Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Product of the week: Irish Atlantic Sea Salt

One of my favourite and most talked about desserts which I make is a Dark Chili Chocolate Mousse, with a garnish of sea salt, served with delicious vanilla coffee. In recent times, the one ingredient which has seen a renaissance is that of sea salt which is certainly in vogue at the moment.

Irish Atlantic Sea Salt which is harvested by hand from the crystal clear waters of the Irish Atlantic, on the picturesque Beara Peninsula in West Cork. Only the very purest Irish Atlantic seawater is gently evaporated, using time honoured artisan techniques, to produce pure and natural sea salt flakes.

Launched in 2009 by Michael O' Neill as a first of its kind in the Irish market, the product is going from strength to strength with food markets such as Dean & Deluca in New York wanting to stock their line. Irish Atlantic Sea salt is a great match over spring lamb for Easter dinner or sprinkled lightly over a goats cheese salad to give your salad that extra taste and crunch.

If you really want to impress your family and friends this Easter, why not try and get some of fresh sea water and boil your potatoes in seawater for an ultimate boiled potato.

Irish Atlantic Sea salt are supplying into more and more stores but for now you can buy online at:

For a local store near you, go to Irish Atlantic Sea Salt website:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Irresponsible Move By Teagasc Threatens Irish Food Industry

Over the past number of days, Irish people the world over have been celebrating what it means to be Irish. It really does fill you with pride when you watch the news to see landmarks such as the Burj al Arab in Dubai and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Shanghai turn green for our national day.  I take great pride in the Irish food we are able to produce, from our golden butter, to our dairy, to our potatoes and not to mention our Irish beef which is world class- all of which are synonymous with Ireland as a brand and as a country.

It is disappointing to learn that Teagasc- the Irish state research & advisory board for Irish agriculture have applied to the EPA for a licence to plant GM potatoes in Oak Park, Carlow. Apart from the environmental threat this experiment poses, the economic effects on the Irish Food industry will be catastrophic as it will remove Ireland's unique selling point as being one of the last GM Free States in Europe.

No2GM have mounted a campaign to stop this move by Teasgasc but they need our help. You can click below to sign the petition to stop GM potato trails in Ireland:

Alternatively, you can lobby your local TD expressing your concern over the Teagasc trails in Oakpark, Carlow.

Follow granny on twitter to keep up to date with events, remember that the deadline for submission to the EPA is 27th March 2012 so please act now.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ballymaloe House Wine Weekend

This weekend, I ventured down to Ballymaloe House to attend the popular Mary Dowey's Wine Weekend course which has become an annual spring feature on the Ballymaloe House schedule. Mary Dowey is Ireland's leading wine correspondent for The Irish Times for over ten years. Mary has a regular column in The Gloss magazine and is the author of the best selling 'Food and Wine- Matching Made Simple' book. The weekend course has been listed among the Top 10 Wine Courses in the UK & Ireland by the Daily Telegraph, and Lonely Planet Top 10 Weekend Breaks.

The morning started with some coffee and freshly baked scones in the Ballymaloe House conservatory which overlooked the beautiful gardens of Ballymaloe House. The itinerary for the day was marked with a number of tastings from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

It was interesting to learn that Riesling is the 'King of White Wines' with a long period of refinement but Chardonnay has only been in refinement for a few hundred years. Mary Dowey discussed the top end of Burgundy wine which are all under the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée certification from Meursault, to Chablis, to Montrachet and to Corton Charlemagne.

We broke for lunch and had some delightful soup with new season wild garlic, followed by some artisan goats cheese tart with fresh garden salad followed by new season rhubarb and ice-cream. 

A few of my favourite tastings from the day were:

- A 2010 Chablis
- Thomas Hyland 2009
- Michel Lynch Merlot
- Sancerre 2010

As well as a very nice Saint-Véran 2009

If you are keen on reading some more about matching food with wine, then Mary Dowey has an excellent book: 'Food and Wine- matching made easy'.

Next week, I am planning on attending the 'Burgundy 2009- a journey through the villages of Burgundy' which will be held in Ballymaloe House. I hope to do a write up on the evening, so check back soon for more.

Following a lovely spring day of wine tasting, I took a trip to The Ballymaloe Shop which stock a number of fantastic homeware items, as well as being home to the 'cafe at the end of the shop'. It is well worth a visit if you are in the area. It has a slight hint of an Emmerdale vibe about the shop and country house and is a wonderful part of East Cork nested on the edge of Ballymaloe House.