Glenisk searches for best student chef

The Glenisk and Cloughjordan House initiative, a ‘Chef Star’ competition for secondary school students, is aimed at finding Ireland’s best student chef.

Original recipes featuring a Glenisk product should be submitted to www.facebook.com/GleniskOrganic (before Mar 31, 2014), with an iPad for the winner as well as €500 for their school’s home economics department.

But if your budding Masterchefs can’t wait til next year to sate overwhelming culinary competitive urges, then they can always throw their hat into the ring for Urru’s 5th Annual Festive Baking Competition (Nov 28-30) in the Best Young Baker (U16) category. There are also three adult categories including best tasting cake, best looking cake and best overall baker. Judging will be conducted in the splendid Bandon-based culinary emporium, with Shannen Doherty of Diva Boutique Bakery and Mairead and Richard Jacob of Idaho Cafe acting as judges. www.urru.ie

Masterclass at Lough Erne

Gentle soul that he is, The Menu may avoid competition altogether and content himself with a Masterclass package at the luxurious 5-star Lough Erne Resort hotel in Co Fermanagh, which recently played host to the G8 summit. Taking place on selected Sundays through to the end of February, it includes a night’s B&B and a demo from chef Noel McMeel, followed by dinner. www.lougherneresort.com

Two top cookbooks do their bit for charity

The Menu had foresworn off the cookbooks for a spell having, as he does, an ongoing and profound addiction to purchasing same but his resolve is sorely tested on learning of two new books, both of them benefitting excellent Irish charities. Buon Appetito by Marco Roccasalvo, chef/proprietor of Bray restaurant Campo de Fiori, features fine Italian recipes many tailored to local Irish produce and contributions from some of his well-known regulars including Ross Lewis and Manuela Spinelli, with €1 from the sale of each book going to the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience (IICN). (www.campodefiori.ie). The West of Ireland is currently on quite a roll when it comes to dishing out the top nosebag and Eat West 2013 reflects that same passion and creativity with recipes from some of the fine local producers and restaurants including Jessica Murphy of Kai, Slow Food Galway and Ultan Cooke of Michelin-starred Aniar and all proceeds go to the ISPCC. www.eatwest2013.com

Today’s special

The battle was already half won before The Menu ever opened the lid of Crossogue Preserves Connemara Smoked Whiskey Heather Marmalade because he is an ardent admirer of Veronica Molloy’s superlative selection of jams, preserves and various condiments. And on first taste of an impossibly gossamer-light mixture of seville oranges, lemons and a smokey drop of the craythur, The Menu laid down arms and surrendered completely. www.crossoguepreserves.com

BEER OF THE WEEK

Stonewell Dry Irish Craft Cider 2012, 5.5% ABV, 500ml — €3.99-4.49

Stockists: Widely available.

Stonewell is produced near Kinsale from apples sourced in Kilkenny, Waterford, Tipperary and Cork. The only non-Irish ingredient is the bottle, the apples are hand sorted and the different varieties (including Dabinett and Michelin) are pressed and fermented separately.
Stonewell Medium-dry is sweetened by the addition of fresh apple juice after fermentation in a fully natural process. Clare Deveney told me Stonewell outsells her other ciders by six to one — I’m not surprised.

— Leslie Williams


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