Marlay Park is one of the best public parks in the whole of south Dublin. Easily accessible from the city centre (where I live), just off the M50, and close to both the west and east parts of south county Dublin, it has a popular weekend food market with plenty of eating choices. There’s also a very busy little cafe which is open throughout the week for tea and coffee, lunches and snacks: I wouldn’t go there specially for food, and it can be a little slow, but the coffee is good. And Marlay has a great playground for kids and plenty of space for them to run around.
I regularly find myself in Marlay on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon for a very pleasant 40-50 minute walk around the perimeter of this 300-acre park. Buy lunch, get coffee, walk, leave. Last week, because it’s January and I have to be healthy now and can’t just eat pancakes and sausages at the market, I tried an odd new addition to the food market from a stall called The Real Bone Broth Company.
It’s a pretty straightforward deal: chicken bone broth or beef bone broth, slow cooked for 24 hours to extract maximum flavour. Tempting as they seemed, I went for the Winter Beef Stew for a fiver. If I was ever mad enough to get into the food business, this is exactly the type of dish I’d like to make. It’s hearty, warming, rich, nutritious, and and packed with a generous amount of the most tender slow-cooked stewed beef imaginable, as well as some potato, celery, carrot and onion – a proper stew. It needs no salt, no pepper, nothing. It’s organic, if you care about that sort of thing (I don’t), but what’s clear is that this company really cares about the provenance and quality of their ingredients.
The company’s website mentions something about the health benefits of the paleolithic diet, which prompts the skeptic in me to ask: didn’t cavemen live nasty, brutish, short lives? There’s also some raw, gluten-free cakes on offer; they may be tastier than they look, but this fat bastard likes his CAKE to contribute towards an early death, thanks very much. And what’s the point of going for a walk if you don’t have a pound of butter to burn off?
I can overlook all of that. This stew is perfect, and a great way to warm up on a cold January day. I’ll have this again next time I’m in Marlay, and might even get a little to take home. Get down to Marlay and check it out yourself, or follow The Real Bone Broth Company on Twitter for details of their next location. Recommended.