Food file: The weekly food news round-up

Oyster festivals around the country; tasty wholewheat pizza bases; treasured old cookery books

 

Oysters can be your world this September

It’ll be oysters ahoy next month when – with a ‘r’ in the month – they are at their best and the whole country gets into oyster festival mode. Carlingford stole a jump on the others with its event earlier this month. Hillsborough celebrates the bivalve with a festival from September 2nd to 7th. Clarenbridge takes over shucking duties from the 11th to 13th. The biggie, the Galway International Oyster Festival, takes place from September 24th-27th.

In Dublin, The Shelbourne hotel launches its first oyster festival, which runs for the month of September. Along the green, the Cliff Townhouse also has a month-long oyster festival. Both hotels have busy programmes of events including shucking competitions and special menus. At the Shelbourne there’ll be a five-course oyster tasting menu in the Saddle Room (€65, or €89 with wines), available every evening, as well as oysters from Carlingford, Sligo, Dungarvan and Galway on the raw bar.

At the Cliff Townhouse there’ll be a (practically all-day) happy hour at the oyster bar, when the molluscs will be sold for €1.50 each, an oyster dinner menu, and chef Seán Smith’s masterclass on September 10th, at 5.30pm (€20 including a glass of fizz and a half dozen to taste).

Cruncy, chewy, nutty base

Who doesn’t love a slice of really good pizza? And if it’s made with organic wholewheat flour, sure it’s practically a health food. But wholewheat bases, along with gluten-free, polenta, cauliflower and all the other alternatives just don’t have the same crunch, chew and mouthfeel as a traditional yeast dough base.

Until now, that is. Base Wood Fired Pizza, which has outlets in Terenure, Ballsbridge and Stillorgan in Dublin, and Lucan opening later this year, is using Dunany stoneground organic wholewheat flour, grown and milled by Andrew and Leonie Workman in Co Louth to make a very good crust. It ticks the crunchy and chewy boxes and also has a lovely nutty taste.

Shane Crilly, who set up Base WFP in 2009, spent two years researching the concept, and the recipe was worked on for more than six months by Base’s in-house baker Brid O’Shea before it was deemed ready for launch. It’s made with 70 per cent wholewheat and 30 per cent Italian 00 flour, water, salt, olive oil and wild yeast and is slow fermented which makes it easier to digest. Crilly has now turned his attention to a gluten-free base, which he hopes to introduce next year.

Culinary treasures

Urru Culinary Store in Bandon, Co Cork, is hosting a rare or out of print cook book workshop in conjunction with The Time Traveller’s Bookshop next Saturday at 4.30pm. “Do you have any rare and treasured cookery books?” says organiser and shop proprietor Ruth Healy. “Did you find a culinary treasure while browsing in a book shop? Or do you have a copy of an out-of-print cookery book coveted by others?

“If you love your rare cookery books and recipes and are interested in showing, sharing and seeing other people’s rare books then come join us for a round table show ’n’ tell.” It’s part of the Taste of West Cork festival and admission is €5, to include light refreshments. Places must be booked in advance by emailing info@urru.ie or telephoning 023-8854731

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