Food news with Joe McNamee

Room for dessert

The Menu, armed with silver dessert spoon and spandex pants, is embarking on an extended trawl around Leeside for a series of tastings, workshops and events taking place throughout the city for the inaugural Cork Dessert Festival (June 26 to July 2) with a host of local hospitality venues strutting their sweet stuff, including Electric, Sober Lane and Cafe Velo.

The Menu already has his beady eyes set on a ice cream being served up in Cronin’s, of Crosshaven, made from their own brown soda bread and splendid White Gypsy Imperial Russian Stout (www.facebook/FestivalsInCork &

The Menu’s guzzling habits most certainly don’t end at blowing the froth off a few cold ones and he is also very partial to a G&T, most especially since the explosion of fine local Irish distilled gins and he shall be raising a glass or two during the Irish Gin & Tonic Fest (June 25-July 2), a 32-county celebration of some of the splendid new libations, with 14 top Irish craft distillers and premium Irish tonic water, Poacher’s, all signed up.

Participating punters can vote for their favourite festival G&T, (won last year by Davy Mac’s, Waterford, earning them national acclaim).

Neither is the programme restricted to mere swilling with several brands hosting their own events including a Bertha’s Revenge ukulele concert and dinner and Gunpowder Gin launch a Gin-Joyment Club at Tigh Nora, in Galway.

(Licensed premises still interested in getting involved can easily register on

BBQ to Beat Cancer

The Menu is encouraging all to team up with Ballymaloe Foods and the Marie Keating Foundation to organise a BBQ to Beat Cancer, part of a summer campaign focussed on raising awareness of men’s health and prostate cancer.

More than 3,400 Irishmen are diagnosed with same each year. On registration, a BBQ pack will be posted out, including poster, invitations, balloons, Ballymaloe Foods coupon and recipes and, the crowning glory, a chef’s toque.

Hosts will be entered into a weekly draw for a selection of Ballymaloe goodies.


Speedy eating

When but a waif, The Menu’s first job in hospitality was in a certain fast food burger establishment on Cork’s St Patrick’s Street and while fare may not have been finest, it gave him his first highly addictive taste of the buzz of working service, not least when said establishment rolled out their 60-second service promotion.

The Menu is proud to say he never once failed to serve up within the required minute.

The Cornstore are offering something similar, burger, fries and beverage all delivered within 10 minutes of ordering or your money back but if you can spare more than 10 minutes, you might also consider their three-hour Sea Safari around Cork harbour, including pub stop in Cobh or Crosshaven followed by a two-courser back at base, all for €65pp (


The Menu is very partial to a spot of marmalade, always on the hunt for variations on one of his favourite breakfast confiture.

When the Dublin-based distillery decided to create their own Teeling’s Whiskey and Ginger Marmalade, they did the smart thing and farmed the job out to the experts.

In this case, it is The Purple Pantry, who look after production of a confiture flecked through with little nibs of crystallised ginger to put a keen edge on the ‘orange-ness’ of finest Seville oranges, so bright and uplifting, they take to cavorting like clementines.

The tincture of whiskey underscores all with a chinstroking smokey gravitas, making for one of the most sublimely balanced marmalades around.


Don’t just bung this festive favourite in a boring pot and wait for it to wilt, says Hannah Stephenson.How to style your Christmas poinsettia

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