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Craft drinks production is growing at such a dizzying speed that it seems that every place in Ireland now has at least one local speciality beer or cider to its name - and perhaps a gin, whiskey, vodka or poitín too.
To many it's just a commodity, a bland white liquid with no character and no season, to be used without thought all year with breakfast cereals and tea - and the growing prevalence of industrial farming methods is reinforcing that impression. But all milks are not created equal.
Already well known to followers of the popular blog that she has written for over a decade (www.valskitchen.com), Valerie O’Connor’s books are reaching a ready audience more...
Val's Kitchen Real Food, Real Easy by Valerie O'Connor (Brien Press; hardback, 246x189mm, 160pp; photography by the author; €19.99/£14.99)
A hymn to rural Ireland - that just about sums up the Irish Food Writers' Guild Food Awards 2016, which are dominated this year by dedicated producers in the midlands and the stunningly good food and drink that they create. Now in their 22nd year of celebrating indigenous food, the Awards were announced at a showcase lunch at Dublin’s Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud on 2nd March.
Mention Easter and the first food association likely to come to mind is chocolate. It’s an all year favourite, of course, but it has seasonal peaks at Christmas, Valentines and, especially, Easter when we must get through mind boggling amount of eggs, bunnies and other chocolatey treats.
Where to Eat Pizza
, by Daniel Young (Phaidon, hardback; 14 b/w illustrations; 576pp; £16.95/€24.95)
Subtitled variously 'The Last Word on The Slice' and 'The Experts' Guide to the Best Pizza Places in the World', this cheerful, chunky hardback is certainly not a pocket guide... more...
Marking the third month of Northern Ireland's Year of Food and Drink 2016, we salute one of the region's most iconic brands, Bushmills Whiskey - a product that seems to sit happily in almost any month of the celebratory calendar, being equally at home with February’s ‘Love Local’ theme, the ‘Heritage and Traditions' focus for March - or of course 'Brewing & Distilling' which follows in April.
County Mayo has become a favourite destination for food lovers from all over the country thanks to people like the McMahon family of the hugely popular Café Rua on New Antrim Street in Castlebar (established in 1995 by Ann McMahon) and its younger sister Rua café, deli and bakery on Spencer Street, which opened in 2007 and is now run by Ann's children, Aran and Colleen.
Ask anyone in Northern Ireland about Punjana Tea and you’ll be in no doubt that you’ve touched on something central to the culture - even people who never drink tea (and there aren’t too many of those) will probably break into the famous jingle that goes back decades and crosses several generation gaps.
Although available all year round, leeks are at their best in winter and early spring and this versatile member of the allium (onion) family is a very useful garden crop as they are hardy and can be left in the round to harvest through the winter as required.