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Hidden Ireland: The Tannery, Dungarvan

The Tannery, Dungarvan

And on to The Tannery. You’ve been waiting for this one, haven’t you?

Dungarvan was never really a food destination, not until Paul & Máire Flynn moved in and opened The Tannery in 1997. The Tannery was an old leather factory, I remember it very well from my youth. One distinct time when very young I recall lots of people working with animal hides which were hanging very visibly, lots of steam, and a sense of industry. I remember people in hats and my surprise when I was told exactly where those skins came from. From animals! I remember the stench. I was very small.

The Tannery, Dungarvan

Since then, I’ve noticed a very big change in attitudes to food in the area. Maybe this was happening already, and the opening of The Tannery crystallised it, but I think it’s fair to say that they were critical to this development. They’ve since opened an award winning guesthouse (Tannery Townhouse) and an award winning Cookery School which I have yet to check out. I have enjoyed food at the restaurant though, and last Sunday, I returned for Sunday lunch with my sister.

The Tannery, Dungarvan

Set by the Quay in Dungarvan in the old tannery, The Tannery restaurant is encased in a gorgeous old stone building. Downstairs in the foyer you can have a drink while you wait for your table, upstairs is the restaurant, bright and airy with hints of it’s Tannery past. With a population of 17,000 people, Dungarvan is a small town by anyones standards, but people travel to eat there now.

The Tannery, Dungarvan

We opted for a set Sunday lunch which offers 3 courses for €30. Comprehensive, offering 5 options for each course, it was very difficult to decide what to have as it was all very appealing. My sister could not resist the Crab Creme Brulee with Pickled Cucumber and Melba Toast and she advised that I had to try the Tannery Tasting Plate, offering a selection of 4 starters: Vichysoisse, Ketafi of Cooleney Camembert, Chicken Liver Parfait with Plum Chutney & Pork Rillette with Onion Marmalade.

The Tannery, Dungarvan

The Crab Creme Brulee was fantastic, ambrosial, rich and still light. Gorgeous. The Tasting Plate was wonderful too, the Vichysoisse was all you could ever want from that cold summer soup, the Chicken Liver Parfait creamy, light and rich, the Ketafi of Cooleney Camembert was a wonderful addition, with crisp noodles surrounding oozy creamy camembert, and the Pork Rillette as good as everything before. I loved it.

Choosing a main course was challenging too. Grilled Hake with Bouillabaise Sauce, French Beans & Aioli; Glazed Pork Belly, Apple Sauce & Celeriac Cream; traditional Roast Chicken with Stuffing, Carrots & Peas; Seared Scallops, Romesco Sauce & Chorizo Croquettes or Wild Garlic Risotto with Crispy Shallots. How to choose?

The Tannery, Dungarvan

I decided on the scallops as I loved the idea of the chorizo croquettes and they have been something that I have wanted to make for a while. Nodlaig went for the wild garlic risotto. A side order of intensely buttery mash was served with my main. Both were executed perfectly again, no less than 7 scallops with strips of pickled courgette (I think!), charred scallions, a roast tomato with charred slice of garlic on top and dreamy, creamy, spicy chorizo croquettes. The wild garlic risotto was lovely, bright green and packed with flavour, the rice was al dente and had a lovely bite as it should, the crispy shallots served as a perfect contrast.

The Tannery, Dungarvan

The Tannery, Dungarvan

The Tannery, Dungarvan

Time for dessert. Soft Baked Meringue with Strawberries and Lemon Curd was irresistible for me, and Nodlaig went for her favourite Chocolate Truffle Cake. I loved mine, it was light, fruity and summery, not rich, and the chocolate truffle cake was mousse-like and reminded me of the River Cafe’s Chocolate Nemesis. Very good indeed.

The Tannery, Dungarvan

The Tannery, Dungarvan

Coffees were included and I had two very good and very well priced wines by the glass. A Bergerac Sauvignon- Semillon for €6.50 and a chilled red Beaujolais at the same price. We had a lovely lunch, it really has everything nailed: great room, great food, friendly and efficient service and very well priced. The food is detailed and delicate but has a lovely homely quality too. It stands up to and beats some michelin starred meals that I have had in London, and I think that the people of Dungarvan are very lucky to have it there.

Just last night they won an award for the Best Restaurant in Munster, Ireland, and the Best Irish Cookery School, so it’s definitely one to visit. Make sure you stick around and enjoy the area and all it has to offer, if you do.

http://tannery.ie/

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Hidden Ireland: The Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore

Tucked away in a quiet corner of West Waterford is Ardmore. A seductive, sleepy seaside town, more of a village really, with a long beautiful strand and a hotel perched atop it. Overlooking the whole scene is Ardmore’s round tower, built sometime around the 10th – 12th century. One theory is that they were used to watch the coastline so that when any invaders aproached the locals would hide within.

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford

I however, have no intention of hiding in a round tower. If you want to find me in Ardmore, I will be hiding and indulging in the Cliff House Hotel. Hugging a cliff edge with a sweeping terrace overlooking the sea, the food options are terrific, offering michelin starred dining or great bar food. We popped over for lunch and gave it a whirl.

The menu reads beautifully and simply, featuring lots of Irish and local produce. Local organic smoked salmon, monkfish from nearby fishing village Helvick, soda bread, Dingle crab and one of my favourite desserts, rhubarb fool. We opted for a couple of things each, in truth one would do, but we wanted to try too many things.

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford

My sister started with the Organic Smoked Salmon with Egg Salad and croutons, and I the Potted Helvick Monkfish with Horseradish Mayonnaise and Spelt Bread. The Smoked Salmon dish was lovely and well balanced, with the creamy egg countering the smoked salmon nicely. My potted monkfish was presented beautifully in a kilner jar with scallions on top and a light nice selection of leaves on the side. Overall, very good, although I couldn’t detect much horseradish sadly. Ironic as it was my sisters preferred choice, but she doesn’t like horseradish, and I meanwhile was covetting her salmon.

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford

We moved on to our next dish Caesar Salad “The Cliff” with Chicken for Nodlaig and Dingle Bay Crab on brown soda bread for me. The Caesar Salad was as good an execution of this dish as I have ever sampled and it was excellent. My crab was fresh, generous and light with a perfectly complementary dressing, and the rich brown soda was great with it.

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford

The menu features several wines by the glass and I had a lovely glass of Macon Vineuse 2008 from Oliver Merlin in Burgundy for €10 a glass. The food was all between €10 & €12, there are more expensive and substantial options like rack of lamb for 28.50 and whole sea bass for €26.50.

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford
The bar is lovely, the service friendly, and the view is sensational. If we had better weather, we just couldn’t keep people away from Ireland but our notorious rain might hamper this. We were blessed with sunshine on our visit and I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. I plan to go back to try the restaurant where Martijn Kajuiter leads in the kitchen. Previously of Restaurant Kwekerj de Kas, one of my favourite Dutch restaurants, it promises to be inspiring, but we will have to wait to see. I plan to stay there, and tear myself away from my every day reality. I have promised myself that it will be very soon.

The Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore

http://www.thecliffhousehotel.com/dining

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford

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Edible Wild Flowers: Three Cornered Leek/Wild Onion

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford - Wild Onion from the car park!

I always have my eyes peeled and my nose finely tuned to the colours, shapes and scents in country hedgerows. A dangerous occupation when there’s lots of silage and manure about, but, worth it for the times that you get an onion-y whiff, and then glimpse beautiful white flowers that taste somewhere between a spring onion and wild garlic.

I love wild garlic and use it a lot when it’s in season. It’s incredibly pungent (usually), and is something that I cook, or at least blanche before using. Three cornered leek (sometimes called wild onion and officially called Allium triquetrum) is more delicate, and slender, like a feminine version, with slimmer, angular, less shouty leaves and petite flowers. Perfect in salads, the flowers also make a gorgeous garnish.

Glandore

On a walk to the beach in Glandore last week, I turned a corner and hit the most intense onion smell and smiled, knowing that I would be greeted by beautiful white flowers, looking like swanlike snowdrops. They are also common in London, I did a cheeky midnight forage in someones abandoned front garden in Islington recently that was carpeted with these gorgeous elegant blooms.

What to do with them? So much. Perfect in salads or as garnishes, it is worth making a small effort and blitzing the green leaves with some oil and drizzling on potato soup, with some flowers scattered around it. It makes a great pesto, a little less abrasive than one made using ransoms. I find it hard to resist simply eating the flowers on the way home.

 

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Recipe: Irish Salmon and Crab Fish Cakes

Salmon & Crab Fish Cakes

Back in Ireland for a few weeks, to celebrate a friends wedding, my nieces first birthday, and a fairly significant one of my own (quietly for a change), I felt inspired to cook something Irish, something that reminded me of my roots and drew from the surrounding area. I decided on fish cakes.

Not something that I would ever eat as a child being the fussiest creature crawling the face of the earth, I discovered them later on, preferring those packed with fish, with crispy exteriors and fresh salads with creamy dressings and sharp capers and cornichons. Maybe some lovely tartare sauce or simply homemade mayonnaise. Irish fish cakes should have potato too though, so I always add a little bit.

Salmon & Crab Fish Cakes

I haven’t made them in a while, in fact I grew to hate them. It’s the most popular recipe on this blog, but not one of my favourites, and I resented that poor little post from the early days when my photos came from a battered old camera. It’s time to embrace fish cakes one more and in light of the occasions this week, a little luxury was required in the form of some crab meat.

Salmon & Crab Fish Cakes

As I was home, in an Irish seaside town, I had the luxury and convenience of a local fish shop with fresh locally caught crab and delicious salmon. My home is not very far from Flahavan’s Mills, where they produce lovely porridge oatlets which I love and eat all the time in London. I substituted their pinhead oats for breadcrumbs to coat the salmon. It worked beautifully giving lovely crunch and texture. A little bit healthier too perhaps.

I poached my salmon first with fresh bay leaves and parsley and thyme from the garden with a dozen or so black peppercorns in milk. I poached it gently for 15 – 20 mins, let it cool and discarded the skin, gently flaking the salmon and combining it with a couple of spoonfuls of the poaching milk, the mashed potatoes, fresh chopped chives, the crab and it was good to go. Easy! And perfect too with leftover salmon or other fish you might have to hand.

Salmon & Crab Fish Cakes

I served these with a simple salad (again picked fresh from the garden – such luxury for a Londoner!), french dressing, capers and mayonnaise. A homemade tartare sauce goes very well too.

I baked and fried these. Baked is healthier and takes about 35 minites at 200 degrees celsius. Frying gives a much better texture, and takes about 5 minutes on each side at a moderate heat.

Recipe: Irish Salmon and Crab Fish Cakes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

300g Salmon – I poached mine, not essential though, cooked salmon in any way will do
200g Crabmeat (pref mixture white & brown)
200g mashed potatoes
Fresh chives
150g oatmeal
1 egg
A little milk
S&P

Salad leaves

Dressing: 1 tsp white wine vinegar, 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, S&P

To serve: mayonnaise or tartare sauce and capers

Method:

If you are poaching the salmon, cover the salmon with milk, and add some bay leaves, parsley and what ever other herbs you have to hand, some peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and leave to poach gently over a very low heat for 15 – 20 minutes.

Leave to cool and peel the skin off. Flake and mix with the crab, mashed potato and a handful of fresh chives. Season to taste. Depending on your potatoes, you may like to add a couple of tasblespoons of milk (from the poaching liquor if you poached). You may not need this, judge by tying to shape a fish cake, and if it needs more moisture add the milk.

Season the oats. Divide the fish cake mixture into 8 and shape into flattened balls. Dip these in the beaten egg and coat in the seasoned oats. Fry at a moderate heat for about 5 minutes on each side until crisp and heated through.

Dress the salad leaves and serve the fish cakes on top with a sprinkling of capers and some mayonnaise or tartare sauce on the side.

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A Little Break in West Cork

Church in Glandore

Church in Glandore (where my friend will get married!)

Hi folks! Apologies, but my next Posh Lunch Club post (from Viajante) will be a little delayed as I am in Cork for a week. Hope to get it up in the next few days. For now I am at home for a wedding in gorgeous Glandore in West Cork.

It’s really beautiful here, and very sunny. Sensibly sunny though if I may say so. Not like when it got hot in London last week, and as much as I loved it, I was burned, chomped on by some critter or other while asleep, leaving me with big swollen bites, and it was just that little bit too hot for someone as pale as me with blood those critters can’t get enough of. It always seems better with that sea breeze anyway.

I’ve missed the sea, both the water and the salty sea air. I’ve missed my friends too. So, I am going to down tools for a little bit and enjoy it!

Not long though, I will be back soon with some food stuff and a Posh Lunch.

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A Perfect Evening for Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine

If lazing and grazing were a sport, I would be a gold medallist. I treat it as an art form. Cosied up in the finest of fleece pjs, I slink around, from bed to kitchen to sofa, and many other possible permutations, munching on treats, planning the savouries, brewing some coffee, and catching up with myself, my books and some films.

Lazy? I am afraid so. In my defence, I have been so horribly busy that I have had no time to laze, and not much time to graze for many months now, so I am making up for lost time. In fact it’s an absolute necessity, I’ve reached the point that if I don’t stop volunatarily, my body will make the decision for me, and I will get ill. I can feel it in my bones.

What a perfect day St Stephen’s Day is for this (we don’t have Boxing Day here in Ireland). After the build up and heavy weight of expectation that preceeds Xmas Day, the sluggishness following the epic Xmas feast and the mellow crevice that is the 26th is most welcome.

Traditionally in our house, we went to Cork to visit Grandparents and relatives. We loved it when we got there but the departure was always traumatic. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was always on TV and we were always distraught at missing it, even though we’d seen it many times. I still love that film, it’s the perfect balance of good and sinister with bright colours, sweets, songs, oompa loompas, what’s not to love? Let’s not speak of the Tim Burton version.

More than any of the above, St Stephen’s Day was always about the ham sandwich, with leftover Christmas ham in bread. We never had leftover Turkey, I was always envious of those who had, but ham we had a lot of, and on arrival in my Grandmothers house we would be greeted with a plate of it.

We would watch the Wren Boys arrive, an old Irish tradition, where children would dress up, and parade around with a fake captured wren on a stick, and knock on the door singing “The wren, the wren, the king of all birds, St Stephens day got caught in the furs”. They would be rewarded with some money, and we would look on enviously. It seemed like a second Halloween to us, but the tradition is very localised, much celebrated in Cork and Kerry, but not so much in Waterford, where I am from.

Those days are gone now and we spend Stephen’s Day at home, but we still have the ham, and better still goose. Leftover roast potatoes, some oxtail this year, and stuffing. Chocolate cake, which I keep sweeping past and cutting slivers off, convincing myself that it’s not very much, then washing it down with a truffle.

For perfect lazing and grazing, I reach for the cheese (Irish of course), spiced nuts, hot port and mulled wine. Hot port is a traditional Winter drink in Ireland and you can get it in every pub. It’s a warming and comforting drink, how I wish the tradition would catch on in the UK. I make them at home, and on occasion treat myself to one at The French House in Soho, the only pub I know in London that serves them. Anyone know any others? I have my own recipe for spiced nuts but that’s for another day.

Today I am all about the mulled wine. Fiona Beckett posted a lovely piece about mulled wine here, and I have followed her advice,  but my recipe includes some of my own additions. I love the fragrance of fresh bay leaves and nutmeg in addition to the cloves, cinnamon and star anise. I also like to include a whole tangerine per bottle, tangerines are so Xmas-y, and I love the citrus and the sweetness.

I wholeheartedly agree with Fiona, never mull a wine that you wouldn’t drink, the same goes for cooking. If it tastes bad before you cook it, it ill still taste bad after, so don’t. Today I am using a Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, it carries the spices & fragrances nicely and has enough body to stand up to them. I use whatever port I have to hand, a nice rich one, today a vintage one, about a wine glass full, roughly 175ml.

I stud the tangerine with about ten cloves, and cut it in half, adding it to one bottle of wine, 175mls port, a cinnamon stick, one star anise, a fresh bay leaf and a little fresh grated nutmeg. Be warned, the nutmeg grated finely will be floating in the end product so if you don’t like it, leave it out. I think it’s worth it for the flavour. To sweeten, about 4tbsp of caster sugar will do, although this is to taste and depends on the wine and your own preference. Bring to the boil, and leave to infuse for half an hour or so. Pour through a sieve and heat the wine gently, taking care not to boil the alcohol off, and serve.

Perfect Xmas fare with minced pies, cheese, spiced nuts. Also on its own with a cheesy Xmas movie :)  Enjoy!

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A Very Merry Xmas to You!

Guinness Fairy Lights

I made it. That epic journey from London to Chester (train)  -> Holyhead (ferry) -> Dublin (train) -> Waterford  -> butcher – > bank – > post office – > supermarket -> HOME!  I am still in 1-2-3, no, one piece! It’s exactly 24 hours since I left my house in London, and I’ve had an hour to sit down. Hardcore, I am sure you’ll agree ;)

I am pretty tired, nay shattered, and have the look of a squirrel that was plugged into some electrical device. Frazzle dazzle, frizzy hair, shell shocked face. The one advantage that I have over such an animal, is that I can have a glass of wine and sit in front of a roaring fire contemplating some culinary adventures. They, I expect, are out looking for some nuts somewhere, and I have loads here. Heh heh.

So, what will the Christmas period bring? Mulled wine, spiced nuts, chocolate salami, and that’s just today. Glazed ham, goose, roast rib of beef. Pear bellinis, great red wine, and some of my favourite hot ports. Catch ups with friends, walks on the beach. I will not be making all of this fantastic food, some of it is being cooked for me, but I do promise to come back with recipes for that which I do make.

For now, I wish you all a wonderful and very merry Xmas. Here’s to you, and a smashing 2010. Cheers, or as we say here, sláinte!

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Taste of Cork

Taste of Cork
Taste of Cork
Taste of Cork

Taste of Cork

I do like to do nice things, and these often involve food, ok, mostly involve food. I can never pass up the chance to attend a food festival, so when a friend mentioned that Taste of Cork would be running for the first time this year in Ireland, I made sure that I would be there for it.

Taste of Cork, like Taste of London, showcases the best food that the area has to offer. It was in a fabulous setting, in the old city gaol, and on a beautiful day. We went along to the evening session, and keen as ever, arrived early to join an enormous queue. Well, to be truthful, I thought I was late as I had the time wrong, but, just as well!

Taste of Cork

Taste of Cork

Now, I’d done a little research, and some Cork restaurants that I really wanted to try were there, so I had already drafted a list in my head, determined to start first with Ballymaloe House and then the Ivory Tower, moving onto Bell Tower, Capella from Castlemartyr. There were some others that I was curious about but these were my top three, anything after that would be a bonus.

Potato soup with garden lovage pesto and chive flowers from Ballymaloe House

First impressions, the venue was great and it was more compact than Taste of London. This, for me, was a good thing, as I only saw a small portion of Taste of London in the time that I was there. Not that that’s a hindrance, next year I’ll just go twice! Nestled in at the base were two of the restaurants from my short list, so I went straight to Ballymaloe House to sample their wares.

Ballymaloe is famous for a few things, their restaurant, Darina Allen, Rachel Allen, Rory O’Connell, their cookery school and their passion for local irish ingredients. I wasn’t ready for a dessert yet, and given I had yet to have anything to eat, a starter seemed like a sensible option. On offer was potato soup with garden lovage pesto and chive flowers. It was pretty, delicious and very smooth, full of flavour, with the chive flowers offering a bold textural contrast, that at first I wasn’t too sure about. By the end, I wanted more.

Ballycotton mackerel with gooseberry sauce and organic Shanagarry salad

The main course available was Ballycotton mackerel with gooseberry sauce and organic Shanagarry salad, however by now, I already had my eye on swordfish from the Ivory Tower next door. The swordfish was served with mango salsa and banana ketchup. I was intrigued by the banana ketchup and wondered how it might taste. It sounds idiotic to say but it tasted exactly like you would expect it to taste – banana flavour with the texture and viscosity of ketchup, yellow of course. It was beautiful with the mango salsa and the swordfish. I fell in love and must try and find a recipe to replicate it.

Blackened Swordfish with Banana Ketchup and Mango Salsa

Next up, a browse around some of the stalls, a taste of the new Lindt chilli chocolate (yum!), some flavoursome irish strawberries, and some prosecco, to wash it all down. The English Market from Cork were there, a fantastic indoor food market that has been serving the city since 1786. There are lots of traditional butchers in there selling the likes of tripe, drisheen and spiced beef, fishmongers, cheese shops, a fresh pasta stall, the farmgate café, it deserves a blog post of it’s own so I’ll leave it for now.

At the Pig’s Back from the English Market had lots of wonderful irish cheeses at Taste of Cork, and I was quite pleased to see a girl there, that had served me at the market some months previously, quite nervously as it was her first day, she seemed to be enjoying herself, which was nice to see.

What else did I eat? White bean soup with pork belly and chorizo oil from Capella, one of the stars of the evening. Definitely one restaurant to return to next time I am in Cork.

Surely, I couldn’t handle another main? Well, they were small, and I just had to! There was roast fillet of pork with black pudding, potatoes, caramelised compote of apple and plums and marjoram juice from Orchid’s at Hayfield Manor in Cork City. Phew, what a mouthful, but the dish itself, regardless of the complexity of the title, tied together beautifully and was responsible for me buying lots of black pudding to bring back to London. A potato and black pudding sandwich with tender fillet of pork on the side – soul food.

Roast fillet of pork with black pudding, potatoes, caramelised compote of apple and plums and marjoram juice from Orchid

What about dessert? I kept it savoury and went back to the Ivory Tower for some pizza ice cream: tomato and basil sorbet, olive and parmesan tuile and it was great.

Pizza ice cream: tomato and basil sorbet, olive and parmesan tuile

What about the food I wanted but didn’t have the space or mental capacity to fit? Herb Coated Slaney Valley Lamb, Carmalised Onion Crushed Potato, Saffron Emulsion from Bell Tower, Capella featured as did the aforementioned mackerel witrh gooseberry sauce from Ballymaloe, the porchetta on the spit, gubbeen cheeses, clonakilty black pudding and the connemara smoked salmon.

Herb Coated Slaney Valley Lamb, Carmalised Onion Crushed Potato, Saffron Emulsion from Bell Tower, Capella
Porchetta

I am afraid I was pretty poor on the demonstration front but I did catch the end of Rory O’Connell who was very enjoyable.

Overall, it was a very pleasant evening with some outstanding food. I’d definitely recommend it and I’d go again.

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Kinvara Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon Salad

One of the things that struck me on my recent trip home to Ireland and the Burren, was how fantastically fresh and delicious the seafood was. This is to be expected, as it’s on Galway Bay, however, for an island, surprisingly, lots of Irish people don’t eat fish all that much. I, for one, didn’t really start eating fish until well into my 20’s, and while living in London!

Kinvara itself, is well known for the award winning Kinvara smoked salmon. A small family run business, their organic irish salmon is smoked using age old, smoking techniques over a combination of oak and beech wood, in (to use their words) a state of the art HACCP approved Smokehouse. The salmon is sourced from their salmon farm, Clare Island Seafarm Cooperative, the only organic salmon farm in Ireland (certified organic by IOFGA), 4 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean.

The salmon are fed on the by products of herring and mackerel and ground up crustacean shells. This lends their flesh a deep colour – it is not chosen from a selection of dyes as the colour of other farmed salmon can be. The high water movement in the Atlantic, generates strong currents compelling the salmon to swim like their wild counterparts, resulting in a flesh that is firm with a firm texture and lower fat content.

So, what of the salmon taste? I loved it, for me for what I’ve tried, it is second only to Frank Hedermans organic smoked salmon from the Belvelly smokehouse. Nigel Slater is a fan, and was quoted some years ago as saying “…the best I have eaten this year was a gently smoked fish from Kinvara.” I’d urge you to try it if you can, it is widely available in Ireland and in the UK in Waitrose, Fresh and Wild and Selfridges food hall.

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Beannachtaí na Féile Padraig – Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Beannachtaí na Féile Padraig / Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Greetings from the Emerald Isle. I’ve spent St Patrick’s Weekend on the cusp of the Burren in Kinvara, Co Galway – the perfect antidote to a busy month in London. Kinvara is a seaside village on the west coast of Ireland, home to Kinvara Smokehouse, the producers of the wonderful Kinvara organic smoked salmon (more on that in coming days). I had much fun with friends and lots of smoked salmon and shellfish, the smoked salmon delicate and pungent at once, and the shellfish – so fresh. Wonderful. I am ready for another crazy month now :)

I cooked a few things but as I’ve spent most of the day travelling back to Dublin, I’ll have to write about those another time. For now, I’ll leave you with some random unedited pictures, straight from my camera via a disgruntled Mac that crashes every time I try to do anything, and, promise to be back soon!

Tractor from the Gort St Patricks Day Parade (Co. Galway)

Ballyvaughan, the Burren

Outside the Russell Gallery, Newquay, the Burren

Boats in Kinvara Harbour

Kinvara Harbour