Several years ago, while raising six offspring and also working with husband Denis in their shared business, Sheila Kiely found the time to write (and photograph!) her first cookbook, Gimme the Recipe, and the follow-up, Enjoy! Food You’ll Love (Mercier Press) has hit the shelves.
Admitting her first foray was very much concerned with the class of nosebag favoured by her young fledglings, this new volume is more reflective of Sheila’s personal preferences, not least her regular forays into Middle Eastern-influenced cuisines, home cooking with a fair sprinkling of imagination and ambition.
Mind you, The Menu also welcomes a cookbook offering eight ways with a baked potato, an ‘international’ menu of toppings to grace a delicious spud straight from the oven.
Seafood & Shanty Ballycotton (4-5 June) festival of food, song and shenanigans in the lovely East Cork seaside village have instigated a maritime-themed photo competition with two nights ‘Freedom of Ballycotton’ as first prize, including a mid-week break for two at The Bayview Hotel at Ballycotton and hospitality from all Ballycotton restaurants and bars! (details www.facebook.com/Seafood-and-Shanty-Festival-Ballycotton ).
The Menu’s excellent friend, Fionnuala Harkin, of Wines Direct, brings Rod and Sandy Hallett of Alkoomi Winery, in Frankland River, Western Australia to show their wines in conjunction with some fine fare on offer in Clonakilty’s The Winery (May 23), a steal at €30 for wine and tapas.
Kate Ryan of Flavour.ie and the Celtic Ross Hotel teams up for a summer series beginning with a Cork Craft Beer Tasting (May 27) with Caroline ‘Bibliocook’ Hennessy of 8 Degrees Brewing
The Great Irish Food Quiz (May 26) is emulating host chef Áine Maguire’s return to her Mayo roots and moving to the West of Ireland as part of the Westport Food Festival (June 24-26) in the Co. Mayo town.
Maguire, proprietor of The Idle Wall restaurant, organises this very popular annual event as a charity fundraiser and on top of bragging rights for the triumphant epicurean eggheads, there is also a fine selection of prizes and nibbles on the night.
The Wexford Food & Wine Festival (May 27-29) kicks off with A Taste of Burgundy at the wonderful Kelly’s Hotel, in Rosslare while an open air market at Selskar Square in Wexford town offers a fine opportunity to sample local fare.
A shout out to new kids on the block Ardcarne Garden Café at Ardcarne Garden Centre in Roscommon town, as moonlighting creative artists, Cliodhna Quinlan and Nessa O’Brolchain, turn out good honest food using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.
In addition, classically-trained Cliodhna is hosting a ‘Learn a Tune’ trad session once a week, all for the princely sum of €2 ( www.ardcarne.ie ).
An combo on offer at Dublin’s Bull & Castle sees Batch cocktails (five servings) available for swigging while you chomp down on your Top Dog from the in-house hot dog stand www.facebook.com/BullandCastle
The Menu’s ramblings through West Cork never fail to throw up new culinary surprises, the latest being his discovery of West Cork Coffee and its very talented proprietor/chief roaster, Corkman Anthony Speight.
Speight, in the early stages of a commercial coffee career, currently only retails beans by mail order (roasted to each buyer’s personal preference) but The Menu, having sampled several of his roasts of different single-origin beans, believes a new star is most definitely born to the Irish coffee world.
A Colombian San Pascual, bursting with cherry fruit and chocolate flavours, had The Menu pairing it with a bar of Shana Wilkie’s similarly-fruited Tumbes chocolate to instigate an uplifting South American fiesta on a damp and dreary morning on the Oul’ Sod.
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