Georgina Campbell's Cookery Feature - Provenance and Authenticity - Celebrating Ireland's finest food products

IFWG Award Winners 2015Now in its 21st year, the annual Irish Food Writers’ Guild (IFWG) Food Awards recognise homegrown producers, organisations or individuals, whilst also celebrating the heroes who have devoted – and are continuing to devote – their lives to supporting and promoting Irish food

Food provenance and authenticity were top of the agenda at this year’s Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards, as seven food producers were honoured for the high standard and impeccable quality of their products, as well as for their unwavering dedication, devotion and commitment to quality Irish food. Special mention was also given to the producers who embraced sustainable practices and techniques.

Lizzie Gore-Grimes, Chairperson of the IFWG said, “The origin of food and drink products is becoming an increasingly important and influential factor for consumers; more and more we are seeing ‘local’ and ‘homemade’ as key factors in their decision-making process. What’s more, as the consumers’ knowledge and interest in food provenance grows, so too does the need for complete transparency on the part of the producer. The stronger the story behind the brand and the more that is known about its origin, the greater the connection between the consumer and the product.

Lizzie Gore Grimes at IFWG Awards 2015“All of our winners are flying the flag for food provenance this year. They come to the market with products that are real, authentic and bursting with honest-to-goodness quality. The quiet success of these seven winners is in no small part due to the richness of their produce, the strength of their story and the passion of the people behind them. What may initially have started as a labour of love for our award recipients is now reaping rewards today. All of our winners are wonderful ambassadors for Irish food, and I am certain that they will remain key players in maintaining Ireland’s enviable reputation on an international stage.”

The IFWG Food Awards are considered the most prestigious of their type in Ireland and are unique in that the members of the Guild are the sole nominating and decision-making body. The Judging Process is scrupulously fair: Products (which must be produced in Ireland and the main ingredient must be Irish) are bought and paid for anonymously and a formal tasting meeting takes place where members vote, using proportional representation.

The Guild presented seven awards at an event 4th March 2015 that was attended by some of the biggest names in Irish food and hosted at the much-celebrated l’Ecrivain Restaurant, where Derry Clarke and his team created a wonderful menu to showcase the winning products and celebrate the people who make them.

The 2015 IFWG Food Award winners are: Cork’s On the Pig’s Back, Skeaghanore Farm Fresh Ducks from Ballydehob and Wexford’s Wild About Foods. A special Irish Drink Award was presented to Richmount Elderflower Cordial from Co Longford, while Foods of Athenry claimed the Guild’s Environmental Award, with the judges recognising the integrity of the production methods in their Free From product range.

Birgitta Curtin of Burren Smokehouse was honoured for her notable contribution to Irish food, while Veronica Molloy of Crossogue Preserves won the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to growing on the home farm and the consistent innovation of her range of artisan Irish preserves over 40 years.

The Awards are supported by Bord Bia, which was commended by the Guild for its tireless support of the Irish food industry both in Ireland and abroad. For further information, including citations, visit

Derry Clarke’s stunning menu comprised:

• Sage Gnocchi with Wild About Nettle Pesto Cream and Garlic Purée
The Burren Smokehouse Seaweed-Marinated Smoked Salmon and Hot-Smoked Salmon with Honey, Lemon and Dill with Wild About Ginger Beets and Pickled Cucumber
Richmount Elderflower Granita
On the Pig’s Back Duck and Orange Terrine, Duck Liver Paté, Foods of Athenry Wholemeal Crackers, Candied Walnut and Rhubarb
Skeaghanore Duck Breast and Confit with Carrot and Apple
• Goat’s Cheese Mousse and Foods of Athenry Crackers, Crossogue Quince and Chilli Jelly, Glazed Fig
Crossogue Irish Coffee Curd Mousse with Feuilletine and Gold Leaf served with Crossogue Lemon Curd Ice Cream

RECIPES, created for the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards 2015 by chef Derry Clarke of l’Ecrivain Restaurant, Baggot Street, Dublin 2.
(for full recipe collection visit


Burren Smokehouse Salmon, Wild About Ginger Beets, Pickled Cucumber, Beetroot Purée

Serves 4

400g Burren Smokehouse hot smoked salmon
400g Burren Smokehouse marinated smoked salmon
for the pickled cucumber
500ml tarragon vinegar
300g brown sugar
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 star anise
2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 shallot, peeled and finely sliced
1kg cucumber, deseeded and diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into thin strips
1 chilli, deseeded and cut into thin strips
10g salt

for the beetroot purée
4 large beetroots
1 tsp grated fresh horseradish
100ml balsamic vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar

To make the pickled cucumber, put the vinegar, sugar, star anise, turmeric, coriander, fennel and shallot in a heavy-based saucepan and simmer for about 45 minutes. Pass through a fine sieve. Put the cucumber, red pepper and chilli into a bowl, sprinkle with salt, cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours. Rinse the cucumber in water and pat dry.

Add the cucumber to the pickle and cook for 30-40 minutes until it’s almost dry and has the consistency of jam (it should run off a spoon in a syrupy stream). Be careful, as, once the liquid starts to reach a syrupy consistency it will turn into hard caramel very quickly.

To make the beetroot purée, preheat the oven to 160°C. Wrap beets in tin foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour or until tender. Leave to cool and peel. Chop the beetroots and place in a saucepan, add vinegar, sugar and horseradish and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Season, strain and blend in food processor until smooth, add some of the liquid back in if the purée is too thick.

To serve, thinly slice the marinated smoked salmon and hot smoked salmon. Place on a cold plate. Serve with Wild About Ginger Beets and pickled cucumber and beetroot purée



Serves 4

for the terrine
400g On The Pig’s Back duck terrine

for the candied walnuts
12 whole walnuts
200g sugar
sprinkle of sea salt

for the poached rhubarb
500g sugar
500ml water
1 star anise
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 vanilla pod
zest of 1 orange
3 sticks of rhubarb, cut into 5 pieces each

for the paté
60cm sausage casing, from your local butcher
1 tub On The Pig’s Back duck live paté
300g rhubarb liquor, from above
10g balsamic vinegar
3g agar agar

To make the candied walnuts, place walnuts and sugar in a pot and bring up to 108°C (using a thermometer). Strain on to a rubber mat or baking paper and allow to cool slightly. Deep fry the nuts at 180°C until shiny and caramel coloured. Place on a tray and sprinkle with salt.

To make the poached rhubarb, combine everything, except the rhubarb, in a pot and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes and add in the rhubarb. Simmer until tender. Remove rhubarb and keep the liquor. Choose eight of the nicest looking pieces of rhubarb for presentation on the plate.

To prepare the paté, allow it to come up to room temperature. Combine the rhubarb liquor, vinegar and agar agar in a pot and bring to boil. Pour onto a small flat tray, moving the tray to make a sheet of gel. While this cools, use a rubber spatula to put the paté in a piping bag. Tie the sausage casing at one end and pipe pate in the open end. Hang it in the fridge to set. Remove casing from the paté and place on the gel, cutting to fit if necessary. Roll it tightly and carefully using a knife to cut it, leaving as little overlap as possible.

To serve, slice the terrine into desired portion sizes about 30 minutes before use to allow it to come to room temperature. Serve a portion of the terrine alongside a slice of the rhubarb-coated paté and garnish with candied walnuts and poached rhubarb.



300ml Richmount Elderflower Cordial
300ml water

Mix the cordial and water together and place in the freezer. When set, scrape the surface with a fork and place the scrapings into a glass.



Serves 4

for the pickled apple
50ml Mickey Finns apple liquor
25ml water
75g sugar
75g white wine vinegar
1 granny smith apple, peeled

for the carrot purée
1 tbsp vegetable oil
10 large carrots, 5 juiced and 5 finely sliced
25g salted butter
salt and pepper

for the duck
2 Skeaghanore duck breasts
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp star anise
50g butter
2 Skeaghanore confit duck legs

To make the pickled apple, combine all the ingredients, except the apple, in a pot and bring to the boil, then allow to cool. Using a melon baller, scoop out the apple flesh and pour pickle on top. Set aside for service.

To make the carrot purée, heat a saucepan, add the oil and sliced carrots and fry for two minutes, making sure not to burn. Add the carrot juice, reduce the heat and cover. Cook until carrots become almost mushy, then blend in a food processor with the butter for 3 minutes. pass through a fine sieve and season with salt and pepper.

To prepare the duck breasts, preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C (fan). Score the skin of the duck breasts with a sharp knife and season well with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan and place the duck breasts in, skin-side down. Fry for 6-7 minutes, then turn and add the thyme, star anise and butter. Allow this to melt, basting the duck with the juices. In a separate pan, sear the duck legs briefly on all sides, then transfer the duck legs and breasts to a roasting tin and finish in the oven for 5-6 minutes (for pink meat) or 10-12 minutes for well done meat.

To serve, slice the buck breast and divide the duck legs in two at the knuckle (to serve a half leg per person). Make a bed of carrot purée and place the duck leg on top. Drape the sliced breast over the leg and garnish with pickled apple.



Makes 14-16 (the extra will freeze well)

for the lemon curd ice cream
500g milk
500g cream
3 vanilla pods
30g honey
180g egg yolk
170g caster sugar
2 tbsp Crossogue Lemon Curd

for the crème anglaise
300ml cream
100ml milk
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
4 egg yolks
80g caster sugar
2 tbsp Crossogue Coffee Curd
splash coffee essence

for assembly
100g feuilletine
60g white chocolate
300g cream, whipped

To make the lemon curd ice cream, heat the milk, cream, vanilla and honey in a pot. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Just before the milk and cream begin to boil, pour half of the milk mix over the eggs and whisk. Transfer all back into the pot and heat to 80°C. Then take off the heat and stir in the lemon curd. Churn and freeze.

To make the crème anglaise, bring the cream, milk and vanilla pod to the boil in a large saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water until the mixture is pale and creamy. When the cream/vanilla mixture starts to boil, pour it slowly over the egg and sugar mixture, whisking all the time.
Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan the cream was heated in and continue cooking on a gentle heat until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Pass the custard through a sieve. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the custard and discard the empty pod. Add the coffee essence and Crossogue Coffee Curd into the custard and mix to combine. Leave to cool.

To assemble, melt the white chocolate and mix with the feuilletine, roll out between two sheets of parchment and cut to the size of your moulds. Fold the whipped cream into the crème anglaise mix, pour into moulds and stick the feuilletine base to them. Transfer to the freezer to set.

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