I was thrilled to hear the first Foodtalk on Christmas Day at 1.30pm, just as we were basting the turkey, making gravy and chopping vegetables for dinner.That programme – very topically – was on Livestock, focusing on Irish pork. Jacque Barry (Jacques Restaurant) talked about her love of good quality ingredients and food eaten with family while Fingal Ferguson of the Gubbeen Smokehouse explained how the cycle works on the Gubbeen farm in West Cork – the pasture is eaten by the cows who produce the milk for the cheese, the whey of which is fed to the pigs who are turned into the best pork, sausages, salami and chorizo by Fingal.
Fruity, peppery, herby…and oh so fresh! The latest batch of Colletta Olivieri Extra Virgin Olive Oil has just arrived and it’s irresistible. It is imported to Ireland by Lino Olivieri, whose family grow the olives down in Puglia, Southern Italy and also run the much-recommended Agriturismo Colletta Antonetta. Lino is the partner of my friend The Connoisseur so I’ve been hearing about his home, those olive trees and that oil for several years now.
The Good Things Café in Durrus is holding a pre-Christmas Open Day next Sunday, 14 December, from 12 noon to 4pm. Its chef-owner, Carmel Somers, was one of the people that I interviewed for Foodtalk on Newstalk. We spent an afternoon talking about the time she first tasted limes in boarding school, heading off to Paris to work in kitchens there, cooking for Jane Grigson in London and how she uses spices with readily available Irish ingredients like turnip and cabbage.She is paired in the Spices programme with Arun Kapil of Green Saffron, which will be broadcast on Sunday 11 January. The cafe is in a gorgeous location, out on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula in West Cork, so it’s well worth a visit. There’s more information below.
How could anyone resist bringing boxes and boxes of these home? I was just about to leave the supermarket (when travelling, I treat foreign supermarkets like museums – as a way of seeing into another culture – plus, there’s always chocolate) when I saw a display of these and I couldn’t resist grabbing a stack of them. Other than that, and several slabs of chocolate, I was rather restrained this time round.
On Monday night we launched Foodtalk on Newstalk at Thornton’s Restaurant on Stephen’s Green. It was great to see so many of the people that I interviewed on my trips around the country there – Fingal Ferguson came armed with cheese and lots of other Gubbeen goodies, Green Saffron‘s Arun Kapil had plenty of spices to smell and taste (just put me near his fennel seeds and watch them disappear!), while the Murphy’s Ice Cream boys – Kieran and Sean – turned up with a selection of ice cream snowmen which had us oohing and ahhing in delight before we dug in and promptly demolished them.