Booking The Cooks @ Electric Picnic – Theatre of Food Saturday 6pm

Posted on: 26 August 2011 2 comments

Since the dancehall days of the showband era, the Irish have made the humble burger one of their essential gig going eats. Whether falling out of Dickie Rocks concerts, or falling around Feile – burgers and live music go together here like salt and vinegar. And what better place to celebrate our love for melodies and minced meat than the home of great festival grub, the Electric Picnic.


To the tune of Underworld’s Born Slippy – “Burger – Burger – Burger – MORE CHIPS”

In association with the good people in The Ticket, we  will be showing our love for the pattie by staging a burger cook off between the comedian Danny Dowling and the broadcaster and radio DJ Michelle Doherty.  The winner of the cook off gets to pick a song for the loser to sing karaoke style.  There will be musical interludes from Clint Velour, there will be a blind taste test for the audience to get involved in and there will be burgers.  To give you a sneak preview, here’s what the two contestants will be cooking.


Michelle Doherty Pic

She has a daily show on Phantom FM, has hosted two TV music programmes and seems to pop up at every gig and festival in the entire country. Michelle Doherty is most definitely, the unofficial Rock Queen of Ireland. That gives her perfect credentials to be able to put together the most commonly found food item at a concert. But don’t expect a greased out burger of cardboard and gloopy ketchup from Michelle – hers contains a tropical salsa and as it has no accompanying bread, is a low carb option. Who says Dr. Atkins and Rock Chicks have to be mutually exclusive?

1 x white onion – finely chopped
fresh breadcrumbs
1 x egg
400g lean mince meat
black pepper
chilli flakes
flat Leaf Parsley

Pineapple Salsa Ingredients:
1 x pineapple – finely diced – about a third of the whole pineapple
2 x ripe tomatoes – chopped
1 x fresh red jalapeño chilli – deseeded and finely chopped
1 and a half inch piece of cucumber – finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh coriander – chopped
2 teaspoons of clear honey

Fresh Iceberg lettuce to serve

Burgers – combine the mince with the onion and egg. Add enough
breadcrumbs so that the mixture isn’t too sloppy. Add in the chopped
parsley and chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Form the
burgers in your hands and place on a hot barbecue until cooked through.

For the salsa, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and
season if necessary. Cover and leave for as long as possible for the
flavours to develop.

To serve – place a lettuce leaf on a plate, sprinkle a teaspoon of the
salsa on top, place the burger on this and top with more salsa.

Michelle will be broadcasting live all weekend from the Electric Picnic with Phantom 105.2.


Danny Dowling Press shot

The Kiwi comedian, Danny Dowling recently competed on Come Dine With Me Ireland where his outrageous pie fight and outstanding menu of wild pheasant, home bred pork and a sloe gin compote gave him all the right ingredients to win in Galway. At this time of year in his countryside home, he can hear the roar of young stags raising their heads scenting the air for willing does. It is that same urge to merge that he expects to hear under the Stradbally night sky, which is why his burger is all about the venison. And not tofu. Nothing about tofu makes you think about mating.


800 g of shoulder cuts of minced wild venison

4 smoked streaky rashers

15 ml worcestershire sauce

4 g chopped parsley

2 g sage

1 crushed Thumb sized ginger

1 clove of Garlic

2 banana Shallots

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg, beaten to mix

6 ciabatta Buns

a handful of rocket mixed Leaves


10 ml of balsamic vinegar

5g brown sugar

red onion

2 handfuls of Stradbally wild blackberries

splash of sloe gin


Cut the streaky smoked rashers into small strips and heat until they sweat.

Chop the shallots up finely length ways and heat them till they soften up.

Get a big arse bowl out, throw the following in and combine: venison, bacon, parsley, egg, sage, salt, pepper,  cooked shallots, minced garlic, juice from the ginger (do this by crushing it with a garlic mincer), Worcestershire sauce and a glug of olive oil. Make your patties and bang them in a fridge if you can to let them set.


Chop the red onion up nice and fine throw in a pot along with the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and the Blackberries and a splash of Sloe gin.

Heat the grill, put them bad boys on there and go for it. While they rest, toast the ciabatta bread and drizzle a little olive oil on them. Smother on the blackberry relish, drop some rocket leaves in, throw the pattie in and roar to the stars!

Danny Dowling is onstage at 2pm in The Comedy Tent on Saturday.

Booking The Cooks @ Electric Picnic also takes place on Saturday at 6pm in The Theatre of Food in the Mindfield area. Do come along. Feel free to roar drunken obscenities or even words of encouragement to our burger chefs!

The Black Pig Bloody Mary

Posted on: 19 August 2011 No comments


Should you ever find yourself taking the almighty plunge of doing an Irish stay-cation, keep one thing in mind: it will rain like fuck, constantly. There may be lingering shreds of optimism that could lead you to make unnecessary purchases like sun block and beach towels. Take those shreds of optimism and shove them up your gick,  where they may be used for another occasion. Because if you go on holiday here, the weather will be diabolical. Fact.

The single greatest facebook group ever is: I LOVE SUMMER IN IRELAND, IT’S MY FAVOURITE DAY OF THE YEAR It’s funny/not funny, coz it’s so bloody true. I recently just returned from a stay-cation in the not so sunny Sligo. A week in Enniscrone. Being the eternal idiot that I am, I brought a picnic mat, bermuda shorts and flip flops. What I should have brought with me was water resistant goretex socks, jocks and disposable willy warmers.

But I would be an even bigger fool, if I were to let something so trivial as the weather get me down when I’m on me hols. There was plenty of craic to be had down in the town where The Black Pig Festival was taking place and there’s always a healthy dose of surfers in Enniscrone to keep it lively. And besides, I have good friends there, who for years have done their utmost to keep me safely away from them. They were finally due a visit……

It was there that I was introduced to the wonderfully zingy, wild horseradish. My friends live right behind the beach in Enniscrone and reef out the horseradish from the sand dunes.  It’s the roots you’re after, in much the same way as ginger. It is cleaned, peeled and then put through a coffee grinder so it can be shredded. To preserve it, you place it in a jar with some white wine vinegar.  I was very kindly given some as a parting gift and I did my best not to put it into a drink. But I fucked up and stuck it into a Bloody Mary.  Having said that, it’s pretty bleedin’ tasty.



Isn’t this a lovely photo? Barbara McCarthy took it!


1 teaspoon of pickled wild Horseradish

50ml of ABSOLUT vodka

100ml of tomato juice

2 sweet cherry tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce


1 circular slice of  pan fried black pudding

1 cherry tomato

1/2 teaspoon of celery salt, spread on a saucer to go on the rim of the glass


Chill your glass with some ice.

Muddle the cherry tomatoes with the horseradish in your cocktail shaker, til the tomatoes are nicely squashed.

Throw the vodka, tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce into the shaker with some ice. Seal it and then shake it up.

If like me, you like a drink with bits in it, then do a single strain. If you like it clean and smooth, then muddle the tomatoes and horseradish a bit more and then do a double strain.

To garnish, gently pierce the black pudding with a bamboo skewer and push it through so that it stays on the stick. Then stick a cherry tomato on top of that. Place skewer into the drink.

P.S. I would like to thank everyone for voting for me in The BarSmarts Mix With The Best Competition. I won! The judges gave me their vote in the end. I’m heading off to NY at the end of September to attend a master’s cocktail course taught by the Jedi Master’s of the business.  Plus I will be able to see my American family for the first time in over 2 years. Very happy camper!!

If you fancy having a look at my winning cocktails, here they are.  They all contain wild Irish ingredients.

Vote For Me!!! – Or Twink Gets It….

Posted on: 6 August 2011 1 comment

The journalist Liam Fay recently wrote: “Conrad Gallagher is the Twink of the restaurant world. “  To be fair to both individuals, that’s probably the best compliment either of them have ever received. And it’s hardly what you could call glaringly positive.

Fay was reviewing the TV3 show Celebrity Head Chef that featured the two personalities.  I think I would have preferred to pick out my arsecheek  hairs with a blunt tweezers than watch that garbage, even with my beloved Wagner in it.  It was all about some kind of cooking contest that the schlebs had to be involved in and Gallagher was their mentor. Twink won it. And it has spurred on a renewed interest in the cult that surrounds her. A very small, but exceptionally vocal minority would like to see her in the Aras and not just for a panto photocall.  They want Twink aka Adele King, to be the next president of Direland.

For some people,  there just wouldn’t be enough glamour in potential candidates like Dana or Gay Byrne.  And I would be very much in agreement with them. I for one would happily give Twink my vote. What this country truly needs as a head of state,  is a no nonsense, brass necked and sharp tongued PR Monster. Someone who can get out there and rustle up some international headlines. It matters not how or why she may get Eire into the news – just as long as we’re mentioned.  If she were to conduct another Mickeygate with the likes of Berlusconi or Pope Benedict – billions of tourists would flock here  in search of the Golden Girl herself, Barbie’s Granny – our one and only Twink.

Now that Norris is out of the race, she has to be a defo to be our next prez. And that is why, she is now residing in my attic making icing  sugar sculptures where she will remain until all you lot vote for me in The BarSmarts Mix With The Best Challenge.  If I win the online ballot, I’ll be sent to NY to attend a master’s cocktail course and see my American family.  If I don’t win the online ballot, Twink will forever remain a captive in my gaff where she will spend her remaining days making icing sugar sculptures and baking pink glittery cupcakes.

So the choice is yours. Vote for Oisin Davis and The Sugar Club  in the cocktail competition and I’ll release Twink to let her for the presidency.  Or you can choose not to vote and leave her in the icing sugar sculpture fortress in my D 12 attic.

Joking and fabricated stories of kidnapping aside, I would greatly appreciate your vote in this competition. You vote for me by downloading the app, sharing my drinks selection on your wall and putting up a comment. And if you do that, I will enter you into a draw to name a Sugar Club cocktail after you AND give you a pair of tickets to see SMASH HITS play on August 26th.



Here is yours truly making one of the cocktails I entered into the competition, which incidentally, all contained wild Irish ingredients. It is called Ed Hick’s Whiskey Elderflower and it’s dead easy to make.



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