Kevin talks about the first 10 months at Croí

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Croí, how it is for Kevin

I’ll start by talking about the name. It came out of Noel’s mouth at a Tralee culinary gangster meeting one night and when I heard it, it was like the pide piper was playing my song. Croí is the Gaelic for Heart but it has another meaning too….

For as long as I can remember I have been a sensitive person but my love for people has never changed. I’ve dabbed at this and dabbed at that but the one thing that doesn’t change is that I love people. Difficult people, easy people, awkward people, it doesn’t matter, people all work from love or damaged love and that’s something that I love so when I heard Noel say Croí, which in old Irish means the spirit or the essence of, it blew me away myself.

In the last 10 months I have watched us all go through our stuff, the 3 of us growing at rapid pace. Paul has developed into an outstanding chef. Literally sponging knowledge at a rapid rate, producing dishes of an exceptional calibre. Backing Noel up and giving him a freedom to work on other stuff like festivals, markets and let’s not forget our ever changing seasonal menu with dishes that tantalize our guests mouths. Finding new local suppliers to help us build our arsenal of what our stunning county has to offer. Most places have 1 or 2 Mickey mouse suppliers and then use a big huge multinational to supply them with the rest but the way we see it is, the fish monger can’t deliver steaks cos, it’s very simple, that’s not his business, if the fish monger takes his business, we see that as “NOT FAIR PLAY” so you get a red card.

Noel has the “Father figure” in Croí and Paul and I are happy to go along with this and if needed we are all well able to reign the other in because we have total faith in the other. Noel’s drive and stamina is a privalage to watch. He counts us in for everything too then as Croí is the 3 of us. He spreads the credit around and passes on the limelight and sits back and then watches myself and Paul enjoy the ride. Paul and I work really really hard to allow Noel the freedom and Noel doesn’t forget that, and that’s humbling.

I have grown so much in 10 months. The reality of the world of business and the need for survival instincts is massive but if I focus on that it will destroy the natural me which is or so I have been told is, some have said “away with the fairies” but this one isn’t really me, so, I will explain because one of my primary school teachers got it right. I like to enjoy myself, I like to have fun, I am happy go lucky and I mix that with love and the let’s do this right attitude is how I sum me up. Perhaps Noel or Paul could shine more light on that but if I use the joe/Harry window (counselling term) is how I view myself and let’s not forget my self confessed “I’m a sensitive guy”.

So to end my piece, CROÍ
You have given me so much and your just a building and a world until you add, Noel, Paul and Kevin. Then you become an institution for love, care, passion, personality, desire, belief and an awful lot more positive words. So to end I say thank you for everything, now let’s cook this motherfucker……

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My year in review 2017 by Noel

 
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Well it’s been a hell of a year, it started as 2016 ended I was head chef in eabha Jones restaurant listowel, and planning the year ahead , with theme nights as they were a big success in 2016 there the plan was to continue them, January was quite a busy month in the restaurant as well.i had just started buying Cordals goats cheese from Shane it is one of the finest I have come across, Max was selling mozzeralla at the Listowel farmers market made locally so Once upon a cheese mozzeralla was on the menu.
Thought January I worked on an advertising campaign for Leahs foods & did a photo shoot for them and designed there banners, at work it was planning, theme nights, Valentine etc
February saw Jimmy ask to help on ideas for smoking so over the course of the next few weeks we smoked everything & anything from garlic and wild leek to duck & fish , mostly to a degree of success,
Wild oysters as big as my hand were foraged & seabeat and purslane from ballylongford, as the end of February came, a letter from the R.A.I. let us know we were nominated for best chef, best casual dining a nice way to end the month , as talks started as to who would go,
March saw me meet Peter Curran for the first, this would develop and be important later on , on this occasion it was for a video for tralee culinary gangsters Facebook page, it is a very interesting video , by the second week of March I was named a taste Kerry food ambassador, and was now running 7 social media accounts for businesses, cause you know ……
The videos were coming quick now as we did Shane at Cordals goat cheese, and John griffins gave us a masterclass in sausage making,
April was where it all changed in the end, as April started we did a cooking video in my kitchen nothing unusual there, all craic and banter, and we started planning both the next video interviews and cooking videos for the end of the month, by mid April myself, Kevin & Paul had agreed to be partner’s in a restaurant, Croí , the end of April is a whirlwind romance and mess all at the same time, as we set about to open a restaurant with a limited budget and no time while finishing out our present jobs,

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May
Monday 1st may at 11am we got the keys to the restaurant, and the next few days are a blur, we opened for business at 5 o clock Friday restaurant re done , the first table in at 5 was a regular at the previous restaurant , and complained about everything , place to bright didn’t like the new seating , new table set up , menu food I could go on……. A great way to open your first business eh….
The rest of may is pretty much a blur, we were busy and finding our feet training in staff ,

June
June continued like May 7 days a week early to late , first week of june dishwasher packs up, second week sinks block then a leak in the restaurant, drains block , a great start,
Mid June we were asked to talk to the culinary students at the ETB training centre, and from that David joined the team at Croí,
Go wild magazine named me as one of the signature chefs of the wild Atlantic way .
And an appearance in their magazine ensued ,

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July
As July rolled in it saw the first appearance of a favourite dish of mine to date
A taste of the sea, scallops,clams,crab claws with trout caviar and a seaweed foam under a dome of Apple wood smoke , an instant hit with the customer’s.

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Restaurant Ireland awards us 5 stars by the end of July, and I do a BBQ on top of HQ 5 stories up for a bit of fun,


August
Tuesday 4th sees the start of the mural on the side of Croí it’s a big space to cover,an artist impression of the first rose of tralee & her love. It turned out beautiful and is becoming increasingly an image of tralee ,
The Sunday independent mentioned us as a place to watch & vist and shane smith did a photo shoot for yes chef magazine ,summer is in full swing and a great time for foraging as well with heaps of goodness out there,
A cookery demo in the dome for taste Kerry & a visit for dinner by Nora Casey during the rose of tralee brought a busy month

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Bag,
September
September start with a personal point as I was made a member of euro toques , and the polly tunnels were started, taking only 2 days for 2 30 foot polly tunnels as we start to grow through the winter as well, we revive a highly recommended from Yes chef magazine and are shortlisted in three categories for their industry awards, and we book our tickets to food on the edge, I was meant to go last year but in the end couldn’t so I wasn’t gonna miss it this year, as the month was coming to a close we did a charity night for the donal Walsh foundation, Elaine kinsella of radio was the guest celebrity chef for the eveni my, the event was a great success and the start of the tralee food festival which should have had a demo by us Saturday in the square at 1 but it down poured and was called off, by now the polly tunnels are fully planted by John of 52week vegetable gardener, who will oversee and guide me on the grownimg journey.
The restaurant is still busy , which of course is great , Kevin has taken a break and Paul has had a few days off so the plan is that either/or both October/ November will be quite and I’ll take a few days,
October
As mentioned we were off to food on the edge in what turned out to be a busy month on all fronts we remained busy through October & November, and food on the edge was for me anyway an inspiration, a lesson, a mind opener, a turning point in many ways,
Shortly after that we were off to the yes chef awards and took all the staff with us,
And we won best newcomer Munster award , what a way to end the month,….
November again saw lots happening first up was a cookery demo with myself Kevin, Marcus and max for ardfert national school,
Then the 100 day whiskey aged rib eye was started
Now the tunnels are producing away as well and unplanned cookery demo was landed on us last minute so myself Kevin & max did one in Garveys supermarket tralee, , Dale joined us on work experience

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December
With our involvement a Christmas market was running every Friday through December so we opened for lunch these days , I hate doing lunch I really do……..
Our plaque arrived from Yes chef awards, and we got Another one a week later from Lucinda o Sullivan plaque of great places to eat 2018 who h was a welcome surprise

So as I sit here looking back at the last 12 months it’s been some ride and many laughs along the way, lots of highs and lows of course, trials & tribulations, but mostly fun and good times .
I know I left out loads from may on I could have wrote pages per month
But this will do for now

Noel

Dave talks ice cream

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History of Ice Cream

A.D 54-68: For centuries, iced desserts were a luxury. Roman Emperor Nero is said to have sent his slaves into the mountains surrounding Rome, to fetch snow to mix with nectar, fruit pulp and honey.

A.D 618-907: The origins of ice cream date back to China’s T’ang period, probably as a dish for the country’s noble men. The founder of the dynasty, King T’ang of Shang, kept 94 “ice men” on hand to lug ice to the palace to make a dish of koumiss (heated, fermented milk), flour and camphor.

A.D 1295: Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe that closely resembled what is now called sherbet. Historians estimate that this recipe evolved into ice cream sometime in the 16th century.

A.D 1744: American colonists brought along recipes from Europe. On May 19th, 1744, a group of VIP’s dined at the home or Maryland Governor Thomas Bladen. Present was a Scottish colonist who described “A Dessert…Among the Rarities of which is was Compos’d, was some fine Ice Cream which, with the Strawberries and Milk, eat most deliciously.” This is the first written account of ice cream consumption in the new colonies.

 

A.D 1782: Martha Washington once left a bowl of sweet cream on the back steps of Mount Vernon one night, and the next morning discovered ice cream. (frozen sweet cream).

A.D 1843: Until September 9th 1843, ice cream was made by the “pot freezer method,” but on this day Nancy M. Johnson of Philadelphia got her “artificial freezer” patented, containing a tub, cylinder, lid, dasher, and crank. This design is still widely used today.

A.D 1851: Baltimore dairyman Jacob Fussell opened the first commercial ice cream factory. He had a surplus of cream – so he built an ice cream factory in Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, and shipped it to Baltimore by train. Business boomed, and Fussell became the father of the wholesale ice cream industry.

A.D 1880: The ice cream sundae was invented on the eastern side of the US. It was invented because ice cream sodas weren’t allowed to be sold on Sundays; the ice cream sundae was a way to circumvent that restriction. On September 22,1903, there is a recorded application for a patent for the ice cream cone by Italo Marchiony.

 

 

A.D 1939: Grocery stores didn’t start selling ice cream until the 1930’s, and by WWII, ice cream had become so popular that it turned into somewhat of an American symbol (Mussolini banned it from Italy for that very reason). Ice Cream was great for troop morale, and in 1943 the U.S Armed Forces were the worlds largest ice cream manufacturers.

Mozzarella

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.

Forage & grow

Forage and grow 2017
As the summer draws to a close, my strawberries come to the end of their season, wild berries come into full swing.
Over the last number of weeks blackberries,rosehips and hawthorn berries have been ripening. Hawthorn and blackberries cover our hedges and in my opinion underused in the industry and in general life.

I admit to being oblivious to the uses for hawthorn and rosehips, however as a child blackberries, were always a part of a country walk this time of year, pick a berry walk on oh that’s a big one look, *picks and eats said berry. In recent times I have discovered a fondnes for the hawthorn dipping sauce / dressing we make in the restaurant, I have also began to expand my range of the wild edibles, to the extent, the weeds I. The front lawn are no longer safe. (thanks Alan for stopping the spraying).

Now more so than ever foraging is a bigger part of my life, to the extent, that I can’t leave the house now without a tub, or scissors in the car, to the dislike of my fiancee that I stop in the most random places or so it would appear, to pick up something or to investigate a brief glimpse of something.

I’m looking forward now to elderberies which are fruiting, and ripening nicely for harvest o errors the next few weeks.

As for the tunnel well it turned into a weeding nightmare to the stage where I just got frustrated and pulled half of it out and in the process some of the plants with it. Most of them now to be fair are coming back with a vengeance. This mass weeding allowed more plants to flourish, green beans, tomatoes and butternut squash have taken over their own areas, quite literally making a carpet of green for me to pick from. Earlier I trimmed the white and red currant bushes to see if I can multiple them I am glad to report roots appearing so I now have about 5,of each so happy out. Along with my Logan berry bush which has produced berries.
Thanks to my aunt for apples and black currants, birds hot to the berries.

Stay tuned for more surprises on the Facebook page, and the restaurant page also.
Don’t forget we are doing a demo for the food festival in Tralee which is 23rd Sept at 12pm call by to see what we are getting up to.
Follow the blog for more or myself @chefpaulc on Twitter and Instagram

Davids biscuits & gravy

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Biscuits & Gravy
I can across this recipe about a year or two ago, I was in a bind looking for something different to have for breakfast and also feed my daughter (she was going through a picking eating patch). This soon became a favourite not just for me but for the whole family, it’s quick and easy and the sauce/gravy is so versatile that anyone can put their own spin on it
So here’s the recipe I worked on
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon butter or margarine, melted
GRAVY:
1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Method
1. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Combine milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until blended. Drop by rounded tablespoonful’s onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink. Stir in butter until melted. Sprinkle with flour. Gradually stir in milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Serve over biscuits.
(I doubled the recipe and got 4 big biscuit out this recipe)
(the spices I used in the gravy was paprika, cayenne, chilli, and garlic and touch of lime juice)

Davids strawberry mille feuille

Strawberry Mille Feuille
So with this dish I got my best results. It’s also a little special to me that I get the results in a dish like this as my dad is confectioner/baker and never taught me anything. So to be able rival his mille feuille was a nice feeling.
So here’s the recipe I worked on
• 1 sheet of puff pastry
• Small bit of egg wash
• 6 Strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
Chantilly Cream
• 200 ml cream
• 100g icing sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
Method
Take a sheet of puff pastry and egg wash it, and then fold it. Egg wash it again and cut it into the desired size/shape. Bake @ 175 for about 15 mins, take out and let cool for a further 10 mins. Cut in half fill with the Chantilly cream and strawberries and dust a little icing sugar on top.
Method
In a mixer, beat the whipping cream alongside with the sugar until you get fluffy stiff peaks on the whisk. Next, add the vanilla to your cream and give it a last quick mix.