Kissane Sheep Farm, Ireland
John Kissane explaining sheep herding
The Kissane Sheep Farm is located on the Ring of Kerry, a 170 kilometer route in County Kerry, Ireland. Situated in the most beautiful scenery, the Kissane family has farmed the land for generations. We visited the farm to see a sheep herding demonstration and learn about sheep farms.
John was up at 6:00 a.m. that day and had climbed the mountain to round his sheep for this demonstration assisted by his faithful border collies.
Border Collie checking us out
The goat wants in on the action too
Following only two verbal commands for left or right, the dogs skillfully herded the sheep.
Let’s Go Sheep
Job Well Done
He makes it look easy, but this hard working man has generations of experience and love for the farm behind him.
The modern day challenges are the economics of running the farm. With synthetic fabrics taking over, wool sales have plummeted. It costs 2 euros to sheer the sheep, but the wool can only be sold for 1 euro.
The income from tourists visiting the farm plays an important role for the farm to continue on.
Kissane Farm House
If you are travelling the Ring of Kerry in Ireland, see if you can visit the Kissane Sheep Farm. You’ll have a better appreciation of the hard work farmers do.
I hopped the pond and went on a tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland. I’d like to share some of my photos with you of these beautiful countries.
Sheep enjoying the view of the Atlantic Ocean
Port of Cobh - the last port theTitanic sailed from
Dublin Castle - Portrait of Queen Victoria
Queen’s University Belfast
My last photo is of course, Ireland’s famous brew:
Guinness Storehouse Dublin - Freshly pulled pint of Guinness
My mother-in-law taught me how to make potato salad, it is more German in style than North American. She never gave me a specific recipe, just showed me how she made it. She always peeled the potatoes before boiling them.
The quantities depend on how how large the potatoes are. You will probably want to make adjustments at the end. I always do.
4 potatoes, peeled (Yukon gold)
1 or 2 celeries diced
1 or 2 dill pickles, diced
1/4 cup mild onion, diced
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 - 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Put the peeled potatoes in a pot of water. Use just enough water to cover them. Bring the water to the boil, and then reduce to simmer. Cover the pot and cook the potatoes until tender, not mushy. Drain and cool until they can be handled. Cut into cubes.
Put in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients while the potatoes are still warm, and stir gently to combine.
Taste. Adjust the seasonings, and add more pickles, mayonnaise or vinegar if desired.
You will never want to eat store bought potato salad again.
Port Perry Ontario
Queen Street Port Perry
Port Perry is a town located about 80 kilometers from downtown Toronto, Ontario. It is small, quaint, with a traditional old fashioned small town feel to it.
Located on Lake Scugog, you get to enjoy the beauty of the lake and the small town atmosphere of Port Perry.
Restaurants, and shops line the few blocks of the main street which leads to the lake.
There is the Nutty Chocolatier for old fashioned chocolates and candies. They even have some old types of hard candies custom made for them.
There is Hank’s Pastries, where you can have an inexpensive lunch and load up on butter tarts to take home.
Or you can have a picnic by the lake and enjoy the scenery.
.Wild Flowers in park by Lake Scugog
It is time to get out of the city and explore.
Christina Tosi, Momofuku Milk Bar, Taste of Toronto
Christina Tosi Momofuku Milk Bar
I am a fan of her trendsetting approach to baking and desserts.
Chef David Chang opened the Toronto branch of Momofuku in 2012.
Momofuku Milk Bar is an American style bakery, with Tosi’s creative versions of cookies, cakes, pies, etc.
Her baked goods while nostalgic in spirit, are modern and innovative in execution.
Milk Bar Birthday Cake Photo Courtesy Momofuku Milk Bar
Milk Bar cakes have unfrosted sides, highlighting the frosting inside.
To make the cakes Christina uses sheet cakes, and then cuts out circles of cake (as opposed to baking them in a round pan). This way she gets perfect circles, and the cake itself is visible.
But there is a lot of cake left over from the sheet. Christina was raised by her mother and grandmother to “waste not want not”.
Her solution uses up the excess cake crumbs and creates a small dessert for those who want only a bite of cake, not a whole slice - cake truffles.
That’s what I got to make - the b’day truffles!
This is what I did: I crumbled up the sheet cake, added vanilla infused milk to the crumbs, rolled them into balls, dipped my gloved hand into the melted white chocolate and then my work mate rolled the balls in the chocolate, next, they were dipped in dried cake crumbs for a top coating.
Dried Cake Crumbs for Sanding and Melted White Chocolate
Okay, I was really too busy talking and taking pictures and Chef Jenna from Milk Bar New York came and helped me finish, even Chefs Christina and Scott came over and helped.
Chefs Christina Tosi and Scott Savoie
I noticed intense aromas of vanilla come wafting up from the sheet cake beside me. I asked Christina how much vanilla does she use? This was more fragrant than a traditional vanilla sheet cake usually is.
“1 ½ - 2 times the amount usually called for,” she answered.
Christina bakes like a savory chef, applying her knowledge and understanding of savory cooking to baking.
Using extra vanilla in the sheet cake isn’t the only step used to add flavor to the truffles. Christina infuses milk with vanilla. We added the wonderful smelling milk to the cake crumbs to bind them.
Dipping the truffles into white chocolate, then dried cake crumbs
White chocolate, with a bit of oil added to it to make it runny, is the best coating for the truffles. Its flavor doesn’t overpower.
Cake crumbs are baked and the truffle is rolled in them for texture. Christina loves texture.
Then time ran out too quickly and the class was over. I got to package up my truffles and take them home.
Christina is not only a true trendsetter and innovative thinker, she is an excellent teacher. I’m very happy I was able to hear her share her knowledge and passion with us.
Cory Vitiello The Harbord Room Chilled Tomato Soup
Chilled Tomato Soup, The Harbord Room at Taste of Toronto
The title “Chillled Tomato Soup” fails to convey the complex sophistication of this dish.
It was everything I was hoping to find at The Taste of Toronto Food Festival.
I love chilled tomato soup, and was thrilled at the treatment one of Toronto’s finest chefs, Cory Vitiello, The Harbord Room, gives it.
The soup is described as: “crushed heirloom tomato chilled soup, wild watercress, buffalo mozzarella, charred sourdough crumbs, tomato and white balsamic sorbet.”
Chef Cory Vitiello and Chef Anthony Rose
This soup has a beautiful flavor base extracted from fresh seasonal local tomatoes. All the complex additions to it play with our senses of taste, texture and temperature, turning this soup into an extraordinary dish.
Fortunately I was able to attend Chef Cory’s cooking demonstration at The Taste of Toronto (which he gave with Chef Anthony Rose of Rose & Sons.) He talked a bit about the Chilled Tomato Soup.
Chef Cory explained that he has been making this soup for years. But he only makes it for one month of the year when tomatoes are at their ripest.
He bases the recipe on Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse recipe for chilled tomato soup and then adds in all the extra goodies.
The Taste of Toronto is over now, so what you can do is go to The Harbord Room to try Chef Cory’s other local and seasonal dishes.
Taste of Toronto
Today I went to the Taste of Toronto, an international food festival that originated in London, and it is having its first North American appearance here.
I was in foodie heaven.
The top restaurants of Toronto are invited to participate, guest chefs give demonstrations, there are Master cooking classes, and booths to try many different foods and beverages.
Set in historic Fort York, one of the last remaining vestiges of the original Toronto, it echoed the classic setting of Regents Park where the Taste of takes place in London.
Fort York Soldier walking to his Post
Richmond Station Sundae
With a blog having Ice Cream in the title I can assure you that this was one of the most pleasing sundaes I have eaten.
You can get a gin and tonic (G&T as they say) from the Fever-Tree booth. Since the Taste of originated in London what is more British than having a gin and tonic from the Fever-Tree booth?Fever-tree is an upscale British made tonic water than contains quinine in it, like the original tonic water did. Tonic water was invented in India, during the Raj, to fight malaria.
You have two more days to go to the Taste if you can. See what food discoveries you can make.