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Saturday, June 16, 2012
THE artisan milk and handmade butter movement is really gathering momentum.
It is still minute, but boy is it causing a stir.
Many top restaurants are now featuring handmade butter on their tables and a growing number of dairy farmers are putting milk back into glass bottles and selling organic milk and butter.
Tom and Sheila Butler have been making Cuinnéog Irish country butter and buttermilk in Shraheens, Balla, Co Mayo since 1990. They won a coveted Great Taste Award in 2011.
Alan and Valerie Kingston from Glenilen Farm in Drimoleague, West Cork are also trail blazers, adding value to their milk from their Friesian and Jersey cows in a myriad of ways; yoghurt, butter, traditional and clotted cream, strawberry smoothies, cheese cakes, and pasteurised milk.
At Mahon Point Farmers Market, devotees fill their bottles with chilled pasteurised milk or melt chocolate lollipops in hot milk.
Alan and Valerie Kingston know that it all starts with the quality of the milk, so "we treat our cows kindly allowing them to roam, keeping them warm in Winter and never ever over milk them" — a simple but crucial factor in their success.
Like Cuinnéog, when Bord Bia wanted to give Queen Elizabeth a taste of our most delicious and best, Glenilen Farm milk, butter, cream and crème fraiche was on the menu.
Mark Kingston of Golden Bean uses Glenilen milk for his superb lattes and cappuccinos. The newest enterprise I’ve discovered is Ballymore Farm Organic Dairy near Ballymore in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains in Co Kildare. Aidan Harney and wife, Mary Davis, are the energy and inspiration behind this enterprise.
From the milk of their Jersey, Ayrshire and Friesian cows, they produce raw organic milk, handmade butter, buttermilk, yoghurt and cream. The graphics, reminiscent of Zingermans in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are fun and catchy and the demand for their products is skyrocketing.
At the recent Bord Bia Food promotion in Selfridges in London, they were one of many artisan producers who sold out well before the end of the promotion. Contact www.ballymorefarm.ie for stockists. Organic Mossfield Farm near Birr in Co Offaly have been selling pasteurised organic milk since November and Ralph Haslam tells me that sales are building all the time.
Growing interest in handmade artisan food products gives farmers the opportunity to add value to their raw material and create local employment. Linking food with tourism is a growth opportunity for Ireland’s farmers, fishermen, and artisan food producers.
Restaurants and food businesses that feature local foods on their menu experience an increase in business and benefit from the goodwill it generates when they support local producers.
This was illustrated in the recent Grant Thornston report commissioned by Good Food Ireland on opportunities to link food to tourism.
Sheridan’s Cheese mongers have experienced a 800% increase in demand for unpasteurised milk since they started to stock it in November 2010.
Lemon Posset with Rose Scented Geranium
400ml (14fl oz) double cream
100g (3½oz) caster sugar
5 leaves rose-scented geranium
2 fl oz (50 ml) lemon juice
Tiny rose geranium leaves
Place the cream, sugar and rose geranium leaves in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Turn down the heat to low and cook, stirring often, for five minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, squeeze in the lemon juice, strain and allow to cool.
Serve in small tall glasses, each garnished with a tiny rose geranium leaf.
Bhapa Doi — Steamed Sweetened Yoghurt
So maybe this isn’t exactly a traditional recipe, but steamed puddings are certainly a forgotten skill, and I ate the most sublime steamed yoghurt at Kempies restaurant in Calcutta. This isn’t exactly the same, but it is delicious also. I found it in The Calcutta Kitchen by Simon Parkes and Udit Sarkhel.
The sweetness of the condensed milk works wonderfully with the acidity of the plain yoghurt. This creamy, sliceable textured pudding is similar to a crème caramel — one of my favourites.
800g (1lb 12 oz) natural yoghurt
300g (10½ oz) sweetened condensed milk
Seeds of 6 green cardamom pods powdered in a mortar and pestle
8-10 saffron strands
Sliced pistachio nuts
Heat some water in a steamer. You could use a bamboo over a wok, but any multi-tiered steamer will work. If you do not have a steamer, upturn a small, metal, flat-bottomed bowl inside a larger pot with a fitting lid. Pour water into this and bring to a simmer. Put the item to be steamed into a suitable dish, cover with clingfilm, and place on the upturned bowl to steam.
Mix the natural yoghurt and other ingredients in a bowl and whisk to incorporate some air, but don’t overdo it or the whey will separate. Pour it into 8 small serving bowls. Cover with clingfilm and put in the steamer or on to the upturned bowl. Cover with the lid and steam on a steady simmer for 35-40 minutes.
Carefully remove the bowls and leave to cool. Remove the clingfilm and chill.
Serve chilled, sprinkle with the sliced pistachio nuts.
Crème Caramel with Caramel Shards
8oz (225g/1 cup) sugar
5 fl ozs (150ml) water
2½ fl ozs (60ml) water
1 pint (600ml) milk
4 eggs, preferably free range
2 ozs (50g) castor sugar
Vanilla pod or ½ tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
Caramel Shards (recipe below)
1 x 5 inch (12.5) charlotte mould or 6 x 3 inch (7.5cm) soufflé dishes
First infuse the milk. Put the cold milk into a saucepan and add the vanilla pod if using. Bring to just under boiling point, cool. Whisk the eggs, castor sugar and vanilla extract (if used) until thoroughly mixed but not too fluffy. Whether you are using a vanilla pod or vanilla extract, the milk must be brought to just under boiling point first.
Allow to cool and infuse for 6-10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the caramel. Put the sugar and water into a heavy bottomed saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Bring to the boil, remove the spoon, cook until the caramel becomes golden brown or what we call a "chestnut" colour. Do not stir and do not shake the pan. If sugar crystals form around the side of the pan, brush them down with cold water.
When the caramel is ready for lining the moulds, it must be used immediately or it will become hard and cold. Coat the bottom of the charlotte mould or soufflé dishes with the hot caramel. Dilute the remainder of the caramel with the 2 1/2 fl ozs (60ml/generous 1/4 cup) of the water, return to the heat to dissolve and keep aside to serve around the caramel custard.
Pour the slightly cooled milk onto the egg mixture, whisking gently as you pour. Strain and pour into the prepared moulds, filling them to the top.
Place the moulds in a bain-marie of simmering water, cover with a paper lid and bake in a moderate oven 150C/300F/regulo 2, for 35 minutes approx, for individual dishes, 1 hour approx for a charlotte mould. Test the custard by putting a skewer in the centre, it will come out clean when the custard is cooked.
Cool and turn out onto a round, flat dish and put the remaining caramel around. Serve with a little whipped cream. Decorate with caramel shards (see recipe).
NB: Please remember to allow the milk to cool before whisking onto egg yolks otherwise the eggs will curdle.
Boil sugar and water to the caramel stage ("chestnut" colour), cool slightly, spoon onto an oiled baking sheet or silicone paper.
When cold and crisp, use to decorate the crème caramels. Bigger pieces may be splintered into shards. Alternatively, put 4-6 ozs (110-150g/½–¾ cup) sugar either granulated or castor into a low sided stainless steel saucepan.
Stir continuously over a medium heat until the sugar melts and caramelises.
When it has almost reached the "chestnut" stage, turn off the heat and allow to stand for a few minutes. Then spoon into shapes as above.
Artisan Charcuterie — Robbie Krawczyk whose food is delighting guests at the Chop House Restaurant in Lismore, has another string to his bow.
He’s carrying on the Polish charcuterie tradition he learned from his father Frank. Enjoy this at the Chop House. Look out for his cured meats at the Schull and Skibbereen Farmers Markets. Email Frank for the details of his ‘Pig Out’ charcuterie courses — email@example.com, 028-28579
What could be nicer than having a flourishing herb garden outside your kitchen door? Susan Turner is teaching a Garden Workshop, Designing a Herb Garden, at Ballymaloe Cookery School on Monday, Jun 18, from 9am to 2pm. The price of €95 includes lunch. Phone 021-4646785 to book, www.cookingisfun.ie
Debbie Shaw returns this year with her Feel Good Food for Summer Part 2 one day cookery course at Ballymaloe Cookery School on Saturday, Jun 23, from 930am to 5pm. Feel Good Food courses are designed for anyone who would like to feel more energetic, youthful, healthy and happy, with simple delicious recipes that can be easily introduced into any daily cooking routine. 021-4646785, www.cookingisfun.ie
There’s a new Farmers Market at Killruddery House, Bray, Co Wicklow on the first Saturday of every month from 10am to 4pm until September.
There’s an exciting list of stall holders including Riverview Farm Fresh Meats, Eat East, Bray-based company Garden Produce, Malone’s Fruit Farm, George’s Patisserie, Hamburger Marys, Croi Scripts, and Little Delights. www.killruddery.com/whats-on/june-farm-market.
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