Food news: Take a class with the sultan of spice
Sunil Ghai's Pickle on Camden Street consistently features on 'best of' lists of restaurants in Ireland, not just Dublin. Anyone who takes Indian food seriously should make a point of eating there to experience the true diversity and breadth of flavour that is the hallmark of the North Indian street food in which Pickle specialises.
A world away from the traditional curry house menu that we are used to in Ireland, Sunil's signature dishes at Pickle feature ingredients such as goat, wild boar and lobster.
Before opening Pickle in 2016, Sunil (pictured above) was the chef at Ananda in Dundrum, where the food was geared towards fine dining, with presentation influenced by his training in the best hotels in India.
Sunil is now hosting a series of monthly hour-long masterclasses on spices and pickling, starting next month and running through until October 2017.
These classes will take place in the restaurant on Tuesday August 15, Tuesday September 12 and Tuesday October 10, and the multi-award-winning chef says that guests can expect "a whistlestop tour of some of the ingredients and techniques that go into making the food at Pickle so deeply delicious".
Sunil promises to take his students on a trip to the hill stations of Kashmir, the shores of the magisterial Ganges at Varanasi, the pink city of Jaipur, and the bustling street food stalls of Delhi, all without leaving Camden Street.
From cumin and cardamom to the mixing, roasting and grinding of spices, chutney-making and street food sampling, Sunil will be sharing his insight into the street foods of his part of the world.
He will explain how North Indian food is different from that of other regions in India, and look at people's favourite dishes, from tikka masala to korma and beyond, teaching his students how to achieve these at home without resorting to commercially prepared curry pastes and spice mixes.
Each masterclass will be followed by a two-course dinner with a glass of wine, giving students the perfect opportunity to try out their new skills identifying the spices and ingredients used in each dish.
Each masterclass starts at 4pm, with dinner from 5-7pm, and costs €100 per person. To book, telephone (01) 555 7755 or visit picklerestaurant.com
Spice bag at home
Kwanghi Chan's ChanChan Spice Bag Seasoning Mix is now available in a Korean Hot Pepper version, as well as the original. MSG-free, the mixes cost €2.95 for a tub containing 50 servings. They're low in calories but high in flavour and popular with healthy eaters. Available from SuperValu.
Downtime, Danish style
René Redzepi's other half, Nadine Levy Redzepi, has a cookbook - Downtime: Deliciousness at Home - coming out in October, published by Ebury. Mr Noma says she's the greatest home cook he knows. The recipes pair the very best ingredients with restaurant techniques elevating home cooking to the next level.
Clonakilty Chocolate, which produces delicious chocolate in small batches and combines Fairtrade Ghanaian cocoa beans with natural healthier sweeteners, has joined the prestigious online Club Chocolatier. This month, there's 20pc off online orders. Visit clubchocolatier.com