"Art and Food come together at Tin Jug Studio and Brendan House. Whether in eating a hearty repast in our home, or in learning to observe; feel the effects of natural colour and texture; of seeing the beauty in every-day things, and then beginning to draw a simple still life of vegetables or fruit arranged in an antique vessel, art tuition is a more than just a one-dimensional experience at the studio." Rosalind
ART & EAT at Tin Jug Studio
When everyone arrives for a full day of art at Tin Jug Studio, around 9.30 in the morning, students and artists are offered coffee or tea and fresh scones with homemade preserves. The significant part of a full-day's art tuition for students, or full days of life-drawing for artists, is to enjoy indulging in complete relaxation time, and this includes having lunch at Tin Jug Studio. This is prepared on the day, with mostly local and organic/free-range ingredients. Three courses usually include homemade soup or an appetizer selection, followed by an assortment of salads or a hot dish in cooler months. Lunch is completed with coffee or tea and something sweet. The recipes and combinations are mostly Rosalind's own, or adapted popular dishes. Food is presented on antique platters, big wooden bowls and in woven baskets so that appearance adds to the tasting experience. For a flavour of these lunches, here is a short list of some of the dishes that have disappeared with delight.
Spicy Bean Soup; Sweet Potato and Squash Soup; Rugged Tomato Soup; Creamy Field Mushroom Soup with Herbs. (These may be served with good whole-wheat bread, rolls, homemade Spelt and Seeds Bread, crisp popadums, etc.)
SALADSBanana Cole Slaw; Mixed Greenery and Beanery; Potato Salad with Cardamoms; Tomato and Pepper Salad; Three Rice Salad; Fish and Seafood Salad; a selection of cheeses (some award-winning, organic, local Mossfield cheese). Plates of sliced, cold meats or fish (smoked salmon/mackerel/trout), etc.
Rosalind's salads have been complimented for many years (as they never comprise of limp lettuce, half an unripe tomato or a soggy slice of ham!) Some of her salads include fresh herbs from the garden for flavour and good health; Nasturtium leaves and flowers for decoration and taste, and occasionally (in a good year) some ripe tomatoes from the balcony pots.
HOT DISHESOregano Chicken; Baked Spicy Veggies; Porky Stock Pot with Herbs and Spuds; Beef or Chicken Casserole with Wine.
SWEETS AND PUDDINGSPuddings are cobbled-together combinations by Rosalind such as: Meringues with Whipped Cream and Sozzled Fruit; Vanilla Ice Cream with Hot and Dark Chocolate Sauce, sprinkled with Crunchy Almonds; Rummy Bananas with Whipped Cream and Crunchy Topping; or simply a selection of good chocolate biscuits or good chocolates. But as a special treat, 'Sweet Divinities' are served, as Rosalind calls her friend, Grainne Yeates' creations. (See Dinners for selection).
REFRESHMENTS & IMBIBINGS
Water, fruit juice, lemonade. Good, strong coffee or a selection of teas are also available as needed, upstairs in the studio.
Sparkling Cider with Brandied Peach, Spiced Apple Punch, Buttered Rum Punch; Mulled Wine or Summer Wine Punch. (These may served to complete the full day's artwork or at events.)
BREAKFAST - (A Leisurely Awakening!)
When staying visitors have settled in, they are directed to the little folder in their bedroom
which encloses the breakfast choices, as well as other local information on
pleasant cafés and restaurants and nice pubs.
Breakfasts include: Cereals (usually organic); fresh fruits and juices, organic yoghurts (Glenisk, made in County Offaly), rolls, scones, whole-wheat soda bread, muffins (some of these are locally made, organic, or homemade specialities); honey, preserves and conserves (when available, the latter are home-made locally or from Ciara Morris's award-winning Slieve Bloom Foods, also locally made); a good farmhouse butter (eg. Sheila's of Mayo), and a sampling of local Mossfield Cheese; a dish of nuts and dried fruits; or a warm fruit compote. Most of the meat served is from a local butcher or is a Taste Award-winning product. Only real coffee is served, or a selection of teas (herbal, China or Irish Breakfast Tea)
Here is a little sampling of what may be offered for a morning's repast:
Large Irish Breakfasts (For All Seasons)
Leek and Pork Sauseages, Black & White Puddings, Smoked (or unsmoked!) Rashers, Tomatoes with Spring Onions, Buttery Field Mushrooms, Potato or Herb Bread, with a choice of fried, poached or scrambled eggs. (Sometimes a choice of free-range hen eggs or duck eggs.)
Fishy repasts are an alternative:
Kippers with Tomatoes and Chives, a Poached Egg and Potato Bread, or another favourite:
Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Spicy Tomatoes.
Porridge with cream and dark sugar, or grated ginger and raisins.
Light, Spring/Summer Breakfasts
Toasted Oats and Cool Fruit Compote with Organic Yoghurt.
Croissants and Seeded Crisp Bread.
A glass of sparkling cider with a touch of peach brandy.
(Also with above accompaniements)
Autumn/Winter BreakfastsNutmeg French Toast with Honey or Maple Syrup.
Buttery Cinnamon Pancakes with Honey or Maple Syrup.
Optional toppings for either: chopped bananas and saltanas; a warm compote of chopped apple, dried apricots, dates, raisins and nuts (pecans/walnuts/cashews); toasted pecans/cashews
The Breakfast Palette (minimum of two people)Each of the following is in a small, but not minute, quantity: Scrambled Eggs, Smoked Salmon with Capers, Spicy Tomatoes, Creamy Field-Mushroom Slices, with Herby Homemade Potato Cake.
(Also with above accompaniements)
"Everyone, from hearty eaters to light grazers; from vegetarians to those with other dietary directions will find plenty to enjoy at our dining table. Just ease into the morning, and take your time, for I believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But sometimes, I confess I nearly get the giggles asking people who have just woken up to make yet another 'choice' at that hour of the day - but who could resist the offer of a fresh duck egg? I hope guests are so replete, contented and mellow after breakfast, that I wouldn't blame them if they wanted to go back to bed for a nap!" Rosalind
"We once had a young, Honeymoon couple from the North knock on the door one evening. They had been touring in the South for a week, in a gorgeous vintage car. The house was nearly full up then, as it was during a festival and all we had was a single bedroom. Although they were disappointed, they still wanted to see it - and loved the Red Room. They departed but a few minutes later, knocked on the door again. They had decided they would happily sleep side-by-side, in the three-foot bed. That night, out into the town for drinks and dinner, the delightful pair were each given a free drink at two different pubs - nowhere else on their holiday had that happened, so the Birr welcome impressed them. With enthusiasm, they had ordered a big, full breakfast for the next morning, but because they'd had a big, late dinner, they couldn't finish it! So, as requested, I packed the sauseages and puddings into their picnic box and in thanks for their stay, was given a bottle of their lovely wedding wine. I still use that empty flagon for watering the house plants." R.F.
DINNER, SUPPER and TEA
For a minimum of two staying visitors
(and provided Rosalind's schedule can allow for the time in preparation.)
Suppers:Served in the drawing room in front of the fire.
Homemade soup with nice local or homemade breads, with a choice of the following:
Sandwiches (good ham/smoked salmon, etc.)
Small Green Salad with Olives/Pickles and Smoked Salmon/Mackerel or Duck Paté.
Cheese Selection with Oat Cakes and Gerkins.
Glass of Whiskey, Wine or other non-alcoholic drink.
(From €20. Enquire on booking please)
Dinner:Served in the dining room by candlelight, after a glass of wine in the drawing room or at the beginning of dinner. There is no menu on the evening, but the choice of vegetarian/fish or meat can be made beforehand and seasonal offerings are likely. Rosalind selects what she feels to be appropriate wines to go with the dishes, and from these, visitors can select. However, by all means, bring your own wines!
(PLEASE NOTE: Rosalind was only allowed to go to the Cordon Bleu School in London for two weeks so is simply an enthusiastic rather than a trained cook. Despite a ridiculous number of inherited cook books, and recipe books of many different cultures, they are only occasionally consulted. "My mother and grandmother were wonderful at our traditional dishes but my travels abroad have encouraged my leaning to more exotic foods and ingredients." RF
As dinners are her 'whim', they must either be a pleasant surprise - hopefully not a terrible shock!
Homemade Soup: Creamy Mushroom; Squash and Sweet Potato; Duck and Ginger Broth; Mary Eleanor's Scotch Broth; served with Brown Soda Bread, Savoury Muffins.
A small appetizer such as Homemade Smoked Mackerel Paté with Melba or Garlic Toast.
Poached (local) Croneen Trout, or seafood, on Green Salad (served with a frosted glass of ice-cold Rosé)
Main Course:Baked Salmon, or pan-cooked Trout in Continental Style with Fennel and Tomatoes.
Rack of Lamb Cutlets.
Creamy Chicken Pie with Peas and Mushrooms.
Rosemary's Mild, Four-Spice Chicken in Yoghurt Sauce.
Local Pheasant with Almond Wild Rice and a Coarse, Wine Sauce
Wild Duck with Mandarin Rice and a Rich, Brandied Sauce.
Dark Beer Beef Casserole, with Guinness Bread.
Casserole of Shank of Lamb with Rosemary, Garlic and French Mustard and Cider.
Vegetables served with dinner are usually organic and often locally grown. These may include Sweet Carrots (in their skins) with a hint of ginger; Creamed or Roasted Parsnips; Puréed Turnips; Buttery Slices of Jerusalem Artichoke; Steamed Fennel; Red Cabbage with Apple, or various 'Posh Greens', such as Beans, Courgettes and Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Potatoes could be Boiled; Butter Sautéed New Spuds; Oven-baked 'Casserole' of Potatoes; Slices of Sweet Potatoes with Garlic.
Pudding:A selection of one to three of Grainne's sweet tarts, for example Chocolate, Pear and Almond, Lemon, Custard. Or Rosalind's Hot Upside-Down Apple Pie; St.Brendan's Pudding; Poached Pears or Brandied Plums with Vanilla Ice Cream and Toasted Almonds. (When appropriate, puddings are served with whipped cream, slightly 'soured' with organic yoghurt to counteract the sweetness and to aid digestion.)
Cheese:Dinners include a tasting of local cheeses with crackers, but a greater selection of local and other cheeses is an alternative to sweet desserts, (This option can be selected beforehand.)
And probably, the Ubiquitous Chocolate Mints with strong coffee, and a small glass of brandy or liqueur back in the drawing room.
(Dinners: €45 per person, but do check current prices on booking.
Wines selected are charged for at current prices plus 'corkage'. The small extra percentage is not charged if visitors bring their own wines.)
Served in the drawing room or courtyard garden.
The familiar selection, with warm scones served with butter, preserves and whipped cream; a selection of little sandwiches (such as cucumber and fresh mint, etc.) and a selection of homemade cakes or tarts and good biscuits.
A choice of China Tea with Lemon, Darjeeling or other good tea with milk, or Morroccan Mint Tea.
(From €15. Enquire on booking please)