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Sally's blog

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

Communicator, Influencer, Festival & Event Awards

INFLUENCER OF THE YEAR: Elaine Murphy
Somehow, Elaine Murphy knows exactly what is buried in the Irish subconscious. And when she unearths it, she puts it on a menu, in a new venture like The Legal Eagle in Dublin, and everyone says: ‘How did you know we wanted to eat haslet? And crisp sandwiches? And jelly and ice cream?’ Ms Murphy just knows, and that’s why every one of her eating adventures is so successful, the Legal Eagle being just the latest. thelegaleagle.ie

Special and Environmental Awards

MEGABITES AWARD: Colum Lanigan Ryan, La Rousse Foods, Dublin
The pantechnicon of artisan foods and food producers organised by Colum Lanigan Ryan, as part of the extraordinary Food on the Edge festival in Galway, was simply mind-blowing. The exhibition of great Irish foods, and the people who make them, sealed the deal on a truly great event, and Mr Lanigan Ryan’s generosity in involving producers who aren’t even distributed by La Rousse shows his generosity, and his brilliance, and his pride. laroussefoods.ie

Oyster Gastronomy, by Mairin Ui Chomain and Micheal O’Meara (Artisan)

Two talented writers turn to the bivalve, and wring truly thrilling inventions from our national treasure. Ms Ui Chomain’s recipes are a joy – oysters in beer drop scones!; oyster and sausage bouchées – whilst Mr O’Meara’s scintillating recipes – oysters with pickled rock samphire and wild mustard flowers is his opening shot – represent a new benchmark for oyster cookery. Concise profiles of the guys who get the waders on all around the coastline to collect these treasures gives the book an added depth.

This year's International Cookbooks

Dinner, by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter)
We are devotees of Melissa’s food films for the New York Times, the most superbly conceived and executed food stories found in any media. So, it’s no surprise that the same wit, acumen and polish is fully present and correct in Dinner, a landmark book that every home needs. Every recipe we have tried works, and every recipe over-delivers: last night it was the Turkish lamb chops for dinner, and they were perfect. A beautiful production seals the deal: Dinner is the sort of book that makes you hungry.

Grow Cook

Grow Cook Nourish, by Darina Allen (Kyle)
The title alone is a significant new food koan, a life-long food philosophy summed up in just three words. Everyone debates just which of Mrs Allen’s books is the most essential – The Ballymaloe School Cookbook?, Forgotten Skills of Cooking? – but for us this is the one. Read our review...

Darina Allen’s life and work come together in a stupendous new book.

Formidable. There’s no other word that can do justice to Darina Allen’s new book, Grow Cook Nourish. This is a formidable work.
It’s formidable in scale – almost 650 pages – and formidable in ambition – the book is as much a gardening bible as a cookery bible.
But the most formidable aspect of GCN is that it manages to capture a life’s work.

Harold and Beth have re-birthed their landmark Cork restaurant, and the new Docklands is a beaut.

Running a restaurant takes some bravery. But changing an already successful restaurant to suit changing customer needs takes an even firmer type of valour.

So hats off to Beth Haughton and Harold Lynch for closing Club Brasserie in Cork last September and reopening it as Dockland.

The new room is really rather wonderful, with its parquet wooden floor, green leather banquettes, cleverly partitioned at one point by a colourful kilim, attractive bentwood chairs, and bar tables that look like oversized schoolroom furniture.

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