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Connacht Tribune

JP serves up rich mix of history, imagination and recipes

Judy Murphy

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J P McMahon and his sister Edel at Tartare Café + Wine Bar in Dominick Street Lower. It's one of the places where his new book is for sale.

Lifestyle – Chef and restaurant owner JP McMahon has combined his kitchen creativity and passion for history in his latest project The Irish Cook Book. As he launches it on both sides of the Atlantic, he tells JUDY MURPHY how it came about, his initial reluctance to write it and the debt he owes to the mostly female cookery writers who preceded him.

JP McMahon comes through the door of Galway city’s Tartare Café and Wine Bar, apologising for being late. He’s just driven West in hideous weather, following the launch of this new cook book in Dublin the previous night. En route to Galway, he was doing radio interviews to publicise The Irish Cook Book, a magnificent offering from Phaidon Publishers, who are based in New York and London.

He’s busy – but then the self-taught Michelin-star chef, Irish Times food writer and promoter of Irish food always is.

Over an espresso, JP who owns Spanish tapas bar Cava Bodega and the Michelin-star Aniar Restaurant as well as Tartare, explains how this book, which was three years in the making, came about.

The graduate of English and Art History from UCC had always wanted to produce a book with internationally renowned Phaidon, which publishes beautifully designed and illustrated books on art, architecture, science, travel fashion and cookery.

“I’d always loved their art books,” he says.

JP thought he might follow the example of Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson of the two-star Michelin Fäviken restaurant who has published three books with Phaidon, including one based on recipes from Fäviken, He submitted a proposal to Phaidon of recipes from Aniar.

“I never intended doing a 500-recipe book”, he says with a laugh of the end result.

“Phaidon came back and suggested an Irish food cookbook as part of their ‘bible’ series,” he explains.  These include tomes on Chinese, Spanish, Mexican and Japanese food as well as its Sliver Spoon Italian series, all beautifully produced.

Their latest is JP’s book which gives a new insight into Irish food history and includes an eclectic range of recipes. Soda-bread; smoked eel porridge; venison and barley stew; even the humble crisp sandwich – they’re all here.

However, JP was initially unsure about the Phaidon proposal.

“I didn’t know if Ireland needed another cookbook because there are so many of them.”

He cites cooks and writers as Maura Laverty, Monica Sheridan. Theodora FitzGibbon and Myrtle Allen, all of whom championed Irish food and wrote about it extensively, as being among his heroes. And, initially, he felt their work had fulfilled that brief.

But having been to the forefront of Irish cuisine for the past decade, mostly through Aniar, he also recognised that a lot had happened in that time and that a new book might give a fresh context to our food history. So, The Irish Cook Book was born.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Time and history conferred character on this home

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The Hermitage, Ballymoe: on the market with a €425,000 guide price.

The Hermitage at Lisnageeragh, Ballymoe is a property on which time and history has conferred a character that no new property could mirror.

Overlooking 16.3 acres of rolling green fields which are included in the sale, this is indeed a unique house and comes to market with charming well maintained stone buildings. These could provide further family accommodation, holiday rentals or craft studios.

The front hall has a beautiful, curved window and leads to two reception rooms on either side of the house. The sitting room has an open fireplace with a black cast iron surround and wooden floors which gleam from years of care and reflect the light coming from two large windows. To the right-hand side, the dining room also has an attractive bay window and an oil-fired stove and it is indeed the perfect social /entertaining space.

To the rear of the house the kitchen is a classic example of a successful marriage of the old and the new. Bespoke shaker style units combine perfectly with modern recessed lighting, attractive tiling and includes a pantry area to one side. A good-sized bedroom and adjacent bathroom complete the downstairs of the main house.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms one of which has an en suite shower. The main bedroom is a delightful space which leads to another small room, a perfect nursery or walk in wardrobe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

A time when we learned once more that no man is an island

Francis Farragher

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Country singer Dolly Parton getting the jab: she sang about it and part-funded research on the vaccine.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the oft-repeated pub jokes whenever the price drink was increased, whether it by Finance Ministers or publicans who felt that their margins were being whittled away, was that: “As long as it doesn’t get scarce, we’ll be happy enough.”

Who could have believed though in the first month or two of 2020 that this scenario would unfold (at least in pubs), where the opportunity to meet friends – and the odd ‘auld enemy’ too – over a couple of pints in the local bar would be snatched away from us?

We probably have learned to adapt to the reality of the pandemic and most of us will remember the real sense of fear and constriction that pervaded our every word and action early last year.

2020 was the universal version of ‘annus horribilis’ – the term made famous by Queen Elizabeth in 1992 when royal marriages started to collapse like cards houses in the breeze.

Being of rural stock, I loved the little video earlier this from country music icon, Dolly Parton, who adapted a verse of her famous Jolene song to mark her first shot of the Moderna vaccine (she also donated $1 million to its research) in a very sincere effort to try and encourage the general public to get inoculated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

I’m begging of you not to hesitate,

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

Cause when you’re dead that’s a bit too late.”

A year before that, times were indeed very strange across Ireland and indeed the world. I remember on the Sunday night before St. Patrick’s Day when a sense of incredulity greeted the news in my own local that ‘a lot of the pubs in Galway city were closing down’. Surely, this couldn’t happen in our own little watering hole in the sticks, but it did.

Michael Karmen’s soundtrack from the Band of Brothers series – a wonder piece of music even to my untrained ear – will always remind me of that early Spring period of lockdown in 2020.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

€4.5m worth of property sold during online event

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This detached house at Seacrest in Knocknacarra attracted a "staggering" level of interest.

More than €4.5 million worth of sales were recorded at the O’Donnellan & Joyce auction last week, where 350 people had pre-registered to bid on the 40 properties which went under the hammer.

80% of the properties sold during the auction or following negotiations immediately afterwards.

Among the properties sold at the auction were:

106 Seacrest, Knocknacarra, Galway. Guiding at €250,000 due to the extent of renovation and upgrade works required, the auctioneers were staggered at the level of interest in this 4-bed detached house.

Siobhra Hennessy, Senior Auction Co-Ordinator, said: “There is an increasing demand for city centre homes in need of repair. Couples want to put their own stamp on a property and often look for properties similar to this.”

Bidding commenced at €250,000 but quickly rose to over €350,000. After intense bidding from a number of internet and telephone bidders, the sale price of €364,000 was reached and the deal was done.

192 Bohermore, Galway. A 2-bed terraced house which attracted great attention, with many enquiries and bidders pre-registering. The house needs complete restoration and modernisation works but obviously appealed to a wide audience. It guided at €120,000, but sold for €179,000, despite the great amount of work required. Again, this is an example of a near-derelict building that offered great potential.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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