Yet again… further congratulations to the Strawberry Tree Restaurant staff. The Strawberry Tree has been named in the country’s Best Restaurants in the Hot Press Best of Ireland 2014 magazine.
Archive for the ‘Organic & Wild Foods’ Category
We’re on a roll… After great success in the Restaurant Association of Ireland awards, the Strawberry Tree takes home yet another award!
Celebrations and Congratulations to the crew of The Strawberry Tree on winning Best Restaurant in Leinster at The Good Eating Guide Awards 2014
Wednesday the 16th of April The Restaurant Association of Ireland held their regional awards ceremony in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel. Our Strawberry Tree Restaurant took home not just one award but three awards in the same night… Best Hotel Restaurant, Best Wine Experience and our head chef Tim took home the Best Chef award.
Best Hotel Restaurant: This category recognises a hotel restaurant that demonstrates the very best in a dining experience as evidenced by a high level of attentiveness, impeccable service and well-structured, balanced and appropriate menu creating the ultimate experience for the visitor.
Best Wine Experience: This Award goes to the restaurant offering a balanced and appropriate wine list, an interesting range of producers and which strives for excellence in the service of wine.
Best Chef: This Award goes to the Chef who most impresses in their approach, design and execution of dishes and who is clearly pushing at culinary boundaries in Ireland.
A massive thanks to all who voted, we very much appreciate it!
It’s March and it’s the start of another year of Wild Foods. Wild Garlic is in huge supply and is available from now up until late April.
Check out our famous Strawberry Tree recipe below.
Wild Garlic Pesto
WHAT GOES IN
50g Fresh Wild Garlic Leaves
25g pine, cashew, hazel or chestnuts…your choice!
200ml Organic Olive Oil or better still Irish Organic Rapeseed Oil
40g grated, Parmigiano-Reggiano or really mature Coolea Farmhouse Cheese
Organic Black Pepper and Sea Salt
HOW IT GOES
Simple recipes are not always the easiest. It’s taken us years to get this just right. Any of the above Nuts, Oils or Cheeses will make a fabulous fresh spring tasting Pesto…we’re just not saying exactly which go into our Strawberry Tree Wild Garlic Pesto!
So, the easy way is to blitz the nuts and half the oil in a food processor and add in the grated cheese. Then add the wild garlic and blitz with the remaining oil to the right consistency. Then simply season, to your taste. As a fresh Oil Dressing, it’ll work, every time
HOW TO FINISH
Pour into sterilised Kilner Jars and keep in the fridge or a really cool, dark pantry. More so than with Basil Pesto, there is a reaction between the Wild Garlic, Oil and especially metal lids…hence the Kilner.
WHAT YOU GET
Is a serious Pesto; a deep dark green Pesto with attitude, a Pesto that will slap you in the face with the unmistakably strong taste of wild natural garlic and its lush woodland dwellings. What you also get is ‘bottled spring and summer’…to give as a present to your friends, if you are able!
If not, use it to impress as a dressing over salads, bake into your favourite bread dough, add to any pasta dish or mix with butter and slip under the skin of a chicken roast…the list goes on, just use your imagination and go Wild!
WHERE TO FIND GARLIC
It’s a common plant all over the island and it thrives in mixed woodlands and other damp, shady places like country lanes and near streams. In the right place it will be widespread and easy to spot.
HOW TO PICK
Do not dig up the bulbs and never strip a plant of all its leaves or remove all the flowers or plants in a small area. Pick mid-sized to larger leaves and flower heads that have blossomed. Baskets are ideal for gathering (particularly for the flowers) but if you plan to preserve the leaves choose roomy plastic bags. Pack loosely and do not press down or you may bruise the tender leaves and flowers.
Growing from a surprisingly small translucent bulb, broad, pointed, bright green leaves push up through the soil to gradually form a multi-leaved bunch and are followed by a single flower stalk bearing several small white blossoms. Most years the harvest begins in mid-March and continues until mid-April. This period may vary according to local conditions or a spring that arrives early or late. Usually you can harvest over a month.
Some people prefer the young milder leaves; others wait until the plant flowers, and the flavour is stronger, and gather leaves and flowers at the same time.
The flower of the Wild Garlic is highly identifiable and for the first time forager this is when this wild food should be harvested. Prior to this, it might be mistaken for the leaves of the Wild Lily of the Valley, and other wild plants. Some of these are, of course not pleasant to eat or indeed poisonous.
A good means of positively identifying Wild Garlic is grinding the leaves between one’s fingers, which produces a pungent garlic-like smell. The leaves of Lily of the Valley come from a single purple stem, while the Wild Garlic leaves have individual green-coloured stems. Remember when our foraging if in doubt don’t…
Ross Golden-Bannon’s Review breaks down the Annual Wild Foods dinner course by course in Sunday’s Business Post and he talks about the lack of Game on our dinner plates.
“The consumption of game in Ireland really isn’t where it should be, and we still have a journey to make from chicken breasts and prime steaks to value-driven parts of the animal which often have more flavour”
The Sunday Business Post – 15th December 2013
“The Wild & Slow dinner had a whole 12 months of preparation, but in fact, the likes of Evan Doyle have put in more than two decades of work on the culture of this feast and he deserves our support”
The Strawberry Tree Restaurant has been hosting its unique Wild Foods Dinner annually for over twenty years.
The Sugarloaf Club is delighted to announce that once more, Evan has agreed to close off The Strawberry Tree and that all Chefs and Crew will concentrate on The Sugarloaf’s Annual Wild Foods Dinner which will take place this November 16th 2013. This is now Ireland’s largest Wild Foods Dinner.
Commencing with a Wild Foods ‘Dinner Dissected’ Master Class in the afternoon and encompassing The Annual Wild Foods Dinner, reception, wine, bed and breakfast, special speakers and much more…there is really only one place to be on this very special Saturday in Ireland.
Just €165pps Book Now
For more information on the Wild&Wicklow 2013 Event and a Sample Menu please follow the below link
Macreddin Village Crew Compete Yet Again!
The Cep Harvest is out there for all of us here in Macreddin, to gather in Wicklow over the next few weeks
The prize…well, it’s a VIP’d Dinner for two in The Strawberry Tree including wine
Pawels bumper 2.7 kilo harvest!
Will Pawel win The 2013 Annual Cep Hunting Competition…Or maybe another crew member will put his 2.7 kilo harvest to the test!
Macreddin Village Market
(Ireland’s only free-to-stallholder Food Market)
Our southern Italian Cousins
your Great Custom
and some of their Great Sunshine!
The Strawberry Tree Restaurant – September/October Recipe
Harvest time is always precious, whether down on The Farm or along The Hedgerows, The ‘big reap’ really only gets to be ‘BIG’ on certain years when everything falls nicely into place.
There are so many parameters outside our human control; temperatures, humidity and sunshine are natural occurrences that we have to leave in the lap of the gods.
After 3 years of rain and the coldest start in April, the gods and Mother Nature really have smiled on us, at last! The Farm reap 2013 has been just super but our Wild Foods Harvest has been bumper, the best since 2006.
None, more so than the Crab Apple…we have seen small boughs break this year with the weight of the fruits.
Here’s a recipe that marries two wild members of the Rosacea family together; The Wild Crab and The Wild Rosehip. We love recipes like this…one harvest, three results!
WHAT GOES IN
1.5 kg Wild Crab Apples, prepared
.5 kg Wild Rose Hips, prepared
Cinnamon or spices, to taste, if you wish
Water, just enough to get the juices running
HOW IT GOES
Simmer rosehips in a pot for 2 hours, press through a sieve. Chop the apples bring to the boil and simmer separately until soft. Combine the rosehip pulp, crab apples and juice and strain liquid through muslin, without forcing, overnight.
HOW TO FINISH
First, take the clear liquid, place in a pot with sugar on a 50/50 basis (1 Lt. Liquid to 1 Kg sugar) stir and boil rapidly until setting point, 106 degrees. Skim and pour into sterilised jars, cover, and store in a cool dry place.
Second, twist the muslin and force the pulpy mixture through, pour into sterilised jars, cover, and store in a cool dry place.
Third, take the pulp, press through a sieve to remove cores and seeds. Spread this on a dehydrator tray or baking tray. Dehydrate or place on baking trays in as low an oven as possible, overnight or until dry.
WHAT YOU GET
One set of ingredients, three results and no waste!
A clear Wild Rosehip and Wild Crab Apple Jelly: That works beautifully and simply toasted with a goat cheese, or as an old-fashioned ‘Fruit Butter’ accompaniment with a vintage cheese. Also works a treat with pork, turkey or chicken and makes a great accompaniment with a traditional meatloaf or as the sweet ingredient if you’re making your own muffins.
Also a Cloudy Wild Rosehip and Wild Crab Apple Cordial: Perfect as a chilled cordial with water for the kids instead of the mainstream stuff, just add your own ‘sugar syrup recipe’ to slightly sweeten. Also perfect for the adults as ‘a teaspoon of autumn’ with a glass of bubbly. Chill well after opening or if needed, freeze.
Finally, a Dried Wild Rosehip and Wild Crab Apple Leather: Cut into cubes or thin slices, you can use it with your Granola or Muesli in the morning; check it out in your bread or scone recipes.
Evan & Tim
The Strawberry Tree Restaurant – August Recipe
Well, Wild Sea-Marsh Samphire and Wild Sea-Rock Samphire have become so popular recently…being highly identifiable, these plants are now the new fashion! Indeed, it seems that Marsh Samphire has now been domesticated farm-wise and is available in the shops!
However, you can’t beat the taste of The Wild and there are lots of emails and queries coming in to us here daily, as to where it is wise to pick this fabulous Wild Crop.
Here at The Strawberry Tree, we’ve been harvesting Wild Sea-Marsh Samphire for over 25 years…fresh is best but if you’re unsure about where you’ve harvested this fabulous plant, well then pickling is the safest and most traditional way to go.
Pickled Wild Marsh Samphire
WHAT GOES IN
500g Wild Marsh Samphire
500ml Organic Red Wine Vinegar
300 g Organic Caster Sugar
Small Organic Onion – sliced finely
One Organic Celery stick – chopped finely
2 Organic Bay leaves
½ tsp Organic Pink peppercorns
½ tsp Organic Fennel Seeds
1tsp Organic Mustard Seeds
½ Organic Red Chilli – Chopped finely
The zest of one Lemon
HOW IT GOES
Twice wash the Wild Marsh Samphire and set aside in a large Container. In a large pot, place Sugar, Onion, Celery, Bay, Spices, Lemon Zest and pour over the Vinegar. Put on the heat and stir until everything is mixed. Bring to boil and then simmer. Let cool a bit, then poor the Pickle over the Marsh Samphire in the large container.
HOW TO FINISH
Pack the warm Marsh Samphire Pickle into sterilised Kilner Jars, top up with the strained pickle, put the lids back on and it will keep up to 3 months.
WHAT YOU GET
Well of course, pickled Wild Samphire works well with all shellfish, but it is also perfect to keep for when ‘the flats’ start running after September. It is also a perfect treat with honky-heady Irish Blue Cheese or really well, matured Irish Hard Cheeses and finally it is a cool pickle that works really well with slow cooked winter Irish Hill Hogget.