Friday Photo

We had snow this week…. well a sprinkling really.  None of it ‘stuck’.  This was taken yesterday morning…. I love the way the light makes the world look black and white.

Snow sky over Oldfarm

Snow sky over Oldfarm

Friday Photo

We’ve had a few gorgeous cold but bright days this week in Tipperary…. and some beautiful sunsets.

Winter Sky

Winter Sky

Friday Photo

We’ve had a day of snow this week…. yes, just one day!  So I took some time out to go on a ‘photoshoot’ about the place.


Meet the Baker

Starting 2015 by continuing my introduction to some of our wonderful artisan food producers in the area.  This time around it is time to meet the baker.

What’s not to love about the smell of freshly baked bread?  Doesn’t it raise the spirits of everyone?  Is it any wonder that estate agents used to suggest you should bake bread on the day your house was being shown for a sale?

Beautiful Breads

Beautiful Breads

While we mostly make our own bread, there are times when we are just stuck or have run out of time.  When such times occur our preferred bread of choice is that baked by Jonas Hein at Coolfin Gardens Organic Bakery in Banagher.

I recently chatted to Jonas and, his wife, Layla, about their bakery.

Jonas started the bakery from his home kitchen in 2007.  Back then the idea was that a small bakery would help tide him and Layla over financially while they were developing the ‘real big’ business plan.  However, as often happens in life, things changed along the way.

Jonas had always worked in the catering industry both front of house, and behind the scenes. He, however, had no ‘formal’ training in bread-making.  His baking skill was learned from his Swiss Mum, having watched her bake for the family all his life.

As Layla and Jonas continued to work on the big plan….. the popularity of their breads just grew and grew.  Originally they were just supplying some local shops and restaurants, and doing the occasional market.

It was a difficult time when the realisation came that the ‘big plan’ was not going to come to fruition, yet they knew that the bakery was growing in popularity, and had huge potential.

So being adaptable and hard-working, the bakery became the ‘big plan’.

Now seven years later the bakery has moved to a customised industrial unit and has grown to the stage that more decisions need to be made as to ‘where to from here?’.

Jonas admits it is a tough schedule….. his working week starts at 3 pm on Wednesday, working late into the night each day through to 7.30 am on Saturday.  A pretty tough and exacting schedule, don’t you think.  And saying his week starts on Wednesday afternoon, is probably not totally accurate either.  Like most business people he wears other business hats, so on the other days of the week orders and admin work have to be completed.

Layla starts her working week on Thursday at 7 am.  She’s in charge of deliveries to the restaurants and shops.  And on Saturday morning, after her delivery run, she heads off to the Galway Street Market for the day.

You’ll find the Coolfin Organic Bakery stand just across the road from Anthony Ryan’s.

Their breads are also available locally in Birr at the Organic Store on Main Street.

So if you are in Galway do stop by their stand…. Layla laughs that people refer to it as ‘Layla’s Bread’….. that’s what happens when you are the ‘face’ of the business I guess :)

Alfie's burger and Jonas' Ciabatti

Alfie’s burger and Jonas’ Ciabatti (screenshot from A Taste of Success on RTE)

Their range of organic and spelt breads includes 12 different varieties with the ciabatta being the most popular. (I can see why!  It is our favourite too!  Alfie actually used Jonas and Layla’s ciabatta on his recent TV appearance on The Taste of Success!).

Jonas and Layla Hein

Coolfin Gardens Organic Bakery

Telephone Layla:  087 204 5593

email:  coolfingardens@gmail.com

Facebook: Coolfin Gardens Organic Bakery



You just gotta love the fact that this cheese is wrapped in lard!!!

Do any Irish cheeses do this?

Originally posted on Fromage Homage:

Happy New Year everyone! Okay, I realise I’m a bit on the late side for that but I’ve been so busy lazing about, scoffing festive cheese, that this poor old blog has been a bit neglected. But here I am, pushing away the tumbleweeds and blowing off the cobwebs, ready to start the year afresh. And what better way to leap back into action than with a great big bear of a cheese?

Most cheeses on this blog I forage for but I was lucky enough to be sent this week’s Fromage Friday. I received it a week before Christmas, then my parents arrived and my dad took a serious fancy to it, along with the Other Half who hasn’t stop guzzling it. Or indeed myself. But the cheese lives on. It’s like the tardis of cheeses. So here it is (and I must apologise to any cheese pros for…

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Friday Photo

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain…. these two guys are happy out in the pond :)

Mossie and Mollie

Mossie and Mollie

Regular readers will have seen the Friday Photo I posted showing the calendar that we had printed this year.  However, I thought I’d share the ‘story’ behind the calendar.

2015 Oldfarm Calendar

2015 Oldfarm Calendar

One should always share the ‘story’ don’t you think?

My sisters are quite arty….. well able to put pen or brush to paper and produce something.  My Mum discovered the artist within her on retirement and produced some lovely paintings.  Me?  No good at all!

While I loved dressmaking and used to even design and create my own patterns, I could not draw at ALL.  I attended dress-designing classes at one point and used to drive the teacher mad.  I could describe what I expected to achieve but give her no idea visually on it!  But, hey, I could make the pattern – that was just a mathematics exercise – I’m a nerd!

Over the years, I’ve had cameras.  And on occasions produced good snapshots. And then came digital photography….. I found my ‘artistic nirvana’.

I love it.  I’d be happy to go off with the camera every single day.  (Can I win the lottery so I can do this, please!)

Now, I know my photographs aren’t all great.  I’m still learning.  People have often said to me ‘that’s a great shot’, but I’m looking at it and seeing how I could have done better….. I have been well tutored by Suzanna at Zwartbles Ireland.  Go do a day course with her if you get the opportunity…. it will not be wasted…. you will learn so much.

Sometimes though I do knock myself out with the occasional stunning shot.

And so we come to the calendar.

Who hasn’t looked at something/anything and said, sure I could do that myself, or in fact, I’d do better.  Well I was like this and probably driving Alfie mad! Although, to be fair, he’d often say to me…. your photographs are way better than those.

When I won a copy of Catherine at Foxglove Lane’s book (and cards) and read about her venture into self-publishing, it inspired me and kind of instilled a bit of bravery into me.  And, I said, yes, I am going to give it a shot.

The calendar is my little foray into self-publishing.  Not all the photographs included have been taken by me.  Alfie has taken a few.  We’ve been blown away by the number of compliments we’ve received, and by the number of people who’ve purchased a copy.  In fact, we’ve had to do a second print run!

Copies have gone to all corners of the country, and to all corners of the world.  We hope you enjoy the photographs over the coming year which are mostly of moments of life here at Oldfarm.

2015 Oldfarm Calendar

2015 Oldfarm Calendar

Thank you so much for the encouragement!

There are still a few left which can be purchased via our website – www.oldfarm.ie

Happy New Year :)