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Time for another McCarthy’s of Kanturk delight.  This chocolate and pistachio black pudding was the first thing I tasted from Jack McCarthy’s family butchers’ repertoire.  Talk about a sweet introduction.

I mean, what is it?  A cake?  A black pudding?  What?!

I don’t care what it is.  It tastes amazing.  It’s not available in shops yet, as Jack is testing out different variations on the chocolate black pudding theme.  It made an appearance at Inishfood, which led to a few of us experimenting with it at home.  I popped it on top of some broad bean purée while Tara over at the Tasty Tart road tested it by wrapping it around some delicious looking monkfish.  Holy wow!

I’ve tried it just on plain toasted bread with a bit of olive oil.  I’ve tried it with some Irish blue cheese and a bit of Ballymaloe relish.  I also tried it with the broad bean purée.  It’s so incredibly rich that it’s probably best enjoyed on its own.  The broad bean purée however works amazingly well with less complex black pudding.

Have a look after the jump for the broad bean purée recipe to sit under your black pudding of choice.  This is a great little snack, perfect for a dinner party.  It takes very little time to make, and as the only cooking involved is the frying of the black pudding, it makes a great rustic dinner party canapé or starter.

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Veal cannelloni at The Tannery, Dungarvan

Last Friday, myself and Niall headed to Waterford for a twenty-two hour pitstop in Dungarvan to catch a snippet of The Waterford Food Festival.

We arrived at 5pm on Friday evening and left at 3pm on Saturday, but, boy, did we fit a lot in.

We enjoyed fresh and local asparagus and rhubarb, grown about 100 yards from where we ate it, and picked that day too.  We slept in one of the loveliest guesthouses we’ve ever stayed in.  We tried freshly shucked local oysters on the shore of the oyster beds from whence they came.  We had a tour of Dungarvan Brewing Company’s brewery and met the owners, while supping their beer at a tender 10:30 in the morning.  We had a fish demonstration as Gaeilge in Waterford’s Gaeltacht.

Not bad for 22 hours.  We missed loads of stuff though.  The Waterford Food Festival was held from the 14th of April until Sunday the 17th of April.  We didn’t get to O’Brien’s Chop House (next time!).  We didn’t get to taste Dungarvan Brewing Company’s Coffee and Oatmeal Stout.  We didn’t get to check out the Farmers’ Market on the Sunday.

Clearly Waterford, and Dungarvan in particular, have got it going on.

Skip the jump for more photos of the ah-mazing Tannery in Dungarvan and of our whistle-stop tour in general.

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Pasta, pasta, pasta.  I could eat it forever.  I really could.  It’s so comforting and easy to work with, and the sauce possibilities are just endless.  Total amazeness.

For most of us, a home-made pasta lunch is usually only possible on the weekends.  But in truth, that’s the best time for it as you’re then able to indulge yourself in a post-pasta snoozefest.  Lovely.

This is a super quick and startlingly simple pasta sauce that puts the always delicious leek and bacon/pancetta flavour combination to good use.  Perfect for a lazy weekend lunch or a quick and snappy mid-week dinner.

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Almost a month ago to the day, I was first introduced to the magic of North Cork butcher Jack McCarthy of Kanturk’s meat produce.  He was one of the three exceptional butchers (alongside TJ Crowe and Ed Hick) who took part in Inishowen Food Festival at Harry’s Restaurant, all of whom shared the same passion for outstanding meat.

Since our Butchers’ Masterclass, I’ve picked up Tipperary based TJ Crowe’s gorgeous bacon (available in Fallon & Byrne) and I’ve bought incredible gourmet pork directly from Dublin’s Ed Hick at Saturday’s Temple Bar market.  And although present at Inishowen but not demonstrating on the day, Tipperary’s James Whelan Butcher main man Pat Whelan’s ah-mazing Wagyu steaks deserve a mention here as outstanding and totally unique Irish meat.

Coming away from Inishowen, however, it was Jack McCarthy’s chocolate, mint and pistachio black pudding that was the recurring food craving for the weeks to come.  The recipe was inspired by something Dermot Gannon from The Old Convent in Clogheen (which looks unbelievable by the way) had created using some of Jack’s black pudding.

When I enquired after where I could get my hands on some more of the amazing stuff on Twitter a week or so ago, I was contacted by Jack himself wondering whether I’d be interested in receiving some more along with a few other samples of their produce?

He didn’t have to ask me twice, that’s for sure.

As Niall said after tasting Jack’s sausages: “The man is clearly some kind of meat genius.” I absolutely concur.

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