Sunday, 29 December 2013

New Year's Eve Buffet.... Almost traditional, but with added bling




Celebrate the New Year with a relaxed and stylish buffet and treat your guests to a luxurious feast of simple yet sensational food. These no-fuss dishes will impress your guests and still leave you with plenty of time to, ditch the apron, slip into your little black dress, a touch of rouge, the crown jewels if they are handy and you are ready to party.
Whether with a contemporary reinvention of the Classics, a bit of drama in shape, form or colour, keep it simple. Not great heaped servings and an overload of luxury , but a spoonful or two of festive treats, with flavours intense and complimentary.
And don't forget, that the most basic recipe can be topped and dressed up to look fabulous and as long as you use quality ingredients, they will look fantastic too.
Here, Dinner is served on smart white china with crisp pressed napkins and Champagne , not mulled wine , is the drink of choice.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year. x

Menu :
  • Cherry Gazpacho with prawns
  • Tian of Castleberetown Crab & Goat's bridge trout caviar
  • Winter pears, goat's cheese & hazelnut dressing
  • Maple syrup and mustard ham
  • Smoked haddock, leek & gruyere tart
  • Leek & Stilton tart
  • Remoulade of Celeriac & green apples
  • Carrot & broccoli salad with mixed seeds
  • Peach & Raspberry pots
  • Chocolate & chestnut log

Saturday, 28 December 2013

OPIUM... Wexford street. Dublin 2 . @OpiumDublin


OPIUM on Wexford street in Dublin 2, opened a couple of months ago and is offering us an Asian Fusion menu.This type of Cuisine is constantly being reinvented and is becoming increasingly popular. The most well known one is probably Hakkasan in London, with regard to quality and creativity of Asian Fusion Cuisine and it was a firm favourite of mine,when I lived in London . Theirs was an electric approach with dishes inspired by various regional cuisines of Asia , in slick and stylish surroundings and very much courted by the fashion crowd.
Using key ingredients and cooking methods from various regions of Asia,this type of food is wonderfully fragrant and always full of fantastic flavours. I see it as very healthy food; with a real feel good factor. I certainly could eat it every day.
In contrast to the spiciness of Korean foods, Japanese cuisine is mild in flavour, with sweetness and saltiness as the key tastes. Indonesia on the other hand can be hot,sweet,sour and salty. While Thai is wonderfully fragrant , in neighbouring Vietnam, the food is typically light and refreshing and China offering us dishes from so many different regions, each varying in taste and appearance. But the common to all these wonderful cuisine, is the balance of flavours, textures and colours and a perfect balance of "Ying" and "Yang " ingredients.
Opium, with the gorgeous Martina Fox, at the helm,exposed stone walled interior,an open plan dining,deep comfy leather banquettes & seductive spot lighting; The look is warm, inviting and moody. 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Tian of Castletownbere Crab & Goat's bridge trout caviar


This delicious sweet crab's meat "Starter " is easy to assemble and will sure add the wow factor to your Christmas lunch and leave you with plenty of time to enjoy the festivities.
As long as you use quality ingredients, it will taste fantastic too. Here , I am using Castletownbere Crab meat and Goat'sbridge award winning trout caviar.


Merry Christmas.xxx


Baked Winter Pear & Goat's cheese salad, For Belle xxx


Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a feast. And this is for my friend Belle , who is always there tweeting on our behalf for @ IrishBlogs. Baked fruit is easy on the cook and easy on the waistline too... And utterly scrumptious. Whether you are a vegetarian or feel like a change this year, or just looking for something different to enjoy over the festive period, here is a dead simple starter for you to try.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Edible gifts .... Hand made by you. " What's not to love "!!!


Edible Gifts are always welcome by all during the festive season and even more so if they have been hand made with love by the giver. Here is my selection of edible gifts for you to make , all are achievable by the most inexperienced cook and as long as you use quality ingredients, they will taste fantastic too.Trawl the shops, the Internet if you prefer, for pretty wrappings, papers, ribbons and boxes or even the odd antique Cup and saucer wrapped up in cellophane. The most basic can be topped and dressed up to look fabulous.
Full fill your artistic urges with the millions of combinations and change them to go with moods and fashion. I definitely like to keep my colour schemes in tune with what's on the catwalk.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Turkey, Ham & all the trimmings " Wellington style ". All three in one



Christmas Day doesn't have to be a stressful affair, here is a contemporary reinvention of the Classic, that is achievable at home, with a degree of minimum effort, that will still bring the wow factor to your table.

While keeping it simple , it is very tasty and easy to do. Not great heaped servings and an overload of luxury, but a spoonful or two of festive tastes, with flavours intense and complimentary. Lighter and done afresh, the most basic recipe can be topped and dressed, in shape or form, to look fabulous by the most inexperienced cook and as long as you use quality ingredients, they will taste fantastic too.

Here; Dinner is served on smart white china with crisp pressed napkins and champagne, not mulled wine is the drink of choice. Inexpensive too and most ingredients are from Lidl ... Ireland.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Mulled rosé wine.... Santa's favourite Tipple


HO! HO! HO! Why not leave these out for Santa on Christmas 's eve and he may just grant your wishes this time around..... May it be Vertiginous  heels !! Giant Cocktails rings !!!Vintage designer frocks !!!! or like Marilyn, you like and wear only Chanel no 5....!!!!!
Well, whatever you did ask for, embrace the festive season in style and forget the heavy spiced dark red mulled wine, that will have you rooting for the solpadeine or rennies on Christmas morning. 
Be kind to yourself  & Santa and give these a try instead, they are light, easy to drink yet still full of festive fruitiness .


Friday, 13 December 2013

Spiced Xmas's Eve cakes....Lighter & done afresh


These are perfect for my kind of Christmas eve. There is the traditional, that requires the little black dress, three rows of pearls & fresh holly; But for cutting-edge, think smart boutique hotel or New York loft. This requires altogether a different look.
Banished from my home are the overly sweet mince pies.While full of festive flavours,these spiced little cakes are light and will leave you with plenty of room to feast like kings & Queens on Christmas day.
And they will look pretty too on your table.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

" Florentines ".... Bowls of delight & full of festive fruitiness


Florentines are festive cookies, traditionally they are made for Christmas and packed with a luxurious medley of fruits and nuts. I am using flaked almonds,raisins,cranberries,cherries, candied orange peel and diced stem ginger, but the choice is yours. I can only guarantee that your guests won't be able to resist these jewelled treats.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

" A Gluten free Chocolate & Chestnut Log" , Dreaming of a dark chocolate Christmas



A flour less Chocolate & Chestnut log,this dark handsome secret of the festive season will definitely get your friends talking as it possesses a wow factor that attracts many , the way it looks is another .
If, like me , you adore chocolate, then you'll love this wicked treat, which is very easy and quick to make .Made without flour, this dessert is deliciously light and moist.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

" Macaron " Sweet & Savoury ... Pretty on the plate and the perfect gift

"Macaron," Lift your spirit up with a batch of these sweet little gems. They can be topped and dressed to look like Xmas baubles and they will taste fantastic too.And, let’s not forget that the fruits of your hard labour, would be ideal for parties and for gifting. Trawl the shops, the Internet if you prefer, for pretty wrappings, papers, ribbons and boxes or even the odd antique Cup and saucer wrapped up in cellophane.
They can be both sweet or savoury. What give Macarons their flavour, apart from the shells of course is mostly the fillings ( ganache) and the shells freezes really well too.
Full fill your artistic urges with the millions of combinations and change them to go with moods and fashion. I definitely like to keep my colour schemes in tune with what's on the catwalk. 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Decorating your Gluten free Christmas cake ..." All dressed up " ( Part 2 )


Christmas is the perfect occasion for indulging yourself in dressing up and your fashion fantasies,so with a bit of drama in shape, form &colour, go for an overload of luxury .She may be Gluten free , but she is no ugly Duckling. Think outside the box for this girl, we are talking, perfectly manicured nails, giant cocktail rings, designer dresses and vertiginous heels. Do you get the picture ?????
Here this gluten free, rich fruit cake, steeped in alcohol, covered in golden almond paste,stylishly dressed in gold lamé and bronzed to the hilt, will make a stunning centrepiece on your table this Christmas.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

A Gluten Free Christmas Cake & the regular kind too...." A complete new classic " (Part1)


Christmas is always a special time , but for those doing the festive preparations, it can also be extremely stressful. Yet, it needn't be like that this year. Starting with Day one, keep abreast, with some of my tips,to pre-empt the panic and bring the wow factor to your table and take the hassle out of entertaining.From Christmas cake, Edible gifts, Canapé &Cocktails and many more......
Christmas wouldn't truly be Christmas without a cake and here is a Gluten Free Christmas Cake .
Gluten free baking needn't be a daunting or terrifying affair , but with the right ingredients , it can be  extremely satisfying . I actually prefer this Gluten free Christmas cake to the more conventional one and I can assure you that most people will find it difficult to tell the difference between this one and the regular one.
Gluten is ordinarily a major factor in baking, as it holds the gases that are produced when the cakes rises and also provides an appealing texture.Hence ,this is where Xanthan Gum comes into play, it will bind,improve the texture,reduce crumbling by acting as a gluten replacement. The other ingredients are Polenta , a gluten free grain , made from dried corn kernels. It has a slight sweet flavour which makes it perfect for cakes.Rice flour, made from a blend of brown & white rice,milled together to produce a creamy flour and finally Ground almonds for flavour and texture.
The other beauty of this cake is , it doesn't require the lengthy baking time. This one is done in 1 hr 10 mins. This is why , it is one of my favourite .
Today , is all about Baking and Tomorrow will be about Cake Decorating and bringing that extra sparkle to your Christmas cake. A complete makeover.... She may be Gluten free but She's no Uglyduckling....

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

"Warholise yourself " with these Cherry Gazpacho for the coming festive season


Fifty years after Andy Warhol presented his pop art series of 32 Campbell's Soup Cans to the world,Campbell's today is paying tribute to Warhol's iconic work by introducing a limited edition cans of Campbell's condensed tomato soup .Campbell Soup Company never commissioned Warhol to paint the original soup cans, he found his  own inspiration from the classic red & white Campbell's label, A soup , he consumed quite a lot, apparently.Andy Warhol first exhibited these 32 canvases in 1962, each one hung from the wall like paintings and rested on a shelf like groceries in a store. The number of canvases corresponds to the varieties of soup then sold by the Campbell Soup Company.
Quoting one of Warhol's famous rants "But I always say, one's company; two's a crowd; and three's a party ". Well, let's get the party season under way, with These Cherry Gazpacho , perfect as an appetiser for your party using Campbell's condensed soup and a few bit & bobs from Lidl .
Gazpacho is usually served cold, originating in the Southern Spanish region of Andalucia. Traditionally, gazpacho is made by pounding peeled and deseeded tomatoes in a pestle & mortar, as this method avoids the surplus of foam and discolouration created by blenders and food processors. In addition, to the puréed tomatoes, garlic, shallots,cucumber, olive oil,salt, vinegar and  soaked bread ( for a really thick consistency )and iced water.
Here is a smooth and elegant variation of this chilled soup. Serve it on it's own or garnish with a fine brunoise of vegetables/ cooked prawns/ crab meat /cray fish / lobster /crisp bacon strips / avocado, green chilli&tarragon along with some bread sticks  or crostinis. And my version also involves  chilled Vodka. Well , it is a party , after all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Salamanca... Tapas Bar & Restaurant... Dublin 2 @ SalamancaTapas




Salamanca Tapas Bar & Restaurant is located just off Wicklow Street , on St Andrew's street, Dublin 1, And as the name suggest, this is a restaurant that celebrates Spanish Cuisine. The Spanish have succeeded in elevating pre-lunch or Dinner drinks and nibbles to irresistible heights and it is great to see many restaurants now in Dublin embracing this concept and offering us"Tapas", It is not always, that we wish to go and feast on a 3 course meal, hence I welcome this option.
Having lived and worked in Spain for many years , eating tapas for me, goes hand in hand with hospitality, friendship and great conversation. It is a very sociable way to eat, whether among friends, a deux or en famille. A while back, in between meetings and gasping for a coffee , I popped into Salamanca and requested just that. I was greeted warmly and shown to a high table by the bar and served a great espresso .It was no problem at all, despite the fact, that it was only 2.30 pm and lunch was still going on . I was impressed and I recently returned to sample their food for the first time . With Head Chef Raffa, a true Spaniard from Granada, Salamanca is aiming to elevate it's menu to  new heights, while offering good value for money.  The €10 lunch menu, will see you with a main and a glass of wine and The early bird menu @€16.95 offers a choice of 3 tapas and glass of wine for an extra €3 only and Cocktails a steal at a mere €7.
This is a vast menu , with the usual array of hot or cold tapas, from green and black olives marinated in herd and spice infused oils, crunchy roasted almonds coated in coarse sea salt and smoked paprika, sizzling prawns , brochettes of assorted fish , chunks of juicy steaks and chorizo.... I counted nothing short than 58 dishes , making choosing the right one a difficult task.
The décor and style at play, has managed to infuse a warm, rustic and inviting quality to the place. With bare floor boards, a mosaic clad bar, sunflower yellow and terracotta painted walls , evokes memories of Spanish tavernas and warmth. However, space was a bit cramped, with tables way too close together . Service was  very efficient and friendly .
It was a Saturday night, when we visited and the place was buzzing and packed to the rafters. It has been a long time since I saw so many people being turned away. But in true Spanish style , if it is busy , it must be good.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

SAMPHIRE Restaurant at The Waterside House Hotel, Donabate on the beach, North Co. Dublin


Samphire Restaurant at The Waterside House Hotel is fast making a name for it's Culinary delights. With Executive Head Chef Tom Walsh at the helm, it is delivering a menu with dishes that looks like something lovingly crafted in a Michelin Star Kitchen. With great combination of flavours , textures and plenty of flair, this is more than just a meal but rather a unique dining experience .
Nestled in the seaside village of Donabate, a mere 20 mins on the north side of Dublin, it is right on the beach and offers spectacular views over Dublin bay and Lambay island. Weather permitting, you could enjoy an Aperitif on the terrace that overlooks the beach and the Martelo tower.
You will be greeted with a warm welcome,the staff were courteous, friendly and polite throughout the evening. Their new menu has embraced the autumnal season in full sails, Spiced pumpkin soup &Seared Scallop, Oysters, a varied selection of Game dishes across Starters and Mains, from Quail Salad,Crisp Quail eggs & Micro veg or Breast of Wood pigeon, Spinach & Crisp Salsify or Guinea Fowl, Foie gras, Albuferia Sauce to Venison.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Persian Aubergine ....Nothing compares to Comfort Food, " Inexpensive & Low Calorie "






Everyone instinctively knows exactly what Comfort Food means, For me, it must be something fairly simple to make, satisfyingly tasty, maybe even wickedly indulgent . This Persian Aubergine dish is a take on the Vegetarian dish Imam Bayildi. It is warm, full of flavour & a substantial dish from the Eastern edge of the Mediterranean sea, where Europe meets Asia, not forgetting the influence of the Arab neighbours. These factors, all combined to give us a dish that offers the satisfaction which we all crave at some time, when we yearn for food that fills us with contentment. It cost nothing and taste like a million dollars.
With  "Value " in mind, I have sourced all ingredients from LIDL, and here is a Meal for Two,(or even four, depending how hungry you are !! ) all under €5.00 and under 300 calories per halves.

Friday, 1 November 2013

GLENDALOUGH POITIN .... " Shake it up into Cocktails " @GlendaloughPoit

Before there was Whiskey, there was POITIN, "Potcheen ". It's Ireland gift to the World, ....... after..Christianity !!! Of Course !! and is one of the first Spirit ever to be distilled. By who else.... but Irish Monks ...So religion after all, has a lot to answer for, but in this instance ... to thank for. It's a spirit that is Unique in it's taste as in it's history.
Glendalough Poitin is one of the most complex white spirit in the world today . Paying homage to the original and following the ancient art of Poitin making by Irish monks of yester years , It is hand crafted , carefully distilled in small batches and matured in Irish oak for up to six months . Poitin was first made as early as 584AD in Monastic settlements , which was the birthplace of Distillery in Ireland . It was outlawed in 1661 hence forcing it's production into the wilderness . And over the next few hundred years or so , it lived in  whispered infamy and secrecy ... Until Now .

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Spooky Gems .... Halloween Cupcakes


AAAHHH..... It's Halloween. This is just the time for spooky little cakes baked in it's own paper case, with witches and skulls bursting out of them.

Make those red velvet cupcakes with vanilla butter cream your favourites.
Dark, rich and very moreish, those little devils will give immediate gratification on so many levels and will have you sneaking back for just one more.

If you can add an open fire, a pretty shaggy pile rug, a broom and a handsome rugged man to the mix, so much the better.
Full artistic urges will speed your way to heaven and back.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

ZARAGOZA ,South William Street. Dublin 2 ..... @ZaragozaDublin

 
" Zaragoza " on South William Street has all the credentials to be a hot spot on Dublin's Casual Dining scene . With a glassed-in open kitchen at the back , you can observe Chefs radiating energy as they cook. While the front boast a modern, yet casual decor , it is cosy and very comfortable . This new eatery offers a Tapas Menu , friendly service and live Spanish music at weekends, to get you in the swing of things. It was a Friday evening when we visited the restaurant and the place was buzzing .
The menu doesn't divide itself into starters and mains, but rather into Fish , Meat & Vegetarian options . N in true Tapas style , your order arrives more or less , all at the same time . This is a meal to be shared with your favourite people , plenty of good conversation , forget the cares of the day , linger and tuck in Spanish style with a large glass of El Vino in hand .

Friday, 25 October 2013

A Taste of Mexico.... Gastronomic & Cultural festival, Dublin. 12th - 17th November 2013 .& my " Chicken Tinga Quesadillas " Recipe


" A Taste Of Mexico " will be a celebration of Mexican food , drink and culture and takes place in Dublin next month, from Tuesday 12th to Sunday the 17th November around the capital.The festival is organised by the Embassy of Mexico in Ireland and will feature many of the growing number of Mexican Restaurants now delighting diners in Dublin .
At a recent lunch at the residence of the Mexican Ambassador, Carlos Garcia de Alba , we sampled some delicious cuisine from Mexican Chef Helma Honda, who will be sharing her expertise and love of this unique cuisine during a workshop at The Instituto Cervantes on the 13 th November . The festival will also include a wide range of workshops , tastings and events, among others a competition to find the Best Taco in Dublin , tasting of Tequila & Mezcal .
Further information and details of Events via Embassy of Mexico's website : www.embamex.ie

( Pictured at the " A Taste of Mexico " launch at the Mexican Ambassador's Residence were Chef Helma Honda & Mariachi Antonio Garcia Lopez )

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Pepper Brasserie & Grill ... Clontarf road . Dublin 3. @Pepperclontarf

 
The Pepper Brasserie & Grill at 225, Clontarf road is situated over The Bram Stoker Hotel. It was difficult to locate and we passed it twice. After navigating our way through a group of lads just outside the door, from the hotel bar obviously, having a respite from their pints and a smoke, up two flights of stairs, we arrived in a modern spacious room, the new paint still lingering in the air. Tall bright red pepper mills stood "En Guard", like soldiers on each table, gigantic grey and bleak photographic images dominated the walls. On first impression , the whole decor is sterile and lacks soul. However, I'll put it down to the fact that this is a relatively new place .
We settled in and received a warm welcome from Restaurant manager , Desmond McGovern . And I was really looking forward to tasting Peter Clifford's cooking, the new Head Chef of Pepper Brasserie .

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Yannick & Louise .... Savour Kilkenny Food Festival , Oct 2013....@yannicklouise


Yannick Van- Acken and Louise Bannon , will be staging an exclusive Pop up on Sunday 27th October at the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival . These two very talented and gifted Chefs , having both previously worked in the acclaimed Copenhagen restaurant Noma , where Yannick was Sous Chef and Louise , the Pastry Chef  are often misunderstood . Theirs is The Art Of Simple Food . Following a Culinary philosophy based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients , their menu invites diners to partake in the immediacy and excitement of vegetables just out of the soil , fruits right off the branch and fish straight out of the sea . It is a menu devoid of gimmicks , gels , foams or any other fanciful accouterments . It is a menu striving for both delicious clean flavours and environmental harmony , celebrating local artisans food producers . As a Chef , I totally get their Concept , where the cooking is appropriate to the season and relies on the finest sustainably sourced , organic and seasonal produce .

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

"FORAGING & WILD FOOD ". Braised field & wild mushrooms , thyme butter , parmesan & truffle oil .


" FORAGING " is far from being a recent fad . It is a practise known to mankind since day one . Seeking out . picking and gathering from the wild are indigenous ways to appreciate and love the wonderful larder of the country side . Whether your bounty be Fruits , Berries , Nuts , Seaweed , Herbs , Wild leaves , Or Wild mushrooms , it is an  "Enjoyment of Nature " and a quest for " Taste and Quality Of Wild foods " and the bonus is , It is Free .
However since 2012 , the Food Safety Authority has expressed concern in an increase in food poisoning from Wild Mushrooms . So , be careful , you need to be able to tell your Boletus / Cep  / Porcini from your Amanitas or you might end up very sick or even worse ...

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Irish Whiskey Awards 2013

 

The inaugural Irish Whiskey Awards 2013 presented by the Celtic Whiskey Club in conjunction with the Celtic Whiskey Shop took place last Friday 4 th October at the Jameson Distillery , Smithfield , Dublin .
This is the first year that the diversity and quality of the vibrant Irish Whiskey industry was awarded and celebrated in Ireland . The Irish Whiskey industry is enjoying the strongest period of growth in popularity since the 1800 s ,  both nationally and internationally . Sales in the USA alone saw the market grow by 22.5% , making it the fastest growing spirits category in the country .
Distillers such as Midleton in Co. Cork , Cooley Distillery in Co. Louth and Bushmills in Co . Antrim have been successfully operating in Ireland for many years , but now , What with Whiskey drinkers broadening their tastes and consumers demanding more diversity and quality , new small craft distillers are embracing the opportunity to fill a niche in the market with small batch and high value brands .
Quoting the guest speaker for the evening Mr Willie Mc Carter , Chairman of the Irish Spirits Association " With four of the largest spirits companies in the world , now selling Irish Whiskey and many new distilleries coming on stream , the Irish Whiskey Industry is at the beginning of a new Golden Age "

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Berrylicious .... Raspberry & Lemon Cream OR Blackberries & white Chocolate Cream , with Sesame Praline Tart


Take a trip down Memory lane with these old-Fashioned favourites . Whether you are planning a family afternoon tea , Dinner party or for a girl's indulgent get together , these are extremely simple to make , inexpensive , fool proof , quick and a Special salute to the fantastic berries .

I just love the flavour of White Chocolate with fresh Blackberries , or lemon cream with Raspberries but a special favourite in my household is the Classic Creme Patisserie with either of the Raspberries or Blackberries . The Sesame Praline adds an extra savoury dimension .

I do these tarts the Express way , by that I mean with shop bought ready rolled short crust pastry . My favourite Ready rolled shortcrust pastry is from Greenvale at ALDI  @ €1.29 . Rolls out like a dream and bakes in 20 mins .  These tarts from start to finish takes 30 mins .

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

RASAM ..." From India with love " @RasamRestaurant


INDIA , one of the World's most diverse nation , 17 Written languages , birthplace of 4 Religions ,
1.2 billion people , with an ancient Culture and long Culinary traditions , Indian Cuisine seems to be surrounded by an aura of mystery and myths , but the truth, was and still is, a Regional and Seasonal Cuisine that has Spices woven into it's very DNA . Spices , you can say are the backbone of Indian Cuisine and they are also  considered the elixir of health .
Today , the Chefs at RASAM offers one the chance to savour this fantastic , complex and generous cuisine and thru an exciting and diverse menu , allows us to experience Indian food , the way it was intended .
Here are a few dishes to whet your appetite , and if you haven't been to RASAM yet , Well ! you will now ......

Saturday, 28 September 2013

BANG Restaurant , Merrion Row . Dublin 1 @BangRestaurant1

 
'Bang Restaurant' on Merrion Row , just a stone throw away from St Stephen Green has always been a popular haunt of what was once the embodiment of the Celtic Tiger Years. It was a balmy Wednesday evening when we visited the Bang after a well overdue visit. The Restaurant was elegant as ever and still delivered a relaxed and warm atmosphere . On our request , we were seated in the downstairs dining room , which I find very cosy and ideal for a romantic dinner a deux . The waitress was friendly and helpful .
We perused an exciting menu and from what I could see based on seasonal offerings from some of Ireland's best artisan producers , among others Brendan Guinan micro veg & herbs , Mourne Seafood , Keelings & Sheridan Cheeses .

Friday, 27 September 2013

Preserved Lemons


Preserved Lemons are Lemons that have been Pickled in Salt . The fruit develops a mellow yet intensely lemony flavour . A wonderful staple ingredient to have in your store cupboard and very easy to do . These will bring a ray of Sunshine and memories of hot summer days to your dishes over the Winter months.
Many Mediterranean Dishes call for Preserved Lemons such as Rabbit Ragu where the lemons will add warm flavours, Black olive & Tuna Tapenade or even a Spelt RisottoMiddle Eastern dishes also call for tangy preserved lemons to balance out the sweetness of their dishes , such as a Tagine and Couscous .

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Irish Independent...........Weekend magazine September 2013

                                              All About Bacon Masterclass with eatlikeagirl


Friday, 13 September 2013

" An Indonesian Feast " Recipes courtesy of Chef Kevin O'Toole from Chameleon Restaurant .


Here at last  is your Bonus Surprise , a couple of recipes courtesy of Chef Kevin O'Toole .
  So this weekend , if you are feeling dampened by a dull rainy day , wile away the afternoon blues and lift your spirits with a batch of these ..... If you can add an open fire ... Highbank Orchard Honeyed Cider....  a pretty shaggy dog , a super model or a handsome rugged man !!!! so much the better ...  This is immediate gratification on so many levels !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

CHAMELEON , An Indonesian Utopia in Temple Bar , Dublin 2. @ChameleonFood

 
 Chameleon in Temple Bar has had an enduring presence on the Dublin Food Scene since the mid 90's and most recently picking up Best World Cuisine at this year's Irish Restaurant Awards 2013  It is run by husband and wife Kevin & Carol O'Toole , While Carol oversees the Front of House , Kevin takes great pride in the attention to details required to produce Award-Winning food . I love his own personal take inspired by Indonesian Culture and tailored for an Irish audience , while showcasing Irish produce - Wicklow Lamb , Broightergold's rapeseed oil ,Highbank Orchard's Ciders among a few......

Thursday, 29 August 2013

" The New Age of Irish Chefs " ( Part 3 ) .Tom Walsh @SamphireDublin

 
Samphire Restaurant  at the Waterside Hotel  , is located in the seaside village of Donabate , on the North side of Dublin . Shortlisted in the Best Hotel Restaurant Category at this Year Irish Restaurant Awards 2013 . Its Success relies without a doubt on its Executive Head Chef Tom Walsh  , and not surprisingly, who was also shortlisted in the Best Chef Category .
He is one to watch , with plenty of flair and his innovative Culinary additions that ensures each dish shines , not with cheffy attitudes but with perfectly paired flavours .
We were greeted warmly by the staff , who proved to be courteous , friendly and polite throughout the evening . We were shown to a window side table , where the views of Dublin bay were spectacular .
My only gripe is with the decor of the dining room , which I found to be drab . But I was soon distracted by the Menu on offer . It sang with seasonality and imagination .

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Cauliflower Rice with Singaporean Prawns , A take on Street Food , " Inexpensive and Low Calorie "


Cauliflower Rice  with Singaporean Prawns ,  A take on Street Food , suitable from light lunches to dinner . As well as being an excellent way to eat healthily and loose weight , this slightly sweet , hot and spicy dish is filling and delicious .
Chinese rice wine vinegar and fermented soya bean sauce  are used to enchance flavour and also imparts a very light earthy fragrance .
With Value in mind , all major ingredients are from LIDL , providing you with a meal for two , all under €5 and a bonus of under 300 Calories per serving .

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Courgetti & Irish Haddock Fillets , A bistro - style Classic Revamped ....." Inexpensive and Low calorie "

COURGETTI  or better known as Courgette Linguine teamed here with BAKED IRISH HADDOCK, GINGER , SPRING ONION , LIME & SOY is an exciting and substantial dish , based on seasonally available produce and comparatively inexpensive ingredients .  This is everyday eating at it's best .
Value is always an overriding factor for many and sourcing of ingredients for Quality and Costs can be time consuming but it is an exercise that has to be done daily or weekly. So following this ethos , I took myself to LIDL .  And here is a meal for two  , all under €5 and to top it all under 300 calories per serving .

Saturday, 10 August 2013

" The New Age of Irish Chefs " , ( Part 2) Ian Ussher @ BijouBistro .

 
Here is a young Chef to keep an eye on , Ian Ussher , Executive Head Chef @BijouBistro .
 Fresh from The Greenhouse and Bang Restaurants . This young man with a well developed sense of identity and firm commitment to Artisan Suppliers, is full of the promise of something refreshingly Unique to come . Through his hands , ingredients either from the fields , land or sea , he ensures their essence shines through finally on your plate in all glory .

Bijou Bistro  , a very popular haunt with the locals of Dublin 6 , resides in the heart of Rathgar Village . A very warm welcome greeted our arrival by very friendly and polite staff , as we took in the large colourful Art Nouveau tableau and fetching lighting chandeliers. The look is welcoming , cosy and unpretentious ,
We immediately felt at ease and settled into a relaxed dining experience .

Saturday, 3 August 2013

" The New Age of Irish Chefs " , (Part1) Cathal Leonard @chefstip69 , Indisputable Star







Does the name Cathal Leonard @chefstip69 mean anything to you ? Well !!! To all Foodies out there .... It should .
While we are very fortunate in Ireland to have many great Chefs , there are a few who shines above everyone else and one such man is Cathal Leonard , a very private and far too modest Chap .
Previously and for many years Head Chef @ChapterOneDub and for the past 16 months Executive Head Chef @TownKildareSt .... But last night , Cathal Leonard did his last Service at Town Kildare Street .
 He is moving on .... But as to where ??? still under wraps .
 What a loss to TownKildareSt !!! as this is one Chef who sure can cook and has the palate of a God .  I was fortunate to have worked with such a great Chef  when I was myself  a Chef in Chapter One many moons ago .  He is a true believer in Clean flavours , Seasonality and Imagination . Watch this space , He will be the next to hang his own Michelin * . And well deserved,  it will be too and I cannot wait to go and eat his Divine food once again .

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A NEW TWIST @FadeStSocial " Craft Beers , Cocktails & Flatbreads " from Dylan McGrath


Fade St Social by Dylan McGrath opened last October to great acclaim with a Gastro Bar , Restaurant as well as The Bar & Wintergarden . The Bar & Wintergarden has moved on a bit since then , offering nowadays a pretty impressive Beer & Cider Menu with well over 40 Craft Beers . Choose a beer that has been aged in Oak Whiskey Barrel to a foamy Franziskanner or blow your socks off with a sup of Ginger Beard , fiery stuff !!!

And don't forget to grab a bite to eat as well . Wood fired Flatbreads , some familiar and European flavours are assembled in an uncomplicated way  in delivering that perfect mouthful on a very crisp base , Heaven ...... HOLD ON ..... where 's my beer to wash all this down .

Thursday, 18 July 2013

" From Dubai to Dublin " McGettigan's Cookhouse & Bar . Dublin. @mcgettigansdub



McGettigan have brought their successful Award Winning concept to Dublin with the opening of  McGettigan's Cookhouse & Bar . The restaurant and bar is located in the famous North Star Hotel, close to the IFSC , which has recently been  fully refurbished to a deluxe 4 * and given an overall contemporary new look , with a range of luxury Premier Club rooms and suites , meeting and conference facilities , fully equipped gym & Scandinavian sauna.
The Cookhouse & Bar is a relaxed eatery with an open Kitchen in an American Cookhouse style . With Executive Chef  Craig Higgins at the helm , committed to using the finest Irish quality meat , fish , fruit and vegetables , which are sourced locally and from producers within a 20 km radius , to create dishes that are fresh and in season .From Ray Collier Butchers... Brendan Guinan amazing vegetables... Iona Fruit farm... ,  The menu caters for all tastes and includes " Specials of the day " which are updated every morning .

Monday, 15 July 2013

" SHAKEN " A Classic Millionaire..@MintBarDublin..at the WESTIN. Dublin & " STIRRED" A twist with Rhubarb


Mad about Cocktails , these days and I enjoyed a delicious and very addictive " Millionaire " cocktail, the other day in THE MINT BAR  at the WESTIN HOTEL on college green . Shaken and not stirred by the Master Mixologist himself. Mr Karl Byrne . A great Classic that transported me back to the sandy beaches of St James in  Barbados . An exotic blend of  Myers Jamaican rum , sloe gin , apricot brandy , grenadine pomegranate syrup and fresh lime juice . Heaven ......

" The Mint Bar " @ The Westin , college street , Dublin . Tel : 01-6451322 . www.themintbar.ie

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

RTE FOOD...... Best of Irish .... July 2013... www.Rte food .ie

RTE FOOD ..... Best of Irish ... learn how to perfect the Afternoon Tea Taste by Patrick Hanlon

Robert Jacob , The CookerySchool@Donnybrook fair.




 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, 15 June 2013

CHAPTER ONE , revisited ..... Lunch @ChapterOneDub

 
A gorgeous Lunch at Chapter One and as usual great food and service . Here are some pictures to whet your appetite .

Easy Food Magazine... June 2013 issue no 85.. Chef 's Corner

Easy Food Magazine ... June issue 2013 ... Chef 's Corner


 

You can see this recipe under Recipes Section of the Blog 


Sunday, 9 June 2013

THE MAGPIE INN ..... Dalkey . Co. Dublin , @magpiedalkey


The Magpie Inn right at the very centre of Dalkey Village , serves reasonably priced , modern Gastrobar food and offers an extensive list of Craft Beers & Ciders .
The decor with a modern feel yet retaining an aged character , lends to a very relaxed , cosy atmosphere , which could easily keep you staying there all day . Weather permitting , the large windows open out and if you are lucky to secure a table outside , it makes for an ideal spot for people watching .
We dropped in on a Sunday for some Brunch -Lunch . The staff are very helpful and friendly and we are immediately settled in despite the fact that the place was busy . A very good start .

Saturday, 25 May 2013

THE LAST SUPPER " A fiery and sublime Chilli "


In a recent interview for THE IRISH TIMES  , I was asked " But if you only had a tenner to go shopping with.....  I answered that I would get the ingredients for a fiery Chilli Con Carne and a Corona beer to wash it all down . And ever since , everyone have been asking me " Well , when are we getting the recipe ? So , finally here is my recipe to which I have made a couple of tweaks which I think elevates it from the delicious to the sublime with a perfect balance of heat , earthiness and sweetness . The joy of this recipe is, it takes half the time to prepare as most of the cooking is done in the oven or in a slow cooker , leaving you time to enjoy a cold beer or a cocktail
Originally from Texas not Mexico as is widely believed , the famous Chilli Con Carne  or Tex Mex Chilli has been an international favourite for ever .

Saturday, 18 May 2013

CHAPTER ONE ... Parnel square, Dublin 1, @ChapterOneDub


Chapter One , located in the lower ground floor of the Irish writers Museum on Parnel square is
undoubtedly one of Dublin Finest Restaurant . An Award winning Michelin * restaurant offering great food and attentive service . With Chef owner Ross Lewis at the helm , this Michelin * establishment focuses on local produce & seasonal produce to create an array of modern dishes  and never disappoint . Winner of numerous Awards , Ross Lewis motto is "  Good cooking starts with good produce  " .
I had the pleasure and was lucky enough to have been trained by this Master Chef earlier on in my Career and What great memories and experiences they are and which I cherish very dearly .

Monday, 6 May 2013

ROLY'S BISTRO .... Ballsbridge. Dublin 4, @rolysbistro


 "Roly's Restaurant" in Ballsbridge has been one of the most popular landmark in Dublin 4 since the 1990's . Within easy walking distance from the RDS and Herbert park , this is the ideal place for lunch or a relaxed dinner date in the evening  or a family's celebration .
While the Upstairs restaurant  offers  an A la carte Menu and great selection of wines , The Café & Bakery downstairs offers a more casual dining alternative , from Breakfast to Fresh breads and a mouth watering selection of Cakes  & Desserts .
With a firm philosophy , of carefully sourced local ingredients as the  sound foundation of cooking  , a reasonably priced seasonal Menu , Classic dishes , friendly , buzzy and welcoming ambiance , Roly's Bistro is a firm favourite in my household .
Deep banquettes , Crisp white linen table cloths , Fresh flowers  , Beautiful prints and the glorious golden yellow painted walls , the restaurant exudes Old French Style Chic .