The latest craze: ketchup with a poitín kick

The latest food news from around the country

Pass the poitín

Frank Fitzpatrick came up with the idea of adding poitín to tomato ketchup as an extension of the practice of adding vodka to tomato and cream sauces for pasta. "My mother often added poitín to some of her favourite dishes, for added flavour," he says of his "ketchup with a twist". It is less sweet than many similar condiments, with a nice mild kick from the added Teeling Distillery Irish poitín. Fitzpatrick is on the SuperValu Food Academy programme and his ketchup is available in the Bailieborough and Cavan town outlets, as well as Sheridan's HQ in Carnaross, Matilda's Deli and Bakery in Carrickmacross and Clerkin's butcher in Shercock. He also plans to sell it at some of this year's food fairs and festivals.

In a Pickle

Sunil Ghai’s Pickle restaurant on Camden Street, named in honour of his mother, who he says was the pickle-maker for the household, will serve a special Holi tiffin box, to mark the Indian festival of colours, on March 14th to 16th.

The Holi lunch box will contain a selection of traditional north Indian dishes eaten during the festival, topped off with home-made mango pickle made to Ghai’s mother’s recipe. The lunchtime tiffin will cost €14.50.

Chef Ghai will be teaching Indian cooking classes at the Miele Experience Centre at Citywest, Dublin 24, on March 8th and May 10th (7-9pm, €30). To book, see


New head of food business department

Prof Thia Hennessy has been appointed head of University College Cork's department of food business and development. Prof Hennessy is an agricultural economist who joins UCC from Teagasc. "I'm delighted to be joining UCC at an exciting time in the development of the business school. It is also an exciting time for the agri-food industry in Ireland with the ongoing expansion of the dairy sector, the continued growth in food and drink exports and the looming challenges associated with Brexit and climate change," she said.

In for a penny . . .

Cork Penny Dinners, a charity that was founded during the famine, is currently serving more than 1,000 meals a week, up from 150 a week two years ago. Cork chef and caterer Grace Coffey (Red Rooster Catering) and her sister Mary are organising a fundraiser for the charity on Wednesday, March 8th, in memory of their mother Mary. Tickets (€25) for Mum's Dish 2017, featuring cookery demos by six Cork chefs, hosted by food writer Joe McNamee, can be purchased at