Archive for June, 2012

May –June 2012 Summary of Events

May has been a wonderful month with so much happening with the project .Read on below for more on this exciting Journey

We started the Month off with the development night of the project on the 5th at NWRC,this was a great success and the feedback was great, from all in attendance .Dishes like Malin Head Crab Cakes with Dulce & Lemon Mayonnaise stole the show on the night.We got some great food Photography and action shots for the Book.The Irish Food Heritage project has gone from Strength to strength culminating into some fantastic presentation of the food on Inishowen Bog Oak and Bog Yew commissioned from Mary Doherty of Culdaff.This presentation Epitomizes the rich food Heritage and Culture of this Country .This is further enhanced by the Bog wood some of it up to 6000 years old.There have been some fantastic, random photographs also this month.These have all  been taken from  people who attended the events.Some of them posted below.

Special Thanks to David Porter and Clare Withy for the Photography

The Ballywalter Game and Country Living Fair,Hosted by Lord & Lady Dunleath at Ballywalter house on the 5th & 6th of May, was a great success this year and kicked off the Great Game fairs of Ireland,I met some lovely people who came to sample the Cookery Demonstrations and the celebration of The Salmon and Trout.MLA Jim Shannon Came to visit us ,whilst displaying his cooking skills.Casting Champion and World Flyfishing Guide Glenda Powell gave me a few tips on the Fly Casting and showed us her cookery skills also .The flavour food village was a welcome addition to the fair this year with the artisan food producers and the cookery demonstrations being a great hit with the Audience.Special thank goes to Lord and Lady Dunleath for hosting the fair In their Beautiful estate  Albert Titterington and his Team made Ballywalter Game Fair a huge success this year with Shanes Castle Game Fair to follow in July.This is the 5oth anniversary year of The Great Game fairs of Ireland at Shanes and an event not to be missed!!!. Check out The Game fair , Country sports magazine and Flavour Magazine websites below

One of the Most Successful Balmoral Shows took place also in May.This is the one of biggest Agricultural  shows in Ireland ,with the Food Pavillion this year being the best for some time .The Theme this year was Heritage and Food NI and NITB pulled off one of the best Chefs demonstrations Programmes ,Promoting Food Tourism ,provenance and showcasing local producers and suppliers .I delivered 3 Irish food Heritage cookery demonstrations on the Friday with the help of  student ,Catrina Lynch .The Food NI ,NITB Signature kitchen was a joy to work in and again the feedback from the audience was fantastic.Paula McIntyre was MC  throughout the 3 days and the craic was 90 with Paula  .There were some amazing food suppliers there this year also .I met Mark from Whites Oats, with there food Heritage Oat Products ,Whites have been milling oats for 170 years and is Northern Irelands only Oat Mill and Breakfast Producer, hope to work with Mark in the future with my own project and their heritage oats.The NI Pork and bacon kitchens were also a great success with the crowds at Balmoral.Our very own Leona & Richard Kane complimented the cooking Beautifully with there Award Winning Home Grown .Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil .This product has become the bestselling rapeseed oil of all the food events this year and a fantastic product to use .Check out Leona’s oil and the other Agri Food Groups Below

Thanks to Michelle Shirlow , Lindsay and Rebecca for pulling out all the stops this year at Balmoral and making it a great success.Check out their website site below.Working on some really exciting projects & events with them in the coming weeks.

Special thanks to Rosemary Lightbody  & Juile Mc Laughlin From Northern Ireland Tourist Board For Providing the Signature Kitchen at Balmoral Show and making this event an outstanding success.–“Our Time Our Place” –“Our Food So Good” , These are exciting times we are living in ,made all the more possible and achievable with NITBs help & support…  Check out Northern Ireland Tourist Boards website below

After The Balmoral show .The First Inaugural Event Of Grainan of Ailigh took place

Donal Doherty of Harry’s Restaurant in Bridgend presented the Inishfood 2012 Festival. A true celebration of Food Artisans from Inishowen . “local food from local people”. This was a fantastic event not to be missed by anyone who loves food  .

Check out Harry’s Restaurant Below

The grand finale was Féile Grianán Áiligh on Sunday 20th May , a spectacular new Historical & Cultural event at Grianan fort Burt.The Festival is the celebration of Ancient Arts & Crafts, Showcased at the home of the high kings of Ireland.  This unique historical gathering recreated drama, music, folklore, warriors, ancient beer brewing and Irish food Heritage demonstrations.An EPIC celebration of one of Ireland’s most significant heritage sites!This Event was also the inaugural event for my Hearth Crane Crook ,Built just in time for the festival.This is a unique aspiration of the project and truly exciting to showcase and celebrate the cooking skills of a bygone time in Ireland on the Hearth Crane crook..The response from the crowds that attended this event was breathtaking ,when the Indian meal bread was cooked &  served From the pot oven,memories flooded back from the crowds there.All this was further enhanced by the Signature Dishes of Feast Or Famine project,served on Inishowen Bog Oak & Bog Yew ,evoking our rich Irish Cultural Heritage and that of the Northwest “Doire” “City of The Oaks “.

This festival was only made possible by the hard work and dedication of a number of people , community groups and schools , both North and South of the border areas, a real cross-border Initiative .The Feile Grianan Group have shown real inspiration in delivering a festival that celebrates our rich cultural heritage at the Ancient fort of Grianan of Ailigh .This is a shared history Festival for all communities and cultures  in The Northwest of Ireland . Feile Grianan Ailigh looks set to be a major event for years to come.

Photos By Lorcan Doherty

Keith Wright launched  the Maiden City Family History Centre at the start of June.This centre is located on the racecourse road and helps people trace there family trees and heritage links .The centre holds  birth marriage, Death ,records and certificates dating back to 1845 .This is an exciting Genealogy & Cultural centre and was of unique help to me in my own Project in tracing the food heritage links with Derry/Londonderry and the New world.Special thanks to MP Mark Durkan and  Mayor Maurice Devenney for showing their support at the launch .Thanks also to Keiths Mum Francis , Dianne ,Eileen and young Jacob for their warm welcome hospitality ,the buffet was great.

You can Contact Keith below

Maiden City Family History Centre , Racecourse Road, Derry ,



The cream of the crop of culinary talent from Northern Ireland’s six FE Colleges converged on North West Regional College (NWRC) recently to battle it out in the inaugural Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons Placement Award, a unique competition aimed at developing the province’s next generation of professional chefs.

Sponsored by the Londonderry Rotary Club, this exciting culinary competition gave one lucky student Chef the opportunity to win an exclusive two week work placement at Raymond Blanc’s World famous Le Manoir Restaurant at Oxfordshire in England. The final six students had the honour of representing their College after winning their respective heat competitions, and during the final ‘cook-off’ they had to impress star judges Mark Peregrine, Head Chef at Le Manoir’s Cookery School, and recent Janus Award Winning Restaurant of Derry, Sean Owens. Their task was to prepare a four course meal using local produce ingredients, in front of a live packed audience in NWRC’s exclusive Flying Clipper Restaurant. Head Judge, Sean Owens, commented:
“Each finalist at this event is a winner…we have been overwhelmed by the standard of skills on view, especially the attention to every detail they make to their work. It is safe to say that the future of catering in this country is very much in safe hands.”There could only be one winner on the night and the judge’s vote went to South West College student Lauren Beavers, whose placement prize to Le Manoir will also include accommodation and mentorship from staff at the two-Michelin starred complex. Representing North West Regional College was Joanne McCallion, who had previously participated at Worldskills 2011 in London , and featured for the College during a special showcasing event in Parliament Buildings.Karen McLaughlin, Head of School for Hospitality, Tourism & Sport at NWRC commented on the success of the event:
“This inaugural Le Manoir event was a roaring success for everyone involved, not least for the students and their commis chefs. To have the opportunity to test their skills in direct competition against peers from the other NI Colleges in front of a live audience and top professional chefs, they are sure to remember this for many years to come. We would like to thank all of the representatives from the NI Colleges for making the event so memorable, staff and students, as well as the Londonderry Rotary Club for their invaluable sponsorship. We have no doubt that those in attendance were treated to a fantastic evening of top quality dining and atmosphere, and we wish Lauren every success on her placement at Le Manoir later this year.” Check out the NWRC flying clipper Restaurant below.

St Marys College was the venue for the Launch of Caroline Owens inspirational book  “If You Fall Run On”.This was a very moving ceromony at St Marys and Carolines book was greatly received .This is a book about growing up in Derry ,”It Illustrates the complex interplay between us as individuals our families and the wider Society and Communities we inhabit.”-Dr Julie Franklin this is a truly inspirational story .Congratulations to Caroline and her family for this great work.You can purchase the book at most book shops in the Northwest and at Easons & Waterstones..

After being so busy ,I was fortunate to steal two days on Lough Sheelin for the Mayfly Fishing.When I got to the lake ,the conditions could not have been better ,a balmy warm evening with plenty of spent Mayfly flying out on the lake .The Trout were moving to the fly also ,but were hard to tempt.I managed to hook a one and release it with plenty of offers for the two days.The boys who I fish with did well over the two weeks they were there.Billy ,Morris ,Mickey ,Dessie and Brian all landed trout up to 5 1/2lb and loosing a few bigger ones.There where trout caught up to 12lb in this beautiful lake, that shows signs of coming back to its former glory.Special thanks to all the boys on the site, for their amazing hospitality as always and to the good people of Finea for their craic and Hospitality.

Finally, had a great day at Sainsburys Derry on Friday Past.Food NI Kitchen ,Safe-Food on a Budget, Sponsored by Derry City Council Environmental Health.
Thanks to all the Environmental health officers from DCC who helped me with the cooking and serving.Thanks Girls enjoyed the craic…

Working on some really good stuff with the boys at Guildhall press this week.

Check back for more exciting developments and Events in the coming weeks.Speak soon & take care

Emmett Mc Court

Feast or Famine

Irish Food Heritage Project