Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Irish whiskeys, cheese and gorgeous sourdough breads: my January food picks from The Gloss magazine

David Tiernans Montbeliarde herd
After a couple of busy months attending and presenting food awards it’s good to be at home and looking at what's new in Irish food and drink for the year ahead. For starters, cold Januarys are the perfect excuse to take Rihanna and Jay Z’s lead and drink Irish whiskey. 

Jack Teeling, who sold Cooley for €73m last year has hit the stills again with a new blend of Scotch and Irish single malt. Teelings Hybrid certainly causes a hurricane in the back of your throat, but it’s also a really  warm and complex whiskey. With a hard cheese like David Tiernan’s Glebe Brehan made from his herd of Montbeliarde cows in County Louth, it's a combination that makes for a grown up, contemporary treat.

Kombucha made in Stoneybatter Dublin

The following day you may need my new find, Dublin Kombucha – a Japanese cleansing tea full of antioxidants and good bacteria brewed by Laura Murphy in Stoneybatter. Suspiciously healthy sounding but gorgeous – a cross between sparkling apple juice and miso soup.  DBKB deliver, with a four-pack costing €10. The Joe Macken empire stock it, and Cake Café just off Camden street.

Bakes and breads are perfect warming January foods.  New York is having a French baking moment as renouned Frenchman Eric Kayser wows the well heeled with his sour dough breads. Sour doughs require fermentation and you’ll only find them made by craft bakers such as Dublin-based Thibault Peigne whose breads (which take 48 hours to make) can be found in Listons, Mortons in Ranelagh. Try his French rustic sour dough grilled with some goats cheese, torn basil and prepare an addiction plan.

Eric Kayser's sourdough aux marrons

French baking is also the name of the game at Armelle’s Kitchen in Kilcullen, Kildare. Armelle turns out the mouthwatering cakes while her partner Kenny makes classic French macarons. Their rum frangipane lasted all of three minutes in our house.

For low key French I love La Cocotte café upstairs in L’academie Francais on Kildare Street. Quiet, with a gorgeous view over Trinity’s cricket grounds, Arnaud Bucher presides over a choice of fabulous pastries, pain garnis (with proper baguette) and plat du jour. I order the charcuteries francaises and pretend to read my battered Proust.

Brown Hound Bakery
For really good baking outside Dublin check out The Gallery Café in Gort where fringed lampshades take you straight back to Abigail's Party, Brown Hound Bakery in Drogheda for the prettiest of treats under delicate glass cloches and Laura Kilkenny’s outstanding The Wooden Spoon in Killaloe which can’t stop collecting awards.

Andrew Rudd
January is also plein with chefs going their own pop-ups. Andrew Rudd tells me he’s busy at his new venture Medley – cookery school and dining in an airy Fade Street loft. Ian Marconi, (ex Moro and St John’s of London) is moonlighting from the moorish meatballs of The Paella Guys to do some cool private dining in the parlour of his Portobello house.

In my own parlour I’m planning a wintery feast of roast lamb as outside the kitchen window the rams graze in their raddles – a paint pack on their chest which marks the rump of the ewes they get up on. How clever would it be if prolific Irish males wore a similar apparatus – no more awkward moments in Guilbauds.

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