Sample a feast of Middle Eastern authenticity from Tramore-based couple

Food File: Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms’ scientific background and an agri-tourism initiative in the southeast

Mezze’s feast of authenticity

Authenticity is a wonderful thing in a cookbook, but it’s not always a given. However in Mezze: Middle Eastern Food to Share, it shines out from every utterly absorbing page. Dvir Nusery and Nicola Crowley’s debut cookbook, which gets its title in part from their thriving deli, cafe and shop of the same name in Tramore, Co Waterford, is a great read, as well as a valuable source of approachable, family-friendly recipes.

You can join the couple, who met in New Zealand and lived and worked in Nusery’s native Israel before returning to Crowley’s hometown in Ireland, for a cookbook launch feast on Friday, July 8th in Tramore. Tickets are €49, to include a copy of the cookbook as well as a three-course dinner. You can also buy the book alone for €32, but as you shop online at mezze.ie, you will most likely be tempted by the pantry ingredients and hampers, including a Middle Eastern Cooking Starter Kit (€45). The book is also on sale in Ardkeen Quality Food Store, The Stable Yard, The Book Centre and Grow HQ in Waterford, Bakestone in Carrigtwohill, Indie Fude in Comber, Killruddery Farm Shop in Bray, Rua Deli in Castlebar and Urru in Bandon.

Selling the stories of the southeast

South East Food Stories is an agri-tourism initiative involving a diverse collection of hospitality venues, restaurants, food producers and visitor attractions in Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford. The media campaign, including videos being promoted on social media channels, is currently under way and you can find out more about participating businesses and watch the videos at southeastfoodstories.com.

Magic mushroom bites

Everything that Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms produces is a testament to the science backgrounds of its founders Dr Lucy Deegan and Mark Cribbin. For the past decade they have supplied foraged and cultivated mushrooms and other products to restaurants across Ireland.

The pandemic lockdowns gave them an opportunity to develop a new product, with potential beyond the hospitality sector. The result is the Shiitake Bites, a mushroom snack product with salt or pepper seasoning. The pair developed a method of turning their mushrooms into crisps by mean of a vacuum frying technique, which they describe as akin to frying in a pressure cooker.

“While the primary focus in developing a mushroom crisp was producing a highly flavoursome product, the added advantage of using shiitake mushrooms is that each packet contains 15g of fibre, nearly half of the recommended daily amount, and only 20 per cent fat, less than half the fat level of regular crisps,” they say. You can buy them online (€6), at ballyhouramushrooms.ie, or at the Milk Market in Limerick every Saturday, as well as Neighbourfood Markets across Munster and speciality foodstores in Dublin, Cork and Galway.