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PARADISO AND GORTNANAIN FARM TWO DAY PACKAGE · 5 July 2010

Stay and dine at both Cafe Paradiso and Gortnanain Farm for just €330 for two people.

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Denis at The Cookery School @ Donnybrook Fair in March · 8 February 2010

Last year, I taught a class at The Cookery School @ Donnybrook Fair in Dublin, and I’m delighted to be going back there this Spring for another outing. It’s a great space, really well set up for teaching and, best of all, you get to eat everything I demonstrate in a light buffet at the end of the class.

The date is Saturday 27th March, and you can get more information about the class here

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Paradiso Rooms re-opening · 24 January 2010

The guest accommodation over Cafe Paradiso is now open again, marking the final stage in our recovery from flood damage. Following on from the complete renovation of the dining room and kitchen, we also took the opportunity to have the rooms redecorated and they are now back to their sparkling best.

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One work day left...doffing my hat to Allianz Insurance · 18 December 2009

The bad news is I have no photos from today. The good news is that the progress today was incredible. And I’d like to take my hat off to Alliance for backing Paradiso in getting back open as fast as we have.

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TWO DAYS TO GO... · 18 December 2009

8am on a freezing Friday morning, the building is empty except for one camera-shy carpenter cutting skirting boards.

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COUNTDOWN TO A NEW PARADISO · 15 December 2009

It still looks like a building site, which is unnerving so close to the re-opening date. But, on closer inspection…

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Forward Motion at Full Tilt · 27 November 2009

After a couple of potential setbacks yesterday, that had me dreading the sound of silence in Paradiso over the weekend, we signed up a building team late last night and they showed up today bang on time, eager to get going. Our engineer set a target date for re-opening on Friday the 18th December and the builders have confidently said they will make it happen.

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Progress Update on Flood Damage · 25 November 2009

The past few days have mostly been about sorting out the insurance situation and trying to put together the building and renovation team, as well as sketching out a schedule for the work. Today was also our first chance to get stuck into clearing out the debris.

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Flood Damage Update · 23 November 2009

Thanks to everyone who has posted a comment, emailed, telephoned or simply walked in to see the mess for themselves. The support and goodwill is very heartening as we try to keep our spirits up for the challenge ahead.

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Paradiso under water · 20 November 2009

The flooding in Cork overnight has left Paradiso knee-deep in water, and it seems there is more rain on the way tonight. We are currently slopping out and assessing the damage, so it is too early to say when we will be able to re-open, but it definitely won’t be this weekend. Anyone with a booking on or after Tuesday 24th November should contact the restaurant early next week, when we should have a better idea of how soon we can be back.

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Christmas cookery class with Denis at the Tannery · 19 November 2009

For anyone wondering how to cope with pesky vegetarians coming to Christmas dinner, or if you feel like doing a Gwyneth Paltrow by becoming a flexitarian for the day, Saturday 12th December is a date you’ll want to put in your diary.

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Christmas Menu · 16 September 2009

We are now taking bookings for small groups and parties during the coming Christmas period, Our three course seasonal menu, detailed here, is priced at €45 per person.

To book, call the restaurant on 021 4277939.

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Chanterelle foraging at last · 14 September 2009 by Denis Cotter

For three years now we’ve been getting an amazing supply of chanterelles from said Mary. Mushrooms isn’t her real surname…

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Artichokes on the move · 15 August 2009

For anyone who loves artichokes this is a window of opportunity to eat something truly rare – the fruit of a labour of love of an extraordinarily brilliant grower.

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One night special offer returns for May · 9 April 2009

Just in time for asparagus season, the one night special offer returns in May.

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Great winter deals in Paradiso Rooms! · 22 January 2009

Dinner and accomodation for €100, available until the end of March

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The art of learning on the hoof · 12 October 2008

It’s October, the miserable summer is behind us and the pumpkin harvest is impressive, a fine collection of squash that should see us through the winter. Thank god, or more correctly Ultan, for that. As much as he loves Crowns, he’s experimented heavily with Hubbards this year, hoping they will give the same quality of dense pumpkin flesh with a better adaptation to the Irish climate. The man is never happy unless he’s pushing the possibilities a little harder.

But right now, and I don’t think it’s unconnected, my mind is buzzing coming home from an amazing gig that somehow made me think of kitchens, food and possibilities. Juana Molina, an Argentinian musician and singer, played to a small but enraptured audience in Cypress Avenue tonight. She was here two years ago, playing on her own, but this time she brought two musicians, a drummer and bass player, though those tags hardly describe their roles in augmenting her peculiar and deeply idiosyncratic approach to music-making.

Her ‘schtick’, as I read it described recently, is to build up loops of sounds from her guitar, keyboards and voice to create a complex pop music grounded in the Spanish/Latin tradition. Her recorded cds are impressive but you could mistake them for the work of a studio whizz. But to see her do it on stage is to witness a very brave soul who prepares only as little as possible beforehand and forces herself to create the magic of her art in front of her audience. Rarely relaxed and always working hard to make the connections, she communicates the thing she loves, making her art in public, the hard but incredibly rewarding way.

I’m making no analogy with Cafe P, we’re not that out there, though we do push it as far as we are able. But watching her create her weird, personal, but incredibly beautiful music on a stage 6,000 miles from home in front of 80 people, made me think about food and cooking dinner in a restaurant. As much as it might seem practical to be over-prepared, the magic is in the almost-chaotic cooking to order. Don’t pre-record that guitar riff, don’t plate up the starters and don’t blanch the greens. Both will come off with your own signature when you do it live. Yeah, it wrecks your head a bit at the time but you know too that you couldn’t do it as well under easier conditions. Maybe that’s why cooks often make good music and vice versa.

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Electric Picnic report · 8 September 2008

Thanks to the forty or so souls who sat through my demo at the Electric Picnic, especially as it was on at 6pm on Saturday when there were at least two bands playing that I would have payed the ticket price to see, not to mention the legendary Fossett’s circus. I missed ‘That Petrol Emotion’ to do that demo and given that there were about a dozen stages everyone sitting on log benches and mouldy sofas paying attention to a cookery demo is a testimony to the wonderful diversity of the festival. It was one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve done, relaxed and fun and intense at the same time. The theme of mushrooms, rolling and smoking isn’t one you could do in many settings. I only wish I had remembered that I was miked up when I bent over to demonstrate the eating technique for eating ricepaper parcels by sucking the dip through the rolls. By all accounts, the sound effect was something like a small herd of swine at teatime.

For my sins, I got two passes for the weekend and the chance to see some amazing acts, some low-key like Teitur’s set on Saturday afternoon, and some big names doing their festival thing – Sigur Ros, Grace Jones, Elbow etc. But for me there were three unforgettable highlights – Faust tearing the place up with chainsaws, drills and live painting; the unbelievably cool Congos, whose album ‘Heart of the Congo’ kept my soul alive in the late seventies/early eighties – Maureen and I met them after the gig and it felt like being in the presence of evolved beings; and this guy, a Canadian poet who will make you laugh and cry at the same time – Shane Koyzcan

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Gortnanain goes all sweet and sticky · 8 September 2008

It might have been the wettest summer in living memory, but down in Gortnanain, Ultan and Lucy’s farm, one new development has been a great success. Ultan got into bees earlier this year. And when this man gets into something, he gets in deep. After a period of thinking that this was hobby too far, curiosity got the better of me and I donned a beekeeper suit too and went down to the corner of the field now known as the apiary. They say that the first time you approach 40,000 bees you either become obsessed or run away screaming. My heart was beating too fast but from the second I held the first ‘super’ of bees clinging to their summer’s work I knew I wanted to know more, do more with them, and ultimately have my own hive of bees. That’s for another day and we’ll have to wait to see if it develops into full blown obsession.

But for now, this honey season is over, the bees are hunkering down trying to keep warm, the few that will survive the winter at least. Last Friday, Ultan delivered a five kilo tub of honey to Paradiso, a bucket of shimmering, golden syrupy liquid, fragrant with the subtle hint of the wild flowers of hedgerows and clover.

What to do with it? I have a lot to learn about cooking with honey, and the thought process is the same as with any precious local ingredient – figuring out how to do more than merely use it, to give it a prominent role. We’ll start by drizzling it over the breakfast yoghurt & fruits, making dressings for the grilled figs, leaves and beetroot, spooning it over the blue cheese on the dessert menu. Deeper into the autumn, it will make fantastic glazes and sauces for root vegetable tagines and roasts. And privately, I’ll be bringing it to bed. There’s nothing quite like a honey hot whiskey and a good book. Any other suggestions?

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Paradiso at the Electric Picnic · 18 August 2008

If you’re going to the Electric Picnic at the end of this month, take a little time out from the pleasures offered by the likes of Faust, Sex Pistols and Sigur Ros to wander over to the food and cookery area where some of the best chefs in the country will be trying to stimulate other parts of your brain and body. I’ll be there on Saturday afternoon doing a demo, though I’m not sure yet exactly what I will be cooking. The Electric Picnic website says it will be comfort food and late night snacks, which is the first thing that came to mind when I was asked to do the gig. Now I’m thinking I’d like to do something with wild food, like the amazing chanterelles and samphire we’ve got on the menu in Paradiso at the moment. Or spuds – they could do with a day in the sun, given the blight-ridden summer we’ve endured. I will definitely be demonstrating the unique way of eating ricepaper parcels invented by a good friend recently, a dish that requires the always handy skill of a good rolling technique.

Whatever it turns out to be, I promise to send you home with an idea for something to sink into the couch with after the weekend. It’s my first Electric Picnic and I’m really excited about the combination of a little bit of work and a lot of fun. See you there – Saturday 6-7pm – just follow your nose.

And for god’s sake don’t miss Faust, even if you have to go hungry to see them.

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