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Share Trish Deseines Review Of The Food Hero Experience Box

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Food Heroes

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  • Trish Deseines Review Of The Food Hero Experience Box

Discovering New Food Heroes…

This year, amongst the usual 'New Year New You' claims of how a gym membership, a bowl of granola or some kind of spin/step contraption will change your life & give you instant Brad Pitt-in-Fight Club abs, there's a gentle breeze of good sense blowing.

As ever, the advertisers play on our addiction to ‘new’ everything, when the ‘old’ - even these last few weeks of festivities - was really not that terrible. We set ourselves impossible goals through drastic diets which our minds and our bodies, perceiving them as threats to our survival, are programmed to resist. But increasingly we are realizing that just as in a good plate of food itself, it's balance that counts and that the small, incremental changes in habits & tastes, quantities & quality will eventually make for healthier lives & smaller waistbands.

Food writer Bee Wilson suggests in her new book ‘This is Not A Diet Book’, that we banish the word 'diet' completely. The now outdated notions of deprivation or demonization of certain ingredients or food groups in restrictive diets do more harm than good in the long term, leading to obsessive, and at times anti social behaviour when you have to exclude yourself from usual gatherings with friends or bring along your own, sad tupperware. Bee Wilson points specifically to the benefits of trying out new foods and dishes, and recommends gently integrating them into your shopping and cooking - exactly what I've been doing with my first Ardkeen Food Hero Experience Box over the past few weeks. 

Arguably, a restaurant critic/food writer’s job still gives a Get of Jail Free card when it comes to l’embonpoint, but I admit it is high time I made some changes to my own lifestyle. I know only too well the feelings of failure when, come February, all my resolutions have gone down the drain and once again the kilos stay firmly in place.

There has to be another, better way. 

Food Hero Experience Box (Photography by Marta Miklinska. Food Styling by Trish Deseine)
Food Hero Experience Box (Photography by Marta Miklinska. Food Styling by Trish Deseine)

Creativity is always made easier within a restrictive framework, especially when the frame takes the form of a big box of the best of Irish food. I loved the idea of having Ardkeen's expert team make choices for me based on seasonality & quality of Irish produce. It felt like a holiday, or even a return to childhood, when all my food choices were made for me.  There were a few items in there which would never usually reach my shopping basket - I wouldn’t naturally reach for kale or sprouted beans in my usual shop, for example, and why on earth would I need Spelt flour with no gluten intolerants around me? – but grown-up me knew it was high time I gave them a little more attention. And it's been  fun cooking for friends & family with such great produce, including the alien cupboard dwellers.

An eye AND appetite- opener, I can't think of a better way to gradually try new, Irish products throughout the year and start making those small changes which are becoming so important. Here are my remarks and a few recipes from my Food Hero Experience so far. 

Clashganny Organic Apples
Possibly the star of the show. With their gorgeous flavour, texture and colour they were such a treat cooked into my spelt pastry galette.  

Recipe: Clashganny Apple Galette with Dunany Organic Spelt Flour

Happy Pear Bean Sprout Mix
Honestly? As someone completely immune to the hyped-up nutri babble of the clean-eating brigade, I have always struggled to see the point in these. They reminded me of school Biology classes, always seemed to shout, “I’m alive, eat me OR ELSE”, threatening to burgeon into some kind of fridge-dwelling triffid, all the while managing to be fibrous, harshly oniony & mealy at once. But, on kitchen parole thanks to the sensible people in Ardkeen, they kept well in the fridge & proved super useful as crunchy, nutritious garnishes on a creamy soup and welcome additions to at times bland turkey and ham sandwiches (we’ve all been there over the past few weeks.)  They are just perfect for adding a little freshness to a dish of warm or cold, plain-Jane grains with a mustardy vinaigrette and definitely a keeper if you have a household needing packed lunches.

It’s been a pleasure to switch to Dunany’s  wholemeal flour for our savoury pancakes, soda breads and date scones and a revelation in pastry (see the apple galette recipe) Using such a premium product in everyday items makes you savour them more - and eat a little less!

Recipe: Dunany Organic Wholemeal Buttermilk and Date Scones

A terrific little energy booster for the children’s packed lunches.
 
Completely delicious. May or may not have found itself chilled, in a glass during Christmas with some ice cubes and Blackwater Gin. It is also a complete lifesaver when you need something more interesting than Coke for non-drinkers at dinner parties. 
 
Just lovely with all the cold ham and turkey over Christmas of course, but also with labneh (or feta or mozzarella), parsley, mint, pomegranate and steamed beets for quite a posh little starter.

Kilbeggan Irish Oat Cookies Dulce de Leche
Ok, I confess, they lasted two days. The Dulce de Leche gives them a delectable softness which is utterly irrestistble. Good cookies are good cookies are good cookies.

Recipe: Almond Milkshake with Raw Cacao, Nut Butter with Kilbeggan Cookies

Des And Olive Thorpe’s Leek and Mushroom Soup with Ballyhoura Cep Oil and Bean Sprout Mix
Des And Olive Thorpe’s Leek and Mushroom Soup with Ballyhoura Cep Oil and Bean Sprout Mix

Des and Olive Thorpe’s Organic Kale and Leeks
Leeks are fine and always welcome in my kitchen, but confronted with the magnificent bouquet of kale springing from the Food Hero treasure trove, the farmer, the gourmet and the nutriswizz sceptic voices in my head kept whispering, “Don’t go there Trish. There's a reason we feed most of our kale to our cattle, they have six molars, top and bottom, to deal with it. But you are a human and you DON’T HAVE TO. It feels like eating the green bit from a kitchen sponge soaked in dish water and tastes like cabbage, so JUST EAT CABBAGE.”

But thanks to Ardkeen, my newfound New Year spirit of experimentation and the promise of pure goodness from Des and Olive Thorpe’s organic cultivation, I persevered.  

Steamed or boiled, well-drained, with plenty of butter, the flavour was, of course, excellent. Roasted with oil & spices its frilliness was just lovely on the palate, & the intensified taste holds up well to chilli, cumin, garlic or paprika or any combination of those sprinkled with a little sea salt flakes. Chopped or shredded, it has a slight advantage over thicker cabbage as it is super quick and handy to cook into stir fries, omelettes, quiches, cheesy toppings for baked potatoes and pasta sauces. 

Recipe: Des And Olive Thorpe’s Leek and Mushroom Soup with Ballyhoura Cep Oil and Bean Sprout Mix

I’m not sure you could find a more food hipster way to start the day? Containing 95% of the trendiest granola ingredients (where is the seaweed?) certainly does not preclude it from being pretty tasty with Velvet Cloud yoghurt and blueberries. Mine also found its way into little fudgy bites for coffee made with chocolate, butter and pomegranate molasses.
  • Food Heroes Experience Four Seasons!

    Food Heroes Experience Four Seasons!

    A quarterly curated experience delivering the best of what's in season.

    The perfect way to discover new, unique, and exclusive foods that we are sure you will love. Handpicked from the aisles of Ardkeen Quality Food Store to bring together a unique taste of what our incredible producers are making. Join our Food Hero Experience and get a quarterly box brimming with 7- 10 of our latest discoveries and all-time favourites, straight to your door. Free shipping!

    Every product we feature is carefully selected by our team of experts led by our Artisan Foods Buyer Christine Fowler.

    Our current offering;

    Hickey’s Bakery Traditional Barm Brack
    Hickey's legendary Barm Brack is made with skilled hands using the finest quality sultanas and cherries and baked in Hickey's original bakery in Clonmel or as it is sometimes known as, the Saint Peter’s of Barm Brack. This Barm Brack is delicious toasted or not, but Hickey's advice that you never be mean with the butter!

    • Homespun Quinoa Crunch with Pecan & Cranberry
    A nutritious and delicious twist on granola, blending quinoa pops, super seeds, juicy cranberries and crunchy raw pecans.

    Clashganny Organic Farm 100% Apple Cider Vinegar 
    Their organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains the “the mother”, strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria which give it a murky cobweb-like appearance.

    Joan & Bob Saucy Relish
    Their signature sauce is so good with hot or cold meats & cheese. Anything goes with a dollop of JB's!

    Carrigsagart Irish Apples
    Carraigsagart Apple Juice is a family run business based in Passage East Waterford producing apples, apple juice, honey, preserves and chutneys.

    Des & Olive Thorpe’s Organic Leek, Kale & Cabbage
    Des & Olive Thorpe grow their IOFGA Certified Organic vegetables on the family farm in New Ross, County Wexford.

    Ballycross Apple and Blackcurrant Juice 
    Enjoy this aromatic and distinctive juice, made by traditional pressing methods using handpicked apples and blackcurrants, grown on Ballycross farm in Wexford. Due to the natural maturity of the apples and blackcurrants at pressing, subtle variations of flavour and texture may occur through the season. A vibrant juice, rich in Vitamin C.

    Frothing Ferments Raw Live Kombucaha
    Raw Live Kombucha with Natural Cultures. Full of probiotics and good bacteria! Frothing Ferments Kombutcha is a fermented tea produced by a traditional recipe used for thousands of years by many cultures from around the world. People of all ages drink Kombucha and believe it boosts your immune system, improves your digestion, helps detoxify your body and energises your senses. Kombucha also contains probiotics and live enzymes.

    Pure food Company Spinach & Basil Pesto
    A pure, vibrant pesto made with fresh fragrant basil, spinach and lemon juice

    Here's how it works:

     

    1.            Place your order. You will receive an Order Confirmation email for your purchase and follow up email with delivery details from our Customer Service team. If this is a gift, please make sure to enter the gift message at checkout

    2.            Your Food Hero Experience box will be sent depending on when you have placed your order.  The quarters begin on the 1st of December, March, June, September. If you order on or after the 15th of February, May, August or November, your first box will arrive in the next quarter.

    3.            Boxes will be delivered between 1 to 5 working days. You can expect to receive delivery details between the 2nd and the 11th of December, March, June, September.

    4.            Unwrap and enjoy your Food Hero’s Experiences. An insert card detailing the provenance and stories of each producer awaits you.

    Free shipping! Price includes all shipping costs within Ireland.

    €165.00

  • Velvet Cloud Irish Sheep’s Milk Yogurt Natural 450g

    Velvet Cloud Irish Sheep’s Milk Yogurt Natural 450g

    • 100% Natural
    • Made on the farm in Mayo

    Why Sheep’s Milk?

    Digestion friendly sheep’s milk yogurt offers a tasty alternative to cow’s milk yogurt.

    Our naturally creamy sheep’s yogurt contains no additives, milk powders or sweeteners. All we add is yogurt cultures to our pure Irish sheep’s milk.

    Deliciously different….

    While our rich and luxurious yogurt is perfect on its own. It also makes for a great start to the day poured over your favourite cereal or fruit. For dinner try a dollop in savoury dishes or use it to top potatoes for a richer flavour. 

    €4.70

  • Food Heroes Experience This Season!

    Food Heroes Experience This Season!

    A quarterly curated experience delivering the best of what's in season.

    The perfect way to discover new, unique, and exclusive foods that we are sure you will love. Handpicked from the aisles of Ardkeen Quality Food Store to bring together a unique taste of what our incredible producers are making. Join our Food Hero Experience and get a quarterly box brimming with 7- 10 of our latest discoveries and all-time favourites, straight to your door. Free shipping!

    Every product we feature is carefully selected by our team of experts led by our Artisan Foods Buyer Christine Fowler.

    Our current offering; ​

    Hickey’s Bakery Traditional Barm Brack
    Hickey's legendary Barm Brack is made with skilled hands using the finest quality sultanas and cherries and baked in Hickey's original bakery in Clonmel or as it is sometimes known as, the Saint Peter’s of Barm Brack. This Barm Brack is delicious toasted or not, but Hickey's advise that you never be mean with the butter!

    Homespun Quinoa Crunch with Pecan & Cranberry
    A nutritious and delicious twist on granola, blending quinoa pops, super seeds, juicy cranberries and crunchy raw pecans.

    Clashganny Organic Farm 100% Apple Cider Vinegar 
    Their organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains the “the mother”, strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria which give it a murky cobweb-like appearance.

    Joan & Bob Tomato Relish
    Their signature sauce is so good with hot or cold meats & cheese. Anything goes with a dollop of JB's!

    Carrigsagart Irish Apples
    Carraigsagart Apple Juice is a family run business based in Passage East Waterford producing apples, apple juice, honey, preserves and chutneys.

    Des & Olive Thorpe’s Organic Leek, Courgettes & Cabbage
    Des & Olive Thorpe grow their IOFGA Certified Organic vegetables on the family farm in New Ross, County Wexford.

    Ballycross Apple and Blackcurrant Juice 
    Enjoy this aromatic and distinctive juice, made by traditional pressing methods using hand picked apples and blackcurrants, grown on Ballycross farm in Wexford. Due to the natural maturity of the apples and blackcurrants at pressing, subtle variations of flavour and texture may occur through the season. A vibrant juice, rich in Vitamin C.

    Frothing Ferments Raw Live Kombucaha
    Raw Live Kombucha with Natural Cultures. Full of probiotics and good bacteria! Frothing Ferments Kombutcha is a fermented tea produced by a traditional recipe used for thousands of years by many cultures from around the world. People of all ages drink Kombucha and believe it boosts your immune system, improves your digestion, helps detoxify your body and energises your senses. Kombucha also contains probiotics and live enzymes.

    • Pure food Company Spinach & Basil Pesto
    A pure, vibrant pesto made with fresh fragrant basil, spinach and lemon juice

    Here's how it works:

    1.            Place your order. You will receive an Order Confirmation email for your purchase and follow up email with delivery details from our Customer Service team. If this is a gift, please make sure to enter the gift message at checkout

    2.            Your Food Hero Experience box will be sent depending on when you have placed your order.  The quarters begin on the 1st of December, March, June, September. If you order on or after the 15th of February, May, August or November, your first box will arrive in the next quarter.

    3.            Boxes will be delivered between 1 to 5 working days. You can expect to receive delivery details between the 2nd and the 11th of December, March, June, September.

    4.            Unwrap and enjoy your Food Hero’s Experiences. An insert card detailing the provenance and stories of each producer awaits you.

    Free shipping! Price includes all shipping costs within Ireland.

    €45.00

  • Dunany Flour Orgainic Plain, Sifted, Stoneground, Spelt Flour 1kg

    Dunany Flour Orgainic Plain, Sifted, Stoneground, Spelt Flour 1kg

    Silky soft cream flour producing a light golden crumb.

    €5.15

  • Dunany Flour Organic Wholemeal Extra Coarse 1.5kg

    Dunany Flour Organic Wholemeal Extra Coarse 1.5kg

    Stoneground at Dunany Farm, Togher. 

    100% natural product. 

    €4.00

  • Dunany Flour Organic Plain Sifted Stoneground Wheat Flour 1kg

    Dunany Flour Organic Plain Sifted Stoneground Wheat Flour 1kg

    Orgainic plain, sifted, stoneground wheat flour.
    Soft cream flour producing a light golden crumb.
    Ground and milled on Dunany Farm.

    €4.25

  • Dunany Flour Organic Rye 1kg

    Dunany Flour Organic Rye 1kg

    Stoneground at Dunany Farm, Togher.
    100% natural product.

    €3.50

  • Dunany Flour Organic Wholemeal Fine Ground 1.5kg

    Dunany Flour Organic Wholemeal Fine Ground 1.5kg

    Organic, wholemeal fine ground flour.

    €4.00

  • Dunany Flour Organic Wholemeal Spelt 1kg

    Dunany Flour Organic Wholemeal Spelt 1kg

    Stoneground at Dunany Farm, Togher
    100% natural product

    €4.00

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