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Wild Garlic Weekend April 5th-6th

Our annual homage to one of our favourite ingredients.

Ramsons, wood garlic, wild garlic; call it what you will, Allium ursinum is a forager’s delight and one of the best natural ingredients around at this time of year. It’s hard to pin down it’s exact season, but the plant is often to be found in abundance around damp woodlands from around mid March until the end of May.

Unlike the usual variety of garlic, the wild stuff is prized for it’s leaves rather than it’s bulb. It’s flowers are also edible, but are more often used raw in salads(or delicious if pickled!). It’s distinctive and herbaceous aroma is somewhere between a scallion and normal garlic, and this subtlety makes it incredibly versatile.

Be careful when foraging yourself – it looks a bit like the poisonous ‘Lily of the valley ‘ plant. For positively identifying wild garlic, a quick grind of the leaves between the fingers should reveal a garlic like smell .

Our Café menus will be also feature plenty of Garlic with delicious specials at our Friday night supper in New Antrim street (Book on 094 9023376) as well as dishes like Friendly Farmer Chicken Kievs, Andarl Pork with Wild Garlic stuffing, Fishcakes with poached eggs and wild Garlic hollandaise.

Our shop will also be stocking wild garlic flavoured breads, soups, pestos, tarts and mayo to take home .

At the end of the month – Tuesday April 30th – we’ll also be covering some recipes featuring Wild Garlic , and celebrating some other great seasonal ingredients such as Irish Sprouting Broccoli, Spring Cabbage, Rhubarb and Asparagus. The evening includes all notes, a light supper and a glass of wine and tickets are priced at €35. If you’d like to come, please call our delicatessen on 094 9286072.

Some things to do with Wild Garlic….

BLITZ some of the leaves in good olive oil a
And stir through mayonnaise

WILT the washed leaves in a pan as you would with spinach. Lovely with a poached egg on some sourdough toast

CHOP some of the leaves into pasta,
Mash or risotto for a great garlicky edge.

SHAPE the left over mash or rice into cakes, add some
Cheese, a few more chopped leaves , dust in flour and fry
in a pan.

Blitz together about 50 g of lightly toasted pine nuts, grated Parmesan cheese until roughly chopped and then throw in a good handful of wild garlic leaves, and the zest of a lemon and blitz it up again.
Add about 100 ml of good quality extra virgin olive oil and season carefully to taste.


10 years on Spencer Street


Time flies…

thumbnail_IMG_0847_sRGBThis year, Rua celebrates 10 years on Castlebar’s Spencer Street.  In 2008 the newspapers were filled with stories of the deepening worldwide recession yet, bolstered on by the support of our loyal customers and with a brilliant  team ready to take on the challenge, we opened the doors to our very sparsely stocked shop in the Autumn of 2008. When the tables and chairs arrived, our café opened above our deli several weeks later.thumbnail_IMG_0861-2

Since then, we are proud to run a shop that hosts the produce of a small army of great producers, many of them local. We have also aimed to celebrate this food on the daily changing menus in our upstairs café. It has been flattering and encouraging to have been acknowledged nationally over the last decade with Restaurant Awards for ‘Best Irish Café‘ and the ‘Bord Bia’ national ‘Just Ask’ award in 2016 for our promotion of local food. However, what we are mostly grateful for as a business is the repeat and valued custom from the people of Castlebar, our neighbouring towns and too, all those who include Rua as a pit stop for nourishment over the last ten years. We are still here because of you.

thumbnail_IMG_0864To celebrate the 10 years on Spencer street, we can think of no better way to say thank you to our customers than to celebrate some of the fantastic produce that have been ingredients to our business.

We have ten Rua shopping  bags filled with goodies to give away. To enter, simply come to our cafe on Spencer Street and anyone paying a bill from 10:00 am for €10 or over gets a chance to pick a lucky 10 ticket from the Lucky 10 bucket! 

10 yr hamper draw




Margaret Hickey visits Rua

IMG_8059On an unseasonably warm October evening, we were privileged to host an evening event at Rua for our town’s ‘Wild Atlantic Words’ literary festival. Now in its third year, the programme this year was another wonderfully eclectic mix of authors from a wide spectrum of literary interest including Mary Robinson, Pat Mc Cabe and local historian Ivor Hamrock.IMG_7996

Our task at Rua was to add to the bill by inviting a recently published author, ideally based or hailing from the West coast of Ireland, and who would be able to entertain us with stories based on an expertise in matters of food or food history. To this end, we aimed high, and our first choice was to issue an invite to Margaret Hickey.  Based near Portumna, Margaret was a former editor of Country Living magazine, and also pursued a freelance writing career, contributing articles on food, drink and travel to most of the British national press, including The Financial Times, The Guardian and The Times.

Our shop had recently got hold of her most recent work ‘Ireland’s Green Larder’ and we had been enthusiastically promoting it to anyone with a passing interest in Irish food. Described as ‘A glorious ramble down the centuries telling the story of food and drink in Ireland’, the book is filled with wonderful stories and gems of information about our nation and its relationship with food and drink through the centuries.IMG_8258

We were delighted when Margaret graciously accepted our invite and came to see us at Rua on the Wednesday evening of the festival. Once the crowd gathered just after 7pm in the upstairs café on Spencer Street, Margaret wasted no time in launching into a catalogue of stories from the pages of her book, featuring information on how the Irish monks taught the French how to make cheese, and how our food story  began in Mayo’s Ceide Fields, established 1000 years before the Pyramids were built. There were also lots of questions from the interested attendees and debate ensured on our nation’s checkered history with eating fish and current appetite for offal.

It was a great evening, and we are very grateful to the Wild Atlantic Words committee for inclusion in the festival, and, of course, to Margaret for coming to speak and entertain us at Rua.

IMG_8260Read more about Margaret on the links below:


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