The awards they have won….. well some of them, as you pull into the car park , myself and fellow traleeculinarygangster paul cotter joined one of the tours they give

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Inside we got a history of goats cheese and of the farm itself & up close eith the goats

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And then the tasting of all the differant ways they do cheese #yum pure heaven

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Nope none left just short of licking the board, but we were in company of others

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Check out their web page http://www.st-tola.ie for up-coming farm visits,

and our events calender for up-coming visits

Keiths farm visit

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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 anAvrils 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.

Garden

As the photos below show , spending time in the garden, setting it up for the seasons ahead, adding new beds, we’ll I removed old smaller beds and added large beds as I totally relay out the garden it was ad hock developed over the last few years, but now I’m pulling it all out and laying it out in a better more organised way, as well as laying stone footpaths throughout it ,

Paul on life

Year 2

I suppose it’s been a while so here goes another year, spring is off to a flying start with all the herbs and wild weeds coming thick and fast at this stage. I found the winter period tough on the foraging front as it became harder to locate usable sustainable quantities of different herbs both coastal and forestry, flowers, just gorse on tbe menu, ( them damn thorns), yet another joyous start in the tunnel rhubarb straight off the mark and strawberries in 2nd place along with last year’s chard gaining a new lease of life. The radish I dropped in and the beetroot also spouting nicely.

This year is an unknown entity due to restaurant coming on stronger than ever with the number of accolades growing steadily. The feeling of bittersweet joy and pride in my work, showing results is unusual I’m not used to being a successful in work, I’ve been by my own admission a failure in my own personal life, with comparisons to to others perceived situations. So overall balanced life even if it is a little sleepless at times. The foraging has taken itself to new heights and the wild garlic talk led me to have more confidence in my own abilities, with new ideas planning with every new day in the forestry or the shore.

I’m now getting spotted and stopped more often now and most commonly known as your one of them, the gangsters or the lads from Croi. I find it amusing as people don’t believe we actually do what we say we do.

Later this year my preservation will take a serious turn with the arrival of my wedding and the meriad of preserves I plan on making for it.

As always more action @chefpaulc on insta and twitter or a feed from the restaurant @croitralee on all social media platforms

veg

Vegetable of the week – Spinach!

Time to Sow – Anytime of the year.
Position – Likes full sun, with some shade.
Time to Harvest – 40 to 50 days. Cut and come again crop.
Companions – Cabbage, Celery, Lettuce, Onion, Peas, Radish.
Cooking – Stir-fry, salads, even smoothies. Can be eaten raw or quickly fried.

Paul on mushroom hunting

Mushroom hunting. 
As I have mentioned before here that when foraging mushrooms you will need to be 110% sure that the mushroom you are picking is edible, check and double check each time until you are sure yourself that what you pick is the right identification.
the best thing about facebook and Instagram is memories, a mushroom showed up on my memories this year from 2 years ago, I therefore went back to my spots in hope of finding said mushrooms again but to no avail. the 1st time I ever spotted these mushrooms was by pure chance, then again from the size of the mushroom I found you would think that it would have been hard to miss. measuring 1ft across at its widest point. Although edible in its smaller stages I found the larger ones better for drying and keeping for later in the year for stock and soup or gravy etc.
I hope this year, I am fortunate enough to go and collect small ones, I don’t expect to  find them, I dehydrated most of what I picked last year and still have some left in my jar, Ive added more mushrooms dried to another jar to start a collection for this year, lets see where it goes.
I hope to identify more edible mushrooms, to add to my repertoire, as well as my jar of flavours. I will be posting these finds on my Instagram so I know what and where the mushrooms are. Im happy to share my finds as well as any info I find and my identifications. 
As always stay safe and you can follow my hunting journeys on my Instagram @chefpaulc 

David talks france

Irish food culture
After leaving and working outside of Ireland for a while now, I have discovered a few things about the perception of the Irish food culture.
1) We don’t have a bold rich historic food culture, so people are ignorant to our views and some of ours foods. (you try to compare dishes or explain similar ingredients and people just don’t want to know)
2) People think we belong to the UK (united kingdom), this really irritated me as Ireland has its own culture, and its own presence in the food world we certainly do not need to piggy back off the UK
3) Beer – so aside from being associated with the UK for food if you’re Irish while living abroad or associated with an Irish establishment, people straight away ask about beer and whiskey.
As I sit here at my desk writing these stereotype discoveries, I ask myself what I can do as a chef to showcase Irish food culture. The only solution for me at this moment is to cook even if just for one person at a time, if only just one person opens their mind and learns a little about a different culture then it’s all a success, as food is always enjoy therefore a culture never dies.