Lords & Ladles, RTE’s hugely popular historical cooking series, is back for a second run and begins on Sunday 18th September at 18:30 on RTÉ One. This six week series features more of Ireland’s most beautiful historic homes and the menus feature a fascinating array of recipes – all from manuscripts and cookbooks either produced or widely available in Ireland – spanning the past four hundred years.
Three of Ireland’s finest Chefs: Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio and Paul Flynn traverse the country and take the viewer on a historical journey to celebrate our past through the wonders of food and the glories of cooking.
|Catherine Fulvio, Paul Flynn and Derry Clarke in Lords & Ladles on RTE1 TV|
Each week the three Chefs arrive at a Great Irish Country House to recreate a grand dinner from its history while tantalising the TV audience with sumptuous descriptions of the treats that are on the menu. All of the recipes – some mouth-watering, some downright baffling – are taken from manuscript and printed cookbooks from the past four hundred years.
But first they must Draw Lots for the division of labour – one will Gather the ingredients, one will Cook, and one will get to Dine with the Gentry.
The Gatherer must source the ingredients for the feast – hunting, shooting and fishing feature strongly, as do lambs ears, sheep’s feet and of course lots of tongue! Local producers help our chefs get hands-on with some traditional methods of food production and share insights into the evolution of Irish food production over the years. The Cook will familiarise themselves with the workings of the kitchen and grapple with the enormous amount of food that seems to have been the norm for a grand house dinner.
Meanwhile the Diner gets to explore the house with the family, learning about its place in the history of the area and the Island, the trials and tribulations of the family seat and of course help lay the table using the finest silver and china from the house safe.
The Cook’s work all done, the meal will be served with all the pomp and ceremony it deserves, to the audible delight of the diners who can’t help themselves from gasping at the spectacle as the sumptuous banquet is laid before them!
Each episode is set in one of Ireland’s many stately homes.
Huntington Castle, Co Carlow (Sunday 18th September at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Alexander and Clare Durdin-Robertson farm and work the estate which has been their family home since the 17th century. Paul Flynn is challenged to serve up a sumptuous 17th century feast that includes a whole roast pig on the spit, boiled goose and sheep’s feet! Assisting him in the kitchen is Derry Clarke, who first heads out to James and Laz Murphy at Murphy’s Craft Butcher in Tullow to butcher some of some of Alex’s own lamb, as well as collect a small mountain of meat for the night’s feast; and on to James Malone at Malone Fruit Farm in Ballon to gather fresh berries for the intriguing dessert “A Brave Tart of Several Sweetmeats”.
Ballymacmoy House, Co Cork (25th September at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Home of the founder of Hennessy Cognac Richard Hennessy, the house has been lovingly restored to a family home by his 8th generation descendant Frederic Hennessy. Derry Clarke aided by Catherine Fulvio must grapple with stuffed lambs’ ears which Paul will have to chew on. Catherine hopes to land a salmon for the table with the help of local ghillie Jeremiah Butler, on the Blackwater in Killavullen; she lifts some lobster pots with Adrian Walsh of Ballycotton Seafood out of Ballycotton Harbour and John Howard, Chairman of the Federation of County Cork Gun Clubs provides some pigeon for the table from a field where crops are being damaged by birds.
Hilton Park, Co Monaghan (2nd October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Fred Madden’s great great grandfather traversed the globe before turning his attention to the upgrading of the family home in Monaghan which Fred’s father Johnny Madden refers to as an iced-cake. Derry Clarke holds the ladle for the recreation of a hunt supper from 1908 featuring such delicacies as Pudding à la Diplomate and Turkey boiled with oysters. Paul hunts for a herd of wild pigs on Inishcorkish Island with Pat O’Doherty, producer of the award-winning Fermanagh “Black Bacon” and gets a lesson in cheese-making at Corleggy Cheese in Belburbet and collects a special order of cockscombs and turkey testicles for one of Derry’s less appetising recipes.
Tourin House, Co Waterford (9th October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
A stunning house on the banks of the Blackwater is home to the Jameson sisters whose father was the driving force behind the formation of Irish Distillers. The feast created by Catherine Fulvio includes a macabre dish of lamb’s head which makes for quite the centrepiece.
Paul joins Catherine in the kitchen after first heading out of Youghal in an antique Norwegian fishing boat to catch some mackerel, making some sausages the old-fashioned way with Declan O’Flynn of O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausages, and getting up close to some bees with Pat Deasy of Deise Irish Honey.
Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath (16th October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Sir Nicholas and Alice Nugent have taken the reins at Ballinlough where they host the annual Body & Soul Festival. Nick’s mom Pepe recalls a very different era where everyone knew their place. Paul must once again battle with the spit but this time with a more manageable kid goat gathered by Catherine. Catherine also tries to catch a pike on the castle’s own lake, and heads to Maperath farm near Kells to pluck a “green goose”.
Enniscoe House, Co Mayo (23rd October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
The Kelletts of Mayo came to Ireland with Cromwell, purchased land and built this lovely house on the banks of Lough Conn. General Humbert and his men ransacked the place in 1798. Catherine recreates a meal from the late 18th century but she may be waiting a while for Derry to catch the ingredients for her dish of Boiled Trout with Shrimp Sauce. Particularly when one of Derry’s gathering stops is the local Reel Deal Brewing company, where sampling the products is very important. Derry’s also put to work in the beautifully restored organic walled garden on Enniscoe’s own grounds.
Lords & Ladles, featuring Derry Clarke, Catherin Fulvio and Paul Flynn, is a Mind the Gap Films Production for RTÉ Lifestyle. Series Producer is Bernadine Carraher, Director is Maurice Linnane and Director of Photography is Andrew Cummins.
Enjoy this look back at some great historical Irish Foods and stories!