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 .