Tag Archive | food

Taste of Dublin

I went to Taste of Dublin in Iveagh Gardens yesterday. There were live bands playing as I wondered around from restaurant to food stall. There were also lots of live demonstrations and famous chefs!

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I started with cake, of course I did! Le Patissier had an amazing display of goodies. They had won both Gold and Silver at the Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards in 2014.

I tried the chocolate indulgence which had a beautiful chocolate mousse inside with a raspberry coulis. I wish I’d gone back to try everything.

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I visited the Glenisk stand and got a scrummy Glenisk Banana with Milk Chocolate and Caramel Yogurt Cup!

Ingredients:
4 tbsp Glenisk Organic Greek Style Natural Yogurt
½ banana, sliced
1 tbsp caramel or Dulce de Leche
1 tbsp milk chocolate, chopped

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I had a great chicken dish at Saba, how do they do their rice?

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Harvey Nichols’ restaurant Rock Lobster served up fish and chips… Shame some of the chips were hard!

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The Dumpling Pot Sticker from Soder and Ko was amazing. I’ve never been to the restaurant, but I definitely will be! They serve a creative blend of Scandinavian and Asian inspired food and drink. They partnered with Hop House 13, the latest beer from The Brewers Project at St James Gate.

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Dr Dr Doolittle really enjoyed Crean’s beer AND their little make shift pub!

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I bought a couple of packs of One-der blend by Patels 1941. It’s a versatile spice blend that can create 10 different currys. What a fantastic idea. I also love the fact that Ramen Patel Jr’s background is similar to mine; born in Ireland with an Irish Mother, and Indian Father who was born in Africia.

The company had won a competition to have a stall at the event and it seemed to be very busy. I’m so excited for them, and wish them every success!

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I bought a bottle of truffle oil from Pukara Estate…. fancy!!!

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I met The Cupcake Bloke! He gave me a garland (and a huge scone), and I bought these six stunning cupcakes. I’ll update you all on my Facebook and Twitter page as I eat them….

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I had a great time but I spent a lot; it wasn’t cheap when you consider the ticket price, the food and drink prices and then any bits and pieces you might buy, but it was fun!

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Thanks Cupcake Bloke!

Melissa xx

In My Kitchen

Bloom 2015 took place in the Phoenix Park Dublin over the June bank holiday weekend, from Thursday 28th May until Monday 1st June. Over 100,000 visitors headed to the Phoenix Park in Dublin. There were show gardens, cookery and craft demonstrations, free gardening advice from the experts, Irish food produce, live entertainment and gardening workshops, oh and rain… Lots and lots of rain.

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Goal garden at Bloom 2015

Unsurprisingly,  I bought lots of goodies for my kitchen!

In My Kitchen…

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… Are butters from local producers Blast and Wilde! I love Love LOVE this stuff! Their infused butters are incredible on meat or fish, or even on a bit of bread. I also picked up a pot of delicious garlicky pesto…

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In My Kitchen…

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Is was a packet of Kilbeggan oat chocolate chip cookies. We ate them! They were soooooo good! However there is a packet of oats left, so I might attempt my own version or i’ll make tasty porridge.

In My Kitchen…

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… Is the latest addition to the Newgrange Gold family. The smokey Rapeseed oil is delicious. I’m a huge fan of their oils and recently attended an earlier morning breakfast there as part of the Boyne Valley Food Series.

I also picked up a bottle of WildWood blackberry vinegar. It’s amazing! It has a wonderful sharp, sweet taste.

In My Kitchen…

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… Are these spice mixes by the brilliant Green Saffron. Green Saffron is a multi-award-winning family business based in Cork, Ireland. “We passionately produce stunning spice blends, sauces and chutneys from spices sourced by family members in Moradabad, India….” I can’t wait to try them.

In My Kitchen…

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… Are several jars of Big Red Kitchen jams and their yummy butterscotch sauce which is great at this time of the year with icecream.

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In My Kitchen…

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… Was a suprise from Dr Oetker yesterday! They sent me their new cupcake centres. I can’t wait to try them out and report back.

Melissa xx

Dawn Chorus at Newgrange Gold

I woke up at stupid o’clock 3am on Sunday morning to head to Newgrange Gold’s farm in the Boyne Valley. They had teamed up again with Birdwatch Ireland to bring us the dawn chorus… My reward for doing all this was going to be a locally produced Boyne Valley Food artisan breakfast!

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Participants met at Crewbane just outside Slane for a guided walk by expert, Franck Ar Moenner of Birdwatch Ireland Meath.  Frank was an incredibly passionate French guy who could spend every minute of the day talking about birds.

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At first we heard wrens, robins, blackbirds,  and as the morning went on we heard all sorts of other birds. We wondered on down from the farm towards the river to explore further.

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Photo by Boyne Valley Food

I can’t say I could tell you which bird was which, but I could hear a difference. Between churping and tweeting and tra-la-la-las, it was beautiful. I didn’t quite understand the three phrases of song that Franck talked about, but he said they were just improvising! It was fascinating and a great experience.

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It was such a beautiful, fresh morning and I was thrilled that it hadn’t rained but after all the walking I was ready for breakfast!

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Jack and Daryl from New Grange Gold met us back at the house with a fantastic spread.

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There was Boyne Valley Blue cheese,  Sheridans crackers and Big Red Kitchen onion chutney.

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There was Bakelicious brown bread, The Whole Hoggs sausages and white pudding and Big Red Kitchen chutney. The biggest suprise was the porridge. It was lovely and warming at 6.30am! Thanks to Daryl at Newgrange Gold for the recipe below…

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Newgrange Gold Camelina Porridge:

1 cup Dunany Farm Spelt Berries
1 cup Kilbeggan Porridge Oats
4 cups of Goats Milk (or cows milk) – we used Michael Finnegan’s milk
2 Tbsp Camelina Oil
1/2 cup of Apple Juice – we used Mark
Jenkinson’s from Cockagee Cider
1 tbsp Honey-we used our own honey
Pinch of salt

To serve:
Drizzle some Camelina, Honey and Big Red Kitchen’s Raspberry and Vanilla jam over your hot porridge and Enjoy.

Method :
Soak the spelt berries in cold water over night. In the morning, drain the spelt berries and boil them for 45 mins. Add all your ingredients including the spelt berries into a pot and simmer
for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. And Serve!

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Check out Boyne Valley Food Series for more events.

Melissa xx

In My International Kitchen

Once again I find myself sipping a soya chai latte at Mumbai International Airport, waiting to board a flight to London. My visits always seem to be as manic as the country itself, so it’s nice to take a little time out to write a blog post before I leave it all behind….

In My Kitchen Garden…

… Are mango trees full of delicious sweet fruit. This time of year is terribly hot but atleast the fruit is ready for picking!

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In My Garden Kitchen…

… Are hundreds of coconuts! The green coconuts have turned brown with the formation of a hard husk shell.

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In My Garden Kitchen…

… Hangs these delicious bread fruits. Best eaten sliced and fried!

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In My Garden Kitchen…

… Are these custard apples. I actually think they taste more like a pear!

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In My Kitchen…

… Sits this beautiful wooden juicer! It belonged to my Grandparents and is presumably very old!

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In My Irish Kitchen…

… Is a fantastic display of home baked goodies. I completed a home baking course with a good friend. We made cheese and herb scones, banana and walnut bread and berry muffins. It was great fun!

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In My Irish Kitchen…

… Are loads of goodies from Dr Oetker! I recently took part in an interview for their ‘Even Better Baking With’ series and they were kind enough to send a thank you gift.

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This great series is brought to you by Celia fromFig Jam and Lime Cordial.

Melissa xx

Ballymaloe Cookery School part 2…

Once upon a time there lived a girl who loved tea and cake. She marvelled at elegant cake plates and fancy cake forks. She was in awe of seasonal produce and local goodies. This girl had a dream….

The dream was to make beautiful cakes and scones, perfect coffees and delicious teas and sell them from a teashop. Her teashop…

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I spent two weeks at Ballymaloe Cookery School for a life changing reason- to learn about the business of food. I met some incredibly talented, smart, strong women (yes, an all women group….) who supported, nurtured and challenged me.

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We were facilitated by the wonder woman Blathnaid Bergin. The Restaurant Advisor has over 25 years experience in the catering and hospitality industry and was perfectly placed to provide us with the knowledge and skills to set up in the industry. I was sooooo inspired!

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Blathnaid Bergin and Rory O'Connel

Fionuala Lennon from The Pub Design Company joined us for a wonderfully creative day of cutting and pasting! She explained the importance of a good location and a good retail space. We explored design trends and how important a design brief is.

Then came the mood board:

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Anne and Ross from Hancock and Abberton brought Fixx Coffee to Ballymaloe to give us an introduction to coffee (and tea). As a non coffee drinker, I was fasinated by all the different coffee types and the crazy machinery that it takes to make good coffee. “Fixx is an award winning blend of Sumatran, Ethiopian and Brazilian beans that is perfectly balanced to tease and tantalise the palate with its smooth, creamy and pleasantly spicy sensations…” Not my cup of tea at all, but their Chaa tea certainly was!

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It was an exhausted two weeks, I haven’t written or read so much in a long time. I’ll be back at Ballmaloe Cookery School next year to attend the teashop course; don’t the cakes below look amazing! I’m so excited about my future…

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Teashop course

First things first though…. RESEARCH TIME! I need to drink more tea (and I need to find someone to taste test coffee). I need to eat taste more cakes, scones and breads. I need to find recipes and write a menu… Oh, and I’ll need a premises!

I’ve a busy, exciting future ahead!

Melissa xx

Ballymaloe Cookery School part 1…

Once upon a time there lived a girl who loved tea and cake. She marvelled at elegant cake plates and fancy cake forks. She was in awe of  seasonal produce and local goodies. This girl had a dream….

As I write this post, I’m mid way through a course that will undoubtedly change my life. Not only because of its content but also because of the very surroundings I find myself in. I’m currently studying at the world famous Ballymaloe Cookery School.

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The School sits on a 100 acre organic farm near the sea, amidst the undulating landscape of beautiful East Cork. As well as an on site farm and gardens, there is an acre wide glasshouses which yield an abundance of fruit, vegetables herbs and flowers throughout the year. Their free-range livestock include pigs, beef and dairy cows (Angus, Kerry, Dexter and Jerseys), as well as hens who keep the school in a supply of fresh, organic eggs!

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It’s utterly breath taking. Every minute of day I’m reminded of all this produce; whether it be by the fresh cut flowers next to my bed at my cottage on site, or by gazing out the class room window at the raised beds, or by the outstanding food lovingly produced.

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Never if my life have I so clearly seen the coloration between what is growing and what I’m eatting and using. I’ve picked up tips on what else I can be growing at home in our little vegetable patch. I’ll be adding some edible flowers and lots more herbs when I get home.

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I’d also like to add a shell house to the garden when I get home, but I fear Dr Doolittle might make me wait for that! There is a magnificent shell house here in the gardens. I have never seen or experienced anything like it. The beauty and the texture are quite something, it’s utterly breathtaking. To think someone painstakingly placed every individual shell is mind blowing!

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Finally, I can’t write about this magical place without talking about the food… For breakfast there is an amazing array of homemade granola, mueslis, breads and a new discovery, labneh! This middle eastern type of yogurt is sweetened slightly for breakfast and is just gorgeous with a sticky mixture of apricots, almonds and pistachios.

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Lunchtimes are also a site to behold with a beautiful selection of dishes every day. I mean the actual dishes, the style of the different vessels is gorgeous. I might just have to take a little trip to the school’s shop while I’m here… Lunch itself is yummy; salads, soups, pies, breads and even a curry have been served up.

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I’m so happy, I feel blessed to have been so warmly welcomed to this incredible place. I feel like part of the family, I feel like I belong- and that’s handy, because I’ll definitely be back!

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Melissa xx

P.S. I’ll tell you all about the course in my next post!

In My Baking Kitchen

This month I’m sharing my baking and sugar craft kitchen! I can’t explain just how proud I am of the pieces in this month’s post. I always thought that I was heavy handed and impatient, but I’ve proved myself wrong!

In My Kitchen…

…Sits my new friend Bertie, who is made of modelling and sugar paste. He sits on a chocolate biscuit cake that I decorated. I attended a sugar craft course at Baking Academy Ireland and was taught amazing skills by a brilliant teacher.

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In My Kitchen…

…Lives a caterpillar, bee and some butterflies! This fruit cake is covered in almond paste and icing. I was so nervous placing and then glueing my name down onto the cake.

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In My Kitchen…

…Sits this flower paste rose spray! I thought it looked a bit old fashion, but the more I look at it, the more I love it! It was painstakingly made so i’ll be keeping it forever.

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In My Kitchen…

…Lives the Easter bunny! I made this Easter cake at The Cooks Academy in Dublin. The chocolate madera cake was covered in chocolate butter icing before being iced.

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In My Kitchen…

…Lies new sugarcraft cutters! I’m now the proud owner of butterfly, flower and leaf cutters.

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In My Kitchen…

…Sits a couple of modelling tools to help me with my sugarcraft ventures!

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In My Kitchen…

…Are these beautiful Easter flowers from Dr Doolittle (instead of a chocolate egg). Underneath lies a small plate of pear tarts with homemade pear and ginger jam.

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Celia from figjamandlimecordial.com shares all the brilliant In My Kitchen posts from around the world, pop over and take a look.

Melissa xx

Easter Simnel Cake

I was off to see my wonderful Grandparents yesterday and instead of bringing them chocolate eggs for Easter, I decided to make them a Simnel cake.

Simnel cake is a light fruit cake with almond paste or marzipan, that is toasted, and eaten during the Easter period. Conventionally eleven, or occasionally twelve, marzipan balls are used to decorate the cake, with a story that the balls represent the twelve apostles, minus Judas.

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All the recipes I found for a traditional Simnel cake seemed very heavy, like a Christmas cake. I didn’t want that. So I decided to adapt a light fruit cake recipe and top it off with marzipan.

PEAR FRUIT CAKE

Ingredients :
200g butter, softened plus extra for greasing
200g dark muscovado sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp black treacle
200g self-raising flour
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp baking powder
2 pears, grated (approx 100g each)
300g mixed sultanas and raisins
Almond paste
Apricot jam

Heat oven to 180C and line the bottom of a deep, round 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.

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Beat the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl (electric hand- beaters are best for this), until pale and thick. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the fruit until evenly combined.
Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for 50 mins-1 hr or until the cake is dark golden colour.

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Next, brush the top with apricot jam. Roll out almond paste and use the cake tin as a guide to cut out a circle to fit the cake. Carefully place this on top. Finally, roll 11 balls out of the left over almond paste and place on top.

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Pop the cake under a hot grill to burnish the top- KEEP AN EYE ON THE CAKE AT ALL TIMES!

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Happy Easter to everyone at Fiesta Friday!

Melissa xx

Coole Swan Chocolate & Coffee Muffins

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I posted this last year and will continue to post it every year until people GET IT RIGHT!

Sorry, there’s no green food or bacon and cabbage at The Glen House today, there is however, great local Irish produce (and stew for tea)! It’s St. Patrick’s Day today and all around this tiny little world millions of people will be celebrating the guy that got rid of all the snakes. That pretty much sums it up in a nut shell, oh, and he marked the arrival of Christianity here too.

Last week the lovely people at Coole Swan sent me a gift box containing all sorts of Coole Swan goodies. Coole Swan was born by blending the finest Single Malt Irish Whiskey with White Belgium Chocolate and Fresh Cream. Coole Swan is 100% natural and is now regarded as the world’s most delicious tasting Irish Cream Liqueur. The guys are based on a real farm in the Boyne Valley; their cows produce the fresh dairy cream and their grain is used for the whiskey.

image Along side sample of the gorgeous liqueur were some great little recipe books with ideas for afternoon tea and other scrumptious treats. I’m making some of their Coole Swan Chocolate and Coffee muffins to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Ingredients: 2015-03-17-11-03-30_deco 300g Self Raising Flour

275g Caster Sugar

300g Soft Butter

2 Tablespoons of Coole Swan Ground Coffee

40g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

6 Eggs

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

150ml Coole Swan

100g Chocolate Chips

Method:

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

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In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients except the Coole Swan and chocolate chips and combine.

image Add the Coole Swan slowly to form a smooth batter, then add the chocolate chips. 2015-03-17-11-06-19_decoDivide the batter into muffin cases and bake in a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

These are gorgeous little treats, for a very special day. Happy St Patrick’s Day!

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Coole Swan Muffins

Melissa xx

In My Kitchen

It’s March, it’s meant be be spring, but in Ireland this week we’ve had rain, hail and snow! So as I drink my hot cuppa I bring you this month’s instalment of In My Kitchen, the wonderful blogger series run by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

In My Kitchen…

… Hangs the gorgeous old fashion tea towel that Dr Doolittle bought me and has now framed.

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framed tea towel

In My Kitchen…

… Sits a magnificent French inspired cake stand, that was given to me by a dear friend. I came across the matching jug, and had to buy it! I can’t wait to adorn the stand with a classic tea time treat.

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cake stand and jug

In My Kitchen…

… Stands this fabulous brown and cream plate. I love the pattern! The cup cakes are the Forrero Rocher ones that I’ve made before.

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beautiful plate

In My Kitchen…

… Sits these cute dishes, perfect for all sorts of goodies!

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cute dishes

In My Kitchen…

… There are new additions to my cinnamon pantry. I met the producers of these local products at the weekend at a local food and craft fair. I bought Dunany spelt and Rye flour and something I’d never heard of before Spelt berries. I’m sure someone reading this will have a great recipe for me???? I tasted them at the fair mixed with garlic and salad and they were delicious. I made some rye bread yesterday and it turned out really well.

I also bought some Lannléire Honey which I tasted for the first time at The Boyne Valley Boyne Appetite dinner and Cecilie’s handmade Irish truffles which went down very well with a glass of red wine (as suggested).

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local produce

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fresh rye bread

In My Kitchen…

… Sits my gorgeous tagine which is a constant reminder of the wonderful trip to Morocco that we took last year. Dr Doolittle has got really good at making lamb tagines, however this one was special…. It was the first time that he had used Elaine from Foodbod’s Ras El Hanout spice blend. It was yummy!!!

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tagine

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lamb tagine

Melissa xx

P.S. What are your thoughts on my new header???