March 30, 2012

April's Foodie Festivals & Events

Galway Food Festival
The first ever Galway Food Festival takes place on the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 6th to Monday 9th April. It will celebrate all that is good about Galway food and dining with a series of fun and family friendly events. This new festival will promote good food in Galway and showcase food producers based in Galway and in the West. The festival will feature open-air markets, cookery demonstrations, a festival village at Fishmarket Square, food tours to local artisan producers, foraging, food talks, tastings, wine workshops with industry experts, kids activities and more. There is just so much to choose from!! For more info click here.

Waterfood Festival of Food
Heading into its fifth year, this festival celebrates the richness and diversity of our Irish food culture in a community setting. Think sharing picnic baskets, foraging for fun in the woods or clamouring over the rocks on the beach to find a bucket-full of seaweed and you get a picture of what type of events are on offer. This festival runs from the 12th - 15th April. Visit here for event listings.

Grandmothers Day - Forgotten Skills 
International Slow Food Grandmother’s Day will be celebrated on 21 April 2012. To celebrate the wonderful skills and knowledge that grandparents impart to us Slow food Ireland will be hosting their special event on 22 April at Sandbrook House, Ballon, Co Carlow.  This inaugural event is dedicated to remembering and recording lost skills, and the precious inherited wisdom of previous generations. There will be a Farmer's Market and lots of demonstrations focusing on cookery and skills such as butter and cheese making. For more info about this great event click here

Trim Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
The Trim Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is a spectacular colourful event suitable for all ages with over 30 exciting activities including a spectacular Magical Nightglow event. There will be lots of entertainment available which caters for the whole family. There will be storytelling, Punch & Judy Shows, face painting for the kids and a craft village, artisan food markets and concession stands for the adults. It takes place on the 7 -9th April.  For more hot air click here

Mallow Food Craft Fair
This event will take place on Easter Sunday 8th April 2012 as part of the Racing Home for Easter Festival. There will be food stalls from all over the country displaying their produce. The market runs from 9am until 2pm. Click here for more info.

Dublin Bay Prawn Festival
This great event runs from 27th-29th April in Howth. There will be cookery demonstrations, wine-tasting events and prawn shelling competitions alongside a food village packed with food stalls and tasting sessions and that is just during the day! The evening offers an opportunity to attend a Mystery Dine Around, sample the special festival menus in restaurants and pubs, watch the fireworks on the harbour and listen to in-house musical entertainment in Howth’s pubs. Click here for more info.
If you would like to have your foodie event added please contact Kat at thepurplepageireland (at)

March 27, 2012

Man Vs Food - BEAR Style

After recently moving out and longing for peace, I am surprised to find that one of the things I miss is the grappling for the remote control and the constant struggle to watch want I wanted to watch!! Surrounded and outnumbered by boys, I used to find myself constantly watching Bear Grylls, Mythbuster and Man Vs Food seeing as these were the only programmes the females in the family could tolerate, no 'How Machines are Made' for us!! While watching Man Vs Food I have lost count of the times the boys have gone 'Pah - I could eat that!!' Well recently myself and the boyfriend got a chance to do our very own Man Vs Food trial in BEAR on South William Street.

BEAR is all about the meat.  Seeing as this place is a Joe Macken (Jo' Burger, Crackbird, Skinflint) and Jamie Heaslip collaboration I wasn't surprised by this!! It's all about distinctive cuts of meat, cool sides and quirky cutlery. At each table there is an Opinel knife to help with the masculine feel of the place and to saw through the giant slabs of meat. BEAR is in the old Crackbird venue and has received a bit of a facelift for its opening. It is on two levels with a timbered ceiling, high communal tables and a long bar but it has a chicer and more finished feel than Crackbird.

Toast with Bean & Roast Garlic Spread
The emphasis though is placed firmly on the food. There is a variety of different and unusual cuts offered such as onglet, bavette, London broil and pope's eyes - there is no fillet steak in sight! After getting one of the well informed staff to explain what the various cuts of meat were and how they were cooked we decided on a bavette to share. With that we ordered sides of celeriac puree and fries and a starter of toast with white bean & roast garlic spread. The toast and spread was tasty, a bit similar to hummus, though it was a nice detour from the usual bread starters you would normally get in restaurants. The celeriac puree was delicious, slightly textured, but this was grand because I know it's insanely difficult to mash celeriac!! 

Celeriac Puree
The star of the show though was the bavette. It was huge!! It was chargrilled and cooked on the outside but tender and pink of the inside. Just the way it should be. We also got  three sauces to accompany it - the house gravy, chimichuri and creamed horseradish -  so there was a good selection to slather over stuff and dip things into. Did we get through it  though I hear you ask ... NO!! I managed about 2 slices (probably  because I ate all the celeriac puree!), he managed about four and then the staff had to wrap the rest up for us. It made delicious sandwiches the next day though!! The whole bill came to around 45 euro which for the amount of food we got I think is very reasonable.

If meat isn’t your thing, BEAR does offers grilled alternatives such as pork chops, lamb kofta, chicken or chorizo. Salads are also available with chicken, bacon or skirt steak as extra. So there is something for everyone if your friends or family aren't huge beef eaters.

My skills as an amateur photographer were put to the test that night and unfortunately the pictures were very dark so there are no good photos of the meat. So you are just going to have to go and see for yourself!! BEAR is located at 35 South William Street, Dublin 2 and is open 7 days from midday to late with breakfast available at 8am-11.30am, lunch from 11.30-16.45 and dinner from 5pm onwards.

Find BEAR on Twitter @BEARdublin
Bear on Urbanspoon

March 08, 2012

March Foodie Events

SAVOUR Limerick

On March 15th why not head along to SAVOUR Limerick. Limerick’s celebration of food will  showcase what the region has to offer in terms of top quality produce, fantastic chefs, cookery demonstrations and more. Participating restaurants include CafĂ© Noir, The Cornstore, the Mustard Seed, The French Table, Hamptons, Adare Manor, River Bistro, Brasserie One @ No 1 Pery Square, Bella Italia, The Strand Hotel, Carrygerry Country House and more. There will be tastings, live cooking demonstrations and there may even be the odd rugby player or two!! 

This Limerick Food event is in aid of the CARI Foundation and takes place in Thomond Park from 6pm until late. The event is coordinated by 2nd year Event Management students from Limerick Institute of Technology and is supported by the Restaurants Association of Ireland. Tickets for the event are priced at €20 are available from participating restaurants and also directly from Thomond Park Stadium on 061-421106/061-421109 and
Dine In Dublin
Dine In Dublin is taking place this March from the 26th to the 1st April. It aims to promote city dining while encouraging restaurants to showcase their offerings. For foodies this means good food at a great price and at time that doesn't involve rushing from work to get a table in case you miss the early bird! There are three menu price choices of €20,€25 and €30 which kick off at 7pm in a variety of restaurants throughout Dublin. To see what restaurants are participating click here and don't forget to quote 'Dine in Dublin' when making your reservation.

Irish Craft Beer Festival
This festival will take place over Paddy's weekend, 15th to 19th March, at George's Dock IFSC. So far the list of brewers supplying beer to the festival are O'Hara's, Dungarvan, Eight Degrees, Fransciscan Well, Galway Hooker, Messrs' Maguire, The Porter House, Trouble Brewing, White Gypsy, Dingle Brewing Co and Hilden. It will run from 12pm to late every day with live music and entertainment throughout the day. There is free admission from 12pm – 7pm Thursday 15th and Friday 16th and a €10 admission applies from 12pm Saturday and Sunday. Please note that this event is strictly for over 18yrs.
For more info have a look here.
Slow Food Dublin Urban Foraging 
On March 24th join Slow Food Dublin for  a guided urban foraging expedition for wild garlic, nettles and other wild comestibles followed by a cookery demonstration and lunch. The meeting will start at 9.30 in O'Connells restaurant in Donnybrook, Dublin 4  with a light breakfast. Then the group will head out into the wilds of Donnybrook to find the foods that grow all around us. Afterward, Chef Udo Wittman will demonstrate the preparation of several dishes made with foraged foods followed by a main course lunch. Price for members is €22.50 and €25.00 for non-members (beverages not included). Please RSVP to

Urban Garden Picnic
This Saturday, March 10th, an Urban Garden Picnic will be held at a vacant allotment, Lullymore Terrace, Dublin 8 from 2-3pm. This vacant allotment is the first on the terrace, just by sally’s bridge and can be accessed easily through a pathway cleared in the bush. So why not grab yourself a blanket, a picnic basket and the all important tea and head on down to take advantage of our open green spaces. The event will be filmed as part of a project.

If you would like to have your foodie event added please contact Kat at thepurplepageireland (at)

March 07, 2012

Curious Feast for the Senses

This week I was one of many lucky foodies who won tickets to attend a night of food and wine fun hosted by New Zealand wine brand Brancott Estate. The Curious Feast for the Senses event is being held over four nights this week and I got to attend last night for the second round of the event. Our hosts for the evening were Cully and Sully who kicked off the night by getting the audience involved in some fun and games. These were designed to challenge our perceptions of food and engage our curiosity. It's amazing how wrong people can get when sampling simple food items while blindfolded!

Our chef for the night was Garrett Byrne of Campagne in Kilkenny, which I was delighted with, as this is a restaurant that has been on my to do list for quite a while.On the menu were foods I had never sampled before such as Samphire and Oyster Cream. We were served a three course meal teamed with wines from the Brancott estate and what a feast it was! A starter of cured organic salmon, oyster cream, cucumber, dill and samphire followed by a main of slow cooked suckling pig, apple marmalade, picked white cabbage and organic carrot puree - sublime deliciousness. This was all topped off by a dessert of raspberry jelly, white chocolate mousse, pistachio and dried raspberry tuille.Out of all the Brancott wines we got to sample I particularly like their Marlborough Pinot Noir - I'm a red wine girl at heart.

There are two more nights to this event which will feature chefs from Pichet and Tankardstown House. I'm a little bit jealous that I can't attend them all but sure I will just have to go and visit all the restaurants now but a trip to Campagne will be top of my list!!

Here's a link to Campagne if you feel like going there too!

Cully, Sully and Chef Garrett
Cured organic salmon, oyster cream, cucumber, dill and samphire
Slow cooked suckling pig, apple marmalade, picked white cabbage and organic carrot puree

Raspberry jelly, white chocolate mousse, pistachio and dried raspberry tuille

March 04, 2012

Neon - Asian Street Food

Neon, a new Asian Street Food restaurant, opened its door a few weeks ago and as soon as I saw the menu online and saw the phrase 'Vietnamese Pho Soup', I was hooked and knew I had to get myself down there as fast as I could. So last Friday with only a few hours to spare before heading off to a gig I decided that a visit to Neon on Camden Street had to be fitted in.

One of the first things I noticed was how inviting the restaurant looked from the outside with its green exterior and dark wooden panelling. Then all it took was one look through the window to fall head over heels in love with the place. The long wooden tables and the lovely graphics of street traders in Vietnam brought back wonderful memories of travelling with friends. I was looking forward to relieving the food experience.

So myself and the boyfriend grabbed a table and a menu and sat ourselves down to confer. Deciding what to get always takes us an age and it never helps when everything on the menu sounds delicious! There was a good variety of soups, salads, curries and noodle, rice and wok dishes on offer.  Favourites such as Pad Thai and Massaman Curry also make an appearance. Finally we made our decision and so up I went to order. Ordering in Neon is the same as ordering in any fast food restaurant, you go up to the staff, they dont come to you, but that is where the similarity ends. The staff were very attentive the whole time we were there, asking us whether we were enjoying the food and if we needed anything. I also noticed that they were very efficent at keeping the place clean as the majority of the seating is communal and does tend to get messy quite fast.

Now on to the food! First off, and to my delight, we received some prawn crackers which we hadn't ordered but which come with the meal. They were the good kind, not the greasy, flimsy, white ones, but the crunchy, slighty spicy ones and teamed with a sweet chilli sauce they started the meal off on a good foot.

As we couldn't decide on a starter each we got a Starter Box to share so we could try a bit of everthing. There were prawn rolls, chicken satay skewers, vegetable spring rolls, duck spring rolls and a selection of sauces. The duck spring rolls were the standout for me. They were just really tasty and moreish but everything in the box tasted very fresh.

Then it was on to the main feast. Since the main reason I was there was for the Vietnamese Pho Soup I had to order that but we also ordered some Mekong Duck and stir fried egg noodles. All the food comes to the table in paper cartons but there are bowls available on the tables which you can put your food into yourself.

Vietnamese Pho Soup
Mekong Duck
Mekong Duck and Noodles
The soup was delicious but I think if I was to eat it just by myself I would be a bit overwhelmed as the portion size was huge. There was also quite a strong aniseed flavour off it which I liked but might not be to everyone's taste.  The Mekong Duck was succulent and melted in the mouth and it was accompanied by crisp, crunchy vegetables. Then to top the whole meal off one of the staff gave us two cones and told us to help ourselves to icecream!! Icecream that we could pull ourselves, well it was like a childhood dream had just come true!  One little girl nearly fell over herself when she saw what we were doing.

This is fast food at its best. You can't beat Asian street food for sheer quickness, taste and flavour and Neon delivers that by the cartonfull! I can see this place becoming a firm favourite on the Camden Street trail and that is just going by the fact that by the time we left at 7 the place was packed with lot of happy looking chopsticks clicking clients. Our whole bill came to 26 euro and at that we couldn't even finish it all!

For more info on Neon click here. They will be offering a home delivery service from the 12th March. This is also a family friendly restaurant with a special children's selection and an icecream machine so how could it not be!!

Neon Asian Street Food on Urbanspoon

March 02, 2012

Jamie Oliver to open Taste of Dublin 2012

Here's some exciting foodie news. Jamie Oliver is coming to town!! A whole generation of young foodies have grown up watching his shows drawn in by his easygoing 'pukka' attitude towards food. He will be in Ireland soon to launch this year’s Taste of Dublin Food and Drink Festival on Thursday June 14th at the Iveagh Gardens. This will be the first time Jamie has ever given a live cooking demonstration in Ireland.

This is the seventh Taste of Dublin and it will run from Thursday June 14th to Sunday 17th June. Jamie will be in good company as other chefs such as Valentine Warner, Thomasina Miers, Rachel Allen, Oliver Dunne, Ross Lewis and Derry Clarke will all take to the stage over the four days.There will also be two live entertainment stages, over 100 exhibitors and 20 of Dublin's best restaurants where you will be able to choose from a range of delicious food. You will also be able to pick up informative tips with culinary demonstrations in the Chef’s Theatre and participate in intimate Q&A sessions with top chefs at the Chef’s Table.

I am very excited about this event, it isn't the cheapest event in the world as you have to buy your ticket and then buy food on top of that, but to see Jamie live in action is worth parting with my hard earned cash!! 

General Release Tickets go on sale from 18th April or to beat the crowd and get some early bird tickets sign up to the Taste of Dublin Newsletter  for the chance to purchase them. All advance standard tickets are now only €20 discounted from the 2011 price of €25.

To view the Taste of Dublin website click here.