A unique quarterly Irish food magazine which celebrates seasonal eating.

McGeough’s Artisan Butcher: Lamb Sausages and Spiced Lentils

Posted on May 26, 2014

sausage and lentils 1

McGeough’s artisan produce can be found in many of our best restaurants, but we think you should try them at home. In particular we liked the combination of smoked lamb sausages with lentils and caramelised onions. A little warming taste of Connemara.

Serves 8
225g Puy lentils
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
16 James McGeough lamb sausages
1 leek, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
good pinch ground cinnamon
300ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, extra leaves to garnish
200ml tub crème fraîche

For the caramelised onions
knob of butter
2 onions, sliced

Rinse the lentils in a sieve under cold running water, then place in a pan with 600ml of water. Add a pinch of salt, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until ‘al dente’- just tender but still with a little bite. Drain in a sieve and spread out on a tray to dry if not using immediately. To make the caramelised onions, melt the butter in a frying pan and cook them very slowly until golden brown and caramelised. Season to taste.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add one tablespoon of the rapeseed oil to the pan, then add the sausages and sauté over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until cooked through and nicely browned, turning regularly. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a pan and sweat the leek, carrots and celery for about 10 minutes until softened but not coloured. Stir the smoked paprika, cumin and cinnamon and cook for another minute or so. Fold in the cooked lentils and then pour in the chicken stock.
Season to taste and simmer for a few minutes until you have a loose sauce and the vegetables are completely tender. Finally stir in the parsley. Spoon the spiced lentil stew onto a large warmed platter and spoon a line of crème fraiche down the centre. Arrange the lamb sausages on top and scatter over the caramelised onions. Garnish with the parsley and a good grinding of black pepper.


Friends of FEAST: McGeough’s Artisan Butcher

Posted on May 22, 2014


Following the release of our 4th issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal, our 2nd print edition, we are taking a look  at some of the Irish food champions who have filled the pages of our latest issue.

Many people view the artisan business world as somewhat old fashioned. The love of ancient techniques and the deep respect for the craft of their work has sometimes cast them in the role of neo-luddites but this is far from being the case. Their respect for the past is woven into a view that innovation is as important an ingredient in artisan food as a respect for progress. We just sometimes ask the question if the progress is for progress’s sake.McGeough’s Artisan Butcher in Oughterard, Co Galway is every inch, or is that centimeter, the essence of tradition married to innovation. Although they are famed as a butchers they also stock a wide range of other dairy produce, oils, chutneys and wine too.

Mc Geoughs Bike

They first came to our attention with their air-dried lamb and a first taste makes you wonder why it isn’t a staple on dinner tables across Ireland. They do a beef version too, equally good, though perhaps made previously famous by our distant cousins in South Africa. And what about some air-dried pork? Yes, they do that too. We then discovered the many other innovations they’ve cooked up and we developed a particular grá for their smoked lamb sausages. The sausage is mildly smoked, giving a quiet smoky note to the sweet lamb sausage.

Mc Geoughs meat

McGeough’s was founded by Eamonn McGeough in 1971 and is now run by his son James McGeough and his skill as a German trained master butcher has greatly added to their already significant reputation. They use only the highest quality meat, including Connemara Hill Lamb, which is unique to the area. The meat is cured and spiced using local herbs, and dried in specially built temperature controlled drying rooms, some of it for many months. The smoking process is shorter, just one day, and although you may distinguish oak and beech notes in the final product perhaps it’s the unique turf notes which makes this distinctly Irish. McGeough’s artisan produce can be found in many of our best restaurants, but we think you should try them at home. In particular we liked the combination of smoked lamb sausages with lentils and caramelised onions. A little warming taste of Connemara as the winter months trudge towards spring.

Mc Geoughs leg

For the Spring issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal, we used some of Mc Geough’s amazing lamb sausages in our Sausages with Spiced Lentils and Caramelised Onions recipe. Warm and comforting yet a lighter take on a dish like Bangers and Mash. Recipe coming soon!


Friends of FEAST: Goatsbridge Trout Farm

Posted on May 6, 2014


Following the release of our 4th issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal, our 2nd print edition, we are taking a look  at some of the Irish food champions who have filled the pages of our latest issue.

The fresh, clear waters of the Little Arrigle River feed the rainbow trout breeding ponds of Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown, County Kilkenny. Established in 1961 it is now run by the second generation of the same family, namely Jer and Mags Kirwan.


They are tireless protectors of the countryside and clear rivers of the South-East. Their farm is one of only a few trout farms producing wholly local fish from start to finish. The cool rivers have a long history of trout farming stretching back to the twelfth century when the monks of Jerpoint Abbey were fishing here too.  Today, much of the practices of the Kirwans mirror the gentler intervention in the life cycle of the fish which the monks might well recognise.


The trout spend most of their time in earthen ponds and as Jer and Mags are exacting in the implementation of their eco-credentials, sustainability remains a core concern for them. They even re-stock the waters of some of Ireland’s most esteemed locations including Mount Juliet.  The Kirwans manage the entire life-cycle and production of the trout including the harvesting and processing right through to filleting and pin-boning.


When you visit the farm, and people are encouraged to visit, you’ll find a family who live and breath the ethos of their farm.  You’re as likely to be invited to join them for lunch as you are to get a knowledgeable tour. There’s just one problem, we struggled to decide which product we liked most, from delicately smoked trout to lightly cooked fillets and the magical trout caviar, it is a happy problem to have, in the end we went for the trout fillets for our final FEAST. Recipe coming soon!

Goatsbridge Farm



Settings Fit For a FEAST|With Grace & Saviour

Posted on April 29, 2014

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If you haven’t come across Grace & Saviour’s amazing work before you are in for a real treat! Specialising in event and wedding styling, Grace is a dab hand at setting a beautiful tablescape. Grace’s fantastic designs were put to great use when she agreed to collaborate with the team on our latest FEAST: A Dinner Journal which is out now. You can pick up a copy in all Eason stores and speciality shops or download our free app to see her work in action. So when it comes to top tips for laying a special table, we asked Grace to fill us in on her secrets. Over to Grace…


Goodness, when I sat down to write this I thought I would have 5 key tips, but as I thought over how I approach each project I realised I had so many things I consider when thinking of setting the perfect table. I do this on a scale for larger events and weddings, but much of the thought process also applies when welcoming guests to a meal in your home, to create a space that welcomes everyone into an environment that encourages conversation, relaxation and pure enjoyment of the food being served.

1.Use the room as a cue: Look around the room in which you will enjoy this meal, look at the style of the room, the colours on the walls, the view outside. There might be a lovely green detail in the tile on the wall that could be brought onto the table, or a large tree outside your window might encourage you to bring some of its foliage, flowers or fruit inside for a centrepiece.


2.Consider the season: A table will always look beautiful when it is authentic to the season:

-In Spring and Summer I love to set the table with crisp linens, muslins, faded vintage florals, Spring daffodils, bouncing as much natural light as possible. Whereas in Winter I get excited using fabrics, colours and textures that evoke comfort and warmth, such as velvets, wools, tweeds and lots of candlelight. Perhaps in winter adding blankets into the room to encourage guests to get comfortable.

-Bring the outside in, look into your garden, or the surrounding countryside or where you can go on a nice walk. I love to forage in hedgerows and along country lanes to add things to the table that reflect the season. Natural foliage whether foraged or purchased can create beautiful central focus to your table, laid along the table with candles, or gathered into a favourite vase. This is also true for fruit and flowers, consider adding lemons and fruits to summer gatherings, and sumptuous figs, plums, berries, nuts to winter table décor.

-Traditions of the season: I always believe in being authentic to the occasion, so consider researching traditions surrounding occasions such as Easter, and reflecting your favourites back onto your table.


3.Colour palette:  If you have worked through the points above, you might have unearthed your colour palette, if not also consider the food you are servicing, are there blues and greys of the sea, or fresh lemons, egg shells of Easter. I love to use neutral tones to calm and refine colour and pattern.

4.Heritage items: You can consider what you have around your home, and add different levels of intrigue and stories to your table, a set of candlesticks from family or maybe a little votive bought on holiday. I gather some of my favourite table items for pennies at markets and charity shops. A mix of finds can add colour and texture to a table and you won’t be so worried if something is broken at the end of a great dinner party.


5.The occasion: Think about your guests and what kind of atmosphere you want to create,  is this a family gathering to welcome someone home, or are you hosting a more formal occasion. A more relaxed table could look great with cutlery gathered in a woven basket for guests to help themselves; whereas a full cutlery setting will encourage more formality.

6.The food you are cooking: If you are making a menu of amazing Mexican food, you might want to add some details to the table that will reflect this, strong colours, hand painted bowls, gathered cutlery, a natural runner, or some sunny fruits. I have some little terracotta dishes from Portugal, and they are just sunshine every time they are placed on a table.


7.The food serving experience: It is important to consider what is essential to the table, glasses, cutlery, salt, pepper, the basics. The look and atmosphere at a table can change dramatically with how and in what you choose to serve the food. Choosing sharing platters or beautiful old heirloom enamel dishes for herb roasted potatoes will make everyone tuck in and gather. Even the basics, don’t have to be basic, salt and pepper pinched from thoughtful little bowls can make the whole table experience more tactile.

8.Involve the household:  In my own family we have hand lettered place cards for everyone at the Christmas dinner table, and as my original set gets tattered, and we add more people to the Christmas dinner, other younger people in the family have started to make these. Each year I love to open the tin and place these on the Christmas table.


9.Treat your guests and surprise them: Perhaps plan to serve an unusual cocktail before dinner, or a little sorbet in antique glasses between courses, or a magnificent cheese board laden with berries and figs. Set each of their places beautifully, tie each setting up with a ribbon or twine, add a personal name tag, and make each guest feel so glad to be with all of you at your table.

10.Scale: Consider all of the above and the size of table you have relative to the number of guests you have. After you have thought about all the above, give your table and your guest’s breathing space.  If you have a little table, enjoy petite items; serve each guest with individual portions in miniature ramekins, if you have a large table, enjoy big sharing platters, sturdy water jugs and deep bowls for vegetables.



Photo credits: 1,2,3-Campbell Photography 4.Paula Mc Manus 5. Jonathan Ryder Photography 6, 7 Christina Brosnon 8.NavyBlur 

Behind the scenes with FEAST: A Dinner Journal Spring 2014

Posted on April 24, 2014


With the fourth issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal on shelves, we thought you might like to see some more of the gorgeous FEAST setting and dishes that were created with the help of some fabulous producers.  Back at the end of January we shot the final feast in Hunter’s Hotel just outside Dublin.  In this issue we are exploring the Wild Atlantic Way which runs right down the west coast of Ireland so as you can imagine we were spoilt for choice when it came to fantastic producers and beautiful scenery.


For our final FEAST we also had the styling talents of Grace & Saviour who provided a beautiful wild atlantic ocean inspired table setting for the meal.  You can see some of the behind the scenes on the shoot in this video shot by the guys at One Productions:



In this issue we are thrilled to introduce to new photographers to the FEAST family, Joanne Murphy and Daragh McDonagh.  Between them they travelled across Ireland meeting some of the finest artisan producers for this issue.  From beautiful Burren Smokehouse Salmon to mighty wheels of Gubeen Cheese this next FEAST has a fine collection of food stories to share. Want to see more of our  talented producers? Print copies of the new issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal |Spring 2014 are available in Easons throughout Ireland priced at €3.95. An annual subscription is also available and you can order your subscription here. You can purchase digital issues of FEAST: A Dinner Journal via our app available on iTunes and on Google Play for Android Devices. Or order a printed copies of our first two issues via MagCloud.


If you would like to keep up to date with what is happening with FEAST: A Dinner Journal why not follow us on facebook, twitter and instagram.

FEAST: A Dinner Journal|Spring 2014

Posted on April 22, 2014

We are delighted to announce that the next issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal is in the shops!
 In this issue we explore the Wild Atlantic Way, a route that takes us along the whole west coast of Ireland from north to south and with it unfolds some of the most breath-taking scenery Ireland has to offer.


It’s this scenery which provides the provenance for the high quality ingredients and proud Irish food and craft producers that this issue highlights. We were thrilled to see that not only can this winding way boast incredible landscapes but it also has the quality of ingredients to match them. From the north to the south, the west of Ireland has a lot to boast about, as we weave through the regions with ingredients and crafts like Donegal Tweed for our winter table setting, Burren Smoked Salmon for a creamy and warming seafood chowder, Lorge Chocolatier for chocolate dipped candied blood orange slices.


Even the seashore has delicacies to offer with dillisk from Irish Atlantic Sea Veg for our savoury wholemeal buttermilk soda bread. As a meal, this is a filling FEAST but each of these courses has recipes to provide separate meal ideas and recipes to inspire you to use some of Ireland’s finest ingredients. This issue of FEAST is available in all Eason stores and selected speciality shops around the country. Print copies of the new issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal |Spring 2014 are available in Easons throughout Ireland priced at €3.95. An annual subscription is also available and you can order your subscription here. You can purchase digital issues of FEAST: A Dinner Journal via our app available on iTunes and on Google Play for Android Devices. Or order a printed copies of our first two issues via MagCloud.


Friends of FEAST: Wall & Keogh

Posted on March 26, 2014


In the run up to the release of our 4th issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal, and our 2nd print edition, we are taking a look back at some of the Irish food champions who have filled the pages of our previous issues.

When Oliver Cunningham opened his tea emporium he insisted that the name Wall & Keogh stayed above the door, the historic shop- space in Portobello needed to speak of its past as well as look to the future. Although a super-stylish space has been created inside with chocolate browns, oranges and accents in sky blue and white the space is sensitively managed and still echoes its earlier architecture.


“We’re only passing through,” Oliver explains, as far as he’s concerned he is only minding the building for the next generation. Oliver opened the doors for business in December 2010, joining a growing band of teashops and coffee houses in Dublin, but few are as chilled as this little gem. The counter is packed with gleaming glass jars filled with every conceivable variation of tea, tisane and infusion. But none of them have arrived here by chance. Oliver had previously spent many years back-packing around the world and worked in tea and coffee plantations from Brazil and Vietnam to Guatemala. He receives many samples of teas from suppliers but only the finest will make the cut. Each tea tells a story and he knows each one. His passion is palpable as he tells us that regardless of the function of the tea, whether it is medicinal or for indulgent flavour, it must be of the highest quality. The tea is sold in plain brown bags with a simple label so people aren’t paying for packaging; all the investment goes into the quality of the tea.


Step into Wall & Keogh and you step into a world of calm, nobody is in a rush here. Whether you want to chill downstairs in the kitsch 70s space, curl up with a book in a cosy corner by the counter or pop outside to the back terrace you’ll step back into our busy capital with a sense that all is well with the world. After all, most problems can be solved with a cup of tea.

Wall & Keogh