Tuesday, January 12

Slow Food, Westmeath

Here in Westmeath we have set up a local convivium of the Slow Food movement, last Saturday was our inaugural event.
A Hunter's Luncheon for 17 people.
We decided we wanted to keep the first event small and intimate so that a) we could handle it and b) we could meet local food producers in a relaxed and informal way.
The Lunch took place here in Coolure House, thanks to John and Una (both commitee members) for providing the picturesque venue.

John did an incredible job of setting the table


Each place setting had an individual Menu.
The Menu was designed by us with the intention of using as much local and seasonal produce as possible.

John Rogans Smoked Trout
Therese Gilsenan's Inny Eel Pate
Baby Leaves
Helen James' Crusty Bread
Wild Pheasant Consomme
Butter wrapped Greg Potterton Venison
Red Cabbage with Orange and Juniper
Mary Kelly's Moonshine Cheese Gratin of Potatoes
Helen Kelly's Elderberry Jelly
Local Cheese Plate
Morag's Oatcakes
Kilbeggan Whiskey and local Honey homemade Ice Cream
Helen Kelly's Mincepies

We cooked everything ourselves,
I made Bread

Other members brought their homemede Oatcakes, Mince pies and Elderberry jelly but most of lunch was cooked (by us) in the Kitchen at Coolure

Including the MOST delicious Consomme, now I wouldn't have thought Consomme to be the most exciting thing in the world but in Una's hands this was pure clear golden nectar.

The taste was so delicate and complex. It was made using a method where you add eggwhite to the broth which clarifies it and then the whole concoction is strained through muslin cloths and I can tell you it was purely sublime.

The Venison was cooked for 12 hours...............

 The fire was Lit


Candles were Lit

Conversation and good wines flowed.

Wines were carefully selected and provided by Winesdirect, and Paddy the owner gave a very eloquent history to each one as it was served.
The ethos of Slow Food is about Local, Seasonal food and knowing where your food has come from. Personally getting involved for me, is about that, but also about meeting local people who are interested in food, bringing us all together and becoming involved in my community.
We will be hosting more events throughout the year and are planning some exciting adventures on a larger scale.
To find out more about Slow Food you can go to the website or if you are in Ireland the irish website
To find out more about the local producers we used click on the links in the MENU.

All photographs by Helen James


  1. Helen, Love everything here, elegant. warm. The photographs are wonderful-honestly. I think the photo of the house is enchanting and the 2nd to last-cropped is a gorgeous portrait. Great post all round.

  2. Great post!!! It's lovely to see familiar faces...ou est vous???

  3. Looks amazing. That top shot is jaw-dropping... making me a little homesick!

  4. SS -Je suis derriere l'appareil de photo, geez my French is rusty but you know what I mean!!
    LA Thanks, I tried to just take snaps all day and not worry about it too much or make it intrusive.
    Jane- Lovely to "see" you , don't be homesick it's been grey and raining ever since x

  5. That is utterly superb. Love the deer (?) horn on the table, the house, the setting, the menu. I am a big believer in the locavore approach. And that consomme. The eggwhite technique is like magic, you must try it yourself. xoxo

  6. Looks like a great time in a great setting with great food!

  7. Fantastic! This appeals to my senses!!

  8. Wow beautiful and that menu sounds super yum!

  9. I was particlarly amazed by the consomme. It was absolutely beautiful, clear and everything it could be. It just seemd a huge amount of effort for something that we slurped up in a flash. Am absolutely sold on slow food but not if I have to faff around with eggwhites. I feel very priveledged to have tried the perfect consomme. It was ever bit as beautiful a day as it looks in your fabulous photos.



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