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.
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.