Dec 132017
Bonner's Corner Bar - Ballybofey, Ireland

Bonner's Corner Bar - Ballybofey, Co Donegal

Ballybofey, in County Donegal, is a typical Donegal town, with a lively music and bar scene.  Many will know it as a pass-through on the drive from Belfast to Donegal, via Strabane.  But the town itself is well worth a visit. The people are known to be particularly friendly and it has a very Donegal feel, despite being only a short drive from the border with Northern Ireland.

If you are looking to get some Dillisk in Ballobofey then so far as I know there are no suitable local rocks to pick it from.  However you are likely to find some in the local shops if you look around.  One shop that sells Dillisk in Ballybofey is Alexanders.

If you know any other shops selling Dulse in Ballybofey please leave a comment below to help future visitors.

Nov 222017

One of the vegetables that I am very fond of is seaweeds. I love it not only because of its taste but because of the many nutrients it can deliver to our body. Seaweeds have always been part of the staple diet of Asians who lived near the sea. To the seaside residents, it is one of their secrets to a long and healthy life. Even non-Asians do fall in love with seaweeds as these have become a distinct vegetable delicacy.

Seaweeds have good nutritional value, but different varieties offers different nutrients. See for your self what you can get from varied types of seaweeds:

  • Dulse – a reddish brown seaweed that is high in sodium. This seaweed can be eaten with milk and water;
  • Nori – commonly sold in flat sheets and is usually roasted and wrapped around pieces of sushi. This type of seaweed is rich vitamins (A, B1, B2, C, E and K), minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium and iodine) and protein
  • Wakame – this seaweed uniquely shows anti-obesity properties with its high amount of essential fatty acids called EPA.

Generalists speak so kindly about seaweeds saying they do does so much more for health than just delivering nutrients. According to them, seaweeds helps you with the following:

  • Regulate activity of thyroid (with Iodine)
  • Give satiety as a plant food and thus help control obesity
  • Support bone health (with Vitamin C, K, and Magnesium)
  • Aid in giving heart protection (with Potassium)
  • Deliver immunity protection (with Vitamin A, C, E and Iron)
  • Contribute to normal brain developments (in children – with Iron)
  • With its phytoestrogen content called lignans, seaweeds are known to have anti-cancer properties

Although not scientifically-based, others testify that frequent consumption of seaweeds reduces menopause symptoms like hot flashes and fatigue. Now because we cannot belittle the many nutrients we can find in seaweeds, it would then be a good practice to regularly include seaweeds in any possible opportunity. Here are some recipes you can try:

Merry Seaweed Salad


2 pieces carrots sliced; 1 cup celery; 1 cup seaweeds, soaked for 2-3 minutes in water then sliced

Mixing Procedure:

Put water in pot and boil. When water boils, reduce temperature to low and add carrots (just blanch, until it is bright and still crisp). Remove carrots and put on plate to cool, just reserve the water. Bring back the water to boil and do the same with celery; drain carrots and celery, then mix together with seaweeds. Enjoy it naturally.

Deep Water Soup


3 pieces onions (chopped), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 6 pieces potatoes (cubed), 2 parsnips, 1 cup sliced canned shiitake mushrooms, 1 cup dried seaweeds, 12 cups of water.

Cooking Procedure:

Saute onions in oil until brown. Add all other ingredients and cook until vegetables are done. Adjust seasonings

Voila!  If you have any comments please leave them below.  Tried the recipes?  What did you think?

Nov 142017

Seaweed, as the name aptly reflects, is the creation of the underwater world.  However the weeds like dulse, kelp, laver, carrageen, badderlocks, and tangle with their specific traits of rich nutritious content are much more than weeds and reminiscent of any healthy and nutritious land-based food. They bloom under the sea and are exhorted as an important part of the diet amongst many Asians.  Seaweed’s specialty also lies in its effective use as a rich source of biomass energy, animal feed due to its mineral rich properties, agricultural and horticultural fertiliser, facial scrub, moisturiser and shampoo.

Recent studies by the Scottish Association for Marine Science have recommended its use in the aquaculture industry but people here still have not grasped the taste of seaweed, even though 650 edible varieties of it are growing along the 11,000 miles of UK coastline. Traditionally seaweed farming uk was being done by using storm cast or harvesting wild stands of it and even utilizing it as their main source of food, as far back as 600 AD.  However recently seaweed farming in the UK has become the most viable option for farmers due to its market value worldwide.  Moreover recently seaaweeds are being exploited as a fertiliser, as a source of iodine, for the chemicals present in it and its use in alginates production.

For harvesting seaweed for food, farmers require permission of the local authorities as the seabed is occupied by the Crown estates.  In fact oil companies are also showing their interest in seaweed harvesting for the natural oil, but this is not agreeable to the conservationists who are trying to protect the areas around coastline, for the entire coastline is not conducive for the development of aquaculture. The only option then left for the farmers is the offshore and onshore farming. Onshore farming is done by pumping water inside the tanks on land where the seaweed is grown like an organic fish. While offshore farming is possible only when offshore wind farms are constructed as they require oxygenated water for quality growth.

Seaweeds are no doubt very valuable in terms of their productivity and it has been found that brown kelps can create 16 to 65 kilos of biomass per sq m every year. But to harvest the same innovative aquatic harvester is a need of the hour to make it convenient for the banks of kelp to be cut at a faster rate and without much human efforts. Kelp forests are very dense and their growth is also very fast making it the most convenient point for periodic harvesting.

Wild seaweed could be a great initiation point but according to one of the surveys there are around 8000 sq km of habitat in Scotland sub-littoral waters but only 1,000 square kilometers of the area is suitable for harvesting of seaweed for commercial use.  It is said that in Scotland harvesting of seaweeds for biofuels is the most viable and profitable venture as it meets the needs of our daily use of energy in the form of fuels for our vehicles.

Seaweed harvesting has been a traditional form of farming in most areas of Britain but it saw a downfall in the twentieth century. But looking at the vast potentialities and the natural coastlines, seaweed farming in the UK can again become a great commercial success and a highly profitable venture for its harvesters.