Sunday, July 27, 2014

Whipped Feta

Whipped wha?  Feta. I had it as part of a salad in Kilkenny a few weeks ago and it's been on my mind every since.  You know how sometimes you taste something unexpected and it's like an earworm running through your head and it won't go away?  Usually it's Ed Sheerin's Sing or the last song I've heard in the car before I go into work (Steps was the one that lasted longest) but this time it was real cheese.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Home on the Range

Decluttering.  A word that strikes fear into the hearts of most of us because despite our best intentions, we invariably build up a collection of stuff that we didn't even realise that we had.  Take the Mammy in law, for instance.  She's lived in her home since she got married 50 years ago and has steadily accumulated a collection of crockery and collectibles.  We always knew the living room was crammed full of pretty things but it all came to a head last week.  You see, older houses need rewiring and the electrician was coming to move sockets.  Work means moving stuff so she had to clear out the beautiful display cabinets and cupboards so that they could be moved.  Let me tell you now that Buckingham Palace probably have less in their collection than what made an appearance.  Sets and sets of dinner services which were passed down from her mother, a collection of glassware, some of which has been generously passed onto me, and some old pots from when she had a range cooker in the kitchen.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Goat Biscuits

Goat, I hear you say.  Has she finally lost the run of herself?  Actually no, I'm still quite as sane as I was last week but I've been playing around with a few biscuit recipes lately.  One I've always loved is my Oat and Vanilla Shortbread biscuits : they're exceedingly easy to make and every time I make them, they vanish in the blink of an eye.  We have quite a few new people in the day job and I forget that they've never tried a lot of my baking so now I have to go and do it all again, just for them.  Demanding beasts, the pair of them.  Anyway, back to the Goat.  It's now a Ginger and Oat biscuit - geddit? I've played with my original recipe to add some spicy ginger to the mix.  I used some ginger extract which I bought a while back but you can use ground ginger instead if you can't find any.  Some melted chocolate drizzle over the top completely transforms the original into a moreish, can't just eat one, treat.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review : Lunch at RIBA Stillorgan, Co. Dublin

CafĂ© Restaurant RIBA is opposite a taxi rank and the shopping centre on the always busy Kilmacud Road in Stillorgan. It's all dark wood and calming greys inside with two long banquettes opposite each other seating about 20 people in the main room.   A long counter with zinc barstools faces the street with an array of pastries and cookies on white cake stands framed by a pair of steel vintage style lamps. Grace Jones is on the stereo and two pretty chandeliers made from milk bottles add to the charm together with a herringbone wooden floor.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review : The Arch Bistro, Churchtown, Dublin 14

A suburban tree lined road is not the place you expect to find a restaurant serving stellar food.  Less than five minutes drive from the megamall that is Dundrum, The Arch Bistro is on the first floor of the Glenside Pub, its doorway festooned with impressive hanging baskets.  Upstairs in the quiet calm of the bistro, Stephen McArdle is cooking up a storm.  With a CV that started at Paul Rankin's Roscoff to One Pico via Alexis, he brings all his previous skill to the new summer menu at his restaurant.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Win A Trip to Chile with Cono Sur

Cono Sur, Ireland’s premium Chilean wine brand, is launching a search to find the ultimate dish to match their Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir.   The entrant with the most votes in Ireland will travel with a friend, compliments of Cono Sur, to compete in the Grand Finale held in Paris in November.   Here they will compete with finalists from Finland, Sweden & UK to win the overall prize of a trip for two to Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery in the heart of stunning Chile.

It could be you!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Is Food Shopping in France a Bargain? Mais Non!

At the weekend I was intrigued to read an article in the Irish Sunday Independent by Louise McBride claiming that French shoppers fill their trollies for half of what we pay here.  As a very regular visitor to France, I think I know my way around every supermarket chain and I must confess to even having a loyalty card for Auchan.  Don't judge me - it saves me a fortune sometimes!  The claims in the article were pretty misleading though and I think it's a case of "the grass is always greener" syndrome.  For parity, I'm going to compare a selection of products from both an Irish and French supermarket who offer online shopping : Tesco and Auchan.  Pull up a chair, this is rather interesting...

French Strawberries.  Delicieux!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review : Zuni Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, Kilkenny

It was time for a break. A staycation, if you like.  We had three days off together and didn't know where to go.  A few weeks ago, I was a guest of Trail Kilkenny at a wonderful long table dinner in Smock Alley which really showcased the best of what the county has to offer, from both a food and craft perspective.  The decision was made - we were off to Kilkenny.  I've eaten at Zuni many times before and love Maria Raftery's style of cooking so decided to take advantage of Zuni's great midweek offer : 2 nights accommodation in their boutique hotel with breakfast and one dinner in the restaurant for €250.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Review : Taste of Dublin 2014

After a well-deserved break in the new food capital of Ireland, Kilkenny, we thought we'd round off our holiday by visiting Taste of Dublin.  We missed it last year and I was wondering if it would be the same old layout with the same old exhibitors as had been the case year on year.  I was very pleasantly surprised with the 2014 event.  A samba group was playing at the entrance to bring a smile to the face of everybody queuing, and once inside, there were plenty of Florin vendors so no lengthy lines to buy the official currency.

The layout has changed dramatically with the exhibition theatre on your left and the main music stage on the right which works so much better, allowing the crowds to sit on the grass or the many Elephant beanbags with a drink in the sun, enjoying the acts.  We really liked Frankie Says who had lots of people up on the dancefloor.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Review : Le Barbier Lillois, Lille, France

While wandering around Lille on our weekend away, we discovered Le Barbier Lillois.  Cobbled paths lead to a corner building on Rue de la Monnaie in the old town. A glass door opens into a long narrow room with a butchers counter against the wall & cosy tables beside the long glass window.