Post filled under : locally sourced

  • February 11, 2014

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As you all know very well by now, Kai always has and always will support the very best of local producers.

We’ve said it before, but the quality of products coming through from Irish producers in the last few years has been phenomenal, with so many different industries and opportunities now for startups providing almost everything we need in the kitchen.

One of the newer products we are stocking at Kai is the White Gypsy Brewery’s beer. These guys are not just concerned about being a small Irish producer, but their ethos is to strive toward getting all of their raw materials from a 40 mile radius of their brewery. These intentions are what make them stand apart from the rest, and is the sign of a dedicated artisanal producer.

It is for this reason that it’s no surprise that in the White Gypsy Brewery’s first year it won 2 awards for the best lager in Ireland.

Goals

“At the White Gypsy Brewery, we make good beer” it’s a simple ethos, and well proven at this stage. The brewery says that their long-term aim is to make that good beer from malt and hops grown locally and to sell as much of that beer, within 40 miles of the brewery door. They believe that for any community to be a stable environment in which people can live, work and have the prospect of a future, there needs to some degree of sustainability, an outlook that we too hold at Kai.

Beers

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The brewery have a fine selection of beers available on tap including:

Ruby Irish Red Ale (ABV 4.6%)

Blond Weissbeer (ABV 4%)

There is also a fine bottled selection that includes:

American Pale Ale 7.5%

Belgian Dubbel 8%

Russian Imperial Stout 7%

German Doppelbock 7.5%

You’ll find the German Doppelbock on the list at Kai. It’s a strong, dark and malty beer with very little bitterness. According to the White Gypsy Brewery this particular beer emerged from Munich in the late 18th century when the monks brewed it as a Lenten beer to be consumed during their fasts. The liquid bread has a rich flavour that is dark and delicious, toffeeish with some sweetness.

Food pairing

The guys at the White Gypsy Brewery say that the German Doppelbok’s light and fruity notes pair well with an earthy Camembert or a nutty cheddar. Its good carbonation cuts well across a pungent blue or a creamy goats cheese. It accompanies savoury bacon, aged ham, venison and roast pork very well indeed. Also smoked fish, salami & chorizo will go well with this exciting beer.

We don’t just like to drink this beer, you’ll also find it complimenting some of the dishes that come out of the kitchen: a drop in the pot, and a look for the cook.

Eat local, shop local, produce local, and more importantly be local!

For more information visit – whitegypsy.ie

 

 

Filled Under : locally sourced

  • November 12, 2013

Friendly-Farmer-18

It’s always a little frightening how fast the summer sun sets and how quick we sink into our sofas for the winter, but it’s still an exciting time in the food world. Autumn has brought us lovely bush fruits like sloes and cranberries, while the ground has offered up some wickedly warming pumpkin and squash to keep us going.

This time of year doesn’t just offer up a high volume veggie crop, but our feathered friends treat us to the best game and poultry available.

Of course when we look forward to Christmas there is one bird we all think about, the one that takes pride of place on the big day, and no it’s not your mother, she’s special too, but I’m talking about the turkey.

The tradition of the Christmas turkey in most homes is the centrepiece of the Christmas day dinner, and is well known for making many an appearance in the days after Christmas.

You simply can’t beat the lean tender meat of a roast turkey, or the joys of turkey sandwiches and turkey curry to keep the post Christmas hunger at bay.

At Kai we have always sourced our turkeys from The Friendly Farmer, he is the number one keeper, grower, lover, and supplier of birds in the west of Ireland.

His kindness, care and passion to his vocation is reflected in the beautiful meat he has for sale, and we’re proud to use it all the time at Kai.

The Friendly Farmer rears the Irish Bronze Turkey in Athenry, which are allowed to roam and graze outside from dawn to dusk.

Last year he sold 800 Irish turkeys, and if you would like to get your mits on one this Christmas make sure to drop down to Ronan on the Galway market to get in early. Alternatively check out his blog – http://thefriendlyfarmer.blogspot.ie

Of course you can also sample his birds at Kai – just keep an eye on the board!

Update – Here is the Friendly Farmer’s cooking advice:

Cooking Your Turkey

Cooking: The Friendly Farmer Bronze Turkeys do not need long cooking times.
1. Remove the bird from the fridge, leave it to stand at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking.
2. Place the turkey, breast down, in a roasting tin and season the back of the bird with salt and pepper. Most of the fat deposits are on the back of the bird, which will percolate through the breast allowing the turkey to cook in its own juices.
3. Place a large peeled onion in the cavity for extra flavour. We do not recommend stuffing the bird but to cook it separately.
4. We do not recommend using tin foil as this will result in a steamed skin rather than a crispy one.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (gas mark 4) before putting the turkey in the oven. If you have a fan-assisted oven and cannot turn the fan off, reduce the temperature to 160ºC.
6. Turn the turkey over (to brown the breast) 30 minutes before then end of cooking time. This is easily done by holding the end of the drumsticks with oven gloves (be careful of hot fat). Season the breast of the bird with salt and pepper and then insert your meat thermometer halfway through the thickest part of the breast and place back in the oven.
7. To manually check, insert a skewer into the thigh and when the juices run clear remove from the oven. If the juices are pink, place back in the oven and keep checking at 10 minute intervals.
8. Allow to stand for 30 to 60 minutes before carving.
9. The stock that is produced from a Bronze turkey is truly the best. Please do not ruin it with gravy granules etc. Simply skim the excess fat from the top of the stock and then scrape all the delicious crispy bits off the bottom of the roasting tin. Re-heat the stock and then carve the meat into the stock before serving.
Cooking Times
Lbs
Minutes
Hours
6
90
1.5
7
105
1.75
8
120
2
9
135
2.25
10
150
2.5
11
165
2.75
12
180
3
13
195
3.25
14
210
3.5
15
225
3.75
16
240
4
18
270
4.5
19
285
4.75
20
300
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Filled Under : locally sourced , Producers

Farming cranberries on a bog in Offaly

If you were to grow cranberries where would you start? Cranberry production has been largely aligned with American and Canadian growers over the years but as ingenious as us Irish always are we have found a unique way to bring one of our favorite festive fruits home to roost.

The bog is an unlikely place for anything to be grow let alone be farmed. It’s damp, unforgiving land has lent itself mostly to peat cutting, the odd poitin still and little else down through the centuries.

However in 2008 following a pilot project by Bord na Mona on a bog in Offaly, Ciara Morris decided that her dream was to cultivate cranberries in Ireland.

The ground and conditions in the bog proved to be favourable, and Ciara established Slievebloom Farmhouse, the only cranberry farm in Ireland. Over the last 5 years the berries have gone from strength to strength, and can now be found in some of the top kitchens in the country.

Supporting these small businesses is what Ireland is all about. At Kai we always recognise what small growers are doing, and welcome them into the kitchen. New or old products, the range and diversity is constantly increasing.

Ciara built her business from the ground up, literally. In doing so she branched out into developing other products and Slieve Bloom Farmhouse Foods have since received several accolades at the Great Taste Awards for their Cranberry and Mulled Wine Sauce, Lemon De Vine Marmalade, Spiced Marmalade and Lavender Marmalade.

It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of bog. These stories inspire us to do what we do and we hope that they will inspire you too.

Keep an eye out in the shops for these cranberries. They’re local, and they’re delish!

www.slievebloomfarmhousefoods.com

Filled Under : locally sourced , Producers

  • September 14, 2013

The Source of Achill island Sea Salt

“We started with pots and buckets”, said Marjorie O’Malley when I asked her how her business got started.

It sounds like a typical tale from one of our country’s wonderful cottage industries, but this is exactly how this wonderful business is still being run today.

What inspires a family on Achill Island to start a business producing sea salt? A good documentary, a book, a spot of googling, and heap of enthusiasm during a typical Irish winter – wonderful!

When Kieran and Marjorie’s interest in sea salt was sparked from a BBC documentary they looked out their window unto the wild Atlantic seashore and thought, ‘sure why don’t we try that here’.

As it turned out the idea was not novel to the area, as the couple discovered there was a salt factory in operation on the island in the 1820’s . Although its history has been lost down through the years, the couple have located maps that cleary mark out that a substantial salt business was once in operation on the island.

Living right on the coast the O’Malley’s were quick getting to work researching methods for sea salt production, and in no time were hauling buckets of sea water up the road and into their family kitchen.

Late nights boiling, drying and burning pots taught them how the whole process worked, and eventually to producing their first batches.

It quickly became a realisation that people may be interested in buying the locally produced salt. It didn’t take long for word to get out about the salt makers on the island, and in turn orders started coming in from local restaurants and shops.

Only making their first sales in June, Achill Sea Salt is already well on its way to success with demand increasing on a weekly basis. With a little help the island based company is planning to expand its weekly output to allow it to supply more businesses.

While Marjorie tells us that it all kind of happened by chance, it’s clear to see why the demand was so sudden. This is a completely natural Irish product, produced in a traditional manner on a small scale. This is what people want to support today, and this is where quality comes from.

While the company is not ready for a full-scale industrial setup just yet, the increase in business is enough to justify taking the operation out of the kitchen.

The future is very bright for Achill Sea Salt. We love their product; it’s local, natural, and made with love. This is how we cook at Kai, and suppliers like these are what allow us together to bring quality and flavor to our customers each and every day.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on some of their product drop in and ask us. It’s currently available in a small number of shops, but the greater the demand the greater the supply. So let’s help this island family get to every artisan store in the country

 

Filled Under : food , locally sourced

Galway Advertiser, May 09, 2013.

With Anne Marie Carroll

The last outpost of civilisation before you reach Salthill, when Kai opened, it opened with a bang and very quickly achieved a cult following. It suffered not a jot from teething problems, it was a fully formed concept practically from the word go. Kai was unpretentious and fun with flower and seed strewn salads piled on boards, big Ortiz tuna tins filled with bread, and the sun spilling through the skylight even on the dullest of days illuminating the lunchtime altar of cakes. Everyone’s favourite Kiwi chef Jess Murphy brings her own brand of kitchen voodoo and you know you are a regular when you grow to understand husband and partner-in-crime David Murphy’s accent at front of house.

Aside from the best brunch in town every Sunday, it is always well worth the extra trek and the couple of extra euro for the short, seasonal, lunch menu. Six or seven options that always showcase the best the west coast has to offer, from potted crab to gurnard fish finger sandwiches on Kai’s own foccacia, I have yet to be disappointed. Dinner is an equally short and ever changing menu with about five ‘beginnings’, ‘middles’, and ‘ends’.

I was last there for the cookbook club, held about once a month. This is a book club crossed with a supper club, where Jess and her team cook recipes from one book. Past books have included Ottolenghi’s book Plenty and Denis Cotter’s famous vegetarian cookbook Cafe Paradiso. The chosen book last month was What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davis. A great book, filled with lovely recipes and amazing photographs, it was one I had been promising myself. Originally a native of Dublin, now based in Australia, Katie Quinn Davis is a graphic designer turned food blogger and works as a freelance commercial photographer specialising in food.

I joined up with charming company, my new BFF, Jennie Browne from Goodness Cakes and reigning social media queen of Galway. We also had the wonderful Seamus Sheridan from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers and Peter Boland from Cases Warehouses at our table. Both were there to talk about the importance of local suppliers and supporting cottage industry, and also to introduce some wines and cheeses to the assembled diners. The dishes selected from the book came thick and fast from the kitchen, the best value three courses for €35 I have ever encountered.

Among the starter dishes were patatas bravas — spicy potatoes with crispy ham and wobbly eggs baked in enamel tins and served family-style to the table along with a red cabbage and fennel slaw, lightly dressed with a creamy, lemony, herbed yoghurt and studded with blood orange, goat’s cheese, and toasted pecans. There were jugs of lemon cordial with a hint of mint as well as the excellent wines. A creamy orecchiette pasta dish served in a pecorino sauce with scattered peas and pine nuts with pretty roasted vine tomatoes balanced on top and a generous bowl of wings and roasted limes to squeeze over.

For the second course Jess had chosen a lovely Panzanella with a punchy balsamic dressing and a fregola salad (a grain like giant couscous) with bacon and preserved lemons. A crunchy leek topped fish pie landed on the table alongside a ‘retro’ beef curry topped with caramelised bananas, piles of popadoms, and jars of relish, the dishes kept coming until there was barely room to set down your glass.

Dessert was a piquant rhubarb and hazelnut tart paired with an initially strange tasting strawberry, basil, and black pepper ice-cream, that grew on you eventually.

Alas that was the last cookbook club before the summer season kicks off, but the good news is that Kai is now opening seven days a week for your dining pleasure. Remember it seats just 45 so make sure you reserve a table, especially at weekends. The cookbook club will return after the summer, and I for one shall be keeping a beady eye on Kai’s Facebook page, so that I do not miss out on what is one of the best evenings out Galway has to offer. Totally Toto Africa.

Filled Under : ethical , food , galway , locally sourced , organic food , restaurant , restaurant galway

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