Sunday, September 23, 2012

Roast Herby Lemony Chicken with Sticky Gnocchi

When I first met the man who became The Hubs over a decade and a half ago, he had a nickname bestowed on him by his charming friends.  He was known as Bobby.  Why?  Because his favourite food was chicken and King of The Hill was a huge hit at the time.  Fifteen years on and some things never change.  The Hubs still loves chicken nearly as much as he loves me and I know that if I say I'm roasting a chicken for Sunday dinner, then his eyes light up and he looks forward to coming home.  Hang on, he should always look forward to coming home!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Salted Caramel & Apple Cake

I have just returned from France where I stockpile my precious jars of local Fleur du Sel Caramel, or Salted Caramel as it's known here (6 jars, this time...).  It's become a cult ingredient of late, beloved of celeb chefs like Nigella who was photographed dripping in the stuff - I'd hate to try to wash that out of my hair... or turned into decadent martinis in one of my favourite restaurants, The Tannery. Me, I just love the stuff.  It has a grown up edge compared to standard sugary caramel and I've made it into all sorts of dishes from homemade icecream to very grown up desserts.  Listen, just give me a spoon and I'm in my happy place.  As the weather is changing, it's time to make an autumnal cake.  This traybake is warmed up with a healthy hit of cinnamon which melds beautifully with the sweet apple and salted caramel to make a sticky decadent cake.  You can fancy it up by turning it into a sponge (use 2 x 8 inch cake tins and sandwich together with a cloud of Calvados whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel) or bake it in a loaf tin for afternoon tea.  I made my cake in a 9-inch square tin, lined with baking parchment for easy removal.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review : A Month In Marrakesh

Let's call this an early birthday present... I was sent a copy of a gorgeous new book to review and tell you about.  A Month in Marrakesh is written by Andy Harris and it's a celebration of the wonderful tastes and cultural diversity of the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review : Eden Bar & Grill

I've been to the original Eden in Temple Bar a few times and while the food is lovely, the service has been haphazard at times.  So I was hoping that things would be better at the newest branch, Eden Bar & Grill on South William Street in Dublin 2.  I was having lunch with three friends, the Bon Viveur, the Country Girl and the City Chick and it was their first lunch service so we expected great things. It turned out to be a bit of a curate's egg experience - good in parts, but a bit of a letdown in others.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review : Bella Napoli, Clonakilty

A few weeks ago, myself and The Hubs had a wonderful break in West Cork at Inchydoney which is located just outside Clonakilty.  We decided to venture into the town on Friday night for dinner and drinks, and as we were new to the area, we asked our very friendly taxi driver Richard where he would recommend.  He gave us a short list of options and mentioned that his favourite restaurant Bella Napoli was sadly still closed due to the floods which devasted the town a few weeks previously.  Not so, we were delighted to find that Bella Napoli had just reopened that very evening, albeit with a limited menu.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tropical Coconut Banana Muffins

I was going through a waste not, want not day at home - there was a small bunch of browning bananas in the fruit basket that needed to be used or binned, together with half a bag of dessicated coconut from a batch of Cherry and Coconut Muffins and I needed cupboard space.  It was only right to bring the two of them together to make a fantastic muffin recipe which also converts to a loaf cake if that's what you prefer.  I covered the top of these muffins with some vanilla buttercream liberally sprinkled with more coconut.  Delicious!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ferry Bad Food on the Oscar Wilde

We love going on holidays.  It's the anticipation of packing the car with our clothes and my cooking utensils so I can make some home cooked dinners in our apartment or mobile home in France.  We are confirmed Francophiles (ignoring the fact that The Hubs can only say "large beer please" in French...) and we have had many wonderful holidays there over the past 15 years.  We usually get the ferry as we can fill the car to capacity with fantastic wine on the way home and I do appreciate a night at sea to prepare ourselves for the holiday that lies ahead.  The only negative is the food.  And boy, it's bad.

We've only ever had one ferry crossing to France where we could honestly say "that was delicious".  That accolade belongs to Brittany Ferries who sail from Cork to Roscoff every Saturday.  Their catering is superb - fresh fish, meat, bread... you name it, they have it and it is worth every penny.  I commend their food policy and wish others would take example.  Sadly, we sailed (yet again) with Irish Ferries on their flagship Oscar Wilde ship from Rosslare to Roscoff where every year we board the ship saying "the food will have improved, won't it?".

All fur coat...