The menu: Great Irish Food Quiz

One of the more unmissable events on the culinary calendar, The Great Irish Food Quiz returns once again to raise valuable funds and awareness for the very excellent Down Syndrome Ireland charity, a cause most especially dear to The Menu’s heart. 
The menu: Great Irish Food Quiz

Taking place on Maperath Farm, in Kells, Co Meath, as part of the ongoing Boyne Valley Food Series (which runs right until September), chef Aine Maguire, of The Idle Wall, in Westport, returns once more with quizbook and, as always, a bumper sack of prizes and goodies for a great night of tasting and testing of the old grey matter.


Any parents in the market for last minute entertainment options for their flock might well consider heading to Woolapalooza Farm Festival at the wonderful Airfield Estate, in Dundrum, Dublin, the same place where The Menu had the pleasure of recently speaking at the ongoing Airfield Food Series talks.

With events including sheepdog trials, sheep shearing, live music at the Estate Barn Dance, drop-in craft sessions, butchery and bakery demonstrations, estate tours, knitting bee and a BBQ, pop up café, all taking place on the 38-acre working city farm, it’s a chance to bring a little of the ‘country’ to the children without ever leaving town.


Bob Cairns (formerly head chef of Andrew Edmunds, in London’s Soho; that fact alone, a fine recommendation), now relocated to West Cork with his young family, launches his first local pop-up, Glensallagh Gardens Spring Lunch (May 7), a highly promising rustic Italian affair featuring much of the veg, salad leaves and herbs he has been growing since decamping down west along with a selection of fine local produce

As part of the Old Butter Road Festival, recently heralded in last week’s column and celebrating the producers and hospitality venues North of Cork city, the very wonderful Blairs’ Inn offers a delicious Butter Road menu (April 29-May 1) with Butter Road cocktails and craft beers to wash down Butter Road dishes and on Bank Holiday Monday are putting on a cooking, craft cocktail and beer demo in their beautiful riverside garden.


Good Things Café in Skibbereen have some intriguing cookery classes on offer for May, including a Seaweed and Fermenting Weekend, and a variety of ‘Kitchen Miracle’ courses designed to equip aspiring cooks with the techniques and skills to tackle any innate fear of frying and so on and so forth.

O’Briens Wines, of Douglas, join forces with Greene’s restaurant, in Cork to welcome Francois Pages from Gérard Bertrand in the Languedoc for a food and wine dinner

Tickets: Nicolas, (021) 4369596/email


A delicate and rather sheltered sort, The Menu has only recently learned of, let alone tasted, the ‘Spicebag’, an Irish fast food phenomenon usually consisting liberally ‘spiced’ chips, battered chicken pieces and fried peppers.

His attention was first drawn to this ‘novel’ new dish on foot of news that top chef Kwanghi Chan had released his own Chan Chan dried spice mix for those keen to indulge in a spot of domestic ‘spicebaggery’.

It is a sweet blend, Szechuan pepper singing highest in the mix, and would greatly enhance some good crisp pork belly, but The Menu was more intrigued again by Kwanghi’s Chan Chan Hong Kong Street Black Fermented Garlic Sauce, inspired by the The Hong Kong-born, Donegal-raised chef’s trips back to his birthplace.

Sweet black garlic with a chirpy chilli burn is very much to the fore but is shot through with bright fruity lime and an earthy miso/kombu umami anchors the bass end.

Certain applications are obvious — Asian-style stir fries, noodle dishes etc — but experimentation is equally rewarded, The Menu recently adding a dash to homemade aioli to make a most stunning companion for some tempura-battered whiting goujons.

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