Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ladies Night at The Tannery

Avid readers of the blog will know that myself and The Hubs were at The Tannery in Dungarvan last year and we had a fabulous time - so much so, that I kept telling everybody how flipping brilliant it was, how lovely the food was and how beautiful the townhouse accommodation was.  It was then decided that we'd go there for a Lovely Ladies Night Away - we've usually had these events in Dublin to accommodate the majority, but this time we all travelled down to Fungarvan by plane, train and automobile.  Of course, my departure time from Maison Babaduck clashed with the feckin' Ireland -v- Italy rugby match, so I watched the first lacklustre 15 minutes at home and listened to the rest in the car, missing a fantastic try-filled second half.  Boo hiss.

Eventually, I arrived in Dungarvan where I illegally abandoned my car temporarily so we could check into our rooms in the Townhouse.  I had a gorgeous king-sized room all to myself, which pleased me greatly as I could scatter my belongings over every available surface without anybody telling me to tidy up (I am generally a very tidy person, but every once in a while, I like to rebel!).  The rest of the Lovely Ladies arrived in dribs and drabs and we made our way over to Merrys pub for a few glasses of water and a chat.  All too soon, it was time to get ready for our dinner in The Tannery - and we were almost on time.  Our table wasn't ready so we sat downstairs and perused the cocktail list : a Metropolitan, a Martini and many Salted Caramel Martinis were ordered, together with a Diet Coke for the abstinent one (let's call her BB).  Menus were read and discussed - the common thread was "oh, I'm having those chips too".  The chips with smoked paprika aioli are a thing of beauty and I'd happily eat them every day if I could...

Salted Caramel Martinis were the hit of the night...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

San Francisco Food : Day 4

After the previous evening's Coriander Incident, The Hubs wanted to eat normal food with no danger of encountering the evil herb, so we decided to have something comforting & incredibly bad for us.  We went to Mo's for burgers.

The view from the top of Twin Peaks overlooking the City

I should point out that we didn't have any breakfast that morning, as we were waiting to hear from my friend Heidi about a meet-up time.  As usual, things happened at the last minute so we decided to grab a quick lunch before we met up.  I had heard from numerous sources that a fine diner called Mo's (1322 Grant St) was just down the street from our lovely little apartment in North Beach and so it came to pass that we found ourselves in a busy, bustling and friendly lunchtime room with the smell of burgers wafting from the griddle and bottomless lemonades to cool us down (it was in the 90's and we were rather warm!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Love Day To You

As you know already, today is (joint) Mammy's Birthday Day.  Presents were presented, cards were opened and lots of birthday wishes were given to the special ladies in our lives.  And that's where I thought it would end. Boy, was I wrong -  I got a lovely email from Emma at Glenisk yesterday asking me if I'd like to be the blog they like in their monthly newsletter.  You can sign up for it here by the way...

I didn't have to think once, let alone twice.  The answer was absolutely, positively, no hesitation YES PLEASE and so an email dropped into my inbox this morning and what did I see but a beautiful intro to the blog written by little old me.  Best Valentine's present ever.

Hope you're all having a lovely day.  Remember that you are all loved by many people and don't forget to return that love.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Funny Valentine Biscuits

On February 14th in our house, the emphasis is never on romance as both of our mums were born on Valentine's Day, so it's usually all about them.  Eventually we'll exchange cards and even a little gift but it's never a huge palaver because mammies are far more important.

These biscuits are very special but also very easy to make.  I used a variation of the sour cream icing from Sarah's Celebration Cake but made it very romantic by using white chocolate and a mixed red berry puree so it's very pretty in pink.  The buttery biscuits are spiked with lemon and lime zest for an extra burst of citrus.  If you want, you can replace 50g of the flour with cocoa powder for a chocolate hit - the contrast of the deep brown biscuit against the pale pink icing would be really pretty.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pristine Cuisine at La Cucina

On Friday last, myself & The Hubs set off down the M7 for a weekend break in Limerick.  The eating plan for the weekend was pretty much mapped out - so many places to eat, so little time!  Our Friday night dinner was to be at Bridgestone listed and Best Casual Restaurant winner, La Cucina in Castletroy.  Run by dream team Lorraine (@italianfoodie) and Bruno (@mritalianfoodie), this small but perfectly formed Italian restaurant draws customers from all over Limerick.  Our taxi driver told us that "the queues are out the door but the pizzas are fantastic". Now that's a recommendation!

The Bridgestone Guide loves La Cucina too

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Greek Beef and Aubergine Bake

I saw this in a magazine a few months ago and loved the concept of it all, the only problem is that I'm not a big fan of lamb mince as I find that it's really fatty and oily.  So I decided to swap it for some lovely Pat Whelan mince which was crying out for a good home!  The original recipe had black olives which neither of us like, so I left them out (this means you can add them back in if you like them, the same with the lamb).  It's a lovely warming winter dish and the little salty cubes of feta scattered throughout the beef are fantastic little flavourbombs.  This also tastes even better the next day when it's had time to mellow a bit.  If you're feeling virtuous, serve this with a lovely Greek salad.  If not, just grab a spoon and dig in...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sarah's Special Celebration Cake

I do love chocolate cake and I've made loads of variations of it over the years from a Creme Fraiche cake, to a Ricotta cake, to a squidgy marmalade infused one.  They've all been phenomenal and I was intrigued by a tweet from my friend (i.e. she tweeted me) Nigella Lawson with a picture of a cake she made for a school sale.  It looked so homemade and retro that I had to give it a go.  And then I discovered there was a birthday in work so it was the perfect excuse to make this cake.  Actually, we discovered on Monday morning that Sarah the birthday girl had also managed to get engaged at the weekend as well, so the cake did double duty!  For the record, her ring is a beautiful diamond and platinum vintage-style rock and it's utterly exquisite.

The secret of this cake is sour cream - both in the batter and the icing.  Yes I know it sounds a bit bizarre but it makes the cake really moist and stops the icing from becoming sickly sweet like buttercream.  The recipe wording was a little confusing and all over the place so I've taken the liberty of rearranging it in an easier to follow format.  It's an all-in-one cake mix and it's an absolute doddle to make, as is the icing (which looks very runny when it's first made but firms up beautifully in the fridge).  This poor cake never made it past 11am and kept the office silent as they all munched away...