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The goat is the most widely used farm animal in the world for its milk, the cheese and its meat - yet, astonishingly, we hardly use it at all here, except for cheese.
Toby Simmonds is a legend of alternative thinking in the Irish food world - in 1993 he started a venture that many said would never work, The Real Olive Company, at a stall in Cork’s English Market. It was a huge success.
Ireland's answer to the famed Jersey Royal early potato from the Channel Islands, Comber Earlies are this island's flagship potato and one of only a small handful of products here to have the right to use the blue and yellow EU PGI ('Protected Geographical Indication') logo
Given Ireland’s lush grass and strong dairy tradition, it is not surprising that a lot of dairy farmers have diversified into ice cream production in recent years, and we are now fortunate to have quite a wide choice of high quality, small production ice creams - although distribution tends to be limited to their local area.
The Ballymaloe Cookbook, The Cookbook that Began a Food Revolution
, by Myrtle Allen (Gill & Macmillan, hardback, €27.99), which was published in May 2014 to celebrate Myrtle Allen’s 90th birthday and the 50th anniversary of her Ballymaloe restaurant, The Yeats Room. more...
Side by side on my desk are two books: the first edition of The Ballymaloe Cookbook by Myrtle Allen, published in 1977 by Agri Books - publishers of the Irish Farmers’ Journal, where many of Myrtle’s articles and recipes appeared - and the new, revised and updated edition
Time was, before the advent of year-round everything in the food world, that eggs were associated with spring - and especially Easter, of course. Maybe something of that instinctive seasonality remains, as it still seems an ideal time to think about eggs.
If you haven’t come across a ‘Stitchelton’ before, the Northern Irish cheesemaker Mike Thomson of Newtownards, Co Down, would be happy to perform the introduction.
Why not push out the boat this year and indulge in some Irish spring lamb for a special Easter meal? Although I generally prefer to wait until the roasting joints are bigger, more flavoursome (and better value) later in the year, a very late Easter brings more choice of local foods as the season is more advanced - and, while very wet, the mild winter and early spring has allowed good growth recently and there may also be more early vegetables than usual to enjoy.
Chocolate may once have seemed an unlikely speciality for artisan producers in Ireland to adopt in their droves, but it has proved a very successful one. There seems no limit to the Irish passion for chocolate and, fortunately for producers, no seasonal downs either, although there are pleasing peaks at Christmas, Valentines Day - and Easter.
Irish Food Writers' Guild President, Georgina Campbell, shares some of the stunning recipes created by Derry Clarke for the annual lunch held at L'Ecrivain to celebrate the winning foods and people at the Guild’s Food Awards