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A Slow Food Day in Cork
by Bridget Haggerty
Do you detest fast food? Well, it seems that about 16 years ago, a movement was begun in Italy by like-minded individuals who were passionate about saving "endangered foods", including farmhouse cheeses. The Slow Food Convivium has developed into a vibrant international organization with more than 100,000 members in 40 countries.
Several of these members are in Ireland and on Palm Sunday, 2001, the West Cork Convivium held its second Slow Food Celebration of Taste at the West Cork Natural Cheese Farm. 100 Slow Food enthusiasts made their way up the winding lane to Bill Hogan's farm where the legendary Gabriel and Desmond Farmhouse Cheeses are made.
Many of the farmhouse cheesemakers were there with their cheeses: Durrus, Gubbeen, Coolea, Carrigaline, Dubliner cheese from Carbery, Cooleeney Camembert from Tipperary, Dubarra and more. Participants also included herb growers, bread and pasta producers, producers of home-made prosciutto, fish and meat smokers, mushroom growers, sauce and marinade makers, and vegetable growers.
The party took place indoors, outdoors, upstairs and downstairs; Bill just threw open his gates and doors and delightedly welcomed his guests to show off their culinary treats.
Out in the garden, Fingal Ferguson, son of cheesemakers Tom and Giana, who make the much-loved Gubbeen Cheese, cooked slices of his delicious home-cured smoked bacon. If you're in Ireland and you long for a rasher like it used to be, call the Gubbeen Smokehouse at 028-28231. Mary and Ivan Pawle brought along terrific organic wines from the Mary Pawle wine list, Frank Krawczyk who lives just down the road brought a selection of his home cured salami and Westphalian ham.
As might be expected, the flavors of these diversified foods were outstanding; as John McKenna said in his talk on the "Philosophy of Taste"- each food in its own way reflected the personality and passion of its producer.
If you would like to know more about the Slow Food Movement, you can contact the Cork Convivium at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a sae to Giana Ferguson, Gubbeen, Schull, Co Cork.
The website address of the International Slow Movement is Slow Food or e-mail email@example.com
A Few Recipes From The Party
Coolea Cheese and Leek Fritters
Helene Willems cooked these little appetizers over a camp stove in the open air. Makes 25 approx. depending on size.
14oz leek, very thinly sliced
Scant 8 fl ozs milk
7oz mature Coolea farmhouse cheese, freshly grated
salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
Melt the butter, add the thinly sliced leeks, cover and sweat on a gentle heat until soft but not browned, 5 minutes approx. Cool. Put the flour into a bowl, make a well in the centre, add in the eggs, break up with a whisk. Add the milk gradually, whisking all the time in a circular movement from the centre to the outside of the bowl. Add the cooled leeks and the grated cheese. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, chilli pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Heat a frying pan, preferably non-stick, on a medium heat. Drop a small spoonful of the batter onto the pan, allow to cook until golden on one side, flip over onto the other and cook for a minute or two more. Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.
Cook the remainder in the same way. Serve hot on their own or with a little Tomato and Chilli Sauce or Tomato Fondue.
Cheese Tart Short Crust Pastry
3/4 cup of flour
Pinch of salt
3 oz Kerrygold butter, cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons cold water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the water and form into a ball. Roll out the pastry until large enough to line an 8 inch pan. Place a piece of foil over the pastry to cover the base and sides. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool.
Cheese Tart Filling
1/2 oz Kerrygold butter
1 small onion
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
3 slices back bacon, and cut into strips
8 button mushrooms, wiped and cut into thick slices
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
6oz Dubliner cheese, grated
1 cup skimmed milk
3 medium size eggs, beaten
1oz pack fresh Mediterranean herbs, finely chopped
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter and cook the onions until softened but not browned. Add the garlic, bacon and mushrooms, then cook for a further 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into the pastry base, adding the tomato halves and sprinkle over the Dubliner cheese.
In a jug mix together the milk, eggs, herbs, mustard and seasoning and pour over the filling.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes until the filling is just firm to touch.
For more about Irish Farmhouse Cheeses, please click here: Farmhouse Cheeses
Resources: We would like to thank Hartson O'Doud for bringing the Slow Food phenomenon to our attention. He is also the dear soul who sent in our featured recipes of the week. When we're stuck for ideas or pressed for time, we can always count on Hartson to help us out. God Bless him!
Images: Glandore, Cork scene from Google images.
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Thu, Jul 9, 2015
"...the freshest of food and
the oldest of drink"
- Irish Proverb
The New Irish Table
by Margaret Johnson
Margaret Johnsons love of Ireland permeates page after glorious page of mouthwatering Irish dishes, from Smoked Salmon Chowder to Raspberry Buttermilk Tarts. Lavish color photographs of the food, the landscapes, and the people are woven through the text, making The New Irish Table the next best thing to sitting down to dinner in Ireland itself.
Click here for New Irish Table.