When you go to Italy and eat Italian food, you drink local Italian wine. The same applies for you when you’re France, Spain and Portugal. If you’re over in Germany and you’ve got a plate of schnitzel and sauerkraut in front of you, the chances are, you’ll be drinking beer. So why is it that when you go to an Irish restaurant to eat Irish food, you’re offered bottles of manky, overpriced Chilean shite vino? Since when did it become the standard over here to quaff down poxy Mont Gras with an Irish chowder and kick ass steak, when you should be lashing back local drinks with local food?
This was a point that was raised up in Inishfood last weekend, albeit with far more subtlety and politeness. On Saturday, we dined on an exquisite meal in Harry’s that was made up of fish caught in Inishowen, beef and lamb from Inishowen and veg that they grew in their own garden. All of the food was of the highest calibre and it was complimented beautifully by beers and ales that were all Irish. That’s what the Irish hospitality needs to be doing more of. Buying what’s best from the land, for all of their menus. Not only does it provide the obvious flow of business but it highlights to consumers everywhere, that our terroir for food and drinks has it’s own unique identity and can be packaged collectively.
The Langoustine is the Dirk Diggler of Food Porn. This one was steamed in seaweed and it was fucking lovely.
With that bit of proverbial steam let off, I’d like to fill you in on what else went down at Inishfood. All in all, the festival was a really nice, chilled out experience of great chats, discussions, demos, bits of skill sharing and plenty of grub and booze. The For Food’s Sake event that my esteemed colleague Aoife Carrigy chaired was brilliant. I personally learned more about the ins and out of Irish fish in that one hour than I have in years.
For Food’s Sake Asks: What Is The Future Of Irish Fish? – From left – Seamus Sheridan of Sheridan’s Cheese, Amy Caviston of A Cavistion Fishmongers Greystones, Michael Cavanagh local skipper with Green Isle and Chairperson of Foyle Fishermen’s Group, Elena Piana of Goatsbridge Trout Farm and Aoife Carrigy of Holy Mackerel.ie.
We all got to see a true master at work with Hayden Lambert’s cocktail demo and my own one on Irish made cocktail ingredients made good use of the lovely Tyrconnell Whiskey.
Hayden Lambert – very cool guy, ranked 6th best mixologist on the planet and like my dear self, a lover of the old fashioned cocktail.
Throughout all of Saturday there was an outstanding demo on sourdough breadmaking given by a French lad called Thibault Peigne. This was quite spectacular as they brought in a gargantuan to bake it all in a space that was temporarily positioned in front of the bar. The smell coming from it was intoxicating.
On Sunday morning we regrouped and gathered at a farm that’s directly across the road from Harry’s. Ella McSweeney was able to tell us all about native Irish cattle, with the visual aid of some, well, native Irish cattle funnily enough. And we all got to taste some too!
Then we popped down to the beach to do some foraging with John and Sally McKenna of The Bridgestone Guide and Enda McEvoy from Aniar Restuarant in Galway. This was all really informative and was akin to getting a serious masterclass from great experts. Here’s just some of what we uncovered.
This is Sea Thrift – the petals have a honeysuckle taste
This is Horse Thrift – it had a nutty but asparagus like taste.
This is the brilliantly named Scurvy Grass – the tiniest amount of the petals gives you a massive whack of Horseradish
I had an absolutely wicked time at Inishfood. A deadly festival hosted by really cool people in the outstanding setting of Inishowen, Donegal. Massive respect to Donal Doherty and all his crew in Harry’s. They were particularly welcoming to me as I ran amok in their bar making punch. And what is the story with people from Donegal? Why are they so fucking friendly? And why can’t more of them move down here?
Next up on the agenda this week – The Ticket Mash Up. As you may know, I write once a month for the Arts and Entertainment supplement for The Irish Times. Yet mine is not the only food related column in that weekly guide. The wonderful Aoife McElwain also has a monthly piece where she picks out a movie, cooks a dish featured in it and then gets the world and his uncle to cook it all up the week after at a designated time. It’s deadly craic and so is she! So we’re teaming up this month by combining columns for what we have called The Ticket Mash Up and it will be rolled out live and direct in The Bernard Shaw next Thursday 31st May. Read all about it below. We’re rocking out the pizzas at The Blue Bus with one of our favourite local acts, Le Galaxie. Aoife wrote up the recipe and I got stuck into a good auld chinwag with the band’s singer Michael….
Movie Bites: Point Break at The Big Blue Bus
This 1991 crime thriller follows Keanu Reeves as undercover FBI agent Johnny Utah as he infiltrates the local surfing community in order to track down a gang of bank robbers called The Ex-Presidents. An intense bromance ensues between Utah and the leader of the gang, Bodhi, played beautifully by Patrick Swayze. Gary Busey brings us the character of Angelo Pappas, Utah’s partner and Dad-figure, giving a convincing performance of curmudgeonly old cop and full-blown meatball sandwich addict.
“It’s time for lunch,” Pappas tells Utah as they are parked across from a bank, hoping to catch The Ex-Presidents . “Angelo, it’s 10:30.” “Right around that corner, there’s a sandwich shop. They sell meatball sandwiches. Best I’ve ever tasted. Would you go and get me two?” As Utah orders the sandwiches, we can see The Ex-Presidents pull up and run into the bank in full heist gear, while an unaware Utah happily delivers the sandwiches back to Angelo.
Taking inspiration from Pappas’ love of meatball sandwiches, we’ve worked with the Pizza Don at The Big Blue Bus to create our Point Break Pizza. If you can’t make it to The Bernard Shaw, recreate it at home by following our time-saving cheat’s version which uses shop-bought pizza bases.
Booking the Cooks and Movie Bites have come together this month in a collaborative celebration of the movie Point Break, as chosen by laser-loving future-electro-advocates Le Galaxie.
Join us at The Bernard Shaw on South Richmond Street near Dublin’s city centre on the 31st of May from 7:15pm. We’ll be screening Point Break from 8pm sharp on the top deck of The Big Blue Bus, a pizzeria in the shape of a large blue bus that lives in the beer garden of the pub.
Enjoy Point Break from comfort of the upper deck of the Big Blue Bus as your Point Break Pizza is freshly prepared, handmade dough and all, in the bus’ kitchen downstairs. Big Blue Bus Pizza Don Olly Allison has created a one-night-only Point Break special so that you can indulge in a pizza and a drink for €10. If Meatball pizzas aren’t your thing, there will be freshly prepared pizzas from the regular Big Blue Bus menu available as usual on the night.
There are only room for 25 Keanu fans on the bus and it’s an entirely first come first serve basis. So arrive early, bros! To avoid, like, total disappointment. If you don’t make it in for the flick, stick around for the after-movie entertainment as Le Galaxie will be DJing alongside the regular Thursday night Forward/Slash DJs.
See http://www.bodytonicmusic.com/bigbluebus for more information on the event and the Big Blue Bus itself.
What you need for 2 Point Break Pizzas
We have gone with the cheat’s method by using shop-bought pizza bases but you can get a bit of the Big Blue Bus at home by following Olly’s dough recipe which you’ll find at http://www.facebook.com/thebigbluebus
6 to 8 good quality Italian pork sausages (we like Hicks & Sons)
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomates
2 cloves of garlic
1 red chilli
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
2 good quality shop-bought pizza bases
1 ball of buffalo mozzarella
Fresh basil leaves
Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
Squeeze the meat out of your sausages and using your hands to roll the meat into small bite-sized meatballs. Fry the meatballs in the hot pan for 15 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
Meanwhile, heat a little more olive oil in another frying pan. Finely slice the garlic and red chilli (de-seed the chilli if you like less heat) and fry them for 3 minutes, until the garlic has taken on a golden hue. Add the chopped tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar and stir well. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Now you can assemble your pizza. Spread the tomato sauce onto your pizza base. Add the meatballs and tear over some mozzarella cheese. Cook according to the pizza base package instructions, probably around 6 to 10 minutes. Serve with some fresh basil leaves scattered on top.
The Gary Busey inspired pizza.
There follows my somewhat insane interview with Michael of Le Galaxie.
Mash ups shouldn’t just be the preserve of 2Many DJ’s and bored Youtube junkies. And seeing as readers of The Ticket are as mad for film as they are for music, we thought it would be cool to have our own wee Mash Up by infusing Movie Bites with Booking The Cooks, through the medium of, well, pizza. We asked one of our favourite local bands, Le Galaxie what their favourite movie was and could they create a pizza inspired by it. The Keanu & Swayze surfing crime epic “Point Break” was what they came back with and Gary Busey’s meatballs adorn their pizza. To find out why they chose this Californian bromantic tale of bank heists and FBI agents, I kicked back with the band’s singer Michael over a few cold brewskis.
“It’s been Point Break our whole lives. There was no debate. In fact, there was no words. There was a biological connection between our testosterone addled psyches. Roughly translated, it was ‘Let’s watch Point Break and eat pizza and get wasted’. And, as we are prolific bank robbers, it works as both entertainment and a stark warning of what can go wrong if you allow Anthony Kiedis anywhere near you.”
Obviously this film works for them on many levels. On the topic of the movie’s three male leads, there were some equally revealing insights. When I pointed out that this was not Keanu’s finest hour and that he’s never really been able to shake off the Bill and Ted dude image, Michael responded with, “I’ve never seen it but I hear he’s not awful in My Own Private Idaho. Who am I kidding, OF COURSE he’s awful in it.” Then what about Patrick Swayze I ask. Have any of you ever fantasized about becoming one of his film characters? For instance, have you ever strutted in front of the mirror doing a Dirty Dancing move or a Roadhouse karate kick? “Dave once did the Dirty Dancing lift on me in the studio. But then he dropped me on my head, shattering my back. Great day.” Last but by no means least, what, in your opinion, ever happened to Gary Busey? Is he a flawed genius or just kinda whacky? “Once in every Earth there is a Gary Busey. It is a privilege and an honour to be born in his time. “I guess that certainly merits using his meatballs on a pizza then.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was in the presence of a real movie lover. I asked him if they were all film geeks in the band? “Did you know that Martin Scorsese was married to Isabella Rossellini from 1979-1983? Did you know Charlie Chaplin once came third in a Charlie Chaplin lookalike competition. Did you know Errol Flynn used to inject vodka into his oranges, because he wasn’t allowed alcohol on set? Did you know Michael Keaton’s real name is Michael Douglas? Did you know Die Hard is actually a prequel to Die Hard 2?” Whoa. At least I know who to ask to join my next quiz team.
Le Galaxie release their Fade 2 Forever Ep on June 22nd through the Delphi Label. They play Forbidden Fruit on June 2nd.