On our quest for superb local produce, we have worked with some amazing suppliers: Broughgammon Farm, Achill Island Sea Salt and of course The Walled Garden at Helen’s Bay to name but a few. With this in mind, we are delighted when we track down a producer with a similar level of passion to our own. Vanessa Drew of Ballyroney Cottage is no exception and she has just teamed up with The Merchant Hotel to supply us with goat’s milk.
Vanessa has a lifelong passion for animals and currently shares her home with 9 goats, 12 sheep, 8 beehives, 4 cats, 20 hens and a peacock! Our chefs recently visited Ballyroney Cottage to see Vanessa working. They found that not only does Vanessa take a completely natural approach to caring for the animals, in harmony with nature, but her love for her work shines through; this ensures that her produce meets her (and our) impeccably high standards.
Vanessa explained that the goats are fed on a high carrot diet to capitalise on the carrot’s natural antibiotic quality which reduces the need to use anything unnatural in their diet. The result is a unique milk with a fantastic natural taste, and a very slight sharpness.
Whilst goat’s milk has any number of potential uses, we currently use it in our vanilla ice cream, as this cuts through the sweetness of many desserts to create a delectable and balanced flavour. Try it for yourself with the help of this simple recipe from our kitchens:
· 250ml goats' milk
· 250ml double cream
· 125g caster sugar
· 125g egg yolk
· 1 vanilla pod
1. Place the milk, cream and vanilla pod into a pot and bring to the boil.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until combined.
3. Add the boiled milk mix VERY slowly to the egg yolk mix and whisk (if you go too quickly the eggs are likely to “scramble”). Pour the mixture into a clean pot.
4. Cook until the mixture reaches a temperature of 80 °C (a cooking thermometer is a must).
5. Leave to cool and fold in the whipped cream.
6. Churn using an ice-cream maker and store in the freezer.