Food file



M&S celebrates its Irishness

There was lots to celebrate for Irish food producers at the recent MS Irish Food Market at which many of the company’s Irish suppliers showcased their products at a summer barbecue for media and guests. Apart from the six McErlain baking brothers, who stole the show with witty T-shirts promoting their Genesis bakery in Magherafelt, there was huge interest in Monaghan Mushrooms, which supplies an incredible 99 per cent of all mushrooms sold in M&S stores in Ireland and the UK. Not surprising then that the company, which has its headquarters at Tyholland, between Armagh and Monaghan town, employs 3,000 people. There were quite a few Northern companies among the participants, including salad, side dish and sauce producer Avondale Foods, whose Mexican coleslaw, made with chipotle chillies, was one of the hits of the evening. But the Republic was also well represented by the Carlow Brewing Company, Donnelly vegetables, Dunn’s smoked salmon, Glenpatrick waters, Horgans and Wexford Creamery cheeses, Keelings berries and Lir chocolates.

The Point of a good brunch

Where do you find classic eggs Benedict and American pancakes with maple syrup sitting alongside burgers and chargrilled minute steak on a menu? The Bloody Mary chaser might give you a clue – it’s brunch; not a meal we’ve taken to heart as much as the Parisians, who have almost completely abandoned weekend lunches in favour of it. But the jazz brunch at the Gibson Hotel at Point Village in Dublin is worth checking out. Served in the snazzy glass-walled Hemi bar overlooking the internal courtyard with its majestic olive tree and colourful planting on one side, and the comings and goings at the O2 on the other, it’s a buzzy weekend option. The excellent Rebecca Sinnamon jazz quartet plays every Sunday, when brunch runs from noon to 3pm. Prices are reasonable – a full Irish will set you back €8, and this spicy shrimp and herb fishcake, which reflects chef Robert Webster’s interest in Pacific Rim cooking, is also €8. You can also book the heated terrace or the courtyard for a private barbecue (€16 per person). Reservations can be made on 01-681 5000.

Something fishy about these bangers

I’m not sure I’d like to find one on my breakfast plate, but these new seafood sausages were a big hit with the crowds at last weekend’s Bloom festival. They’re made with salmon and haddock, can be grilled, fried or baked, and are lower in fat and calories than normal bangers. Kilmore Quay, the company that makes them, says in-store testing has revealed them to be popular with children, which could be useful for anyone with picky eaters. They cost ¤4.99 and you’ll find them in some branches of Dunnes Stores, SuperValu and Fresh, as well as independents. To find your nearest stockist, telephone 053-912 3309.

Top food tweets . . .

Nick Munier @NickMunier:The service was so stiff in Pollen it was like a ballet #loosenthetights

Jack McCarthy @mccarthykanturk: Irish charcuterie, butchery, farm to fork, nose to tail classes soon with @MyButcherTim

Imen McDonnell @ModernFarmette: Our hay ice cream looks like custard, but flavour is like grass or fresh hay . . . and oddly terrific