Monday, April 30, 2012

Recipe: Dermie's Homemade Buttermilk

Every morning before breakfast I make bread; sometimes soda bread, sometimes popping the sourdough into the oven or other times when I am in a hurry I pop a quick buttermilk pancake on. The only buttermilk I use in my soda bread is the one I get from the local market. It is Belgooly Buttermilk, which comes from John & Mary's 'Feirm Ur' farm, in Belgooly a mere few short miles from Kinsale, Co. Cork.

The reason I only use their buttermilk is because it is the only buttermilk I can find which is made from full fat organic milk from their herd of 50 British Friesian Cows. The demand for their buttermilk is so high that it is often difficult to get your hands on a litre of it, even from the local shops in Belgooly, Co. Cork. When I find myself out of buttermilk, I make my own which makes very delicious buttermilk.

Shopping List:

1 Fresh Lemon
1 Pint of Organic Whole-milk


Pour the milk into to a Kilner Jar, add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. Allow the milk to stand and let the juice gently curdle the milk for 45 minutes.

Place in the fridge until needed and it keeps for up to two days. As well as being delicious in soda bread, this homemade butter milk makes delightful fluffy breakfast pancakes served with a drizzle of maple syrup.

You can also substitute the lemon juice for white vinegar if you do not have a lemon to hand.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Product of the week: Paddy O's Granola

Breakfast can be quite a dull affair, or it can be a real treat- it all comes down to where you source your ingredients. Almost 30% of Irish people skip what is classified as the most important meal of the day, yet Irish people consume about eight kilos of breakfast cereal per head a year, putting Ireland at the top of the cereal consumption market worldwide.

It was only a matter of time before an Irish entrepreneur saw a niche in the grocery market for a healthier cereal. Paddy O' Connell set up Paddy O's Gronola after his J1 summer in Hawaii as a way to earn some money completing his studies. Paddy, inspired by his three months at Ballymaloe Cookery School, started selling his granola in bags at Stillorgan farmer’s market. The cereal is full of fibre and iron containing fibre fueled flakes, seeds, sultanas and apricots. If all that was not enough to kick start your day, this delicious granola has no added salt or sugar.

According to Paddy “our vision is to help people get the most out of life. We aspire to provide tasty, innovative food, continually recognising the aspirations of our customers”. From small oats, a fun and dynamic business has grown and now Paddy O's Gronola is stocked in all major retailers in Ireland. In the coming weeks expect to see alot more of Paddy O's Gronola. The business has won a Bravo prize-fund of  €150,000 outdoor advertising 'Make Me Famous' prize.

Paddy O' Connell plans to develop Paddy O’s Granola brand next year and plans are in place to have a yoghurt to be launched onto the Irish marketplace. A full list of stores stocking Paddy O's Granola can be found on the company website here.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Ballymaloe Space Project...

After months of planning, a team of five creative friends; Alex Musgrave, Billy Cummings, Eoin Devlin, Irial Kennedy and Aisling Ryan descended onto Mallow Space Centre, Co. Cork to mark Ireland's first space project. On Saturday the 24th of March, space mission "Ballymaloe" was launched when a jar of Ballymaloe Country Relish was released into space, fixed to a camera and a two metre helium balloon, orbiting Cork at a record of almost 96,500 feet.

The mission was suddenly in doubt when at an altitude of 5,400 feet reports reached the Mallow Space Centre that communication had failed. After months of planning, it seemed that Ireland's first space mission had failed but two hours later, a location of the space project was received just off the coast of Youghal, East Cork.

Again, the five thought that project "Ballymaloe" was destined for failure, as a water landing was inevitable for East Cork. However, low winds carried the shuttle safely to a near-by field where the five were able to quickly map the landing using their GPS device.

The project has been a great success at a cost of 700 euro, recording an altitude of 96,500 feet. Temperatures caused the footage to fail, and the jar to freeze, but most of the space project was recorded on their camera and then posted on Youtube:

The video has reached almost 15,000 views on Youtube and the friends have become an overnight success online. The video marks the launch of what will be undoubtedly a very successful venture, with the launch of Dog Day Media:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Product of the week: Smoked Salmon Fit For A Queen...

Last weekend, I made Sunday lunch for six, where I served up some of Frank Hederman's smoked salmon which I picked up at his stall in Cork's English Market. Frank Hederman's smoked salmon is without hesitation the finest salmon in Europe. He is a true visionary who has been smoking salmon for over 25 years in Belvelly Smoke House, Cobh, Co. Cork.

Frank Hederman's salmon is sourced from Co. Mayo, which is then smoked over beechwood chips specially made for the process in the UK. The salmon is packed, unsliced and sold by the kilo at his stall in The English Market as well being stocked at Midleton Farmer's Market, Avoca, Fallon & Byrne Dublin, Selfridges and Waitrose in the UK.

Frank Hederman's produce has received critical acclaim from top chefs internationally including Heston Blumental, Richard Corrigan, Matthew Fort and many more. In 2006, Frank Hederman's smoked salmon was selected for Queen Elizabeth's birthday dinner and with Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee at the end of the month, all eyes are on whether Frank Hederman's finest smoked salmon will once again make an appearance at the Queen's dinner table.

Frank's smoking talents do not just stop at offering delicious smoked salmon, he also sells smoked silver Eel, smoked Mackeral, and Smoked Mussels in Olive Oil Vinaigrette.

Frank Hederman offers an online shop for those who are based outside of Cork with the option of sending friends a beautifully wrapped piece of Frank Hederman's smoked salmon.

Further information on Frank Hederman's salmon can be found on his website: Frank Hederman Online Store

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dermie's Recipe: Wild Garlic & Ginger Soup

Wild Garlic will be coming to an end until next year in the coming weeks, so cease the opportunity while you can and try this delicious Wild Garlic and Ginger Soup. It's quick, easy and most of all it will certainly make an impression on those who pop by for some light lunch. You can also have a day out with friends or family and go foraging for some Wild Garlic; I got mine in Kinsale, Co. Cork while enjoying my Spring evening walk.

Shopping List:

-50g Butter.
-140g Chopped Fresh Onions.
-250g Potatoes scrubbed, peeled and diced.
-100g (or 2 generous cups) of Wild garlic bulbs and leaves roughly chopped.
-2 teaspoons of sea salt.
-A good pinch of black pepper.
-2cm cube of ginger finely chopped.
-1 litre of chicken stock (alternatively use vegetable stock).
-120ml Cream (or 60ml milk with 60ml of cream).

The Magic:

Melt the butter in a suitable saucepan, when it bubbles add in the onions, potatoes, wild garlic, ginger and sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Cover with either a used butter wrapper or cut out a piece of lightly buttered parchment paper and sweat for ten minutes over a gentle heat. Then add the stock and cook until the vegetables are soft. Purée the soup with a handheld blender or a food processor. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. The soup should have a hearty green colour with fine pieces of wild garlic.

To Serve:

If you like to be funky, serve the soup in cups with saucers of your very best fine china, placing any remanding soup in a serving jug for that homely rustic effect.

I serve this soup in my very wide large soup bowl, with a dollop of crème fraîche, a drizzle of the finest Olive Oil in my cupboard and garnish with a few Wild Garlic bulbs. This soup will leave you feeling rejuvenated with the ginger teasing out the delicious flavour of the Wild Garlic- the perfect match.

Top Tip: Try equal quantities of Wild Garlic with Ginger and purée for a marinade. This marinade is delicious over some fresh organic chicken.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dermie's Article: Outstanding In The Field

The last two summers have seen a sell-out tour sweeping America from New York to Boston, from LA to Southern California. Tickets go on sale and are sold out within days, but this tour is not headlined by Madonna nor is it U2- this tour is 'Outstanding In The Field'. This concept is a movable al-fresco feast with a farm to fork philosophy. Diners sign up and pay for a five course meal which is set in the local farmer's greenhouses where diners re-connect to the land and the origins of their food. The aim of Outstanding In The Field is to honour local farmers and food artisans who work hard to bring the feast to the table.

Formed in 1999, by chef and artist Jim Denevan, Outstanding In The Field has since seen farms, barns, mountain tops and even caves been transformed for the evening to celebrate produce where the ingredients have been sourced in the locality, mostly from the farm and some of the ingredients are even inches away from your table. The Outstanding In The Field team, who served almost 10,000 meals across the US last year, travel in a big red bus with California licence plates rumoured to be Elvis Presley’s tour bus.

Last year, outstanding in the field embarked on a successful European tour where in the space of three weeks the team hosted dinners in six different countries: Ireland, Wales, Denmark, Holland, Spain, and Italy.  To bring their family-style dining experience to hundreds celebrating their local food heroes and bringing fun back to the dining table. This year, the Outstanding In The Field team will be coming back to Europe stopping off in September in Ballymaloe Cookery School, Co. Cork and other locations around Europe.

It would be brilliant if more and more Irish farms engaged in this new food movement with the aim of re-connecting diners with their produce. For those Irish farmers seeking innovative ways to make money from their farm and produce, there is definitely a market in Ireland for the concept of 'agri-tainment' for weddings, corporate events and birthday parties. I really do believe that this concept will gain momentum in Ireland and I look forward to seeing an invite in my door to come dine 'al-greenhouse'.

For those entrepreneurial farmers, a business concept is waiting to be brought to life and it is a brilliant idea to showcase the best of your produce. For more information about Outstanding In The Field European Tour click on their website:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Richard Corrigan's Pop Up Restaurant

Yesterday, I was down in Bantry House where Richard Corrigan was filming his Pop Up Restaurant for Channel Four's Country House Rescue. The theme of the evening was:

 The Age of Elegance- An Evening At Bantry House

The evening was used to promote Irish food and to market Irish produce further in the UK, though the Channel Four programme. The produce the team used was incredible, some of the finest produce in Ireland. Some of which were:

Ardrahan Cheese, Ardsallagh Goat's Cheese, Danny Miles Durrus Cheese and Maurice O' Riordan's Milleens Cheese.

Shellfish came from Norbert Dunne Seafood Cuisine and the salmon came from Frank Hedderman in Cobh. Gubbeen's finest smokehouse products coupled with Glenilen cream and butter were focal points. The brillant Irish Atlantic Seasalt were once again a focal talking point of the evening's food.

The menu for the evening:


Local artisan platters of West Cork Shellfish with salad russe accompanied by Caldora Vini Chardonnay 2010. 


The main course was Bantry Bay pie and Castletown baked brill served with Sella Mosca Vermentino di Sardegna 2010 wine.


Dessert was rhubarb crumble served with Chateau de Stony Muscat de Frontignan 2008 sweet dessert wine.




Spending the day with Richard Corrigan and his team of chefs was a brilliant experience, they were all such a friendly team of chefs. Richard kindly gave me a gift card to dine in Bentley's; I am going to blog dine from there soon ;)

Tune into Channel Four's Country House Rescue in a few weeks, where you'll get to see Richard and his team and you might even see Mr. Gasmark Seven hanging around!

Stay tuned to twitter for updates.