Grub & Gargoyle @ Body & Soul

Posted on: 23 June 2011 1 comment

Last week, I tore the proverbial hoop out of it. It began on Sunday in Cork, where the good folk from IDL brought me and about another 250 service industry misfits from all round the world, to the Midelton Distillery. It was part of a special treat for each of us whose Jameson inspired cocktails made the last selection for a global contest. My entry was called The Irish Mocha Martini, it did not make it to the final on Tuesday – which is just as well really, coz by then I was totally bet. After numerous late club sessions, boozy meals and hotel lock ins, I had consumed  my own body weight in drink within 72 hours.

It was a few days before I could even think about alcohol again and that was Saturday @ Body & Soul.

I was down to stage my first Booking The Cooks event, a Karaoke Cook Off between Jarlath Regan vs Paddy Cullivan, each of whom had to make their ultimate hangover breakfast in front of a live audience. But let’s not spoof ourselves here, I was also there to act the complete maggot. So I loaded up The Transit Van of Love with some spiffing outfits, an ice filled cooler and plenty of whiskey, ginger syrup, elderflower cordial (a wicked gift made for me by Ed Hick – many thanks fella!), creme de cassis, lemon, apple and orange juices and a fuck load of berocca + solpadeine.  In other words, everything you need to make some wicked cocktails and to survive for a few days.


Don’t let the suave polyester jacket fool you. The binliner on the window gives it away, cable tied to the dashboard were two altar boys and a severely malnourished Alsatian. It really does look like the van of a serial killer.

Throughout various stages of the weekend, I could be seen lashing out the Jameson Ninjas and Elderflower Whiskies (50 ml of Jameson, 25 ml of Elderflower cordial, a squirt of lemon juice – shaken with ice and topped up with a little soda water). If anyone came over to complain about the noise, I’d just hand them a cocktail. Perfect festival diplomacy – every time.


Ed Hick’s home made Elderflower cordial – fucking beautiful, especially with some daycent whiskey.

Bar the occasional Havana Club + coke, that was pretty much all that I drank for the weekend. My eating on the other hand, was a lot more varied. That was mainly down to my delightfully mad pals over in Queens of Neon. They worked with Wildside Catering to create one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at a festival – a five course banquet in the forest served by the biggest bunch of beautiful freaks since Bosco visualized his last wet dream.  This is what was on the menu:

A forbidden amuse bouche
Chilled almond & wild garlic soup
Mossfield pumpkin and pine nut ravioli with sage butter
Watercress salad w/ sweet marjoram, beetroot, goats cheese & smoked haddock
Wood fired Venison served with rosti, carrot puree & lingonberries
& Yogurt & cardamom cream w/ drunken strawberries…

Not too shabby eh? We’ve come a long way since botulism in a burger at Féile. For me the two big stars of the meal were the venison and the chilled wild garlic and almond soup. Headchef Ted Berner has very kindly shared the recipe for the soup with me. It was a bit of a marmite buzz around the table  with it, either loved or loathed. I ended up eating about three portions. If you fancy giving it a lash, here it is:


almond soup.


- 225 g of whole blanched almonds

- 750l of water

- 75 g of stale white bread, soaked in water

- 2 homegrown garlic cloves, crushed

- 3 tablespoons of oilve oil

- 3 tablespoons of sherry vinegar

- 50 g of sultanas, soaked in sweet sherrry


- Grind almonds in a food processor til smooth

- Add splash of water and keep going it forms a smooth paste, it can take a while!

- Add bread, crushed garlic, olive oil and the rest of the water.

- Pulse gently.

- Season with salt, pepper and the sherry. Then let it chill.

- In a martini glass, add soup, 5 soaked sultanas and drizzle a little olive oil on top.

Here are a collection of the types of nutbags who served us:


This is Christopher – you can just about see the “Amuse Bouche” written in marker on his belly. A good friend of mine licked it off on Sunday night to get a glass of white wine.


The guy dressed all in black with the raven feathers was the M’aitre D. I have no idea who he is but he kept on grabbing my balls and asking me for drugs. One of us mentioned the topic of rape quite a lot, but to be fair, I can’t remember who.


As you can see the Raven theme was a design motif inside the tent for the 50 odd diners to take in. The lady in the pig mask is Amo, to think she used to be the editor of Ireland’s Own.


This was the view that we all had from the tent. Beautiful surroundings wasted on the likes of these lads:


As you can see, many of the punters were as deranged as the staff.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any stranger, along came my Booking The Cooks gig the next day. I walked into Casa Habana at 10.30 am on the Sunday to set up and the tent had about 50 odd madoutofits in it,  still running amok from the night before. After setting up the cooking station on the stage and dressing the two comedians as chefs, I had to grab the mic and wind down the DJ. The looks on the faces of the ravers was priceless as I shouted out,

“Ok let’s hear it for the DJ!……….Now who’s ready to have a cook off???????………..”


Here’s Paddy and Jarlath right before we got started and while the ravers still thought they were in a dance tent.


Here they are again in today’s issue of The Ticket where the event was made gig of the week!

It was testimony to the good humour of the chemically altered festival goers that they all stayed and even brought their mates in from sunbathing outside – the weather while we were on was unfortunately glorious, tough competition. After force feeding sleep depraved ravers and having the complete craic with them, I set about going apeshit for the rest of the day – enjoying the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Lee Scratch Perry and the DJ’s from the Happy Pear foodstand – who were fucking deadly.


Myself and Paddy with the winner of the blind taste test – the absolute legend that is Rachel Ardagh. Please take note of her pussy hand puppet.

As a truly well seasoned urban degenerate, I have become a fussy fuck when it comes to getting the hell outta town to attend a festival.  It’s only when I perambulated the auld proddy pile of Ballinlough Castle and met so many other like minded people, that I realized I’m not alone in my opinions on these gatherings – there are thousands of grumpy, moany fucks like me who are sick of shite weekenders with skobie magnet line ups and chip vans. And each of  us,  the thousands of seasoned reprobates  – all loved Body & Soul.  It will be exceptionally difficult for any other summer festival to top it this year. Much respect to everyone who had a hand in putting it together.

Abalone Ravioli from Fat Freddy’s Drop

Posted on: 16 June 2011 No comments

It is not always easy to find musicians and entertainers who are big food lovers. Quite often, many stars would be satisfied to chow down on rider sarnies and crisps, while they focus their attentions on other indulgences – such as getting young groupies to blow cocaine up their hoops or getting their managers to shoot heroin into their toes.

But not so for Dobie Blaze, keyboard player from Fat Freddy’s Drop. When he’s on the road, he takes a little stove with him and can be seen whipping up risottos and noodle dishes on hotel balconies. Then when he’s back in his native New Zealand, his passion for fresh produce will lead him to diving into the seas to fish out the tastiest crustaceans and forage for wild ingredients in local woodlands. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall – eat your heart out dude.


Dobie’s all time favourite meal uses an exotic shellfish called Abalone which is actually farmed in Connemara now, he had to tell me that by the way. I found that to be most embarrassing – the Kiwi muso telling the food writer where to get wicked Irish ingredients.  He puts it into ravioli that he lovingly gets his better half to make by mixing egg with flour. However, if she’s not feeling so generous with her time, he can also use frozen wonton pastries which he always keeps in his freezer in case of a national disaster. A true epicurean.


or as they would call it in New Zealand




1/2 kg minced abalone (if you can’t find this use crab or squid)

6 Fresh pasta sheets

Fresh herbs, whatever is in the garden. Usually parsley, garlic, chives, maybe a little thyme, coriander is good too with a pinch of salt and pepper.

1 egg lightly beaten

Mix all this and assemble your dumplings any which way. If I’m feeling more Italian I use a large pastry cutter to make the rounds of pastry and sandwich the filling so I end up with a fairly traditional round ravioli about 5cm diameter. If in a more oriental vibe, then I may cut rounds and then make a dumpling shape similar to a mini pasty. Bigger, smaller, squares, triangles, whatever takes your fancy just as long as the filling is sealed inside the pastry. Once folded place on lightly floured trays. To cook, drop into boiling water, wait for them to float to the surface then continue to poach them for about 1 minute.


150g Butter

50g Sea urchin

1 small shallot very finely chopped

2 tsp brandy (optional)

1/2 cup Cream

Pinch of nutmeg

Sauté the shallot and sea urchin in butter. Once sea urchin has disintegrated add brandy, cream and nutmeg. Allow to simmer for 1 minute. Push through a sieve to get a smooth finish or just serve, as is, over dumplings. Serve with fresh lemon wedges.

This piece can also be read in today’s issue of The Ticket, the entertainment and cultural supplement to The Irish Times.

Fat Freddy’s Drop are playing Body & Soul Summer Solstice in Ballinlough Castle on Sunday

Don’t forget that I will be hosting a hangover breakfast cook off at the same festival with comedians Paddy Cullivan and Jarlath Regan. There will be food related insanity and a chance to win a cocktail crash course in The Sugar Club for 12 people.

If you haven’t got tickets yet for Body & Soul yet, hurry the fuck up. It’s gonna be great craic.

Booking The Cooks @ Body & Soul

Posted on: 9 June 2011 1 comment

For the last year or so,  I have shared with you, the culinary creations of many a rock band, DJ, comedian and music legend. And while their love and passion for food might come across in their recipes, we have never been made sure that they can actually cook a meal, until now. I am taking the site to the live stage this summer.  So what morons are letting me loose near their public? Well it all kicks off in Ballinlough Castle on June 19th….and may very well end up with me in jail.

On Sunday at 12pm in Casa Habana at Body & Soul, the comedian and writer Jarlath Regan will be pitting his kitchen skills in a cook off against the Leviathan satirist and Late Late Show House Band singer, Paddy Cullivan. The event will be named after my column in The Ticket: Booking The Cooks @ Body & Soul.

As it will be the second day of the festival and everyone should feel a little worse for wear, we thought it best if each of the lads could recreate their ultimate hangover breakfast.  Three lucky punters from the audience will get to pick which man wins. The winner gets to pick a song for the loser to sing karaoke style. Here’s what they’ll both be cooking.

Jarlath’s Famous Fry Down & Take It Easy Eggs on Bread



4 x Tesco Apple Sausages (skinless to prevent pork explosion)

2 x Large free range eggs

2 x Kelly’s “White in Black” Puddings, 2 x Slices of white batch loaf

50 x Paper Towels (To soak up unwanted fat)

1 x Portion of regret

1 x Frying pan preheated to the temperature of the earth’s core

1 x Dose of Uniflu cold and flu remedy

1 x Bottle of Lucozade Sport

1 x 4 litre bottle of still water.


Fry sausages and pudding together until brown. Break eggs into pan making a weird omelette -looking thing. Consume all fluids and Uniflu while allowing to cook.  At regular intervals look into the distance while your mind dredges up images from the night before in rich techni-colour.  Once the contents of the pan are as hard as a frizz bee , take out of pan and dry thoroughly using towels.  Place in between two slices of batch loaf. Add ketchup to taste. Devour. Regret.

Paddy’s Schizo Bagel



Paddy feels that his hangover breakfast is for those who don’t believe in having to choose between two things on a menu. He feels that menus are not things to select stuff from -they are merely pamphlets to let you know what is coming.  For Paddy, when a waiter hands you a menu, the only way to respond is: ‘That’s all looks in order; Proceed.’


One plain bagel

2 cuts of smoked salmon

cream cheese

2 eggs


a squeeze of lemon Juice

a tablespoon of freshly chopped dill and 2 litres of orange juice


Toast your bagel, butter one side and on the other, lather the cream cheese on in huge amounts, not thinly like a B+B owner would.  Cook the eggs like Stanley Tucci did in that film “Big Night”, place them on the buttered side.  Drop the salmon on the cream cheese side and sprinkle on the capers and lemon juice. Wash down with all of the OJ.

Booking The Cooks at Body & Soul will also feature a blind taste test for the audience to get involved in. The winner will receive a one night crash course in cocktail making for 12 people in The Sugar Club.

In other fantabulous festival related news, my good mates Sharon + Amo from Queens of Neon are staging a 5 course banquet at Body & Soul. They have paired up with Wildside Catering to serve a lavish feast in surroundings that will be meticulously smothered in glamour and glitz.

Anyone who went to the Clonakilty By Candlelight events that they put on recently will know how much craic this will be.  A wicked, luxurious meal in the grounds of a castle while the festival gently goes fucking bananas around you. Really, what’s not to like? If you need a visual aid to get a better feel for what they’re trying to do, check out this clip.


Sharon + Amo – it’s hard to believe that they were both presidents of Young Fianna Fáil. I guess the 60’s were a mad time though.


15 August 2014


21 July 2014


30 May 2014

Little J’s Slow Cooked Ribs

25 April 2014

Jason & Brenda Byrne’s Veggie Chilli

21 March 2014

Omar’s Jamaican Stew Chicken

21 February 2014