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After a hugely successful family inaugural year, the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food & Wine is back, and it's bigger and better than ever before. Joe McNamee meets the people making it happen — brother and sister Darina Allen and Rory O'Connell.

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Copenhagen chef Rene Redzepi, who is making his first visit to Ireland next month, tells Catherine Cleary about what drove him to create Noma, his admiration for Myrtle Allen, and the Irish chefs who have worked in his award-winning restaurant.

Rene Redzepi has spent a morning at home with a feverish daughter. Forty people are downstairs in Restaurant Noma having the lunch of their lives. Two wild-eyed Norwegian fans will want face time with him during the interview.

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Slow-cooked pork makes a sandwich sing, but add some sharp-sweet Asian slaw and you have a symphony in your hands!

Sandwiches have changed. Those two pieces of bread used to be a convenient way of eating some functional filling. They were practical and efficient – nothing to be fussed over. Now, though, with home-made bread and elaborate fillings, they can command as much attention as a three-course meal.

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We are delighted to announce that Kerrygold have joined Ballymaloe as title sponsors for the Literary Festival for the next three years.

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Since a Danish restaurant won a coveted world food award, all sorts of Nordic cuisine has become extremely popular.

Wind-dried fish might not be every young girl's favourite treat, but, on my visits to Iceland as a child with my mother, who's Icelandic, I used to guzzle down the hardfiskur (harofiskur) like it was chocolate. I also adored the pickled herring, served on boiled potatoes with a sweet mustard dill mayonnaise.

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Express your creative side and you can transform some humble greens into a warm and satisfying taste sensation.

It may have been when Caesar first mixed his anchovies with some cos lettuce that a salad became more than just a few leaves with some dressing. Well, I say, "Hail, Caesar!" I love to experiment with different ingredients in salads, and not be tied down to something light and green. Whether it has potatoes and sausages, or even bacon and egg, a salad can be inventive, filling and even warm.

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Joe McNamee wrote a really nice article about Ballymaloe House, Ballymaloe Cookery School and The Ballymaloe Litfest of Food and Wine in the Irish Examiner this weekend.

The article starts:

When Myrtle Allen opened a restaurant in her dining room, the self-taught chef would cook for guests on her Aga range. Today, 50 years on, the Ballymaloe brand is world-renowned.

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Rachel Allen’s Easy Meals’ will air every Monday to Friday only on TLC India from 3 March 2014.

About the Series

Rachel Allen 'returns to her roots' back home in Ireland, taking on a looser and more relaxed presentational style in delivering her no-nonsense vision of achievable and delicious family food, in Rachel Allen's Easy Meals.

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Shaneod

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Three perfect recipes for romance this Valentine's Day. 
 
This is my fantasy romantic meal. It's the meal I'll be cooking this Friday for Valentine's Day. It's not always easy for a couple to have Valentine's Day to spend together alone. Yet, if you do have the time (and a babysitter), either this Friday, or any other occasion, I can think of few more romantic or passionate meals to make for your lover.
 
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Rachel Allen

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Ballymaloe Hotel & Restaurant were delighted to win the nationwide award for 'Best Restaurant Wine List and Wine Service' in the annual wine awards by well known wine writer, Tomás Clancy, published in the Sunday Business Post.

This is a really nice piece of recognition for everyone at Ballymaloe, especially as we are celebrating 50 years of Ballymaloe Hotel and Restaurant.

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