Donal Skehan's Little Black Book
Find no-nonsense recipes, restaurant recommendations and more hidden gems in Donal's weekly food column.
My drink of the summer was a Pisco Sour, a frothy, sharp and sweet cocktail from South America. It has become so incredibly popular that it was named the national drink of Peru, where its key ingredient Pisco, a grape brandy, is produced. The cocktail can be made easily: to a cocktail shaker half filled with ice add in 1/2 egg white, 50ml Pisco, 25ml simple syrup and 50ml lime juice. Shake vigorously for 10 minutes, strain into a chilled tumbler and top with a few drops of Angostura Bitters.
Food photography has become more and more accessible recently with the high standard of technology available on mobile phones. I sometimes find myself picking up my iPhone to take a food image quicker than the camera I normally work with: a Canon 5D Mark III. There are some brilliant apps to increase your chances of taking a brilliant food image. Snapseed acts like a mini Photoshop which you can use to edit brightness, contrast, colour and more. Hipstamatic, a vintage-style camera app, offers a lens designed with Jamie Oliver's food photographer David Loftus, while VSCO Cam is the hipster of the gang, offering dark and moody filters. If you are editing your images with any of the apps mentioned, remember the old mantra: Less is most definitely more! Also, check out mobilephonefoodphotography.com.
Donal's little black book
I am on a bit of a juice buzz at the moment. It's something I dip in and out of, especially when I've had a particularly indulgent few months. My go-to one is a combination of apple, carrot and ginger but I've also started adding veggies like kale, spinach, beetroot and celery to the mix. Juicing is a trend which is steadily on the rise with cool juice bars popping up everywhere. Sprout, in selected Avoca stores, offers a delicious selection of fruit and vegetable juices and will even deliver a week's worth of juices to your door if you fancy a juice cleanse. Meanwhile, Alchemy Juice Co will be opening in BT2 in October, with dynamic food duo Domini and Peaches Kemp behind the venture.
Every nook and cranny
I spent the week filming in Stockholm for a Swedish show I present and got a chance to try a newly opened restaurant called NOOK. It offers a really interesting fusion menu which takes subtle inspiration from Asia but has local and seasonal Swedish ingredients at the core. Simple but delicious dishes set their menu apart. We ate scallops with ceps and samphire, venison with chanterelles, pickled lingonberries and roast celeriac and, for dessert, cloudberries with sweet pine needles, brown butter ice-cream and almonds. Memorable and all fairly reasonably priced too.
Úna-Minh Kavanagh, a young journalist and food blogger from Kerry, is currently in training at Ballymaloe Cookery School and blogging her way through the tough but highly rewarding 12-week course. Her blog gives a wonderful insight into the world of Ireland's most famous cookery school. Úna finishes each post with a sign-off of a small selection of the food tips and facts she has picked up. It makes for great reading, though be warned: it will definitely leave you feeling hungry! spillthebeans.ie