Artists cook up a recipe book to help people in Syria and Iraq

Art and cooking come together in an interesting new concept for a cookbook, which is being launched this week by Syrias Vibes, which raises money to support victims of violence in Syria and Iraq. The Artists’ Cookbook has 100 recipes from Irish and international artists, reproduced alongside their original artwork inspired by the recipe.

The project is being spearheaded by Dublin brothers Andy and Calvin Sweeney, who are also the driving force behind SCOOP, which raises funds for children’s education in India and Cambodia.

Andy, who used to work at Mealy’s auctioneers, used his contacts in the art world to get the project off the ground, and Calvin, a DJ, is currently volunteering in Iraq. Funds raised through sales of the book will support initiatives that support displaced people in Syria and Iraq.

Artists cook up a recipe book to help people in Syria and Iraq
Pato Cassinoni’s artwork and recipe, from The Artists’ Cookbook

The book is available to pre-order from for €24.99. The launch party on Friday August 18th takes place at Airbnb’s European HQ at Grand Canal Dock, followed by an after party in Charlotte Quay. Three of the original artworks from the book, including this piece by Argentinian artist and photographer Pato Cassinoni, were donated for the fundraising effort and will be raffled at the launch party. The launch, which starts at 7pm at Airbnb HQ, is open to all, but you must register in advance to be on the guest list, by sending your name by email to [email protected]  Everyone who attends will receive a copy of the book, says Andy Sweeney.

Meat the veg at The Big Grill

Ramael Scully, the Malaysian-born, Australian-raised head chef at NOPI, the flagship restaurant in the Ottolenghi London empire, is the latest addition to the line-up for The Big Grill Festival, which takes place in Herbert Park, Dublin 4 from August 17th-20th.

Scully won’t be working with large chunks of animal protein, or championing under-appreciated morsels of offal, like many of the grill masters taking part. Instead he will be demonstrating what can be achieved with vegetables, working with Josh Katz of Berber & Q, the London grill house that gives plant foods equal billing with meat.

As well as the chance to watch some of the biggest names in barbecue and grill cooking in the world do their thing (and taste their efforts), there will be a series of talks and demos at the new Bastecamp area.

Artists cook up a recipe book to help people in Syria and Iraq
Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen Smokehouse will be talking about DIY charcuterie at The Big Grill Festival in Herbert Park, Dublin, from August 17th-20th

Nick Solares, host of The Meat Show on Eater. com, will anchor this part of the programme, where there will be an opportunity to take part in a Deep South barbecue pitmasterclass with Madison Ruckel of Hometeam Barbecue in Charleston, South Carolina. Charlotte Pike will be cooking from her latest book, Smoked. Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen Farm will talk about DIY charcuterie. The Hangfire Smokehouse duo, Shauna Guinn and Sam Evans, will host a grillalong, and US restaurateur Andy Ricker will discuss authentic Thai street food.

For the full programme, see

Shaken and stirred at the Cliff Townhouse

Artists cook up a recipe book to help people in Syria and Iraq
Urchin, in the basement of Cliff Townhouse on St Stephen’s Green, is offering lunchtime picnics to take away

The playful theme that prevails at Urchin, the Cliff Townhouse’s basement bar and small plates venue on St Stephen’s Green, has been extended to a takeaway menu of salads, juices and ice creams.

The Picnic on the Green menu of salads such as prawn, pomegranate, cress, red onion and semi-dried tomato, or poached chicken, orange, tarragon and hazelnut, are served in globes meant to be shaken to mix the layered ingredients.

With a dessert option of either fruit salad or strawberry mess, the takeaway costs €10 and is available from noon to 3.30pm, Monday to Friday. Fresh juices (€3-€4) and small batch ice-cream in interesting flavours such as bacon, popcorn and gin (€4.50), complete the summer offering.

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