Posts Tagged ‘Neven Maguire’

VISIT THE ORGANIC CENTRE, CO. LEITRIM, TO ENJOY BEING INSPIRED – 2nd wk in July 2013

It was a pleasure to be asked once again to speak at The Organic Centre, Rossinver, in County Leitrim. My presentation ‘Building Food Resilience in Local Communities – from Ireland to Uganda’ will be shortly on the website www.organiccentre.ie. Last Sunday was the Annual Garden Party and The Organic Centre looked stunning in the sunshine, as did the 2000 hectares of Lough Melvin nearby. The polytunnels were warmer than I can ever remember, but the tomatoes were loving every minute of that heat, as was Hans Wieland and the large group he was guiding from plots to orchards to polytunnels.

Over 30 varieties (of the 7,500 tomato varieties world wide) are being grown there at present. The idea is to carry out a tasting experiment to select the very best tasting tomato varieties, in the opinion of some very well trained palates. My good friend Neven Maguire is renowned for his palate, so I am sure his opinion on this taste test will be awaited with interest. The variety ‘Sungold’ is regarded by many as the top tasting tomato of those commonly grown in Ireland. The skin is an amber colour, not unlike one of

One of The Organic Centre displays describing some characteristics of different tomato varieties growing there.

One of The Organic Centre displays describing some characteristics of different tomato varieties growing there.

the Kilkenny colours in hurling. But like Kilkenny, ‘Sungold’ may not win every contest! In August, the tomato ‘All-Ireland’ will be decided at The Organic Centre.

IF YOU SEE NEVEN MAGUIRE AT BLOOM, ASK HIM ABOUT GROWING MICRO-GREENS! – 3rd wk in May 2013

Top chefs like Neven Maguire are setting new trends again. This time they are growing and serving very young seedling plants and sprouted seeds. This is what many people call ‘micro-greens’.

GIY Ireland fan, Mark Diacono and Lia Leendertz have written a book called ‘The Speedy Vegetable Gardener’ (Timber Press) in which they enthuse about micro-greens. These speedy gardeners tell us that,  ‘ As well as being the speediest possible route to leafy greens, micro greens are flavour bombshells. Added to salads of larger leaves they impart zing and liveliness, but they can also be used as a salad in themselves or as a flavouring – they bring a punch of vibrant taste to whatever they are added to.

Micro greens are just tiny seedlings of plants we usually harvest when they are more fully grown. They are sown into compost and grown in light like any normal seedling, but harvested just a week or so after germination when they’ve produced their first pair of leaves.

The plants that work best as micro greens are those with intense flavour and/or colour. Coriander, basil, fennel, radish and the oriental leaves are all great to try. At micro stage they contain the essence of their fully grown selves, only more concentrated, so you get a burst of flavour, stronger and often cleaner than it would be if you left the plant to grow to maturity’.

Áine and myself visited Neven Maguire in County Cavan,  at his famous Blacklion restaurant, McNean House, recently. Also impressive, but a little less famous, is Neven’s kitchen garden. With help from Hans & Gaby Wieland and

Neven's secret to great flavours, home-grown micro-greens sown in guttering in the polytunnel.

Neven’s secret to great flavours, home-grown micro-greens sown in guttering in the polytunnel.

 The Organic Centre nearby in Rossinver, Co. Leitrim, Neven, Amelda and their team are growing all manner of fresh veg and herbs in polytunnels, including micro – greens. You can read more about Neven’s growing techniques in his interview on pages 154 – 155 in (yes you’ve guessed it!) ‘Trevor’s Kitchen Garden’ (www.orpenpress.com).

THE ORGANIC CENTRE, CO. LEITRIM – A WARM WELCOMING PLACE – 3rd Week in July 2012

Drawing a graph at my talk in the Organic Centre to show how human population growth has relied more and more on fossil fuels (since 1909). To feed humanity in a post oil world, town and country folk must grow more food.

A long standing invitation to speak at the annual Garden Party in the Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co. Leitrim, led to a very enjoyable visit there this week. Last Sunday, in fact. A programme of workshops was both entertaining and informative. The legendary Hans Wieland gave tips on growing a year round supply of salad leaves. For good health, he suggests a salad starter before a meal to help the body prepare for digesting the substantial food to follow in the main course.

Big supporter of the Organic Centre, local TV chef, Neven Maguire undertook a full cookery demonstration in a packed barn. Neven is a master of multi-tasking, as he can talk and cook at the same time … not a common male trait, speaking personally! His famous family was there too, much to the delight of the crowd, Amelda and the twins, Conor and Lucia. The sun shone.

Before Ingrid did her composting demo and Gaby Wieland did the herb workshop, I was asked to do a gardening presentation in the context of future food security. In effect the presentation was a blatant plug for the book ‘Trevor’s Kitchen Garden’ which is almost sold out – must print more! However, as proceeds from the book sales are going to help SEED (Sustainable Earth Education Development) network, of which the Organic Centre and Sonairte etc are members, the audience was very generous in relieving me of a box of books. Must get on to www.orpenpress.com to see how many copies are still in stock.

ALL WELCOME AT LAUNCH OF ‘TREVOR’S KITCHEN GARDEN’ (THE BOOK), TUES 27 MARCH @ 7.15PM, HODGES & FIGGIS, DAWSON STREET, DUBLIN – FOURTH WEEK IN MARCH 2012

Atlast, after a year of research, writing and illustrating, the book ‘Trevor’s Kitchen Garden’ is printed and ready to be launched on Tuesday 27th March at 7.15pm in Hodges & Figgis bookshop. Top chef and all round good guy, Neven Maguire, will do the honours and Séamus Sheridan, of the famous cheesemongers, will be providing something to nibble, while you are welcome to browse, mingle and hopefully buy a reasonably priced copy.

All royalties from book sales will go to the charity S.E.E.D. (School Earth Education Developments), the network of organic centres around Ireland which provide courses in growing, cooking and storing your own food, and also help schools set up school gardens. I look forward to meeting you at the launch along with many of the 24 guest writers whose own styles and experiences are published from all parts of Ireland and from many walks of life.

5 POINTS ABOUT ‘TREVOR’S KITCHEN GARDEN’ BOOK

1. This book shows how growing some of your own food simply, is an option for everyone (even busy people), no matter how small the pot or plot. For example, it covers growing potatoes in a bag, radish in a window box, growing mint under a tree and starting a fruit and veg raised bed on top of part of a lawn (without digging up the grass!).

2. 24 guest writers feature throughout the book answering questions about food growing. Curiously, the majority cited ‘potatoes’ as their favourite food to harvest, including former President Mary Mc Aleese, Michael Kelly of GIY Ireland, broadcaster Stiofán Nutty, journalist Joe Barry, Éamon Ryan, Green leader & allotmenteer, and Garraí Glas TG4 presenter Síle Nic Chonaonaigh who enthuses in Irish about her home grown ‘fataí’. Neven Maguire makes use of courgette flowers while Darina Allen likes all food in season.

3. The most surprising aspect of Trevor’s kitchen garden is the one prolific apple tree. The apples annually from this one tree make juice and various apple dishes. The book shows that apples can be stored for use the whole year round.

4. The book devotes a chapter to each week over 12 months, from the first week in February (Lá ‘le Bríde) to the fourth week in January. At the end of each chapter, there is a short topical essay about food called ‘The Bigger Picture’. For example, around    St. Patrick’s Day, the origin of why people plant potatoes on March 17th is explored. Around Bastille Day, Napoleon’s interest in establishing French farmers’ markets is recounted. Essays on saving money and making a job from food growing are topical.

5. The book provides contact details of places around Ireland to go to see food grow, as well as a map (one of 60 line drawings by the author). Royalties from the book all go to funding SEED, a charity network of these demonstration and educational centres so that more food growing courses for kitchen gardeners can be provided, near where people live.

Contact: Trevor Sargent’s Kitchen Garden  – 087 2547 836 or email trevor@balbriggan.net.