Thursday, 30 January 2014

Red Hot... Glorious Chillies

A word spelt in different ways , Chili, Chile,Chilli or Chilli pepper, the last is by all means the most accurate, insofar as it tells us that Chillies are from the Capsicum family, like the sweet peppers.
Indigenous to Central and South Americas, these fiery little pods now form part in many of the World's Cuisines. It was introduced to the rest of the World by Spanish and Portuguese navigators and through the Spice Trade found it's way to Europe, Central Asia and the Far East.
Chilli rapidly became an important ingredient in the food of South East Asia, China and India. So not surprising that today India is the World's largest producer, consumer and exporter of Chillies.
There are no less than 200 variety of Chillies and they come in all shapes, sizes, colour and level of hotness. In green, yellow, orange, red or black; From the bell shape of the West Indian Scotch bonnet, tiny pointed bird eye chilli to the large fleshly Hungarian yellow wax peppers; Fresh or dried, whole,as flakes or ground into spicy powders such as Cayenne, Chilli, and Paprika; Preserved in oils and vinegars or turn into sauces such as the World's famous Tabasco.
Dried Chilli flakes work well when fried in olive oil with garlic for an Italian style sauce, or Dry roasted over an open flame for a Mexican salsa. From Hungarian GoulashPuttanesca sauce from Italy, Mole Poblano from Mexico, Curries from India, Sambal from Indonesia, Harissa from North Africa or Gong Bao Chicken from the Sichuan region of China, Chilli is an essential part of these dishes.
Chilli is known to stimulate the appetite as well as improve circulation. High in Vitamin C,Beta carotene, Potassium as well as Vitamins B & E.
I don't know about you but I just love Chillies, and I must stress that I am very against de-seeding Chillies as I believe, much of the flavour & heat are in the seeds. Use less if you don't like your food too hot.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Michie Sushi.... Sandyford,Ranelagh,Dunlaoghaire & Rathcoole @MichieSushi

Michie Sushi is fast proving to be very popular with Dubliners these days and in the last 6 months, we have seen them expanding with two new branches, one in the South Beacon Centre in Sandyford and the latest in Avoca Store, Rathcoole.I was happy to see them opening in Sandyford, for while I am a big fan of Sushi, I have always found their place in Ranelagh a bit too small and cramped. The place in Sandyford, is far from what you would call," spacious" but it is bright, airy and the space has been well put to use.With tables,well spaced out, there is ample room to eat comfortably and there is also additional seating at the bar counter while observing the Chefs at work.
Sushi variety arises from different fillings, toppings, condiments and preparation as well as presentation which vary widely. Michie Sushi has a comprehensive menu, from hand made sushi to order, they also offer a selection of hot Japanese dishes and there's complimentary Green tea while you wait.
From a 6 pcs Nigiri sets @€10.50,an oblong hand pressed mound of sushi rice with a topping draped over it to the Maki roll 6 pcs set @€9.95, a cylindrical rolled sushi rice and filling wrapped in toasted seaweed,Miso Ramen noodles soup @ €11.22 ( Yes, €11.22 , I couldn't understand that at all !!!! or Mochi for dessert @ €3.41 ) to Yakisoba noodles @ €9.50.  However there is plenty of choice for every taste and budget, down  to the last cent literally!!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Orange,Pistachio & Polenta Cake # Gluten free

This must be one of my all time favourite cake. The basic recipe was given to me by a Greek lady who used to work in my studio many moons ago and I recently came across it among the pages of an old cook book while on the look out for another recipe altogether. The Greeks particularly enjoy their sweet treats and their cakes always feature seasonal produce such as fruits and nuts, and many are topped with a honey or citrus fruit syrup that creates an irresistibly soft and moist texture. I have tweaked this recipe many times over the years, using various combination of fruits & spices. So use this as a basic recipe and change the flavours to go with moods and fashions and it's gluten free too ....
With value in mind , I have sourced all ingredients from LIDL.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

"The New Age of Irish Chefs"( Part 4) Brian Walsh @Downstairs-ie

Downstairs Restaurant is located on the lower ground floor of Gilbert & Wright Bar in Clontarf , on the old Howth road. As the name suggest, it is in a basement but this is no ordinary basement; Think more along the line of a sous sol adaptation of a New York loft. The interior features a two tiered dining area, the front, with impressive high ceilings has large windows, allowing natural light to flood the space.Dark oak wooded flooring, silver studded oak tables, elephant grey walls, low-slung leather banquettes and mixed seating upholstered in jazzy prints. creates a relaxed space for dining, drinking and socialising.
With Head Chef Brian Walsh,who has previously worked in Mint and Patrick Guilbaud, both Michelin * establishments, it is no surprise that the restaurant was awarded a Bib Gourmand in 2012 from Michelin Guide and has retained it ever since and well deserved it is too .
We are here for Sunday lunch;While offering more innovative dishes and remaining price competitive for the "A la carte menu, " Brian Walsh has ensured that the dish selection for lunch is inventive, together with their Steak night on Monday & Tuesday, when you can avail of a 10 oz prime Irish striploin, flat capped mushrooms, caramelised onions, skinny fries, pepper sauce or roast garlic butter and a draught beer or a glass of house wine for only €19.95. A bargain but all this has obviously kept a steady flow of loyal customers, as the place was buzzy.

Monday, 6 January 2014

R.T.E FOOD..... 6th January 2014

Bia Blasta Blog

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Cooking for two or going it alone?

Are you in the mood for love and looking for a novel idea for Valentine’s Day? Well if so, the Cookery School Donnybrook fair has teamed up with renowned chef, Robert Jacob to create a master class for two, followed by a Valentine’s supper featuring all of the dishes created during the evening.
The Valentine’s Day cooking class for two is priced at €120 per couple and comes with all the trimmings to make it a truly romantic affair. .
So if you are free, single and ready to mingle then Cooking for One is definitely the class for you and follows hot on the heels of Valentine’s Day, taking place from 10am – 2pm on Saturday, February 15th. He will take participants through a hands-on course, which will focus on a waste not want not concept, which can prove something of a challenge when shopping and cooking for the most important person in your life – you.
All classes take place in the purpose built, state-of-the-art cookery school, located above Donnybrook Fair fine food store on Morehampton Road. Gift vouchers available.
Call 01 668 3556 or check out