Mary Berry to pick best cake at National Ploughing Championships

Food File: Irish food in the Phillipines and the Shelbourne pops some champagne corks

Anne Dunne’s hazelnut sablé biscuits with ricotta mousse, caramelised pears and crushed praline, which she will serve to Mary Berry.

Anne Dunne’s hazelnut sablé biscuits with ricotta mousse, caramelised pears and crushed praline, which she will serve to Mary Berry.

 

A home economics teacher, a cardiac physiologist and an IT specialist have created cakes that will be served to baking expert Mary Berry, when she visits the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore on Wednesday, September 19th.

The former Great British Bake Off judge will be a guest of the National Dairy Council, which invited Irish bakers to create a cake to be served to Berry for afternoon tea at the event. The entries were judged by food writer Lilly Higgins, Dromoland Castle pastry chef Chandima Gamage and Ciara Leahy, consumer editor of the Irish Farmers’ Journal, and three finalists were chosen. They will bring their winning cakes to the Ploughing Championships and present them to Berry for her assessment.

Anne Dunne, a home economics teacher from Co Cork, devised a recipe for hazelnut sablé biscuits with ricotta mousse, caramelised pears and crushed praline. Natasha Daly, a cardiac physiologist living in Co Kerry, created sloe gin and blackberry cakes. IT worker Sonia Steedman from Co Offaly made the final cut with her pistachio, rosewater, raspberry and white chocolate cake.

A taste of Ireland in the Philippines

Chef Gavin McDonagh, formerly of Brioche in Ranelagh and now working as a development chef with the Dylan McGrath group, is bringing a taste of Ireland to the Philippines this week. He is taking part in European Culinary Week, a celebration of cuisine from the continent, with events taking place in Manila and Cebu.

Gavin (right) and Lee McDonagh are taking Irish food to the Philippines.
Gavin (right) and Lee McDonagh are taking Irish food to the Philippines.

The invitation to participate came from his friend from culinary college, Mark Hagen, who is executive head chef at the Grand Hyatt in Manila, which is hosting the event.

McDonagh will be assisted by his son Lee, a second year student chef who has spent the summer on a placement at Glovers Alley. The pair will be responsible for the starter course at a lunch for 200 guests, the fish course at another lunch for 100 diners, as well as taking part in a Taste of Dublin-style event.

One strand of the programme involves the promotion of European produce in the Philippines, with a view to establishing or strengthening trade links. McDonagh will be cooking with Guinness, Dubliner cheese, Avonmore milk and cream and Kerrygold butter. He also hopes to have Clare Island salmon on that list.

His dishes include Guinness and smoked bacon gougères with Dubliner Cheddar cheese sauce, and organic Clare Island salmon with cured salmon caviar, lemon balm jelly, horseradish cream and watercress puree.

Knead some sourdough?

The Conrad hotel in Dublin is hosting sourdough masterclasses, in conjunction with its supplier, the Bretzel Bakery in Portobello, on Wednesday, September 12th. As part of the annual National Bread Week promotion (September 10th-16th), you can book a ticket for either the 11am or 6pm session at the hotel’s Coburg restaurant.

The Conrad hotel in Dublin is hosting sourdough masterclasses.
The Conrad hotel in Dublin is hosting sourdough masterclasses.

Bretzel head baker Fabrice Hergaux will lead 90-minute classes, during which he will demonstrate how to make a sourdough loaf, answer questions on bread baking, and offer samples served with dips, as well as refreshments.

Guests will leave with some of the Bretzel’s sourdough starter, as well as a voucher for breakfast for two at the Coburg. Tickets, €12, must be booked online in advance at Eventbrite.ie, and are limited to 40 guests for each session.

Shelbourne wine tasting

Nisea Doddy, sommelier at the Shelbourne in Dublin, will be wielding her saber on the hotel’s new outdoor terrace on the evening of Wednesday, September 19th. Demonstrating the sabrage method of opening a bottle of Champagne with a dramatic flourish, Doddy will be pouring the first of a series of wines from Laurent-Perrier that will be served with a tasting menu created by executive head chef Garry Hughes.

Nicole Snozzi, brand ambassador for Laurent-Perrier, will introduce the wines at the Shelbourne.
Nicole Snozzi, brand ambassador for Laurent-Perrier, will introduce the wines at the Shelbourne.

Heirloom tomato salad with ricotta and yuzu dressing will be matched with Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut. Bantry Bay scallops with wilted chicory will pair with the house’s Brut offering. Line-caught turbot with sauce Grenobloise and caviar will be served with Cuvée Rosé. Roast saddle of rabbit with pancetta, sweetcorn and pickled red onion, paired with Laurent-Perrier Vintage, is the final savoury course. Dessert of panna cotta and poached rhubarb will come with a final glass, of Grand Siècle.

Tickets are €99 per person including the welcome reception at 6.15pm. The wines will be introduced by Nicole Snozzi, who has worked with the company for the past 25 years. Bookings are being taken by email, stefaine.lyons@marriott.com or by telephoning 01-6634500.

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