Food file: Your weekly food news round-up
Seaweed festival, Bloom for foodies, Aldi’s baby food range and Supervalu’s ‘best beef ever’
Dr Prannie Rhatigan will be out and about with a seaweed identification tour
The food village at Bloom
Pip & Pear range of chilled baby food
She cooks seaweed by the seashore
Dr Prannie Rhatigan was one of the first proponents of the culinary uses of seaweed, with her book Irish Seaweed Kitchen and the accompanying pocket-sized Guide to Edible Seaweeds.
Now, it’s an ingredient that’s well on the way to becoming mainstream and it even has its own festival. The inaugural Wild Atlantic Seaweed Festival takes place in Ballybunion, Co Kerry on June 5th-7th.
Rhatigan will be out and about with a seaweed identification tour, showing participants how to gather, treat and store seaweed for eating and cooking. Chef Clodagh McKenna will open the festival with a cookery demonstration on the Friday evening, and Collins’s Seaweed Baths will be putting the harvest to other, equally rewarding uses. For the programme of events, see the festival’s Facebook page or contact Ballybunion Tourist Office, tel: 068-25555.
Food options grow at Bloom
It’s not just show gardens and flower displays at next week’s Bloom in Phoenix Park (May 28th-June 1st). The Bord Bia event has grown into a massive gardening, food and family festival. This year there will be more opportunities than ever before to restock your larder and fridge, so bring some shopping bags with you.
There are 60 exhibitors in the Artisan Food Market; a meat, fish and poultry market in the Food Village, and Keelings will have a retail outlet alongside their 20m tunnel where you’ll be able to see how they grow some of their fruit and veg. If you need to put your feet up for a bit, check in to the Quality Kitchen stage, where there will be cookery demonstrations all day throughout the festival. See bloominthepark.com.
Aldi nabs Irish-made babyfood
Irene Queally’s Pip & Pear range of chilled baby food, made with organic fruit and vegetables, organic gluten-free pasta and Bord Bia approved Irish beef, lamb and chicken is “cooked in exactly the same way as you would at home – we just use a bigger pot”.
Having won all of the babyfood categories at the Blás na hÉireann awards last year, Queally was approached by Aldi, which launches the range nationwide on Thursday, May 28th. It is also being stocked by SuperValu from next month.
The meals come in sizes geared to children aged from five months (stage 1), from seven months (stage 2), and from 10 months (stage 3), progressing from purees to mash to foods with texture, and cost from €1.49 to €1.99.
Product testing was done at No 9 Barronstrand Street, the restaurant in Waterford that Queally runs with her husband Billy Fitzgerald,and where they offer a baby food menu. “It’s a busy family restaurant, we could have 900 people through in a day, so it was the perfect place to test the recipes, ” Queally says.
When people started driving from Kilkenny and Wexford to stock up on takeaways, she knew she had a winner on her hands.
Dundon serves up SuperValu’s new beef
SuperValu has launched what it says is its “best beef ever”. The improvements are due, they say, to changes in the processing methods, including gentler chilling, and hanging carcasses from the hip rather than the Achilles tendon. In addition, all SuperValu beef now undergoes 21-day ageing.
Chef Kevin Dundon introduced the new beef to diners recently at a pop-up Beef Bistro in Dublin, at which he served brisket barbecued and smoked for 24 hours over oak chips infused with whiskey, a tip he picked up at the Austin Food Festival in Texas last year.