Bray company takes convenience food in a new direction

Food File: Pickle Organic makes frozen meals with a difference; and Teeling offers personalised bottles

Convenience with quality

Marianne Dorney has taken convenience food in a new direction with her Pickle Organic frozen meals. They are batch-cooked in her production kitchen in Bray, Co Wicklow, blast-frozen in individual portions and sold in resealable bags of five, cutting down considerably on packaging waste, while promoting portion control.

There are three meals in the range – sweet potato and chickpea curry; lamb shoulder and date tagine; and beef and red pepper Bolognese. Each bag contains five 95g portions and they can be microwaved from frozen, with the entire bag taking eight minutes from freezer to table.

Dorney suggests that one portion – she calls them pods – would be sufficient for a child’s meal, when served with a carbohydrate and a vegetable, and that an adult with a normal appetite would require two. The range costs €8.95-€10.95 per pack and it is available in SuperValu stores in Dublin (Mount Merrion, Dalkey, Churchtown and Rathgar), Milltown EuroSpar and Morton’s of Ranelagh.

Dorney brought her product to market with the help of the SuperValu Food Academy, and also completed a postgraduate certificate in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise at UCD. Her next move is to find compostable packaging for her range.

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Dunbrody’s Christmas spirit

Dunbrody Country House in Arthurstown, Co Wexford, has introduced a weekly Sunday market, running from noon to 4pm. In addition to the hotel’s own kitchen produce for sale, a variety of other food businesses are taking stalls, and there are arts and crafts exhibitors too.

For the next couple of weeks, there will be a distinctly Christmassy feel to the offering, but the market will continue year-round. Kevin Dundon will be manning the new smoker at the Local at Dunbrody, cooking Texas-style ribs, brisket and Mary Regan's organic chickens – which proved so popular at the launch that the order was trebled for subsequent markets.

Cliff hanger

Urchin Bar, downstairs at the Cliff Townhouse, has introduced a couple of Christmas shopping offers – a Pitstop and a Full Stop. The Pitstop, available from noon to 5pm, offers a reviving plate of ham croquettes with piquillo sauce and a choice of drink, including mulled wine, hot port, a pint of beer or a glass of wine, for €15. The Full Stop, from 5pm to 7pm, features a seafood platter of crab, oysters, lobster and mussels, with two glasses of sparkling wine, for €60.

Your own personal whiskey

Teeling Your Batch is a bottle of Irish whiskey from the Dublin distillery personalised with the recipient's name and a seasonal greeting. It is available exclusively from James Fox, at the bottom of Grafton Street, and online from jamesfox.ie, and costs €49.95. It takes five days to process the order and the last date for Christmas delivery is December 14th.

Happy hamper

Brown Thomas has entered the Christmas hamper market, with a variety of offerings ranging in price from €100 to €350. There are lots of familiar festive fare brands included in them – Godiva, Fortnum & Mason, Lismore Food Company and Hadji Bey – and you can buy them online for delivery anywhere in Ireland.