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 strawberry



As the year goes on the foraging and preserving take a massive swing into operation. June and July signals else flower and strawberries, roses and most importantly samphire for all your seafood needs. Add for salt and a crunch, melt with butter and serve with fish. Here I am Irish with Irish food cooking French style, just add butter.

10 days ago I made elderflower cordial overshoy slightly by like 4 litres and still have more to go for the rest of the season.

Dehydration is working as a hit and miss that I expected it would, happier with more results than I’m unhappy with.
Nettles provided more fun and excitement than expected, oh what’s that or what are you making, enter smart-ass Paul here try it and I’ll tell you, most of the people now know that it tasted good or different somethings for some people have been hit and miss, despite this they will try anyway. Nettle paper, powder, sorbet. Wild garlic powder and dried. All had mixed results some liked some disliked. Result the same so what is it?? Nettles. What!! Ensuing laughter and open minded entusasiam, that’s brilliant. Not for some people, I get it more than most, thanks to all our suppliers, random visitors and staff for being unwitting Guinea pigs.

At the moment I have home grown strawberries which produce amazing coulis, ice, gel and fresh juicy sweet OMG, flavour.

Paul on wild food


Forage and grow 2017

As many of you know by now wild garlic is coming to the end of its season, so grab it while it’s there to keep it for the rest of the year preserve it by pickling it or making a pesto.
Don’t worry there are many herbs coming through in its place so there is no shortage of wild greens, wild chervil, wood sorrel, Dandelion, hawthorn, nasturtium to name but a few.

Alongside these however are early summer berries, wild strawberries also known as pine berries, and berberries or firethorn, one of these is new to me but the other I’ve known about for years only ever picking once while on a stroll as a child, I’ve never forgottenwhere they were, the picture of them this year on my Instagram @chefpaulc is from the spot I first are them.

The berberries likewise ripening over the next week or 2, can’t wait to get holt of them to be used in the kitchen. Meanwhile at home my strawberries are continuing to grow and ripen into beautiful fruit that I’m proud to use in the restaurant. Along with everything else that’s growing in the tunnel which is proving to be a hit with staff and customers alike. I must say my foraging though it has taken a back seat still rears its face every week for herbs and seagreens, with one other item flowers, they serve a dual purpose to me, a little flavour pocket and a little pip of colour to each dish in which they feature.

Stay tuned to the restaurant @croitralee on Facebook Twitter Instagram.
Or myself @chefpaulc on Twitter and Instagram.

Pineapple mint


Pineapple mint is a form of mint its part of the apple mint family.

Its slightly  ovate leaves are bright green and bordered in a creamy white margin. They are deeply veined and coarse in texture with a layer of tiny hairs.Pineapple mint is a highly aromatic, with tropical  and minty citrus is available year-round, with the peak of this mint coming in the can use this mint in salads .Pineapple mint pairs well with lamb and chicken. Add a few springs to your marinade and give your meats a unique flavor to your dish. You can’t really cook it as it well bring out a very bitter taste in the end.

James is on twitter @boilingjames