MARIE- CLAIRE DIGBY

The Irish Times Magazine - - FOOD- FILE -

From Done­gal to D4 . . . and back again Ciarán Sweeney, head chef at For­est & Marcy in Dublin 4, is re­turn­ing – tem­po­rar­ily – to his Done­gal roots over the sum­mer and early au­tumn for a series of five tast­ing menu din­ners at Breac. House near Dun­fanaghy in the north­west of the county.

For­mer ac­coun­tants Niall Camp­bell and Cathrine Burke opened the stun­ning modern- build as a guest­house in 2017, and in ad­di­tion to the state­ment that the home makes through its strik­ing de­sign and lo­cally sourced fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories, the break­fast and packed lunch have caused quite a stir.

The cou­ple make their own but­ter and yo­ghurt and th­ese, to­gether with lo­cal eggs, smoked sal­mon, cheese, bread and pas­tries, slide silently on a tray through a dis­creet hatch into each bed­room in the morn­ing. A take­away lunch of homemade soup, bread and cheese, and cake, is also pro­vided.

But now, on se­lected dates through­out the year, guests will be able to book a two- night pack­age that will in­clude all of the above, plus a din­ner tast­ing menu on one night, cooked in front of them by Sweeney. Pre- din­ner drinks and a full drinks pair­ing are also in­cluded in the ¤ 650-¤ 700 pack­age price for two peo­ple.

“When we de­cided to do some events, we just loved the idea of bring­ing a chef from Done­gal but work­ing in Dublin – do­ing re­ally in­ter­est­ing things – and get­ting him to show­case all the amaz­ing in­gre­di­ents we have here and use ev­ery day in our break­fast and pic­nics,” Burke says.

Sweeney is look­ing for­ward to reg­u­lar trips back home and says his tast­ing menus will be “based around prime in­gre­di­ents from the re­gion”. The meal will be served com­mu­nally at the kitchen din­ing ta­ble, for 10- 12 in- house guests. “I’ll have a few things pre­pared be­fore­hand such as fer­mented and pick­led in­gre­di­ents and sauces, but pri­mar­ily ev­ery­thing will be col­lected that morn­ing and cooked that night,” Sweeney says.

The dates for the pack­age are June 23rd- 25th; July 21st- 23rd and 23rd- 25th; Oc­to­ber 13th- 15th and 15th- 17th. See breac. house.

Sweet col­lab­o­ra­tion

Der­val Mel­lett, maker of stun­ningly pretty meringues and marsh­mal­lows, has ex­panded her Delish Mel­ish busi­ness in a num­ber of ways.

A re­cent col­lab­o­ra­tion with Julie Rear­don, who set up her wed­ding and cel­e­bra­tion cake busi­ness, The Flour Artist, in Glas­nevin in 2015, means you can now or­der a cake that com­bines Rear­don’s cake with Mel­lett’s meringue and marsh­mal­low dec­o­ra­tions.

In ad­di­tion, Mel­lett is mak­ing cel­e­bra­tion bakes in the form of let­ters or num­bers – two lay­ers of al­mond short­bread bis­cuit with ei­ther marsh­mal­low or cream cheese fill­ing and top­ping, dec­o­rated with meringues and marsh­mal­lows, as well as fruit and flow­ers. The sin­gle let­ter or num­ber cake (¤ 40) is A4 sized and Mel­lett says it will serve up to 20.

She is also of­fer­ing monthly meringue work­shops at her com­mer­cial kitchen in Smith­field, Dublin 7, at which you can learn how to make, flavour and colour meringues. The next one is on May 12th ( 10am- 12.30pm) and the ¤ 65 fee in­cludes a light brunch and a goodie bag. See del­ish­mel­ish. com. Boyne cel­e­brates its food There are more than 45 events in the lat­est edi­tion of the Boyne Val­ley Food Series, which runs un­til De­cem­ber. With a new name, Dis­cover Boyne Val­ley Flavours, and a new food de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, Tara Smith, the ini­tia­tive pro­motes the food and drink pro­duc­ers in the area through a pro­gramme of events, fes­ti­vals and gather­ings.

Next month’s sched­ule in­cludes an ap­ple blos­som walk, a fish fes­ti­val, a Louth food sa­fari and an open night at a brewery. See boyne val­ley fl av ours.ie.

The break­fast tray at Breac. House in Done­gal, where For­est & Marcy head chef Ciaran Sweeney ( in­set) will be cook­ing tast­ing menus for guests. Below: A short­bread cel­e­bra­tion cake dec­o­rated with meringues, marsh­mal­lows, fruit and flow­ers from Delish...

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