The Menu makes it's first official mention of Christmas food

Check out this week's Christmas foodie news with Joe McNamee.

Destilling dreams

It is no great hardship though for he dearly loves the entire schemozzle and shall bring further tidings of same in the coming weeks but for now swift mention of a fine present for all fond of a fine drop: Exclusive membership to the Boann Cask Society and the Boann Cask Collection, both offerings from one of Ireland’s newest craft distilleries, the Boann Distillery, in Drogheda, the former entitling the member to one of the first 500 whiskey casks along with myriad other benefits.

NYE at Idás

The Menu recently enjoyed a splendid meal and occasion in chef Kevin Murphy’s Dingle-based Idás restaurant, each course matched with tunes from DJ John Casey and natural wines from Le Caveau, all to be repeated for an exclusive New Year’s Eve party offering food, wine, and entertainment of the highest order.

Pre-booking essential.

Love for olive oil

The Menu is deeply wedded to Irish produce but do not mistake his deep attachment for parochial shortsightedness for The Menu loves travelling, especially to experience the very finest foodstuffs of other cultures, many of them essential items in his own kitchen.

He would not, for example, accept any substitute for premium olive oil, even if a certain much-vaunted native substitute were to march up and down in his front garden draped in a tricolour bawling out Four Green Fields.

But travel abroad not always being an option he has betimes to shop closer to home and brings tidings of two very excellent suppliers now resident here and importing fine produce from their native lands.

Anna Coleman is a native Italian and her Del Gusto company supplies a superb range of premium Italian produce. The Menu will leave the huge range of excellent sauces to others, always preferring food cooked from scratch, but he recently relished a jar of marinated and oh so succulent aubergines, and has been adulterating all manner of dishes, savoury and sweet, with their fine organic balsamic vinegar but his favourite was an extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed Riviera Ligure, fine and fruity with a peppery afterburn, that The Menu has taken to relishing unaccompanied save a sprinkle of sea salt and some Seagull Bakery sourdough to mop up the verdant nectar (

Mexico is a place The Menu dearly hopes to visit some day, most especially to fill his belly and boots with more of their wonderful national cuisine, but in the meantime he is converting his own kitchen into a cantina with the ongoing assistance of Lily Ramirez-Foran and her Irish husband, Alan Foran, the proprietors of Picado, a wonderful Mexican food emporium on Dublin’s South Richmond where Lily also offers evening cookery classes covering all the classics: enchiladas, tamales, tortillas, salsas, chillies, and more.

And though it is a wonderful place to visit, their online delivery service has proven a lifesaver as there is nothing finer than tortillas freshly made with masa harina, the traditional corn flour.

What’s more, The Menu’s own recent tortilla blowout featured a homemade mayo greatly enriched with Gran Luchito Smoked Chilli Paste along wit a clean, green Laterra Michoacan Tomatillo Sauce.

As this particular blowout was at the behest of No 2 Son, a serious fan of the chilli burn and a hound for the tortillas, the meal ended with fine Mexican drinking chocolate though The Menu did manage a sly margarita for himself.


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