Friday, June 29, 2012

The Perfect Gift : A Butchery Demo with Pat Whelan

It's summer time (allegedly) and I know the weather is going to improve dramatically - hey, it couldn't get much worse...  So what do we like to do when the sun is shining?  Well men love to fire up the grill and have a big BBQ.  But they tend to stick to the same cuts - chops, burgers, steaks... all the stuff they're used to.  But there's so much more variety available, and it tastes amazing.

Pat and Alistair demonstrating pork butchery

So how do you find out about all of these secret cuts of meat?  Well I have the perfect solution for you.  On Tuesday 10th July, renowned craft butcher Pat Whelan is holding an evening butchery demonstration class in Avoca Monkstown, where he'll show you how to use knives safely, butcher pork and beef and give you a new found confidence and understanding of the most beautiful cuts of meat.  You'll even get to try some of my fantastic Slow Roasted Shoulder of Pork.

Booking a place at the demonstration evening  is simple - just click HERE and follow the instructions.  The evening starts at 18.45 and you or somebody you love is in for a treat, I can assure you. The last demonstration evening sold out, so book ASAP!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Babaduck on the Radio

I have a lovely friend called Fiona (who I've mentioned before) who has a fantastic home business in Carlow called Hunters Lodge Living where she teaches townies the art of sustainability and GIY.  She has happy hens, delightful ducks and now even buzzy bees and also has found the time to do a Certificate in PR & Media Communications.  Frankly, she juggles so many things, she should be the ringmaster in a circus!.  As part of her certificate, Fiona had to write and produce her own radio documentary on The Arts which brought her to one of her loves, and something she's pretty good at herself, food blogging.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cherry and Coconut Muffins

Sweet and juicy cherries are in season right now and I absolutely love them. They do create a bit of a bloodbath when you try to stone them so I tend to don a pair of disposable rubber gloves to avoid the old purple finger look which isn't very flattering.  I decided to bake a batch of muffins using these purple juicebombs and some sweet dessicated coconut - they're ultra simple to make and take just 20 minutes to bake.  This recipe makes 18 muffins or you can turn it into a 2lb loaf for a teatime treat.

In fact, Aldi are selling them for 79c a punnet so run like the clappers and grab some now! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Join the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail

Spanish wine brand Campo Viejo, the flagship of Rioja wines, has joined forces with four of Dublin’s top restaurants for the return of the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail which runs from 27th June to 19th August.  A celebration of the best of Spanish cuisine, participants will have the opportunity to join the trail through Dublin city centre and discover the art and elegance of ‘tapeo’; the art of eating tapas. You will sample an array of small epicurean delights bursting with Spanish flavour that will tickle the taste buds and tantalise the senses.  Lucky you...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chicken Breasts in a Tarragon, Cream & White Wine Sauce*

Sometimes you cook food for pure enjoyment, and other times you just want a quick meal – but still want it to be flavoursome & nutritious, just a lot simpler. This is the perfect recipe for an evening in as it combines silky, luxurious, flavours but all in a recipe that’s on your plate within 30 minutes.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cooking a perfect Côte de Boeuf

I'll never apologise for my love of all things meat.  I absolutely adore steak and one of the most decadent cuts of all is the Côte de Boeuf.  Some butchers call it the Cowboy Cut but I know it as something which will cost you a small fortune in a restaurant but is stunningly easy to cook at home for a fraction of the cost.

This cut of beef is basically a ribeye with the bone still attached, or a slice of a beautiful rib roast - it's enough for one very hungry person (The Hubs) or one with more self-restraint who wanted leftovers for some delicious sandwiches the following day (me).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Father's Day to remember at Inchydoney

It may have escaped your notice but it's Father's Day this Sunday 17th June.  If you're feeling very generous this year, here's a fabulous idea for a gift.... Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa in Co. Cork has taken a new approach this year and is offering a Father’s Day "Fish For Your Dinner!" package.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kanchi Dine in the Dark at Taste of Dublin

Taste of Dublin begins in the Iveagh Gardens this Thursday 14th June and runs until Sunday 17th where a unique feature for this year's Taste is "Kanchi Dine in the Dark".  This experiential dining event will see festival goers served an exclusive tasting plate by legally blind waiting staff whilst immersed in complete darkness.  Festival goers will be guided to their tables, where they will be served a taster plate created by Ireland’s most acclaimed culinary experts. Without their sight to guide them, guests will experience the complex tastes, flavours and textures in a completely new and innovative way. In the blacked out dining room, everyone will be immersed in complete darkness, whether they are visually impaired or not. Each sitting will last approximately 30 minutes, after which guests have the opportunity to meet with the award winning chef who prepared their food, and to discuss cooking techniques and the local produce they have sampled.

There will be several sittings each day for the duration of the festival for both lunch and dinner with 25 festival goers served per sitting on a first come first served basis. The cost of entry to the ‘Kanchi Dine in the Dark’ pop-up restaurant is 8 Florins which will include the tasting plate and a glass of wine/non-alcoholic alternative per person.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pancetta and Parmesan Scones

Between the torrential rain and the gale force winds, I'm getting rightly browned off with this so-called summer. We're meant to be going for nice walks in the sunshine, sitting in the garden reading and having long leisurely BBQ's with cold drinks and lots of salad.  Scrap that - I'm so chilled to the bone that I'm half considering putting the electric blanket back onto the bed so I wanted some warming comforting food to lift my spirits.  Sometimes cake just doesn't cut it, so it was time for savoury - scones to be precise.  Full of tangy buttermilk and spiked with smoked pancetta, salty parmesan and a handful of chives for an oniony bite, these are perfect brunch fare.  They take minutes to make, minutes to bake and will keep you all warm and cosy inside.

They remind me of the fabulous Parmesan Scones made by possibly the best bakery in the world, Brown Hound Bakery in Drogheda which I absolutely adore, so this is my homage to Jeni & Reuven!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summery Nectarine and Lime Cake

While I was shopping yesterday, I saw my favourite summer stone fruit - the Nectarine.  I love it's smooth skin - much nicer than that of it's hairy cousin the Peach, and I could quite happily sit down with a whole punnet and devour them all in the sunshine.  But it's raining outside so I decided to turn my lovely nectarines into a comforting cake with lime zest added for some brightness and acidity.  I know that my Mammy in Law will appreciate a generous slice of this for her after dinner treat, as will we.

As this cake bakes, the fruit sinks into the soft batter so when it comes out of the oven, the fruit is nowhere to be seen, which is a bit of a disappointment.  Fear not, just turn it upside down and there are the nectarines, all warm and snug and surrounded by sticky, luscious cake.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Bloom-ing Marvellous Day Out

On Friday, I was a guest of Bord Bia at the 6th annual Bloom event in the Phoenix Park.  This celebration of gardening, food and family events runs from Thursday 31st May to Bank Holiday Monday 3rd June (so there's still time for you to go and have a fabulous day out, rain or shine...).