Christmas Ice Pudding

Christmas Ice Pudding
Serves 8
4 ounces granulated sugar
¼ pint water
4 egg yolks
1 pint heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces toasted almonds, chopped

1 pound mixed dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins, chopped figs, dates, apricots (soaked overnight in port)

In a saucepan over gentle heat, add sugar and water. Dissolve sugar, then boil steadily until it forms a syrup. Beat the egg yolks well, then carefully pour the syrup into the yolks until it forms a thick mousse-like texture. Fold the cream, vanilla, nuts and fruit into the mousse. Pour into a pudding bowl and freeze.

Cheers! Irish Creamy

The basic ingredients for Irish cream are heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, instant coffee, chocolate syrup, vanilla and almond extract, and, of course, Irish whiskey.

By Charles Ashby
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Irish creamy

Every once in a while this time of year, my wife makes her own Irish cream (and not nearly often enough), usually as gifts to family and friends.
In general, I like Irish cream on ice as a side drink, but it’s usually a little too sweet and not very strong for my taste.
One benefit to making it yourself is that it can be made to taste, including how much of the all-important Irish whiskey is added (in general, more is better, but that’s just me).
My wife has tried various recipes, and each time it gets better (though this year’s batch is a bit too almondy for me.
In the beginning, she used a recipe that includes eggs, but now shies away from that because of fears of salmonella. That’s not because of how she made it, but in not knowing how long someone might keep it around.
Homemade Irish cream does not have the same shelf life as store bought. Basic recipes say that the concoction should be consumed within a couple of months and refrigerated during that time.
She was afraid someone might not adhere to that, so she now makes it with ingredients that last longer and don’t give people abdominal cramps (that’s never a good thing).
Those basic ingredients are heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, instant coffee, chocolate syrup, vanilla and almond extract, and, of course, Irish whiskey.
It makes for a nice gift for family and friends, who always seem to appreciate it.
Now, honey. I said something nice. Does this make up for forgetting our anniversary?

— Charles Ashby

Recipe ideas from Michelle Darmody

By Michelle Darmody
Humans have eaten grains for many thousands of years.

Once cultivated they provided an easily accessible source of carbohydrate and protein and were also were an easy food to carry on long journeys which helped allow people to travel and explore the world.
Today most of us tend to fall back on rice as grain of choice with dinner. It is of course an extremely versa-tile grain and there are many beautiful varieties.
I had the most delicious long grain red rice in the mountains of Mexico a few years ago. It was cooked alongside a chicken that was unnervingly yellow in colour.
When I asked my host about the strange hue I was told that the chicken had eaten almost nothing but sweet-corn everyday of its life. It was the most sweet and succulent meat and the juices were soaked up with the grains of red rice.
Short grain brown rice is the nearest l have found in Ireland; it’s nutty flavour and nice crunch bring me back to the hills of Chiapas in Mexico.
Rice comes in so many varieties from the perfumed and soft basmati that accompanies a warming curry or arborio which is patiently stirred to make a rich and creamy risotto, it really is an amazing food source. There are however many other types of grains to choose from and this week I want to give you few recipes to try out.
Bulgur wheat has been used in Irish kitchens a bit more widely than the farro or quinoa.
Quinoa has come into favour in healthy food circles and although its price has risen in the past year it is still a filling food source and packed with nutrition and is considered very easy to digest. It originated in South America.

Bulgur wheat with roasted squash, kale and toasted nuts
1 small squash, peeled and cubed
2 ts of honey
a dash of rapeseed oil
1 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tea cup full of bulgar wheat
2 tea cups of stock
the juice of 1 orange
a handful of kale, boiled and sliced
1 spring onion, very finely chopped
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
100g of soft goats cheese, crumbled
a small handful of hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
a handful of almonds, toasted and chopped
You can make this with farro also which is a wonderful grain but not always easy to get. Health food shops would be the most lightly source.
Toss your squash in a little oil, honey, the nutmeg and some seasoning and place in an oven to roast until soft.
Boil the stock and the orange juice in the same saucepan and drop the bulgur wheat into it. It just needs about ten to twelve minutes to cook.
Do not stir it during cooking just shake the saucepan a few times. While it is still warm toss spring onions, cinnamon and squash through it.
Top with the kale, a sprinkling of goats cheese and the toasted nuts.

Pearl barley stew with lamb meat balls
a dash of rapeseed oil
2 onions, very finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
a bunch of thyme, removed from the stalk and chopped
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp of mixed spice
1 litre of stock
175 g of pearl barley
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
400g of minced lamb
a bunch of parsley chopped
Heat the oil and sauté half of the onions and the carrots until the onions are beginning to soften. Add the garlic and thyme and stir fry for two minutes.
Stir in the honey, mixed spice and then add the stock. Add the pearl barley to the saucepan and allow to bubble away for 15 minutes.
Stir in the chopped tomato and allow to bubble away for another 15 minutes.
While that is cooking stir the rest of the onion, and the parsley through the minced lamb as well as some seasoning.
Heat some more oil in a shallow frying pan and fry the meatballs a few at a time until they are golden all over.
Gently add them to the saucepan with the barley. Allow to bubble away for another ten minutes then taste and season.

Egg bowl with quinoa and beetroot yogurt
250g of quinoa
1 large bulb of fennel, roughly chopped
1 red onion, sliced
6 cherry tomatos, halved
2 tsp of honey
1 tsp of chilli powder
1 beetroot, cooked then roughly grated
1 clove of garlic, crushed
a small bunch of dill, finely chopped
150mls of natural yogurt
a handful of mixed leaves
Toss the fennel, tomatoes and red onion in some oil, honey, chilli powder and seasoning.
Place into an oven heated to 180 degrees and cook until they have both softened.
Stir the roughly greater beetroot into the yogurt with the dill, garlic and some seasoning.
Cover the quinoa in the stck and bring to the boil. Allow to bubble way with a lid on until the grains are cooked.
Toss the roasted veg through the quinoa making sure to get any juices from the roasting dish, taste and sea-son. Place a few leaves in a bowl, top with a scoop of the quinoa and then place a freshly poached egg on top of each bowl.
Spoon some beetroot yogurt over the top.

Ginger and oat cookies
500g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
200g light brown sugar
300g self raising flour
1/2 tsp of powdered ginger
450g of porridge oats
50g of crystallised ginger, roughly chopped
Beat butter and both sugars until fluffy. Stir in flour, powdered ginger and oats and mix well. Add the crystallised ginger and stir in.
Roll into a think log and wrap it in baking parchment then place in the fridge for at least an hour. Sliced the log with a warm knife into 18 discs. Place them on to two baking trays covered with a sheet of parchment.
The cookies will spread out on the baking tray as they bake. You can bake them at 170 degrees for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the cookies words the end of baking.

These are lovely dipped in some melted dark chocolate and allowed to cool on a sheet of baking parchment. 

Cheese lovers take note, Irish farmhouse cheeses are worth a trip in themselves

Laura Brehaut

Grass-fed isn’t a marketing label in Ireland. It’s simply the way it’s done, much of the time. As I made my way through the country on a 1,500 km food-centric road trip, I passed countless green pastures with the grazing cattle many of us associate with the Irish landscape. It’s this green, green grass that contributes to the character of the superior-quality dairy products. And I soon discovered that the cheese is worth a trip in itself.
In such a historically-rich country, you’d be forgiven for assuming the farmhouse cheese tradition is older than it is. Cheese has been made in Ireland since Celtic times (and references can be found in early Irish literature), but it wasn’t until the late 1970s that the cheesemaking renaissance really kicked off with the application of Continental techniques and an Irish appreciation for a homegrown product. It was in Co. Cork, in the southwest of Ireland, that cheesemakers Veronica Steele of Milleens, Giana Ferguson of Gubbeen and Jeffa Gill of Durrus led the charge. All three companies are still producing cheese today, although Steele has since passed the reins to her son, Quinlan.
Jessica Murphy, chef and owner of Kai Café and Restaurant in Galway, celebrates the strong female tradition of Irish farmhouse cheesemakers with her Women of the West cheese board, which was on the menu when I visited in May. “I love cheese and I think one of the special things about Ireland is its cheesemakers,” she says. Murphy mentions Marion Roeleveld of Killeen Farmhouse Cheese in particular, who is originally from the Netherlands and now makes cow and goat milk cheeses in Co. Galway.
“Marion says you can’t beat the quality of milk in Ireland. So it’s the milk; it’s what the animals are fed and whether or not they’re happy. Nothing is mass produced. There’s Knockdrinna sheep’s cheese and there’s also St. Tola, which is a goat’s cheese. Siobhan [Ní Ghairbhith, of St. Tola] is amazing. And now we have the Aran Island Goats’ Cheese. They’re all young, they’re all developing and they’re all getting better.”
Cheesemonger Dominique Dorman of Sheridans Cheesemongers in Dublin sees three primary types of Irish farmhouse producers: self-taught cheesemakers looking to add value to the milk they’re producing on family farms (as was the case with many of the forerunners), Continental cheesemakers attracted to the rural ideal of Ireland (such as Roeleveld of Killeen), and a new wave of experimental cheesemakers looking to explore the strange and unusual.
As an example of this last group, Dorman has me try a raw cow’s milk blue called Young Buck. It’s fruity and full of flavour in the best possible way. Michael Thomson makes this unique cheese in Newtownards, County Down in Northern Ireland and used crowdfunding to start his company, Mikes Fancy Cheese. “He was inspired by Stilton and I like the ego trip that was there. He was like, ‘Can we make a Stilton in Ireland?’ Now, it tastes nothing like Stilton and it’s made with raw milk and Stilton is actually made with pasteurized milk,” Dorman says. “In my head, it’s not blue but it’s a really interesting cheese. And for that, I like it.”


– Burren Gold Cheese: Aillwee Cave Farm Shop, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. Visit the shop to taste and buy cheese.

– Cashel Blue and Crozier Blue: Beechmount Farm, Fethard, Co. Tipperary. Cashel Blue is readily available in Ireland, and in Canadian grocery and specialty stores. Crozier Blue recently won the super gold medal and Cashel Blue silver at the Mondial du Fromage trade show. Visitors are welcome to taste and buy cheese; the dairy is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Call ahead to arrange a time.

– Coolea Farmhouse Cheese: Coolea, Macroom, Co. Cork. Visitors are welcome to taste and buy cheese; call or email to arrange a time.

– Discover Farmhouse Cheese: Book farm visits throughout Ireland on the Discover Farmhouse Cheese website. Visits are free but must be booked in advance.

– Durrus Farmhouse Cheese: Coomkeen, Durrus, Co. Cork. Call ahead to view cheesemaking; cheeses are for sale at the dairy.

– Gubbeen Farmhouse Products: Gubbeen House, Schull, Co. Cork. Visit the Gubbeen Farm stall, or taste and buy at specialty shops such as Sheridans Cheesemongers (details follow).

– Killeen Farmhouse Cheese: Loughanroe East, Ballyshrule, Portumna, Co. Galway. Available at various outlets in Ireland, including Sheridans Cheesemongers (details follow); Mc Cambridges, Galway; Mortons, Galway; Fallon & Byrne, Dublin; On the Pigs Back, Cork; and Rua, Castlebar.

– Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese: Stoneyford, Co. Kilkenny. Helen Finnegan offers cheesemaking courses and the Knockdrinna Farm Shop serves daily lunches, and offers a well-stocked cheese counter.

– Milleens Cheese: Eyeries, Beara, Co. Cork. Visitors are welcome to taste and buy cheese; call ahead to arrange a time.

– St. Tola Irish Goat Cheese: Gortbofearna, Maurices Mills, Ennistymon, Co. Clare. Call ahead to book a tour; farm visits are available.

– Sheridans Cheesemongers: Locations in Dublin, Galway, Waterford and Meath carry a wide selection of Irish farmhouse cheeses and food products.

Helen Finnegan of Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese in Stoneyford, Co. Kilkenny has been making cheese since 2004. She started with goat cheese, telling me that she figured it was best to start out with something she loved. She sourced goat milk from a nearby farmer who had a herd of six, and created a goat cheese camembert called Knockdrinna Snow. She has since added the sheep milk cheese that Murphy referenced, Knockdrinna Meadow, as well as cow milk cheeses to her portfolio. Knockdrinna Meadow is one of Finnegan’s award-winning cheeses, taking home the Eugene Burns Trophy for Best Irish Cheese at last year’s British Cheese Awards.

“It’s only in recent years that Ireland is appreciating itself what a valuable asset it has in its dairy products. It’s pretty amazing. Just look at the yellow colour of those cow’s milk cheeses,” Finnegan says, pointing to her Brewer’s Gold, a semi-soft cheese (and bronze winner at the Mondial du Fromage trade show) made with organic milk from The Little Milk Company and washed with beer from the Dungarvan Brewing Company in Co. Waterford. “And now we’re talking about grass-fed beef and people are looking at you: ‘How else would you do it?’ Because it’s the way it’s always been done here, people don’t realize that there is an alternative,” she laughs.
Fingal Ferguson, son of Gubbeen cheesemaker Giana and herdsman Tom, expanded the Gubbeen range with his Smokehouse products – salamis, chorizo and bacon. His sister Clovisse is also in the family business, running the market garden and producing her Gubbeen Greens line of vegetables. Giana makes two types of cheeses: Smoked Gubbeen has a wonderfully subtle smoky flavour, while the washed rind Gubbeen tastes earthy, mushroomy and slightly nutty. “We’re right on the coast. The salt in the air gets onto the grass, the cows that produce the milk eat the grass, and it all starts from there,” Fingal tells me in an interview on the family’s 250-acre farm in Schull, Co. Cork. “We have this amazing milk, we have this amazing climate; this produces this wonderful cheese.”
Irish farmhouse cheese producers typically rely on milk from a single herd, either theirs or that of a neighbour or nearby supplier. Because of this, they’re dealing with variation depending on the time of year; the milk isn’t standardized or homogenized as it would be for a large-scale producer. As Finnegan explains, this is why there is a “season” for cheese; it will taste different according to the time of year. “In the springtime when babies are just born, the milk is high in fat and that can mean cheeses that ripen on a bit more quickly, mature more quickly and can become a bit stronger,” she says. “If [farmhouse producers] had our choice, we’d only make cheese from April to October because the milk is in free-flow, but the marketplace doesn’t like that kind of thing. Customers in general want stuff all year round so you have to try and make all year round,” Finnegan adds with a laugh.
The Wild Atlantic Way provided an excellent roadmap for my exploration of Irish farmhouse cheeses, and Irish foods in general. The route is 2,500 km of spectacular coastline, stretching from Cork and Kerry in the southwest to Limerick, Clare, Galway, Mayo, and Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal in the northwest. Fingal tells me he would like to see the Wild Atlantic Way reach Route 66 status. “What I mean by that is you’re allowed to misbehave, you’re allowed to have fun,” he explains. “And you can go from blissful, sitting on a beach to the fun side of things. It will be what you want it to be; it’s big enough.”
The author was the guest of Tourism Ireland Canada and Fáilte Ireland, neither of which reviewed or approved this article before publication.

Recipe excerpted from Gubbeen: The Story of a Working Farm and Its Foods by Giana Ferguson (Kyle Books, 2015).

Kyle BooksGubbeen Meltdown from Gubbeen: The Story of a Working Farm and Its Foods by Giana Ferguson.
1 small (1 lb) or large (3 lb) Gubbeen cheese
1 or 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 or 4 sprigs of thyme
1 or 2 sprigs of rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Kirsch, for adults! (optional)
Toasted sourdough bread, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Select a suitable round ovenproof dish in which the Gubbeen will fit snugly (Spanish earthenware tapas dishes are perfect).
3. Slice through the equator of the cheese—this will create the lid and base. Place the garlic, thyme and rosemary across the cut side of the base of the cheese, add a twist of black pepper, then set the lid back on top.
4. Wrap the dish in a couple of layers of aluminum foil, leaving a spout in the top, much like a pie hole, to release steam and stop the rind from splitting. Bake for 25–30 minutes for a small Gubbeen or up to 45 minutes for the large one—the principle being, cook until the cheese is molten!
5. When the cooking time is almost up, slice and toast the sourdough. Just before you tuck in, make a hole in the bubbling top of the cheese and pour in the Kirsch if you like. Serve with the toast and a mixed salad.
serves 2-8

Recipe excerpted from Gubbeen: The Story of a Working Farm and Its Foods by Giana Ferguson (Kyle Books, 2015).

for the pickled endive:
3 3/4 cups white wine vinegar
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 star anise
5 black peppercorns
6 heads of endive, quartered
for the rest:
2 lb new potatoes
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped curly parsley
About 8 oz leftover ham, pulled into even pieces
8 oz Gubbeen cheese, thinly sliced
2/3 cup Gubbeen Cream* (recipe follows), to serve
Freshly ground black pepper
1. To make the pickle, put everything except the endive into a heavy pan and slowly bring to a boil. Meanwhile, place the endive in a clean container or pack into a couple of sterilized jars. Once the liquid has come to a boil, let cool a bit. Pour the warm liquid over the endive and let cool, then refrigerate for about 8 hours before eating.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
3. Drop the potatoes into a pan of salted water, bring to a boil, then simmer until tender. Test they are ready by sacrificing one and cutting it in half; it should be cooked but not falling apart. Drain and let cool slightly.
4. Put the mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, scallions, and parsley in a large bowl. Mix together well and add the still-warm potatoes and the pieces of ham. Toss everything together until the potatoes and ham are evenly dressed, grind in some pepper, and check the seasoning.
5. Put the dressed mixture of ham and potatoes into an heatproof dish suitable for serving. Lay the cheese evenly over the top and bake in the oven for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is shiny and melted, but not runny and split.
6. When the dish goes in the oven, gently heat the Gubbeen Cream in a small pan.
7. To serve, pour the Gubbeen Cream over the top of the hot dish and finish with a few quarters of pickled endive.
serves 4-6

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
5 oz Gubbeen cheese with its rind, thinly sliced
1. To make the Gubbeen Cream, pour the cream into a pan over medium heat. When the cream is warm, add the cheese. Allow to simmer and reduce. Don’t let the cream boil too vigorously because the cheese has a tendency to get grainy and split. Take your time and treat the cream gently. The result should be smooth, glossy, and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, so that when you run a finger through it you can see the mark. Feel free to lick your finger afterward, of course!
2. Once you’re satisfied with the consistency and taste, it’s ready. Strain through a sieve into a pot with a lid, or place a circle of wax paper on top to keep it just warm and ready to serve. Any leftover cream will be happy in your fridge for a few days after.

Recipe excerpted from The Best of Irish Country Cooking by Nuala Cullen (Interlink Publishers, 2015).
½ lb (225 g) young dandelion greens
3 tbsp wine or cider vinegar
½ lb (225 g) lamb’s lettuce (also known as corn salad)
6 streaky bacon strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2–3 oz (55–75 g) Cashel or other blue cheese
for the vinaigrette:
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider or wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4–5 tbsp olive oil
1. Wash the dandelion leaves and trim the stalks. Dry the leaves well, then put them in the salad bowl. Heat the vinegar and pour it over the dandelion greens; toss and leave for about 15 minutes (this helps to soften them). Pour out any surplus vinegar. Wash the lamb’s lettuce and set aside to drain.
2. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: mix the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper together and whisk in the oil until smooth.
3. Fry the bacon in its own fat, with the garlic, until crisp. Remove the garlic and pour the bacon and pan juices over the dandelion leaves. Add the lamb’s lettuce to the bowl and toss well with a little of the vinaigrette. Season to taste. Crumble the cheese on top and serve while the bacon is still warm, with any remaining dressing on the side.
serves 6

Recipe excerpted from The Best of Irish Country Cooking by Nuala Cullen (Interlink Publishers, 2015).
1 large head of celery
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
2 tbsp (30 g) butter
3 tbsp (30 g) all-purpose flour
5 cups (1.2 L) vegetable or light chicken stock
Generous ½ cup (150 ml) cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little milk, if necessary
2–3 oz (55–75 g) Chetwynde blue cheese or other semi-hard blue cheese, crumbled
2–3 scallions, finely chopped, to garnish
Crusty bread, to serve
1. Finely chop the celery, garlic, and onion. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the prepared vegetables, and stir frequently until they being to soften. Sift the flour and stir well until it has cooked. Gradually add the hot stock, mixing well to avoid lumps. Cook for 10 minutes or so until the vegetables are completely cooked, and then purée in a blender or food processor.
2. Return the soup to the saucepan, season well, and add the cream. (If the soup seems too thick, add a little milk also.) Cook for a few moments to amalgamate the cream.
3. Just before serving, bring back to a boil and stir in the crumbled cheese, but don’t continue to boil once it has been added. Garnish with the finely chopped scallions. Serve with plenty of crusty bread.
serves 6

Eyeballs and pigs’ heads anyone?

Lords & Ladles is a new cookery show where Irish chefs recreate what it was like to prepare food in a 17th century big house
Paul Flynn, one of Ireland’s most acclaimed chefs, is standing in the kitchen of Birr Castle, Co Offaly, eyeballing a bowl of eyeballs. He doesn’t look happy about it. In a separate bowl beside the cow’s eyes are its lips and alongside them is a dish of hearts and another bowl filled with what are referred to as “cock-combs” and which come from male fowl.
Flynn surveys the offal before him and makes a quick decision. “I am not cooking with them. If we are faithful to these recipes, will people enjoy them?” He shakes his head.
He is referring to a 400-year-old recipe book he has been challenged to cook from. “We have to stay reasonably faithful but we have also got to make it edible. It will still be a spectacle at the end of the day.”
As cookery shows go it’s a pretty dramatic start. Lords & Ladles, which makes its debut on RTÉ One on Sunday night, has taken one part Who Do You Think You Are?, added a dash of Upstairs Downstairs and a soupçon of Downton Abbey, and blended them with a stock of familiar chefs to create a programme that is equal parts history, cooking and grisly fascination.
The show focuses on the foods that would have been cooked for occasions in historic homes and details the sometimes monumental effort that went into dishes.
It features Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio and Flynn who are all challenged with recreating the contents of original banquet menus, using recipes from a bygone era. Each week one chef is given the responsibility for cooking, another has to source the food while the third has to dig up the history of the house they are cooking in and the food they are preparing.
It is not hard to imagine how tough it must have been to cook in the 17th century: just have a look at your kitchen and then take out everything that is plugged in.
First up for the Lords & Ladles treatment is Birr Castle, home of one of the world’s most famous telescopes and birthplace of the steam turbine. For starters, Flynn is head chef and his menu features the earliest known Irish potato recipe, a pie filled with potatoes, rosewater, currants, raisins, orange peel, cinnamon, white wine, egg yolks and sugar.
He is also preparing a pig’s head and its trotters as the centrepiece to the meal. As he puts the head on to boil he looks mournfully at it.
“He’s not terribly happy, is he? I am going to throw a couple of trotters in. I tell you I’d nearly turn vegetarian after this.”
Flynn looks stressed. “This is the most complicated recipe I have ever come across ,” he says, adding that the experience made him feel “like I was doing my Leaving Cert all over again”. All he has to cook on is a temperamental stove that would burn a pastry pie as soon as look at it. While Flynn cooks, Fulvio has taken on the role of hunter-gatherer. Her job is to source the ingredients for the feast from castle grounds. First up is a pheasant, a game bird which was introduced to Ireland in 1580. While she goes hunting she doesn’t do any of the shooting and has the hired help do that for her. Fulvio’s job is to pluck what has been shot for her. She also has to skin a wild rabbit.
“I got the hardest job this week: I had to take the skin off a little bunny which was way out of my comfort zone,” she tells Flynn after bringing him the rabbit which he is to roast with pudding in its belly – originally the recipe was for hare but given their precarious presence in the Irish eco-system, the programme-makers have opted for wild rabbit.
Clarke has the easiest job of the lot. While his colleagues are in the kitchen, he is given a tour of Birr Castle by a rather delightful Lord Rosse and other members of the Parson family.

Whether or not Flynn and Fulvio pull it off remains to be seen but what we can say is that the biggest round of applause of the evening goes to a pig’s head which inexplicably appears on the table much to the diners’ delight. Lords & Ladles starts on RTÉ One at 6.30pm on Sunday, June 7th 2015

Ireland's favourite potato

GIY and Bord Bia announce search for Ireland's favourite potato

GIY (Grow it Yourself) and Bord Bia are aiming to reconnect Irish people with their inner spudlove, encouraging Irish people to grow, cook and eat spuds.
The spudlove initiative will target food growers and GIYers in communities all over Ireland, by encouraging them to take part in a local 'Spud Off' a spud growing competition which will find Ireland's favourite spud. It will also appeal to non-food growers encouraging them to show their love for spuds by cooking and eating them and sharing on social media.
Grow – could your home-grown spud be Ireland's top Potato? GIY is looking for Ireland's tastiest tuber and wants you to organize or take part in a local Spud Off in your community during the summer months by growing your own potatoes and entering them in a blind taste trial. Growers will be provided with all of the know how and tips and things to do each week from Ireland's Mr Spud-tastic and curator of the Lisadell Potatoe Collection, Dermot Carey. The local winners will go forward to the national final at GIY's GROW Fest in Waterford this September where a panel of expert Spud Masters will find Ireland's 'Top Tuber'.
Cook – the campaign will be sharing the nations' favourite spud recipes, and lots of spud information including top health tips from the http://www.potato.ie website which hosts Bord Bia's best and tastiest potato recipes. We want budding chefs to share their favourite potato recipes with us so we can get the best recipes and share them with other spudlovers.
Eat – foodies will be encouraged to show their #spudlove by posting pictures and video clips of their favourite spud dishes on social media. Each week we will pick our favourite potato pioneers and bestow on them the much-coveted title of “Spud Lover Of the Week”.
Commenting on the announcement of the campaign, founder of GIY Michael Kelly said, “Here in GIY we are all spudlovers at heart and really excited to be part of the first national spudlove campaign. We want Ireland to fall back in love with this wonder-veg and reconnect with how healthy, convenient and nutritious they are.”
Commenting on the partnership and the 'SpudLove' competition Lorcan Bourke of Bord Bia said, “Irish people tell us all the time how much they love their potatoes – we know they are emotionally connected to them. Our partnership with GIY allows us to remind people of how tasty, versatile and affordable potatoes are.”

Interested families, individuals, workplaces and groups can check out the 'Spud Rules' and register a 'Spud Off' at http://www.giyinternational.org/spudlove