The Menu: Enticing dining opportunities around Ireland

Food news with Joe McNamee

Owners of My Goodness, Donal and Virginia O'Gara, who have opened in the English Market.

WARM WELCOME

At heart a greatly frustrated flaneur, The Menu was taking a rare opportunity to enjoy a delightfully aimless constitutional around and about the town with no more motive than to ‘see what he could see, see, see’ when his meanderings took him into the always wonderful English market.

By the time you read this, the Startup Stall — an outlet for young businesses to roadtest their food ideas on the general public — will have been vacated by Legumerié, a plant-based food outfit owned and operated by Donegal siblings, Claire and John Duffy but, having have fallen in love with Cork, they are seeking a suitable site to place a café and production facility housed in upcycled shipping containers. (Replies to www.legumerie.ie). Near the Princes St entrance, are two new permanent stalls: James Scannell of Mealaguala Orchards, Ovens, operates the Apple Shop, selling superb local Irish apples along with juices and local honeys; and My Goodness Food, a farmer’s market staple, offers exquisite vegan food.

Scannell’s arrival is particularly welcome for while The Menu adores the market, he acknowledges its offering of genuinely local quality Irish fruit and veg is distinctly underwhelming and Scannell’s produce (sometimes supplemented by apples from other similarly superb Irish growers) are a fine example of an infinitely superior alternative.

COMMUNITY SPIRIT

Regular readers will be well aware of The Menu’s great grá for Cloughjordan EcoVillage and, in particular, it’s Community Farm, so he was greatly distressed to learn that their barn and all its contents, including farming equipment, hay and over a ton of spuds, have all been incinerated.

The community farm, which supplies members of the EcoVillage and other Cloughjordan residents, is a splendid example of community supported agriculture, a local short supply chain initiative that, if replicated around the country, could go someway to repairing the damage to the sustainability of Irish agriculture wreaked by industrialised farming.

Anyone interested in supporting the Community Farm, to once more find its feet can check out a new crowd-funding initiative at: www.gogetfunding.com/cloughjordanfarm/

PIGTOWN

The very excellent Pigtown series of food events in Limerick, a series of food events celebrating Limerick’s former history as one of the world’s most renowned producers of ham, continues with a Food Industry Networking Seminar with LEO & Innovate Limerick (Sept 11) to enable local food businesses to network and hear a number of key industry speakers followed by a chaired Q&A. (Light lunch included; Registration: www.localenterprise.ie/limerick).

The Milk Market Kitchen presents a black/white pudding demo (Sept 16) from the inimitable Caroline Rigney, producer of perhaps The Menu’s most favourite of all breakfast (dinner and tea!) puddings. www.pigtown.ie

TODAY’S SPECIAL

While perusing the wares of the new My Goodness outlet in the English Market, mentioned above, The Menu took a notion to slake his thirst with a draught of one of several kefirs; his choice, Ginger, Chilli and Tamarind, the latter ingredient, an utterly essential element in multiple splendid dishes from any number of wonderful Indian regional cuisines.

It is a fruit of such exquisite sweet-sourness in its natural state, that a casual nibble can trigger the class of wincing, pursing and puckering not seen since the bulldog last swallowed a wasp and is always best used with a judicious hand to add lift and elevation to an umami-heavy dish.

In the My Goodness kefir, it absolutely shines, adding a bright and truly refreshing acidity that rises above the low rumbling heat of ginger and chilli, a delicious, thirst-quenching drink that also acts as a powerful autumnal elixir to ward off all those newly-introduced germs and infections that mark the arrival of yet another return to school. (www.mygoodnessfood.com)

Email details of Irish food news/events/produce to themenu@examiner.ie


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