Food File: The weekly food news round-up

Scarlett Johansson for SodaStream, healthy cooking with the Tasty Tart, Hooker and Highbank mustard


Scarlett for ya
Scarlett Johansson has been revealed as the somewhat surprising first global brand ambassador for SodaStream, the carbonated drinks appliance. In a gushing press release (sorry), Johansson is quoted as saying she has loved sparkling water since childhood. “I am beyond thrilled to share my enthusiasm for SodaStream with the world.” While the actress uses her machine to put bubbles in her water, there might be more interest in its ability to churn out isotonic sports drinks and ready-to-drink margarita cocktails. The machines are widely available, priced from €59.99

Berry good food
Tara Walker, who runs cooking classes for adults and children at her home in Termonfeckin, Co Louth, sources raw spelt berries from Dunany Organic Flour for use in her “Healthy, Wholesome and Hasty” classes, the next of which runs on Friday, January 24th (7-10pm; €40). She uses the berries in risottos and pilafs, and makes a salad with them using shallots, tarragon and lemon juice. “There is no butter, cream or flour used in this class, and very little salt. I use a lot of herbs, spices, nuts and seeds to provide flavour.” See

Hooker and Highbank mustard
Jess Murphy, chef/proprietor at Kai Café and Restaurant in Galway, makes a unique Irish-inspired mustard that goes down a treat in the cafe and she has kindly agreed to share the recipe. To make four 200ml jars of Jess’s Hooker and Highbank mustard you’ll need: 350g golden mustard seeds; 500ml Galway Hooker ale; 1 tsp of Achill Island sea salt; A pinch of chilli flakes; 350ml of cider vinegar; 6tbsp of Highbank apple syrup; 1tsp of ground mace or nutmeg.

Mix the mustard seeds and beer together in a bowl, cover and soak overnight. Sterilise the jars by washing them in very hot water, then drying in the oven at 160 degrees. Stir the remaining ingredients into the mustard seeds. Blend in small batches in a processor until nearly smooth. Spoon into the sterilised jars and tap gently to remove air bubbles. Leave for three weeks to a month to mature. Kai’s cookbook supper club resumes on Tuesday, January 28th at 7.30pm when the menu will be from the cookbook produced by New York restaurant Roberta’s. The evening costs €35; bookings to 091-526003.

Irish food in perspecti ve
Food historian Frank Armstrong’s evening lectures at UCD have proved popular in the past, and applications are now being accepted for “A History of Irish Food”, which begins on Monday, February 3rd and will run until March 24th (no lecture on March 17th). The course fee is €155 and the two-hour lectures run from 7.30pm at the Belfield campus. See

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