Pearls of wisdom in new oyster book

Food File: Delicious quinoa (honestly!), 30 years of Lir chocolate and posh bubbly

Oysters baked in savoury butter. Photograph: Walter Pfeiffer

Oysters baked in savoury butter. Photograph: Walter Pfeiffer

 

Oyster Gastronomy, a new book on Irish shellfish, brings together the wisdom of Máirín Uí Chomáin and the creativity of Michael O’Meara, together with the late fashion and food photographer Walter Pfeiffer’s stunning images.

Uí Chomáin, who was awarded an honorary MA from NUI Galway for her commitment to the teaching of home economics, wrote Irish Oyster Cuisine in 2004 and recipes from it are reproduced in this new volume, along with new ones by Galway chef Michael O’Meara.

Oyster Gastronomy is dedicated to Pfeiffer, who died earlier this year. It is published by Artisan House (€15), and available in bookshops nationwide.

Oysters baked in savoury butter

Serves 4

  • 24 oysters in half shells
  • 110g butter, softened
  • 1-2 tbsp toasted pine nuts, crushed (optional)
  • 1 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Method: Mix all the ingredients except the oysters together in a bowl until well combined. Chill for at least 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees/gas 7. Place a knob of the chilled butter mixture on top of each oyster. Place on a baking tray and bake until sizzling and juicy (4-5 minutes).

Lir chocolates
Lir chocolates

Work that chocolate

As part of its 30th birthday celebrations, Irish chocolate company Lir is opening a chocolate workshop in Dublin for a week (November 6th-12th). Visitors can watch chocolatiers at work, with demonstrations running throughout the week on the art of tempering and the skill of confectionery decoration.

Admission to the workshop, at Fumbally Exchange, Dame Lane, Dublin 2, is free of charge and the opening hours are 11am-6pm.

There will also be the opportunity to taste the company’s new Discovery collection which is inspired by flavours from around the world, resulting in new chocolates such as Persian lime truffle, and raspberry and pistachio duo.

You say quinoa, I say . . .

If you thought quinoa was boring, as well as being tricky to pronounce, take a look at the expanded range from Quinola Mothergrain. Contrary to popular belief, quinoa is a seed, not a cereal or a grain, and is harvested from a plant called goosefoot, closely related to spinach

There are pearl (smooth), red (nutty) and black (crunchy) varieties of the seed, which cooks in 20 minutes. In addition, the brand produces pouches, which can be microwaved in 90 seconds, where the seed is mixed with vegetables and spices. Both the quinoa and the vegetables are organic.

Quinola Mothergrain sources some of its crop in Peru, working with Coopain Cabana, a Fairtrade accredited co-operative, and also grows wholegrain quinoa in the Loire Valley in France.

The brand has found its way into some top-notch kitchens, according to company founder James Livingstone Wallace. “Alain Ducasse uses our French wholegrain quinoa in his three-star restaurant, and the brasserie uses our red and black quinoa for specials. Menus change regularly, but the last quinoa dish I saw at the three-star was moistened quinoa in vegetable reduction with glazed vegetables and black truffle wafers.”

The brand is sold in Tesco, SuperValu, Avoca, some Centra branches and independent food stores (Pouches €3.49, dried €5.99).

Something to marvel at

Perrier-Jouët has revealed “an installation” – nothing so common as a pop-up shop – in The Marvel Room at Brown Thomas, Dublin, where the Champagne house’s rare Belle Époque 2008 vintage will be on sale, together with some elegant gifting options.

Perrier-Jouët Champagne
Perrier-Jouët Champagne

The Grand Brut champagne (€60) looks like better value when sold in a gift box along with two stylish engraved flutes (€80). But you’ll need to part with €170 for the Belle Epoque.

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