Author: Caitríona Mc Bride

Interview with Donegal Chef Brian McDermott

Donegal chef Brian McDermott from Donegal has recently published his fantastic cookbook “Donegal Table,” we caught up for a chat all about Brian and why this book, and his home county, are so important to him. 1. Tell me about yourself and your background in food? I have been a chef for 25 years and went to college Killybegs Catering College. I’m passionate about good, honest food cooked simply and sourced locally. I’m from a family of 12, my Mum was a cook on her Dad’s potato farm so she taught me a lot about cooking and eating what could be grown on the farm. 2. Who inspired you to get into food? “Harrys” Restaurant in Bridgend , Co. Donegal. I was an early school leaver and got a job as a kitchen porter in “Harrys” and within a year they talked me into going to catering college. I’m forever grateful to Mr Harry Leo Doherty. 3. How did the diagnosis of your heart condition affect you, and your career choices? When I was diagnosed …

A guide to Belfast, bite by bite

This article was originally published in The Irish Times. Imagine a meal that begins with the snap of crusty sourdough spread generously with Co Down’s golden Abernethy butter. Then move on to a plate of just-out-of-the-water Carlingford oysters, before a main of Mourne mountain lamb with buttery local potatoes. Round it off with a chocolate and salted caramel ice-cream from Glastry Farm from the Ards Peninsula or, for cheese lovers, Northern Ireland’s only raw milk blue cheese, Young Buck. This is just a tiny example of the endless bounty of Northern Ireland’s food produce you will find on menus these days in Belfast. Its restaurant scene has never shone brighter, making it the perfect time to visit. OX restaurant in Belfast. The past decade has seen the growth of the relationship between Northern Ireland’s producers, suppliers and restaurants. As the political situation stabilised, Belfast saw a surge in tourism with visitors taking in tourist attractions such as the Titanic visitor centre or stopping off in the city before a trip to the Giant’s Causeway or …

Breac House, Donegal

This article was originally published in The Irish Times. There is often a gorgeous moment on holiday when you open the curtains to reveal a view that rushes into your soul like a restorative tonic; you then sigh and wish you were waking up to it every day. Two former accountants from Dublin have made that dream come true with their modern retreat, Breac. House, which they recently opened on Horn Head, the dramatic northwestern headland in Donegal. Starting with a dramatic site, the last thing Cathrine Burke and Niall Campbell wanted to build was “big hexagon of glass”. The primary aim for its design was a balance of modern and traditional, connection to local craftsmanship, and showcasing the beauty of its surrounds. “You see a lot of the modern design hotels and they look like the spaceship that has landed on the side of the hill,” says Burke. “While they have their place, we never wanted to do that. We wanted something that was very contemporary but very in keeping with the locality, so …

Wild Garlic Table Cookery School, Ramelton, Co. Donegal

This article was origianlly published in The Irish Times on August 05 2017.   Imagine learning to cook in an Edwardian bank building where the kitchen is the original banking hall and the old safe cleverly doubles as the cool spot to store potatoes. “Wild Garlic Table” is a new cookery school and catering company run by Ballymaloe-trained Pauline Sugrue in her family home in Ramelton, Co Donegal. Home happens to be an early 1900s bank, which she and her husband Michael renovated some years ago keeping as many of its original features intact as possible. From the first weighty, solid knock of the original front door handle there is a unique feeling as you pass through the entrance hall with original tiling and stained glass into this five-bedroom listed house. Sitting proudly by the river Lennon which runs into Lough Swilly, it has been restored with remarkable love and attention to fine detail by the Sugrues that ensures you feel the reverence of the building. “The house was built in the 1903 in Edwardian …

Red hot – perfecting the red lip

How to get the perfect red lip I adore red lipstick. It never ceases to enhance my mood or transform my outfit, it’s a little bullet of instant glamour. Ever since that the sugary smear of red “M&Ms” or smushed raspberries as “lipstick” before you were allowed to wear it, then graduating to the trashy pound shop efforts that made you look more disturbing than Dietrich; red has always been the lipstick look I wanted to master. Throw in a few years of getting it spectacularly wrong; seeing yourself in a nightclub bathroom at 2am with a less than precise pout will compound efforts to try to learn a thing or two about investing in getting it right. It is sexy, defiant, bold and can transform how you feel when you apply that dramatic kiss of poppy colour. And it’s always in style. Bernadette Mc Bride is an IFTA-nominated professional make-up artist and has worked on countless TV and film productions. She is also my Godmother and my go-to for any make-up advice or tips …

Recipe – Mustard and coriander cured salmon by Wade Murphy, 1826 Adare

With the abundant smoked salmon at every social occasion over the festive season, it feels just about the right time to introduce it to the taste buds again. And this showstopper of a recipe from the exceptionally talented chef Wade Murphy from 1826 Adare is one hell of a way to serve it. Curing your own salmon might seem like a lot of work but it is so deliciously worth it. The key is to start with excellent salmon and treat it with some love and care. Mustard and Coriander Cured Clare Island Salmon -1826 Adare No. of portions: 4-6 Ingredients For the oil: This is best prepared 2 days in advance 2 carrots peeled and finely sliced 1 medium red onion finely sliced 1 stick celery finely sliced 1 teaspoon mustard seeds 1 teaspoon coriander seed ½ teaspoon juniper berries 2 bay leaves finely sliced 1 sprig fresh thyme vegetable oil/ olive oil Method Marry the half vegetable oil and half olive oil with half of the herbs, vegetable and spices. Leave in the …

Christy Toye reflects on a career of success and defiance

 This article was originally published in The Irish Times. The very last person who wants to talk about Christy Toye is Christy Toye. The recent news that the Donegal senior GAA footballer was to pack away his county jersey after 15 years saw an outpouring of admiration and appreciation in Donegal and beyond. A career that spanned All-Ireland wins and a chronic facial pain condition had come to an end. The huge reaction to his retirement has bewildered Toye though. He was never in it for the glory – just to make his parish and his county proud. “It was brilliant,” he said of the response. “I don’t know why. Maybe they see somebody who is injured and kept going and came back? Maybe they recognise the effort you put into going back on the pitch?” No other player has scored more Championship goals for Donegal in Croke Park than the Creeslough man. He also holds three Ulster titles, one All-Ireland, a National League and has captained the team. But it isn’t only his ability …