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!
#ely15years

 

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!

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

%d bloggers like this: