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Wade Murphy - recent Commissioner General of Euro-Toques Ireland and former head chef in several prestigious kitchens - planned a move away from fine dining when he had his own restaurant.
It's fair to say that garlic scapes are a pretty new concept to most Irish cooks, but they came to everyone's attention in a big way when they famously featured on Donal and Sofie Skehan's wedding menu in June 2015
Vegetarian or not, many of us are now choosing to eat less meat ('less but better', perhaps) and more plant-based protein. Aside from the health and environmental arguments, one of the great advantages for the cook is that is that it opens up a whole new way of thinking about cooking.
Paul Dempsey and Pauline Roe’s almost-Shannonside bar and restaurant has a lovely olde world feeling with dark wood, bric-à-brac and prints and, unusually, it doubles as an art gallery, so original artwork adds interest and charm. But the good food served is the main draw for most of the regulars, and visitors who pile in off their cruisers for dinner or plan a stop when driving out west or heading home after the weekend are sure of a good meal.
Could 2016 be the year when we finally earn our stripes as ‘the food island’? There are still plenty of bad meals to be found in Ireland and foods that don’t deserve the name, but in many ways things have improved dramatically in recent years and there’s a sense of sea change in the air.
Raw: Recipes For a Modern Vegetarian Lifestyle by Solla Eiríksdóttir Published by Phaidon; hardback, 240 pp, 100 specially commissioned photographs; £24.95/€34.95.
There’s nothing quite like the first early potatoes to remind us that summer is just around the corner. Everybody loves them and in Ireland we’re especially fortunate to have a unique growing area in County Down, with the ideal soil and its own microclimate providing the perfect growing conditions for this early season treat.
Craft drinks production is growing at such a dizzying speed that it seems that every place in Ireland now has at least one local speciality beer or cider to its name - and perhaps a gin, whiskey, vodka or poitín too.
To many it's just a commodity, a bland white liquid with no character and no season, to be used without thought all year with breakfast cereals and tea - and the growing prevalence of industrial farming methods is reinforcing that impression. But all milks are not created equal.
Already well known to followers of the popular blog that she has written for over a decade (www.valskitchen.com), Valerie O’Connor’s books are reaching a ready audience more...
Val's Kitchen Real Food, Real Easy by Valerie O'Connor (Brien Press; hardback, 246x189mm, 160pp; photography by the author; €19.99/£14.99)