A unique quarterly Irish food magazine which celebrates seasonal eating.

FEAST: A Dinner Journal – Summer/Autumn 2014

Posted on September 12, 2014

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This issue of FEAST is quite unique as I had the opportunity to shoot many of the features while filming for Donal’s Irish FEAST, a new television series which airs this autumn on Irish screens. The series saw us travel throughout Ireland stopping in Galway, Wexford, Dublin, Kerry and Kilkenny, in quick succession, staying in some of Ireland’s most historic homes. Needless to say we were cooking and eating some of the finest ingredients our country has to offer along the way. We couldn’t feature all fifteen fantastic producers in this issue but I know they all share the same pride and passion for quality Irish food as we do. On our journey of ingredient gathering we created a summer pudding using artisanal brioche; a fresh flavoured pea, mint and ham hock soup; Howth lobster cooked using a traditional Irish recipe; as well as some of the season’s finest Irish strawberries. As summer draws to a close, I hope the recipes and producers featured in this issue will inspire you to make the most of the abundance of seasonal and Irish ingredients.

Print copies of Volume 5 of FEAST: A Dinner Journal can be found in Easons and good food stores throughout Ireland.  You can also purchase print copies online here.

You can purchase digital issues of FEAST: A Dinner Journal via our app available on iTunes and onGoogle Play for Android Devices.

Friends of FEAST: A Burke’s Farm Ice-Cream Affair

Posted on July 14, 2014

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Waffle Ice-Cream Cones

Serves 8
8 waffle cones
100g plain chocolate,
roughly chopped
50g green shelled pistachios, roughly chopped


Line a large tray with a sheet of parchment paper and set aside. Tip the chocolate into a large bowl and melt in the microwave in 30 second blasts, stirring between each one. Alternatively, sit the bowl over a pan of simmering water and leave until fully melted. Dip the open end of a cone about 3 cm into the melted chocolate, swirling the bowl to pool the chocolate deep enough if necessary. Quickly sprinkle the pistachios over the chocolate to stick and place the cone upside down on the tray. Repeat with the remaining cones and leave them to set.

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Edible Flower & Mint Ice Bowl

Makes 1 bowl
2 large handfuls of edible flowers
2 large handfuls of mint leaves


Choose two different sized bowls that leave a 3 cm gap between them when nestled one inside the other. Fill the larger bowl about a quarter full with cold water and press the smaller bowl down inside, until the top rims of both are aligned. The water should only come about half way up the gap at this stage. Stick the bowls in position together with sticky tape in a few places around their tops.


Make sure the smaller bowl sits perfectlycentral so that the gap around the edge is even all the way around. Push the flowers and the mint leaves alternatively into the water to fill the whole gap between the bowls. They should be quite tightly packed in to avoid floating to the surface. Transfer the bowl to the freezer and make sure it is on a completely even surface.


Carefully pour water into the gap until full to the brim. Freeze for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight. Once frozen, remove from freezer and place in a large bowl of tepid water for a couple of minutes to loosen the bowls. Sit it on a plate or cake stand, with a rim.

Fill with scoops of ice cream and serve at once.


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Raspberry Puree

Makes 175ml
250g raspberries
1 tablespoon icing sugar


Blend the raspberries and icing sugar in a mini blender to a smooth puree.
Pass through a fine sieve, discarding the seeds, this is ready to serve.

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Friends of FEAST: Burke’s Farm Icecream

Posted on July 11, 2014

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In the run up to the release of our 5th issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal, our 3rd print edition, we are taking a look  at some of the Irish food champions who have filled the pages of our previous issues.


Bernie and John Burke have been producing ice cream since 2006 but they’ve been farming the land at Tara in County Meath for some twenty years. Making ice cream wasn’t something they decided to take on lightly. They did extensive research of ice cream farmers in England before deciding that the higher fat content of the Jersey cow gave the very best milk for their forty odd flavours.

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They also sought out the expertise of an Italian ice cream maker and their hard work has paid off with shelves groaning with awards including a Great Taste Award.

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The variates of Burke’s ice cream and sorbet show a real flair for interesting combinations from Boyne Valley Blue Cheese and wild berries, to chocolate with hot chilli peppers, and even coconut sorbet. Classics are also popular like brown bread icecream as well as rum and raisin, but by far their most popular flavour is honeycomb and vanilla.

Sharon Burke's Ice Cream

Bernie says they can hardly keep it on the shelves, though her personal favourite, is her own creation, panna cotta and raspberry ice cream.

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People are welcome to visit the farm and see the Burke family in action. It is a labour intensive enterprise as they hand fill the tubs but for those who prefer their icecream in larger portions you can order an ice cream cake too. Now that’s our idea of a feast. Check in next week as we will be sharing how we put this fabulous icecream to use at our FEAST.

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Burkes Farm Ice Cream

The Herb Garden: Sorrel Soup

Posted on July 8, 2014

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This recipe was inspired by Theodora Fitzgibbon, a legendary figure in the Irish food world. Throughout her long writing career she wrote more than thirty books including The Food of the Western World, a project that took her fifteen years and won her several awards. Her most famous work was A Taste of Ireland. She died in 1991 at the age of 75 so her formidable knowledge was not shared with the contemporary world of the internet and bloggers. We’re delighted to share her food heritage with you through this uniquely Irish recipe. If you are interested in learning more about Theodora Fitzgibbon, you will love the new book, ‘The Pleasures of the Table: Rediscovering Theodora Fitzgibbon.’


75g unsalted butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
450g sorrel, washed and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons plain flour
2.5 litre vegetable stock
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 egg yolks
150ml cream
200ml creme fraîche
a handful of micro herbs or edible flowers
8 thin slices of guanciale
sea salt and ground black pepper


Heat the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until softened but not browned. Toss the sorrel through then shake the flour over the vegetables, mix well and let it cook for about 1 minute.


Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil, then add to the pan. Then add the breadcrumbs, season to taste and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 1 hour, covered. Then, liquidise until smooth.


Beat the egg yolks with the cream and stir a little of the hot soup in. This ensures the eggs don’t scramble. Then gradually add the mixture into the hot soup pot, stirring well, over the heat but being careful not to let it boil. Sear the meat slices in a hot dry frying pan for 30 seconds on each side until crisp and golden.


Ladle the soup into wide rimmed serving bowls. Spoon a little crème fraîche in the centre of each and stick a piece of crisp guanciale into each one. Scatter the micro herbs and edible flowers over and serve.


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Friends of FEAST: The Herb Garden

Posted on July 4, 2014

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In the run up to the release of our 5th issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal, our 3rd print edition, we are taking a look  at some of the Irish food champions who have filled the pages of our previous issues.

Denise Dunne grew up in suburban Dublin in Santry in the 1960s but unlike the urban gardens of other homes her parents filled their’s with every imaginable edible plant and some animals too, creating a home-grown paradise in a quiet cul-de-sac. Good food was important to her family and they were practically self- sufficient long before it was fashionable.

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This meant Denise’s childhood was utterly immersed in the world of herbs and plants. Today she runs The Herb Garden, a certified organic herb nursery, where you’ll also find organic salad leaves, flowers and native Irish wildflower seeds.

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Denise’s knowledge is encyclopedic and runs beyond the more obvious use of herbs in cooking to safe medicinal remedies as well as cosmetic uses and even general household work.

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After a few minutes chatting to Denise we realised she’s the go-to person for all things herby – from recreating a medieval garden to a sensory space, you’ll hear the story of every herb as she chats and offers you a nibble of the leaves. An ideal person to supply us with sorrel for our soup recipe.
Recipe coming soon…

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The Herb Garden


The Pepper Pot: Mini White Yeast Loaves

Posted on June 30, 2014


The Pepper Pot is very much a reflection of their lives and philosophies which made their bread a natural choice for our FEAST in Howth Castle last summer.


1.5k strong white flour
30g salt
30g butter
50g yeast
875g water


Preheat the oven to 210ºC. Line three 1lb loaf tins with silicone paper. Sieve flour and salt together and then rub in the butter with your fingertips. Make a well with your hand, forming a large space in the centre with a wall of flour surrounding it. Crumble your yeast into the well and add the water. Dissolve the yeast by swirling your hands in a circular motion.


Begin to incorporate the flour, a little at a time. Knead, stretching the dough as you knead. Knead until you develop a smooth dough. Set aside and cover with a large bowl and allow to ferment for 45 minutes during which time it will expand. After 45 minutes knock the dough back, this releases the gas the yeast have produced. Quickly mould back into a round shape and set aside for a further 5 minutes.


After 5 minutes divide the dough in three and use a weighing scales to measure out each third into 800g. (Or divide again if making mini loaves). Shape into three round balls of dough. Cover again. After 5 minutes flatten with your knuckles, fold in from the sides, left to right, into the middle and roll from the top towards yourslef into a Swiss roll type shape. Place in lined tins. Dust with flour and place on top of your oven, which usually has residual heat form the warming oven, alternatively use your hot
press. Leave for 30 minutes to rise.


After 30 minutes, cut the bread with a knife giving it three traditional vertical slits and place in the oven. After a further 30 minutes remove from the tins and allow to crisp up in the oven for 5 more minutes. Remove breads and place on a wired rack to cool.

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Friends of FEAST: The Pepper Pot

Posted on June 27, 2014

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In the run up to the release of our 5th issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal, our 3rd print edition, we are taking a look  at some of the Irish food champions who have filled the pages of our previous issues.

The Pepper Pot was opened on 4 June 2010 by Marian Kilcoyne and Dervla James. It was the long-held dream of both to have their own place luckily they had plenty of experience to back up their dreams from Dervla’s degree in Baking and Pastry Arts to Marian’s Ballymaloe Certificate. The two became fast friends while working together and many nights were spent over pints planning and dreaming about their cafe.

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They shared the same ethos and philosophies about good food, well made with real care and quality ingredients. But dreams have no currency at the bank and things were tight to start with so they foraged for second-hand ovens and upcycled old kitchen equipment, family and friends helped out for the princely reward of pear and bacon sandwiches. They opened their doors on a shoe string in what was once the home of the wealthy third Viscount Powerscourt and one of the grandest entertainers of the late eighteenth century.

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 In keeping with the history of the building they named their cafe after The Pepper Pot tower in the grounds of The Powerscourt’s country estate in Enniskerry. Everything in the cafe is made and baked daily on the premises, with locally sourced ingredients. They work hard to source from small, artisan Irish producers where possible and the proof is in their puddings, and cakes and jams and savouries.

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The cafe is very much a reflection of their lives and philosophies which made their bread a natural choice for our FEAST. Recipe coming soon.

The Pepper Pot.


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McGeough’s Artisan Butcher: Lamb Sausages and Spiced Lentils

Posted on May 26, 2014

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McGeough’s artisan produce can be found in many of our best restaurants, but we think you should try them at home. In particular we liked the combination of smoked lamb sausages with lentils and caramelised onions. A little warming taste of Connemara.

Serves 8
225g Puy lentils
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
16 James McGeough lamb sausages
1 leek, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
good pinch ground cinnamon
300ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, extra leaves to garnish
200ml tub crème fraîche

For the caramelised onions
knob of butter
2 onions, sliced

Rinse the lentils in a sieve under cold running water, then place in a pan with 600ml of water. Add a pinch of salt, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until ‘al dente’- just tender but still with a little bite. Drain in a sieve and spread out on a tray to dry if not using immediately. To make the caramelised onions, melt the butter in a frying pan and cook them very slowly until golden brown and caramelised. Season to taste.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add one tablespoon of the rapeseed oil to the pan, then add the sausages and sauté over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until cooked through and nicely browned, turning regularly. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a pan and sweat the leek, carrots and celery for about 10 minutes until softened but not coloured. Stir the smoked paprika, cumin and cinnamon and cook for another minute or so. Fold in the cooked lentils and then pour in the chicken stock.
Season to taste and simmer for a few minutes until you have a loose sauce and the vegetables are completely tender. Finally stir in the parsley. Spoon the spiced lentil stew onto a large warmed platter and spoon a line of crème fraiche down the centre. Arrange the lamb sausages on top and scatter over the caramelised onions. Garnish with the parsley and a good grinding of black pepper.


Friends of FEAST: McGeough’s Artisan Butcher

Posted on May 22, 2014


Following the release of our 4th issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal, our 2nd print edition, we are taking a look  at some of the Irish food champions who have filled the pages of our latest issue.

Many people view the artisan business world as somewhat old fashioned. The love of ancient techniques and the deep respect for the craft of their work has sometimes cast them in the role of neo-luddites but this is far from being the case. Their respect for the past is woven into a view that innovation is as important an ingredient in artisan food as a respect for progress. We just sometimes ask the question if the progress is for progress’s sake.McGeough’s Artisan Butcher in Oughterard, Co Galway is every inch, or is that centimeter, the essence of tradition married to innovation. Although they are famed as a butchers they also stock a wide range of other dairy produce, oils, chutneys and wine too.

Mc Geoughs Bike

They first came to our attention with their air-dried lamb and a first taste makes you wonder why it isn’t a staple on dinner tables across Ireland. They do a beef version too, equally good, though perhaps made previously famous by our distant cousins in South Africa. And what about some air-dried pork? Yes, they do that too. We then discovered the many other innovations they’ve cooked up and we developed a particular grá for their smoked lamb sausages. The sausage is mildly smoked, giving a quiet smoky note to the sweet lamb sausage.

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McGeough’s was founded by Eamonn McGeough in 1971 and is now run by his son James McGeough and his skill as a German trained master butcher has greatly added to their already significant reputation. They use only the highest quality meat, including Connemara Hill Lamb, which is unique to the area. The meat is cured and spiced using local herbs, and dried in specially built temperature controlled drying rooms, some of it for many months. The smoking process is shorter, just one day, and although you may distinguish oak and beech notes in the final product perhaps it’s the unique turf notes which makes this distinctly Irish. McGeough’s artisan produce can be found in many of our best restaurants, but we think you should try them at home. In particular we liked the combination of smoked lamb sausages with lentils and caramelised onions. A little warming taste of Connemara as the winter months trudge towards spring.

Mc Geoughs leg

For the Spring issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal, we used some of Mc Geough’s amazing lamb sausages in our Sausages with Spiced Lentils and Caramelised Onions recipe. Warm and comforting yet a lighter take on a dish like Bangers and Mash. Recipe coming soon!


Friends of FEAST: Goatsbridge Trout Farm

Posted on May 6, 2014


Following the release of our 4th issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal, our 2nd print edition, we are taking a look  at some of the Irish food champions who have filled the pages of our latest issue.

The fresh, clear waters of the Little Arrigle River feed the rainbow trout breeding ponds of Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown, County Kilkenny. Established in 1961 it is now run by the second generation of the same family, namely Jer and Mags Kirwan.


They are tireless protectors of the countryside and clear rivers of the South-East. Their farm is one of only a few trout farms producing wholly local fish from start to finish. The cool rivers have a long history of trout farming stretching back to the twelfth century when the monks of Jerpoint Abbey were fishing here too.  Today, much of the practices of the Kirwans mirror the gentler intervention in the life cycle of the fish which the monks might well recognise.


The trout spend most of their time in earthen ponds and as Jer and Mags are exacting in the implementation of their eco-credentials, sustainability remains a core concern for them. They even re-stock the waters of some of Ireland’s most esteemed locations including Mount Juliet.  The Kirwans manage the entire life-cycle and production of the trout including the harvesting and processing right through to filleting and pin-boning.


When you visit the farm, and people are encouraged to visit, you’ll find a family who live and breath the ethos of their farm.  You’re as likely to be invited to join them for lunch as you are to get a knowledgeable tour. There’s just one problem, we struggled to decide which product we liked most, from delicately smoked trout to lightly cooked fillets and the magical trout caviar, it is a happy problem to have, in the end we went for the trout fillets for our final FEAST. Recipe coming soon!

Goatsbridge Farm