This year’s programme promises another splendid skite, with an emphasis on the women who have made Irish food what it is today, from Myrtle and Darina through to Rachel and Trish Deseine and current Menu favourite, Jess Murphy, from Kai in Galway.
Local and national star Eunice Power creates a tribute to Tawlet, the internationally-renowned Beirut-based co-op restaurant staffed by Lebanese women while The Menu himself will be nattering up a storm with Dungarvan-born, internationally-acclaimed food writer and blogger Niamh Shiels as she regales him with tales of her jet-setting life in pursuit of the global nosebag. www.westwaterfordfestivaloffood.com
The Menu is most partial to a spell in Inchydoney Lodge & Spa Hotel, in West Cork, an all-encompassing balm for body and soul and when you factor in some of his most favoured West Cork nosebag then we are truly away for slates. Taste of West Cork (April 4) is a food and wine evening featuring a splendid seven-course tasting menu of the best of West Cork produce washed down with fine wines from the estimable Tindall Wine Merchants. www.inchydoneyisland.com.
The esteemed Sean Smith, head chef at the Cliff Townhouse, will be giving another of his seafood masterclasses (March 25) with a demo entitled 47 Degrees, deemed to be the perfect temperature at which to cook fish and costing €20, instantly returned in the form of a €20 voucher to be cashed in at the Townhouse which after no more than half an hour spent totting up various fingers and toes, The Menu concludes is the sum total of free! www.theclifftownhouse.com.
St Molua’s NS, in Ardagh, Co Limerick, hosts a fundraising cookery demo (March 28) in the Ardagh Community Centre. To The Menu’s deep shame, he is yet to make it along to the slightly-older Killavullen Farmer’s Market. He hopes to rectify that by heading to the next one (March 29, 10.30am-1pm) for a family-friendly day out in beautiful north Cork.
While The Menu is a great man for the chickpea in its myriad forms, even he grows weary of the national proliferation of hummus so Claire’s Homemade Beetroot Hummus is a welcome alternative. Breadcrumbs and walnuts lend a delightful texture and tahini, garlic and lemon ensure it remains true to its roots in the original hummus but it is the earthy sweetness of beetroot that gives the lift. Try it, as The Menu did, mixed with homemade mayonnaise for a splendid partner to a bit of pan-fried whiting. Claire’s Homemade, Union Hall.
Stockists: Bradleys, Bier Haus, O’Briens, McHughs, Baggot St. Wines, Deveneys, widely available.
Punk IPA is the flagship beer of Brew Dog, Scotland’s largest independent brewery set up by a couple of unemployed 24-year-olds in 2007. They now employ 224 people, own 13 bars and have their own BrewDogs TV show in the US; there is even a fake BrewDog pub in China.
It’s billed as a “post modern classic IPA” using maris otter malt, Kiwi Nelson Sauvin hops and given a fruity dry-hopped twist with US hops including Chinook and Simcoe. Pale golden colour, fruity caramel nose, strong on the palate with a tropical fruit bone-dry finish. — Leslie Williams