Life’s a peach

Posted on: 7th July, 2014

Category: A Flavour of West Cork

Contributor: Karen Austin

Lettercollum Kitchen Project, 22 Connolly Street, Clonakilty.,,

‘Life is a Peach’ pretty much sums it up when the sun shines in West Cork. Why would we want to be anywhere else? It ticks all the right boxes for me and the garden is flourishing with a little help from the garden hose. I look upon watering the garden as an all round tanning opportunity. It takes just long enough to catch a few rays and is quite a meditative occupation so what is a job, actually becomes a chill out.

The kitchen is benefiting big time from the bounty of the garden. Every day there seems to something else ready to eat. We’re enjoying salad, fennel, beetroots, beans, peas, broad beans, courgettes, gooseberries and herbs.  The blackcurrants, tomatoes and peaches are not far behind.

The peaches are being monitored closely and the branches of the tree are bowing with the weight of all the fruit. I’ve been playing around with salads with summer fruits, in anticipation of the feast of that is coming our way.

We have two new salads in the shop with this in mind, a Blackbean and Peach salad and a Nectarine, Pink Peppercorn and Mint Tabbouleh. Both are fresh and delicious.

Here’s the recipe for the Blackbean and Peach salad, bear in mind that the success of this dish is as much the quality of the ingredients as the recipe. Perfectly ripe fruit and big ripe fatty tomatoes are what you need to look for.

The farmers markets are probably the place for this; otherwise ripe beef tomatoes will do the trick,

I have used blackbeans but if you can’t find blackbeans try borlotti beans or pinto beans instead. Cans are handy — it is summer after all, and fast and fresh are the order of the day.


Blackbean and Peach Salad


1 can blackbeans, drained and rinsed

2 big fatty tomatoes or 4 smaller ones

1 red onion

2 large peaches

1 ball buffalo mozzarella

half a cucumber

a handful of basil leaves, chopped

2 cloves garlic

3 tbs white balsamic vinegar

100mls olive oil



Rinse and drain the beans, put them in a large mixing bowl. Peel and chop the onion. Cut the cucumber into quarters lengthwise and scoop out the line of seeds. Cut each length in half again and chop into a 1cm dice. Cut the tomatoes into half. Cut out the woody piece where the stem was attached and if you have big fat tomatoes cut them into half across again and then into a rough dice. To chop the peaches cut in half around the stone in the centre, then give each half a firm wiggle in opposite directions. With a bit of luck the peach will come apart, if not give it a little assistance with a small paring knife. Chop the peach into a rough dice. Drain the mozzarella and give it a quick rinse under the tap. Shake off any excess water. Cut the mozzarella into four slices, then chop it into a rough dice. Peel and finely chop the garlic and put it into a small bowl together with the vinegar and mustard and slowly whisk the olive oil in — use a fork if you don’t have a small whisk. Put all everything into the bowl together, don’t forget the basil, season with a little salt and toss gently. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you think it needs it.

We‘re busy with the shop and garden right now so the cooking classes are on hold for the summer. Meanwhile if you’re in town, drop in and see us and pick up a picnic. We’re open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am until 6pm.


Sunny Greetings from all of us at the Kitchen Project



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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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20th March, 2018  ·  


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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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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