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Showing posts from December, 2012

Langtons Bar & Restaurant - Kilkenny

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While my other half Joanne rests from day of sightseeing in Wexford and Waterford I thought I would do a small blog post. This New Year's Eve we are down in Kilkenny, I have taken Joanne down here to celebrate her birthday. Naturally we are staying in our favorite place in Ireland Lawcus Farm Guesthouse. We arrived down yesterday evening just after 4 pm, it was the only day I hadn't fully planned out, as today I had sightseeing on our itinerary and a meal in Campagne. When we dropped our stuff off at Lawcus ( I will be doing an updated review on this ) we decided to head back into Kilkenny city for some food. We wandered around for a while, first stopping in to Dunnes to pick up a new food processor. I have been looking to get one for a while now as it really speeds up food preparation, Jamie Oliver's recipes (the fast ones at least) all require one. Joanne spotted one in Dunnes with her mum Saturday down from 60 euro to 29 euro, so her mum got one as well as one for her

Dutch Comfort Food - Chicken Saté with Chips

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In the midst of the copious amounts of turkey and ham over the past few days, tonight's dinner was a welcome change. My dad's Christmas present from me consisted of a huge box of his favorite foods from his home the Netherlands, I used www.hollandathome.nl.



Needless to say he was delighted with his present as well as the bottle of Jenever sitting at the bottom of the box. We love Dutch foods in our house of course, having been brought up on it since my grandparents started sending us food parcels each year at Christmas. As part of the package I included a tub of this:

Yes its pre made but sometimes pre made is the best. This is saté or as the Dutch call it Pindasaus (peanut sauce). It has its origins from Indonesia (once colonized by the Dutch) however this is a lot more simpler than what you would get in an Indonesian restaurant, its a thick peanut butter sauce made up of spices, Ketjap Manis (sweet soy sauce) and Sambal Oelek (Indonesian chilli paste). The Dutch spread it o…

Christmas Baked Ham

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This is the recipe I always use for our Christmas baked ham, its from Delia Smith and always produces the most gorgeous ham. Ham is my favorite part of the Christmas dinner, the turkey for me generally plays second fiddle, that maybe different this year however as I am doing Jamie Oliver's Christmas Turkey which I will blog on.
So here is Delia's amazing recipe, thanks and credit goes to her.
Ingredients:
4kg Ham Fillet ( naturally this is quite large but we love ham ) 3 tbsp of Honey 2 heaped teasp of English Mustard 2 tbsp of demerara sugar
Method:
1) You need to check with your supplier about soaking the ham – the length of time needed depends on the quantity of salt used in curing the ham. A large plastic bucket seems to be the most suitable container for soaking a ham – and I have found that a picnic cool box is just the right size, too. Cover the ham completely with cold water and leave for as many hours as the supplier recommends. Smaller joints can be placed in the cooking pot…

Apple Tarte Fine - Simple Christmas Dessert

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In the face of many heavy dried fruit laden desserts a Christmas, this Apple Tarte Fine is a simple alternative to the Christmas pud on the big day. Its an adapted version of Monica Galetti's Rhubarb Tarte Fine. I recently received Monica's book for Christmas from Joanne and I have been itching to make something from the book so here it is:

Ingredients : Serves 4
1 ready rolled puff pastry sheet 35x25cm Plain flour for dusting 2 Bramley cooking apples 50g Caster Sugar 50g Butter 50g Ground Almonds 1 medium egg beaten 1 medium egg 1-2tsp of Demerara Sugar Juice of a lemon
Syrup: 100ml water 100g Caster sugar 1tsp of Vanilla extract
Method:
1) Heat the oven to 220c / Gas mark 7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the sheet of puff pastry slightly. Then cut a rectangle 34x16cm. Pricking all over with a fork. Place in to the fridge allowing to rest while you prepare the apples and syrup.
2)Core the apple and thinly slice in to half moon shapes, keeping in a bowl covered with the…

Marco Polo - Limerick

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Yesterday evening I went for some dinner with my brother Steve and Sarah to celebrate Steve's birthday. After much deliberation we ended up at Marco Polo on O'Connell St. Limerick. Marco Polo is around a few months and replaced Luigi Malones. It is owned by the guys who run the Jasmine Palace, Wokking, Chocolat and Zwe-ton. The idea of the restaurant loosely follows the story of Marco Polo, an Italian merchant traveler who introduced the Europeans to Asia.The restaurant is a fusion mix between European food especially Italian food mixed with Asian influences. The previous sentence is always enough to turn me off going somewhere, fusion for me equals run for the hills but because we were there for Steve's birthday I complied. We arrived just after 8pm  the restaurant was busy enough for the Saturday before Christmas, the interior looks like something transported from Las Vegas mixed with a dream a coked up Tony Montana from Scarface would have. Its all very glitzy, with go…

SevenupCakes

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For work this Thursday a couple of us were tasked with making some cakes for a going away party. I thought I would keep it simple and as money was tight leading up to pay day so I made these Sevenupcakes (I am not using the brand name, better not infringe copyright ;), lemon sponge and lime buttercream. This recipe could not be more simpler:
Ingredients: Makes 12
Sponge:
225g Margarine, softened( now butter would be nice here but Marg does the job)
225g Caster sugar
4 Eggs
Finely grated zest 3 lemon
225g Self-raising flour
Icing:

1kg Icing Sugar
500g Butter, softened
Zest of 4 limes

Method:

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy(Pic 1), then add the eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through (Pic 2). Sift in the flour, then add the lemon zest and mix until well combined (Pic 3). Place 12 cupcake cases in to a cupcake tin and spoon the mixture evenly in to all cases.Bake for 25 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes o…

Mum's Christmas Pudding

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The Family Christmas Pudding

This is my mum's Christmas pudding that she has been making forever, and it always turns out perfect. Note I have no pics just yet but will most certainly have ones at Christmas time to accompany this post. Ok the recipe is simple, the longest part is the cooking.

Ingredients:

225g self raising flour
1tsp of mixed spice
1/2tsp of ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
285g of Suet
225g Demerara Sugar
225g of breadcrumbs
112g ground almonds
225g raisins
225g sultanas
225g currants
170g mixed peel chopped
zest & juice of an orange
3 eggs beaten
230ml of Guinness
3 Tablesp of Brandy


Method:

1) Sieve flour, spice, nutmeg and salt together.
2) Add suet, breadcrumbs, almonds, sugar, fruit and orange zest, mixing well.
3) Add the juice of the orange, eggs, Guinness, and brandy, mixing well. This will make a stiff dropping consistency.
4) Press in to 1 litre pudding basin.
5) Cover securely with a double sheet of greaseproof paper and steam in a saucepan of water f…

Bill's Mango Trifle

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When I got home Friday evening my mum turned to me and said "I am making the dessert Sunday for a change". Now my mum loves making Sunday dessert as she is a really good baker but she generally sticks to what she knows, however she happened to be watching "Lorraine" on ITV last week and spotted Bill Granger making a very summery trifle but for Christmas, I suppose in part because Bill is Austrailian. Trifle has been made in our house each Christmas for as long as I have been around, but its probably the one dessert I hate, as it consists of strawberry jelly, strawberry Angel Delight and sponge. So when she told me about this trifle I was intrigued, and more because my mum hates cookery shows. There was only one catch to her plan, she had no recipe! but alas I managed to find it online, so we both assembled the dessert this morning together. Here is the recipe to enjoy :
Ingredients:
330g caster sugar
100ml lime juice
300ml low fat natural yogurt
300ml lightly whipped c…

Donard Creamy Leeks - Updated

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This is going to be a rare occurrence but this dish was more of a test and is not a finished product despite how incredibly tasty the filling was. My mate Sarah has been telling me for ages how damn good her family recipe for creamy leeks with butter beans is especially at Christmas time as a side to go with dinner. I managed to get her to give up the recipe a few weeks back and promised to make it for Christmas but I decided to do a little test this evening to see how it would work out especially with me making it in 10 days for Christmas dinner. Now when Sarah makes it, its not in a pie, I put it in a pie specifically to make it in to a dinner tonight for myself, bro and dad. The reason why I say the recipe is incomplete is because of the pie, and to be honest I wouldn't put it in a pie again but would nearly even eat this on its own again with maybe some rice, and one thing is for sure this will go down a treat on Christmas day, its something different and tasty in comparison …

The Bakehouse - Bachelors Walk Dublin

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Last Saturday morning myself and Joanne headed in to the city to get our Christmas shopping finished. We got in just after lunch and being over on Joanne's favourite side of the river(Typical Northsider) we decided to pop in to the Bakehouse just across the road from the Ha'penny bridge. Joanne had been here before with some girls from work, proclaiming the cupcakes alone are to die for, that was enough for me, I was sold!
The first thing I do when I go in to a restaurant is have a scan around at other peoples plates, I even nearly fell in to the couples dinner beside me gawking at what they were having. I always want to get an idea of whats on offer because sometimes a menu doesnt give you that perspective. In fact thats one of the things I like about eating in holiday resorts, they always have pictures with the menu which is good as you can see what you are getting, naturally this isnt possible most of the time here but it helps on holidays. Anyhow reading through the menu …

Festive Fun Cakes with added Tim Minchin

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In honor of the folk that helped me in work for Movember I made some festive fun cakes.

Ingredients (makes 20)

450g flour
450g caster sugar
8 eggs
450g butter
1 small bottle of red colouring

Icing:

1kg icing sugar
500g butter
A few spoonfuls of Milk
1 small bottle of green colouring

Method:

1) Cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.
2) Whisk in one egg at a time.
3) Sieve in your flour whisking as you go.
4) Add the colouring and whisk till all evenly distributed.
5) Spoon mix in to cupcake cases and bake at 180c for 25 mins
6) Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least an hour.
7) Slowly whisk sieved icing sugar in to the butter
8) Add a few spoonfuls of milk to loosen the icing in order to allow smooth piping.
9) Add the red colouring and whisk till all evenly distributed.
10) Pipe your icing on to the fun cakes in whatever way takes your fancy.


Top tip: to make your butter soft for both creaming with caster or icing sugar, put it in microwave for 15 seconds, …

Departure from the norm

I have been weighing up writing this post for a long time, and as the title says this not a post related to food its something that little bit different to the norm. In May of this year I set about change, a change in my life that was firstly physical but has turned into a mental change. The physical part of the change was to try and get trim for my holidays this meant cutting out all manner of junk and kopping myself on, certainly a routine I was used to at this stage and somehow I think its a battle I will engage in many times again in my life. I did lose some much needed weight and was trim for my holidays which delighted me as it proved I still have it in me to get rid of weight that I put on due to excess every now and again. I have since come off the above diet and in reality gained some pounds back on but as I said its an on going battle to stay away from the thought of being called Marshmallow man, Earthquake, Burger King or the Michelin Man. I digress however as this is not …

Belfast Christmas Market - Poffertjes Heaven

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With my mum visiting in Dublin I decided to take her up to Belfast for the day. She had only been once before and that was 2 years ago on a extremely wet winter day. This morning however the weather was cracking, it was a crisp cold morning. We arrived around 11am and went straight to the Christmas market, I was there primarily to see what I could scoff on and what pictures I could take with my lovely new camera lovelygirliebits gave me for looking after Bailey her dog whilst herself, Joanne and their mum were in New York shopping till they drop.


My new camera which I LOVE

Bailey 
Having been to a couple of the Christmas markets I was hoping for one thing and one thing only "PLEASE LET THERE BE DUTCH FOOD". Belfast obliged ! there was plenty of Dutch food on this display and nothing could have made me and my mum more happier to see these babies being prepared.

Poffertjes oh yes! and as my dad would say Hartstikke Leuk or as the Hairy Bikers say MEGA Lekker. These are little…