Showing posts from January, 2013

Red Velvet Brownies

With Valentines day fast approaching I decided to make these Red Velvet Brownies as I had never made them before, or anything Red Velvet for that matter. The red velvet is traditionally a cake with a blood red colour layered with cream cheese icing (frosting if you are American!). The red colouring is comes from the mixture of cocoa and red food colouring. Wiki gives the following history on Red Velvet: James Beard's 1972 reference American Cookery describes three red velvet cakes varying in the amounts of shortening and butter, also Vegetable Oil. All use red food coloring, but the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk tends to better reveal the red anthocyanin in the cocoa and keeping the cake moist, light and fluffy. Before more alkaline "Dutch Processed" cocoa was widely available, the red color would have been more pronounced. This natural tinting may have been the source for the name "red velvet" as well as "Devil's Food" and similar…

Castle Lodge Bed & Breakfast - Malahide

In November of last year with Joanne and her family shopping till they drop in New York city, I had my own little holiday trying to look after Joanne's sister's dog bailey out in Malahide. As I was all on my lonesome my mum decided to come up for some retail therapy in Dublin and Belfast, so I managed to find her this absolutely charming B&B near Malahide castle. Castle Lodge is run by Jerry and Eithne Raftery in this stunning property pictured above. Myself and my mum arrived on a Friday evening just after 6.00pm to the warmest welcome I have ever experienced from a pair of B&B hosts and I have been to Lawcus house!
Jerry brought us in to the kitchen to meet Eithne, sat us both down, cracked open the biscuits and put on the kettle. It was like sitting down in a friends kitchen, so full of chat and welcoming. Their kitchen is magnificent and you can see so much hardwork has gone in to the house with everything having a story. I actually said to Jerry about where I was…


Yesterday I cooked these traditional Dutch bacon wrapped beef parcels for dinner down home called Slavinken, serving them with a lovely cabbage, bacon and apple mash. So what is a Slavinken, wikipedia has the following definition: The slavink was developed in 1952 by a butchery, Slagerij Spoelder inLaren, which won him an award, the "Golden Butcher's Ring." Originally, the filling of a slavink was made from smokedsausage.The term "slavink" loosely translates toLettucefinch.The term is probably an abbreviation ofslagersvink, that is, a "finch" prepared by the butcher ("slager").The slavink often emblematizes traditional Dutch cuisine, as in the book De taal van de verpleging, a Dutch language guide for non-native nurses working in the Netherlands,and is especially favored by the older generations. I picked up my recipes from my favorite Dutch food blog, Kay's Kayotic Kitchen.
Everyone enjoyed these babies last night and I am sure you will …

Saturday Afternoon Tea at Dromoland Castle

Ok so I said in my last post my next Afternoon Tea would be at the Connaught in London, but with Joanne being down in Limerick with me this weekend we decided to treat my mum to Afternoon Tea out in Dromoland Castle. After the success of my mum's trip to Adare Manor at Christmas I knew she would love this afternoon. Myself and Joanne told her just be prepared for 2pm on Saturday as we are going to go some where as a treat. So with us on the road toward Ennis, I told my mum where we were headed. My mum being always conscious of how much things cost she was horrified but excited when we told her where we were going for her new favorite thing being Afternoon Tea. Dromoland was a first for us all, so when we arrived at the grounds we marveled how spectacular the castle is in person. I have always wanted to go there ever since a friend of mine worked there when I was doing my professional cookery course, she always made it sound like the perfect place to work and train as a chef. We a…

Marlfield House - Gorey Co. Wexford

In June of last year I had the pleasure of taking Joanne down to Marlfield House in Gorey Co. Wexford  I am only blogging on it now as I found my photos of the day on my hard drive this afternoon. As we arrived through the gates of Marlfield on a gorgeous sunny day last summer we marveled at how beautiful this country house looks. Marlfield House is a luxury 4 star hotel on the road from Gorey to Courtown and is about an hour from Dublin if I remember correctly, I will include the usual links at the bottom of my post. We headed down for a spot of Afternoon Tea, I think it was the first time we had it before or at least my first. I stumbled across Marlfield on Ireland's Blue Book which is a fantastic resource for hotels and accommodation around Ireland. When we arrived in to the restaurant we were greeted by some extremely nice staff, who asked us would we like to sit out on terrace seen as it was such a stunning day. We were happy to comply ( however we should have probably reali…

Milk Cake

Out of sheer boredam I decided to make this gorgeous recipe for a milk cake I got off of Dr Ola. It turned out really nice and light, I also added some orange zest to give it a nice citrusy flavour. Possibly one of the easiest cakes I have ever made.

Ingredients: (16 pieces)

2 can condensed, sweetened milk (750g)
50g of natural yogurt
8 Eggs
300g Self raising flour
100g melted butter
Zest of an Orange


Preheat the oven to 175°C Prepare a baking tray (40x20cm tin (at least 2.5cm tall)) with greaseproof paper. With an electric mixer, mix all ingredients (milk,eggs,flour,zest and melted butter) till smooth then add them to the cake pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes (or less according to the Cake thickness).Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top or glaze with glace icing.
Thanks for reading and thank you Dr Ola!


Arun Bakery @ Honest 2 Goodness Market

A few weeks before Christmas my mate Sarah was telling me all about the Arun Bakery up on the Honest 2 Goodness market in Glasnevin. The Bakery is run by Peter and Vlad out of a business space on North King Street Dublin 7. They specialise in all things sourdough making the most magificent bread I have seen and tasted in quite some time. Having followed the guys on twitter I vowed to get up to Glasnevin in the new year to check out the bread in person. Saturday morning I set out early for the market, I will include links and directions at the end of the post, but its situated just behind Woodies DIY in Glasnevin. I got there around 8.45am, I was a tad early as it opens at 9am, so I had the market to myself to wander around freely, its also indoor which makes it even better as you don't need to worry about the elements. 
I headed on in, briefly looking at some of the stalls but my main interest and why I was here was to meet the Arun guys. Peter was stilll setting up but it was gr…

Hatch & Sons - Stephens Green Dublin

Before Christmas myself and Joanne walked past Hatch & Sons on Stephens Green in the basement off the Little Museum of Dublin just before they opened their doors to the public. Peering in from the street the look intrigued me, but I forgot about it until this week when someone posted a link on my Facebook page. On Saturday morning I made it my mission to visit Hatch & Sons and see whether or not all I read and pictures I perused lived up to what the place is. I headed in just after being at the Glasnevin market which I will be reviewing in the next few days, arriving just after 10.30am. 
When you arrive its like you have stepped in to an old country style kitchen, the place looks fantastic, I love the layout of the kitchen. There is tables in the front and some more in the rear so they have lots of space. I am seated and given my menu, I knew what I was having though as I heard about their special baked eggs online and I also ordered a coffee. The coffee arrived fairly fast, …

777, South George's St, Dublin 2

This weekend I was up in Dublin, so on Friday after work I wanted to start it with a little treat to myself. Its rare I get to go for dinner on my own so I decided upon something different and more over somewhere Joanne wouldn't really go for. As I wandered my way down through Grafton St., I found myself being drawn toward Georges Street. Stopping to have a look at the menu of San Lorenzo's who have been on my radar for quite some time, but out of the corner of my eye I spotted someone going into 777 just one door up the street. The look alone of 777 daunts me, barely any signage, frosted windows and black paint, it doesn't scream come inside ( yes yes I know its meant to be like that ), but with another sole about to make an entrance, I scurried on in behind them ( however a 6 ft 5 man doesn't really scurry, he lumbers ). 777 is a Mexican cuisine restaurant, and with me loving all things hot n spicy I knew I had made a good choice.
As you go through the entrance ther…

Quick Steak Sandwich

Last night when I got in home I wanted something fairly fast and simple, I had some quick frying steak in the fridge and some really nice farmhouse bread left over from the weekend that was going slightly stale. One thing sprang to mind, a steak sarnie! Now the only thing missing here is maybe some onions, but I thought I would leave them out just in case my stomach was still a bit dodgy from the weekend. I say that because I had the dreaded Winter Vomitting bug on the back end of last week, which explains my radio silence up until yesterday. Anyhow enough of the sick stomach talk, I threw a fried egg in also, man I love fried eggs in a steak sandwich, seeing that the glorious egg yolk dripping out makes my mouth water.   I took 3 thin quick fry steaks, sliced them in to strips (2cm in width), seasoned with sea salt, black pepper and tablespoon of Lea & Perrins worcestershire sauce. I proceeded to quickly fry the meat off in a wok until browned, about 3 mins. With another pan fry…

Cooking the Perfect Roast Beef

The following method is pretty much fool proof when roasting a loin of beef. For all my 28 years on this planet we always have Sunday lunch without fail, its the longest standing tradition in my parents house. Sunday lunch would invariably be roast beef, roast chicken or stuffed steaks. I love this tradition my parents have passed on from their parents and I will continue this when I start my own family. I think Sunday lunch is when I first learned to cook, peeling veg, helping with desserts it was the beginning of my chance to play in the kitchen. For years my parents would buy a housekeepers cut of beef or a silver side in Dunnes, this would quite often be dry or tough until one year my grandfather Bill suggested my parents buy a cut called the "eye of the round". 
This is a tender cut of beef from the hind quarter of the cow, and is extremely lean. Nonetheless when my dad started cooking this for Sunday lunch it was a million times better than previous cuts. However beca…

Lawcus Guest House Kilkenny - Updated - Stay Number 2

This is our second stay at Lawcus Guesthouse, I didn't think it could surpass our first stay but by god it did. Before I start in to my updated review here is my previous review of Lawcus from last July
You may have seen my restaurant reviews but this is where we stayed. I knew Joanne adores Lawcus so it really fit in to place for the puzzle that made up my birthday present to her. This time we were staying in the new house, we arrived a little earlier than I had hoped on Sunday afternoon, so when we knocked on the door no one was home. I gave Mark a ring so he said to let ourselves in, go up to our room and make yourselves comfy. Now we had seen the new house and even had the tour before, the house is truly stunning. STOP! before I go any further you need some back story, I say this because one of the reasons I picked Lawcus and the room we were staying in was because of our tour of the house in the sum…