Ireland’s first toastie festival comes to Bray

Foodfile: Foodies in for a treat at Savour Kilkenny festival and this year’s must-have cookbook

Busy buzz in Bray

Cowfish, a rooftop garden and grill, in Bray, Co Wicklow, is the latest offering from the same stable as Box Burger, Platform, Ocean, the Martello Hotel, Fish and The Harbour Bar in the seaside town.

With sea views, a fire pit on the terrace, and an informal atmosphere, Cowfish brings something new to the town. It is located on Strand Road, not far from the Dart station.

The menu is an interpretation of surf and turf, with FX Buckley steaks cooked on a Josper grill and fish specials, alongside an interesting small plates selection. Cocktails and craft beers too, of course. Opening hours are Thursday to Sunday, from 5pm.

At sister establishment The Harbour Bar, what they claim is Ireland's first toastie festival will take place from November 3rd-5th. Classic ham and cheese will face competition from some more adventurous fillings, and tea top-ups will be free. See cowfish.ie and theharbourbar.ie.

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Savour: a food festival

Fats: Facts & Fiction, an exploration of the nutritional make up of butter, olive oil and rapeseed, and their uses in our diets, is one of several new additions to the programme for the Savour Kilkenny food festival (October 27th-30th). Darina Allen will champion butter, olive oil sommelier Karen Cryan will take the Mediterranean route, and organic farmer Ben Colchester will be on the case for rapeseed oil.

Science input will come from nutritional therapist Jemma Kehoe, and Keith Bohanna will be in the chair. The event takes place at Highbank Orchards & Distillery in Cuffesgrange, on Thursday, October 26th at 6.30pm, just ahead of the weekend's main festivities. Bookings can be made by telephoning 056-7729918.

The following evening, the hot ticket will be for chef Takashi Miyazaki's cookery demonstration and a celebration of the Fishwives Cookbook, at Harper's restaurant in Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel.

Miyazaki, whose Cork city takeaway restaurant is soon to be joined by a bigger sibling, Ichigo Ichie, will show what he can do with a variety of fish, right down to the bones.

Dinner will feature dishes from Fishwives, edited by Mag Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout Farm. Drinks reception, demo and dinner costs €35, and bookings can be made by telephoning 056-7771888.

In all, there are more than 100 events, many of them free, taking place at the festival, the main hub for which is alongside Kilkenny Castle. See savourkilkenny.com.

Leaf no trace

Zeus, a global packaging company based in Dublin and headed by Corkman Brian O’Sullivan has invented what it claims is the world’s first “truly recyclable single-use disposable coffee cup”. The Leaf cup has a plastic inner and a paper outer, which can be quickly separated for recycling.

They go on sale next week and according to the company spokesman they are "not expensive when compared to standard cups, which we also sell". See zeus.ie.

It’s a beauty

Every now and then, a cookbook comes along that raises the bar, and The Modern Cook's Year (Fourth Estate, €28), by Anna Jones, is the most beautifully designed volume I've seen in ages. It's a big book, in size and in scope, running to almost 500 pages of inventive, unusual recipes for seasonal vegetable dishes.

“One grey, late-for-the-office day, she decided to quit her day job after reading an article about following your passion,” reads the publicity blurb.

A place on Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen apprentice programme was her entry into the food world. This is her third book, and it’s a cracker, the sort of cookbook that raises the pulse of those with even a mild addiction to them.