In Thornton’s Kitchen

 Yesterday evening, we went along to Thornton’s Restaurant for the press launch of a new, 6 part, foodie radio show on Newstalk that will air starting on Christmas day. Presented by two gastronomical bloggers – Kevin and the lovely Caroline, and produced by Soundsdoable, it should be great fun, as was the evening. Fingal was there from Gubeen Farmhouse, as well as Carmel from Good Things Cafe, Aoibheann from Ard Bia, Ross from Food and Wine and many others. We snacked on some great treats Kevin whipped up, as well as Fingal’s cheese and a bit of his cider. As for the ice cream, Kevin was kind enough to let us use his kitchen, and we built a few ice cream snowmen

Foodtalk on Newstalk radio schedule is as follows:

Program 1: “Livestock” (Christmas Day, 1.30pm)
Kevin Thornton and Caroline Hennessy hunt down some fine meats and discuss Kevin’s project to rear Irish Kobe beef.
Guests: Jacque Barry from Jacques Restaurant, Cork and Fingal Ferguson of the Gubbeen Smokehouse, Schull, West Cork

+ Program 2: “Seafood” (New Year’s Day, 4.30pm)
Kevin Thornton and Caroline Hennessy share their pleasure in eating seafood.
Guests: Tony Daly from The Lime Tree, Kenmare, and Paul Kelly, mussel farmer and goldsmith, from Kilmackillogue

+ Programme 3: “Spices” (11th Jan)
Kevin Thornton and Caroline Hennessy marvel at the power of spices.
Guests: Carmel Somers from The Good Things Café, Durrus, Co Cork and Arun Kapil of Green Saffron, Midleton, East Cork

+ Program 4: “Wild Food” (18th Jan)
Kevin Thornton and Caroline Hennessy gather up an armload of free, wild food.
Guests: Áine Maguire from Kueppersbusch and Seamus Moran of LoTide Gourmet Sea Vegetables, Westport, Co Mayo

+ Program 5: “Dairy” (25th Jan)
Kevin Thornton and Caroline Hennessy explore all things creamy.
Guests: Aoibheann McNamara, Ard Bia, Galway and Kieran Murphy from Murphy’s Ice Cream, Dingle

+ Programme 6: “Garden” (1st Feb)
Kevin Thornton and Caroline Hennessy marvel at the good things a garden has to offer, and wonders how many more of us will now start to grow our own.
Guests: Henry Stone from The Sha-Roe Bistro, Clonegal, Co Carlow and Ultan Walsh of Gort-Na-Nain Organic Farm, Nohoval, Cork, who grows the veg for (among others) Denis Cotter of Café Paradiso.

Making the Straws

 It’s the time of year for making the straws – the distinctive costumes for Wren’s Day in Dingle (December 26th). We worked away the other night in the pub, and when we’d finished we started practising the tunes for marching. We all look forward to Wren’s Day, and it’s always a great time to be in Dingle.

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Best Chocolate Ever?

 We’ve gotten our hands on the newest chocolate by Valrhona Coeur de Guanaja, and the results of our first tests have been astonishing. This 80% chocolate has higher cocoa mass and less cocoa butter than normal chocolate, which makes it possible to get more chocolate taste in ice creams, pastries, and other applications. It’s not cheap (understatement), but it sure tastes fabulous in ice cream.

In fact, our first test batch amazed everybody here – silky, extra strong chocolate hit, and decadent consistency. I’d have posted a photo of the ice cream, but I’m afraid we gobbled it all down before I could do so…

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Torchlight Children’s Parade in Killarney

 Yesterday evening, Sean and I drove back from Dublin in time for the Childrens Torchlight Parade in Killarney.

It was utterly heart-warming and a tribute to the Christmas in Killarney organising committee.

It’s wonderful to see a town make such an effort over Christmas beyond the usual “stick up a tree, play the Christmas music, and try to sell as much as possible” attitude.

Killarney really does put a lot into its Christmas program, and the festival seems to be growing each year.

Last night, the streets were thronged with people, spirits high, children happy, and even the rain slowed to a drizzle.

We handed out hot chocolates for free to the chilled crowds and were happy enough to simply be a part of it…

For the next two weekends, there is a huge market on Main Street with food and other attractions, and it’s worth a detour for anyone in Kerry…

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Bargain of the Year

Who says Dublin is expensive? My brother managed to find 10 euro rooms in a four star hotel in Dublin. The Louis Fitzgerald Hotel, Newlands Cross, has an offer on of 1,000 rooms for 10 euro. Sean managed to snag two of them. And, as you might be able to tell from this post, there’s even free broadband in the rooms. It’s not the most scenic location, just off the Naas Road, but it’s perfectly comfortable, and at 10 euro, who’s going to complain?

TV Trip to Dublin

Sean and I are heading to Dublin today, since we’ll be on Ireland AM on TV3 tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at around 7:30. It’s part of Christmas in Killarney publicity, and I’ll be bringing along some Aztec Hot Chocolate to warm everybody up!

Video here (although we were actually on for three segments).