Old Farm courtesy of Margaret O'Farrell
Is there a better way to have a great day out than to gather a group of food-mad people to cook and compete?

A group of us who only knew each other through Twitter did just this - this weekend past. A gauntlet was thrown down late one night - when talk was cheap. A date was set, the competition decided . There were no set rules as to the type of meat or the added ingredients.

Over 30 adults and children arrived bearing plates of burgers, bowls of salad, cakes, desserts, and bags clinking with bottles.  Our Mexican contingent arrived bearing a Pinata in the form of a pink pig.  Very apt considering we were on an organic pig farm, producing the best free range pork in Ireland.

Pinky the Pinata arriving safely
The entries were all cooked on 3 different size BBQs. (Big Green Egg). 
The entries included:
  • Turkey smothered in a melting blue cheese and onion sauce from our American chef Ron
  • Beef and blackpudding 
  • Beef and three cheese both entries from our craft butcher from Limerick
  • Oldfarm organic free range pork with secret ingredients from our hosts
  • My entries of lamb and pork and beef combined (recipes below)
Organic salads
Along with the burger entries, were contributions of different salads and the bread rolls were supplied by  artisan bakers who sadly were too tired to come along, having been baking all night for 6 nights.  Incidentally they are also known to most of us through Twitter.  There was also a table groaning under the weight of several and varied magnificent desserts and cakes.

To be honest the food was so amazing, the conversation so animated, the company so great; the competition was forgotten and we decided that all the entries were really delicious and we should run another (this time organising it slightly more efficiently).  With the added bonus that we all get to gather again. 

Afterwards we sat on the veranda into the wee small hours talking food, warmed by a chimenea until fierce winds blew so much smoke in our eyes we had to retreat indoors.  The outcome of this is we have decided to name the group the Oldfarm Foodies and our next adventure is a sourdough masterclass given by the Czech master baker who sadly was not able to make our inaugural gathering.

My lamb entry
Lamb Burger Recipe

500g/1lb lamb shoulder minced (do not be too fastidious trimming fat, you need about 20%)
2 red onions seasoned and softened in oil (I used rape seed)
A good bunch of fresh rosemary finely chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seeds.

When the onions are softened, add in the fennel seed and allow to cool.  Add in the chopped rosemary and mix through the mince. Form into burger patties and chill.

Makes approximately 4 - 6. (depending on size desired)

Beef and Pork Recipe

250g minced beef
250g minced pork belly
2 red onions finely chopped, seasoned, softened and cooled
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
A good big handful of fresh oregano chopped.

Add the cooled onions and the  other ingredients and form into patties.  Chill.

Makes approximately 4 - 6.

I don't think there is a more enjoyable way to spend time, than with a group of like-minded foodies in the glorious setting that is Oldfarm Co. Tipperary.

All photos courtesy of Lily Ramirez-Foran apart from the first.