Compiled by MARIE-CLAIRE DIGBY
Meals on board
Avoid that moment when the food trolly comes within range and the person ahead of you bags the last Aer Lingus hot breakfast. Breakfasts, and two salad options for later in the day, can now be ordered in advance at aerlingus.com and they’ll be on board for you. The all-day breakfast, chicken noodle salad and seared beef salad each cost €7.50.
This week, it paid to be a shopper who buys meat from a butcher rather than a supermarket freezer. The butcher skills courses at the James Whelan Butchers shop at Avoca Foodmarket in Monkstown, Co Dublin, will help you get the most from your butcher – knowledge is power after all – as well as hone your knife skills. The 3½-hour evening classes on January 22nd and 29th, February 12th and 26th, and March 5th and 12th, cost €99, including a gift bag with a knife and protective glove. jameswhelanbutchers.com
Food writer and lecturer Frank Armstrong’s class on The Politics of Food was a great success for the UCD Adult Education programme last term, so there is sustained interest in his next course offering. A History of Irish Food will run for eight Mondays, beginning on January 28th (7.30pm-9.30pm). Beginning with an overview of Ireland’s ecology and climate, the eight sessions progress from food in Celtic and early Christian Ireland, to the Irish diet and food culture in the 20th century.The course costs €155, and there are further details at ucd.ie/adulted.
The buzz: food tweets
Pete Wells @pete_wells: Every time you use the word eatery, God kills a kitten.
SchoolofArtisanFood @artisanschool: A week of butchery, baking and cheesemaking in Downton Abbey-style surroundings..what’s not to like?
Chris Pople @chrispople: Be not alarmed! It isn’t a chemical weapons attack, it’s just me opening a tupperware containing week-old St Nectaire
Starry line-up for Ballymaloe Festival
The line-up for the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine (May 3rd-6th) is very impressive, with a who’s who of the global food world taking part in events at both Ballymaloe House and the Cookery School, where tutors Rory O’Connell, Darina Allen and Rachel Allen are pictured above. During the festival, O’Connell will be launching his first book, Master It, published by Fourth Estate. Australia’s grande dame of catering and food writing, Stephanie Alexander, will be joined by her London-based compatriot Skye Gyngell. The legendary Alice Waters of Chez Panisse is travelling from the US, as is her former head chef and New York Times columnist David Tanis. Thai, Indian and Middle Eastern food experts and writers David Thompson, Madhur Jaffrey and Claudia Roden will be in attendance. Stevie Parle of London’s Dock Kitchen and Thomasina Miers of Mexican street-food restaurant Wahaca will be revisiting their alma mater, and will be joined by fellow UK restaurateurs Ruth Rogers of The River Café and Rowley Leigh of Le Café Anglais, and food writer Matthew Forte. It’s an all-star line-up, around which cookery demonstrations, debates, talks, panel discussions, producer visits, workshops and foraging expeditions will be arranged. There will be lots of eating and drinking, and music too. The full programme and booking details will be finalised next month. In the meantime, see litfest.ie.
What Clodagh's doing next
Clodagh McKenna is opening a 120-seater restaurant, in the Blackrock Shopping Centre, in April. “We are bringing in a fabulous wood-burning oven from Italy. The menu will be influenced by my experiences in northern Italy and southern France, with ingredients sourced locally,” she said. Clodagh’s Kitchen will open every day and evenings, Thursday to Saturday.
Halen Môn, the Welsh sea-salt company, is currently selling oak-smoked water. It’s a natural product with no artificial additives, and can be used in stocks, soups, rice and pulse dishes, or frozen into ice cubes for cocktails. It’s quite the thing in a Bloody Mary, apparently. A 150ml pouch costs £2.50, and it can be posted to Ireland. If you’re tempted, the company is a good source of a variety of peppercorns, as well as salt, harvested in Anglesey. See halenmon.com