There is nothing like Irish hospitality and the lunch I was invited to was no exception. At the invitation of Clonakilty Black Pudding I set off to West London for the Chiswick Moran Hotel to attend their celebration at launching their black pudding in the UK.
When offered black pudding in the past I always would say "no, it's disgusting" or "yuck I couldn't eat that". But in fact I had never even tried it. In September I attended the Speciality Fine Food Show in London and there I met Brenda at the Clonakilty Black Pudding stand. I wasn't planning on trying any but I decided that as I was at the show I should enter into the spirit and try everything.
Well, let me say I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it!! When Brenda invited me to attend the launch lunch I was only too pleased to.
I met some lovely people including Collette Twomey, the Managing Director of the firm in Clonakilty, West Cork, Ireland. Collette is the only person who currently knows the secret mix of spices, mixing them in private ready for each batch to be made.
Over 20 tonnes of Clonakilty black Pudding are produced every week using local ingredients such as Irish beef and pork, onions from West Cork and Flahavan's pin head oats. Their butcher shop has been in the town centre for over 130 years and has very strong links to the community supporting local businesses, clubs and sports.
Clonakilty also produce award winning bacon and sausages. For Christmas 2012 I wanted to make the stuffing for the turkey a little differently than I usually do. I mixed the sausage meat from their sausages (I skinned them first) with some bread crumbs and finely chopped black pudding. I mixed all this together and then spooned it into my 12 cup muffin pan which I had lined with Clonakilty bacon. I put this all in the oven for about 20 minutes and when cooked had 12 individual stuffing parcels. They went down very well with our turkey and the rest of the Christmas meal.
You can purchase Clonakilty Black Pudding in England now in selected stores including Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and branches of Tesco and Budgens supermarkets.
I really hope to visit Ireland in 2013 and a visit to the shores of Clonakilty will definitely be on the agenda!
(Clonakilty provided me with the black pudding, bacon and sausages)