Gastropod

THE Gastropod was highly excited at being invited to a demonstration of the delights of Great British brassicas, and only mildly disappointed to discover there would be no items of women's intimate apparel on display, just loads of lush- looking cauliflowers and all kinds of cabbages. George Bush may have had an aversion to broccoli, and sprouts undeniably have an image problem, but the brassica family has more exotic bounty. While the curly kale season is almost over, purple sprouting broccoli (as opposed to calabrese) is coming into its own.

Brassicas, we were reminded, are packed full of goodness, being not merely rich in vitamin C, but also bursting with beta carotene and folic acid] Sally Proctor from Leith's Cookery School was on hand to dispel ghastly childhood memories of being constantly admonished to 'eat your greens' with a couple of recipes, neither of which is included in a recipe leaflet called Brilliant British Greens, published by the auspicious- sounding Vegetable Committee of the National Farmers' Union.

The booklet, which includes recipes for gado-gado, cauliflower pakoras and Indian-style cabbage, is free if you send a large sae to: Brilliant British Greens, NFU, 22 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9LY.

FOR more esoteric cookery demonstrations, look no further than The Living Fire, a festival of the art and culture of Kurdistan which begins in London next week. Louisa Ghareeb will demonstrate recipes from her homeland during a series of evenings at Books For Cooks in west London on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Reflecting the country's location, Kurdistan's cuisine lies between Turkish, Iranian and Arabian. Typical dishes include shillay bame (okra stew) and dokleu (yoghurt soup). Although Louisa is disappointed at not being able to obtain a supply of the delicate oak-tree sap from the Zagros mountains, nor enough rose petals to make her favourite hallwai dessert, she will be making yaprakhi, stuffed vine leaves, and tirkhenna, a sour pickle made of turnip and cracked wheat. Places on the four-week course, which costs pounds 20, can be booked by calling 081-809 7960.

NEXT Wednesday is St Patrick's Day, when the Gastropod's thoughts wander to John and Sally McKenna's definitive guide to the food to be found in Ireland. Last year the McKennas' Bridgestone Irish Food Guide (Estragon Press, pounds 9.95) won the first Andre Simon Special Commendation Award. It has now been joined by the no less authoritative Vegetarian's Guide to Ireland ( pounds 6.99) as well as new versions of the Bridgestone '100 best' series covering Restaurants in Ireland, Places to Eat in Dublin and Places to Stay in Ireland ( pounds 4.99 each).

If any readers are lucky enough to be contemplating a trip, they would be well advised to arm themselves with the full set of the guides. If they are unavailable from your local bookshop, they can be ordered direct from the Estragon Press, Coomkeen, Durrus, West Cork, including pounds 1 extra per book to cover postage.

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