Articles by " WiseMóna"
Oct 2 2012

Belmont Organic Venison Farm

Posted by     90 Comments    in Reviews


Nestled near the border of counties Galway and Mayo is where you will find our newest favourite food find. Belmont Organic Venison Farm has been rearing stags and hinds for the plate for over sixteen years now, but only recently started selling to the public via their new website.

We took a spin down to visit the farm a few weeks ago and were met at the gate by Tomás Tierney and his family. Having achieved full organic farming status from IOFGA in 2004, the Tierney family raise their meat as wholesomely as possible so that every bite from farm to fork can be devoured with good knowledge of not only where the meat is coming from, but also what it has been fed (mostly grass).

‘ At Belmont Organic Venison Farm we are committed to producing the highest quality venison, at our best possible prices. We believe in the Farm to Fork philosophy and buying from us ensures that there is no middle man and that all proceeds go direct to the farmer ensuring local jobs and keeping our money local for the benefit of all our community! ‘

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               … TomásTierney

Tomás and his family were eager to sell us their shtick on living off the land, and rearing your own animals for the table. They were big on using the term ‘farm-to-fork’ and ‘sustainable’. The funny thing about that was they had no idea they were preaching to the choir. We did not need selling on how or why they were rearing their animals in such a wholesome and organic way. We were only too delighted to have found them so close to home and could not wait to bring home a few pieces to sample the venison fresh from their farm.



The girls … 200 or so breeding hinds plus the young ‘ins

We interrupt this program to draw your attention to the fact that WE ARE IN THE FINALS for the Annual Blog Awards Ireland. Our little blog has landed  itself in three categories as a finalist and we are just beside ourselves with excitement over this news! ———————————————–>> ———————————>> Look at our shiny new badge! —————————->>

The award ceremony is on October 13th, 2012. I will keep you posted. Thank you loyal readers for reading and commenting and having a bit of fun with me here on the blog. You have no idea how sane it keeps me in this crazy WiseWorld of ours. Well, some of you do actually know how sane it keeps me because you know how crazy I am like. 


And we are back ….

The lads … young ones. Fired up and ready to go…


With a 90% success rate with their breeding efforts annually (no artificial insemination here guys) the farm produces ample amounts of meat to fill a decent export order but recently they have experienced a growing number of chefs and restaurants requesting this gorgeous organic venison.  After seeing the (over 100 acres) rich clover paddocks these animals graze on daily, and the quality of life they lead, one can only imagine that the product that ends up on the plate would taste good and should be in high demand.

Studs-are-us … usually only 3 or 4 males per 200 females!


 After loading up with a few samples we headed back home to sample their wares and I think it is safe to say that the pictures will tell the rest of the story.


Venison and green peppercorn pie


The leanest meat we have ever seen or worked with. Ever. Not a bit of gristle or fat to be found. Even the stewing meat can be eaten rare after searing for a few minutes in a hot pan. Melts in your mouth.


Venison chops with mustard and breadcrumbs


This photo (above) does not do them justice at all. The tenderness and juiciness … oh my goodness. And incase you are wondering, there is no ‘gamey taste’ here guys and dolls. Just beautiful farm raised venison. A cross between spring lamb and veal. Only better.


Venison and three-bean chill


We have a meat grinder that attaches to the Kitchenaid. If you do not have one, then ask Santa to bring you one this year. Best investment ever.


Venison saddle … wha? That is what the Chef called it. It does not really matter what it is called.                                                    It is delicious …with a mustard and mushroom gravy too …


Yes . . . every bite delicious.


Venison meat pies for the kids lunch boxes. Give the sandwiches a rest guys.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       They will eat these right up!  (iPhone photo)


Now … and because you have made it all the way to the end without running scared because you do not want to eat Bambi … we have a little treat for you dear readers.

Well, actually, only one reader.

We have a ‘Connoisseur Box‘ sampler box to give away to one of our lucky LUCKY readers.

All you have to do is leave an appropriate comment right here on this blog letting me know you actually read this post and are hungry for more and OH PLEASE, OH PLEASE, pop over to their Facebook page for a wee ‘like’ because they have a lot of deals happening over there and on their web page so, ya know, if your not in, ya can’t win!


The nitty gritty …. 

Due to the fact that this is perishable (fresh or frozen meat) we can only offer this to our readers on the Island of Ireland. (sorry about that – next giveaway will be for worldwide readers).

The winner will be picked at random by ‘and the winner is‘ and we will do the drawing on October 14th … right after the blog awards!


Ok – that’s all for now folks, stay tuned for more WiseWords stories later in the week.

*** This just in …. Belmont are offering FREE shipping on all purchases until October 15th) so go buy some! ***



Winner Winner VENISON dinner!

Sep 27 2012

Red hot Oysters, Sweet potato gratin and Prawns in pernod sauce


Sweet Potato gratin


Hello fellow food lovers,

Ah … the oysters are back in season and we are enjoying every one of them. If you are coming to Galway for the Oyster festival then find me on Twitter and we can meet up in town to sample the best Galway has to offer this time of year.

The recipes at from our column in The Sunday Times (September 23rd 2012).

Enjoy the read and recipes,




Sep 24 2012

The Cadogan Hotel, London

Posted by     32 Comments    in Reviews

The Cadogan Hotel

75 Sloane Street,


London, SW1X 9SG




Sometimes ….. you want the world to stand still.

And sometimes, you have to work very hard to make sure it does.

Ok – we are only celebrating our togetherness since 1996 – but it feels like a lot longer!


We have just returned home from a most memorable weekend in London where we celebrated our upcoming anniversary and also met up with my much older sister who was celebrating a special birthday.


We stayed on Sloane street


The Cadogan Hotel is one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in London. Situated right between Solane Square and Knightsbridge stations, it was perfect for our weekend jaunt. We settled in to the most comfortable beds in London and were thankful to my Mum and my friend Becca who held down the fort back at home.


We stayed in the Oscar Wilde suite and I even had time to do a bit of shopping and writing my German homework.




Celebrating its 125th birthday this year, the luxurious Cadogan hotel on Sloane Street has a fascinating history.

A little blurb from their website …

Built in 1887, the hotel was once home to Lillie Langtry, the famous actress and close friend of King Edward VII. It was here that her liaisons with the future King of England took place. After she sold the house, Lillie continued to stay in her old bedroom, Room 109, which had become part of the hotel.

The Cadogan also has strong links with the Irish playwright Oscar Wilde, who was a frequent visitor of Room 118, where his infamous arrest took place. He was arrested for gross indecency. 




Not to worry – we behaved.


Just around the block  …


But found big distractions at every corner.


Afternoon tipsy treats


So even when we lost track of time we still managed to make our way back to the hotel for a cup of tea … waiting for us in our room.


The friendliness of the staff, bending over backwards to give us directions all over the city and still help manage to keep us sated at their bar with excellent cocktails and terrific teas. This is an old hotel with all the quirks that comes with an old building. Winding stairs, creaking wooden floors,  and elevator that looks like it has been there since they opened. The Cadogan oozes charm and the team there provide good old fashioned hospitality; They are there to make sure you never want to leave.

If you are planning a trip to London now, or in the future, then bookmark this post and sign up to their newsletter because they offer some fantastic deals. We took advantage of their three nights for the price of two and can’t wait to book our next trip back to visit the folks at The Cadogan Hotel.


The Oscar Wilde Suite … you know you want to go…


Everyone needs a little break….even if it is just for 48 hours. It felt like we were gone for a week. Flights with Ryanair from Knock (International) Airport, County Mayo are only €19 (each way) to Stansted …

What are you waiting for?

Go to London. Enjoy the break. You deserve it.




** Full disclosure ** 

Aside from taking advantage of their fabulous three nights for two deal … this was entirely at our own cost. You can rest assured no one had to cajole me into writing about how fabulous this place is.

OH yeah … and ….

There will be a few more London (restaurant) reviews coming later this week or early next week so stay tuned!

Sep 18 2012

Swordfish Involtini, Salmorigilio sauce and Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Well. This batch of recipes takes the cake. Featured last Sunday in our weekly column for The Sunday Times. (September 16th 2012).

The Swordfish and sauce combined will have you licking your lips for days after you’ve eaten your supper and the Pecan Pie Cheesecake pictured below … well, we should let the photo do the talking on this one, no? Have a bite.



Thanks for reading WiseWords. I hope you enjoy the recipes!


Click here

Sep 16 2012

Does Bacon make you happy?

Posted by     36 Comments    in Kitchen


Where, oh where, did the time go?

We moved back home to Galway 4 years ago. After having spent 15 years in America (Cincinnati, Ohio) then one very educational year in Zurich, Switzerland, we touched down on Irish soil on August 2008 with little or no expectations; all we knew is that it would be raining.

We trundled back into the town of Galway and made ourselves quite at home. The first year was absolute hell. The Chef kept pining for, and not finding, every kind of American ingredient a chef could think of. He kept comparing the price of this in euros to the price of that in dollars. After one or two ‘come to Jesus meetings’ with him he finally got with the program and realised we were not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

Baking bliss followed with his job at Mortons of Salthill where he got his daily baking groove on after having had an almost two year career break.

I asked him a few weeks ago if he missed his old life still and how does he feel about living in Galway now.

And true to fashion, him being a Chef and all, his answer will not surprise.

‘Bacon. I miss bacon. Oh and our friends too. I really miss our friends.’

I had planned on writing about the hardship of moving from the US to Switzerland to Ireland all with two wains under the age of 4 (at the time) but who needs to read that drivel when we (apparently) have a crises on our hands.


I remained calm and then flew out the door with my wallet determined to fix this issue, feeling confident that we have enough rashers of bacon in Ireland to beat the band, so surely ONE of them will sate him, right?

(NB: Expert bloggers state that 200 words per blog post is the PERFECT amount of words otherwise you run the risk of loosing the readers interest. I am already at 325 so feel free to tune out and let the pictures tell the story from here on…be in Sun-daze-haze if you will).


Good honest Irish bacon


There are waaaaaaaay too many Irish bacon products on the market. Between the fat salty rashers or the thick cut smoked streaky …  it took us weeks to work our way through them all. We opted for smoked streaky rashers because that is what he would always have eaten, and cooked with, in the US.

These Irish ones (above) were a bit too thick.

Spanish Bacon


The Spanish ones sizzled and spat and curled in the pan and had a distinct smoked almost proscuitto-like taste to them.

Tesco’s smoked streaky rashers


The old reliables from Tesco where just that. Not too salty, not to fatty, not to controversial at all.

If you are aghast to discover that we (a) shop at Tesco and (b) eat bacon from an unknown source ………then here is another shocker.

Occasionally, we have been known to take the kids to McDonalds. Now.You.Know.

Aaaaaaaannnnndddd …. back to Bacon.

Fearing that I might never get him to stop pining for his bacon back home I took matters into my own hands and made him pick one. Pick a bacon that comes closest to the bacon he misses from back home and be done with the pining.

Spain won folks. Hands down.

So, if y’all are looking for an ‘American style bacon’ this Spanish one (Campofrío) is available at all the grocery stores now (even Centra and Supervalue etc.). Incidentally … and this is the kicker guys. The Spanish bacon is actually owned by Oscar Mayer …. so it seems ladies and gentlemen, we can now get ‘American’ bacon in Ireland. Happiness is……..Bacon.

So whaddya do when you have all that bacon laying around and all these gorgeous tomatoes?

BLT time!

Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato … on toasted sesame bread with a bit of mayonnaise

So it seems that aside from having magic powers when it comes to curing a hangover, finding the right bacon can also keep a homesick Chef happy.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,



Disclosure : We still support farmers markets despite a massive infection I still have  from a spider bite last weekend, and we still – 95% of the time – only eat meat from a very local and reliable source. So no need to get your heckles up and start finger pointing now ….


Sep 14 2012

Turkey Burger, Spinach Pesto and Blackberry Buttermilk buns

Hello fellow food lovers …

This week in The Sunday Times we share a small twist on a family favourite supper with our spicy Turkey burger recipe and if you have a huge amount of perpetual spinach overtaking your garden, like we do, then why not make a quick batch of spinach pesto and freeze it for the cooler months.

Now, if you have not been out picking Blackberries yet, ’tis time to get your bucket and pick some. Maybe its the rain (??) but this year the Blackberries are as sweet as can be and plentiful too!

Thanks for reading.



Click for recipes

Sep 12 2012

Useless Photos

Posted by     12 Comments    in The Snug

Oysters in the evening sun

Sometimes I go through a folder on my desktop called ‘useless photos’ and wonder why they never made the final cut. Do you have thousands of photos stashed on your memory cards and hard drives? Photos that might tell a story if you let them out for a spell?

The above photo has too much sunshine. The sun ruined the shot but also made it one of my favourites. Incidentally, the Galway Oyster Festival is just around the corner. Running from Friday September 28th – Sunday September 30th 2012. That is also our anniversary weekend. Anyone coming to town for the festivities? Let me know!


For poaching your chicken you will need …

This photo fell out of focus most likely because the ingredients were being swiped out from under my nose as the Chef was making a poached chicken for the kids lunches.


NOW LOOK ——————–> —————————– > ————————— > ————————– >>>>>

Our blog has been SHORTLISTED (in three categories!) for the Blog Awards Ireland. If I seem excited about this it is because I AM excited about this. If you are a blogger, or if you just enjoy reading blogs then come along to the Blog Awards Ireland event on Saturday October 13th, 2012 at The Osprey Hotel in Naas, County Kildare. This is sure to be a very exciting night!


Best chicken ever

For the perfectly poached chicken you will need 1 whole chicken, 1 kg tomatoes, 2 whole oranges (cut in half but not peeled), 1 whole bulb of garlic (cut in half unpeeled), 2 onions )peeled and halved), 2 tsp mexican oregano, 1/2 bunch coriander, 1 Tbsp achiote paste, 120 ml/ half cup of Aaspall cyder vinegar, salt, pepper and enough water to almost cover the bird. Put all ingredients in to a large pot with a lid and let it simmer on the stove for two hours. The original recipe comes from something Lily (A Mexican Cook in Ireland) cooked for us last year. She made a dish called Cochinita Pibil which I think is traditionally made with pork. This works well with all cuts of meat, we have discovered.



Another photo that will never end up saying much. The Chef has been working on a recipe for parmesan buttermilk breadsticks. I like them, the kids love them and he thinks they need work. Either way, these puppies are toast!

Winky Dink

The jury is still out on this one. The dessert is great but the kids took the photograph so I am not sure if I am going to keep it for the second book or reshoot it. A reshoot means a re-bake. Who’s in for a Winky Dink? (This is the REAL name of this dessert!)

Trout Dijon

I just noticed I have a few ‘bad trout’ photos. This is one of my favourite dinners. Trout, mustard, breadcrumbs. It is so easy to make yet always looks a little ‘flat’. I will make Trout’ our new subject to study, shoot and, er, eat.

And last but not least ….. another photo that most likely will never amount to much …..

Me in the mirror

I am not sure why this ended up in the ‘bin’. I actually like this shot. It was taken at Lisloughrey Lodge earlier this summer.

If you are thinking you might need a little night away without the kids later in the year, this is the place for you. Especially if you book in for  Friday November 2nd 2012. There is a special event taking place with Food & Wine magazine. Sure to be a hoot!

Book now – you know you will need that break!

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,


OH – wait ….buy  The Sunday Times on September 16th 2012.We have a recipe in it for a Pecan Pie Cheesecake.

You know you want some.

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Sep 12 2012

Vegetarian lasagna, Fantastic Focaccia and a meatball sandwich

How can you go wrong with this weeks recipes from The Sunday Times?

Catering to the vegetarians in your life and also the meat lovers, all these recipes are plate lickers.



Almost all caught up now on the back log of our weekly contributions to The Sunday Times. This is from September 2nd, 2012.

Thanks for reading along and emailing me looking for the recipes! It was the kick in the butt I needed to get the posts finished and uploaded.


Click for recipes
Sep 11 2012

Salad Nicoise, Fish brochettes with black bean paste and house salad dressing


HELLO – - just catching up on all our Sunday Times column recipes from the last few weeks so you will see a few more posts this week. Sorry for loading up your inboxes … you can always go back later and click on The Sunday Times tab for the stories and recipes and thanks for all the feedback! Keep it coming please.


So … and because we are almost done with summer here in Galway, these Fish Brochettes might have to wait for an Indian summer weekend or even early next spring. The recipes for the black bean paste and house dressing though are to be used year round so have a quick look and remember they will always be right here under The Sunday Times tab on the blog if you need a bit of encouraging.

This is the longer and unedited version of our weekly contribution to The Sunday Times (August 26th 2012).

Thanks for reading,




Click for recipes

Sep 9 2012

Blue cheese salad dressing, Cobb Salad, no bake blueberry pie (The Sunday Times. August 19th 2012)

Hello there,

When you have time, sit and scroll down to the no bake Blueberry pie. This.Is.The.Bomb.

Worth cutting out and keeping it stuck to the fridge in my opinion!

The recipe for the Blue Cheese dressing is the one and same of what we used to serve at BrewWorks, The Iron Horse Inn and Rondos. Lap it up! And if you have never had (or made) a Cobb salad – now is the time to try it!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the recipes.


Click here for recipes

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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