At Ballymaloe Cookery School we place great emphasis on our carefully selected network of local, national and international suppliers with whom we are proud to work. Our fundamental principle is to buy locally what we cannot produce ourselves here at the cookery school. What we cannot source in the Cork area, we seek from a wider network of Irish suppliers, and for those ingredients which cannot be found here in Ireland we import from all over the world, ensuring that our 12 Week Certificate students have the finest and most diverse range of ingredients with which to cook.
Recently, Avril Allshire of Rosscarbery Recipes dropped in to The Farm Shop with a delivery of her wonderful free-range pork products which we love! Darina managed to talk her into staying for some lunch which was just being dished up by the current 12 Week Certificate students, and we had some time to chat to Avril about how her business is going and, in particular, about her latest recipe for Black Pudding Swirls which has garnered yet another award for Rosscarbery Recipes!
Avril and Willie Allshire and their two sons are a family-run enterprise based in Rosscarbery, West Cork. A meeting of minds when it came to food, Avril and Willie always wanted to run their own business, and in 1999 they took over the local Rosscarbery Recipes sausage business and have since turned it into a multi-award winning operation. Speaking to Avril, what shines through is that, despite the inevitable challenges they face as artisan food producers, the thrills make it all worthwhile. "We are absolutely passionate about what we do. We are uncompromising in producing the highest quality products, and I am just continually inspired to come up with new and exciting recipes and flavours. I love writing our blog!" Their business philosophy is simple - attention to detail.
How do they ensure the highest quality in what they do? There is a member of the family on-site to oversee production at all times. "This enables us to guarantee our customers that our commitment to excellence is unwaivering".
Their now famous Rosscarbery Black Pudding is a fine example of that philosophy in action. "Willie spent 15 months trialing and testing the product until he was finally satisfied that he had something extra-special." That dedication earned them a Gold Medal at La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Goute-Boudin (Europe's largest black pudding competition) in March 2007 - the first of its kind to be awarded to an Irish producer. They have been regular Gold and Silver Medal winners at the U.K. Great Taste Awards and Blas na hEireann, as well as enjoying continued accolades from La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Goute-Boudin.
Avril herself, a recent finalist in the Cono Sur Food Blogger Awards, is delighted to share her recipe for Black Pudding Swirls. They make a delicious starter on a bed of fresh salad leaves with a simple honey & mustard dressing . One of her customers makes them for children's lunchboxes, while another loves to serve with them with a soft boiled egg.
1 Rosscarbery Recipes Black Pudding
1 pack of Field's Puff Pastry
1 large egg
Rosscarbery Gluten-Free Casserole
Avril is actively involved with the Coeliac Society of Ireland and recently developed a gluten-free recipe for the Coeliac Information Evening held at her local Supervalu Branch in Skibereen. She describes the dish she cooked for us:
"It was a simple but relatively luxurious casserole which could be served with potatoes, rice or pasta for a family gathering. For this dish, I put about one dessertspoon of oil in a large pot and tossed in all the chopped veg (carrots, onions, 1 clove of garlic, celery and peppers) along with some chopped Rosscarbery Recipes Smoked Rashers. I stirred them about to coat them with the oil and then covered the pot to allow the vegetables to sweat and cook over a low heat. Meanwhile, in a seperate pan, I cooked the Rosscarbery Recipes Gluten-Free Sausages in just a small drop of oil. Some of the onlookers at the event were amazed that our sausages didn't shrink or leave any fat in the pan. When they were brown all over, I removed them from the heat. At this stage, my veg were also cooked, so I added the sausages to the veg along with Clona Cream, seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I allowed all the ingredients to cook together for a few minutes until the cream began to thicken. Then, it was ready to serve. This casserole is so easy to make and would be a great quick and easy meal for students."
Of Note to Coeliacs: Gluten-Free Cooking with Rosemary Kearney at Ballymaloe Cookery School on Saturday 4th October 2-5:30pm