The 15 Series, Week 1: 15 Essential Autumn Foods

ely restaurants celebrates its 15th birthday this year and each week, The 15 Series brings you 15 tips on topics such as food, wine, culture, lifestyle, craft beer and more!
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15 Essential Autumn Foods You Should Enjoy

As the days slowly shorten and the sun plays harder to get, our appetites begin to change, too. Where just weeks before, it seemed natural to toss a salad together on a whim, now our thoughts turn to a bowl of soup, or a comforting casserole. Here are our tips on some of the foods you should be making the most of this autumn.

1. Pump Up The Jam
Photo credit: http://www.flynnsfreshveg.com

Get to a hedge and grab a handful because this time of the year is the best for blackberry picking! Their warming sweet taste can be enjoyed well into the winter months by making jams, chutneys, freezing for later use as youghurt and dessert toppings and work beautifully in berry mojitos and martinis.

2. An Apple A Day

Apples ripen anytime between the end of august and October. Commonly used this time of the year in pies and purées, you’ll also meet many of these cider apples when they leave the orchard and end up on your bar table in bottle form.

3. Crave and Carve
rtepumpkin

Photo credit: http://www.rte.ie

 Not quite there with the scale of obsession that the USA have with pumpkin flavoured everything this time of the year but nonetheless, we’ve embraced their ever popular pumpkin spice lattes with open arms. These colder days cry out for a bowl of hearty pumpkin soup and a wee sprinkle of cinnamon and ginger really enhances the taste.

4.  What A Pear

Now, poached pears may remind you of your granny but the juiciest of pears are plentiful and seriously tasty at this time of the year. Moving away from the citrus and tropical fruits of summer, poached pears with blue cheese or sliced pear with walnuts make a great addition to any salad.

5. Seasonal Seafood
ely hq halibut&beetroot gratin

Photo credit: ely restaurants

 Halibut is native to Irish waters and comes into season this time of the year. Its mildly sweet meat is delicious but dries out and cooks very quickly. Season the fish after it’s cooked as if you do so before seasoning, it’ll dry out. Lightly drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over fish and roasted autumn veg.

6. An Alternative Root

Many of us are familiar with beetroot, enjoying it pickled, raw, roasted and in soups, but did you know that the leaves are edible too? Extremely good for you, why not think about adding these to omelettes, salads and juices like you would with spinach or kale?

7.  Not So Offal 
ely kidney&mushroom pie

Photo credit: ely restaurants

Offal is a much misrepresented ingredient. Whether it’s lamb sweetbreads, oxtail soup or a wonderfully assembled in a rich sauce with wild mushrooms and flaky pastry (a la kidney and mushroom pie) there’s a, not so, offal dish for everyone to enjoy this season.

8.  Go Green

Photo credit: ely restaurants

This time of the year, you might be surprised to come across some green tomatoes, but don’t be alarmed! These last late ripening tomatoes left on the vine can still be enjoyed. The most common and delicious way is frying them up but these little green guys can also be used in salsas, relishes, chutneys and soups.

9.  Figuring It Out
Figs 367098

Photo credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk

The sweet honey taste of this fruit makes it a wonderful and popular pairing with pork and cured meats. Figs also work beautifully with rich desserts, fuller salads ans warm aromatic spices.

10. Not Just For Rainy Days And Tuesdays
ely pancakes

Photo credit: ely restaurants

Now, hear us out. Not necessarily an Autumn staple, and some of you may have over indulged on Pancake Tuesday (enough to have had your fill for one year) but the mouthwatering taste of maple syrup really does slide into our minds and our mouths with the change of the season.

11. Sweet Spuds

In the land of the traditional Irish potato, it’s hard to see how any other spud could ever make its way into our hearts. However, this creamy and sweet, healthier alternative is now featured almost everywhere. If you ever hear our friends from across the Atlantic calling out for “Yams” around Thanksgiving, these are those!

12. Toasty Nuts

Toasted, roasted and quickly devoured. Autumn’s hazelnuts add indulgence to any chocolate dessert but we’re also guilty of packing some into a sandwich bag for snacking on the go!

13.  Goldilocks And The Three Bears
rhubarb fool - ely

Photo credit: ely restaurants

Summer (at times) may have seemed too hot. Winter (most times!) can seem too cold. Many agree that the Autumn temperature in Ireland is just right. Light breakfast snacks give way to the blonde and her bears’ favourite dish. There’s nothing quite like the warm familiar taste and smell of porridge in the mornings.

14. Ireland’s Famous Fungi

And no, we’re not talking about the famous fun loving Dolphin, we sense that the Kingdom might not be too pleased about that! Autumn in Ireland brings foragers from all over Europe to try their hand at finding some of the season’s delicious and gourmet wild mushrooms. Be careful though, always go with a guide and if you do decide to go out to the woods today, you may be in for a surprise. Some poisonous species may just be mistaken for edible delights.

15. Cheater’s Cuppa
tea poster A3 final

Photo credit: ely restaurants

If we’re being smart about it then technically tea (leaf) is actually is a food. However, we’re know we’re cheating slightly with this last one. Iced coffees, smoothies and juices from summer just cannot compare to this nice warm, put-your-feet-up-after-a-long-cold-autumn’s-day delight. In fact, we’ve just popped the kettle on as we type this!

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tips, tipples & table talk – Week 16

Slight warning folks, our dessert recipe in this week’s tips, tipples & table talk is sure to have your mouth watering so reader discretion (during work hours or you know, on a public bus…) is advised! We’ve also got some Bavarian beverages you might like to enjoy during Oktoberfest Dublin and we discuss what makes farming in the Burren, Co. Clare so very special.

Enjoy!

Tipple Tip(s) of the Week: Oktoberfest Dublin

In excitement of Oktoberfest arriving to George’s Dock (Dublin 1) this Thursday 18th, we’re getting our Bavarian dirndl dress and lederhosen together, and planning which German tipples we’ll be enjoying this week (and no, not all at the same time).

Oktoberfest-Dublin

  1. Erdinger Weissbier – From one of the world’s largest wheat beer breweries and the official sponsor of this year’s Oktoberfest Dublin, is one of the most famous weissbiers. While it is fruity, what we enjoy is that it isn’t too sweet either. Light and easily drinkable, this is a great thirst quenching beer.
  2. Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier – A well balanced wheat beer, you can certainly taste the yeast and banana, without it being too overpowering. Quite sweet which compliments the light bitterness, this medium bodied Weizen is fresh and flavoursome.
  3. Krombacher Pils This German Pilsner has nearly an all grain flavour with a minimal hop taste. This is a crisp and light bodied beer, best enjoyed on a warmer Autumn’s day. Brewed with natural spring water, this provides its refreshing taste.
  4. Wagner Stempel Spätburgunder – A German Pinot Noir, from the Wagner-Stempel winery encapsulates all that is great about Pinot as a variety, and Germany as a wine producer. This softly perfumed wine is delicate but beautifully flavoured, with raspberry, cherry and redcurrant flavours.

Pop in and enjoy ely bar & brasserie, IFSC, Dublin 1, when visiting Oktoberfest Dublin.

Oktoberfest Dublin Tipples

Taste Tip of the Week: Jamaican Coffee Pecan Brownies

As the days get cooler, we step away from lighter desserts and enjoy heartwarming indulgent classics. These gorgeous brownies are heavenly served with ice-cream and also ideal for storing as treats for your coffee break – if you can resist them for that long!

jamaican brownie collage

What you need:

  • 400g caster sugar
  • 375g unsalted butter
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp finely ground Jamaican blue mountain (or your favourite) coffee beans
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g pecan halves
  • 6 tbsp freshly brewed Jamaican coffee
  • 100g dark chocolate,
  • 70% cocoa solids, chopped (Valrhona is ideal)
  • 30 thin strips crystallised ginger, or candied orange peel
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Makes 15

How we do it:

  • Line a baking tray, measuring approx 38 x 26cm, with greaseproof paper, or lightly grease a glass ovenproof dish. A lasagne dish is ideal. The tray or dish should be 2cm minimum in depth.
  • Combine the sugar, butter, cocoa, ground coffee and salt in a metal or heatproof bowl.
  • Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and leave until the butter melts, stirring occasionally to help blend the ingredients – the texture will be grainy.
  • Remove the bowl from the water and allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm.
  • Whisk in the eggs and vanilla
  • Sieve the flour over and fold in.
  • Take three-quarters of the pecan halves and roll up inside a clean tea towel. Bash lightly with a rolling pin to break up. Stir the pieces into the mix.
  • Pour the freshly brewed coffee over the mixture with the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared dish or tray and spread evenly.
  • Allow to cool and thicken for approximately 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the brownies comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and cut into squares.

Dress the brownies with the reserved pecans and ginger or candied orange peel. Dust with icing sugar. Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream.

Or, let us do the work for you! Homemade desserts by ely’s executive pastry chef available at ely wine bar, 22 Ely Place.

Pecan Jamaican Coffee Brownies

Table Talk of the Week: What Makes Farming in The Burren So Special?

For those of you who aren’t aware, the ely organic family farm is located in the Burren, Co. Clare (refresher here). Often people have asked us why we have chosen to keep our farm there and what makes farming in the Burren so special.

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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. This way of farming, where your animals are up on the hills in the winter months, is unique only to the Burren, Co. Clare. Due to its limestone structure, the Burren landscape acts almost as a storage heater. The land receives heat from the Atlantic drift in the summer and it stores that heat for the winter as the soil depths are so shallow. Gentle heat releases from the limestone all winter making for very little frost, and allowing the animals to be happier and warmer on the hill (also called the winterage) than in the valley. The animals then come down to the valley for the spring and summer months.

Burren Farmland.

Also unique to the Burren is the way in which land is distributed. Land in The Burren is sold, not by the area, but by the numbers of animals you keep or feed. Summer land is matched with the winter land and you always have enough winter land to maintain the animals you keep on the summer land. Many of the cattle farmers in the Burren might produce calves in the spring, feed them on the rich pastures of the valley in the summer, sell the calves in the autumn and put the cattle back up on the winterage in the winter.

Life in the Burren always works as a balance.

We source all of our grass fed beef, pork and lamb through our organic family farm in The Burren, Co. Clare. 

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Wine Course in Dublin September 2011

Our Spring Wine Appreciation Course has now finished and there’s a troop of ely tasters who have newly acquired tasting skills that they want to put into practice.  What they truly enjoyed was moving away from their default wine like Rioja or Sauvignon Blanc and having the confidence to  explore the many varieties and styles available are on the market.

Throughout the course we tasted over 40 different wines ranging in price from €15-€45 RRP from all corners of the globe. We serve supper as part of the course, and always explore how the individual wines match the dishes each week to build up some first hand experience of food and wine matching.

We are taking a break for the summer and will start again in September. Please visit our website for more information and to book your place or you can email us on wineclub@elywinebar.com.

Customer reviews of the ely winebar appreciation course

I wanted to say thanks for a fantastic wine course.
The pace, content and atmosphere were all excellent.  You presented great information in a relaxed accessible way – a real pleasure.  I miss it on a Tuesday now! As my wife is from France, we typically stick to French wine bringing lots of French wine home from France.  So it was great to learn about good wines from elsewhere.
Enda McDonnell

I have been looking for some time to join a wine tasting course, something enjoyable and not exam focussed for an after-work evening…… From the outset, our host, Michelle Lawlor of Ely made a special effort to welcome the group and encourage suggestions and feedback on the various wines tasted over each night. At a minimum, we sampled 6 wines from various regions and different grape varieties per night. Michelle ensured to introduce us to wines which were not only good value but were something different and out of the ordinary selection that one might be inclined to choose or pick up in the local supermarket.
Ely’s wine tasting programme was exceptional, delivered on variety and extremely good value. Supper was provided and we were all very well catered for, including those of us who were vegetarian. We were introduced to many different wines and regions and I have come along way from my narrow selection of a Chablis, Sancerre or Rioja. Very enjoyable course and congrats to our host Michelle who really made a huge effort to welcome us and educate us on the various wines together with some great stories along the way. A great social event with a good mix of characters, we geled well together and can’t wait to sign up for the next course. Thoroughly recommend!!
Dee McManus

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