Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Wine Society at Hayfield Manor

Hayfield Manor is an oasis of calm in the middle of bustling Cork City.  Hidden from view by an innocuous driveway, this family-run hotel delivers a five star luxury experience with charm and grace.  Not only does it offer guests a beautiful place to stay, but Hayfield Manor loves wine, with a subterranean wine cellar and dining room in the basement.  The Vine wine cellar not only contains a collection of exceptional wine, curated by sommelier Sandra Biret Crowley, but also hosts their Wine Society evenings.

I was invited to attend the May dinner which featured Rustenberg Winery from South Africa, represented by winemaker Murray Barlow and whose wines were chosen to complement the five course meal created by Executive Head Chef Mark Staples.  Founded in 1862, the Rustenberg Estate is a family winery in the valley of the Simonsberg Mountain, right in the heart of Stellenbosch. Peter & Pamela Barlow purchased Rustenberg in 1941 and have worked with nature to create a range of truly exceptional wines, some of which were showcased at the Wine Society dinner.  Their son Simon took over in 1987 and his son Murray, who holds a Masters in Oenology, has now joined the team, both making wine and marketing it globally.  What a fabulous job to have!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Review : Summers Under the Tamarind Tree

There are some cookery books that merit more than a quick glance and a once over of the recipes, especially ones which tell a story about life in a faraway land full of recipes handed down through generations. Karachi-born Sumayya Usmani has written such a book, with a lovely foreword by the iconic Madhur Jaffrey. Based in Glasgow, she is a former solicitor who wrote about her nostalgic childhood recipes on her blog My Tamarind Kitchen.  She has now written her first book : Summers Under the Tamarind Tree, a collection of recipes and memories from Pakistan which offers a great understanding of the spirit, passion and flavours of her homeland.