Conor's Bandon Blog

Local stuff and other stuff from a blow-in

Fun Food in Arthurstown

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A brilliant gift of a cookery course in Dunbrody by my fabulous sister-in-law Paula led to one of the best day’s out I’ve had in ages.  Interesting and enjoyable in every way without a dull moment in a gorgeous location.

We did our annual extended family meet-up on the August Bank Holiday weekend in Rosslare recently. On Friday morning I borrowed my mother’s car and drove the 45 minute journey to Arthurstown near the ferry in Ballyhack.

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For some silly reason I thought Dunbrody was just a cookery school and restaurant but soon discovered it is a hotel and spa too. I arrived on the dot of 9.30 to find just two other people there; a B&B owner and a GP, both of whom were very friendly. A moment later, Edward, our teacher, swooped in to start our day of “Light Lunches”. I have to say that the guy was just wonderful for the whole session. Tons of energy, knowledge and anecdotes. He’s just finished a cookery book which will be launched soon. Keep an eye out for it: “Entertaining with Edward”. I wish I had been that accomplished at the age of 26!

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My only tiny disappointment on the day was realising that it was all demos with no hands on. This is inevitable given the size and layout of the room but I do love to get stuck in. My concern that I might get bored just watching proved totally unfounded. Edward’s manner and approach made sure we didn’t even suffer the mid-afternoon lull.

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The list of things he made was extensive and there wasn’t a clunker among them. I would just love to be able to multi-task the way that he did. He did the following:

Traditional Brown Soda Bread: This was lovely and nutty. Not as good as my mothers but still great.
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Fresh Basil Pesto: For some reason I have never made pesto. This was one of the best I’ve had.
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Crab Croquettes with Sweet Chilli Jam: Whilst I’ll definitely be making the croquettes again, the jam just made me feel stupid. I cannot believe how easy it is to make and how much better it was than any bought jar. This is going to be one of my regular creations from now on.
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Smoked Haddock and Rocket Tart: One of the absolute highlights of the day. If you love fish pie, this makes a quicker and lighter alternative
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Cheese and Bacon Quesadillas: Simple and tasty as hell. Will be trying this on the kids. Total winner.
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Fish en paupilotte: This genuinely shocked me. I love smoked salmon, I detest cooked fresh salmon, it makes me gag. Yet somehow, this tasted beautiful and I scoffed the lot. Another ultra-easy meal which will be a future regular.
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Mild Cajun Chicken: Lovely and juicy in a yoghurt coating
Classic Italian Meatballs: Excellent but not a patch on my own :-) The mince mix would make fantastic burgers or meatloaf.
Vegetarian Roulade with Spinach: The least favourite for the three of us but still good. Some of the intended ingredients were not delivered on the day which is a pity as I can imagine how much better it would have been.
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Mediterranean Pasta Salad: Using roasted veg and some of the pesto, this is perfect BBQ food.
Meringue Roulade with Summer Berries and Toasted Almonds: Should be illegal. We had it for our elevenses and it was light as a feather and totally delish.
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Edward also gave us two tours of the kitchen gardens which were a joy to see. Jammed with every sort of veg, fruit and herb. If only I had the acerage and the time!

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I was chuffed to get a branded apron and Kevin Dundon’s latest book as I left. This course won’t teach you amazing new techniques if you are already a solid home chef but it will give you tons of ideas for tasty interesting family meals. It’s also a perfect day of relaxation and fun.

Full set of photos from the day including geo-tagged ones on Flickr.

3 Comments

  1. Sounds awesome Conor. Too bad it wasn’t as hands on as you would have liked, but sounds wonderful all the same!

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