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 :

( 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 ......