Food File: The weekly food news round-up

Meals that pack a punch, Serrano ham at Lidl, detox at The Finishing School, grow your own in the workplace and Mediterranean food and wine festival at Dunnes

Restaurant-standard meals to order
Simon and Lucy Higgins, who are brother and sister and are both chefs, run their family's three food businesses, two restaurants and cafe, in Malahide, Co Dublin.They also have an interesting sideline, creating meals designed for those engaged in physical fitness and training.

Fighter Food has seven chefs making restaurant -standard meals with emphasis on the nutritional needs of sportspeople, dieters, and busy individuals. The meals are ordered online and delivered.

Simon has been practicing martial arts for 10 years, while working in restaurants including Shanahan's, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud and Le Gavroche, and initially began trading healthy meals for training with pro fighter Chris Fields, and has cooked for Conor McGregor, the mixed martial arts champion and star of the RTÉ series, The Notorious.

"We had a lot of requests from sports people in the beginning, fighters like Gunnar Nelson, and even Robbie Keane. These days we get lots of types of people coming to our website and ordering food: people who want to lose weight, or just want to start or maintain a healthier diet," Simon says.


Dishes can be ordered a la carte, or as part of a meal plan that can be lunch or dinner only, or three full meals a day. See

Serrano ham makes a comeback
They're back . . . Lidl relaunched its Sol&Mar Spanish speciality range this week and the whole legs of Serrano jamon (7kg) are on sale again for €59.99. They have to be ordered in advance by phoning 1800-347447 and will be available for collection at your nominated Lidl store. As well as an expanded tapas range, the promotion features 38cm paella pans for €9.99, and some pretty Spanish-style pottery.

Cross the finishing line
The Finishing School is here again, and it's going to teach you how to detox your mind and body, and have a great night out without overdosing on sugar. The Gill & Macmillan initiative teams a talk by the author of one of its books, on this occasion Dr Claire Hayes, who has written How to Cope, with food by an Irish cookery writer, this time nutritionist Elsa Jones, author of Goodbye Sugar. The venue couldn't be more appropriate, it's The Cookbook Café at 57a Glasthule Road, Co Dublin, and the date is Tuesday, April 28th at 7.30pm. Tickets are €10 and you can book at

Give peas a chance
"Give Peas A Chance" is the catchy title of an initiative from the Grow It Yourself movement and food producers Cully & Sully, which aims to get workmates growing peas on their workplace windowsill, rooftop or breakout area, in order to highlight the rewards that come with growing food.

If chef Pat McLarnon can grow all sorts of wonderful produce on a hidden roofspace of Brooks hotel in Dublin, which he has to access through a bedroom window, there’s no excuse for not giving this a go.

With a €4,500 prize up for grabs, €3,000 of which will be donated to provide a food garden to a worthy cause of the winners’ choice, it might get a bit competitive. The winners will also each receive a voucher worth €300 to spend at Ballymaloe House and Cookery School.

The competition will run over a 12-week period – June to August – so you’ll have to share the responsibilities over the holiday period and not leave your charges dying for a drink of water.

Enter your team at cullyand and you’ll be sent a starter pack of seeds, soil and containers, plus some helpful growing tips from GIY founder Michael Kelly.

Then it's a matter of picking the best spot and whispering sweet nothings to your sweet peas, while recording your experience and your plants' growth, on social media. The team with the best engagement on social media, and the best growing results, will win.

Pasta fresca at Dunnes The Mediterranean food and wine festival at Dunnes Stores is in full swing, running nationwide until April 27th, and the accompanying brochure is packed with lovely recipes, well worth picking up in store or downloading at The pasta sauce and fresh pasta selection offers some good value, with fresh pastas at two for €6 and sauces at €1.99 each.