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Another of the wonderful home-grown chesses that we love to use in the kitchen is that of Knocklara all the way from Waterford.
As far as cheesemakers go we seem to have a superb selection of Irish cheeses at the moment, a skill that’s being honed with great success as a cottage industry.
Knocklara farmhouse is an old favourite producing a selection of cheeses of which we use their sheeps cheese.
The chief chessemakers Agnes and Wolfgang Schliebitz are very serious about cheese, and have been making their specialty sheeps cheese since 1990, that’s more than 20 years of refinement, and it seriously shows in the finished product.
If you are a regular to Kai you will surely have tasted the mouth-watering cheese at some point.
Cheese is handmade at Knocklara using traditional methods and vegetarian rennet. This method increases the health benefits of the cheese, and increases its flavour.
The cheese is available to buy at Sheridans if you fancy trying some at home. And if you are feeling adventurous why not try this recipe out with your dinner guests courtesy of Café Paradiso…our favourite veggie restaurant in Cork.
Deepfried courgette flowers with Knockalara sheep’s cheese & capers and a tomato-citrus broth

INGREDIENTS
6 tomatoes
100mls olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
zest of 1 orange
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
2 sprigs fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon tomato passata
100mls water or vegetable stock
8 courgette flowers
200g Knockalara cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
60g rice flour
40g plain flour
200mls sparkling water
oil for deep-frying

Bring a pot of water to a boil. With a sharp knife, score the base of the tomatoes with a cross and drop them into the water for 30 seconds or so. Remove them to a bowl of cold water, then peel off the skins. Deseed the tomatoes and finely dice the flesh.

Heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the tomato and garlic, and cook for one minute. Add the orange zest and herbs, and cook for one minute more. Add the passata and 100mls of water or vegetable stock. Simmer for one minute, then remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Leave the broth to cool to room temperature.

Stir the capers and chives into the cheese. Open the flowers and fill them to about halfway with the mixture. Twist the ends of the flowers to partially close them.

Combine the flours and whisk in enough cold sparkling water to get a thin batter.
Heat some vegetable oil to approximately 180°c in a deepfryer or pot.

Drop the flowers into the batter to lightly coat them, then lower them carefully into the oil, a few at a time. Fry for 3-4 minutes, turning once, until lightly coloured and crisp. Drain on paper.

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Kai Cafe and restaurant is the kind of place that loves the things its customers love.
Head chef and proprietor Jess Murphy thought that she could bring two of those passions together to entertain and teach those interested in food. 
There are book clubs, and supper clubs the world over – but no cookbook clubs. At Kai the ethos is to always be innovative, which sparked the creation of a cookbook club.

The club is about people learning, talking, and sharing their passion with others. “It is great for people to share their love of cooking and cookbooks with like minded people.

The club is a place for individuals and groups of people to come and talk about food, ask questions, and find out how to be a better home chef” says Jess.
The cookbook club takes place this evening Wednesday May 8. Tickets are available in advance from the restaurant at €35 for three courses including one glass of wine.
This months installment of the cookbook club features Ottolenghi’s book, ‘Plenty’.
Each course will be served with Jessica explaining the technicalities of the dish, best places to source the freshest food, and how to serve a feast to happy customers.
Places are limited so make sure you book early.
For more information contact Kai on 526003 or visit www.kaicaferestaurant.com

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A movement of secret dining, and supper clubs exists right around the world, where people open their kitchens to friends and strangers for one-off dinners. It is like a person you don’t know inviting anyone that wanted to come to their house so they could cook you dinner. The atmosphere is unique, and dining in somebody’s home makes it a comfortable, and quirky experience.
The Nutmeg Feast is one of these, and has been something of a secret for quite some time. Jolanta and Pawel have been welcoming people into their home for almost a year, having run 10 or so events.
The pair believe these feasts are not just for eating, but a platform for people to meet, exchange ideas and connect. It is also a chance to taste slow and wild food that comes from local farms.
Born and raised in Poland, chef Pawel Karnafel was always fascinated by the culinary art. After completing degree in environmental engineering he decided to move to Ireland to build up his passion for food. He began working in the West Restaurant at the Twelve Hotel in Barna, and has since worked in Sheridans at The Docks, Ballynahinch Castlle and Cava Restaurant & tapas bar. 

His style of cooking is an example of his passion for wild and slow food. Pawel’s food philosophy is based on locally sourced produce, that comes from markets and farms around. To create his dishes he is also harvesting wild fruits, nuts, herbs, flowers, mushrooms and seaweeds that can be found in plenty in the countryside and along the seashore.
Yolanta has worked as an interior designer and a fashion buyer in the past although she always had a strong interest in running a restaurant. She gracefully takes upon herself a role of hostess at Nutmeg’s gatherings.
The Nutmeg Feast is prepared at home. Depending on the theme it takes about 3 days to prepare, with the pair starting work on a Thursday night.
The next Nutmeg Feast will be held on May 6. Sheep will be the theme of the evening with food based around using the animal. Tickets cost €40 + a bottle of wine.
Up to 12 guests can be seated at NUTMEG’s table. Each event sees Pawel serving up six dishes which are complemented with all sorts of refreshments. Bookings can be made on line through nutmeg.feast@gmail.com. The dates of upcoming events can be found in the Nutmeg Feasts facebook page.

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The West of Ireland is consistently producing more and more fantastic farmhouse cheeses, and the quality of produce is obvious judging by the numerous awards constantly rolling westward.
One such producer is that of Killeen Farmhouse. Situated just out the road in Portumna, Killeen Farm is producing some very exciting cows and goats cheeses, based loosely around the Gouda recipe.
Over the past few years farm owners Haske Knippels and Marion Roeleveld have transformed a one time small goat farm into an award winning and thriving cheese business.
At Kai we are lucky enough to be able to use the farms cow and goats cheese in a selection of our dishes in both the café and the restaurant. It is an adaptable robust cheese, and the customers love it.
They say the proof is in the pudding, and in terms of awards, Killeen has cleaned up. Among the numerous accolades the farm was crowned Supreme Champion at the Irish Cheese Awards 2011 and scooped three major category awards at the British Cheese Festival Awards last September.
To further cement the impact Killeen Farmhouse has made on the food world it is soon to be welcomed to the aisles of Harrods prestigious foodhall.
All cheese on the farm is handmade from pasteurised milk using traditional animal rennet.
Cheeses are matured for a minimum of six weeks, while the cows cheese is matured for up to 12 months.
The goat’s milk is produced from the farms own herd of goats which are grown naturally on a diet of grass, while the cows milk is sourced from a local dairy farmer. This close relationship between the beginning and end product allows  Killeen cheese to be fully traceable, and of a consistent quality.
Killeen Farmhouse Cheese is available in the following varieties:
Goat:
Plain goat (6-8 weeks)
Mature goat (4-5 months)
Italian herbs & olives
Fenugreek (walnut flavour)

Cow:
Mild Gouda (6-8 weeks old)
Medium mature (4-5 months)
Mature (8 months +)
Italian herbs & olives
Garlic & herbs
Basil & garlic
Cumin

Killeen cheese is on the menu at Kai on a regular basis, and if your interested in buying some to take him it is available from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Mc Cambridges, Mortons, and farmers markets in Galway.
For more information on Kai visit www.kaicaferestaurant.com
For more information on Killeen Farmhouse you can email them directly killeen.cheese@gmail.com

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This Friday Kai will host a complimentary tasting of the wonderful Elephant Hill wines with the vineyards owner. Hailing from Hawkes Bay, just like Kai’s owner, and head chef, Gunter Thies’s vineyard is located on the idyllic Te Awanga coast in New Zealand. 


The restaurant stocks his wines including foodie favourite, Elephant Hill Sauvignon Blanc. He’s in Galway for the weekend, so this Friday at 6pm Gunter is coming to Kai to do a one-hour tutored tasting of his lovely wines in our upstairs dining room.


Admission is on a first come first served basis as places are limited. Entry is free, although there will be a collection box for Self Help Africa.


For more information contact Kai on 091 526003

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