Showing posts from 2011

Been Gone a While but I am back

Ok so I havent blogged in quite a long time but just in time for the Christmas period I am going to be doing some posts on Christmas fare. I will be back with posts on Ham and Turkey along with other Christmas essentials. I would also like to thank my amazing girlfriend for my TheCooksBelly apron as well as my AMAZING TheCooksBelly cookbook. I was delighted with my two excellent Christmas presents she is a genius with creating the cook book.

Few food pics to my sojourn to Alicante

This  was a highlight of my food shopping in Spain, a dutch section in the supermarket. Yes I am a sap,

 An amazing array of food at the local Santa Pola market

 Gran Mundo's Chinese Food

 Churros Con Chocolata ( Deep fried doughnut sticks)

Lunch on Tabarca Island

 Mmmmmm Cafe con Leche

Amazing steak and meatballs in Patagonia

Odlums Brown Mix with Raisins

Ok I know what you are thinking, what kind of foodie would use a brown bread mix. Well this is amazing, I have made this discovery this weekend and I couldn't get enough of what I had made. So then on Saturday I had a about 200 ml of chardonnay left, I had enough so decided to macerate 200g of raisins in the chardonnay. The following morning the raisins had doubled in size having taken on the chardonnay. Bear with me on the following recipe its gorgeous, its most beautifully moist brown bread I have ever made.


500g of Odlums Brown Bread mix
350ml of Milk
2 Tbsp of Brown Caster sugar
200g of Macerated raisins
Remaining chardonnay from the macerated raisins


1) Preheat an oven to 200c and line a loaf tin
2)Mix the bread mix with the milk, raisins, sugar and remaining chardonnay into a dough. (maybe slightly sticky)
3) Flour a surface and knead the bread for 3-4 mins
4) Bake for 45 mins
5) Remove from the oven and remove tin cooling on a wire rack
6) Now cut you…

Arroz con Pollo

So I decided to chop and change Ricks recipe up a little and used chicken instead.

Ingredients 4 tbsp olive oil 75g/3oz shallots, finely chopped 1 small head garlic, cloves separated, peeled, finely chopped ½ tsp pimentón dulce (smoked sweet Spanish paprika), plus extra for seasoning the chicken pinch crushed dried chillies 200g/7oz vine or beef tomatoes, halved 1 litre/1¾ pints chicken stock ½ tsp loosely packed saffron strands 400g/14oz short-grain paella rice, such as Calasparra 1 large roasted red pepper 500g/1lb 2oz chicken breasts Preparation method Slice the chicken in to 1 inch strips, season and brown in a pan. Once browned transfer to a ovenproof dish and bake for 15 mins in the oven at 180c. Grate the halved tomatoes, pressing the fleshy, cut face of the tomato against the grater. (As you grate each tomato half, the skin will flatten out and be left behind.) Discard the skin.
Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a shallow flameproo…

Dutch Meatballs and Hutspot

In an attempt to introduce my GF Joanne to Dutch Food, I took the advice of my father to make something very simple in Hutspot and Meatballs. Adapted the recipe from and

Matt The Thresher - Pembroke St , Dublin

Last night I had the absolute pleasure of having a meal in Matt The Threshers on Pembroke St, Dublin 2. I had reservations in the past about trying this place out simply based upon the previous establishment being the Pembroke, which I didn't like at all. My god I was wrong, we were served by an extremely good waiter, who was so knowledgeable about the food on the menu and wine list. For my meal I had a halibut steak with samphire , mash potato and hollandaise. The halibut was so succulent, I could no fault one thing, I loved the Samphire also, it was beautiful all round. I will most certainly be returning , loved it!

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Rick Steins Monkfish Rice Dish

I happened to make this 2 weeks ago for me and Joanne and it was gorgeous. I haven't got the recipe but here is the video of the man making it.

Chocolate Loving - Thank you Cherrapeno!

Thanks to Cherrapeno for the greatest choc cake recipe I have ever made.

Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Nigella's recipe uses a food processor to blitz all the ingredients together, I used a hand-held electric mixer instead. I also melted the chocolate for the main part of the cake.
You will need a large loaf tin, mine was 23cm x 14cm, 7cm deep and Nigella uses one that measures 21cm x 11cm and 7.5cm deep.

For the cake:
200g plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50g cocoa powder
275g caster sugar
175g unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
80 ml soured cream - or substitute double cream
175g dark chocolate, melted - I used half dark and half milk chocolate
125ml boiling water

For the syrup:
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
125ml water
100g caster sugar

To top the cake:
1 small bar of dark chocolate, cut into slivers - I used milk chocolate

Line the cake tin with non-stick baking parchment and preheat the oven to 170ºC. Melt the…

My Chocolate Brownies

This recipe has been adapted from Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book.


12oz(350g) Plain chocolate, broken into pieces
8oz(225g) Margarine
2 Tsp of Instant Coffee
2 Tbsp of Hot Water
3 Large Eggs
8oz(225g) Caster Sugar
1 Tsp of Vanilla Extract
3oz(75g) Self-Raising Flour


1) Pre-heat the oven 190c/375c/Gas 5. Grease and base line a 12 x 9in (30 x 23 cm) roasting tin with greased greaseproof paper.

2) Melt the chocolate slowly in a bowl with the margarine over a pan of hot water stirring occasionally. Allow to cool. Dissolve the coffee in the hot water.

3) In another bowl, mix together the coffee, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour and then pour the mixture into the prepared tin.

4) Bake in the pre-heated  oven for about 40-45 minutes or until firm to the touch and a dull crust has formed. Leave to cool in the tin. When the cake is completely cold cut in to squares.

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The Port House - South William Street Dublin

In honor of my impending trip to Espana this week I thought that I would do a review before I leave on the Port House. The Port House is a Tapas restaurant on South William Street, its part of small chain composing of The Port House, Pintxos(Temple Bar) and The Port House(Dundrum). I have eaten here a number of times now and is a favorite of Joanne and me. We had celebrating to do last Friday so we immediately thought of going here. I love this place as the restaurant is very authentic, its lovely small candle lit cavernous restaurant. The food is beautiful here, I love tapas and what going with going to the home of tapas next week this was the perfect place to go.

When we go here and order food I always think we haven't got enough but always come away from here stuffed.

We decided on a meat Paella ( chicken ),  White Bait,  Patatas Bravas,  Tomato topped crostini, Lemon chicken and Serrano Ham Croquettes.  Everything is so tasty with maybe the exception of the croquettes which w…

Chameleon - Indonesian Cuisine

On Thursday the prospect of having dinner at home which was planned to be scrambled egg on toast with maybe a dash of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup wasn't exactly setting my world alight. I decided to drop a mate of mine text to see if he was around for some nosh in the city, to which he willingly replied. We had planned on heading to Ciao Bella Roma on Parliament st, as we both love it but as I happened to be walking over to his place, I walked past Chameleon. I thought to myself I really wanna go here again I love this place, I first went with my brother a few months ago as we both love Indonesian food. We both love it because of our Dutch background, you see Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch and now Dutch cuisine is very heavily influenced by Indonesian food. There was nothing more me and Steve ( my bro ) would love as kids but chips covered in Sate sauce. It was heaven to me and him, then to find out there was an Indonesian restaurant in Dublin well quite frankly our min…

Day 2 of Training .... Stillorgan Orchard

Day 2 of my course and I was hoping for another visit to Gotham, when they announced today we will be going to the Stillorgan Orchard, my heart sank... I immediatly menupage'd the place. Reviews seemed to be good so things werent all bad, if this were twitter I would put in a #thirdproblem in to my tweet. Anyhow we arrived at the pub for 12.30, was pretty quiet when we arrived for a Thursday lunch. We were served almost when we got in the door, I decided on getting cottage pie and chips.

I think I am becoming a connoisseur on cottage and shepherds pie, ( will be blogging on Dohenys Pub Shepherds Pie soon ) this one was damn good, nice fluffy mash and crispy on top with really good mince beef as the filling. Ok this sort of meal is maybe not the best thing to have on a Summers day, oh no wait it was horrible weather last week so I think I was well within my rights :) . I enjoyed the meal, my only negative point is how the dish was served, as you can see such a large dish of cotta…

Gotham Cafe South - Stillorgan

Last week I was on training with work in Stillorgan, as part of the training we were to be taken out for lunch. We were taken out on the first day to Gotham Cafe on the Kilmacud Road, Stillorgan. I was delighted as I have been interested in eating in their establishment in the city but have always been a little put off by their price for what they serve. Anyhow on Wednesday our group all toddled off to Gotham, its a very nice restaurant, very airy and the walls are lined with Rolling Stone magazine covers, which I dont get the significane of. The kitchen is open plan to the restaurant at the back where there is a large brick oven presumably for the pizzas. I decided on a Pulled Pork sandwich and chips. I made a wise choice as it was really tasty, the pork was in a bbq slightly spicy sauce and the chips were gorgeous "handcut style". I finished off the meal with a really good cup of coffee. I have to say I came away from Gotham very happy and was nice to get a taste of their…

The Kingfisher Restaurant - Parnell St Dublin

Its a Saturday morning in the city , you want a slap up breakfast and you ask where do I go? You go here from now on! its one of the best greasy spoons in Dublin. These style of restaurants are a dying breed now days, they have been replaced with Costa, Starbucks and coffee culture. This place delivers incredible bang for your buck with the amount of good food you get. The last time we were here I got , scrambled egg, 3 sausages, coffee, orange juice, two slices of toast, Joanne got a fried egg, home fries, 2 sausages, 2 slices of toast, 1 slice of bacon and a cup of Tea, all for the princely sum of 12 euro, no where compares to this price.

As much as I love Metro on South William Street, their prices are ridiculously dear, for the price of 12 euro in Metro all you would get is scrambled egg 2 sausages and coffee. Ok I know what you are thinking the quality of the food is lessened, and maybe it is slightly but its undeniably tasty, and tasty is what its all about at the end of the da…

The Wild Onion - Limerick

The Wild Onion is located on High Street, Limerick. Its a family run restaurant, fronted by Ruth and her Husband ( the main chef ). Ruth is a lovely old soul, she is like your gran seating people as you come through the doors. Beware the place is quite small and can only probably hold 20 or so people. You may have a wait especially on a Saturday morning. The food here is good wholesome American diner food albeit a little pricey. My favorite thing is there cinnamon rolls they are insanely good, next time I go I will take pics :) . Below is an example of their good food. Coffee is unlimited which is always a plus, and its good strong coffee too. I generally get orange juice, coffee, hash browns, scrambled egg and American sausage.

Next time you are in Limerick check the Wild Onion out.

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Bewleys - Grafton Street

This is my new favorite lunch time place to go lately. Well it was until recently due to high numbers of tourists in the city, its hard to get a seat at the moment. Bewleys is one of the best places to go for tea and lunch in the Grafton Street area. I go here regularly with Joanne, we like to get their Bruschetta ( its very tasty ). As mentioned their tea is lovely, I have become a big tea person as I have gotten older, I used to hate the stuff as a kid but now I can't get enough. The last time I was there I had an Earl Grey tea and cherry bun ( pictured right ), which was yummy! The place is always buzzing with people but the staff always remain attentive, pleasant and accommodating. I am disappointed I haven't a pic of their chocolate cake because its amazing. Check out Bewleys, you will always leave happy :)

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Encona - West Indian Hot Pepper Sauce

What can I say about Encona's West Indian Hot Pepper Sauce, its absolutely scrumdidlyumptious. If I could put this on everything I would, its got lovely heat to it coupled with a vinegary-ness ( is that a word ). I love this stuff so much, it went out of stock for some time in here in Ireland, so whilst on a trip to Belfast, I happened to see it in Sainsburys, and picked myself up a crazy supply of this rocket fuel. I bought 9 bottles of the stuff, at 59p a bottle it was a steal, especially when it was originally on sale in Ireland for 1.70euro a bottle.

I love it so much I could easily swigg on the bottle, I have slight addiction to all things hot and spicy and I simply can't get enough of this. As I speak I have just had two cream crackers covered in the stuff.

Go out and get it :)


Cully and Sully - Chilli Con Carne

Sometimes I come home from work and really do not want to cook , its hard mustering up culinary delights when cooking for 1 during the week, I think thats why I enjoy cooking so much on weekends or when Joanne is over. Anyhow,  I saw this in Tescos last week so picked some up as I am a chilli fan. I generally don't like ready made meals but Cully & Sully's range are very good and tasty. This yet again is really good chilli, could do with a little more heat to the chilli ( which I rectified with some Encona Hot Sauce :) )

It contains minced beef, sweetcorn, kidney beans, and some rice. Its tasty meal but a little pricey at 3 euro. I will buying this again, as it tastes good and is healthier than your regular ready made meals.

Corned Beef , Cabbage and Mashed Tatties

Until I met my other half Joanne I had never had Corned Beef unless you count that gonk that people put in their sandwiches ** shudder **. I have the most gorgeous corned beef in Gallaghers which I have reviewed before its so good. Tonight however I wanted to make it for myself, its possibly the easiest thing you could possibly wish to make.

Ingredients:  ( Serves 4 )

1.5Kg of Silverside Beef
1 Large Onion ( quartered )
1 Vegetable stock cube
1.5Kg of Potatoes ( pick a good mashing variety like Maris Piper or Roosters)
Head of Savoy Cabbage
Knob of Butter
100ml of Milk


1) Put a large saucepan filled with water,  with the stock cube added, bring to the boil.
2) Add your joint of beef and onion
3) Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 2.5-3 hours. Skim the fat away from the stock and remove any impurities
4) Remove from the pan and rest while you cook your potatoes and cabbage.
5) Boil your potatoes till tender generally 20-25 mins.
6) When I drained the meat …

The Tea Explosion

Ok this is gonna sound weird but I feel a good cup of tea can be demonstrated by how the milk mixes with the tea. The following was taken in the Queen of Tarts on Dame Street. They do a gorgeous cup of tea there in bone china cups, the cup most certainly makes the tea what it is. Anyways check out the video.

The Perfect Roast Chicken

In our house we generally cook the meat for the Sunday lunch always the day before, don't ask me why... This week its chicken, and even though my dad is a confectioner , chicken  doesn't always turn out the best, it comes out very greasy as he slathers it in Stork Margarine, not appetizing in the slightest. Not to mention its as dry as the Sahara as result of over cooking.

So this week I took the reigns of cooking the chicken how it should be cooked for a change.

Right the first thing is turn on your oven, heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Here is a tip for you, a 1.5kg chicken will be perfectly cooked in 1hr 20 mins always, and for a 3kg it is always perfectly cooked in 2hr 10 mins. This is an exact science unless your oven is on the blink.

The Method

1) Boil a kettle of water, and rinse the bird out, this will help kill the bacteria inside the chicken.
2) Truss the bird with some twine, in order to keep the legs raised.
3) Massage the surface of the bird with Olive Oil,…