The Menu: birthday celebrations

On The Pig’s Back is one of the cornerstones of the utterly revitalised English Market.

Once upon a time when The Menu wielded a skillet in a somewhat professional capacity, a daily port of call was Marie Jaumaud and Martin Guillemot’s pioneering stall in the English Market, to purchase some of their splendid crumbly ricotta.

Sadly, they were subsequently prohibited from selling their raw-milk cheeses in the Market by the blissfully ill-informed health and safety mob, which led to Marie and Martin eventually departing the market, but not before inspiring another Frenchwoman-turned-Corkonian Isabelle Sheridan to open the renowned On The Pig’s Back, to this day, one of the cornerstones of the utterly revitalised English Market.

The Menu must have taken some knock to the head along the way because it turns out this all occurred some time ago and at the end of the month, to celebrate On The Pig’s Back’s 20th birthday, Sheridan begins a series of daily meetings with some of the top local producers featured on her stall over the years, giving tastings and talks about their products.

It all culminates in an ‘official ceremony’ (Nov 24) in front of the famous English Market fountain with Marie and Martin returning from France especially to participate.


They may not have ultimately triumphed in Masterchef Ireland 2011 but Bridín Carey, Conal Markey and Richard Speedie are still reaping the rewards of participation and their subsequently-formed Seasons Supper Club comes to Fenn’s Quay restaurant, in Cork (Nov 16) for a one-off four-course dinner supplemented by surprise courses from culinary wonderwomen Pamela Kelly (Nash 19 chef) and Fenn’s Quay’s Kate Lawlor.



The Menu normally despairs of the craven commercialism that sees Christmas arriving before its due date but exception has to be made for the class of culinary yuletide training camp at Galway’s G Hotel (Nov 18) supplemented with carols, mulled wine and a lovely three-course lunch, all proceeds going to suicide prevention charity Console. Head chef Pauline Reilly provides top Christmas cooking tips with a limited edition cookery book also available and wine connoisseur Rene Hendriks will provide tipple inspiration. or


The Menu has been taking measures to deal with the recently plummeting temperatures and while the lagging jacket has been someway effective, nothing has come near Flynn’s Kitchen’s Chorizo & Bean Stew, a winter warmer if ever there was one.

The sweet, smoky paprika kick and lovely, lingering chilli zing from the chorizo are most welcome but to be expected from an attempt at a Spanish classic. But what marks this one out as a bit special is the delicate hand with which Iain Flynn assembles the tomato/ garlic backdrop for the mixed beans and chunks of sweet potato.

Contact Joe McNamee at


Spitfire 500ml 4.5% €2.95

Spitfire Pale Ale was introduced in the UK by the Shepherd’s Neame Brewery in Kent in 1990 to commemorate the Battle of Britain and has become one of the brewery’s most popular beers.

This is the epitome of “Bitter” — which we would call a pale ale. A rich fruity, hoppy aroma is followed by a light fresh taste and a distinctive dry bitter finish. The bitterness may be too much for some but persist and you will learn to love it as much as I do. It is available in supermarkets and independents such as O’Donovans and Bradleys. — Leslie Williams


The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner