Food File: the weekly food news round-up
Christmas presents with bite and a timely Thanksgiving idea
Winter berries on the Thanksgiving menu at the Fitzwilliam Hotel
Pop up and ask questions at the bar
The final of the Euro-Toques young chef of the year competition takes place tomorrow, and last year’s winner, Mark Moriarty, who recently graduated in Culinary Arts, is refining his competitive streak with a bid for the San Pellegrino world’s best young chef event, which reaches its finale in Milan next June.
He has also just launched a new business with fellow chef Ciaran Sweeney called Culinary Counter, which he describes as “a pop-up restaurant where the kitchen is behind a bar and the customers sit at the bar, being talked through an eight-course menu as we cook it”. The pair met when working at The Greenhouse restaurant in Dublin, and their style of food is adventurous, to say the least, so they’ll be taking lots of questions as they cook. They plan to make them weekly
The first event, last Sunday, sold out as soon as tickets were released, and the next will take place on Sunday, December 14th, at a venue to be revealed the week before the event. Dishes will include this beef tartare, oyster, toasted barley dish, below. Tickets, €60, can be booked via their Twitter account: @CulinaryCounter or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanksgiving is the traditional waifs and strays holiday in the States, when nobody is supposed to eat alone. Americans in Ireland can honour the communal eating idea by booking in for Thanksgiving dinner at The Fitzwilliam Hotel (where you can try their pumpkin risotto, pictured) or Beaufield Mews, both in Dublin, next Thursday night. Non-US citizens are also welcome. The Fitzwilliam event, in its Citron restaurant, is a three-course, multi-choice menu (€39.95), while Beaufield Mews, in Stillorgan, is doing five courses for €30, plus 10 per cent service. Both must be booked in advance. See fitzwilliamhoteldublin.com (tel: 01-4787000) and beaufieldmews.com (tel: 01-2880375).
Christmas presents with a bit of bite
Faithlegg House Hotel in Co Waterford has come up with a clever marketing ploy for its range of food gifts made in-house by head chef Jenny Flynn. Pear and tomato chutney and strawberry jam (both €4.50), granola (€5.50), mincemeat (€6.50) and Christmas puddings (€10.50) are the backbone of the current collection, and they can be nicely boxed up and presented as a “Thank you, teacher” gift, delivered anywhere in Ireland. Beats bubble bath. Orders are being taken on 051-382000, or see faithlegg.com
Recipe for success: a cookbook with simplicity and clever design
In an era when cookbooks are becoming ever more lavish, large-scale productions, there’s something really charming about the simplicity and clever design of Something in the Tin, by Olivia Goodwillie.
Subtitled Biscuits, Breads and Cakes from 30 Years at Lavistown, it’s a great selection of recipes presented as a ring-bound hardback (stays open at the page you’re on), with the most lovely watercolour illustrations, one for each recipe, by Kate Raggett. Olivia’s daughter Claire Goodwillie’s graphic designer stamp is all over this production, but the recipes are ace too. It’s available from the Lavistown House website, lavistownhouse.ie (€15 including delivery in Ireland), and from bookshops in Kilkenny and the shop at Airfield in Dundrum, Dublin.
In addition to the bread, biscuit and cake recipes, there’s this gem, for an ice-cream that doesn’t need to be made by machine or repeatedly whisked to break down the ice crystals. “It does sound like a lot of jam but it is like adding fruit and sugar all in one go and it means that you don’t have to beat the crystals out. I have made it with less jam and the result is really soft, but you could just uses 350g of jam,” Goodwillie says.
Foolproof apricot ice-cream
250ml whipping cream
450g jar apricot jam
Juice of half a lemon
2tbsp rum or Amaretto liqueur
5 amaretti biscuits.
Whip the cream to soft peak stage and gently fold in the jam with a spoon. When it is almost fully mixed in, add the lemon juice and alcohol and crumble in the biscuits. Fold it all together and pour into a freezer-proof container.
That’s it. Freeze for at least six hours before serving.