The Menu and No 1 Son made a brief but glorious return to that scene some 10 years ago and the first new market they pitched up in was Bandon market, then still in fledgling status but already hinting at its potential to be the very fine market it has since become.
It is now celebrating a full decade of serving the citizenry of Bandon and further afield with some of the very finest Irish food produce every Saturday morning.
These days the offering is extensive and varied and includes Menu favourites: West Cork Larder pies, Laughing Willow Fermented Foods, great baking from the West Cork Baking Emporium, Heaven’s Cakes and Petra’s Oven gluten-free baked goods, Martin O’Leary’s Organic Beara Lamb, West Cork Olive Company, The Real Meat Co-Operative, Ballycotton Veg, splendid Thai tastes of Asian Junction, Baltimore Fresh Fish Stall, and that “summer swallow”, recently returned, Lydia Bushby and her exquisite flowers along with father Dave’s unsurpassable strawberries, about the finest The Menu has ever eaten.
And, of course, The Menu advises all and sundry to not pass the totemic Dutchy and his organic veg stall for the man embodies the spirit of all that is best about Bandon market and any interaction can only elevate mind, body and spirit.
Happy Birthday, Bandon Market, and especial congratulations to its inimitable supremo, Shirley Kingston.
The Big Grill BBQ Festival & Competition (August 11-14) returns for a third outing to the leafy green Herbert Park, in Ballsbridge, Dublin, with yet another celebration of all that is best about the marriage of smoke and good meat.
Showcasing Irish and international stars of live fire cooking, grilling and barbecuing from some truly superb pitmasters, guests include the internationally renowned Neil Rankin, from the UK, and Andre Lima De Luca, while those flying the flag for the home team include Kerryman John Relihan, recently transplanted from Jamie Oliver’s Barbacoa, in London, to new venture Holy Smoke, in Cork city.
As well as all the demos and competitions there will be ample opportunity to slug back a fine Irish craft beer, the only option to wash down a plate of ribs or a bowl of smoky beef with many Menu faves on offer including, Metalman, Porterhouse, Eight Degrees, Kinnegar, O’Hara’s, and Blacks of Kinsale, while those wishing to up the ante might seek out some very fine gins and wines, keeping an especial weather eye out for the Dingle Distillery crew.
Along with all the usual assortment of family-friendly high jinks to keep all and sundry entertained there are several speakers worth checking out and there is sure to be a heavy emphasis on butchery with the renowned Richard Turner, of Hawksmoor/Pitt Cue but also one half of butcher duo, Turner and George, and Irish butchers Peter Hannan and Pat Whelan all in attendance.
Simplí Homemade Muesli Cereal Bar Mix is a canny idea indeed, a dry mix (containing oats, dates, coconut, almonds, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and linseed seeds) to which a body just adds sunflower oil and honey to make decent cereal bars, a healthy addition to any school lunchbox.
But The Menu, ever a contrary sort, sought other applications, adding Ned McCarthy’s non-homogenised milk for an old-school bowl of muesli, soaking it overnight in his own homemade yoghurt and freshly squeezed apple juice for a most superior bircher and, finally, substituting melted butter for the sunflower oil and adding cinnamon to the honey, he created a fine crisp and crunchy granola that lasted for the entirety of a single breakfast. Very simplí indeed!