon Tea culture.

Much to my surprise this evening, I read in the Irish Times Magazine, Saturday 04th February 2012, a review of some of the most fantastic tea shops in Ireland: Bliss in a teacup. The article mentions a brilliant tearoom called Miss Courtney's Tearooms in Kilarney, Co. Kerry which looks amazing. I simply must plan a trip down some time soon for some tea and cake.