Articles by " WiseMóna"
May 5 2014

{Event} Blue Teapot Theatre Company

Posted by     12 Comments    in The Snug

imageThe Blue Teapot  Theatre Company

Silkes, Munster Avenue

Galway

(091) 520 – 977

Admin@BlueTeapot.ie

 

Girls smiling

 

Just around the corner from Kai café sits the Blue Teapot Theatre Company. The two lassies in the above photos are not only neighbours, they are friends and have joined forces to raise some money for the next drama production the Blue Teapot Theatre will produce for the Galway Arts Festival – it’s called ‘ID’.

From July 16, 2014 to July 26, 2014
Blue Teapot Theatre, Munster Avenue, Galway city

iD: identity                 iD: intellectual Disability

‘Who do you think I am’.

iD experiences the world as seen through the eyes of people with intellectual disability and also questions our perceptions of identity along the way.

The world premiere of iD will be unveiled in the Galway Arts Festival this year. This innovative and entertaining new work is conceived & presented by the actors in collaboration with Director, Scott Williams and Dramaturg, Gavin Kostick.

 

 

 

Jess Murphy, always wearing her generous heart on her sleeve, heard that Petal (the director of the Blue Teapot Theatre) had just launched a Fundit campaign to raise the necessary funds for their new show and she jumped in with both feet. How about a pop-up dinner at the theatre?

The folks at the theatre were only too delighted to get a bit of help, and even a bit shocked, because no one has ever proposed such a thing before and the Blue Teapot Theatre has been around since 1996.

Photo: by Reg Gordon

Photo: by Reg Gordon

So first things first folks …  ask yourself ‘do you have a few extra pennies, dimes, dollars, euros or pounds to spare?’ If so then please help support this FundIt campaign – especially those of you living so far away you can’t make it to the pop-up supper on Friday May 16th 2014.

LOGO BTP

If you want to be part of the fun and attend the pop-up dinner on Friday May 16th, 2014 then have a look at the long list of people who are only too happy to donate their time and their food and wine. We are most fortunate to live in a city (and country) that is bursting with generosity. If this does not whet the appetite I am not sure what will.

All goods – save but a few tiny items like plates and linens – will be donated for the evening and Jess hopes to raise close to €6,000 for the Blue Teapot Theatre company.

Helping Jess out in the kitchen for the evening is Enda McEvoy – Galway’s first and only Michelin star chef. Enda was kind enough to jump in (also with both feet) even though he is in the throes of gearing up to open his own place slap bang in the heart of the city – LOAM. Stay tuned on this one, it is sure to be delicious.

You can watch a little video chat with him and Jess right here.

Also lending Jess a hand is Louise Bannon of NOMA (listed again recently as the best restaurant in the world) .. she is in town for the Ballymaloe Literary fest and is making a little time to dish up a few tasty plates with her mates. These chefs are quite the force guys. They get.shit.done.

louise bannon

Louise Bannon – NOMA restaurant

Aran McMahon from Café Rua will start of the evening by serving Rhubarb Belinis to the crowd and  Kevin Powell – noisemaker at Gruel Guerrilla and famous for his pop ups in Dublin with News of the Curd – too is donating a helping hand with service for the evening.

Although killing himself on the campaign trail, Seámus Sheridan also took a few minutes to join in the fun and is lining up the wines for the night with Enrico Fantasia from Grape Circus. This is always the fun part!

Eric Morton

There will, of course be bread – which Morton’s of Galway are only too happy to donate …

Ron Wise - Morton's of Galway

Cuinneog are donating important ingredients like cream, butter and sour cream …… Tony Garraha from Lough Boora Farm is donating all the fabulous greens and floral edibles needed for the menu – which is going to resemble a midsummers night meal .. There is talk of a beautiful beetroot salad, a fresh fish ceviche and of course Brady’s butcher in Athenry has donated all the meat.

I can only imagine ….. it all sounds …… delectable.

Urban Grind - header café sign exterior (1 of 1)

Padraig from Urban Grind (also in the neighbourhood and eager to meet y’all) is donating the exquisite (3fe) coffee …. I could use a cup right now … and incase that does not sound like enough … didn’t Seámus Sheridan come back and offer to donate the cheese to wrap up the evening …

The evening will be captured by one of my favourite photographers Reg Gordon and if you are able to attend this event, make sure you find him and say hi – aside from being incredibly talented, he is one heck of a nice guy to donate his time and talent to this event.

So there you have it … a list of people all offering to donate their time, money and food in the hopes that you will come and fill your bellies with a fabulous five-course (with wine) dinner on Friday May 16th, 2014.

Click here to donate or pick up the phone and call (091) 520-977 to book your place for the pop-up kitchen at Blue Teapot Theatre.

Thanks folks … t’is not often I ask for your help and as usual we have something to sweeten the pot … Ron and I cannot attend this event as we are tied up with a work thing already that evening but we are happy to donate our two tickets (worth €150) to a lucky reader.

Here is the kicker … you have to be subscribed to our WiseWords blog (sign up here) and because this is a time sensitive event and fundraiser, we are asking that you donate at least a few euros to the FundIT campaign. We will pick a winner on Tuesday evening (May 13th) giving you plenty of time to organise a babysitter or a taxi .. because I am sure this is going to be a fabulous night out in Galway.

Just leave me a comment down below letting me know you have already made a small donation and I will throw your name in the hat and we will join you for the cheese course!

That’s all for now folks … thanks for tuning in.

WiseMóna

 

 

May 2 2014

Does Galway have what it takes to claim the title as Ireland’s Best Food Destination?

Posted by     5 Comments    in The Snug

WIseMona Foodie Town

You bet your sweet ass we do.

Watch this video first … it serves as a nice reminder of how passionate the locals are about the thriving food scene in Galway. We are also very passionate about the thriving Beer scene in Galway but will have to leave that for another day.

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The Restaurants Association of Ireland, in association with AdMailer.ie from An Post, are on the search for Ireland’s premier foodie destination.

I  need your help.  Click on the image below and vote for Galway – please.

Foodie Towns graphic

AND … because you helped me out – this is a little reminder to stay tuned. Just like last summer, we will be hosting a few FABULOUS summer giveaways right here on the blog so you can pack up, get away for a few days – and head WEST!

Maybe a couple of nights right here in Galway at The G Hotel or a few nights at Mulranny Park Hotel in Westport? Just as long as you are a registered reader of our blog – you will be in with a chance to win. There are a few other places lined up for later in the summer too … I can’t wait to blog-all-about-them.

Now- back to the voting ….. anyone can vote so share the link with your friends and family

PLEASE help us put Galway on the map!

THANK YOU!!

Have a lovely weekend … we have a nice long one here on the island with it being a May Bank Holiday weekend. No plans really … just the usual chasing after four kids to keep us busy.

WiseMóna

 

PS – if you have any trouble with the voting page .. please let me know via the comments section down below or via twitter or email me at MonaZWise@gmail.com.

 

Apr 18 2014

Creative Cheese Works {Giveaway}

Posted by     22 Comments    in Kitchen


You are not going to believe me when I tell you that ‘Cheese making’ is incredibly easy.

cheese kit

A little milk boiled to the right temperature is the key ingredient and that is pretty much all you need. Well, that and a bit of vinegar (or rennet once you get serious about this) and away you go; The world of cheesemaking is yours.

Another item crossed of the bucket list so-to-speak, because I know many of you daydream about making your own cheese all the time. I’ve made my own butter - that was just as easy. I even made flavoured butters. One with Nettles, and even a bacon butter. Yep – a piece of cake.

A couple of months ago we received a message via Facebook  from Yvonne Hollidge at Creative Cheese Works asking if we would like to try a cheese making kit. Kit? Are ya kidding me? We do not need a kit!

But I had a look at her website and I really liked what I saw. I’ll be the first to admit I love nice packaging and this kit comes in a dark hunter green corrugated cardboard box. Everything was wrapped and presented beautifully and this would make an excellent gift for Father’s day, I’m sure and for anyone who might just love cheese.

Yvonne is doing her best to educate people as to how easy this cheesemaking really is. She is on the road doing demonstrations around the country at festivals etc. and also in schools. She is passionate about teaching, and wants to encourage everyone to try their hand. So much so that she has give us a free kit to offer one of our readers.

You really want this … you need to prove it to yourself that you can make cheese – for once and for all.

Once you get your kit you can whip up a batch of soft cheese in a few hours.

This kit uses full fat milk and makes up to 10 batches.

The first time we used the kit we made a delicious black pepper crusted soft cheese which the kids inhaled in seconds.

Homemade cheese

Since we are officially on the cheesemaking bandwagon – we have made several different soft cheese’s and are now graduating onto the blue cheese – more of a challege but really looking forward to trying this.

The one thing we are loving is the shelf life – if you can keep it hidden from the kids that is. The cheese is mild and will ripen and strengthen in firmness and flavour if you leave it (wrapped in greasproof paper) in the fridge for a week or two. When you tuck into it after a few weeks maturing … it is begging for a glass of wine, a few olives stuffed with anchovies and a long weekend lying ahead of you. It’s that kinda distracting cheese.

Now – if you are ready to get your cheese making hat on, I suggest you leave a comment down below (we will ship worldwide) and let me know why you have finally taken the plunge and are ready to make your own cheese!

Herbed cream cheese en croúte 3

Maybe you want to make this gorgeous (baked) Rhubarb Cheesecake and you just know it will tase better if you use your own creamy cheese?

Rhubarb Cheesecake slice and whole

 

Or maybe, you are ready to finally learn how to make n’ bake a kick ass macaroni and cheese dish but know that there is no point in even attempting this unless you have all the right ingredients … such as homemeade cheese?

Rasher Mac' n' cheese 1 small

I’ll pick a winner on April 26th, 2014 ….

Comments in the box below. Tell me your cheese woes.

That’s all for now folks,

WiseMóna

 

and the winner is….Peggy Falbo! Congrats to you now send me on your details and I will get that cheese making kit out to you in the post.

image

Apr 16 2014

Achill Mountain Lamb

Posted by     No Comments    in Kitchen

Achill Lambs 3

A few weeks ago I got an email from an old friend of mine. She put me in touch with Helen Calvey of the Calvey Family Farm on Achill Island, who is helping out on the marketing and social media end of things for the family business whilst she is on maternity leave.

I’ll be the first to admit it – there is no rhyme or reason to figuring out what motivates me to write a blog post. Ordinally, and most writers would agree, one would love to have the luxury of waiting for the inspiration to waft in willingly – then I could drop everything and allow the words to spill endlessly onto the keyboard; Sadly that almost never happens.

But when it does … it’s a great feeling. For me sometimes all it takes is a Tweet from a Mum suffering from #babybrain. As a mum of four – you have my total attention and empathy; Rock on Mama – this too shall pass.

 

Achill Lambs 2

 

I was immedialtey interested in having a chat with Helen because she bounced across the social media pages and landed in-person at our front door to drop off a small sample of their lamb so we could taste for ourselves. The proof is in the pudding as they say and and the taste has lingered with me since.

Incase you are wondering – we did very little cooking to the gorgeous piece of meat they shared with us. The rack was small and butchered beautifully into two (3-bone) chops. A quick season and sear on both sides to brown them for less than 5 minutes, a spoonful of mustard topped with fresh breadcrumbs and finished in a very hot oven for 12 minutes.

There was fingerlicking at the table. I am not ashamed.

Lamb delivery box

So, nosey me, I set about drafting a few questions for Helen to see if I could get a bit more information on what makes Achill Lamb so different to other Irish Lamb. Here’s what Helen Calvey had to say:

Helen, how are you involved with this whole operation?
My parents own the business so it is fair to say I help out when required. I am concentrating on Achill Mountain Lamb at the moment as we are undergoing a process of expansion. I guess I have been roped in as I have skills from my MBA which complement those of my siblings and father. (It is also handy that I am on maternity leave from my “real” job!).
 
There has been a tremendous amount of interest in our unique artisan product of late so I have assisted with social media, press releases and photo calls as well as taking some shots myself (she took the ones of the lambs and her Dad).

   When it looks good raw .. you know you are in for a treat.

How is business? Fifty years is a long time to stay afloat – what’s your secret?

The key thing is my father’s passion for what he does. When he started in 1962 there were 23 other butchers/abattoirs on the island. Today he is the only licenced abattoir within a radius of 30 miles.  Back in the 60s he saw an opportunity to sell his Achill Lamb to the growing number of tourists on the island and butchered and handcrafted it so it would fit in the boot of their car. Today we see the grandchildren of the original customers returning for their own carcase so that they can savour the true taste and flavour of Achill.
 
Our farm is central to all other family business.
 
From this trade my parents opened a Restaurant in the 1960s which specialises in Achill Lamb. I guess rearing a family of 10 children was also a motivating factor to remain in business and be a successful businessman. Through the years he believed in his product and perfected it. He constantly re-invested, continually upgrading and complying with tougher and more stringent  EU regulations.
 
His flock is also central to the success of Achill Mountain Lamb. It is a pure Mayo Blackface Breed. It has been our tradition for many generations and we have never crossed it with any other breed. This type of sheep and lamb thrive on the unique Achill terrain.

Lamb Instagram

How does the taste differ from sea-spray lamb to say, a piece of lamb from the mid-lands?
We can thank Mother Nature for this. Achill is blessed with purity in its water, air and mountain. The prevailing wind on the Island  has travelled thousands of kilometers across the Atlantic and with it, it brings the sea mist and salt which is deposited on the mountains and sandy banks of Achill. This salt runs through the veins of each sheep and lamb. To produce a unique quality lamb product the flock must be treated with respect. The environment will influence this. Our Achill Lamb roam freely on the wild atlantic way and are just a short distance from our Abattoir. If a lamb is bred well and treated well on Achill, mother nature will take care of the rest.
 
Achill Mountain Lamb is raised solely on a natural diet of Mothers milk together with wild herbs, heathers, grasses, mosses and lichens. We breed our lambs to give high quality lean carcases, healthy pinky red in colour, firm deep texture, with light skim of yellowish fat ensuring a unique specific delicate succulent flavour when cooked.
 
Farm fresh and free from any additives,colourants or preservatives.

(I’m actually getting hungry just reading Helen’s response)

 

Wine (Shiraz) Instagram

 

Do you sell the lambs whole or do all the butchering yourself?
We sell the product bespoke as per customer requirements. We can handcraft the whole carcase or leave it whole or halved depending on the customers preference.
 
If someone wants to buy a whole lamb – can you give me wholesale prices  – we know a lot of restaurant owners/chefs who are always on the look out for a nice bit of (whole or) butchered meat. 
This would depend on time of year. Really our season begins mid-July . The lambs we have now are trade lambs due to their size ( All 2013 lambs not quiet a year yet). These lambs are over 20kg.T rade lambs need to be above 15kg. For this reason prices may vary.
Minimum prices for a carcase would be 150 euro. Obviously wholesale prices would depend on volume etc. We would be delighted to engage with any chef/restaurant that was interested.
Hopefully you will be recommending us :)

Oh – this was not a difficult one to feature on the blog Helen. What an excellent product.

Are you using a courier service? How much is a typical shipment cost for the island of Ireland?
We use a courier for Achill Mountain Lamb. We include this in the price of the carcase. Once the season begins a carcase delivered should be approx 99.00 euro. This will arrive packaged and ready for your freezer. The whole carcase will fit easily into a common 3 door freezer. Lambs for the household market are usually lighter than trade ones and weigh approx 12-15kg.
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Achill Lambs 1

It’s not difficult to see why I was interested in sharing this with you all. There is so much more to the story than just a few ‘lambs for sale’. We live in a very ‘get-rich-quick’ kind of world and I think sometimes people need a little reminder that slow and steady wins the race. For quality of product and quality of life. Thanks to Helen Calvey for taking the time out of her busy schedule to have a chat with me.

It seems like Achill Island is a place we should all aim to visit this summer. With Failte Ireland’s recent launch of the Wild Atlantic Way (watch the video!) I see no reason to travel abroad this year . . . staycationing all the way for us.

Have you been to Achill Island recently?

WiseMóna

Apr 10 2014

Education Matters

Posted by     No Comments    in The Snug

Quad

Hi there …

Just a quick hello and brief update on where I am hanging out these days. College classes are over and I have completed three quarters of the MA in Journalism at NUIG. I have still to hand in a 15,000 word Thesis (not due until August) and I also have to complete a work placement experience – which I will be graded on too.

Education-Matters-logo

The first work placement I have undertaken as part of the course is in the national office for  Education Matters – their HQ is conveniently located on campus here at NUIG. If you have never heard of them, you can pop over and have a look at their website right here. They produce an annual publication (A professional handbook of Educators in Ireland) – this is  a useful tool for teachers and parents.

Say for example, if your little Johnny wanted to study medicine in college next year, then you could pick up a copy of this book and have a look at the who’s-who in Education … I am not encouraging helicopter parenting, but I’d be lying if I did not say I was  interested in finding out a little bit more about the teachers who are currently teaching my kids and the ones we have yet to meet.

Twitter - April 8th 2014

I, along with my college colleague Caroline Duggan, will be blogging and Tweeting and sharing links over on Facebook  regarding all things EDUCATION.

Facebook - April 8th 2014

If you have an interest in this topic – and I think most pepole do – then pop over and have a read. The first post we launched yesterday is all about how teachers can foster creativity in the classroom and how they have inspired their students to go forth and be fabulous.

We have hot topics lined up to review with all the readers – I’d love to hear your feedback on many or all of them.

Why? Because Education Matters …

WiseMona

Mar 25 2014

I need to know … am I wrong?

Posted by     49 Comments    in Kids, Kitchen

Todays topic is always at the epicentre of every argument I have at home with the kids, of which there are four  – ages 8, 9, 10 and 12.

CHORES.

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 11.36.04

Up until recently (before they all entered the age of reasoning – which some say it is 8 years of age, and they are right!) the kids towed the line and did their daily chores, for the most part.

I am not talking hard core labour here, just chores that we consider ‘normal’ in most family households:

-   setting the table, clearing the dishes after breakfast and supper, then loading the dishwasher,

-  bringing down their dirty clothes hampers, folding and putting away their own laundry,

-  occasional sweeping of the floors

Now that the age of reckoning has arrived, we are hearing a lot of dramatic resistance to simple requests and the thing that concerns me the most is the statement they reiterate over and over again.

‘None of my friends at school have to do chores’.

None. Not even one. Nada. Nothing.

Now, I am not one of those Mother’s you can fool easily.

I am always up before breakfast so to speak … and I start my day off in a quiet reflective contemplative manner … enjoying the sunrise … like this morning …

 

Sunrise

Typically, I don’t believe a word out of their mouths if it starts off with ‘all my friends’ … because I don’t know their friends or their friends Mum’s and Dad’s all that well, so it’s just heresay as far as I am concerned.

But you know what … I kinda believe my kids. I am getting the impression, perhaps I had a moment of blind weakness this morning, that maybe there are a lot of parents out not doling out the chores to their kids?

The way I see it is as follows – if you have kids maybe you can slot yourself into one of the following three categories:

(A) you give the kids age appropriate chores (like I listed above)

(B) you never give the kids chores and you/your partner do them yourselves for a quiet life and because you feel that this is your job/responsibility as their parent

(C) Neither of the above because you pay for domestic help and no one has to do the bothersome household chores.

Readers … tweeters … peeps and pals …. I need to know – do you get the kids to help out with the chores around the house?

If you are unwilling to respond in the comment box below – will you send me an email at MonaZWise@GMail.com – thanks.

Ok – less than 6 days of classes left before I finish the MA in Journalism at NUIG.

Imagine. It only took me FIVE YEARS to get here!  Ok – technically I am not finished until I complete my work placements and write my 15,000 word Thesis – due in August … but I am no longer tied to a classroom effective April 4th.

I will have soooo much more time on my hands to do laundry and sweep the floor.

Keep the faith lads and ladies … the sun is still shining bright in Galway – FUN and frolicking will resume soon.

Móna

Mar 11 2014

Morton’s of Galway

Posted by     4 Comments    in Reviews

 

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Morton’s of Galway

Purveyors of cheese, fresh fish, bespoke butchering and beautiful breads all washed down with a wonderful selection of wines.

Salthill (beside the Warwick Hotel), Galway

(091) 522-237

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Odd, considering my husband has been baking his little heart out here for four years already, that I have not blogged about it before.

A small little shop on the edge of Salthill and only a stones thrown from the beach, you will be surprised to find so much crammed into this little shop.

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Maybe I was just waiting for him to settle in? To make sure that he liked it enough to stay there?

When we moved back home to Galway in 2008, it took him a long time to settle.

The first place he worked at was too big, the second place treated their employees like dirt, and now – just like Goldilocks – this little gem of a shop seems to be just the right fit for himself.

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It’s the cake job really – as he only works Monday through Friday from 8am – 2pm and has weekends and bank holidays off.

His baking day starts the night before … at 7:30pm he starts a mix called ‘Poolish’ which is used for his daily white breads which consist of Ciabatta, Foccaccia and Pizza.

He also keeps his sourdough fed here at home and another tub of it at work and makes several loafs of beautiful Sourdough each day – selling an 800g loaf for €2.00.

The prices on the other breads range from €1.50 – €3 per loaf.

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Aside from all the bread, they also make a delicious selection of ‘foods-to-go’ each day and this is where the shop becomes a one-stop-shop kinda place.

Traditional dishes like Fish Pie, or Shepherds Pie and a couple of Pasta dishes line the shelves, and occassionally Paella is thrown in to the mix –   keeping it affordable at €5.99.

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It is the kind of shop you almost have to go out of your way to pay a visit too – due to the location and it not being city-centre – and I just wanted to let you know that it is certainly worth your while.

Eric Morton, the owner, has excellent taste and passion for wines. You can see this with the selection he has on offer. The wines are priced well and there are always a few gems in the bargain bin.

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He’s a dab hand at selecting cheese too – so if you are trying to put a birthday basket together for someone, or even a small hamper for your Mum on Mothers day (March 30th in Ireland) then seek him out for a bit of advice. He is only too happy to help and they make gorgeous gift baskets. Hint hint honey …

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Over at the deli counter the Morton’s crew are ready and willing to take your loaf of bread and turn it into a nice big fat sandwich. They have a fine selection of cured meats, cheeses and roasted veggies for you to choose from.                 If the sun sticks around, I reckon this is the best place to grab a to-go lunch and hit the prom for a lovely walk filling your lungs with the sea air.

Morton’s is less than a fifteen minute (with long legs) walk from  Galway city centre and if you have never popped in for a visit, now is a great time because the bread is just popping out of the oven!

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He also does speciality birthday cakes etc. so ask for Ron when you stop in – he loves to talk bread with anyone.

That’s all for today folks …

I just submitted my first ever effort at a radio documentary – it turned out alright. Have a listen if you have 30 minutes to kill on your daily commute.

We are finally starting to see a little sun here in the West and with only a few more weeks of class left to finish up my MA in Journalism … I have spring fever . .

Watch out world .. hibernation has ended!

WiseMóna

Feb 17 2014

{Giveaway} Belleek Castle, County Mayo

Posted by     105 Comments    in Reviews

Belleek Castle

(096) 22 4 00

A few weeks ago … right after I had finished my Winter exams at college, we were invited down to Belleek Castle for a night of fabulous food, wine and companionship.

Their chef, Stephen Lenehan, whom we had met at a Slow Food Mayo event previously,  has been the executive chef of Belleek Castle for more than 20 years. If you ever find yourself in Ballina, County Mayo, you really have to put this place on your list. There is no shortage of things to see and do in Mayo.

Belleek CAstle

There is a growing trend in us stumbling upon Chefs in Ireland who like to grow their own food and feed it to their customers. A few years ago, Stepehen had a mighty sized polytunnel installed right outside his kitchen window and he is still shocked at the volume of vegetables he is now producing from this invenstment. Last summer, he actually ended up giving away some of their produce.

The Castle, lets call it a Boutique Castle as it only has a few rooms to offer, is situated in the heart of Ballina town and is deffinelty the best kept secret we have stumbled upon.

Belleek Castle Polytunnel P13_1336

Greens from the tunnel are offered on most plates not just as a garnish, but as a comfortable portion, so you don’t feel like all you are getting is meat and potatoes.

In saying that make sure you order the Fillet steak – the presentation is unique and fabulous – think flames and Jameson – tableside.  This style of presentationt works excellently well because of the venue. The steak was cooked to perfection and make sure you insist on trying their side dish of potato gratin with a mashed carrot and parsnip mixture sandwiched in the middle … then roasted in the oven. I have had dreams about this dish. So filled with flavours and textures.

Belleek Castle Food P13_8342 CHEF

Our favourite dish, was so simple – but so memorable –  Cashel Blue cheese caviar using tapioca. It was excellent and so unique, perfectly executed and shows imagination. We LOVED this dish.

Belleek Castle Food P13_8370

 

The portions throughout were perfect size and thankfully not too much at all. This can be a concern when you see tasting menus offered and I always steer clear of them because its just too much food. These guys have a great grasp on balance-on-the-plate, with plenty of choices for even those with the most discerning of tastes.

Belleek Castle Food P13_8705 whisky

Paul Doran, the owner of the castle, has shown true taste when assembling the wine list. His educated palate spills out over the Belleek Castle wine list which encompasses a wonderful array of wines ranging from quaffable to sophisticated. The wines we chose (a Pinto Noir from Russian River Valley) and also the Kracher dessert wine, were both outstanding and priced accordinlgly; refreshing to see these days. I highly recommend you stay up to date on the Wine event dinners they have at Belleek throughout the year. You can click on this link here to connect with them on Facebook. They are also the most perfect venue for a wedding … incase you are looking for that very romantic spot.

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The service over all – front of the house and in the dining room – was excellent and a credit to whomever runs the training program at Belleek Castle.

As we overnighted, I was a little hesitant to accept an invite to join Stephen and his wife Lily (who is also a chef and works alongside her husband in the kitchens at Belleek Castle) for breakfast because, let’s face it, there are very few hotels that do breakfast well. Imagine, me sitting there fussing because my eggs are overcooked. These guys don’t mess around. They have a breakfast chef who comes in every morning just to take care of the residents at Belleek. First class breakfast and not the boring old Irish breakfast in a buffet set up either.

The scrambled eggs and smoked salmon and selection of brown bread was wonderful. The omelette was nice and light, plenty of flavour and to my surprise and delight the coffee was excellent too. I could tell there were coffee lovers in the house.

 Belleek CAstle blue

The folks at Belleek have given us treat for our readers here at WiseWords. How would you like to get away for a night and enjoy dinner for two, plus bed and breakfast in the beautiful boutique Belleek Castle?

I know we do giveaways on here, and you always think, ‘man, I never win anything’ but this one is different.

I am picking the winner myself instead of using the random selector app.

I want you to leave a comment below, in your most poetic tone, telling me why you want or need this (very romantic) night away at Belleek Castle in County Mayo.

Same rules apply, you must be a WiseWords subscriber in order to be eligble for this giveaway. You can sign up right here.

Best of luck. I’ll be picking the winner on Friday 28th of February, 2014.

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,

WiseMóna

PS – and incase you were wondering .. all of the images used in this post were taken by Paul Doran, the castle owner. I would normally only use my own photos but we were there in the depth of dreary winter and the camera did not capture what I wished to convey.

AND THE WINNER IS …. well desired too I am sure.

Enjoy the break!

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Jan 29 2014

Cook Book Club at Kai Cafe Galway

Posted by     6 Comments    in Reviews

Call us nerds if you will, but spending the evening curled up with a book by the fire is not a bad way to unwind after a crazy day at work or school.

A lot of times, the books we reach for … are cook books. Some tell more than a story of food and many are love stories – be it a love for food or family. They all have the power to whisk us away to another place, albeit it temporarily, allowing us to take a mental break from our daily dose of stress and worry.

Last night, we had supper at Kai Cafe in Galway. Four or five times per year, Jess Murphy, who in our humble opinion, is Irelands most innovative female Chef, takes recipes from her favourite cook books, and creates an evening of excellence in food exploration for her customers.

KAI

She challenges herself and her crew to stay true to the recipes in the book, pushing her right out of her comfort zone and hoping to heck that her cult-like followers, who dine frequently at Kai, will appreciate her efforts.

Last night, Jess cooked several recipes from Roberta’s pizzeria in Brooklyn, NYC. Their book is filled with quirky recipes ranging from the three-cheese-but-mostly-Talleggio cheesy pizza to Tripe stew and Parsley cake for sweet treats.

I am not sure how Jess made this menu work – but she and her team pulled it off deliciously.

The cost, to attend is €35 per person and possibly one of the best ways to take the plunge and try a few new dishes. Everything is served on large platters and shared at communal tables, so you can take as little or as much as you like of each taster plate. This works well because sometimes these multi-course suppers offer lots to choose from. This way you remain in control of how much you want to scarf. . . most likely all of it.

Jamie Food Blogger

Next month, Jess is featuring our book, The Chef and I, at her Cook Book Club.

This is bound to get interesting because Ron, ‘aka the Chef’ is a total bad ass control freak .. so he is going to be all up in her business that day making sure that everything is just right … ha ha .. not really.

He does plan on lending a hand that afternoon to help do the dishes etc. but Ron trusts Jess – she knows his style and we are certain she and her crew at Kai will do a stellar job recreating his recipes.

A few weeks ago, Jess and her husband David, who runs Kai cafe with her, came over for supper and we perused the pages of our book to see which items we might share with Jess customers. Many of whom we know, because Galway is a small city, but also many who have never heard of us or tried Ron’s food.

The menu might look something a little like the items listed down below but it is still not set in stone …. and for our American friends and family, sorry to drag you through a Rondo’s revival … but these recipes are still ‘da bomb’ and Ron is so excited to be able to share them with our friends and family in Galway.

Mussels Diavolo

Mussels Diavolo -

 

Mussels words

Eggplant Napoleon

Eggplant Nap image

Eggplant words

Trout Dijon

Trout dijon image

 

Trout Dijon words

 

 

BBQ Ribs served with Coleslaw and Chorizo Mac n’ Cheese

BBA Ribs image

 

BBq Ribs words

 

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding image

 

Bread Pudding words

Wise Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee Image

 

Irish coffee words

 

If you would like to attend … please phone them at   353 (0)91 526003  or drop them an email at  kaicaferestaurant@gmail.com to reserve your table.

Ron and I look forward to seeing you there!

WiseMóna

 

Jan 13 2014

Want to go to college? It’s not too late.

Posted by     No Comments    in The Snug

October 2007 – we upped sticks in the US and moved to Switzerland. I had a one year contract with a large insurance company and we were ready to ‘do something different’ and live closer to my siblings and Mum – all scattered across the continent between Ireland, France and Switzerland.

In August 2008 – right before our eldest was ready to enlist in school – we headed back to Ireland. The fact that education is still free (for the most part) in Ireland played a huge part in our decision making.

NUIG lawn

Now, all four of our children are enroled in the local national school (the same one my siblings and I attended as children) and they are all thriving, thanks to my Mum mostly, as she picks them up from school 4 days a week to ‘do the homework’ with them. We have somehow managed to keep a harmonious work-life-study balance here at Chez Wise.

In September of 2009 – I began my own education journey. I applied for, and was accepted into a four year undergraduate course studying English literature and German language studies with a specialism in Creative Writing.

Even with a rock solid support system at home with my Mum, and very understanding husband, this was not easy. It was damn near impossible to graduate … but I did (with honours) and am now sitting at my desk (back) in college with a final 12 week semester ahead of me – finishing up an MA in Journalism.

Although very blurry – when I look back over the last five years I can honestly say I never saw this coming; This love for education that is.

Sure, I had hoped I would not flunk my exams and flop out of college – and having come through at the other end, I can tell you I totally understand why people DO DROP OUT of college courses. It is bloody hard.

But the rewards are great. The friends I have found, the experiences I have had, and the contacts I have made have all helped me get where I am today. We are working on job placements this week – and the good news is folks – there are LOTS of opportunities out there. So many, my head hurts from all the decision making I will have to do before the week is over.

images NUIG 2

If you are thinking about going to college, be it first time around or a wish to do something different, then now is the time for you to apply. The Central Applications Office deadline is February 1st, 2014. You can apply online right here.

NUIG BA in Journalism prospectus (page 2)

NUIG BA in Journalism prospectus (page 2)

If you are interested in Journalism – there is an excellent new undergraduate program right here at National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) – you can read all about that right here.

Also, if you are in receipt of social welfare, and have been for longer than 9 months, you will almost certainly qualify for the Back to Education allowance scheme which will enable you to receive an income whilst you study. In essence, you will be paid to go to college as opposed to receiving a social welfare payment to sit at home twiddling your thumbs. In addition to that, citizens and residents of Ireland are elegible for free fees (based on previous years income).

If this is something you have been toying around with, mulling over, himming and hawing over, then this is the year to do it. The economny is showing signs of life, and the forecasters are making statements that the worst is over and the economy is bouncing back – but I think it will take a few years before we see a drastic increase in unemployment in Ireland.

This is my public service anouncement for January. Just do it.

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

WiseMona

 

About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
  • Contact Mona
Ron Wise About the Chef
You can't find the Chef here.
You might as well just come visit.
He prefers face to face communication.

From The Kitchen

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eCar at Claregalway Castle - July 2014
Blackberry Bourbon Old Fashioneds
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Nettles 1
Galway Film Fleadh
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Achill Lambs 1
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Back to school Blues
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Peach Pie Slice
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Rhubarb Cordial
Galway Easter platter

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