The venerable Jacques restaurant, on Cork’s Oliver Plunkett St, practitioners of the locavore philosophy of primarily cooking with finest, local producers long before it moved into mainstream dining, has fired up the stove once more with a retooled offering of a click&collect business, A first gander at the weekly changing menu, including whole roast Carrigcleena duck (a magnificent producer, by the way) with potato stuffing and red cabbage, had The Menu salivating like a hound dog in a butcher’s.
Menus available on social media (Facebook @jacquesrestaurant / Instagram @jacques_restaurant / Twitter @jacquescork23). Telephone ordering 2pm-4pm Wed/Thurs; collection Fri/Sat. Tel. 021427 7387. www.jacquesrestaurant.ie
The closure of pretty much most of the farmers’ markets has impacted greatly on certain food businesses, not least on the Toons Bridge Dairy/Real Olive Company, who played such a major role in establishing those same markets around the country way back in the early 90s, when The Menu himself served time behind those same stalls.
They are of course still trading in the English Market and from their Toons Bridge HQ, outside Macroom, but now Dublin shoppers will be able to access their wares in a pop-up Toons Bridge Dairy shop, on George’s St, in the currently closed Good Food Store, offering their own fresh cheeses (burrata, strachino and straciatella), pizza kits, and of course the full offering of olives and other assorted goodies, all supplemented with goods from a few other fine producers.
All their outlets are now offering click&collect options and some home delivery in Cork and Dublin.
His garden is an especially important sanctuary for The Menu so it brings him great joy to see the country has been turned into one giant allotment as lockdown has led so many more out into their gardens, with many of the new or recently revived gardeners also inspired to do what was once so commonplace and begin growing food for their own tables.
The Menu truly hopes the habit will remain when this is all over.
The ever splendid GIY non-profit organisation (in partnership with Innocent Drinks Ireland) are rowing in, making free vegetable growing starter kits available for gardens and window boxes around the country, with a particular emphasis on the greening of younger fingers.
The Big Grow initiative comprises a kit containing a pack of seeds, a compost disc, and instructions on how to plant and care for your grow. You can share your progress on social media and with family and friends, and Innocent has challenged the nation to become involved a nationwide Big Grow Show, with an especial emphasis on creativity.
It’s not just limited to those using the Big Grow kit. Three especially creative growers will be rewarded with €150 gift vouchers for the GIY online store. (www,innocentbiggrow.com)
Covid-19 has understandably gripped global attention seemingly overnight but The Menu fervently hopes this great physical and psychic trauma will also cause us to reassess our current ways, leading to a greater global consciousness and a realisation of the need for profound change, none more so than in the area of climate action, one that too many people either blithely ignore or worse deny there is any problem at all.
Glenisk in an exclusive SuperValu partnership has launched a One Million Trees initiative, with Glenisk donating €1 from the sale of every pot of BIO Organic Yogurt 500/450g, to support a local-to-global climate action programme by Self Help Africa, that will see 100,000 native trees planted in Ireland and 1,000,000 trees planted in sub-Saharan Africa.
To also donate €5 to plant one tree in Ireland and 10 trees in Africa, see selfhelpafrica.org/onemilliontrees. (www.glenisk.com)
One of the finest breakfasts The Menu has ever consumed took place on his beloved Sheep’s Head, in West Cork, after a night of feasting and playing music around the campfire with a motley band of old comrades, a midsummer ritual ongoing now for almost two decades.
Waking the following morning to an especially glorious day, The Menu cooked some of Caroline Rigney’s very wonderful black pudding made from her own free range pigs on a hot stone in the still glowing embers, then supping a restorative Golden Bean coffee.
The memory came flooding back at a much more recent breakfast, featuring the same black pudding and coffee combo, but this time supplemented by another of Caroline’s fine products, Rigney’s Goji & Flame Raisin Granola, a veritable smorgasbord of tastes and textures, featuring oats, seeds, nuts, flame raisins, goji berries, coconut and other sundry additions too numerous to list in full.
It is not the class of granola to be simply drowned in milk and then mindlessly masticated; rather, The Menu chopped up a delicious crisp native Irish Red Prince apple, topped with some of his own tart creamy yoghurt made from Aherne’s raw milk and sprinkled a small handful of the aforementioned granola on top, all making for yet another breakfast of champions. www.rigneysfarm.com
The Menu is delighted to continue to bring glad tidings of innovations from the Irish food world as businesses seek alternative routes to market during these challenging times.