THERE’s no denying it folks, Winter is here and It’s official, despite the fact that we have had this type of weather since this time last year – but that’s our lot and we’ve just got to tough it out. Helping us to do that would be some hearty fare and with soups and stews making a wonderful comeback to our tables, this is my favourite type of cooking and the best time of the year to be doing it. So as we herald the much under rated leek, here’s a few timely treats to tuck into and test out in your kitchen. It’s all easy, but very very tasty.
Archive for October, 2008
IT has been a prosperous number of weeks for the local artisan producers of Limerick and the surrounding areas as the National and International awards continue to show that we have the finest food producers around these parts. This makes a welcome change from having to look to other areas of the country for top quality produce – it’s all here on our door step. News this week is on two producers that have reigned supreme with their products – Wilde Irish Chocolates and Sallymills confectioners.
Then there’s those people at Wilde Irish Chocolates who place irresistible fudge and chocolate temptation in our way every week at the Milk Market, who are celebrating after winning a prestigious award at SHOP EXPO 2008 recently.
Wilde Irish Chocolates was presented with a ‘Commendation Award’ for their Artisan Chocolate Bar range in the ‘Best Confectionery Product of the Show’ category.
Based in the picturesque village of Tuamgraney just north of Limerick city, Wilde Irish Chocolates have been making chocolates there since 1997 and Patricia Farrell from Wilde’s said; “It is a wonderful boost to get an award for making great tasting chocolates, but it is also thrilling to be commended by such a prestigious and influential judging panel as presided over the SHOP 08 competition”.
Their sinful chocolate treats are available from the factory shop, their farmers market stalls at Killaloe, Nenagh and Limerick’s Milk and Market and most recently from University of Limerick’s new Farmers Market on Tuesday’s and from selected outlets in Clare and the Mid West.
A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE!
SUNDAY 19 OCTOBER, 2 – 4PM
A walk on the wild side!
Suki Tea – one of our simple pleasures
In an age when we all have so much (despite the talk of recession), it can be hard to find that little luxury item when we want to spoil someone. You could say that we have to look no further because the ultimate treat is out there…!
Suki Tea loose tea blends, 100% Irish, gourmet and affordable! Yes, sometimes the simple things in life are best like a good cup of tea. Not just any old tea, but Suki Tea, a gourmet tea house in Belfast that source tea from the world’s best plantations including Fair-trade and organic suppliers.
They specialise in an array of delicious loose-leaf blends teas, such as: Fair-trade Belfast Brew, Green Tea with Ginseng, Fair-trade Darjeeling, White Tea and Organic Rooibos.
“What we are offering is the same sort of variety and excitement usually associated with the contemporary coffee business”, explains Oscar Woolley, Suki Tea founding director.
It seems that these great tea blends are no longer a secret of the tea connoisseurs. In fact it is served in a number of high profile restaurants, namely: Jamie Oliver’s inspired ‘Fifteen’ restaurant at Watergate Bay, Cornwall, Rick Stein’s ‘The Seafood Restaurant’ at Padstow, also in Cornwall, and Ireland’s Donnybrook Fair ‘Eat Up’ Restaurant in Dublin.
Try their delectable Earl Grey Blue Flower Tea – (Fair-trade and Organic), which is a certified Organic Premium black leaf tea, infused with natural oil of bergamot with cornflowers. Even better, and perhaps addictive, is their White loose tea. White tea blend is made from the rarest and most delicate of tea and it is harvested for only a brief period each spring. The tea consists of the first buds and two or three tiny new leaves that are covered with silky, white hairs. Unlike black or green teas, white tea is not rolled or steamed, but simply air dried in natural sunlight. This process preserves more of its antioxidant properties
Tea is not only the nations favourite drink, but it seems it has rich health properties too. Tea not only soothes and relaxes you. Here’s what else it can do:
All tea varieties are naturally rich in anti-oxidants (although the white and greens are reported to be slightly higher), which are important in the fight against the free radicals in your body. Studies have shown if you drink more than 2 cups of tea a day, you can decrease the risk of heart disease by 44% and certain types of cancer by 50%!
Tea is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Tea contains manganese, which is essential for bone growth and body development (one cup per day will supply the amount you need). Tea also contains fluoride, which is good for our teeth and gums. A rich source of potassium, tea is a vital source for maintaining fluid levels in your body, as it is hydrating in its own right. Tea may also reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke as it acts as a blood-thinning agent.
The good news is you don’t have to dine in Donnybrook as we Limerick souls are just as savvy about our tea you can buy an extensive range of Suki teas from Alchemist earth on Sarsfield Street, which prides itself on sourcing uniquely Irish, organic, gourmet food fare.
Suki loose tea blends retail from 4.45 euro.
WE are slowly moving into the season where more hearty fare will adorn our evening dinner tables and I love this time of the year as we get to cook soups and stews and allow the wonderful flavours that they bring develop each time we make them. It doesn’t mean that have to boil and stew everything but there’s something so warm and comforting about them.
This week, there’s a favourite – beef and Guinness pie – filled with stout and all things nice. To continue the comfort theme, there’s a spicy fish dish where the flavours of some fresh salmon are complimented by some Moroccan spices. We need to eat more fish in this country and we can be as creative as we like. Lastly, I have included a few must haves for your cupboards that are essential must haves for the colder months ahead.