Monday, July 2, 2012

Assign Business Operations To The Cloud

Contract Pilots for Europe’s largest airline are using it, Home Help Caregivers in the HSE are using it, Contract Doctors and Physiotherapists are using it. It’s an innocuous App that is making working life easier for Payroll, HR and Accounts. It tracks hours worked, records personnel swaps in shifts, clocks over time, and logs expenses and incidentals. It adds transparency and accountability and is fast becoming the preferred system for both workers and management alike.

It has been developed by a young, exciting and progressive West of Ireland company, Armour Interactive and it is making Cloud Computing practical and accessible. The software is Ammotio, which simply means ‘Application’ in Latin.
Director Andrew Dewdney explains, “Ammotio is form/view based information aggregator. It allows software developers to quickly and easily build complex data structures, input forms and data importation maps. It allows for the creation of modules, which are groups of functions performed on certain structured data inputs to produce a report. At Ammotio's core is a user/ group permissions system. At its simplest, it allows users to be broken into 2 categories, admin users and portal users. Admin users can access the complete Ammotio system. They have access to detail on all portal users, and can generate system wide reports and import and input data across all users. Portal users can only view and edit data pertaining to them”.
Ammotio has taken many forms to suit various requirements, from simple image gallery CMSs, right through to fully fledged accountancy and payroll systems. An Ammotio based system was built for an accountancy firm based in Dublin, who specialise in providing Accountancy Solutions to contractors in order to maximise efficiency while at the same time reducing any administration burden.   Using their old methods, they couldn't process more than 300 pilots per month at current staffing levels.   Ammotio has automated much of their business, and now they expect to be able to handle up to 3000 contract workers per month. This has allowed them to manage payroll for contract Doctors, Pilots, physiotherapists and Engineers.
The Portal is available as an iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry native app, so users can upload their expenses, check their payslips and manage their working hours on the road (or in the air!)
The beauty of the Ammotio's content importer is that reports from almost any popular system can mapped to Ammotio's structure.  Examples include 3rd party Payroll systems like Thesaurus and Collsoft -exported data from these products can be combined with userdata in Ammotio. Customised and further itemised  payslips can then be generated.
A dedicated payroll module is currently being developed which dispenses with the need for separate systems. This will facilitate the import of users from ROS, and the entire automated processing of their payroll from there.
Dewdney says ‘The major advantage of using Ammotio in this case is that every employee has a login to the system, where they can access their payslips, upload their expenses for quick approval, access their P60s and generally remove the need for them to communicate with accounts staff.
Armour Interactive are also developing Ammotio to work with logistics and stock control. ‘The idea is that Ammotio will be the go-to application for accessing HR functions, while another module will communicate with eCommerce websites, taking account of stock and communicating this to warehouse personnel and back again. Stock control is about to get a whole lot easier as we roll out Ammotio to cover various functions and reduce admin time and human errors that occur while re-entering data from one system to another. Ammotio will facilitate and assist all areas of a business working together.”
For more information contact Armour Interactive on 091 420980

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cava Spanish Restaurant Open 24 Hours for The Volvo Ocean Race Welcome

Cava Spanish Restaurant & Tapas Bar will be throwing its doors open with a 24 hour fiesta from Tuesday July 3rd from 12pm until 12pm the following day to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race yachts.

Jp McMahon who will be working the 24 hours shift along with some of his hardy chefs and waiting staff comments, ‘everyone recalls the excitement and exhilaration the arrival of the first yachts caused in 2010. The first teams arrived into Galway Docks about 3am and it was mainly party goers and night clubbers that stayed out and had the opportunity witness the fun.  With Cava staying open in what will be a first for Cava and possibly a Galway Restaurant,  people can come for tapas and fun, stay on for the evening until the early hours to see the yachts arrive in. We’ll have a truly fiesta feel with music and special tapas to mark the occasion’. Flamenco music and DJ will set the tone.

Social media will play an important role in the event by alerting diners when boats are due to arrive and keeping them updated, while also letting followers who are not present, in on the action. Jp will be documenting his 24 hours via Twitter. You can follow the event with hashtag #cava24 .

Every night of the Volvo Ocean Race will have a party in the ‘The Irish Village at The West End’. The idea being that once the Race Village closes at the Docks the party moves to the West End with streets closing from 10pm until 2am.

For more information see or phone 091 539 884.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A First For Bord Bia's Just Ask! Restaurant of the Month

EatGalway has been awarded Bord Bia’s Just Ask! Restaurant of the Month for June. This is the first time that the award goes not to a restaurant, but to a group of establishments, all based in Galway city, as a result of their dedication to sourcing ingredients locally.

Cava, Galway’s only Spanish restaurant, was opened in 2008 by husband and wife team Jp McMahon and Drigin Gaffey. Cava was soon followed by the terroir-based restaurant Aniar (2011) and subsequently by Eat @ Massimo (2011). The trio sits under the EatGalway banner with the mantra. “Three restaurants, One philosophy: Good Food, Local Suppliers and Artisan Produce”.

“We are committed to showcasing local and speciality Irish foods, albeit with international interpretation," comments Proprietor Jp McMahon. “Around fifteen respected suppliers are listed on our menus. With Aniar and Eat everything is sourced locally, and I mean everything, from our herbs to our mushrooms to our beef”.

The Allen family’s Casltemine Farm in Co. Roscommon supplies free range pork, lamb and grass fed beef. Irish pork, lamb and beef are also supplied by Collearan’s Butchers of Galway and Morgan Maguire Meats in Ballinasloe. The Friendly Farmer (Ronan Byrne) of Athenry supplies free range chicken and livers, while locally sourced fresh fish is supplied by both Moycullen Seafoods and Gannet Fishmongers in Galway. “95% of the fish we use in all three our restaurants is local”, says Jp. At least half a dozen suppliers of vegetables and salad leaves are listed, including Green Earth Organics and Dirk and Hella Flake of Kinvara. Milk comes from Arrabawn Dairies, Tipperary and apple juice from the Apple Farm at Cahir. Smoked salmon, mackerel and tuna all come from Connemara Smokehouse of Co. Galway.

On Thursday 14th Cava will host "Galway Tweet up", the event aims to bring like minded food people together through twitter and gives them an opportunity to meet and discuss all things food face to face. To celebrate the event Jp McMahon is preparing a special five course menu from starter to dessert, each course will include Ronan Byrne of The Friendly Farmers pasture chicken. The menu will speak of tradition, innovation and of using local food to the highest standards of culinary art.

Georgina Campbell said, “The supplier list to the EatGalway kitchens reads like an artisan producers’ Who’s Who of the West of Ireland – what it means to the local economy is extraordinary.”

Just Ask! is a Bord Bia campaign which aims to encourage consumers to look for information on where their food comes from when eating out and encourages chef’s to provide the information on their menus. According to recent research from Bord Bia, 81% of Irish diners believe it’s important that restaurants use local produce with 72% deeming it important that the origin of meat is listed on the menu.

As part of Bord Bia’s Just Ask! programme, restaurants listed on Georgina Campbell’s website are invited to submit copies of their menus and sourcing statements. On a monthly basis, a Just Ask! winner is chosen by Georgina Campbell in agreement with Bord Bia. In addition, an overall Just Ask! annual award winner is selected as part of the Georgina Campbell Awards which take place during October.

To get involved in Just Ask! or to find out more, see With so many great value restaurants right on your doorstep, eating out is still on the menu!

For more information on EatGalway visit


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Government needs to re-think its approach to Healthy Eating and Tackling Obesity, say Chefs

Euro-toques Chefs Nationwide visited schools for annual ‘Mini-Chefs’ School Food Workshops last week. 
Last week many chefs around the country took time out from busy kitchens and businesses to share a little of their passion of food and cooking in Ireland’s classrooms, part of an annual initiative by Euro-toques Ireland – Irish branch of the Europe-wide ‘European Community of Chefs’ – to encourage healthier eating habits in children. The idea behind the workshops was simply to get children interested in food; how it grows or is produced, where it comes from, how to prepare and eat it, and to encourage them to think and ask questions about what they eat.
“These workshops are about sparking children’s interest in food and sharing our enthusiasm for it; growing it, cooking it, eating it”, says Ruth Hegarty, Secretary-General of Euro-toques Ireland.
“It is about empowering children to make better food choices and giving them the skills and knowledge they need to do this. Public health campaigns based on negative messages and guilt trips have proven to be ineffective, and the current government approach will be a dismal failure in dealing with our chronic obesity problem and bad eating habits. No one is giving our children the tools they need to improve the way they – and future generations – will eat. Healthier eating is closely linked to cooking ability. But we are now looking at a lost generation who cannot cook and will not pass any cooking skills on to their children”.
Ireland’s obesity rates continue to rise. Euro-toques believes that the way to tackle this is to teach people how to cook and therefore avoid processed, convenience foods. A 2003 paper from Harvard University showed that the increase in obesity in the US was in direct proportion to the reduction in time spent cooking at home and, it follows, an increase in consumption of ‘mass-produced’ food. While several UK studies have shown that hands-on cookery not only improves children’s knowledge of healthy ingredients but also encourages their consumption, concluding that cooking skills are the key to healthy eating.
Earlier this year Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly’s announced his intention to ask restaurants to include calorie counts on menus. Euro-toques believes this will not only be ineffective, but is actually a negative move. They believe that thinking of food in terms of calorie counts and nutritional tables instills a fear of food and encourages a negative relationship with it and they say that evidence shows that this is not an effective way of tackling obesity. According to a recently published report people in France show particularly low understanding of nutritional labeling on food, yet they have the lowest obesity rates in Europe. Knowledge of nutritional labeling and average calorie content of food is highest in the US and yet 80% of their population is now classified as overweight.
“We should be teaching our children that good food is one of the greatest pleasures of life and encourage them to love food, not fear it”, says Hegarty.
The government are totally missing the point when they talk about calorie counts and nutritional labels. It is the very foods which carry all this information, which have destroyed our diets and our health. Unless people can cook, they have no chance of accessing better food. We need a radical change in attitude and approach towards food in this country and we are calling on the government to develop a national policy on Food Education, something which currently does not exist.
These workshops are a bit of fun with a very serious purpose. Knowing how to cook and to eat in a balanced way is an essential life skill – it can also become a lifelong passion”.
The workshops, which took place in selected schools around the country last  week, were  run by Euro-toques industry chefs, who appeared in the classroom in their chef’s whites and take the entire class on as their ‘commis’ for the session.  The interactive workshops covered everything from growing food and seasonality to healthy lunchbox ideas and simple recipes. The fundamental part of all the workshops is Taste – teaching children how to taste and encouraging them to use all their senses when they eat and to be open to trying a variety of different foods.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What’s happening in Cava Spanish Restaurant & Tapas Bar, Aniar Restaurant and Eat at Massimo this Easter weekend

Four days, over 60 events, more than 50 venues, one great festival

Cava Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar, Aniar Restaurant and Eat at Massimo will take part in the first Galway Food Festival - four days of fantastic food and related events - this Easter bank holiday weekend 6th-9th April 2012. The new festival, which is free to all, aims to celebrate Galway as a good food destination by showcasing the county’s rich array of food produce, producers and outlets. The event will focus on artisan, seasonal and local produce highlighting the excellent food that the Galway region has to offer. The festival will also include lots of what Galway does best – street performances, music and entertainment.

Wines Direct will host a Spanish wine tasting session on Saturday at 4pm in Cava Spanish restaurant and Tapas bar while restaurant owner JP McMahon will Jp will hold a cookery demo -‘Kids Time: Introduction to Spanish Food for Children’- on Sunday at 11am, later on Saturday at 3pm Jp will bridge culinary and academia worlds by hosting a free lecture entitled “Food in the History of Art’. Jp explains “the talk will explore the representation of food in European and American Art highlighting the ways in which food is used in painting both as a symbol and as a commodity. From being a religious icon to a luxurious item to a stable part of everyday life, the representation of food in the history of art promises to showcase a neglected aspect art history”. The lecture takes place Sunday at 3pm in the Galway Arts Centre.  History buffs will enjoy JP McMahon’s talk on Monday about the history of food trade between Galway and Spain.

Over in Aniar, award winning head chef Enda McEvoy will host a talk about the Traditional Preservation in the Modern kitchen, on Saturday at 12noon. Febvre wines will teach how to taste a glass of wine on Sunday at 2pm while later that evening Tomas Clancy, Irish Examiner and Peter Boland of Cases Wines will talk about how the Irish have influenced wine production around the world, ‘Ireland’s Wild Geese – Celtic Globalisation’. If beer is your preferred tipple then head to Eat at Massimo for an artisan food and beer tasting on Sunday.

The festival will be a real family affair offering food and events for all tastes.  With food talks and discussions about free range farming, the GM Debate and Grow It Yourself; wine workshops, pop-up restaurants, a food festival table quiz, cookery demos including ‘Cooking for Kids’, ‘Cooking the Perfect Steak’ and ‘Nose to Tail – Eating the Whole Hog’, food sampling and tastings it promises to be a fun, inspiring and delicious weekend in the city renowned for its fantastic festivals.

Jp McMahon of Cava, Aniar and Eat at Massimo restaurants and one of the Festival chairman said, “The festival aims to highlight Galway’s diverse food culture and the many ways in which this culture can enable people to eat better and make good food a permanent part of their lives. We hope that the festival will leave a permanent legacy of food education, good food provenance and a spirit of a greater culinary community.”

For more information including the festival programme log on to:, find Galway Food Festival on Facebook or follow the event on Twitter.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Source Sligo's Alan Fitzmaurice announced as Team Captain for Irish Culinary Team

The Panel of Chefs Ireland are pleased to announce  Alan Fitzmaurice, Head Chef at Source Sligo as the new Irish Culinary Team Captain for the 2012 campaign which will take in "la Parade de Chefs, London Excel" and the Culinary Olympics, Erfurt Germany. Alan takes over the captaincy from Kwanghi Chan head chef at The Cliff House Hotel.

"The National Culinary Team has the same ethos as Source Sligo, the Team uses local source, organic where possible and Irish produce" said Alan " and we hope to showcase Irish Food as being world class through the competitions we take part in". Also on the Team are Micheal Egan (Sedexo, VHI, Dublin), George Smith (DIT, Dublin), Maggs Roach (Merrion Hotel, Dublin), Paul Philips (AnneBrook Hotel, Mullingar),  Derrick Hall and Paul Duffy (ArrowMart, Dublin).
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pick up a ‘Pincho’ at Cava

To celebrate the annual Seville Tapas Fair, Cava Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar in Galway has launched a special Pincho Menu which will be available each evening throughout February. Popular in northern Spain, particularly in the Basque region, ‘Pinchos’ are small Spanish canapés which can be eaten in one or two mouthfuls and are usually eaten in bars or taverns as a small snack while socialising with friends. As part of the celebrations, Cava will also host a FREE sherry tasting evening each week throughout February on Thursdays between 6 and 7pm.

Spain is the nation of the ‘Fiesta’ and one of the first festivals of the year is The Seville Tapas Fair which takes place in February each year. A four-day event, the festival involves almost 50 restaurants and bars creating mouthwatering tapas and inviting guests to sample them with the accompaniment of beer, sherry or wine. Regarded by many wine experts as ‘underappreciated’ and ‘a neglected wine treasure’, Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes which are grown near the town of Jerez de la Frontera in Spain.

Cava’s Pincho Menu includes Serrano ham, quince and manchego cheese; dry aged sirloin with caramelised onions; grilled free range pork and Spanish ‘Torta del Casar’ brie; Piquillo pepper stuffed with crab; Smoked octopus; Chicken and roasted garlic mayonnaise. Serranitos, which are small sandwiches of grilled pork ham popular in Seville, will also be available. They are served with Patatas Bravas and Mojo Picón sauce.

Pinchos or tapas offer groups of friends the perfect opportunity to taste and to share a wide selection of dishes from different regions throughout Spain.  Three pinchos cost €4.50 while a Serranito costs €6.50.

For more information see or phone 091 539 884.

Drop a Dress Size In 40 Days With New Irish Online Fitness Program

A new Irish online personal training and nutrition programme designed specifically for women, promises members that they will drop a dress size in 40 days. Offering calorie-controlled recipes, weekly shopping lists, daily workouts with videos, ‘The 40 Day Method’ designed by Personal Trainer Jessica Cooke and partner Joseph Mee gives subscribers no excuse but ‘to get with the program’.

The six week online personal training programme, ‘The 40 Day Method’, takes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining workouts and diet in a simple online system. The exercise part of ‘The 40 Day Method’ involves following video workouts for 30 minutes per day, five days per week, while the diet element involves following a low-GI, balanced and nutritious diet.

New Year’s resolutions are often abandoned before February has arrived, with major obstacles to dieting and working out often being that women don’t have the time to get to a gym or get confused and tempted when going to the supermarket.  Jessica explains, “With the help of our delicious low-GI recipe library, the diet simply couldn’t be any easier to follow, and the shopping list generator saves you a tonne of time. You simply select the meals you want to eat with our online meal planner, and ‘The 40 Day Method’ generates a list for you to take to the shops! Every single recipe is quick and easy to follow. It’s a no-frills, no-fuss guide to weight loss. Just follow the workouts, and the food plan and you will drop a dress size.

‘The 40 Day Method’ incorporates the very latest workout techniques – high intensity interval training (HIIT) and Tabata Interval Training which burn fat as much as nine times faster than conventional cardio exercise. The workouts have been carefully designed and tweaked over time, to ensure maximum calorie burn. All workouts utilise interval training, which involves periods of high intensity alternating with periods of lower intensity. Some research has shown that 20 minutes of interval training can be equivalent to 40 minutes of cardio. It also boosts metabolism and is the best way to burn fat.

Jessica, who runs a successful personal training practice, developed the programme after her own personal experience of being overweight, “During my 20’s I was three stone overweight and felt sluggish, self-conscious and very unhappy. It was only after I began to conquer my issues with a combination of frequent exercise and sensible diet that I became compelled to help others achieve the same success. I believe that for sustainable weight loss and good health, both nutrition and exercise need to be managed simultaneously - dieting alone will not bring sustained weight loss.”
Optional weekly time challenges and leader boards allow users to compare their progress both with themselves and others online. Followers of the Method can access online support, a community forum, regularly updated blog entries and regular exercise and diet tips.

Members can sign up for three months (€39), six months (€54), or one year (€81). After the initial 40 day period is over, the user will continue to have access to everything on the site, including a frequently updated video workout library, recipe library, meal planner and shopping list generator software.

For more information see