Paul talks foraging during covid

Covid picking 

Since lockdown began at the start of wild garlic season picking was slim, beaches off limits even slimmer pickings I’ve always had hedgerows to pick from fraughans are beginning the fruiting process at the moment so they are small green berries now when ripe they will look like small blueberries and wild strawberries are ripe for the picking at the moment get them while they are ripe as birds love them and have infinitely more time to grab them than you. 

Also fushia nss elderflower coming in thick and fast with the beautiful weather best to get them early in the morning to keep the best of the goodness before the bees take all the goodness. 

Some people say it smells like cat pee in the evening, I’ve never picked it in the evening so no comment here. 

I’ve always adored the smell of elderflower and this year I have acquired some water keifer from a friend to make some elderflower drinks fotr the year with a little fizz. Big Mason jar at the ready. Stay tuned for results. This could work amazingly or fail miserably. Fingers crossed. 

A recent wander in ballyseedy woods revealed a number of pheasant back mushrooms or Dryads saddle mushrooms tasty mocerls I dried the larger ones that I found and had some for dinner myself. 

How to cook them. You cook them the same as any regular mushroom, it just has a stronger “mushroom” flavour. 

How I dried the larger mushrooms I hear you ask. After cleaning using a damp cloth and a light rinse of water to flush out any bugs I sliced as thin as I could and placed them on some parchment paper and into a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes and then turned it off. When I turned it off I opened the oven to release the steam that will build up. 

Check in the morning they should snap quite easily if they bend they are not done. Repeat the procedure once more if necessary. 

Our shop has now gone live tralee culinary gangsters t shirts, beanies and vegtopia books availablr for sale. 

https://traleeculinarygangstersltd.bigcartel.com/ 

As always stay safe, support local

Gary on starting out

Was 16 when I was offered my first job, wasn’t chefing it was actually meant to be a kitchen porter, but my head chef and mentor for the past almost 8 years looked at me and said get a uniform you start Monday, I didn’t want to chef at the start, just wanted money cause I was Young, never liked the job as a chef until I was shown how to cook and found out you can never stop learning, fell in love with it and my trade and wanted to learn all the time, still to this day I google and research recipes and cooking skills, love what I do and I am always excited to learn more and will never get enough knowledge because it’s endless

Lockdown life

Lockdown ramblings 

Since all this started, I like many of my colleagues across the industry and in general the public have been afforded an opportunity to evaluate life, and the work life balance. Many people will have experienced this differently to what I did. 

I’m fortunate in a sense that I live in the countryside, far from town and near to forestry walkways. 

My wife has adapted to her new learning from the college i.e online classes and exams quite well with a nice set up in the kitchen. 

All exams passed with flying colours. 

For me I need to get out to and into a kitchen as they seem to be the only place my life makes sense I don’t know why it just does for me. I get to kill 2 birds with one stone I get to give back to the community and get out of the house and build a network for myself for the future. I’ve known my kitchen comerades Paul and Karl for a while but never really got to know them. 

By providing meals on wheels for SVP I have learned that we are still a community at heart something that many believed myself included non existent previous to lockdown. The community approach to this has been fantastic across the country and the rural community ramped up production on their existing efforts in the rural centres for Irish life. Yes, I’m referring to villages and small towns with senior groups or aid groups for the community prime example my own village Knocknagoshel already providing meals laundry etc from the community centre added extra delivery and shopping from the village and they deserve a massive thank you. 

Now as it eases and “normality” resumes now I hope that this community sprirt and local support continues. I now myself have had time to think and contemplate what aspects of what I want the new normal to be. I now have rearranged my priorities and I needed a kick up the backside to see what everyone has always said to me and others no doubt in my shoes since the dawn of time, choosing family over my career is now to the forefront of what I want and desire. Honestly I always believed it myself and was going my own way about it by putting in the work for my life to enable an ease of life later. Seems logical to me, not any more thankfully.

Dale talks how it started

Hello
My name is Dale Houlihan.
I’m 20 years of age and I’m a chef, I started chefing when I was 17. In secondary school they hadn’t home economics classes or anything so when I finished school I was expected to know what I wanted to do from what I was thought in school. My mom thought me how to cook at a very young age I was 4 making my first cake , 5 making my first pizza from scratch. Someone gave me advise to turn something you love into a career and that’s what I did , I started a Professiona cookery course the age of 17 in Kerry Collage Of Further Education.
I hadn’t a clue how to dice an onion or baton a carrot but I learned , I handed in a CV to Croi as a Commis Chef under the head chef Noel Keane and suis chef Paul Cotter , I started off as a kitchen porter for about a week then I got moved onto preparing Amuse Bush’s. Paul then trained me on plating desserts and helping with starters.while on Amuse Bush’s Paul used to tell me “I’ll give you the list of ingredients and you execute it” I was still learning what pickled radish and wild garlic was but Paul and Noel wanted to see what I’d create with the Amuse Bush and make me learn my own artistic side of dishes I never New I had.
Sometime after that I got comfortable with the starters and I’d fill in for Paul in he’s days off.
I was getting faster and cleaner and more creative every time I came into work and it really helped out with collage because the amount of knowledge a guy could learn from working with a team like that is the best knowledge anyone could get trying to learn and improve in collage. Paul and Noel offered myself and Dave opportunities to have dishes put on the menu if we had any good enough but they had to be seasonal , so I came up with 2 dishes for Vegtopia and so did Dave. Their was a competition called Yes Chef and my tempura broccoli dish from vegtopia was put up on Instagram and a chef from the competition commented on it saying he’d look forward to seeing it . So I did the competition, I did the Tempura Broccoli dish for my Amuse Bush seen as he was fond of it anyway , I did a Scallops on the beach for my starter (grilled scallops on a slate inside a crab shell,beef butter in a jug with pine needles smoking and stoned looking like a camp fire. I have to say a thanks to my Amuse Bush’s because without all of them I wouldn’t have been able to add food, Nature , Art and season into a dish that got me shortlisted for young chef of the year , A big thanks to Paul, Noel and Kevin too because without the encouragement and allowing me to learn in ways that help me develop as a chef I wouldn’t have been able to do any competition after being a chef for 7 months. My main course dish was pan fried monk fish with foraged sanfire, sea lettuce, garlic butter and clams , I chose the monkfish because Noel told me it’s really expensive so I knew if I used it it was expensive for a reason and that would make me not mess it up.
After about a year or less Croi opened a new building and Noel took me along , I was promoted to Demi Chef de Parti. I nearly passed out when Noel offered me the position. I stopped working in Croi after 6-7 months working in the new building and started working in Kate Brownes bar and Restaurant.
It was very different to Croi. I was used to working with 3-4 chef now I’m working with 22-23, different style of food and different people to see everyday but I had the knowledge from Noel and Paul and I had the speed Paul and Noel drilled into me so I knew I was fine. It was very busy there you could do 700 covers on a busy Sunday witch was most Sunday’s, but in Kate browns nobody really wanted to change the menu it was the same menu for years but it worked because it was busy so I still wanted to learn and that’s when I made the decision to hand in a CV to the Rose Hotel. I knew a fiew of the staff there , very kind, hard working, friendly people who wanted to teach a man who wanted to learn. My second day working there the Suis Chef Karl asked me to come up with a dish for the specials for the day after. So I did and he was happy with it. The next morning I got a phone call off the Head chef Odhran telling me how happy he was with the dish and I’ve got to say it felt good 😂 now I’m out of work due to shutdown of businesses over Covid19 but the minute I’m able to get back into work I’ll be out the door like a shot with the uniform, bandana and knives. I’ve heard people in collage and work complaining about having no life over chefing and it’s a hassle. But for me I turned my hobby into my career and it’s the best thing I ever done…
Signing off
Baby-D

Karl’s Sunday roast

Chef Karl gave us a delicious roast pork recipe ideal for your Sunday Roast!
Ingredients:
🌹1kg of Lion of Pork
🌹200g almond flakes
🌹200g almond flakes
🌹10g paprika
🌹10g garlic salt
🌹1 teaspoon fennel seeds
🌹1 teaspoon salt
🌹2 slices bread
Blend all together to a fine bread crumb. Cut the eye of the pork open to make one long sheet of pork. Score the meat and pack the filling on top and roll the meat tight. Tie the meat up as best you can. Run plenty of salt on the skin.
Roast for 1 1/2 hour 170oc and turn the heat up to 200oc to create a crisp skin. PLEASE LEAVE THE MEAT REST FOR 10 MINS ONCE IT IS COOKED. Adjust the cooking time according to the weight of the meat.

Karl’s chicken & chorizo

Chicken chorizo roast potatoes easy peasy.
1 chicken
10g paprika
10g ground corrainder
10g Black mustard seeds
200g chorizo
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin of chickpeas
Baby potatoes

Break chicken down as shown.
Season with paprika, ground corrainder and salt.
Pan fry add black mustard seeds and chorizo.
Season the baby potatoes and roast.
Blend the tin of tomato with a knorr stock cube add half a tin of water.
Pour over the chicken and Place a lid on top and cook for 30-35 mins until the chicken is falling off the bone.
Remove chicken from pan Place in the oven with potatoes.
Add one tin of chickpeas to sauce and reduce.
Plate up and get some napkins
#chicken #lockdowndinners #fingerlicking

Chicken cacctore

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6  chicken thighs bone-in
Salt and pepper to season
2 tablespoons olive oil  1 medium onion diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (or 8 cloves)
1 small yellow bell pepper diced
1 small red bell pepper diced 1 large carrot peeled and sliced
10 oz (300g) mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup pitted black olives
8 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons each freshly chopped parsley and basil plus more to garnish1 teaspoon dried oregano
150 ml red wine
28 oz (820g) crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
7 oz (200g) Roma tomatoes halved1/2 teaspoon 
red pepper flakes

Season chicken with salt and pepper. 

Heat oil in a heavy cast iron skillet. Fry the onion until transparent (about 3-4 minutes) then add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds). 

Add the peppers, carrot, mushrooms and herbs; sauté for 5 minutes until vegetables are beginning to soften.

Add the chicken and sear on both sides until golden

Pour in the wine; allow to simmer and reduce down (about 5-6 minutes).

Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Roma tomatoes and chill flakes. Season with salt and pepper to your tastes. Continue to cook over stove top OR in the oven following the instructions below

Cook on the stove top on low heat till the chicken is falling off the bone

Chef life by paul

Chef life 

As many in the industry will attest to back and knee issues as the time goes by in the industry strain builds up, 

For me all this came to a head in late November last year, I felt a twinge and thought no more shake it off work on. 

Next day I was fine for about 2 hours then a niggle, began to arise and grew to an unbearable agony I was on my knees washing down (shift nearly done). It’s a me thing I cant lie down I don’t go home early. 

Day 3 I was handed some tiger balm to ease the pain for a small amount of time. I managed the weekend through deep heat and tiger balm so easy working, I still refuse to go home or stop it’s me most people no chance not coming in. 

I then received a number to go to a person in Castleisland who I now refer to as my pint size punisher. 

I explained my story and she said come in and she’d look at it. 

Met her on the Tuesday and my 1st session I was in pieces the day after I barely moved Thursday I felt back to “normal” no pain working that weekend. 

The next week another session and the week after another session. 

Moral of my story ask for help. The stain on muscles builds up over time and it takes time and is extremely sore to put it right. Worth every penny of the recovery not for the pain just not worth it when you feel the knots in your shoulder popping like bubblewrap, sorry but no chance. 

I’ve been planning this piece for a bit but never came to the right way to put it. 

Her information please contact me directly. 

As always @chefpaulc on all social media

Spring talk by paul

Spring 

Having survived the winter, many plants appear from their winter slumber, light shines for a little bit longer each day the ground encourages growth and light awakens new life in the trees and the hedges of our country side. 

The first of which is the gorse, or furze bush with its bright yellow flowers and unmistakably sore thorns. (Use scissors) a bunch of these flowers smells like coconut when inhaled. 

Though it has many medicinal purposes it was used alongside the hawthorn as the first wines in this country. 

I personally love the smell. Next on my list is the unmistakable aroma from the sweet Briar or flowering currant in mid to late spring. 

In the forest the chickweed is still going strong while it’s friends wild garlic, sorrel and chervil come to life. I’ve written enough about these herbs in the past this year the elf cup mushrooms and turkey tails are out in force on dead and dying wood, the more I look the more I see. 

Though there isn’t many varieties of mushrooms at this time of year in our little patch of forestry, more appear later. 

Looking forward to the year ahead where in my position in the hotel, I’m looking after the herb garden an I’m taking a few of the crew with me on the journey through the year. 

Follow the progress @chefpaulc on the usual places 

Let’s talk cheese

a little bit on mozzarella

Aversa
The Campano town of Aversa, near Caserta, has been a fundamental center for mozzarella since the time of Norman domination. This is still where the majority of buffalo mozzarella is produced.

Burrata
Very similar to mozzarella, burrata is made in the Puglia region. It’s a creamy whey cut by hand into threads, enclosed in mozzarella.

Consortium
The Consortium for the Protection of the Buffalo Cheese of Campania is the association that oversees the quality of buffalo mozzarella.

Dioxin
In March of 2008, the New York Times exposed the danger of dioxin contamination in mozzarella, caused by environmental pollution. Proven true, many countries blocked the importation. Italian authorities immediately revoked the contaminated products from the market and began a strict method of checks. The mozzarella industry quickly returned to its prior excellence.

Eggplant
One of the most beloved dishes in Italian cuisine is Eggplant Parmigiana: slices of eggplant are covered with mozzarella, tomato and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, then baked in the oven.

Irresistible
Fiordilatte – Is a variant of mozzarella obtained from cow’s milk, coming from the regions of Puglia and Campania. Perfect for fillings and frying.

Goat
Goat’s milk mozzarella is made in very few dairies. As goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk, many producers have begun increasing quantities. Called “caprotella” (capra the Italian word for goat), it’s light but also very flavorful.

Hand
Traditionally, mozzarella is cut by hand. In fact, it’s name comes from the verb “mozzare”, which means “to chop”. The technique is carried out by holding the cheese between the index and the thumb, and ripping off one section at a time.

Italy
Mozzarella is now produced in many countries, thanks to Italians who have emigrated abroad. The best in the world, however, is still made in Southern Italy, where it’s been made for centuries. Juncus – In the past, mozzarella used to be conserved in reeds and leaves and stored in rattan baskets.

Kusturica
In 2011, the famous Serbian director Emir Kusturica produced the film Mozzarella Stories directed by the young Italian director, Edoardo De Angelis.

Light
Mozzarella is rather high in calories. One hundred grams contains about 288 calories (for buffalo mozzarella), or 260 for the fiordilatte variant. Many producers make a “light” version weighing in at 170 calories per 100 grams.

Movie
Buffalo mozzarella is mentioned by the beloved film actor Totò in the film Miseria e Nobiltà by Mario Mattioli and To Rome With Love by Woody Allen.

Normans
According to some studies, mozzarella originated in Campania – not from the local people, but from the Normans who invaded Southern Italy in the 11th Century.

Oaxaca cheese
Dominican friars imported the mozzarella-making technique to the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Because they had no buffalo’s milk, they used normal dairy cow milk. While not the same, Oaxaca cheese is a distant cousin of mozzarella.

Pizza
Many restaurants use a mozzarella variant that contains less fat and water than traditional mozzarella, as it ensures easier cooking and a less soggy crust.

Quality
The quality of mozzarella is certified in Italy and Europe, according to many different standards and parameters that vary according to type of cheese and its origin. It’s also a product safeguarded by UNESCO.

Raw
Despite being used in many recipes where it undergoes cooking, the best way to enjoy a premium mozzarella is raw – garnished with just a drizzle of oil.

Sheep
In Sardegna, it’s common to find mozzarella made from sheep’s milk. Treccia – Mozzarella is commonly found in the shape of a treccia, or “braid”, in which the two ends of the cheese are woven together to form one long piece. Mozzarella in this shape can weigh up to 3 kg. U

Unapt
Mozzarella is sometimes used to describe someone unsuited for a task.

Venafro
There is just one place outside of the Campania region that can carry the DOP (of protected origin) label on Campana Buffalo mozzarella. It’s Venafro, a small village in the Molise region.

Water Buffalo
The most prized mozzarella comes from buffalo mozzarella milk. It was the Normans who brought these animals to the Campania region.

XVI century
The term “mozzarella” came into official use thanks to Bartolomeo Scappi, one of the most celebrated chefs of his time, who used the word in a recipe book in 1570.

Yesterday
In order to be enjoyed at its peak, mozzarella should be eaten the day it’s made – or at the latest, the day after. This is way for many centuries, it was only found in the regions that produce it.

Zizzona
In the Italian comedy Benvenuti al Sud the leading actor Claudio Bisio, invents a kind of mozzarella, which he calls the “Zizzona di Battipaglia”, which allegedly weighs an incredible 5 kg. After the film’s success, in 2012, the trademark Zizzona di Battipaglia was registered, for a brand that produces 800 g mozzarellas in the shape of a breast. In Italian, “zizza”, is a slang word for breasts.