FOOD FILE:With the Communion/Confirmation party season in full swing, it’s refreshing to come across a fresh new solution to the home catering dilemma.
Arun Kapil’s wonderful Green Saffron spice company can deliver a complete Indian buffet – curries, side dishes, rice, chutneys and poppadoms – that you can plate up and even claim as your own, if you wish. The curries, which would be a refreshing change from the ubiquitous lasagne or chilli, come vac-packed, ready to reheat, and delivery can be arranged nationwide. The basic price is €10 a head for curry, rice and a raita, with side dishes, chutneys, breads and poppadoms costing a bit extra. It’s a great deal, and it can be ordered by telephoning 021-4637960, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To go with the curry feast, you’ll need something sweet and indulgent, and we’ve been very impressed by the party cakes and desserts made by the O’Connor family business, Fothergills Deli, in Rathmines, Foxrock and Castleknock, Dublin. This gorgeous mixed berry tiramisu cake (right) has a sponge base, with mixed berries and a vanilla mascarpone mousse on top. It costs €25 for an eight-serving size, and €35 for one big enough to serve up to 14 people. Orders can be taken until a day before collection; good to know for emergencies. Tel: 01-2966246. If you decide to opt for a more simple affair, just drinks and nibbles, the party specialists, Butler’s Pantry, with locations all over Dublin, have some lovely additions to its canape menu, including duck confit with parma ham and plum chutney (€13.95 for 12) and mini smoked salmon, avocado, rocket and cream cheese wraps (€11.95 for 12). See butlerspantry.ie.
Chef Denis Cotter (pictured), of Café Paradiso restaurant in Cork city, and Ultan Walsh and Lucy Stewart, of Gort-na-Nain vegetarian guesthouse and organic farm, are teaming up to offer a tempting two-day, two-venue short break. Dinner, with a glass of elderflower Prosecco, bed and breakfast at Café Paradiso is followed by a farm stay, with dinner, at Gort-na-Nain, near Belgooly, Co Cork the next day. The farm supplies much of the top-notch produce Cotter uses in his restaurant.
“They’re both very good cooks,” Denis Cotter says of Walsh and Stewart, so you can expect high standards at dinner on both evenings. A farm walk with Ultan Walsh is also included, and you can quiz him about his new Cime di Rapaand Kai Lancrops, which Denis Cotter will be using in warm salads, pasta, rice and noodle dishes at his restaurant this summer.
“Ultan has been experimenting with different varieties and growing methods for these two greens for a couple of years,” Cotter says. “He has planted both outdoors for the first time. He’s very excited about that, and if he’s excited, we’re excited.” The two-night break costs €330 for two people sharing, and bookings can be made with Café Paradiso, 021-4277939.
See cafeparadiso.ie, and gortnanain.com.
FOOD AS POETRY
Gerry Galvin, chef and former restaurateur – of The Vintage, Kinsale and Drimcong House fame – has just published his first book of poetry, called No Recipe. It’s a very personal and acutely observed collection, written over a lifetime spent cooking, travelling and raising a family, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. No Recipe(€12), is available from doirepress.com, Galway book shops and Eason’s, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1.