Food news: Savour - Salads for all seasons
Anyone old enough to remember 'fusion' cuisine, will be familiar with the name of Peter Gordon. The New Zealand chef left home at the age of 18 and travelled first to Melbourne, where he lived for five years working as a chef in various restaurants, before spending a year travelling through Asia from Indonesia to India. The experience was to become a major influence on his culinary style and his Sugar Club restaurant in London was one of the city's hottest restaurants in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
These days, The Providores on Marylebone High Street is the showcase for his cuisine, and it's a restaurant well worth visiting, handily located near The Marylebone, one of The Doyle Collection's London hotels. Peter Gordon's most recent book is Savour: Salads for all Seasons (Jacqui Small, £25), a 10-years-on update on his Salads: The New Main Course, a terrific cookbook, which you can pick up on Amazon second-hand for just 1p.
Savour was published last year but I only came across it recently and have been cooking from it ever since. As Peter writes in the introduction: "Today, the idea of having a salad as a main meal instead of just as a starter or side dish, no matter what the season, no longer seems as strange as it did a decade ago… people are eating differently: sharing plates and small dishes are now commonplace, and the abundance of vegetables in a dish is almost a given. Healthy foods, whether that means more grains and vegetables, less gluten and dairy, less animal protein, sustainable caught fish or animals raised with impeccable farming methods, are what we all seem to want in our diets."
One only has to look at the queues outside Sprout in Dublin to realise that Peter Gordon is right on the money when it comes to the way that we want to eat now. For him, a good salad is something more complex than a few ingredients tossed together in a bowl with a dressing: "It's a mixture of ingredients, individually prepared… that work in harmony with each other, either by being very similar in texture and colour or by opposing each other, for example crunch supporting smooth… to create harmony, sometimes you need to create a clash of some sort… such as fiery chilli used to enliven sweet mango."
Among the recipes in Savour is the utterly delicious miso-baked aubergine, dates, feta, crispy buckwheat and tahini yoghurt. Recommended.
In good taste
Taste of Dublin returns from June 15-18, this year celebrating 'Flavours of the World'. Top dishes to try include Saba's sundried pork with sticky rice, KLAW's Hawaiian poké bowls and Kurkura jhingsa - crispy prawns with Kashmiri chilli, nigella seeds and fennel with dill raita - from Pickle. tasteofdublin.ie
Terroir at Tankardstown
On Tuesday May 9, Tankardstown will host a French Summer Gourmet Dinner in the Brabazon with a tasting menu created by Adrian Cassidy and matching Rhone wines. €65 pp, or an overnight rate of €145 pps. Bookings: Helen Byrne (041) 9824621
Long table lunch
Next Saturday, May 13, Justin and Jenny Greene of Ballyvolane will host a long table lunch in aid of Habitat for Humanity. €50pp for a Bertha's Revenge cocktail followed by a three-course lunch with wine and a tour of the gardens. Booking: firstname.lastname@example.org or (025) 36349