Keiths farm visit



On the 20th of October, my fellow classmates and I assisted in a talk that featured Avril Allshire from Caherbeg free range pork and Rosscarberry Recipes.  The intention of this talk was to give students a background into Avril as a food producer. She also mentioned some of the more prestigious awards she had won, such as UK Great taste award, the French awards Prix d’Honneur and Irelands Blas na hEireann
Avrils company Chaerbeg free range pork is a family run business that includes her husband and two sons. Avril maintains that her relaxed farming method helps to produce a quality finished product.
One of Avrils most interesting recipes was her black pudding and beamish stout bread that has 7 ingredients, 5 of which are made using ingredients solely produced in Cork.
Avril and her family have won many prestigious awards nationally and internationally for their hard work in producing quality products. Most notable of these is la Confreirie des chevaliers du Goute-boudin which she received as a result of the dedication and hard work that went into producing her black pudding This pudding also features in her Rosscrbary black pudding lasagne recipe. Caherbegs products have won awards almost every year from 2003 to 2013. Some of these awards includes the UK Great taste award, the French awards Prix d’Honneur and Irelands Blas na hEireann. Caherbegs pork products are also noted by the Irish examiner as “lovely full meaty flavou”
According to her husband Willie Rosscarbery recipes allocates to about 85% of their business but maintains that their original farm has to remain small in order to keep their standards high For her second company Rosscarbery recipes Avril is supplied by stautons in Cork. Statuons was founded by the staton family who had been butchering pigs for local farmers. Since 1950. Because of statuons quality control and locally employed workforce it is easy to see why Avril who is fixed on promoting good quality and local business would choose stautons as her supplier for Rosscarbery recipes. Avril mentioned that her inspiration for most of her recipes doesn’t come from her experience of cooking professionally but rather from being a mother who is sometimes in need of a quick recipe

Caherbeg free range pork and rosscarbarry recipes is an inspiration to how food should be produced. Small sustainable and local produce far outweighs anything that could be produced by larger manufactures in quality, nutrition and taste. Proof of this can be seen by the awards and recognition gained by Avril and her family over the years.

Chefs & unions



Kitchens and unions

The following piece is my view and opinion on the matter of unions in the workplace, and why they don’t really work in the kitchen. With all this talk over pay, conditions, overtime and rosters, I feel that unions are pushing for more until they get what they want and then want more.

Now I am in agreement with nurses and Gardai not so much they rest of the people going on strike. The dispute for Gardai is about restoration of previous entitlements and pay, give it to them, they take care of us we should look after them. ( As much as we give out about them we need them) Same as nurses and midwives pay them what they deserve for the hours of hard work and years of training that has to be done to them into hospitals working.

The kitchen in my view is run like the army everyone has their job to do and when to do it, stepping away from this without seeking permission from a higher ranked officer or chef is frowned upon with almost contempt.

In the last year I’ve list track of the amount of times I heard about traffic disruption around Dublin due to a strike action, quite frankly I would love to see Mucheal o Leary take over there and see what happens, when he took over in Ryanair it was losing money hand over fist now it’s one of, if not the biggest profit making airlines in Europe.

In the kitchen conditions are the same everywhere hot, due to ovens grills salamanders or a 6 ring burner. You deal with sharp knives (should be sharp) all day, standing all day under pressure all day to get all prep and service ready by that 1pm lunch rush or that 6pm deadline when every body else is off work. Most places that are unionised get paid extra for anti social hours, i.e weekends, bank holidays. Thank God it’s Monday.  For us in the kitchen to get pay raise or better conditions you must earn the raise by doing the job of your superior for me it’s the job of sous chef though I’m not ready for it I’m pushing myself to get there, by being better than the day before trying to put up clean plates that look identical to the one that left before it, controlling a service and not getting flustered in the middle of a rush.  Putting ideas forward for menu items learning more everyday. Trying to develop communication skills, experience and knowledge of different dishes and food, and the list goes on. For conditions well if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen really sums it up.

As for chefs on strike well I’ve only here if one but that was years ago long before my time when brigades were bigger and more complex now that worked with no union only a brigade uniting under their senior chef to get what they wanted, now with smaller crews it’s not so easy and with chefs being more networked now anyone who does this is tarnished by doing so, and as a result may never work in a kitchen again.

Now in all that I fail to see what a union rep can do for anyone here, now I am open to correction here.

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Artwork huge thanks to Jenny @wattonarts on Instagram

Sid on IBS


Irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What is it?

It is important to remember that IBS is not actually a disease but rather a collection of symptoms which are due to impaired function of the gut. We all experience occasional abdominal discomfort or upset from time to time but for IBS sufferers, these symptoms can be prolonged and problematic. This common disorder affects your large intestine (colon) and in Ireland, up to 20% of adults suffer from the condition, with twice as many females to males living with it.

IBS commonly causes abdominal pain, cramping, bloating and alternating constipation and diarrhoea. These symptoms can occur for days, weeks, months or even years. As the symptoms mimic other bowel conditions, IBS is usually diagnosed through the elimination of other ailments with similar symptoms.

What causes it?

There are many proposed causes of IBS. The list of suspects includes:

Bacterial, parasitic or viral infections

Overuse of antibiotics

An adverse reaction or intolerance to a food such as lactose or wheat

One underlying factor in almost all cases of IBS is stress. There is a complex biological interaction between the brain and the gut. No matter the source or level of the stress, our gut will generally react in some way.

What can I do to manage my IBS?

In many cases, you can control your IBS by managing your diet, lifestyle and stress.

Here are a few simple tips to get started:

Identify certain trigger foods that aggravate your symptoms, remove these foods by process of elimination. This can take several weeks but if you can find the offending food then it’s well worth the effort.

Probiotics are cultures of the “Friendly Bacteria” vital for intestinal health, which help to digest food and protect against the growth of harmful bacteria.

Soluble fibre (which dissolves in water) is much better for helping IBS than insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre has a gentle and soothing action on the gut. Dietary sources include:


Psyllium husk soaked in in water or psyllium powder

Flaxseed (linseed) – whole rather than ground

Peppermint oil capsules – very effective in calming abdominal spasms