A culture is comprised of many things. The Irish culture is one of iconic music, dance, symbology, and products from the land and sea. At Donegal Square and McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub, we believe in educating our customers just as much on the island’s cuisine as on the craft of the handknit Irish sweater. One way in which we do that is through our friendship with Irish chef, sailor, and raconteur, Terry McCoy.
Neville Gardner, owner and founder of Donegal Square and the Pub, met Terry through a mutual friend, Dr. Tim Campbell. Dr. Campbell happens to run the St. Patrick’s Visitor Centre in Downpatrick in County Down, Northern Ireland. After meeting one another and learning about each man’s business and personal endeavours, Terry McCoy invited Neville and Donegal Square to be the distributor of his recipe book in the United States!
So if you have been inside the shoppe, you’ve seen our copies of Terry’s cookbook, “St. Patrick’s Plate: Food Inspired by the Saint and his Saga”. No only does McCoy’s book encapsulate the unique and natural quality of Irish food- it takes the reader on a fascinating tour through Ireland as traveled by it’s beloved patron saint. Terry navigates the life of St. Patrick with food inspired by the places he lived and the things he did. With 60 recipes, “St. Patrick’s Plate” falls right into line with the “shoots and roots” movement of today, with healthy ingredients that existed even in St. Patrick’s day.
Terry’s recipes are derived from cooking methods used in the 5th century. Inspired by and adapting recipes from the Roman Empire, Terry plays with St. Patrick’s Roman heritage. (It is believed that his father was a sort of Roman diplomat). Recipes range from Blackberry Jam to Razor Clams, to Elderflower Fruit Soup to Valentine Salmon Tartar and Seaweed. Yes, the Irish are blessed with such clean water that they can take a pair of scissors, and cut seaweed straight from ocean’s floor- for eating and for bathing in a seaweed bath! The charm of Terry’s recipes lies in the raw, organic simplicity of them. The apples and plums are best when picked from his garden. The crab or salmon is most fresh when wild caught and netted on the floor of his own sailboat. Although not all of us have these same resources, reading about a life where that kind of care is taken in food preparation is inspiring. It’s what makes the difference between buying your produce and meats for the week at your local farmer’s market instead of at the grocery store. We do hope you’ll visit us at Donegal Square and the Red Stag Pub and get a taste of our fresh ingredients, inspired by the isles’ belief in quality food. On your way out, be sure to leave with a copy of “St Patrick’s Plate”!