Posted on 1 Comment

Smoked salmon is fit for any cause..

A quirk of fate, and an email and Ummera finds itself jointly sponsoring the Smoked Salmon at tonight’s Parliamentary Palace of Varieties at the Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane, London in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Parliamentary Palace of Varieties has become a must in the Westminster calendar. It is a fun, entertaining evening when members of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons generously give their time to share their amazing, and frequently unexpected talents.

In previous years audiences have been entertained by Cabinet Ministers who tap dance, a folk singing Foreign Secretary, classically trained MPs, a jazz playing Peer and a Parliamentary Rock Band – which includes MP @IanCawsey, as well as listening to poems and laughing at monologues and sketches performed by mixed party politicians from the newest MPs to the Lord Chancellor.

Ummera is jointly sponsoring the smoked salmon with Uig Lodge Smokehouse on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland.

Students of Irish and Hebridean history are well aware of the synergies between the two regions, but here the synergy exists between the two smokehouses as they were both founded by my father, Keith.

From Cork in Ireland, Keith Creswell crossed the sea to advise son-in-law Malcolm. Under Keith’s instruction, the Uig Smokery was established. They smoked on both the shores of Cork & The Isle of Lewis. Two houses joined over a single question: “Which salmon smokes best: Irish or Scottish?”

On a wild Atlantic edge, Guardian of the Uig Smoke, Kenny MacKay tasted his way through endless concoctions. He found the recipe for a dry cure that’s best for Scottish salmon. He’s always seeking to perfect his recipe…

Back in Cork, where the River Argideen turns tidal to the sea, the Creswell branch steeped salmon in a brine of Portugese sea salt from Tavira. They mixed in a little raw Costa Rican organic cane sugar – until the fish was right. Dried in Cork air, smoked for hours over sawdust of oak…

Today, both smokeries are led by Anthony (in Cork) & Dickon (on Lewis), sons of their founders. An older generation’s experience (inspiration?) has smoked its way through to the fish.

The families may be in competition to provide the most subtle & tasty fish.

Both addicted, both obsessively focussed on the beauty of top class smoked salmon – produced with love.

Posted on 1 Comment

Smoked Chicken and Tea?

Wanting to help a customer last week,  I asked if there was anything we could do to increase his sales.

He promptly replied:  “Yes, you could herd a few thousand people into our half deserted center…….!”

So in the continuing spirit of goodwill, I asked him how he used our smoked chicken – and back came the reply:

We use Ummera smoked chicken for sandwiches and for a salad. We make it with iceberg lettuce, the chicken and a few pieces of Italian semi-sundried tomatoes (marinated in olive oil, garlic and herbs). This way no other ingredient is distracting from the fine smoked chicken flavour.

This is by far our bestseller. We get proper first class breads from a french producer to make sure the whole package is on the same quality level (baguette, ciabatta, sour dough bread which we daily bake on the premise).

In the salad we just use iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, garnished with the same sundried tomatoes and we use the very aromatic olive oil from the tomatoes as dressing. Another dressing option is our own jasmine tea dressing but this works better with normal green salads.

Smoked chicken goes well with almost any tea. Especially finer black teas, e.g. Darjeelings, Chinese black teas (have a sweet-smoky flavour), Chinese green teas (not so much Japanese green teas) and above all fine Oolongs (between a green and a black tea with distinctive peachy notes).

And so wrote Martin Mehner of The House of Tea in the CHQ Building at the IFSC Center in Dublin 1

Check out the House of Tea website to learn more about Martin’s teas and do drop by and enjoy one of his amazing Smoked Chicken Sandwiches!

Ummera Smoked Chciken

Posted on Leave a comment

Where DOES our pork come from?

There was an article last Saturday in the UK’s Mail Online about how UK Supermarkets and food outlets have come together to create a voluntary code on the labeling of pork products in respect of country of origin. (Read it here)

Since Ireland’s Pork Fiasco in December 2008 there have been noises made about exactly where our Pork comes from. There are now Assurance Schemes which help to reassure us that those particular products are Irish, but there is nothing in place to show where pork products NOT bearing these schemes labels come from.

Are we to assume that all products NOT carrying these labels are therefore NOT Irish grown pork?

The pork that we cure and smoke is Irish; what’s more we can trace our pork back to the farm where it was grown, back to Martin O’Donovan in Timoleague for instance, which is much more than most suppliers of bacon or pork can do.

But we aren’t part of Bord Bia’s Quality Assurance Scheme, so don’t assume that if it doesn’t have the Q.A. stamp on it that it’s not Irish.

The need for clear Country of Origin labeling is obvious.

Yesterday, Ummera had a Twitter conversation/debate with Bord Bia over the question of traceability.

Thought you might be interested in it:

ummera: Supermarkets in UK agree to reveal the REAL origins of their pork products;@BordBia @GoodFoodIreland and here?, Feb 24 from HootSuite

Bordbia: @ummera Food products, especially meat with our Quality Assurance Scheme logo on it is produced in Ireland and fully traceable.10:01am, Feb 24 from TweetDeck

ummera: @Bordbia And Pork? Farm to fork? Not yet by any means.10:39am, Feb 24 from HootSuite

Bordbia: @ummera & Pork. Bord Bia Quality Mark assures consumers with fully traceable & origin Ireland product, processors/farmers all audited.1:36pm, Feb 24 from Web

ummera: @Bordbia Quality Mark excellent, but it is all the rest that aren’t covered. Shouldn’t there be traceability Farm to Fork on ALL products?2:30pm, Feb 24 from HootSuite

Bordbia: @ummera That’s why it’s important to look for the Quality Assurance Mark on products., Feb 24 from TweetDeck

ummera: @Bordbia Indeed; but do you think that supermarkets, & retail outlets here could agree a voluntary code for all pork products as in the UK?3:31pm, Feb 24 from HootSuite

Bordbia: @ummera Not sure how valid the policing of a “voluntary” scheme is. Bord Bia Quality Assurance marks offers validity with audit process. 4:12pm, Feb 24 from Web

All we really want to know is where our food comes from: what country, and if Irish what farmer and where?

Posted on 2 Comments

A modest food hero of West Cork

Last night, RTE’s Nationwide had a piece on Val Manning of that famous institution, Mannings Emporium at Ballylicky, West Cork.

Anyone travelling on the road north of Bantry on the way to Glengarrif, Kenmare and Killarney will have passed this little shop with the grand name; anyone with a modicum of interest in food will have been compelled to stop and enjoy Val’s company and stories.

To those of us working with food in West Cork ( and further afield) Val has been the mecca for artisan producers over the last 30 years and it is right that he should have been given such warm coverage last night. Val gave support and encouragement to many over the years.

Click Nationwide to watch the clip.

And I’ve just heard that Carmel Somers of The Good Things Cafe in Durrus has just been on TV3, s0 West Cork really hitting the news!

And a reminder to those readers in the UK that as from March 1st we have our very own Swansea Cork Ferry coming back.

Posted on Leave a comment

London Tasting – Friday January 29th

A London meeting was to be arranged; a flight from Cork was booked ahead of confirmation of meeting; meeting was delayed; what to do with 6 hours spare in London?

Quick phone call to Dan Mortimer of Mortimer & Bennett Delicatessen in Turnham Green Terrace and six hours filled! A tasting was arranged and so Anthony will be there available to talk, taste and answer questions.

Time: 10:30am to 3:00pm (maybe later!)

Smoked Organic Salmon, Organic Gravadlax, Smoked Chicken and Smoke Duck will be available.

Posted on Leave a comment

Can’t Live Without …….

Can't Live Without
By Clodagh McKenna


Ummera Smokehouse is run and owned by the wonderful Anthony Creswell. The  smokehouse has been in the Creswell family for the past 30 years. In 1988 Anthony took over the running of the business from his father. Anthony’s father, Keith, started smoking salmon at the smokery that he and his friends caught in the local rivers Argideen, Bandon and the Blackwater, and also chicken as he had a chicken farm. Anthony keeps the tradition, but has also started dry cured bacon that is so good it makes your toes curl!

I adore the Ummera smoked chicken, and you must try it – it’s amazing in a paella, risotto or just with a salad. Ummera also produce a wicked Gravadlax, so make sure you get your orders in soon for Christmas, as its a much sought after food! The smokehouse is in Timoleague, Co. Cork and you can buy direct from Anthony by calling 023 8846644 or by e-mail See for delicious recipes which also includes one of mine for a West Cork Paella!.

Posted on Leave a comment

Anyone speak Welsh?

Tonight at 9pm on the Welsh Language TV Channel, S4C, you can watch the first of a seven part series on a cookng competition which was filmed at Ballinacura Manor House, Kinsale last July.

Ummera and some other producers took part in a mini Farmer’s Market to welcome the contestants and to show just how brilliant the food products of West Cork are.

To quote from their website:

“To lift your spirits what could be better than some Irish ‘craic’! Yes the Emerald Isle awaits you – Welcome to Tigh Dudley!

But, before even contemplating Ireland, Llandrillo’s kitchen beckons where not only are the twelve given master classes by Dudley, Bryn and Llinos they also experience some wine tasting courtesy of Arwel from Gwinology, Mold. Amazing, unforgettable experiences for the twelve competitors out of whom only eight go to Ireland and only one can be crowned the champion of Tigh Dudley 2009!”

Check out their website: and it should be in English!!

Posted on 1 Comment

Farm to Fork Visit

The rain held off and somewhat belatedly a mini bus drove into the smokehouse yard yesterday afternoon.

A tour of the smokehouse, wetlands and vermicomposting unit ended with a tasting of a range of our smoked products including

  1. Smoked Silver Eel
  2. Smoked Organic  Salmon
  3. Organic Gravadlax
  4. Smoked Chicken

There were three other smoked meats for tasting at the end. They are not commercially available (as yet) but are part of our ongoing search for new and interesting products:

  1. Smoked Dry Cured Shoulder of organically reared pork – cured in July 2009. Still very “green” and moist, but most promising. Taste again in 6 months.
  2. Smoked Dry Cured Shoulder of free range Tamworth pork – cured in February 2008.  Full of flavour and showing all those characteristics of well matured meats from Italy and Spain
  3. Cold Smoked Ummera Salami – a blend of beef and pork meat, with herbs and spices.

A conversation then ensued with our two Gloucester Old Spots pigs, Ping and Pong, and the mini bus departed for its final destination, Poacher’s Inn in Bandon.

There is another Farm to Fork tour planned for August 27th.

Contact Ruth Healy at 023 8854731 or for details.

Posted on Leave a comment

Aga Local Life

Love Local Life in Cork

On Saturday 6th June, from 12pm to 4pm, the Aga shop in Cork is giving you the chance to enjoy mouth-watering local organic food! At the Aga Shop Cork’s Local Life day, they will have cookery demonstrations, recipe ideas, exclusive offers, competition to WIN a number of attractive prizes including 1 night bed and breakfast in the Penthouse Suite of the Clarion Hotel and dinner for two in the Boardwalk Bar Restaurant along with MUCH MORE……

Whether you have an Aga or not, we look forward to seeing you in-store!

Local Participants joining us in-store on the day include:
Sowan’s Organic Bread
O’Conaill’s Choclatiers
Just Food Organic Homemade Food
Jack McCarthy Butchers
Tony Farrell Woodturner
Ummera Smoked Products
Karwig Wines
Carraigline Farmhouse Cheese
Ahern Born Free Irish Organic Chicken’s