tips, tipples & table talk – Week 17

This week’s tips, tipples & table talk  is all about the beautiful Burren. We fill you in on our 15th year anniversary trip to our family farm and let you almost imagine it, as if you were there, and could feel the country air. We also infuse Moroccan and Burren cuisine with a gorgeous lamb tagine recipe, perfect for these Autumn months and we discuss some wine phrases in an ely urban dictionary’d language you can understand.

Enjoy!

Tipple Tip(s) of the Week: Wine Phrases Without the Pretension

Have you ever had somebody describe wine and find yourself nodding along without a clue? More often than not, these terms means something very simple and we’ve picked a few of the ones that some people struggle with, in a language you can understand. There are wine bores, there are wine snobs and there are those – like you and I – that just like wine.Big tasting

  • Austere

They say: Wines that are austere are generally not terribly pleasant wines to drink. An austere wine is a hard, rather dry wine that lacks richness.

We say: An austere wine is not necessarily a negative one. This would be that seemingly stern and formal gent you get seated next to at a dinner party. The quiet type, but as the evening goes on, you start to realise that there’s a lot more to them and certainly, they’re more fun the more you get to know them. 

  • Barnyard

They say: An unclean, farmyard, fecal aroma that is imparted to a wine because of unclean barrels or unsanitary wine-making facilities.

We say: Well that sounds horrible! Old Burgundys and sometimes, old Rhones, can take on aromas that you might find in, say, a “recently” cleaned stable or perhaps by the carriages around Stephen’s Green. Thankfully this is a great example of how wines don’t always taste like they smell.

  • Bouquet:

They say: As a wine’s aroma becomes more developed from bottle aging, the aroma is transformed into a bouquet that is more than just the smell of the grape.

We say: Really… just a poncey word to describe the scent of a wine.

  • Tannic:

They say: The tannins of a wine, which are extracted from the grape skins and stems, are, along with a wine’s acidity and alcohol, its lifeline. Tannins give a wine firmness and some roughness when young, but gradually fall away and dissipate.

We say: Tannins are what give red wine its colour and dries out your mouth.. A tannic wine is also what’ll what give you away the morning after, with your black teeth and stained lips! 

  • Hot:

They say: Wines with alcohol levels in excess of 14.5% often taste hot if the requisite depth of fruit is not present.

We say: Feeling a little merrier than you expected you might at 6pm? A hot wine describes nothing to do with the temperature of the wine, but suggests that the alcohol levels in the wine are too high (yes, there is such a thing!).

  • Lush:

They say: Lush wines are soft, richly fruity wines that are both concentrated and fat. A lush wine can never be an astringent or hard wine.

We say: Not just a brand of natural cosmetics or  what a young British bloke might holler at a particularly good looking lady, a lush wine is rich, smooth, full, fruity, velvety. Highly desirable, a lush wine is basically the Jessica Rabbit of wines.

Learn more about wine at our BIGGEST wine tasting event of the year, ely’s Big Tasting on Friday 10th October, 2014 at ely bar & brasserie, IFSC.

the BIG tasting September 2011


Taste Tip of the Week: “Craggy Island” Lamb Tagine

There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but once you put a little bit of love into it, it’s really worth the effort. A Burren-Moroccan fusion dish and a nice alternative to the traditional Irish Stew.

What you need:

  • 800g–1kg lean lamb shoulder, diced (at ely, we use organic “Craggy Island” lamb)
  • plain flour, to coat lamb
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 each red and yellow peppers, diced
  • 2 large or 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme, 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 small, red chilli, dried or fresh
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10g fresh ginger, peeled and grated, or ½ tsp ground
  • 20g dried ground cumin
  • 100ml honey
  • 800g tinned chopped tomatoes or passata, or enough to submerge all ingredients
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 courgette

Serves 6

Lamb Tagine Collage

How we do it:

  • Lightly coat the lamb in flour and brown in a little oil on a hot pan. You will need to do this in batches. Set aside and remove any excess fat.
  • In one large frying pan (or two, if necessary), fry the onion, peppers, carrots and garlic in some olive oil until they are soft.
  • Add the lamb, bay leaves and fresh herbs.
  • Now add the chilli, cinnamon sticks, ginger and cumin. Stir well to coat the lamb and vegetables.
  • Drizzle the honey over the lamb, then pour in the tomatoes or passata. Stir well.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
  • Slowly reheat the tagine when you are ready to serve.
  • Chop the aubergine and courgette into large chunks, fry in some olive oil and add to the tagine. Doing this last prevents the aubergine
    and courgette from being discoloured by the sauce.
  • Serve with couscous (see note for the cook).

A note for the cook:

  • This delicious lamb tagine tastes even better the day after cooking, when the flavours have had a chance to blend and settle.
  • It’s best served with couscous. Rub oil into the couscous (before cooking) to prevent it sticking together.
  • Mix equal quantities of hot stock and couscous, cover with cling film and leave for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the cling film and run a fork through the couscous to separate.
  • Season, add some fresh mint, and serve.

Enjoy grass fed, organic “Craggy Island” lamb, sourced through our family farm in the Burren, Co. Clare at ely wine bar, 22 Ely Place.

craggy island lamb


Table Talk of the Week: ely’s Farm Trip to the Burren, Co. Clare 

On Tuesday 23rd September, to kick off ely’s 15th year celebrations, a gang of us slipped on our wellies, tucked our ponchos into our bags and headed out for a fun filled and insightful trip to the ely organic family farm in the Burren, Co. Clare.

The day started bright and early at 8am with the warming scent of homemade sausage rolls and brownies laid out for breakfast at ely bar & brasserie, IFSC. Fed, watered and one chorus of Irish mammy style “make sure you go to the restroom before we leave” later and we were off on the 3 hour luxury coach to Clare.

Our first stop found us outside of the coach and inside our TV boxes, at “Craggy Island Parochial House”. Father Ted’s house, the McCormacks’ organic farm, is where all of ely’s delicious organic lamb is reared. Cheryl McCormack, the lovely lady of the house, treated the gang to scrumptious home baking using only organic ingredients; scones, brown bread, home made jams made from their own fruit, organic tea and coffee, served in a welcoming home atmosphere. Patrick McCormack, the first speaker of the day, so eloquently recited the poem Lost” and discussed the simplicity and passion of a simple Burren farm life along with a much needed reminder, to always try to take a little “Burren time” for ourselves, in our fast paced and busy lives.

“Stand still. Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you. Are not lost.” – David Wagoner

Outside Father Ted's

The beauty of farming in the Burren, Co. Clare lies in the fact that it has been farmed in the same fashion for 6,000 – 7,000 years. We then visited a site, which to the naked eye might have just seemed like grass, rock and shrubbery, but which was in fact the home to rare and unique Burren flora and fauna. Paula and Sharon from the Burren Life Project spoke to the group about the importance of Burren landscape preservation, the difficulties that organic Burren farming faces and the strict grazing methods being used to counteract these difficulties.

Group at Burren Life Project

Following this, in true Irish fashion, the clouds began to darken and the drizzle appeared. With a few rumbling tummies and rain jackets zipped up to the neck, we hopped back in to the coach and headed off to the home of Hugh and Isobel Robson, the organic ely family farm, for a much anticipated farm lunch.

Having worked up an appetite, we were in for a treat. What awaited us was a feast of Burren produce featuring organic Burren beef tongue with black truffles, organic porchetta rolled in local Burren herbs and succulent organic Burren rib, all from the ely family farm. We also enjoyed nori, dillisk and kombu smoked organic salmon from the Burren Smokehouse and homemade MOPE (Most Oppressed People Ever) potato cakes from the Burren Spud Project, all accompanied with salads, quiche, artisan Burren cheeses, ely’s homemade Guinness bread and 7-day pickled eggs. Deirdre from the Burren Spud project spoke about the importance of the humble potato in the global food crisis while Birgitta from the Burren Smokehouse spoke about combining her love of the west of Ireland with her passion for organic smoked salmon.

All of this wonderful food for thought was washed down with Irish craft beers such as Orpens Irish Cider, O’ Haras Curim Gold and Trouble Brewing’s Sabotage IPA and enjoyed with wine favourites such as Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage Blanc and Thalran Syrah Castell d’Encus.

Farm Dinner

A tour and insight into the organic ely family farm from Hugh Robson finished off nicely, what was an extremely special day out for us in the Burren, Co. Clare. We, at ely, were extremely privileged to share with our guests, the passion that our Burren community, friends and family feel about all of the different work that they are engaged in.

To experience ely’s organic family farm in The Burren, Co. Clare, without having to leave Dublin, visit any of our 3 ely venues. 

horses and cattle on the ely family farm

2 Responses to tips, tipples & table talk – Week 17

  1. What a great tagine recipe!

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