Food File: the weekly food news round-up

Best fish recipes, togarashi seasoning, stylish wood, Valentia Island scallop festival and Irish food awards

Hook, line and Samsung
Do you have a favourite fish dish of your own invention, using Irish ingredients? If you'd like to cook it for MasterChef judge John Torode, you have until next Thursday to enter Three Mobile's search for Ireland's best fish dish. Entries must include ingredients and step by step instructions, and a photograph of the finished dish. Chef Andrew Rudd and food writer Ross Golden Bannon will assess the entries and two finalists will be chosen to cook for Torode in Dublin. The winner will receive a weekend at the Cliff House Hotel and dinner at its Michelin-starred restaurant as well as a Samsung phone. See for details of how to enter.

Spice it up, Japanese style
Hanami togarashi is a very versatile Japanese seasoning mix of chilli peppers orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, pepper, ginger and seaweed. It's generally used on sashimi, but has a myriad other uses. It gives a subtle spicy kick to all types of fish, as well as being an interesting way to season a salad. A few shakes of it enliven a marinade for salmon with grated fresh ginger, soy sauce and ginger syrup (from Wild About,, winners at the All-Ireland Farmers Market competition in Enniscorthy last weekend). I used to buy it in bulk on visits to London, but you can now find it in the food market at Harvey Nichols in Dundrum, Dublin 14, where it costs €3.50 (We also found it, after our print deadline, in Asia Market in Drury Street, Dublin 2, for €2.35)

Chip off the old block
Ambrí chopping boards and food platters, made in Tralee, Co Kerry by Tony O'Shea, are crafted from Irish hardwoods that have fallen naturally or have been felled for safety reasons. They're beautifully crafted, and are in use in the Four Seasons hotel and Asador restaurant, both in Dublin 4, and the Hotel Europe in Killarney. The range has recently been expanded to include these very stylish vegetable boxes, called AmbriCrates, and AmbriDomes, which are made with recycled glass. The boards cost from €22, and the crates and domes are from €110 and €210 respectively. They are available online from and in branches of Avoca.

King of the scallops
Next weekend (July 13th-14th), Valentia Island's native king scallops have a festival in their honour. Four thousand of the shellfish, which grow to double the size of normal king scallops, will be specially harvested under license for the event by husband and wife, Martin Moriarty and Sandra O'Connor. The scallops are harvested by hand over several days and are kept fresh in bags on the seabed. They are then opened and cleaned in an overnight operation undertaken by 12 local volunters to make sure they are spanking fresh for the festival. Six local chefs get to create signature dishes with them and offer tasting portions for sale to festival-goers, who can also enjoy a scallop cook-off, rugby, cricket and angling tournaments, craft and food fair and musical entertainment. See


Ireland's best food
The Blas na hEireann awards recognise excellence in food production in more than 40 categories and are open to small scale "cottage industry" businesses as well as major players. Entries close on July 15th and the winners will be announced at the Dingle Peninsula Food Festival on October 5th. See

Marie Claire Digby

Marie Claire Digby

Marie Claire Digby is Senior Food Writer at The Irish Times