In post-modern cooking, everything goes. A chef might draw inspiration from an artwork or a literary text just as much as a plate of food he or she once ate in someone else's restaurant.There is only one problem with post-modern cooking: it's difficult. In fact, it's incredibly difficult. If you want to do it right, it will do your head in. Where to start? Where to end? Where does the comfort zone dissolve into incoherence? When does the free-form stop making sense?
Around Loop Head, in south County Clare, you can meet people and start chatting, let the conversation drift its way towards restaurants and cooking, and then hear them say something like “Oh, Mary Black's mushrooms in Guinness batter with that dill and honey mayonnaise.” And they get all dreamy then, remembering the dish, and its unctuous flavours, its lush satisfaction, the fact that they order it everytime in Murphy Black's.
My guest wasn't mincing her words.“This is the best food I've eaten in my entire life”, she saidWe were halfway through a dish of “Squid, chorizo, romanesco, ink”, the third course of seven on the tasting menu at OX, on Belfast's Oxford Street.
The dish was pure OX: visually arresting, tactile, ardently clever and seemingly able to push all the pleasure points with every bite. Just as clever, and just as tactile, was the decision to pair it with a red wine, a glass of Villa Wolf pinot noir from Germany, a red wine that drinks like a white wine.
The experience of eating in Harry's Shack, on the beach in Portstewart, is so startling that we wrote our response in caps in our notebook: TACTILITY.And we added: “They have gotten the tactility – the feel, the vibe – of the venture just right”.
Watching Diana Dodog cooking, at the food cart that she and her husband, Mike, call Food Depot, is just like watching a really fine musician play, or an athlete perform.
Anyone lucky enough to be in Waterford for the Harvest Festival and GIY Gathering will not only have benefitted from weather more akin to Tuscany than the south east of Ireland but also a city that was defiantly positive and humming with optimism - the oldest city in the country may have had a rough few years but it's certainly not going down without a fight.
“Creme Catalana is a mix between a crème caramel and just set milk. There’s no gelatin in it”. “This is Suki tea, a Belfast company who import the tea leaves and make their own mix”. “It’s 100% sauvignon, so it’s got that acidity, but it’s balanced with floral and vanilla tones.”
Those are just three responses from the staff at Hadskis™, hard-working young people who look you in the eye and try to answer your question directly with an impressive knowledge about food in general and the minute details of the Hadskis™ menu in particular.
Vanilla And Raspberry Chia Jam
Raw, Vegan, Gluten free and refined sugar free
Makes 1 pot
Murgh Do – Piaza Hyderabadi
(A mild chicken curry cooked with an abundance of onion and garnished with cashew nuts, sunflower seeds and mango)
1 free range chicken
30g ginger paste
30g garlic paste
5g red chilli powder
10g Garam Masala
2 tin of coconut milk
40g mango chutney
20g fresh coriander
20g fresh mint
20g sunflower seeds
50g Cashew nuts
2 packets of Frankfuters diagonally cut
3 tbsp mustard or vegetable oil
1 tbls peeled and finely chopped ginger
1 tbls peeled and finely chopped or crushed garlic
2 small red onion cut into chunks
2 fresh tomatoes deseeded and cut into chunks
1 green or yellow pepper cut into chunks
2-3 fresh chilli chopped diagonally (add chilli powder to add more heat to the dish)
salt to your taste
½ tsp ground Szechwan pepper
1-2 tbsp of light soya sauce
handful of chopped fresh coriander