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From the garden to the kitchen

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Whether it's dinners, salads or drinks – herbs can add flavour and colour to almost any meal.

Even if you are not a top chef, some well-chosen herbs and edible flowers can make any meal special. Nasturtiums are great in salads, both the flowers and leaves are peppery to the taste.

The seed pods can be used like capers and are delicious fried in butter with fish.

Pansies and violas are often candied but can be added to sweet and savoury dishes. Calendula, known as poor man's saffron, has long been used to add a yellow colour to food. As an addition to a salad, it is tasty and colourful.

Herbs are so versatile, with mint topping my list! Chop it up and add to natural yoghurt, some garlic, cayenne pepper and cumin and you have a delicious mint dip.

Add to couscous to give it a fresh lift. Of course, with lime, it is the basis of a mojito! Mint comes in many forms, spearmint and peppermint are the old favourites but try chocolate mint, apple mint, strawberry and pineapple mint for subtle flavours. Bear in mind that mint can take over the garden, and perhaps grow it in a pot. Divide regularly to keep young tasty growth abundant. For me, the next most used herb would be parsley.

I never seem to have enough. I prefer the flat-leaved parsley as it does not have such a rough texture, and a better flavour, in my opinion.

Used in combination with coriander use it in salsas, Moroccan cooking and Mexican dishes. Coriander and parsley in scrambled eggs are delicious! Parsley likes damp shady conditions and is in danger of going to seed in this warm weather. Coriander, likewise, likes shade, but goes to seed easily, and is best sown at regular intervals.

A real taste of summer is tarragon- I always forget about it until it finally shows itself quite a while after the winter. It is used in pickling, often with fennel or dill, and is delicious in salad dressings. Tarragon and chicken are a match sublime! Tarragon likes deep rich, moist soil, and needs to be protected from slugs when it first appears.

It also detests waterlogged soil. Tarragon, along with chervil and dill are well-known 'French ‘fines herbs', which are often used together in light egg and fish dishes. Lovage is another favourite- it is not that popular here but is used extensively in France and Holland. It tastes like a combination of parsley and celery and is a great addition to soups and Italian sauces.

Lovage grows into a large plant, about five feet tall, so give it space! Both it and fennel, are extremely hardy and are useful as shelter-giving plants.

One herb which everyone associates with summer is basil… Who doesn't love the smell of it? Caprese salad is surely a summer treat.
Many people ask me why they can't grow basil, but it is a difficult plant to keep going. If the weather was always as it has been these past few weeks we would be fine! Basil does not like rain, humidity or temperature fluctuations. When growing from seed it is prone to damping off, as well as mildew and rotting.

Unfortunately, unless you have a warm dry conservatory or glasshouse, growing basil is not really an option… though we can hope this weather lasts all summer…

Rosemary, sage and marjoram are easy herbs to grow, and a must if you enjoy Italian cuisine.

To ensure sweetness of flavour, keep cutting your herbs, even if you are not using them. Often, once the plant gets woody, it tends towards bitterness. Basal cuttings can be taken in late summer from woody plants for rooting, they are generally very successful. Herbs such as parsley, chives and fennel can easily be split in early autumn or late spring.

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Sam Maguire to feature at next week’s AugustFest

Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races […]

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Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races offering patrons great racing, history, socialising, entertainment and so much more at Ireland’s most scenic racecourse.

With lots of ticket levels and packages including food and beverage options to choose from, whether it is close to the action general admission tickets or silver service fine dining, there is something for everyone at Killarney Races. Live music, fashion, and fun for all the family complement the best of summer racing at the track this August.

Thursday and Friday are evening meetings and Saturday is an afternoon event with all race cards offering seven thrilling races for spectators to enjoy each day.

Thursday is Sam Maguire evening. And to mark Kerry’s recent success and Killarney Races bi-centenary celebration, Killarney Races are offering an amazing deal on the opening day of their three-day event. On Thursday August 18 patrons will enjoy admission, a racecard and a €5 free bet all for €20! The first race is approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. Come early, bring along your jersey and camera, it’s going to be a great evening.

Friday will see the new entrance officially open, as racing officials and elected representatives unlock the gate to the next 200 years at the popular Killarney track, first race at approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. With music on the lawn from Donal Lucey and from Tom Cats in the Jim Culloty bar after racing the après racing party is sure to be a ‘winner alright’!

Saturday is AYU Ladies Day and all about the glamour as fashionistas bring the curtain down on AugustFest in fine style. AYU is an Irish based and Irish owned cosmetics company set up by renowned make-up artist Suzie O’Neill. With over €1,500 in prizes for the most stylish ladies to dress up for, what’s not to love! Gates open from 12 noon with the first off at approximately 2pm.

“At AugustFest we will be celebrating a major milestone here at Killarney Races, 200 years of racing in Killarney which is amazing,” Killarney Racecourse Chairman, Gerard Coughlan said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all locals and visitors to Killarney to come along and be part of the 200 year celebrations and share in this historic moment with us as we officially open the gates on the next 200 years! It’s a rare opportunity to be able to say ‘I was there the day they celebrated the bi-centenary’ anywhere and what a great story to share with the grandchildren in years to come. On that note, we are looking forward to welcoming multiple generations of families during AugustFest, so make a plan and come along and join us for what will be a most remarkable festival at our beautiful boutique racecourse this August!”

The feature race on the opening day of AugustFest is the Vincent O’Brien Ruby Stakes (listed), the Kingdom Gold Cup Handicap of €50,000 and the Gain Advantage Race Series. On Friday, the day two feature is the Grade B Handicap Hurdle of €50,000 and the EBF Novice Hurdle, with four competitive chase races. The final day of the festival the feature is the Grade B Handicap Chase of €50,000.

Adult tickets are available from €20 and children under 14 go free ensuring a great day out for all the family. For those who love a deal, the “Punter’s Pack” is a great value-added option and if you want to live it up check out the Maurice O’Donoghue Suite and Panoramic Restaurant options.

For all ticket details and festival programme information visit killarneyraces.com.

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Jessie Buckley’s album shortlisted for prestigious award

Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is […]

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Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year.

Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is one of 12 albums shortlisted for the prestigious award which will be revealed in London on September 8.

“Neither of us really knew each other and it was actually a blessing in disguise because we met each other in the moment and trusted each other, took a leap of faith and in a way come in just the way we were and not because of who we are,” she told a press conference at the awards announcement in London last week.

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