Inca berries #12 feet challenge

Note the #12feetchallenge is described at the bottom of this post but it is related to the words in between.

Last year I made a Film with Kevin Ahern of Sage restaurant about his 12 mile ethos and we called the short film 12 MILE  of course. If you haven`t seen it you will find it here.

I was so inspired by this notion of sourcing local food I decided to take it a little further and to grow some food myself this year. Kevin jokingly referred to it as my  #12 feet menu. I grew a number of herbs and root veg but my main aim with my plants were to grow things that suited my lifestyle and our climate. Namely I don`t have much time on my hands for gardening or maintenance of the garden, so the main criteria was that the plants I grew must

1) Grow easily

2) Not require looking after (maintenance)

3) Grows in our climate, does not require a polytunnel or greenhouse. (My climate is a southern Irish county close to the gulf stream, Cork).

Seven things I can recommend from my experimental growing are the following

1) Inca Berries pictured above are from the Andes mountains so our colder climate does suit them. I started them indoors from seed and then planted the young plants out late spring and they needed absolutely no looking after plus they did crop some lovely golden berries. It also did not get attacked by any pests and did not need any organic pest repellents.The Incaberry is a small fruit with a glossy orange-yellow skin that is surrounded by papery leaves. Once the fruit is dried it has a distinctive bronze orange colour. Incaberries are an amazing taste sensation – sweet with a fine and delicate sour finish. The taste is so unique, you just have to try them. It may look exotic but it is top of my list of must grow fruits for Ireland.

2) New Zealand spinach, this is a spinach variety from New Zealand funnily enough, was first mentioned by Captain Cook. It was immediately picked, cooked, and pickled to help fight scurvy, and taken with the crew of the Endeavour. This is again a plant that thrives in Ireland, it needs no looking after once planted out after raising from seed It is a prolific producer of tasty leaves and it has no pests in this country so again I didn’t have to use any of my garlic and chilli spray to protect it. See my recipe inspired by my 12 feet home grown New Zealand spinach here

3) Courgettes: A prolific producer, courgette plants are a definite in my garden again next year, courgettes need very little looking after, I did use my garlic spray to combat the mildew common to courgette but mildew or not the plants kept producing courgettes regularly for quite a few months.

4) Mint: Mint is obviously a herb but it grows easy like a weed requiring no looking after, a real no brainer garden plant that is infinitely useful in the kitchen.

5) Nastursiums: These again originate from the Andes mountains and they are just a magical gift to any garden, not only are they edible top to toe you can ,make a caper substitute from the seeds see my pickled nastursium seed jar in the photo. But they grow so so easily and they look great. Why I ever grew a lawn of grass before and not nastursiums I`ll never understand.

6) Tomatillos: These womderful green globes are a great alternative to tomatoes as they are a lot easier to grow. Lets face it tomatoes are a lot of bother. Tomatillos again come from yes you have guessed it, the Andes mountains and are suited to our colder climate. Very similar to the inca berries but not as sweet, more a cross between a lime and a tomatoe, the tomatillo is used extensively in south American/Mexican cooking. I managed to grow these outside however they did need started out in a makeshift green house (made of plastic). Slugs unfortunately prefer these plants to regular tomatoes for some reason so these are the only ones you will need to watch for protection from slugs. Overall however I pretty much left them to their own devices until I poisoned my plant by getting greedy and pouring on undiluted seaweed fertiliser which ended up killing the plant. I got the dwarf variety originally but brown envelope seeds stock the giant variety which I will grow in 2016.


7) Calendula or Marigold: These wonderful plants just grow, and provide an abundance of colourful very tasty edible flowers. There are hundreds of reasons to grow them from a medicinal point of view. However they also are useful in your fight against pests. If you plant  calendula near your other plants/veg most insects avoid the plants, which is in keeping with one of its old uses as the basis for insect sprays. I used a mixture of garlic, chillis and calendula boiled in water as a homegrown pest repellent.


This year I aim to experiment more with organic seeds we all can aquire from Madeleine McKeever at

And Hans & Gaby Weiland at the Organic Centre Leitrim

Madeleine is selling some great Christmas presents in the form of beautiful box sets of seeds such as “Kitchen Garden” “Baby’s first dinner” and more.

I can also recommend the Irish seed savers if you are thinking of buying garlic its where I bought my garlic to plant this year and they offer a very prompt delivery service.

Finally I would like to invite any bloggers, growers, chefs or  anyone really around the country (or elsewhere for that matter)   to partake in the #12 feet project/challenge this coming year 2016

the aim/rules of the #12feetchallenge is to

  1. Grow all or some of the 7 plants described in and around 12 feet from your house, restaurant, polytunnels, workplace etc.
  2. Then create a dish/dishes using one or more of the vegetables, as you prefer. Chefs please be creative.
  3. Please  share the pics of your plants and dishes on facebook, twitter.
  4. If you are a chef in Ireland and take on the challenge I will photograph the best/innovative  dishes and put it into a book and I will make a short film about it if a number of you take part.
  5. If you are a food blogger please blog about your journey on the #12feetchallenge and share your dishes on your blog.

Where to Buy Tomatillos

Where to buy Inca berries

Where to Buy New Zealand Spinach

Where to buy Courgettes

Where to buy Nastursium

Where to buy Calendula

Please do support

when buying seeds for this challenge



please do follow us on twitter @atasteofireland


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for more content like this.

All  all video (with exception of Irish TV piece) and photographic  content (with exception of Madeleine McKeever photo) is copyright of Sean Monaghan 2015.




Celeriac-artichoke-and-salami-soup-with chickweed-a-taste-of-ireland

Celeriac-artichoke-and-salami-soup-with chickweed-a-taste-of-ireland

The markets in Ireland are our greatest blessing for access to diverse, nutritious locally produced food. This recipe uses a few ingredients I picked up this Saturday past, at the Midleton farmers market, which is in my opinion probably the best market in the country and I`ve been to a few in my time.

This is again a very seasonal root vegetable recipe that was basically inspired by the produce that was on sale at the market.



Jerusalem Artichoke

Salami Style sausage


Veg Stock

Sea Salt




Irish Rapeseed Oil

I bought the Jerusalem Artichokes from the Ballymaloe stand (they are the cleanest I`ve seen sold, plus they are large, which is a tip, because Jerusalem Artichokes are a knobbly veg and they are not the easiest to peel, that’s another tip (like a ginger root, peel the artichoke with a spoon to avoid cutting and binning a lot of it).

The Ballymaloe stand has had a gentleman there every Saturday for years apologies but I don`t remember his name (I`ll update if someone informs me.

He is now producing a beautifully presented range of cured meats and salami style sausages, the type I used to see in Heidi films as a child and always wondered how they tasted.

I bought Celeriac from the Organic stall, mainly because I was there looking for organic turmeric.

Finally although not highlighted but as a soup base I bought the most wonderful chemical free onions 5 for 1 euro from Dave Barry`s vegetable stall. I offered him 2 euro but was politely refused, what a bargain I thought dispelling the myth that produce at farmers markets is higher than necessary.

The final ingredient is cream, but this can be substituted for the great looking Ballymaloe Yogurt or if you want dairy free, try almond milk or coconut milk.

So finally why have I chosen this Celeriac, artichoke and cured sausage recipe combination.

Read on and you will find that not only is this an extremely warming and yummy combination it is packed with health benefits as the light leaves us at this time of year.

Jerusalem artichoke Belongs to the sunflower family of plants. Also known as the earth apple, sunchoke.
3 reasons to eat Jerusalem Artichoke

1) Jerusalem artichokes contain plenty of inulin, a type of prebiotic fiber which has the ability to stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria which are naturally present ‘good bacteria’ in the large intestine. These so called ‘good bacteria’ will compete with harmful bacteria in the intestines, prevent constipation, and give the immune system a boost.

2) Jerusalem artichokes are packed with B vitamins

3) Jerusalem artichokes provide even more potassium than bananas which are famous for their high potassium content
Celeriac is a vegetable that is a member of the celery family. However, only its root is used for cooking purposes. Also known as celery root and turnip rooted celery, celeriac has a taste that is similar to a blend of celery and parsley

it is a very good source of fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium besides containing vitamins B1, B2 and E.

Salami style sausage: Fermented foods are very trendy at the moment and rightly so due to their health benefits containing many vitamins but mostly because of their probiotic nature promoting good gut health. The probiotic good bacteria and enzymes in fermented foods help to populate our gut and intestines with Lactobacilli which are really important for healthy digestion.

Vegetable fermenting is most dominant, well known examples include Sauerkraut and Kimchi. I am going to talk here instead about fermented meat. Which really are in the same category as these vegetable probiotics.

If you are like me always wondered why the French and Italians are so healthy yet seem to eat vast quantities of essentially raw pork heres a few reasons why.

Fermented sausages are cured sausages. Some well known European sausages are French saucisson, Spanish chorizo, and Italian salami. These are slow-fermented sausages with nitrate addition and moderate drying temperatures

Foods with a low pH value (high acidity) develop resistance against microbiological spoilage. So like pickles and sauerkraut properly fermented meats like Salami style sausages promote gut health in much the same way.

Bacteria hate acidic foods and this fact plays an important role in the production and stabilization of fermented sausages. Ideally the pH value of meat to be used for making fermented products should be below 5.8.

Air drying is the process employed in lowering water activity (moisture removal) and has to be properly controlled. Salami is microbiologically stable when the water activity Aw is 0.89 or lower. Uniform air drying promotes proper drying and mold prevention.


Not only is chickweed a wild and really delicious plant it is packed vitamin A, B and C and traditionally has a reputation for healing skin problems. It is also known to work internally and may well  relieve the symptoms of intestinal disorders.


Fry off one onion in butter and some Irish rapeseed oil, then add chopped Jerusalem Artichoke (approx 3 to 4 big ones), half the celeriac cubed and slices of the salami. Fry this until they have all started to go soft.

Then add vegetable stock and bring to a simmer cover and simmer on a lower heat for 20 minutes (or longer if you are not as hungry as I was today).

Blitz the ingredients to a fine soup then add cream, mix and simmer with only the heat on the hob after you turn it off for a few minutes.

Now Im lucky to have chickweed growing everywhere around my house so its used as a garnish and as a herbed oil to dress the soup with a drizzle of herb infused rapeseed oil.

The Salami style sausage is also fried in rapseed oil and broken up into delicious crispy bacon bites to garnish.

Pottery used

All pottery is supplied by Midleton based ceramicist Susan Herlihy of Craft Hands pottery studio.

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All food was cooked, styled by Sean Monaghan, all video and photographic content is copyright of Sean Monaghan 2015.


A Taste of Beetroot & adsallagh Goats cheese halloween liver detox reciper

Well its almost Halloween or as we sometimes refer to it in Ireland, Samhain  (pronounced Sow-en), which is a pagan festival which dates back to the ancient Celts. Samhain, is not a celebration of a Celtic god of the dead. Instead, it is a Celtic word meaning “summer’s end.” The Celts believed that summer came to an end on October 31st and the New Year began on November 1st with the start of winter.

This description of Halloween fits perfectly with this recipe (which does not have one pumpkin in sight). What I mean by this is that as the summer ends the plants begin to put their energy into the roots and root vegetables are now in season. Beetroot a classic liver tonic and carrot a classic skin tonic are just what my body is craving as the dark nights have drawn in. This is a veggie recipe to keep myself and any carnivore content, with just veggies and cheese as a main.

This dish is an example of a meal as much inspired by the beautiful custom made blue plate (and bowls) from Ceramicist Susan Herlihy

as the vegetables themselves and is the second recipe Im posting using her pottery see previous post here


Ardsallagh Goats cheese

Organic beetroot

Organic carrots





Olive oil

Organic Balsamic vinegar

Terrys Honey

Rosemary infused sea salt

Organic Cider vinegar


For the Beetroot

Simply roast chunks of the organic or chemical free beetroot in a tray on a layer tinfoil with a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, some splashes of Greek olive oil, pinch of rosemary infused sea salt, then put another layer of tinfoil to keep in the steam and put in a pre-heated oven @ 150-200 deg C until for 30-45 mins depending on the firmness you require.

For the Carrots

Cover the carrots with a few dollops of local honey ( I use Terrys of Midleton) a few splashes of organic cider vinegar and Geek olive oil and a pinch of rosemary infused sea salt. Tinfoil as per beetroot to steam the veg and put in same oven and again cook for as long as the firmness you require.

For the Green Sauce

Blitz in a blitzer 1 whole garlic with a full supervalue pack of Irish grown parsley and 1 whole pack of Irish grown corriander (look at packet) if not available at your local farmers market.

For The Rosemary infused salt

Simply put freshly cut Rosemary into a tub of Irish sea salt and leave infuse. Use as an when required.

Plating the veg

This is such a easy dish once you have cooked the veg and made the sauce.

Simply lay out the beetroot and carrots add some Ardsallagh goats cheese, then add dollops of green sauce and finish it off with a sprinkling of Sumac (available in all Asian shops) which adds a dry citrus kick. The blue plate is not compulsory but it certainly helps with the colour balance and Susan is available for commissions or you can make your own and paint it yourself in her studio in Midleton.

please do follow us on twitter @atasteofireland 


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All food was cooked, styled by Sean Monaghan, all video and photographic content is copyright of Sean Monaghan 2015.

A Taste of Beetroot & adsallagh Goats cheese halloween liver detox reciper

Medieval Festival Jameson Centre Midleton Distillery (9/09/15)


Last night saw the official launch of the Midleton Food Festival with a medieval banquet hosted by the festivals main sponsors, the Irish Distillers at the Iconic Jameson Whiskey distillery in Midleton

Guests were treated to many fine whiskeys and talks in the beautiful Jameson conference room by local tourism and funding bodies such as Ring of Cork and SEACAD, including a roll out of a new initiative offering an alternative to the Wild Atlantic Way called the Ancient East.


After a tour of the distillery guests were treated to a fabulous medieval feast sponsored by Irish Distillers, local restaurants and suppliers.

my-little-161 my-little-162


Starter: (Raymond’s restaurant Midleton). Jameson cured salmon, fennel & watercress, smoked beetroot with horseradish crème fraiche.

Main Course: By Jameson Experience (meat supplied by O’Farrell’s butchers Midleton, veg by The Village Green Grocer).

Medieval feast sharing board of rack of Lamb, organic chicken, wild boar sausages, corn on the cob, cherry tomatoes, beetroot, potatoes in a sack, fries,, grilled mushrooms, a selection of sauces.

Dessert: (Kevin Ahern Sage restaurant). The Black Barrel Midleton Brick using Wilkies of Midleton bean to bar organic chocolate mousse toasted mallow, pastry crisp with Jameson Black Barrel whiskey.

my-little-148 my-little-149

The Jameson centre is a must see for any visitor to the East Cork area, with a fine architecture, distilling history and of course some of the world’s finest Whiskey. If a food event showcasing local producers, suppliers, restauranteurs, chefs and a Mediaeval theme is added to this solid foundation, then you have a really magical food experience to rival any other banqueting experience in Ireland.

my-little-158 my-little-163 untitled

What I particularly liked was that it was an Irish banquet using products Ireland is famous for, whiskey, Lamb, Pork, Salmon etc. and the Midleton experience head chef and chefs are to be applauded for serving the gathered diners such a feast.

Any visitor to Ireland really needs to consider Midleton as a high priority on their list of must visit and stay places.

10/10 great event, food and drink.


Posted by: A Taste of | September 10, 2015

A Taste of Ireland: Sage Restauarnt goes to Sea Midleton Food festival fringe event.

Sage goes to Sea Sunday 6 September 2015    my-little-153    The summer of 2015 will become memorable thanks to the Midleton food festival. The main event is on Saturday 12th of September with thousands descending on Midleton mainstreet, for what promises to be a great day out.


The second of the festivals fringe events was Sage restaurant goes to Sea and this was simply one of the most memorable evenings I have spent in Cork. Great food, great music, stunning Cork Harbour for scenery and great company. Seeing Cobh twinkle in the distance after the sunset is an image that will stay with me forever. The only disappointment is that I have to wait until next year for this now annual event. Book now for next year because this is the one of the best food experiences in the country at the moment and places are limited to the places on the boat.


Our evening started with glorious sun at Aghada pier, Kevin, Reidin and staff met the guests with beautiful canapes and prosecco, and music. The chicken skin and pate canape blew me away, so flavourful and moreish, this needs put on a menu Kevin, I`ll queue for it!


We all boarded our boat for the evening and were swept off on a cruise around Cork harbour being served food, wine, craft beers and cider, all the time being seranaded by our acoustic duo, which later became a full on sing song with myself included singing a few bars.

j my-little-144 my-little-143 my-little-145

Fabulous night not much else to stay, roll on next years Sage goes to sea.

untitled7 sage-2-sea-2015-MFF

Kevin is hosting a special 12 mile producers menu with wine pairings by special guest Tom Doorley on Saturday in Sage restaurant, tickets are soon to be sold out so make sure you book your place for this very special Chef and event! Contact 0214639682 to reserve your place.

I will be showing my films 12 mile

and Beoir (A Tale of Ireland`s Craft Ale)

upstairs in Sage restaurant please do drop by.


The Midleton Food festival opened in style last night with a top rate Fish themed evening delivered from the waters of East Cork and the Celtic sea by Ballycotton Sea Food and the skill of the chefs at The Granary at The Square main Street Midleton. Tonight’s menu was as follows 


Crab Fritters with avocado puree

Seafood chowder

Baked Hake, lentils & Green Beans

Sticky Date Pudding

Choice of wines

Tea & coffee.

my-little-121I was delighted the festival opened in such a fitting way, using Ireland’s greatest resource, (its waters) from a local company based in Midleton, that is employing a considerable amount of local people in the Cork area.

Crab cakes or fritters as the menu suggested, are an absolute favourite of mine not only because they are delicious, but crab for me is an absolute icon of Irish food, being local, abundant, tasty & above all nutritious. We dare I say it have the best crab in the world and I felt I could have eaten a dozen of them.

granary-2Next was an Irish classic a seafood chowder and again it was perfect.

The main course was a fish we have all experienced on holiday as Merlu known here as Hake which is possibly my favourite white fish, why we still serve Cod and Salmon is beyond me when we have abundant supplies of this beautiful fish, prized so highly by the French, Spanish, Basque and Portuguese.


Desert was a particularly great sticky toffee fig creation, I got extra toffee sauce and it kept my sweet tooth very happy.

The evening was an utter success 10/10 and the full restaurant emptied later with well fed contented customers. Bravo to all involved and more of this type of thing please!


When I first arrived in Midleton 10 years ago I found the town was unusual in that it had the feel of a French town, with its many fine restaurants but most importantly it had a fantastic fish shop in Ballycotton seafood..


I`ll be following the festival and updating you with blog posts and and video from the events so please do follow us on twitter @atasteofireland 


&  you tube

for more content like this.

Ardsallagh Goats Ravioli

Ardsallagh Goats Ravioli

The Midleton food festival begins next weekend so to mark this event here is an article using the produce of Midleton area Ardsallagh goats cheese and the pottery of Midleton based ceramacist Susan Herlihy of Crafty hands pottery Studio

Something I really enjoy is visiting a great local produce market when I am lucky enough to get abroad on holiday. And how many times do we hear our friends say how great the food was when on holiday, the markets that they visited, how great the tomatoes taste in France and Italy and why can`t we have that here.

We do have it here in this country, it is all around us, there are world class local producers up and down the island of Ireland, they are most likely to be found in the farmers markets in every part of the country. The Midleton Farmers Market on a Saturday is probably one of the best.

Markets are where you come face to face to the producer him or herself, they are real people with real families and live locally. They need their community to support them so they can continue to produce great local produce. If they are organic you can ask them and make your consumer choice accordingly. We need to support our local producers or they will disappear altogether and with it choice, quality and diversity.


So today I am posting a recipe from some personal work I am doing at the moment as a taster. I am doing the sourcing, the dish design, the cooking, the food styling and the photography.

If you are a chef I`d also like to hear from you if interested in working on a project.

Goats cheese & New Zealand Spinach Ravioli with nastursium seeds in a mint and lemon butter sauce.


Ardsallagh goats cheese a hard smoked one and soft chive cheese

250g Organic pasta flour

Sea salt

2 free range eggs

New Zealand spinach (or normal spinach)

Nastursium seeds (use when still green)

½ a lemon

Handful of mint



 To make the ravioli pasta

250g of Organic pasta flour (bought from Natural choice food store Paul Street Shopping centre Cork City )

2 free range eggs (from my neighbour)

Put eggs and flour with a pinch of sea salt into your food blender and blend until a sand like quality. This is the easiest thing I know, you can use your hands but I used my food blender its simple.

Take this sand like material and knead into a ball. Cover with cling film and rest at room temperature for 30 mins.

Make into pasta sheets using a hand fed pasta machine.

I used the one I bought on sale for around 25 euro from the Cook Shop on Oliver Plunkett Street Cork


 Ravioli filling

Ardsallagh soft chive cheese from Midleton Market on a Saturday.

New Zealand spinach from my garden (this grows like a weed once sown).

1 clove of garlic

Pinch of sea salt

Blended into a smooth paste

To make the ravioli put dollops 2 fingers apart on one side of the pasta sheet, brush water down one side and then fold over the pasta sheet and press out the air around the filling. Dust the ravioli with flour and cut then dust other side with flour (this stops them sticking) and set aside.

Ardsallagh Goats Ravioli

Ardsallagh Goats Ravioli


Start to boil the water with a pinch of sea salt, that will cook the pasta.

In another pan melt a dollop of butter melt and add mint (from the garden, mint grows like a weed and I highly recommend you planting for a really great easy to grow herb), a few spoons of water from the pasta water that’s heating up pinch of sea salt & add a squeeze or two of lemon juice.

When the ravioli is cooked in the water, which is really fast 3-4 minutes add this to the pan with butter, lemon juice and mint. Add the pickled nasursium seeds (this is a recipe in itself, Im not posting for the moment, they are really great very intense nastursium flavour used a s a caper substitute here). Then grate in the hard smoked cheese from Ardsallagh, cook for between 30 to 60 secs covering the pasta in the sauce, the cheese makes the sauce thicken a little.

Then serve on a Crafty hands Midleton pottery plate.

Ardsallagh Goats Ravioli

Ardsallagh Goats Ravioli

All video and photographic content is copyright of Sean Monaghan 2015.

Posted by: A Taste of | February 22, 2015

A Taste of Ireland: Murson Farm at Rathcormac Market Co Sligo

Rathcormac market in County Sligo is fast becoming one of my favourite markets to shop for food. Its location near Drumcliffe under BenBulben’s head makes it a perfect foodie stop for anyone visiting WB Yeats grave. In this post we speak to Courinne of Murson farm who makes an array of good homemade soda breads, Jams, Honey and cake I highly recommend.

See  Murson farm and others from Rathcormac market on our You Tube channel at this link

google-site-verification: google85b1e7190d7a9d1a.html

Posted by: A Taste of | February 15, 2015

A Taste of Ireland: Master Craft Butcher Frank Murphy Midleton

This post is a celebration of master butcher Frank Murphy. Frank to me represents all that is good about a local expert butcher and why, when a good local butcher is identified he should be treasured and supported. Why do I say this?

As a nation of meat eaters its very important to get access to good meat. A butcher like Frank murphy has a long connection to quality local meat producers. His reputation is based on the quality of his suppliers, a good local butcher is a meat expert and you can trust him. Frank has his own abattoir so you know the meat has been treated in a proper humane way, don`t forget meat must be relaxed at the point of slaughter and small local abattoirs  where the produce has not travelled far are best for this reason. Relaxed meat leads to tender meat. Local butchers are the heart of a food community and again a butcher like Frank can recommend unusual cuts and how to cook them.

If you would like to visit Frank Murphy`s shop it is located on Main Street Midleton Co Cork, this is his facebook page link.

Happy new year all, we  have an interesting year ahead with lots of new interesting stories and content to be posted to our

you tube channel

But the first post of 2015 goes to the West Mayo Brewery

We went to visit Oileán Éadaigh West Mayo Brewery in 2014. We met the founders Iain and Caroline Price in the rural parish of Islandeady, situated between Westport and Castlebar, in County Mayo on their working farm.

The brewery was inspired by their love for craft beer and the desire to provide consumers in County Mayo with a greater choice of quality ales. It was also a means to make the most of their small holding by a farm diversification project that was enjoyable, environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Caroline is originally from Islandeady and has always been involved with farming. They have cattle as well as chickens, and occasionally pigs. Caroline also keeps bees. She has worked for several organisations in the UK, mainly in I.T., and looks after the business side of the brewery in addition to line cleaning duties and assisting in deliveries!

Iain is the brewer. He trained with Brewlab at the University of Sunderland beginning in 2009 and is also a member of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, completing his IBD Diploma in Brewing (Dipl.Brew) in 2011.

Posted by: A Taste of | August 23, 2014

A Taste of Ireland: 12 Mile a Film by Sean Monaghan


12 Mile from Tall Story media on Vimeo.

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Here is 12 mile the film the second in a series of films by myself. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it.

I hope the film gets across something that is now very dear to my heart. The importance and the reason to buy locally and where possible, directly from the farmers themselves.

This sentiment  is also echoed in my other film Beoir ‘A Tale of Ireland`s craft Ale’.

I have always been interested in food, but I have my time in Midleton Co Cork to thank for what my mother would call an obsession (as if it is wrong to be passionate about something in your life?).

What is special about Midleton, well there is Ireland’s largest distillery there

The original farmers market ‘The Midleton Farmers Market’ was started at the start of the new century in 2000 and led in no small part by Darina Allen. The importance of this market cannot be understated, it was for me a direct introduction to real Irish food. This is real food,  being sold by real people, who really do make it on their local farms. This is not a fantasy. In Midleton Farmers market you can meet and talk to Jane Murphy of Ardsallagh goats, Dan Ahern beef, chicken & turkey farmer (where I bought my Turkey every year I was in Midleton for Christmas), Martin, Noreen & kids from Woodside farm free range pork, Frank Hederman, Foodie legend Declan Ryan of Arbutus bread, Darina Allen herself, Lucy from Ballyhoura mushrooms, The Lobster man Mike Barrett, and on and on there are so many heavy weights of the Irish artisanal food scene setting up in the Midleton farmers market every Saturday.

Then of course Midleton is now home to Sage restaurant which houses Kevin Ahern the 2014 Munster Chef of the year as decided by the restaurants association of Ireland. Kevin is the star of the 12 Mile the film. Kevin took my interest in local artisinal food and showed me that I can by direct from local farmers, that I didn`t need to go to a market to find them, that I didn`t need to see their products in a shop. Kevin showed me if I looked around me, opened my eyes and became conscious of what produce was right in front of my nose, I could go direct to the farmer and buy the produce. Once you start noticing what’s in the fields around you, you realise we are surrounded by food in Ireland.

For me it also starts with a quick internet search on the Irish organic farmers & growers association website this has names and numbers of Organic farmers and what they grow or raise, it cannot be easier than a phone call and finding out will they sell produce to you direct.

So why buy local? Here are 12 reasons

1)  Locally grown food tastes better. The crops are picked at their peak. Livestock products are processed in nearby facilities and typically the farmer has direct relationship with processors, overseeing quality, this is what you find with a Butcher like Frank Murphy and farmers such as Woodside farm, Dan Ahern, James Stafford.

2) Local food is more nutritious. There are very few miles for the food to travel, the nutrients will not be lost from fresh food. Food imported from far away is older and has travelled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses before it gets to you.

3) Smaller local farms offer more diversity. Livestock diversity is also higher where there are many small farms rather than few large farms. James Stafford’s Highland beef is an example of this. There’s a unique kind of assurance that comes from looking a farmer in the eye at farmers’ market or driving by the fields where your food comes from. Local farmers aren’t anonymous and they take their responsibility to the consumer seriously.

4) Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons.  By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.

5) Local food supports real local families. The wholesale prices that farmers get for their products are low, often near the cost of production. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food this helps local farm families stay on the land.

6) Local food builds community. When you buy direct from a farmer, you’re engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the land, and your food. In many cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.

7) Every penny spent locally to a local farmer or business stays in the local economy and in the long run is good for all in the local area.

8) Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.

9) Local food is an investment in the future. By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow. That is a matter of importance for food security, especially in light of an uncertain energy future and our current reliance on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute and store food.

10) Local farmers more often than not will tell you how to cook their products, just have a discussion with Noreen of Woodside farm and you will know what I mean.

11) Products such as honey are perceived to have health benefits but really this is only from honey that is produced and bought from the area you live in. Honey consumption therefore should be local honey, for the maximum health benefits.

12) If there is beautiful landscape around you, which we have in Ireland then the food can only be beautiful also, the food we produce is only as good as the land and the soil that produces it.

If you wish to keep up to date with our video blogs please do subscribe to this blog site (look in the bottom right hand corner of the site for a cross and the word follow and you will receive an email each time we post a piece.

Alternatively and in addition you can subscribe to our you tube channel,

which with the help of a chromecast you can watch on your TV in full wide screen.


Posted by: A Taste of | August 7, 2014

A Taste of Ireland: Ardsallagh Goats Cheese

Ardsallagh cheese from Tall Story media on Vimeo.


To celebrate the launch of my new food film ’12 mile’ tomorrow at 12 o’clock here is a sneak peak of the piece on Jane Murphy`s Ardsallagh cheese

A longstanding presence at the Midleton Farmers Market, Ardsallagh hard goats cheese is a semi hard, mature cheese. It develops its famous taste as it matures, from an extremely mild cheese when young, to a distinctive flavour as it ages. The most mature Ardsallagh hard cheese can even be grated for a Parmesan-like  taste. It is available in a range of different sizes, suitable for the individual, restaurant, supermarket or delicatessen.

As Ardsallagh  is a personal favourite cheese of mine it is the cheese shown at the top of this blog site for the last 3 years. Maybe I should change that now?

Anyway if you wish to keep up to date with our video blogs please do subscribe to this blog site (look in the bottom right hand corner of the site for a cross and the word follow and you will receive an email each time we post a piece.

Alternatively and in addition you can subscribe to our you tube channel,

which with the help of a chromecast you can watch on your TV in full wide screen.

Beoir ‘A Tale of Ireland’s Craft Ale’  The full Short film

Beoir: A Tale Of Irish Craft Ale from Tall Story media on Vimeo.


 3 years ago this photographer went to visit Gordon Fallis of Innismacsaint brewery in Co Fermanagh. I was fascinated with a microbrewery opening in the Fermanagh countryside. Until then my only experience of craft beer had been the Franciscan well and Dungarvan brewing company, both novel breweries but novelty nothing more it seemed. Back then I was a Guinness, Smithwicks and Heineken drinker, (that’s all that was on offer wasn’t it?). As always with the meeting with Gordon I was more interested in the producer, his personality and story and how they came about to be doing what they were doing. I have to admit I knew nothing of beers. But Gordon`s story was brilliant and I published a blog post on it.

The intention was also to finally write an all-Ireland version of my book “A Taste of Cork” and Gordon would be in it.

Fast forward 3 years I have just completed completed my second 30 minute short film “12 Mile” see trailer

and my first “Beoir A Tale of Ireland’s craft ale” is posted in this piece. I hope you enjoy this film as much as I enjoyed making it. Beoir the sequel is in production so watch this space.

12 mile the film trailer from Tall Story media on Vimeo.

At first I must admit I was more interested in the story behind the brewers. However, now I am afraid all has changed, the craft beer world that the wonderful Beoir organization opened me up too has taken hold. Like someone discovering a new language or learning to use my eyes and see for the first time, the craft beer world is a world of whole new possibilities and adventure in flavor and variety. You will see from earlier posts I decided to release some of the brewery shorts in a series, this then in effect meant I had become a beer blogger. This led  naturally to the European beer bloggers conference 2014.

 EBBC 2014 (Note: All photos taken with a Samsung phone)

This was quite simply the best conference I have ever attended. Hosted at the Church bar in Dublin it was a conference where you get to meet brewers and beer bloggers and most of all taste new beers.
I didn`t bring my camera as I wanted to experience the conference as a participant rather than as someone documenting it (so apologies for photo quality taken with my phone only).

On arriving I was met by offerings from The Franciscan Well, Galway Hooker, Black Donkey, N17, Bru brewery and others. After some talks and advice on blogging it was off to Guinness for a tour and food. I must admit 3 years ago I would have been very excited at the thought of a trip to Guinness and the promise of free Guinness and food. I felt less excited and it is because things have changed.

 20140627_185959  20140627_190118

Despite being a small percentage of the current market, I now personally desire to taste more flavorful varieties of locally produced beers, I am much more likely now to drink Sarah Roarty`s N17 stouts than that of a major brewer. Moreover there is a building tidal wave among younger drinkers for this kind of product. More than that as I experienced at the conference, these younger more educated/informed beer drinkers certainly communicated that they see the major familiar beers as something to be avoided and they are viewed by your average beer aficionado as bland industrial beers.


But let me now speak of the Charlie in the chocolate factory experience I had at St James’s Gate, after all it was a beer bloggers conference, not a craft beer bloggers conference. Guinness certainly know how to do hospitality. On arrival we were walked through the historic site, which was a strange mix of buildings from a bygone era and modern industrial buildings and the trappings of that, which don`t look out of place on a pharmaceutical plant. The walk took us through a tunnel reminiscent of the London underground, linking the Guinness storehouse to the brewery block and delivered us to the new brewery codenamed Project Phoenix. This very impressive, shiny new & gleaming facility, pics of which I was asked not to post, should be capable of producing tonnes of Guinness for years to come.

After the tour well what can I say, I was brought up in a glass lift to foodie heaven, where we were treated to Oysters, Cheese, Fish & chips, BBQ ribs & Burgers, all paired with a different Guinness product. Personally I found the Oyster and Guinness pairing still a classic and a highlight. There was also a trial pilot Guinness product on offer called Night Porter which the appeared to go down well with the assembled beer experts.

Vaclav Berka

Vaclav Berka

Normally this would be enough to say that was great day, time to put the boots up, and go home, however I found that this was only half the entertainment planned. We were then bused to the no name bar and introduced to Pilsner Urquell’s master brewer Vaclav Berka. Vaclav personally and ceremoniously opened and tapped, several casks of his world famous unfiltered, unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell. A first for this beer drinker, another new world, “cask beer”.

The generosity of the sponsors didn`t end there and lunch the following day at the conference was a very generous BBQ and more cask Pilsner. This is were I left the EBBC as I had other commitments that evening, shame given the riches that were on offer.

Below I have posted the agenda of what was a really fine conference and I must mention the generosity of MolsonCoors returning the conference Stipend in return for blog posts.

Thursday, June 26, 2014
18:45                 Optional Pub Crawl (the #TrailofAle) of Dublin departing from the Main Bar of The Church and led by beer blogger Reuben Gray of The Tale of the Ale.  For details on the crawl please visit the blog post.

Friday, June 27, 2014
12:30                 Registration and Expo (Eat lunch first!) – Tower Bar
14:00                 Conference Opening – Cellar Bar
14:05                 History of Beer in Ireland – Cellar Bar
15:00                 Keg versus Cask and Bottle versus Can – Cellar Bar
16:05                 Panel of Irish Craft Brewers – Cellar Bar
17:00                 Break
17:45 -18:0       Depart The Church for 30-minute walk to Dinner and Tasting at St. James’s Gate hosted by Guinness and Smithwicks
21:00                 Dublin Beer Tour with Pilsner Urquell

Saturday, June 28, 2014
10:00                An Inside Look at the Irish Beer Industry – Cellar Bar
11:00                 Advanced Social Media Strategies for Bloggers – Cellar Bar
12:00                Pilsner Urquell Barbeque – Terrace
14:00                Supercharging your Blogging with – Cellar Bar
15:00                Video on Your Beer Blog – Cellar Bar
16:00                Irish Craft Beer Reception with Beer Ireland – Tower Bar
18:00                Dinner provided by Franciscan Well Brewery with keynote speaker Shane Long – Cellar Bar
20:30                Evening Party with Carlow Brewing Company – Tower Bar

Posted by: A Taste of | June 25, 2014

A Taste of Ireland episode 5: Kinnegar Brewery Co Donegal

Ok folks, in honour of the European beer bloggers conference taking place in Dublin this weekend I offer this blog on Kinnegar brewery, one of my current favourite breweries! Rick Levert was the first brewery I visited when making my short film Beoir “A tale of Ireland`s craft ale.”

There was a good reason to start with Kinnegar, I personally have a soft spot for “the underdog (or brewdog if you like) the small guy” but not only that, Kinnegar brewery is probably situated in one of Ireland`s most scenic spots on its Wild Atlantic way route, as you can see from the timelapse of the famous Fanad head lighthouse and the shots of the beaches etc. Not only that nearby is the party town of Letterkenny, so a visit taking in the beautiful area, the brewery and the nightlife is well worth any tourists time and spending money!

At the time Rick introduced himself as Ireland`s smallest brewer and smallest brewery, amazing given the now omnipresence of Kinnegar throughout the northwest of Ireland and Dublin. Well done Rick and god luck with the giant slaying. The pic below taken in the very fine craft beer bar Furey`s in Sligo (@fureyspub on twitter) shows the David vs Goliath feat that Rick is pulling off at the moment.

David and Goliath


Kinnegar boast an ever changing broad variety of beers, my hope is some of them stay around long enough to become classics.

I am liking the variety but worry is the choice becoming too broad too quickly?

I just was getting used to loving my devils backbone before having a new fling with my new found love Scraggy bay pale ale (on tap in Furey`s Sligo).

Let the punters decide I say as the brand is becoming strong and instantly  recognizable.

The List of Kinnegar Beers

Beer Crests_Limeburner


Limeburner is light, crisp and refreshing, like a summer’s evening with a hoppy accent at the end.
Alc. 4.7% vol.

Beer Crests_Devil's Backbone


Devil’s Backbone is full bodied and full flavoured like a mellow autumnal day with a hint of chocolate thrown in.
Alc. 4.9% vol.

Beer Crests_Scraggy Bay

SCRAGGY BAY  India Pale Ale

Fondly known as “Yellowcap”, Scraggy Bay is a balanced golden ale with a snappy little bite of hops.
Alc. 5.3% vol.

Beer Crests_Rustbucket


Rustbucket is a balance of rye and barley malt. The rye gives it a little spiciness which combines nicely with hops that contribute a citrusy note.
Alc. 5.1% vol.

Beer Crests_Rustbucket


 Yannaroddy is rich in traditional dark roasted malt flavours laced with an exotic streak of coconut.
Alc. 4.8% vol.

Tasting Line-Up




Posted by: A Taste of | May 28, 2014

A Taste of Ireland: Sheridan’s Food Festival 2014

This was the fifth Sheridan’s food festival, however it was my first. One wonders how living in Cork during those last 5 years and interested in food & cheese for the last 10 years,  how I had never heard of the festival before. This year it was thanks to twitter I realized it was on. In fact twitter has now become the main instrument how I, like many people nowadays keep up to date with what’s going on in the world, but more importantly what’s going on with things I’m interested in, so if you are a food producer it’s imperative you are using twitter, to get your message out there.

The video above is a short summary of what I saw at the festival, it sticks mainly to producers I had not met before and was keen to meet. It was a truly great festival and well worth a visit only complaint is that it is only on once a year!

Also at the festival were many legends of food I had previously met, see the previously published articles below

Sally Barnes  Woodcock Smokery see

Jeffa Gill’s Durrus Cheese

Carrigaline Cheese

Corleggy Cheese

If you are interested in food heroes then let me point you in the direction of my food heroes vol 1 charity book which contains photos and some details of 40 of my food heroes from the last few years.

available as a book or a pdf download and e-book.



Posted by: A Taste of | May 23, 2014

A Taste of Ireland: Mescan Brewery, Westport Co Mayo met with Mescan brewing company coincidentally on the eve of St Patricks day 2014 on their brew day, Mescan is a brewery started by Irish and a Belgian vets Cillian and Bart. These guys named their brewery after St Patrick’s (Irelands patron saint) personal brewer Mescan. They also brew their beer at the foot of Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick.

Music by Sligo based musician Glen Cal

Other videos in this series are
A trailer for our short film Beoir A Tale of Ireland`s craft Ale

The film is receiving good reviews from online Beer magazines and US bloggers See links below
Journey to the Beer Store afforded me my first interview

And Beers of the World Mag gave the article the title
‘There’s more to the Emerald Isle than Guinness’

Other breweries in the video series are
Poker Tree Brewing Company

Donegal Brewing Company

Posted by: A Taste of | April 22, 2014

A Taste of Ireland: The Galway Food Festival 2014

So here is the Galway festival through the eyes of

What a great festival will be back again and again.
If anyone knows the busker please pass me on his name.

Posted by: A Taste of | April 9, 2014

A Taste of Ireland Presents Beoir ‘A Tale of Irelands Craft Ale’

Ok folks, here it is a trailer for Beoir the first film from the Tall Story Media stable, specially produced for

This film will soon be available for screening.

  • So if you are a Restaurant, Pub, venue, a society, a festival  or a beer club that would like to show an Irish made short film about Ireland`s emerging craft beer scene please leave us a comment to arrange a screening.


Beoir, (the Irish word for beer), is a short  film about the emerging Irish craft brewery scene, showcasing The Donegal brewing company, Innishmacsaint brewing company, Mescan brewing company, Kinnegar brewing company and Poker Tree brewing company. These new mainly farmhouse breweries are based on the wonderful green island of Ireland. This film showcases not only  the breweries but the Island of Ireland itself. Listen to the brewers tell their story in their own words and follow them on their journey at the very start of this emerging craft brewing scene in Ireland. From under Irelands holy mountain Croagh Patrick to the lakes of Fermanagh, Beoir is a fascinating and beautifully shot film.

Music by Stray Theories “Even though we sleep”

And Irish band  (formerly Ladydoll: “Genetics”, (Currently Noir Noir).



Donegal Brewing Company sits high on the banks of the Erne in Ballyshannon, Irelands oldest town and hometown of Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher. Established in 2011 their first beer is now ready for your enjoyment…“A delicious blond style beer, with hints of biscuit, malt and a good balance of hop flavours. No artificial colours or preservatives”

Featuring: Brendan O’Reilly of The Donegal brewing company and Dicey Reilly’s off license, Probably Ireland’s best off license, which is an Aladins cave of craft beers and rare alcohols in general.


We have a some Donegal Brewing Company, Donegal Blonde beer, as seen in the video to giveaway.

The case can only be delivered within the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. The winner will be randomly chosen and notified by email. Giveaway will close at 6pm 10th APRIL.

Subscribers to this post will be in for a chance to taste some poker tree in our Poker Tree Brewing company giveaway, closing date 6pm 30th March.

A Taste of Ireland can also be followed on facebook for more news on great Irish food heroes and giveaways.



EPISODE 2: Donegal Brewing Company Co Donegal

Episode 3: Mescan Brewing Company Co Mayo

Episode 4: Innishmacsaint Brewing Company Co Fermanagh

Episode 5: Kinnegar Brewing Company Rathmullen Co Donegal

Episode 6: West Mayo Brewing Company Co Mayo

Want to be involved, contact us at A taste of Ireland via twitter, facebook or this blog site!

Or we can be reached via the contact page at



Poker Tree Brewery – Brewers series by Tall Story Media from Aidan Monaghan on Vimeo.

A Taste of Ireland has teamed up with Tall Story media to bring you an exciting new series on the blossoming Irish Micro brewery scene. This is the first in our series of films on this subject.

Based in Carrickmore, Darren Nugent founder of Pokertree Brewing Company, tells how he produces his signature range of four ales. These ales are all bottle conditioned and open fermented using traditional techniques.

Produced by Tall Story Media especially for A Taste of

Featuring: Darren Nugent – Poker tree Brewing Company


We have a case of Poker Tree Brewing Company  Ghrian beer, as seen in the video to giveaway.

The case can only be delivered within the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. The winner will be randomly chosen and notified by email. Giveaway will close at 6pm 30th March.

A Taste of Ireland can also be followed on facebook for more news on great Irish food heroes and giveaways.


Oh and by the way tell us what you like about the video!


EPISODE 2: Donegal Brewing Company Co Donegal

Episode 3: Mescan Brewing Company Co Mayo

Episode 4: Innishmacsaint Brewing Company Co Fermanagh

Episode 5: Kinnegar Brewing Company Rathmullen Co Donegal

Episode 6: West Mayo Brewing Company Co Mayo

Want to be involved, contact us at A taste of Ireland via twitter, facebook or this blog site!

Or we can be reached via the contact page at



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