Bits and bites

This week I have four items to mention.

Food and your health

I read an article here in the Advertiser about four weeks ago written by Mary O’Connor. It was about a four-week course given by Nicolas Kats discussing topics like healthy versus unhealthy proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, relationships between some food and diseases, plus more. It sounded good to me and I have been attending the course for the last three weeks, with one more week remaining. It is a superb course and for people interested in providing healthy foods for themselves and their family it is very worthwhile. It is eye opening in many respects, it is educational and has certainly changed several of my eating habits for life. I often wonder why nutrition is not part of our education curriculum, all the way from first class onwards, we might have a much healthier nation if it were. The course costs €100 for four nights and the next course starts on Monday March 14. The course is held in the Health & Herbs shop in Sea Road. For further information call (091 ) 583260.

Divilly’s fish counter at Westside Shopping Centre

I will have to start off by saying I am not a huge fan of fresh fish counters in meat shops. However in this case I have to make an exception. As you can see from the photograph it is a seriously well laid out and well stocked counter. In fact it is probably the nicest to look at in the west. Mind you, everything else about Martin Divilly Butchers is very, very, well laid out and attractively presented. The speciality on the meat side is that it has a huge range of ready for the oven dishes, complete with sauces and vegetables. This is one of the things that make the fish counter special, lots of items ready for the oven or wok.

I sampled three different fish cakes — Thai fish cakes, sea salt and herb fish cakes, and the smoked coley fish cake, all €2.49 each or three for €6. I was quite surprised, all three were excellent, plenty of spices tender and juicy. I have paid a lot more in restaurants and been very disappointed. One of these and a bit of salad with a tiny dish of chilli sauce would make an excellent starter for a dinner party. They have a lemongrass and ginger tiger prawns stir fry mix, filled with peppers, leeks, onions, garlic, spices, and sauce. I wok fried this at home and served it with some noodles, it was very good and the secret is not to over cook. For added flavour I threw in a few mangetout as I was cooking and it really was excellent. All the prepping is done in house every day, and the staff seem to have used all their knowledge from preparing meat dishes over the years to great effect on the fish. They have special offers each week with 33 per cent or more off certain fish. This week’s special is marinated skinless salmon darnes for €6.80 per lb/454g. Before I left the shop I had a look at the counters filled with interesting dishes such as fresh rabbit, potato gratins looked particularly good at €4 each or three for €10, Italian meatball dinners for two, with chicken diane on offer also.

Divilly’s in Westside can be contacted on (091 ) 523947. If you join their loyalty club you will be texted each week as the specials are announced.

Spring menu at Artisan Restaurant, Quay Street

Matt Skeffington and his team launched their new menu last week with some interesting dishes.

Veal blanquette is a great meat dish for those who do not like eating big chunks of brown meat, it is also a very traditional dish that would have been served in all the very best restaurants perhaps 20 or 30 years ago. Oven roasted poussin is another dish that I do not see on many menus, and it means you can have every part of the chicken without getting overfed. Matt Skeffington has continued to match every starter and every main course with a different wine that you can buy by the glass, 10/10 for doing that and I have to say I am perplexed why every single restaurant in the city does not do this. Finally, he has continued with the early bird menu (6pm to 7.30pm ) at a cost of €25 for three courses, available Sunday to Friday inclusive. All the courses are from the a la carte menu and represent great value.

Artisan Restaurant is located over Tí Neachtain’s pub and can be contacted on (091 ) 532655.

Wine dinner at the Twelve Hotel in Barna

The Twelve in Barna is having a wine dinner on Wednesday April 6 hosted by Tom Portet. He is the main man for the Penfolds Wine Group whose main wine, Grange, is up there with probably the 10 best wines in the world.

Tom Portet was brought up in his father’s vineyards in France and has worked all over the world with top wine makers. He will introduce all the wines to accompany the gourmet dinner and I am sure there will be some special bottles on the night. There will also be a live jazz band. Tickets are €85 and overnight stay can be availed of for €90 per room including breakfast which is a pretty good €45 per person sharing. For further information contact The Twelve on (091 ) 597000.

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