The first of the Wild Atlantic Salmon has landed at the Connemara Smokehouse. The Wild Salmon Season started on the 12th May and runs till the 29th July 2011. The local fishermen are aloud to fish by draftnet four days a week until the end of July or until the quota is filled.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Connemara Mussel Festival
When most outsiders think of Irish food, the first thing that comes to mind is lamb and possibly smoked salmon. However one of the best kept secrets is the mussels that come from the Killary in Connemara. The Killary is Ireland’s only fjord; a long narrow inlet with steep sides that is usually formed by a glacier. These waters produce mussels that have a delicious sweet and briny flavor with a texture that is delicate and never tough. Frankly, I have eaten mussels in many places around the globe, but the mussels from the Killary top them all. To use an Irish expression; “Fair Play To Them”.
My love affair for mussels from the Killary began when my Yank friend (who is a Connemara resident) was showing me the beauty of Connemara, and we stopped at the Blackberry Cafe in Leanne to have a quick lunch. As I looked around the dining room, almost every table had a pot of mussels. At that point the question of “what to order” became null and void. I certainly wasn’t ordering a burger.
A few months later, I learned of The Connemara Mussel Festival; an event that was born of the simple gesture of a “good mussel feed” in 2006 at Paddy Coynes pub in Tully Cross. So, I dragged my NY Yank along for the ride.
Inside the cooking demonstration area, attendees grabbed a seat and, as you do, headed next door to Paddy’s pub to get a pint while enjoying the festivities. After a night on the piss, I was no exception!
Over the course of the festival weekend, there were many great cooking demonstrations, tours of the Killary Harbour, amateur chef competitions and even a fly casting class. I saw two demonstrations; one from Jack Duffy who is the Executive Chef for the international chain, Elephant and Castle, and another by Graham Roberts who operates his family business, The Connemara Smokehouse. The smoke house supplies some of the best restaurants with fine quality smoked fish.
Jack featured mussel dishes that he prepares at his restaurants, and represented an incredible array of food. My favorite was his impromptu and simple smoked mussels served with their own juices. The mussels for the entire festival were graciously provided by Marty’s Mussels http://www.martysmussels.ie
Graham Roberts hosted the other demonstration. Graham runs his family’s business, Connemara Smokehouse (www.smokehouse.ie). The Connemara Smokehouse has been touted by Rick Stein as both a “Hero of Food” and a “Food Super Hero”.
Graham demonstrated an extremely unique technique for slicing the salmon that I will have to practice and master. After seeing and tasting so much good cooking it was time to hunker down for a good mussel feed. Back to the pub, for a crisp glass of house white with mussels from the pot out in the back. They were simply served with brown soda bread in garlic, tomato and basil or cream, they could not have been better.
Fair play to the great local Irish cuisine, and the passion from which it is born!
Posted by Gastro Chef at Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The County Fleadh is a weekend of music, song and dance. It is the starting point for competitors who wish to gain an All Ireland title. The weekend hosts a variety of competitions in all different instruments, groups and bands with under 12 and under 15 competitions taking place on the Saturday, and 15-18 and senior competitions taking place on the Sunday.
There will be an official opening on the Friday night with a concert. There will also be street entertainment on the Saturday evening, and lots of music sessions throughout the weekend.
So if you like your ceol agus craic come along to the County Fleadh!
Over the Easter holidays we visited our good friends Ellie & Ollie in Dorset to see their new batch of pigs followed by a BBQ with cuts from their last batch of pigs which was amazing. Ellie made a wonderful marinade for the ribs and pork chops and they were finger licking fantastic. We always try to teach our children about where our food comes from. So they met the great little piggy’s that are being prepared for Ellie & Ollie’s upcoming wedding in July.
Graham cooked a piece of pork that Ellie & Ollie gave us and it was amazing, tender and moist and the crackling was yum. Here are just a few pics of the wedding piggy’s and the yummy piece we had last night.
Click on the image to view gallery…
“INTO THE WEST”
2011 IGTOA KILLEEN HOUSE TROPHY & IGTOA SOCIAL
In Association with BEM Ireland, Ireland West & Renvyle House !
The celebration of Killary Mussels took place on the weekend of 29th April – 1st May 2011. On the Renvyle Peninsula in North Connemara. This was the sixth year of the festival. The celebrations included music, dancing, craic, mussel cooking competitions, Demos, walks, talks, theatre and children’s activities. There was also a country market, local art exhibition and mussel cooking competitions to name just a few of the events that took place on the May bank holiday weekend.
Connemara Smokehouse took part on the Sunday of this event. Where Graham hand-sliced a side of Smoked Salmon and explained the traditional smoking methods and techniques on what makes his Smoked Salmon different from all the rest. Also there on the day was Jack Duffy from well known Temple Bar restaurant Elephant and Castle and Gerry Meade from Euro Toques.
Celebrity Cook Along included:
Jimmy Norman,- Galway Bay FM,
Cllr.Thomas Welby (Independent),
Cllr.Sean Kyne (FG)
Fidelma Healy Eames – Senator Galway West (FG.)
Click on photo to view more….
Inspired by the Connemara Mussel Festival and to kick start the festival Máirín Uí Chomáin was there to launch her new book “Irish Mussel Cuisine”. Máirín demonstarated some of her recipes. Celebrities and Local Producers such as Connemara Smokehouse feature in the book.
Click on book to view more….