Culture File: Seaweed and oysters - Irish oysters

Chew it. Go on!

It was all a bit Caroline-goes-down-to-the-sea this week for Culture File.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to scramble about on a beach in West Cork with Sally McKenna, author of Extreme Greens, a fascinating and accessible look at foraging for, cooking with and using seaweed in a matter-of-fact everyday manner.

It doesn’t have to be all about eating it with seafood either. You can use the umami of seaweed to highlight the flavour in a simple loaf of bread, a bowl of popcorn, homemade lemonade or some crackers. I did some foraging in my local health food shop, picked up some dried dulse – as Sally suggested – and have been crumbling it through the everyday malty loaf that I make in the bread machine, slipping it into the girls’ pancakes and have her scones on my to-do list.

If you get a chance to do some proper seaweed foraging, watch out for that pepper dulse. It’s got an unforgettable flavour – listen out for my reaction to it.

Extreme Greens by Sally McKenna is available at


From seaweed to sea creatures. Irish oysters, to be precise.

Who knew there was a oyster subsection in the blogging world? Me neither. I met New York oyster blogger Julie Qui of (get that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reference?) last week at Galway’s Oyster Festival. Other things I didn’t knew about oysters: they all taste of exactly where they’re from, with unique flavors and qualities that they pick up from the marine environment in which they grow. At this stage we’re all familiar with the idea of terroir – the way in which wine tastes of the place that it’s from – but merrior is a new term. Think terroir, but just more watery. With, presumably, seaweed everywhere.

Lots of very good things in the sea. - West Cork beach

Pepper dulse on those rocks sticking out to the right

More sea:
2010 Irish Seaweed Kitchen by Prannie Rhatigan
2008 Foodtalk: Seafood with Paul Kelly and Tony Daly Listen here
2008 Kilmackillogue mussels


Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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