The Future of News of the Curd by Kevin

_MG_0559 So things are a bit different then they where only 1 year ago. In 2 days we'll celebrate a year worth of supper clubs,

we have hosted about 75 meals in the apartment and between bigger events and other such things we've fed about 1,500 people. 1,500 people have tasted food that has come straight from Irish producers, we've been lucky enough to meet these people and learn so much from them. So from today we retrun to how it was this time last year. Our 2 days a week will now go back to 1. Once a week we will host a meal for 14 people that showcases rthe best season offering from Temple Bar Food Market.

Robin will be coming onboard much more and for the month of August all of NOTC will be in her very capiable hands. I will be working in Café Paraidiso for a month. While I'm down in Cork we will hold a Pop-Up meal, there's more information to come on that! Menus for August and July are nearly finalised so start getting booking as we won't have as much wiggle room anymore.

Our little experiement in footfall has taken off big time recently, the Gruel Guerilla is now a beast all by itself and is set to appear in more of your favourite locations around the city, add him on twitter @GruelGuerilla. I'm very pleased to announce that we will be joining the Twisted Pepper in the Rum Bar with some bad ass Hot Dogs from this Friday. It'll run from Thursday to Sunday each week for the forseeable future.

There is a whole cache of NOTC blog posts to come your way once I get the finger out and get in to it! Some new information of people we will be working with this year and some of the things that they have thought us.

But for now I shall depart, thanks for reading, thanks for supporting us and thanks for supporting Irish producers!

Pilgrimage Project by Kevin

A few months we had the pleasure of being invited to be involved in the Pilgrimage Project: a collective of Irish, Icelandic and Greek artists exploring cultural and historical themes on retreat in a far flung corner of the west of Ireland, Co. Sligo. Our part was to provide meals on-site for the group and their guests, hopefully providing them with healthy, satisfying locally sourced Irish food. On Monday evening, the May bank holiday weekend we loaded of the jeep of Donal Dineen with our week's supplies fresh from Temple Bar Food Market and we were on our way. The jeep was loaded to the roof and Robin packed neatly between everything. Sitting that evening goat's cheese and spinach tarts on her lap. While Cora, Donal's dog sat between Kevin and Donal in the front. The road trip would take us about 4hours, at times a little terrifying as boxes slid towards Robin's head.


We arrived at the beautiful Ardtarmon House & Cottages, we were shown our cottage with 'the best kitchen' we quickly requisitioned the use of fridges of two other cottages. Got set up making our dinner for the first night!

The afternoons were ours to do as we wished, between pretty that evenings meal we would relax and take in everything there was to offer. The beach which is ten minutes from the house was one of our first stops, the idea of finally getting around to doing our own foraging was exciting and with the support and local knowledge of Charles and Krista we were away. The house is encircled with thick forest and as you travel through you discover little cultivated pieces of land, Charles apple orchard, wind beaten and blossoming with his weather equipment at the centre. Krista's slightly wild polytunnel and a field of soon to be flowering berry bushes. Keep going and you end up on the path to the sea. Slide down the shale and you face the Atlantic. To my joy I found Sligo Tide Times on Twitter, which came in helpful for our foraging for seaweed on the following days.

We had been told ahead of time that we would have all the wild garlic we could pick, we put it to the test. Batches of pesto started leaving our kitchen and appear in the big house. We started thinking of how this beautiful place could be a paradise for foragers with little of any changing, with many cottages all with kitchens you could stay a week and feed yourself through most of the seasons. So much of the land was overrun by Japanese knotweed that we kicked ourselves for not being there a few weeks earlier, we had been told it was like some sort of magical LEMONY RHUBARB. The fields full of wild garlic, coronation garlic, young nettles and so much more made up for that though! On one of our trips to the sea we had the pleasure of plucking some beautiful mussels during the low tide, they quickly became a lunch for Robin. Another thing that came from the beach also a pickled seaweed salad.

As the days carried on we began to incorporate our foraged foods with what we had brought from Dublin, the meals began reflecting the wonderful personality of Sligo, warm and caring but hardy and full of energy. We wanted the pilgrims to have the energy to take on each day. Each night we would see new guests arrive and some old guests depart, each night they had the pleasure in partaking in our foods.

Here's a few of the things we came up that week!

Wild Garlic Pesto, Pickled Seaweed Salad, Soda Flat Breads, Mussels in Harissa Cream, Speltotto with Creeny Sheep Cheese, Onogiri, Super Seed Energy Bars, Porridge 3 ways, Spiced Chard, Wild Garlic and Potato Curry, Mezze of Irish hummus with Flat Breads, Curried Lentil and Eggs Sandwiches, Nettle Soup.....and so much more.

And here's a what a few of them looked like!

Pickled Salad Hummus Mussles Wild Garlic Pesto

As the week came to an end we had the pleasure of meeting of Pat Collins a Director that we had been introduced to at the Galway Film Fleadh last year when we got to watch his first feature length film 'Silence', Pat was coming to join the Pilgrim on their last evening in Ardtarmon. They were to go to The Model in Sligo to watch his film ' What We Leave in Our Wake' a film set around Sligo with lots of footage of Pilgrim on Croagh Patrick which the pilgrims had walked earlier that day. Pat arrived for his stay at Ardtarmon and we promptly asked for a lift to town to also take part in that evening experience. He said no problem and after a few dark chocolate digestive and a cup of tea we were en route for Sligo town. For 70 minutes I watched a documentary that spoke volumes to me, I watched people talk about their past, my lands pasts, memories, hopes, opinions on the Church and how we treat what we own. I watched and listened how Pat had found ways in which Ireland had evolved. At the end Pat sat and questions asked. We drove back with Pat and talked about how both Robin and I had at one stage both decided to leave Ireland for good, but circumstances and self-imposed responsibilities kept us both here and how these decisions had changed the course of our lives rather dramatically, I enjoy every moment in that jeep. When we return to Ardtarmon we found out some facts about Pat:

  1. He has never had pesto
  2. His wife enjoys pesto
  3. His first ever pesto was our wild garlic pesto
  4. He enjoyed his first ever taste of wild garlic pesto
  5. He swaps DVDs for pesto

Over a cup of tea and some of Krista's bread we finished our chatting and he went into the big house for more discussions (wine)

We were done, tired and looking forward to getting back to our apartment, we departed the following afternoon with Donal once again and arrived home that evening. The week was over we both worked over 70 hours each and we got right back to work. Aoife and Kathy put on an amazing week which I hope the group gained something from. I found that there's a strong possibility that the west of Ireland might be a place I'd like to call home some day. It's a harsh place at times, but so alive. Working with Robin for such and long time and in such intense circumstances cemented what I had already believed that she is a partner I want in the kitchen and most importantly in my life.

Finally I found that I really need to find out more about foraging and soon!

Homemade Miso by Robin

miso2Most of my cooking knowledge that I picked up when I started to cook was from my Japanese host family that I stayed with when I first visited Japan in 2007. Japanese home cooking is a different experience to what we see in the restaurants here. It's simple, healthy and satisfying even in small amounts. A normal Japanese meal is roughly 'ichi-ju, san-sai': one soup, three sides. Generally, the soup is a miso soup, and a properly made miso soup is a real pleasure. I came to appreciate this on that visit to Japan and maintained my love of miso since, so a few weeks ago I was very excited to attend a day course on making miso hosted by Junko Hamilton at her lovely home in Blackrock. Miso soup is by far the most common use of miso paste but it is used in salad dressings,and in many other Japanese dishes. I think there's a lot of parallels between cheese here and miso in Japan: there are many, many kinds and variations and the making of it is shrouded in a veil of mysticism. Despite being an essential item, not a lot of Japanese people even know how to make miso paste. Over here in Ireland we don't get much sense of the variety of miso products available, though some companies like Clearspring do stock rice miso and barley miso alongside red and white. I really love miso in any form so I was  very excited to take part in this course. Like cheese making, miso requires a small investment of equipment and the essential ingredient: Koji. Koji is fermentation culture that is at the heart of many quintessentially Japanese ingredients such as sake and soy sauce. You can read a little more about it here.

DSC_1759 DSC_1760

Besides Koji, we needed salt, good quality soy beans, slow-cooked soft overnight and steamed rice. This was inoculated with Koji for several hours at a consistent humidity to make rice-koji. Rice is only one option as a medium for Koji. Junko-san explained that where she comes from in the Kansai region white miso with a much higher concentration of Koji was made. This makes the miso mature faster, taking perhaps a month, where our rice-koji miso will take six. Having a medium like rice is handy though over here where koji isn't so easily obtained. You can buy it in powdered form in Japan which travels successfully.

DSC_1770 DSC_1784 DSC_1785 First we had to mince our soybeans, then pound them into paste with Junko's Japanese pestle and mortar. Next, in the wooden dish (same as what is used to make sushi rice) the salt and rice-koji is mixed in with the beans and eventually shaped into balls which are then pressed into a sterilised container, making sure there is no air trapped within, this is covered with a weight of salt and that was it!


The whole process was very relaxing and satisfying. Once we had finished Junko-san laid out a simple and tasty vegetarian Japanese meal: Rice & miso soup (made with the last of her previous batch of home-made miso) along with kinpira renkon (lotus root), beans simmered with root vegetables and seaweed and kimchi. It was incredibly filling and satisfying. This was followed with a matcha milk pudding and hojicha – a tea made with the stalks of green tea leaves, roasted. It has a round, nutty taste and contains no caffeine. Junko-san told us that where she comes from, the Kyoto area, it's hojicha that is most commonly drank everyday rather than more famous green teas like sencha.


This was a fantastic learning experience in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. I hope to see more of Junko-san; she has a lot to teach about food and Japanese culture around eating and drinking. I'm very thankful to Junko-san and my fellow participants for a very pleasant day!

Junko-san will be hosting another day course on the 27th of April from 10:30-2:00. This will be a demonstration introducing Japanese cooking techniques and followed with a Japanese style lunch for all participants. It will be an introduction to the principles of Japanese cooking and more details can be seen here. For details contact

*photos taken by Lolo Demoitie.

Half a year in review by Kevin


On June 27th we had our first supper, the idea was food locally sourced and produced with all supplies from the TBFM. All the dishes would be something I had previously not tried to cook/creat/eat myself. It would be a €20 donation towards the costs and that would be it. It was messy, tasty and many things in between. I wasn't too worried I had my friends here. No strangers, no bloggers or journalists. Just friends. They expected my usual fare. Which is good, they had all eaten my food before and no one had had an issue. I sat at my table with 7 of my friends.

We ate wonderful porchetta from Ed Hick, brioche of Le Levain Bakery and vegetable, salad and the what not from Jenny.


It went off without a hitch. Everyone paid and left. I got around to cleaning the next day. It went like this for the next few weeks - mostly friends and mostly 6 people or so. After a while I ran out of people to hassle to come over, the blog was beginning to get rather steady following and the emails started arriving for bookings. they kept arriving...soon we were full of people. So many. This was actually working, my little single night per week showing what the people in Temple Bar food market can supply you to eat at home. Success I say. With all the demand I felt I better supply. Instead of upping our numbers at home I decided to go to another Temple Bar inhabitant, Joy of Cha. One of the sweetest and warmest cafés in Dublin. We could sit 20, but we'd have no kitchen. We could do it on a Friday, but we'd need to get the word out further. Robin designed her first poster for 'The Secret Suppers at Cha'


The idea was a little different from the Wednesday's suppers. Instead of food I was new to, it would be food I was confident with. Also food that could take the periods of waiting between courses. It worked! Wonderful. We kept it up, almost every Friday with the odd Thursday it happened. Then the private requests started, people asking for large numbers that would have to be separate from others. It was great. I was flat out, loving all of it (except when it all got too messy and I would decide to move city) But I'd survive the mean nights, the tough crowds and the guys that just like to sit in my apartment till the wee hours of the morning and Robin and myself are asleep on the couch. We kept going feeding, cooking and enjoying all of it. Then came some wonderful opportunities from some absolutely wonderful people.

In September I was contacted by Nerissa from a new little café venture happening in Dublin. I was asked to come on board as a food consultant. I helped them develop their menu. I was very excited and loved all of it. I was so happy to see people my age out there, doing this. They opened near the end of October to great fanfare.


The best event of last year for me was being asked by Aiobheen of Ardbia Nimmos to come and have a pop up night in her most wonderful of restaurants. On the November 15th we did just that:


We had the privilege of joining up with Pascal from Le Caveau wines in Kilkenny, who paired the most wonderful wines to compliment my food. 32 people arrived and ate, drank and were very merry. I loved the night, I loved the atmosphere and I loved feeding so many people. Who strengthened my wants to have a place of my own. Here's Pascal and I posing....I probably should have been cooking....

On we went to December, Christmas parties and birthday parties. Then a wonderful 3 week break. So here we are, January with another 6 months ahead of me and this time I have a plan. Well more goals than plans but I plan to reach these goals. We're going bigger. There's large event on the way, partnerships and lots of fun.

My biggest decision is that within the next six months I am going to open a pop-up café for a short time. The plan at the moment will be for brunch and dinners. I don't know when on where, but watch this space it is on it's way. I decided on the name long ago for a different incarnation of it. This is kind of an expansion on the idea and some what of a change of ethos. Over the next few weeks/months I'll develop a working menu and and once I've decided on a dates get going with the food market to make it happen. This is the big news and also what I am most excited about getting off the ground. There will hopefully be a return to Ardbia for another night in Galway....really just any excuse to work with Pascal again. Here in Dublin we have a few ideas coming up that should result in some large pop up events around the city. Also we'll hopefully be traveling a little further afield. Then six months will have happened and there will be another and another and another.....

Thanks for reading, thanks for eating and just thanks in general for giving me one of the most enjoyable periods in my life so far.  I'd especially like to thank Robin (my seemingly long suffering girlfriend by everyone else's reckoning) for all the amazing design work, cooking and general wonderfulness for the last six months. She's terribly nice, you know. Also Aoife Mc for all the kind words she has written about us. Finally thanks to everyone in TBFM!

Saturday 11th August, The day we ate everything from Temple Bar Food Market! by Kevin

Myself & D decided to have a day of eating supplied from Temple Bar, a cinema..and dinner..with salads.

So breakfast begun with, slices of the most wonderful bread I have ever tasted. The rustic loaf from Le levain Bakery. Topped with sliced seasonal very wonderful and delicious cherry tomatoes from the McNallys and slices of Jamon iberico bellota from The Real Olive Co. finished with a supper fresh poached eggs. There was black pepper from Len's Grains and balsamic vinegar from David Llywelyn. Oh also fried pears from Healy's Organic Vegetables! It was amazing.

Then we moved onto more bread! Toasted. We spread McNally's better and Orange Marmalade over it. Warm, melting and wonderful.

Next it was off to the cinema to see 'El Bulli - Cooking in Progress', I decided that I needed popcorn for the movie and D decided we needed actual food. We decided to go with both. We had a baguette from levain so we came up with a filling of roast tomatoes, D's white bean humus, sliced artichokes and mizuna leaves. I wanted to make 'Thai basil pesto popcorn' With an hour before the movie began we go working on with cinematic treat. With 20min to spare we headed for the lighthouse cinema. Walked into the screen at 15:29 and sat to watch this amazing amazing. How they look at food, how they treat each individual ingredient, some dishes just consisting of a single ingredient treated in a new and interesting way. I came out feeling very inspired.

The awesome sandwich:


The pesto Popcorn:

An artist's rendition of how our popcorn and sandwich looked.*

White Bean Hummus Sandwich

*The artist happens to be D. It's all very handy. She has also designed my new business cards! Click the popcorn if you'd like to see her other work!

I love Temple Bar Food Market, it's close to my home. Some of my favourite people in the world are there let along some of the more delicious food you can get your hands on. I feel honoured to be part of the community.