Food file

 

Compiled by MARIE-CLAIRE DIGBY

A date for dinner

Next Thursday you can join Birgitta Curtin of Burren Smokehouse at Donnybrook Fair for a Supper Club dinner focusing on her produce. Five courses with Prosecco and wine, €50 or €90 for two, tel: 01-6144849 for reservations. Details of the menu created by executive chef Neil McFadden, featuring hot and cold smoked salmon, hake and scallops, are available at donnybrookfair.ie/therestaurant/winedinners

The last few seats are now on sale for a seasonal game menu matched with Delas wines from the Rhône Valley at the Westin hotel in Dublin 2, next Friday night, October 26th. Smoked venison, turbot and guinea fowl are on chef John Hickey’s menu. Champagne Deutz reception, plus four courses with wine matches, €55 per person. For bookings, tel: 01-645 1318

The buzz

Ballyhoura Mushrooms @irishshiitake: The FSAI would have been proud of MrsShiitake, identified numerous wild mushroom for callers to her stall today at Mahon FMkt

Jake Tilson @JakeTilson: UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013

Ernie Whalley @forkncork: @winematcher Today, after two marathon sessions, I am the Pavlovs dog of trained palates. Show me a water biscuit and I bark

Dunbrody House Hotel @DunbrodyHouse: Only slightly traumatised after Michelin inspection

Cheers for cheese

Irish craft beers and farmhouse cheeses are being celebrated at a series of countrywide events next week (October 25th-29th). Caroline Hennessy, food blogger, journalist and wife of Eight Degrees craft brewer Scott Baigent, has written an excellent guide to what cheeses to pair with the growing range of Irish craft beers, and this, together with the full programme of events is online at bordbia.ie/cheeseandbeerweekend. “Good pairing is all about balance, either contrasting or complimenting the flavours,” she says.

Wild about everything that grows

There’s nothing growing in Fiona and Malcolm Falconer’s permaculture garden on their farm in Monamolin, Co Wexford that cannot be eaten – from wild plants and herbs to fruit trees, currant bushes, hedgerow berries and haws. They also have a traditional garden and polytunnel planted with a rotation of seasonal crops, and everything they grow finds its way into their Wild About range of chutneys, preserves, syrups, pestos, dressings and sauces.

Fiona is a Dubliner who worked in documentary film production. Malcolm was brought up on a smallholding in south Wales. He studied product design and engineering, ending up with a double MA from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. Together with their three children, they left their London lives behind a few years ago to “change their lives forever”.

Their range is beautifully presented – “all those years at art college didn’t go to waste”, Fiona says. The rhubarb syrup is delicious stirred into boiling water or added to a glass of chilled Prosecco. The chutney and condiment range changes with the seasons. Standouts include a wonderful red onion marmalade with blackberry; cracking carrot – a mixture of grated carrot, orange and fennel, and saucy haws, a hedgerow ketchup. Wild About is on sale at the Marley Park (Saturday) and People’s Park (Sunday) markets in Dublin, in Cavistons in Glasthule; the Wicklow Wine Company; the Store Rooms at BrookLodge; Spuds ’n’ Stuff, Taghmon, Wexford; Kate’s Farm Shop, Clonard, Wexford, and at wildabout.ie.

Cider House

There’s a lovely day out planned at Longueville House, Mallow, Co Cork next Sunday, October 28th, when William and Aisling O’Callaghan host a harvest lunch and cider making tour, led by Dan Duggan, their brandy distiller and cider brewer. Cost is €59 per person for lunch and the tour, to book, tel: 022-47156.

Big Red Kitchen on fire 

Nicola Smyth, who was made redundant from her job at an international chemical consultancy last year, won awards for her lemon curd and raspberry dessert sauce before being named best artisan producer at the recent Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards. The Big Red Kitchen brand is based in Smyth’s kitchen in Stamullen, Co Meath, where she makes jams, chutneys, sauces and jellies. In the past 14 months, the former marketing and public relations consultant has built up a network of 25 stockists, from Carlingford, Co Louth to Cork. She also attends the weekly Honest2Goodness food market in Glasnevin. For stockists, see bigredkitchen.ie.

The bloggers' book

A Modern Irish Cookbook is a collection of recipes from 43 Irish food bloggers, reflecting what we like to cook and eat at home. It has been put together by Goodall’s, and profits from sales will go to the charities Cork Penny Dinners and Crosscare. Contributors include writer Lilly Higgins, chef and restaurateur Kate Lawlor of No 5 Fenns Quay, pork producer Avril Allshire, and blogger Aoife Cox, whose recipe is for an Irish potato risotto. Copies of the book can be downloaded for €2.99 or hard copies ordered for €12 plus pp, at goodalls.ie.

Kilkenny chefs have again rowed in behind the Savour Kilkenny programme taking place in the city next week (October 25th-29th). You can meet some of them at The Chef’s Table demonstration area on Parade Plaza next weekend, where there will also be a farmers’ market. And you can catch Móna Wise, winner of four gongs at last weekend’s Irish Blog Awards, doing a Thanksgiving cooking demo with her husband Ron in the Parade Plaza marquee on Saturday at 5.30pm. For the full programme, see savourkilkenny.com.

Eat in the city

Dine in Dublin is back with a week of fixed-price menus, free entertainment and reduced parking fees in the city centre, from next Monday to Sunday. The full line-up of offers, to tempt you into the city centre for lunch or dinner, is online at dineindublin.ie. Here you can search through the options, listed by cuisine or by cost.

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