I love cooking and being able to cook with good quality fresh ingredients makes the entire experience even better.
Unfortunately a lot of good quality ingredients are harder to find if you don't live in a major urban centre. However Ireland is packed with quality food producers, so you can find excellent sources in the most unlikely of places.
Ballycotton Seafood is one such source. They sell fresh anchovies! If you cook with tinned ones normally then using the fresh variety is a revelation. It's a totally different experience and the flavour is completely different.
Sage Restaurant is just off the main street in Midleton. Yesterday I was lucky enough to have lunch there and I have to say it was simply fantastic.
But what's more interesting about the restaurant isn't just the quality of the food. It's their food philosophy.
They source most of their ingredients within a 12 mile radius of the restaurant.While that could lead to a rather limited menu, in the case of Sage it definitely doesn't.
The owner of Sage explains the thinking:
Yesterday I had lunch there. It was relaxed, excellent quality and good value. Highly recommended.
The city of Nantes has a very cool attraction - Les Machines de l’île.
It's all very "steam punk" in style and well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.
Here's a couple of videos I shot of the massive mechanical elephant:
It makes elephant sounds and happily sprays the crowd with water, which wasn't really necessary this weekend, as the weather was so damp already (which is why the sky is so overcast)
To give you an idea of how big the elephant is, here's a shot I took from the gantry above it looking down: