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Beer, Food, Travel, Laughs, Best Bars & Restaurants in the World, and a few bad oysters…

The Culinary Love Band bring you the most innovative Food and Drink concepts inspired by adventures around the world!

The Food & Beer Geeks follows restaurateur Brian Patton and Michelin Star chef Peter Zinter around the world while they gather inspiration, meet amazing people and try some of the worlds most exciting food and drink.

One Episode released every Wednesday beginning 1st of July 2015. Season One comprises of 7 Episodes.

Check out their blog at www.TCLB.at

Follow the adventures of Brian and Peter by subscribing to the YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4GTFiF0_0GYrMZ0vN5e0vg

frenchfoodiemovieclub
Fabulous food blogger and savvy business woman, Ketty, of French Foodie in Dublin [FFID] brings us a new night out with a twist, the Foodie Movie Club. The idea is that each month she chooses a different food themed movie screened in the private cinema in Brooks Hotel. I attended her last screening of Julie & Julia which proved so popular, I think she had to put on four separate screenings. It is the movie that inspired me to start blogging. You can read my review of the movie here. I also love Meryl Streep’s performance as Julia Child, an over-the-top, eccentric and exuberant chef and author of the best-selling cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

After popcorn and the movie, we headed en masse [well there were around 20 or more of us] around the corner to French restaurant, La Maison, on Castle Market. Through it’s red curtains and up the stairs to a private dining room where we dined on steaming pots of the most delicious French classic Boeuf Bourguignon. I had come on my own but quickly made friends with a fellow blogger, the lovely Marta of Cook It, Eat It, Love It. She has recently relocated to Dublin from Galway. The movie was a real talking point as was the luscious Boeuf Bourguignon complete with puff pastry surround which we demolished. Everyone was friendly and welcoming and I ended up staying way longer than I thought I would as I was enjoying myself. We happily ate and talked and laughed. I had to tear myself away reluctantly as I had work in the morning.

As Ketty says “It’s more than just watching a film, it’s about meeting people, enjoying food and building a community of those with a shared love of food and film.” Judging from the success of the night I went, it’s a concept that clearly works. I would heartily recommend it as a fun night out and going alone ensures you make some new friends.

This month FFID has selected the movie Ratatouille, the story of a little rat who dreams of becoming a French chef in Paris. The movie will be followed by an authentic ratatouille dish in French restaurant La Maison. There are two screenings on the 23rd and 28th of April – check out her website www.frenchfoodieindublin.com for further details and to make a booking.

homecooked
Last Wednesday on the 4th December, I went to the Christmas Cookbook Club with Donal Skehan. The Cookbook Club is the creation of Elaine Walsh. She invites well-known chef-authors who have launched a recent cookbook to hand over their cookbook to the restaurant team at the Radisson Blu’s Brasseries de Verres en Vers to recreate a selection of signature dishes from that cookbook. I went last year to the Christmas Cookbook Club hosted by Neven Maguire, and really enjoyed it. It’s a great way to kick off the party season in style.

Having followed Donal Skehan’s career back when he was a food blogger to making it as a TV celebrity cook and author of many cookbooks, I was dying to try his recipes from his fourth cookbook, Homecooked. I actually like the fact that he is not a chef but instead self-taught as I find his recipes easy to follow and not too fussy. The Radisson Blu is a lovely hotel just off George’s Street and all decked out for Christmas, it was very welcoming. I got there early and availed of a warm greeting by the friendly and beautiful hostess, Elaine Walsh, and had some mulled wine with Santa and other early arrivals. There was a table plan and we shared our table with a teacher who was flying solo and has attended every one of the previous 14 Cookbook Clubs, a genuine fan.

There was a good choice of three starters, main courses and desserts – a good selection from the cookbook complete with page numbers for those who want to try them at home.

STARTERS
Ham Hock Terrine
Homemade Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce
Howth Head Seafood Chowder
MAIN COURSES
Mini Beef Wellington wrapped in puff pastry
Homemade Spring Pea and Ricotta Ravioli
Harissa Fish with Carrot and Mint Salad (“Healthy Fast Food”)
DESSERTS
Lemon Meringue Pie
Creme Brulee
Millionaire Chocolate Ganache Tart

I went with the homemade spring rolls which were very tasty indeed. For mains, I had the mini beef wellington which were wrapped in puff pastry and looked very seasonal. For me, they were a little overdone but still very nice and quite filling. One of my friends had the spring pea and ricotta ravioli which I tasted. It was very fresh. For dessert, I was won over by the Millionaire Chocolate Ganache tart which was very luscious.

Donal went round each table saying to the diners. He is very friendly and you can easily see why he is so popular. He signed our cookbooks and happily posed for photos. The mince pies in a gift box were also a nice touch. Afterwards, we enjoyed some jazz in the bar. All in all an enjoyable night and I can’t wait to try out some new recipes.

For details on upcoming events and language classes with a difference, check out:
http://thecookbookclub.ie/

cookbook-club-log
I had been dying to try this unique and fun idea of the Cookbook Club having read about it and signed up for the newsletter and eventually made it to my first one last night. The Cookbook Club is an original event where a well known chef hands their cookbook over to the restaurant team to re-create a selection of signature dishes from the most recent cookbook. And even better the featured chef on this particular month was one of my favourites Neven Maguire, a truly genuine Irish man passionate about food and cooking.

Elaine Walsh, the brainchild behind and host of the cookbook club, warmly welcomed all diners on arrival. The Cookbook Club was set up in September 2010 and has gone from strength to strengh recently branching out into languages by hosting French Club and next year Italian and Spanish Club and Elaine has also taken the concept to New York. Last night was the 10th Cookbook club and was another sell out with a mix of newcomers and regulars. It was held at the Radisson Blu hotel in Dublin City Centre where the chefs of the restaurant Brasserie de Verres En Vers re-created dishes from Neven Maguire’s brand new cookbook ‘The MacNean Restaurant Cookbook’.

The menu provided a choice of an appetiser, three starters, three mains and three desserts with the page numbers for the associated recipes from the book who those brave enough to recreate them at home:
APPETISER
Organic Salmon Sausage with Creamed Leeks and Lemon Butter Sauce
STARTERS
Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup
Duck Confit with Crispy Vegtables
Tempura of Sole with Curried Mayonnaise and Chilli Jam
MAIN COURSES
Cod with Bean and Chorizo Cassoulet
Trio of Chicken with Baby Carrots
Aubergine and Potato Dhansak
DESSERTS
Passion Fruit and Orange Jelly
Warm Chocolate and fudge Brownie with Boozy Fudge Sauce
Toasted coconut and Malibu Parfait with Pineapple Carpacio and Coconut Sorbet
Tea/Coffee with Petit Fours

Neven gave a warm and engaging speech and brought us through the menu and provided an insight into his busy life and the history of MacNeans. He also went round each table and chatted with the diners. He was there at the end of the night to sign copies of his book at a discount. The whole evening was a great success – the food wasn’t perfect but overall the evening was great fun. For me the winner was the trio of chicken – chicken done three ways. Judging from my fellow diners, the cassoulet was disappointing being quite bland and unfortunately the brownie didn’t live up to my expectations but the chefs did a good job. We went home full, happy and with a parting gift of mince pies left under the christmas tree. Can’t think of a better way to start my christmas celebrations and would thoroughly recommend the Cookbook Club to anyone looking for a night out with a difference.

Check it out:
http://thecookbookclub.ie/

nm


I had a really enjoyable experience at Jacob’s Creek Wine & Dine last Tuesday evening. Jacob’s Creek are hosting their ‘Wine & Dine Experience’ in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Waterford this March and April. For one night only, 50 guests in each location are invited to take part in a free wine tasting masterclass and delicious dining experience, which will encourage them to ‘See Beyond The Label’ and discover the true character of the wine and food on offer. And all I had to do to reserve a space at this event was to visit the ‘Wine & Dine Experience’ tab on the left of their Facebook page.

The Dublin event took place in Tailors Hall which dates from 1706 and is the only remaining Guild Hall in Dublin. It was the meeting place of the Guild of Merchant Tailors from 1706 to 1841. It is now the headquarters of An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland. On the night we were introduced to the wines from the Jacob’s Creek winery by top wine expert, TV3’s David Whelehan and enjoyed a delicious three course meal prepared by award winning Chef, Neil Shirt who has used the Jacob’s Creek wine range as inspiration for his menu.

We arrived at 7pm and were greeted with a glass of sparkling rose and a string quartet. We were introduced to the chef, Neil Shirt who explained his inspiration behind the menu and his love for Irish produce. We started off with an amuse bouche of McConnell’s Smoked Irish Duck with Horseradish, Poached Rhubarb and Lamb’s Lettuce followed by a starter of Marinated Clare Island Organic Salmon with Warm potato, lemon and chive salad. Both of which were lovely dishes but the star of the show was the main course of slow cooked shoulder of wicklow lamb with spring vegetables, pressed potato and red wine jus. It was melt in the mouth and cooked for 16 hours at 80 degrees. Each course was served with a selection of Jacob’s Creek wines from the classic and the reserve range introduced by wine expert, David Whelehan. The cheese selection was a choice of Irish and continental cheeses followed by tea, coffee and petit fours. All in all it was a truly enjoyable experience and we left feeling pleasantly full after the delicious food, a little merry and with more knowledge of wine to rival any expert, well at least to know to look out for Jacob’s Creek on the supermarket shelves!

There are more evenings planned in Cork, Galway and Waterford so if you are in those locations, I’d recommend entering the competition for a really lovely evening. Simply go to the Jacob’s Creek Facebook page for more details.


So work has been mental this week…..boy am I glad to see Friday. This weekend the plan is to kick back and relax. In honour of my friend’s food quiz this weekend, my friday quotes are all about food! And one of my food heroes is Garfield of course – that cat knew how to enjoy his food. There’s is nothing better than good food and good company. Oh and Quizmistress…methinks this deserves some bonus points! And remember ‘Don’t delay the Happy’.

Happy Flyday!

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” [Jim Davis]

“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” [Voltaire]

“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” [John Gunther]

“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” [Alfred E. Newman]

“If God had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.” [Linda Henley]

“Hunger is the best sauce in the world.” [Cervantes]

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” [George Bernard Shaw, “The Revolutionist’s Handbook,” Man and Superman]

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts!” [James Beard]

“Happiness is a bowl of cherries and a book of poetry under a shade tree.” [Terri Guillemets]

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” [Harriet van Horne]

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” [Thomas Keller]


Looking for a easy to make but impressive and tasty dessert, then look no further. Try this idiot-proof recipe for Tiramisu meaning “pick-me-up” in Italian. I’d recommend Tia Maria instead of Marsala, making it a day in advance and three layers are better than two.

Find the recipe here:
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9652/bestever-tiramisu


MacNean House and Restaurant is Neven Maguire’s [one of Ireland’s well-known celebrity chef] family place which he has expanded and made into an ultimate dining destination with a lengthy waiting list. We had booked about three months previous! It was the perfect birthday treat. It was recently done up and they now have nineteen luxury rooms on offer. We had adjoining rooms with a suite no less. The decor is relaxing and warm. The room a perfect mix of modern and olde worlde. Only two and a half hours from Dublin in the small but picturesque town of Blacklion, Co. Cavan.

There is a lovely bar area for pre-dinner drinks and the atmosphere is very relaxed. There is a choice of either a prestige tasting menu with nine courses [only for the brave] for €90; served with a wine selection for €125 or a dinner menu [with more choice] of six-courses for €70 or a vegetarian menu for €50. We went for the dinner menu and boy was I glad as six courses was more than enough. There were three of us so between us we tried most of the menu. The food was simply stunning. The food was most definitely the star with each course bursting with flavour and looking like art on a plate but tasting spectacular. They served canapes of chicken liver parfait, mixed olives and goats cheese while we enjoyed drinks in the bar. Once seated in the restaurant, they served a pre-starter of butternut squash soup with a selection of breads and dips. For starters, I had the goats cheese with beetroot sorbet and panna cotta. It was awesome and really colourful. The others tried the confit duck ravioli and seared sea scallops. Every dish was unique but each individual part was well thought out and the flavours really worked together. The second course, I went for the passionfruit jelly with organic yoghurt which was the perfect palate cleanser. The others went for the mushroom and chestnut soup and selection of bably salad leaves which they also thoroughly enjoyed. For main courses, I had the fillet of beef which was served with braised feather blade, cheek ravioli, creamed spinach and onion tian. I truly don’t think I’ve ever eaten food so good. The others had the spring lamb and assiette of pork both cooked in various ways. There was a selection of fresh vegtables and dauphinoise potatoes. Then if that wasn’t enough food, we were served a pre-dessert of citrus posset with a raspberry coulis and exploding candy [like a little party on your tongue] before we were offered a choice from a selection of desserts – I went for textures of chocolate which was chocolate heaven on a plate. There was a pear plate, peanut parfait or a cheese plate. Along with tea and coffee, we were served homemade petit fours to round out a delightful meal.

Even breakfast was an experience with a selection of juices and smoothies, a selection of muesli and yoghurts, a selection of breads, pastries and cured meats for self service. There was a two-course breakfast selection off the menu with either porridge or prunes followed by a cooked breakfast or scrambled eggs. Although I was still pretty full from the night before and feel like I won’t need to eat again until next month! It’s the little touches too like the personal greeting card left in the room, the small gift of Neven’s Country Living Cookery Book and a signed menu that add to the occasion. The whole experience is something special. It was the ultimate dining experience and I’d recommend trying sometime if you get the chance. A truly memorable experience.


The 2011 Great Irish Foodie Quiz will take place on Wednesday, 2nd March from 7.30pm in The Circle Club of the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin’s Docklands, with all proceeds going to Down Syndrome Ireland. Entry to the Great Irish Foodie Quiz costs €80 for a team of four, payable in advance at http://www.mycharity.ie/event/thegreatirishfoodiequiz

The Second Annual Great Irish Foodie Quiz!…..Book where it says ‘Sponsor Me Now’ and don’t forget to put your TEAM NAME in the personal message box.

Organiser Chef Aine Maguire said “This is an opportunity for gourmets, gourmands and just plain gluttons to put their foodie knowledge to the test, have some fun and maybe even win one of our great prizes, all for a good cause!”

Myles McWeeney will MC the quiz which will consist of 8 rounds of 10 questions each. Each round will be made up of 6 food related questions, 3 general knowledge questions, and a wine question set by leading sommelier Mary O’Callaghan. The quiz will also feature practical challenges such as a wine tasting round presented by West Coast Wines and a chocolate tasting round courtesy of Lindt Chocolate.

Prizes include an overnight stay at The Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co Waterford and dinner in their Michelin starred restaurant, a voucher for €200 for dinner at Chapter One, a whole side of dry aged Aberdeen Angus from Ennis Butchers in Rialto, a pair of Truffle Trees from MushroomStuff.com, VIP tickets to a show atThe Grand Canal Theatre with drinks in the The Circle Club, a Sunday Roast at The Exchequer, a Lindt Chocolate hamper, and much much more…

For further information contact irishfoodie@gmail.com or call 087 1320743.

Why not join the Irish foodies cookalongs!

What are these magical mysterious cookalongs, you may ask?
Well they came to be when a few Irish food bloggers decided to have a pizza party and post menus/updates/pictures of the process on twitter and facebook with a small prize for the best pizza. It worked out so well they had a cookie party the next month, and then it became a tradition to have one every month!

Anyone is welcome to participate in the informal cookalongs, which take place on the first Friday of every month. Every month they pick a different theme, and a judge/sponsor picks their favourite entry and donates a small prize to make it a little more fun. All you have to do is cook up a storm, blog about your entry, tweet about what you’re cooking on the day, and/or post your recipes on the Facebook page or email them to irecookalongs@gmail.com. To take part and join the cookalong go to the facebook page .

The next event takes place next Friday, February 4 and the theme is ‘Food for Romance’. Well tis the season after all! They are also asking you to choose the next theme for the cookalongs by leaving a comment. In a weeks time they’ll put suggestions in a poll where you can vote for your favourites and that will be the theme for March.

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