Growing up in West Cork I was always aware of the food around me. I didn’t see it as that unique special thing that everyone talks about now, it was just what is, the West Cork way. Over the years though I have become aware that it shaped me and had a huge influence on my life, my love of food and the sheer excitement I get from Local Produce.
You see I once was a teenager who worked her summers in the local Supervalu in Bantry and even as a teenager I was aware of the local produce that was on the shelves. Gubbeen Chorizo and Cheese came by my checkout almost as frequently as the blocks of 1980s Calvita. I remember the lovely Jeffa Gill arriving with her Durrus Cheese,carrying it in in boxes delivering it herself. This was the West Cork way, this was West Cork food and this was a magic we didn’t necessarily know we had because this was our normal. When I was in my late teens I remember the Olive Stall arriving at Bantry Market, I think it was possibly the first of Toby’s Olive Stalls, but Oh My…the excitement of trying and tasting the heady mix of foods still fills me with joy to this day.
I think it’s always been our distance from the rest of the Country, (see I’m from West of West Cork, that region that takes in The Mizen, Sheeps Head and Beara Penninsula, an area that is windswept and magic, a place you hear people talk about ‘ something in the air’….) that has given us the food scene we have. People have been drawn to the magic of the place, the clear air, the windswept coastline and since the late 1960’s it’s become a haven for people from all over Europe each bringing a wonderful mix to the table especially when it comes to food.
Back in those days of working in the Supermarket I was also aware of great things coming out of Clonakilty, Clona Milk being one and Clonakilty Puddings being the other. It’s funny how the pride for Clonakilty Black Pudding now goes beyond the boundaries of West Cork or even Cork to one of Irish Pride. Clonakilty Black Pudding is up there with National Food Nostalgia and a huge sense of Irishness…..kind of like our Barrys Tea…which is from Cork too like 🙂
I was thrilled when the opportunity of creating recipes for Clonakilty Pudding appeared. I am as obsessed with Black Pudding as I am with West Cork. As a child I used to watch my Aunt make her own pudding, I was fascinated with it and I loved everything about it from the taste to the texture and the comforting feeling I got from eating it. I never knew exactly what was in my Aunts Black Pudding recipe or how old it is….I can only presume it goes back generations in my family so I’m happy to know that the Clonakilty Black Pudding recipe dates back to the 1800s and uses Flahavans Pinhead Oats, Irish Beef, Irish Beef Blood and a secret family mix known only by Colette Twomey….
This is where I take that love of food, West Cork produce and home cooking and give you my recipe for my ‘West Cork Pizza’….my favourite Producers on a Pizza and toppings inspired by my trip to Copenhagen this week…..
For the beetroot I used Heritage Beetroot which is widely available these days and has a variety of lovely colours. The flour I use is Caputo Flour which I buy from Deli Italy in Cork but any 00 flour will work just as well. I make my own tomato sauce most of the time but if I’m feeling lazy (which is ok too) I use the Mutti brand of ready made pizza sauce. My pure joy alongside Clonakilty Black Pudding is using Smoked Durrus Cheese….because it’s made in Coomkeen in Durrus, just 6 miles from my home and Jeffa is up there with my Food Heroes as are many of those wonderful women who came to West Cork and started to make cheese from left over milk many moons ago.The Irish Food Scene owes a wealth of gratitude to these women, Milleen, Durrus, Gubbeen and Coolea…..now wait while I wipe that tear from my eye….
- 500g Caputo or regular 00 flour
- 350 ml water (hand temperature)
- 1 sachet of fast action dried yeast
- 1 tsp of salt
- Clonakilty Black Pudding, cut into thin slices and then into halves or triangles.
- Cooked Heritage Beetroot (I used local Organic Kenmare Beetroot) cut into slices, I simmered my beetroot (unpeeled) in 1 cup of water with 1 cup of orange juice, 2 star anise and a little honey, I let it cool and peeled it and sliced it
- Smoked Durrus Cheese, sliced
- 1/2 ball of Macroom Buffalo Mozarella, torn
- Tomato Sauce/Pizza Sauce
- To make the dough place the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast to the water and stir well. Add the salt to the flour and mix through then pour in the water/yeast mix and using a wooden spoon incorporate all of the water to combine it into dough.
- Turn the dough out onto your work surface. Flour your hands and knead the dough for 10 mins. Try to resist the temptation to add flour to the work surface flouring your hands instead. This will give you a much lighter and springier dough as you’re not upsetting the flour to water ratio…
- After the 10 mins of kneading place the dough in a clean bowl, I usually oil the inside of the bowl and rub oil around the outside of the ball of dough. Cover with cling film and allow to prove for at least 2 hours or over night in a fridge is even better but you need to bring to room temperature the next day before doing the next step.
- Once the dough is proved knock it back in the bowl and then place the dough on the worktop…trying to keep the surface that is facing up in the bowl as the surface that is facing up on the work surface.
- Divide the ball into 4 or 5 smaller balls and gently roll them around in a circular motion before placing on a baking sheet covered with cling film for another 30 mins for the second proving. After 30 mins you can roll out your individual dough balls into Pizza.
- While the dough is having it’s second proving preheat the oven to the hottest setting and place a baking stone (or 2) in the oven, when the stone and the oven are hot take the stone out and put your rolled out pizza base on top, spoon on a little bit of tomato sauce (recipe below) and top with the beetroot, the cheeses and a little serrano ham.
- Season with salt and pepper and cook for between 7 and 10 mins.
- When it’s cooked take it out of the oven, top with Rocket and pour a glass of wine and put your feet up and ENJOY!!!!
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic finely grated
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- Handful of basil
- Place a saucepan on the hob to heat, when it’s hot pour in 1 tbsp of oil. Add the onion and garlic and sweat over a low heat for 10 to 15 mins.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the basil and allow it to wilt then bllitz to a smooth tomato sauce.
- Allow to cool completely before using on pizza…..