I do have an interest in this, since I’ve been shortlisted. The winner will be decided by votes from people such as you, so please click here and have your say! (Closing date for votes is May 1st.) Thanks!
I had a long but enjoyable day today in West Cork, visiting customers and chasing down a few leads. It’s really a remarkably beautiful part of the country. My first port of call was Barleycove Beach Hotel in Goleen. Under new ownership, it looks like it will be a tasty port of call for anyone travelling the area, with a chef trained in a Michelin starred restaurant and a real commitment to fresh, local ingredients. I can tell you the ice cream ain’t bad, either ;-). Below is a little video of Martin, the owner, and the blue flag beach.
I ended up in Kinsale, visiting the new Blue Haven Gourmet Store, that stocks our ice cream.
I also met with someone about a scooping cabinet. So, there’s a possibility there will be Murphys ice cream cones to be had by this summer in Kinsale!
We’ll be raising money for them over the weekend, in both our Dingle and Killarney shops, offering a free extra scoop of ice cream and asking for a donation in return. So far, our customers have been generous, and we hope our little effort helps make things a bit easier for the organisers.
Today, as the Olympians arrived into town, surrounded by a phalanx of volunteers, the crowd wasn’t anyway as big as it should have been. We were there, handing out ice cream, along with maybe 30 other people.
We have been involved with a few things having to do with people with intellectual disabilties – Camphill, which is well worth checking out, and of course the Special Olympics when they were held in Ireland. Each time I meet them I feel graced, as I did today, when I watched the torch come up New Street and saw the joy of the athletes. Each time, even if I’m handing our ice cream, I feel that I’m the lucky one for our meeting – that I’ve been given a little give of love.
There was lots of that this afternoon, and I have to give full credit to the Gardai, who have clearly invested a lot in the Special Olympics, and their involvement was great to see.
Today was a good day.
By the way, for anyone interested, there’s a brilliantly-written Irish blog I’ve been reminded of again, by a Down’s dad, called “Our Jacob.”
Perhaps the prettiest food shop I’ve seen in Dublin is Morton’s new shop on Park Place, Hatch St. Just around the corner from the Harcourt Luas stop (in fact it’s on the other side of that facing stone wall), the shop is not located in a great position for being noticed, since you have to walk around the corner, but it’s definitely worth a look, especially if you’re feeling hungry around lunch time. Anyone who knows the original Morton’s shop in Ranelagh, will know they take their quality seriously and have enough variety of tasty treats to delight any foodie. Give it a visit, if you’re in the area, and grab something to nibble on the way home!
However, I have to say that our local bank manager at AIB Dingle has been extremely supportive, helpful, and has extended credit at a time when the media and politicians keep saying “the banks are closed for business.”
We can’t talk about banking as a whole, but we have no problem saying publicly that in our case AIB has been brilliant, has been open for business, and that we could recommend our bank and bank manager to any small business.
Now to the dilemma:
As many people know, AIB has done ad campaigns highlighting small businesses, ads that have been very helpful to the businesses selected. We have been told that we are shortlisted for being included in one. They also want to use us for a poster campaign.
Now, the question is this:
Recognising that this is free marketing that we could never afford and could significantly increase our brand awareness in this country, should we go ahead and do it, or is it too risky linking our brand to a bank in these times?
I’ll put a poll below, but I would also love to have your comments!
We’ve been playing around a lot with our chocolate ice creams over the last months, and here’s a flavour that has gone down a storm in the shops. Instead of using melted chocolate (such as in our chocolate whiskey recipe), as we have always done, we’ve used pure, 100% cocoa powder. The benefit of this is that you’re introducing less fat into the ice cream, and so it has a much more intense chocolate flavour.
If you want, you can add chocolate chips for even more chocolate hit.
DARK CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM
• 120g sugar
• 5 egg yolks
• 220 ml cream
• 220 ml milk
• 80 gm pure cocoa
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 75 g dark chocolate chips, optional.
1. Combine the cocoa and sugar and stir until combined.
2. Add the egg yolks and beat until thick.
3. Bring the milk to a low simmer.
4. Beat the milk into the egg/sugar/cocoa in a slow stream.
5. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place over low heat.
6. Stir continuously until the custard thickens slightly (around 65-70C) and just coats the back of a spoon. Don’t over-heat, though, because at around 76C you will scramble the eggs!
7. Immediately remove from the heat.
8. Allow to cool, then stir in the vanilla.
9. Whip the cream until it has doubled in volume (you should have soft peaks – don’t over-whip).
10. Fold (gently stir) in the custard.
11. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, or cover and place in the freezer, adding the chocolate chips when it is somewhat solid.
12. If you’re using a domestic ice cream machine, transfer to a freezer-proof covered container when the ice cream has achieved a semi-solid consistency (around 15 minutes). Place it in the freezer, and continue to freeze until it is solid.
Yield: 8 servings
1. Make sure your cocoa is of a good quality and is fresh. Cocoa can go stale very quickly once it is opened.
2. In case you’re wondering, we’re using Chocolaterie de l’Opera cocoa at the moment, which has a lovely taste and an amazing reddish colour.
3. To pasteurise the eggs, heat the custard to 73C and maintain that temperature for at least 5 minutes. Use a cooking thermometer, though, and keep stirring! If the custard goes any higher than 76C, the eggs will scramble. Immediately cover and place in the freezer until cool.
Anyone thinking of heading to Dingle in the near future would do well to schedule their trip to coincide with Feile na Bealtaine, which runs from Wednesday, 29th April, to Monday, 4th May 2009. Although I’m naturally partial to the Dingle Food Festival, Feile na Bealtaine is my favourite festival of all. It’s so eclectic, with such a range of interesting things from all over the world, while at the same time being very, very local in feel.
Some of the highlights this year include Nuru Kane from Senegal, Jack L, Michael O Suilleabhain, and a political symposium with the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the head of the Palestine Delegation. However, it’s really all of the small events around the place, from literature to art to short films, that make it special, and any one of them might be something one might remember for decades to come.
You’ll find a schedule of events here. Come on down if you can!
It’s pretty cool to be in such company, and thanks to the judges (I promise I didn’t send in any brown envelopes stuffed with ice cream)!
From here on in, it’s a popularity contest. The winner will be chosen by votes from people such as you, so please click here and have your say! Closing date for votes is May 1st.