Buckets of blackberries

Posted on: 5th September, 2016

Category: A Flavour of West Cork

Contributor: Karen Austin

Lettercollum Kitchen Project, 22, Connolly Street, Clonakilty info@lettercollum.ie www.lettercollum.ie 0238836938

This months’ recipe is a good excuse to go for a walk. The hedgerows are full of ripening blackberries and by the time you read this I imagine they will be plump and ready to go.

I have been traipsing around with my little helper trying to fill a little bucket with blackberries so that we can make blackberry and apple muffins. Each day there are more ripe blackberries than the day before and we are just getting to the stage where we find enough berries to actually arrive home with some in the bucket.

I have two good tips to aid picking. One is to go armed with a dock leaf, as there seem to be as many blasted nettles as blackberries and the other is to feed the little helpers a snack before setting out. This definitely ups the odds of arriving home with berries in the bucket.

It’s apple time too and we have a bumper harvest of apples this year so I have been playing with recipes to combine the two. One of the most successful is this ancient recipe that our neighbour cut out of a magazine and gave to my Mum when I was little. It’s so ancient that the original recipe is in pounds and ounces and uses margarine which very few people bake with anymore.

It’s one of those recipes where you don’t need many ingredients nor do you have to do a lot to make the cake. It doesn’t even need any machinery although a food processor does speed things up.

I’ve wiggled the measurements, exchanged butter for the margarine and added in some blackberries. The result got scoffed which is always a good sign!

Blackberry and Apple Cake


• 450g cooking apples

• 150g blackberries

• 300g flour

• 1tsp baking powder

• pinch of salt

• 200g butter – diced

• 125g caster sugar

• 3 eggs


Pre heat the oven 180ºc. Prepare a 24cm spring form cake tin. Line the base with parchment paper.

Weigh out the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Put into a big bowl or a food processor and add the cubed butter.

Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips or pulse buzz in the food processor until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. If you have used a processor now is the time to tip the mix into a bowl.

Peel and core the apples and cut into a small dice. Mix the apples and blackberries gently through the flour mix.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk together then pour into the big bowl and gently mix everything together with a metal spoon. Do not overmix. Tip into the prepared tin and gently even out the top.

Bake for 50 minutes. Poke a sharp knife into the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is ready. If the knife is sticky cook for another five minutes and try again.

Dredge the top of the cake with caster sugar whilst it is still hot.

Delicious, and the cake will keep for a couple of days in an airtight box although you’re unlikely to have that problem!

Our autumn cooking classes are kicking off soon. We’re beginning with a low GI class and a Vegan class. Check our advert for the full list and if you are interested please pop into the shop to see us, call, or send an email. We’ll be happy to help you with your enquiry.

Here’s hoping for a warm and sunny September!


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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.

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This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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