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Vital to support local food businesses

Thursday, 9th April, 2020 9:58am

How life has changed. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d ever promote buying food online – but this is what keeps small producers in business these days. And thankfully, a lot of people have adapted and opened shops on their website. 

I am currently working with Bord Bia on a Buy Irish Farmhouse Cheese campaign on behalf of Cáis, the Association of Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers, and it is encouraging to see how cheese lovers are supporting these small cheesemakers.

For a list of online cheese shopping opportunities, please check out irishcheese.ie and follow Cáis on Facebook for regular updates and a nice competition.

But all is not lost as the English Market still operates with most stalls open – a lot of them are offering delivery like The Chicken Inn and Pat O’Connell’s Fish (check out the Facebook page of the English Market for updates).

On the cheese front (and regular readers will know how much I love my cheese), On the Pigs Back in the English Market is open as well as Iago in Princes Street. On the Pigs Back also operates the Neighbour Food initiative in Douglas (check out article on top of the page) with online ordering system and contactless pickups.

You can access Neighbour Food in Cork city, Watergrasshill, East Cork and a number of other areas.

My favourite butcher O’Flynn Brothers in Marlborough Street is also open, alas with shorter opening times. The quality of their meat is outstanding and they are one of the last true craft butchers in Cork (not the last one but one of a disappearing breed).

Forget any cookbook – for advice on how to cook your meat properly, no one will give you better advice than Simon and Patrick.

Bradley’s is also still operating and offers delivery within a certain radius. Michael stocks artisan produce as well as one of the best selection of craft beer and wine. So, when you get your cheese, why not give Bradley’s a call and he will advise you which beer or wine goes best with your food.

Staying positive right now can be a challenge and it is easy for me to ask you to support your local shops and producers but that is what we are trying to do right now.

I haven’t been in town but Mr T is doing all our shopping in our local SuperValu/Centra store – this restricts me in my cooking ambitions but it also gives me opportunity to keep it simple and rely on the items at hand.

If store-cupboard cooking is a challenge for you, Jamie Oliver on Channel 4 is currently cooking from his home with items he has in the kitchen.

He has pared down everything and I am actually enjoying watching him again. You might be able to pick up some ideas.

‘The Great British Menu’ is currently on BBC2 and for the first time in years, I can’t recook anything as I would have to travel for most of the items but that doesn’t stop me from planning for better times to come and me getting my apron on again.

Stay safe my darlings!

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