Friday, 13 July 2012

Collecting sea urchins on Inis Mean

I'm sure you could count the number of restaurants in Ireland easily on one hand that offer sea urchins on the menu - Ballymaloe features them occasionally when they come up from West Cork.

I adore sea urchins but rarely get the opportunity to feast on them so I was thrilled to bits to see them right on the top of the the dinner menu at Inis Mean suites on the Aran island with the proviso (order 24 hours ahead).

The restaurant with just five rooms owned by Ruari and Marie Therese de Blacam and is one of the hottest foodie addresses in Ireland right now. We love it for a ton of reasons not least that dinner starts with a little bowl of freshly picked periwinkles. How about that - not everyone's cup of tea but it gave me a oops in my tummie - what ever turns you on!

I'm an enthusiastic forager both on land and in the woods and on the sea shore but I've never known how to find sea urchins so I ordered them for the following night on the proviso that I could come with Ruari when he was collecting them. What an experience, we wound our way down to the seashore along the narrow botharins until we came to Tra Teacht. From there we scrambled over jagged boulders, limestone karst, round algae covered stones, slippery seaweed and fossils until we came to some rockpools exposed only during the spring tides a couple of times a year. Ruari waded in in his wellies and prized them out of their little nests with a chisel.

I kept thinking how the little sea urchins were quietly conjugating in their natural habitat one moment and seconds later they were my dinner!

So how do you go about eating a sea urchin? Well, pick it up, hold it firmly with the mouth upwards, tap around in a circle with the bowl of a teaspoon until you have cracked enough of the hard shell to lift out the ? and made a opening large enough to scoop out the contents. Inside there will be five pieces of orange coral and other gunge all of which is delicious. Some people like to squeeze in a couple of drops of lemon juice but I love the fresh briny tasting coral on it's own.

We sat on the seashore watching the pollock jumping, feasting on sea urchins and the Morrocan chickpea stew in the picnic which had been delivered to our bedroom earlier in cute littleThermos flasks with a spoon tucked inside the lid. (Just what I need for my travel survival kit).

Later we went fishing with Turlough, Ruari's Dad, we were totally hopeless but he caught 10 or 15 mackerel, four and five at a time, I also love fresh mackerel so Ruari prepared sashimi with a ginger and sesame marinade and some spring onions, it was brilliantly good , in fact it was one of the most memorable things I've eaten all year.

Everyone speaks Irish on Inis Mean, the least visited of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. It can be reached by plane or ferry and is truly a world apart with one of my favourite places to stay anywhere in the world.

The stone walls on Inis Mean are a homage to the local stone masons
The cliffs on Inis Mean
Ruari de Blacam prising sea urchins from the rocks


Sea urchins... before my picnic


Cranesbill, salad burnett, valerian...

Inis Mean - cattle grazing contentedly on beautiful pasture full of wild flowers
Ruari served us this mackerel sashimi with ginger and sesame dressing - it was simply sublime

30 comments:

  1. I have never eaten a sea urchin or been to Inis Mean... should at least do one on my next visit to Ireland! Would need to bring my mother with me as she was from Donegal and speaks Irish! The mackerel sashimi looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful part of the world. I went to Inis Meain many decades ago when the only way visitors could reach it was paying locals to row from Inis Oirr in a currach. Scary and exciting especially when a) they didn't swim and b) I didn't swim! We camped there a few days. Fantastic. A couple of the older women still wore the traditional skirts as they sat outside preparing veg for dinner. I think we were the only visitors on the island, no dining out options then. Instead we collected bairneachs. Not quite the same but tasty too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such a lovely part of Ireland that's worth visiting .Definitely true of Dublin restaurants you could count the restaurants on one hand that offer urchins. Great article

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey dear get the roblox robux generator as it will let you top play this game much comfortably.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Quality read. I located you weblog of Google and i hold thy page bookmarked regarding my private examine list! I’m a fan concerning you Website. Keep upon the tremendous work
    buy dissertation online

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great information Technology is a better always. Download towel root app

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such an interesting blog,i am glad to visit here.As i can collect several useful information through out this blog and i can use that stuff for my further assistance,as like career or educational requirement.So that i would like to say that,i have been researching for my academic writing help that is Essay Help UK since very long time and after a long research i have finally got something quite useful and informative through out this platform.Ans i am looking for more useful information.Thanks for sharing it.
    phd dissertation Writing Service

    ReplyDelete
  8. You should have clearly define topics which you want to learn and start collecting study material according to that topics. Also some assignment help service you can use to get knowledge as well. Just proceed accordingly and don’t waste your time because time is precious. Assignment Help

    ReplyDelete
  9. WoW! this is really best collection of your work that I was looking from others sites but it's give good glimpse to everyone and assignment helper always share well task. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice to see this blog. Really this is an amazing blog and also informative and valuable. Visit for
    Web Design Company in Delhi

    ReplyDelete
  11. Best Homework Helper is home to more than 3000 online live college homework tutors who are quite impressive in solving various primary homework related issues. In fact, some of these tutors hold a PhD degree, which clearly shows how competent they are at handling various school and college homework problems.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice blog with pictorial representation on "Collecting sea urchins". Hire essay writer for any sort of writing assistance.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Looking for the best Ireland Assignment Help services? Go nowhere else, come at StudentsAssignmentHelp.com and get the best kind of academic writing help. We have a team of proficient Irish assignment writers that complete an accurate assignment writings for the scholars.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Are you gonna write a paper about sea? take a look here and order it. There are a lot of talented writers!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.
    digital marketing company in patna

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for sharing such an amazing blog. It is really helpful for me and I get my lots of solution with this blog. also cheack our site. packers and movers in Patna

    ReplyDelete
  17. Awesome post. I enjoyed reading your articles. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. online assignment help

    ReplyDelete
  18. THANKS FOR INFORMATION

    you can search low-cost website with high-quality website functions.
    Today Join Us
    Call: +91 - 8076909847

    website designing company in Delhi

    levantro
    interior designer in Delhi

    livewebindia
    website development company in Delhi

    SEO company in Delhi

    Best It Service Provider:

    1. Website Designing And Development.
    2. SEO Services.
    3. Software Development.
    4. Mobile App Development.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Students Assignment Help provides the best global assignment help to the students of various universities at an affordable price. Our experienced writers are available 24x7 to provide assistance to students for any academic help. For more details email us at info@studentsassignmenthelp.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. MyAssignmenthelp.com being one of the most active Australian Assignment Help websites has a pool of over 4500+ assignment experts from Australia, UK and US. They are highly qualified and skilled professional writers who have vast experience in writing assignments, dissertations, essays, research papers, term papers etc. Each expert is chosen after rigorous testing and has to prove his academic credentials.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The proper acknowledgement of submitting the homework matters. A survey performed on 1000 students reveals that students want some sort of acknowledgement for attempting and finishing homework. They need to take professional homework help.


    Many students often fail to present their assignment on time and that ultimately transpires in poor academic performance. When it comes to assignments, confusions and difficulties are prevalent. That is why multiple students these days depend heavily upon writing and proofreading services offered by myassignmenthelp.com, which is easily accessible online. The website is known for academic paper services that assist the students to finish their tasks without any difficulties getting in the way.

    ReplyDelete