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.
It started with a phone call in the early summer. The brothers behind Soundsdoable wanted to know if I was interested in working with them on a series of radio documentaries about food. I didn’t need to be asked twice. It was the start of an intense and fascinating time – journeys around Ireland in all kinds of inclement Irish summer weather to interview a variety of producers and chefs and the chance to record with chef (and fellow blogger) Kevin Thornton.
Aer Lingus permitting, we’re off to Berlin for two nights early – very early – on Sunday morning. Ever since I was at the Prix Europa in 2006 I’ve been wanting to revisit the city, but with a little more leisure to appreciate it. This time round I’ve plans for lavish amounts of kaffe und kuchen and have been reading up on Berlin street food although I can’t say that descriptions of the traditional Currywurst are exactly appetising!
If you’re in Dublin on Thursday 4 December, check out the Greatfood.ie/Dublin Cookery School Christmas Food and Wine Fair from 6pm to 9pm at the Dublin Cookery School, which is just off Carysfort Avenue in Blackrock, Co Dublin.Dublin Cookery School owner Lynda Booth will host the evening, which includes a sushi demonstration from Seiya Nakano, an Australian wine tasting with the entertaining John McDonnell of Wine Australia Ireland and an opportunity to get your hands on some food-orientated Christmas presents at a special discount of 10%. Don’t miss the chance to pick up some of Greatfood.ie’s award-winning Wild Cranberry & Apple chutney – there’s every chance that you’ll have it eaten long before Christmas! Tickets are just €10 and they are available to buy in advance from www.greatfood2buy.com.
On a quick trip to Dublin today and enjoyed a brief visit to Carluccio’s Caffè on Dawson Street. Lots of gorgeous food to look at and buy – including some very presentable Christmas hampers and gifts in luxurious packaging – in the deli area at the front of their premises but we didn’t have time to linger. In search of some quick soup, we got Pasta e Fagioli, a sustaining bowl of borlotti beans and pasta in a rich broth, with a chunk of olive oil-soaked, salt-sprinkled foccacia. A cup of fresh mint tea (mint leaves in boiling water, sweeten as desired) finished off a simple and satisfying repast. Must go looking for that Pasta e Fagioli recipe in my new Carluccio’s Complete Italian Food cookbook…
Next Wednesday, 19 November, if you’re around Cork you should head directly to Fenn’s Quay Restaurant, which is hosting a Bubble Brothers Cahors wine tasting dinner. Jean-Raymond Clarenc of Clos Triguedina will be there to talk guests through tastings of about six of his wines, matched with food from chef Kevin Crowley. And the price? A very reasonable €50 per person. You can call the restaurant directly (021 4279527) or check out the Bubble Brothers blog for more details. They’re also running a competition to win a free dinner and there’s more information on that here.
Just heard that Jo’Burger in Rathmines – the place that undoubtedly serves the best burger in Dublin and the place of our last meal before we forsook the capital for country life – has been named most popular restaurant by The Dubliner in a public poll. As I write, this year’s The Dubliner 100 Best Restaurants guide is being launched in the Westbury Hotel, with Dylan McGrath of Mint chosen favourite chef by his peers. Other favourites in the People’s Choice Award are Bentley’s (avoid the Aviator Lounge at all costs), Café Bar Deli, Chapter One, L’Gueuleton, La Maison des Gourmets, Saba (great noodles), Town Bar and Grill, The Unicorn and the ever-fabulous Winding Stair.
Greatfood.ie have just relaunched a much-expanded discussion board, with a dedicated area for bloggers to list their own blogs at www.greatfood.ie/forum. While you’re there, check out Clodagh McKenna’s cute aprons (although much too cute for a cottage kitchen!) and take a look at the selection of cookery courses on offer throughout Ireland.Nigel Slater, my favourite cookery writer, wrote a piece on squash and marrows in Sunday’s Observer and, seeing as I’m probably not the only one to have lots of squash to use, I thought it might come in useful. You’ll find it here.