Archive for November, 2009

Porridge: Get your oats on

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

I have been under the impression that I disliked porridge for a long time but about a year ago, when reading about the health benefits, I realised I never really gave porridge a proper chance. I had never tried had a full bowl rather than just a dismissive taste. With that in mind and after a couple of unsuccessful outings to produce a bowl that did not have the consistency of wallpaper paste I figured out how much of an oats to water ratio to use and made a basic, but edible, mix. About a 2:1 mix and one minute in the microwave did the trick. A desert spoon of honey added after makes all the difference. Very quick and easy and great for an energy boost. That’s your base, after that add anything. Use milk or cream instead of water or even add a shot of Bailey’s on special occasions like your Birthday or on Christmas morning.

Last week Flahavans and Kevin Dundon teamed up for an All Ireland (and beyond) porridge promotion and have launched a porridge making competition.

Competitors are invited to enter two categories; one to create the perfect porridge dish and two, to develop the most innovative recipe using Flahavan’s Irish porridge oat range. More details below but first an example from Kevin on what is possible in the porridge category, this is the recipe pictured above:

Flahavan’s Creamy Porridge with Flambéed Plum, Orange Syrup & Crème Fraiche

Creamy Porridge:
4oz/110g Flahavan’s Progress Oatlets
1 pint/600ml milk
3 ½ floz/100ml cream
Grated zest of one orange
Pinch salt

Flambéed Plums:
4 plums
2oz/50g butter
2oz/50g brown sugar
1 measure Grand Manier

Orange Reduction:
½ pint/250ml orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
½ vanilla pod

Sprigs of mint
Crème Fraiche

Put the Flahavan’s porridge oats, salt and milk into a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3-4 minutes and then add in the cream and orange zest and cook for a furthur moment or two and then keep in a warm place until you are ready to serve.

Cut the plums into quarters and take out the stones. Heat the pan with the butter and ten add in the plums and toss around for a couple of minutes until they are lazed. Scatter in the sugar and cook for 3-4 minutes. Just before serving add in a splash of Grand Marnier and allow that to flame up. Be very careful not to get burned.

Place the orange juice, sugar and vanilla pod into a small saucepan and boil continuously for 5-6 minutes until it has reduced to a thick syrup.

Serve the Flahavan’s porridge in a large bowl with the flambéed plums on top. Drizzle with the orange syrup and top with a quenelle of crème fraiche and a sprig of fresh mint.

Sounds nice huh? Maybe Kevin should travel to Scotland next year for the  Golden Spurtle? Anyway, the overall winner in each category of the competition will receive a top prize of €1,500, with the runners up winning €500 each.

At the launch Kevin said, “Oats have formed part of healthy breakfast diets for generations. What some people don’t realise is that oats also make a great ingredient in countless savory or sweet dishes, adding texture and flavour.”

Open for entries from November 9th, Flahavan’s Porridge Making Challenge is an All-Ireland competition. Recipe entries along with preparation methods and photographs can be submitted via or can be sent by post to E. Flahavan & Sons Ltd. Porridge-Making Challenge, Kilnagrange Mills, Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford.

Multiple entries can be submitted and there is no age limit. The closing date for entries is 31st January 2010. Terms and conditions are available on

Lunch in Paudie’s Bar, The Dingle Bay Hotel

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Dingle Bay Hotel

A family trip to Dingle on a misty October Bank Holiday Monday brought us to Paudie’s Bar in the Dingle Bay Hotel for a spot of lunch. We wandered in on spec to find the place buzzing with life. Every table in the rather large bar was busy so the five of us were lucky to get a nice comfy corner table just as some diners were leaving. The waitress seated us, gave us menus and promised she would return to give the table a wipe. That was the last we saw of her, understandable as the place was quite busy and another waitress was along in a flash to take our order.

A couple of Dingle Bay Prawn Cocktails were excellent. Fresh, sweet, prawns served in a classic Marie-Rose with some home-made brown bread. The Goats Cheese and Caramelised Onion panini was well received and the Chicken Nuggets for the kids were made of proper chicken, lovely and white with a crispy crumb. Not soggy and dull like a lot of places. A refreshing bottle of Muscadet-Sevre et Maine sur lie brought the bill to €55 for three adults and two kids.

Great staff, excellent food and a great atmosphere.