Posted in Baking Day

Walnut Bread & Very Berry Granola

I suspect that I am not the only Irish person who thinks that September is a summer month, not to mind August, which if I cast my mind back long enough is surely a month for the beach.  And why is that? I think it has a lot to do with the school holidays.  At primary school summer holidays were July & August, in secondary June, July & August and in college June through September, these were our summer holidays and Autumn surely didn’t sniff about until the first leaves began to turn in early October.  It’s taken me a lot of years to realise that A)I’m not at school anymore and B) I should be forgoing my teeshirts and slip on shoes a lot earlier than October.  I do predict however that when September rolls around next year that there I’ll be in the teeshirt, bracing against the rain and waiting for the Indian Summer yet again.  Eternally Irish Optimistic Pessimist.
But as for Autumn –  Ode to Autumn – she doesn’t disappoint and I write today under a crisp blue sky with the ground below sprinkled  with leaves of burnt umber, sienna and all sorts of other arty palette worthy hues.
Once adjusted to long sleeves and winter boots I begin to long for the nights to draw in even more, hailing evenings of cosy fires and squishy couches.  Then there’s the flutter of excitement as you get the odd sighting of a glistening bauble or the hint of a cinnamon candle somewhere as Christmas is surely beginning to be whispered.
These goodies that I am sharing with you today are an embodiment of Christmas, they are wholesome, delicious, comforting and indulgent all at the same time.
First up the Inchydoney Walnut Bread.
Inchydoney Walnut Bread 3
Now if you’ve been lucky enough to stay at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa you will be aware of the welcoming fire in the reception and the wonderful staff who know the secrets of a happy guest.  One of these is to send them home again with homemade Inchydoney Walnut Bread which you can purchase on your departure.  Of all the amazing food raved about it is one of the things that really stick out because it is not the type of bread that you are going to pick up in your local supermarket or even bakery.
Inchydoney Walnut Bread 2
In fact it’s more of a cake than a bread and when I inserted the wet, sloppy mix into the oven it was with a wing and a prayer of ‘that’s way too wet, please Lord let it work.’  And Hallelujah it does!
Follow this link for the recipe that has been very kindly shared : Incyhdoney’s Famous Walnut Bread.

Inchydoney Walnut Bread
Next up is the ‘Very Berry Granola’ sent to me by ‘The Foods of Athenry‘ and the little song that I silently sing when I’m eating it “It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas in every single bite…” well, because it is.
Box of Very Berry Granola
The mix - very berry granola
With ingredients that include apple juice infused Montmorency Cherries, Cranberries & Blueberries, rye, oats, barley, honey, seeds, flaked almonds and cinnamon they do sing of Christmas baking and I think they’d make the most amazing flapjack bar too.
Very Berry Granola in glass
If you’d like to try your hand at making your own granola I experimented with this recipe a little while back but I have to say the Very Berry Granola is a more than adequate substitute.  I like to serve it layered with natural yoghurt as there’s plenty of sweetness to balance.
Layered Very Berry Granola with Glenisk
I have to give Glenisk a little mention here too (as you can see I’ve paired it with the Very Berry Granola above) and say thank you for including me in their Blogalicious! Favourite Foodie Blogs post.
On a final Christmassy footnote you could put a free copy of my book in someone’s stocking if you enter this competition being run by Avonmore on their CookwithAvonmore website. Best of Luck!
Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Events & Adventures in Food

Something for the weekend…

If you’ve come to these pages in search of a recipe let me direct you towards one that I published last year for Mother’s Day.  An indulgent treat, a sublime concoction in the form of a chocolate orange mousse cake.
I do my cooking, baking, recipe experimentation and photography at the weekends but last weekend was different to most.  It was time for a rest.
A break away to Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa could not have come at a better time for this particular food blogger.  Overwhelmed with the release of my first book ‘Gimme the Recipe’ last Thursday, a sojourn to this tucked-away West Cork coastal jem provided the peace and time needed to unwind, adjust and re-energise.

Snapshot of 1 of the 2 beaches at Inchydoney Island
Snapshot of 1 of the 2 beaches at Inchydoney Island

This complimentary weekend (organised by Conway Communications & Inchdoney Lodge & Spa) brought together a number of Irish Food Bloggers and partners and from our arrival on Friday evening to departure at lunchtime on Sunday we got more than a taste of what’s on offer to the weary worn.
A casual 3 course dining experience in The Dunes Pub & Bistro on Friday evening showcased the finest of local and Irish produce from seafood to meat platter to West Cork Cheese Slate.
Let me tease you with the following, billed as

‘A Little Taste of West Cork’:
West Cork Seafood Chowder flavoured with a Hint of Michael Collins Whiskey,
Smoked Salmon from Ummera Smokehouse Timoleague,
Homemade Skeaghanore Duck Liver Paté, with a Inchydoney Tomato and Chilli Jam,
Crisp Fried Atlantic Seafood Cake served with Homemade Tartar Sauce,
West Coast Crab Claws Tossed in Fresh Garlic, Ginger and Parsley Butter
and Fresh Bantry Bay Mussels.

That was the starter, yes, the starter!  Just in case you think these are a list of choices, they were not, you got a more than substantial taste of each of them before pressing on to either a fish or meat platter and then the cheese slate.
Breakfast on Saturday was followed by a fishing expedition and we langoured on gently bobbing waves blessed with serenely calm waters while our casting and reeling was sporadically rewarded with yields of coalfish and pollock. Some too small to keep were eased back to the sea but one of my Pollock made its way to our lunch time bar-b-que later at the hotel.  As well as fishing expeditions the hotel offers the opportunity to try out numerous outdoor pursuits including sea kayaking and seaweed foraging the virtues of which were extolled to us later that evening by  Sally McKenna of Bridgestone Guides and Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking.

Pollock on BBQ

Pollock & Salmon
Pollock & Salmon
Pesto & Garlic Mushrooms
Pesto & Garlic Mushrooms
Irish Salmon
Irish Salmon
Pollock with Raspberry Dressing
Pollock with Raspberry Dressing

A restful afternoon saw a walk on the beach and a trip to the Island Spa for a ‘Cleopatra Honey & Milk Bath.’
If I were to list the contents of our 7 course evening ‘A Taste of West Cork’ menu I would be pushing you over the edge, again I’ll just offer you a tiny tease.

Oysters and Pearls
Home-Smoked Giga Oysters
bound with Fresh Cod Roe
from Con Murphy of Shellfish de la Mer, Dinish Island

A number of the Inchydoney Island suppliers joined us for the meal and at our table in the Inchydoney Room we were in the company of Con Murphy of Shellfish de la Mer and Avril Allshire of Caherbeg Free Range Pork Ltd., & Rosscarbery Recipes.  We sat down to eat soon after 8pm and continued until after midnight, this was a truly epic dining experience.
Quality and service were equally outstanding and with a full-house to cater to in the Gulfstream Restaurant as well as the Inchydoney room this was no easy task.  Getting to meet the chefs was a lovely finishing touch that rounded off the evening.
We extended our weekend with a slight detour to take up the very kind invitation of Anthony Creswell of Ummera Smokehouse, Timoleague for a guided tour of his impressive smokehouse ably assisted by his son Conor who showed off some of their awards.

Ummera Smoked Products Awards
Ummera Smoked Products Awards

While we packed plenty in to our stay, nothing was hurried and time, particularly when out at sea, moved slowly.  Go, rest and have fun. West Cork Awaits…..
Til next time, Sheila.