I love liquorice. To eat, to make desserts with and enrobed in chocolate. But I had never had it in a savoury dish until I met Ireland’s Chef of the Year, Micakel Viljanen (who is actually Finnish) and he cooked me a complex dish of venison, including loin, a rissole of the shoulder, pomme and parsnip puree, parsnip pearls, buttered sprouts. Amazing and since then I have developed my own more achievable version.
His is only one of the recipes to appear on Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland this week on 7TWO at 12 noon. It’s an episode of contrasts as I flit between the western city of Galway, brimming with culture and music and The Burren, a desolate national park known as the Great Rock, in the east. On the Burren I join local historian and naturalist Tony Kirby and learn of the tragic history of the Famine Road and see the endless dry stone walls, huge boulders in the “Giants’ Playground and learned of a history of goat farming. So it was off to nearby Cassidy’s Pub to cook a deluxe Irish stew featuring goat instead of lamb.
On the cliffs of Moher, towering 200 metres above the Atlantic Ocean, I encountered 80km per hour winds, strong enough to pick up pebbles and blow them into my face, and blow a man over! The sea was wild, all white on top with the foam going about a kilometre inland.
I had no choice but to shelter in O’Laclainn’s Pub in Ballyvaughan with its eclectic whiskey collection made famous from a visit by film director Steven Spielberg and the Desperate Housewives! I stuck with learning how to taste and appreciate Irish Whiskey and a lovely thing it is too.
In Galway I had a tasting of a different type – the wild Galway oyster, plucked straight from the water. I learned all about the world oyster shucking competition and then retired to the small but famous Morans by the Weir in Kilcogan. Here they serve seafood chowder in a recipe handed down through seven generations. Michael Moran was unwilling to share it, but he did let me have some ingredients to make my own which he declared “scarily close” to theirs! I loved the challenge.
Lyndey Milan, Australian home cook hero, combines a thirst for life and a sense of fun with a love of good food and sparkling shiraz. A familiar face on television and in print, she been instrumental in changing the way Australians think and feel about food and wine for over twenty five years.