Food news: The hunger game
We're into peak game season now, and for the next few months there will be plenty of furred and feathered options available. Have a look at wildirishgame.ie for a list of stockists of their products. Game is one of the reasons that chefs prefer autumn to any other time of the year - it pairs so well with other seasonal ingredients including wild nuts and berries - but for the domestic cook it can be an intimidating prospect to embark on game preparation and cookery.
One of the best books on the topic is Clarissa Dickson Wright's The Game Cookbook, published in 2004, which is now out of print, although at the time of writing there were second-hand copies available on Amazon for 29p. The author's no-nonsense style removes the fear factor, and there's plenty of good reading on the history of various different types of game and the way that they have been used in kitchens through the ages.
One of the game meats that's becoming increasingly popular in the UK is squirrel, said to be one of the most sustainable meats around. You'll sometimes find it on the menu at Richard Corrigan's Bentley's, but I've yet to see it on an Irish menu other than at Seven Social on Benburb Street, now closed. If you do come across any, there are recipes for it in River Cottage head chef Gill Meller's beautiful new book, Gather.
If you'd prefer to have someone else do the cooking for you, Graeme Dodrill of Suesey Street is putting on a game dinner in No. 25, the beautifully refurbished Georgian house on Fitzwilliam Place in Dublin 2 (pictured above), on October 14.
The menu will pair game dishes with selected wines from Ribera del Duero in Northern Spain, and is designed to celebrate the terroir of the region. Guests can look forward to a six-course menu that will include teal broth with scorched onion, winter truffle and stuffed tortelloni, red leg Irish partridge with Jerusalem artichoke and chorizo ibérico, and roasted saddle of venison with pumpkin, orange, glazed parsnip and fermented black garlic. The dinner starts at 7pm and will cost €90. Book at 25fitzwilliamplace.ie or (01) 669 4646. After the dinner, the menu will be available in Suesey Street until the end of November.
Out in Cabinteely, Alan O'Reilly will be also be hosting some special game dinners at his Wildeside Café. When he was in the kitchen at Alexis in Dun Laoghaire, game was a feature of O'Reilly's menus and these nights are bound to be special. Book at wildesidecafe.ie or (01) 275 0128.
Thrice as nice
At Faithlegg House Hotel in Waterford, head chef Jenny Flynn has a new menu focusing on ingredients from local producers. The Trilogy of Tastes menu is priced at €39.95, with overnight packages starting at €110pps. See faithlegg.com
The Orangery at the Lyons estate, where chef Nathan Dimond is working with Martijn Kajuiter, of The Cliff House in Ardmore, has re-launched as a 'botanical restaurant' with each dish a celebration of the vegetable. Dinner is €55. See cliffatlyons.ie
The A-Z of Eating
Felicity Cloake's latest book is a winner, aimed at cooks who are competent, but short of inspiration. There's a happy confluence of ideas from all over the world - Japanese carbonara is one - and some novel ways of looking at familiar ingredients. Published by Penguin Fig Tree, €32.