Thursday, 26 May 2016

Chez Hans, Cashel, Co. Tipperary

Chez Hans is a simply beautiful looking restaurant, first established a stone's throw from the infamous "Rock", in the year 1968. The building is striking both inside and out as it is a renovated  Victorian Gothic church. The large stained glass windows add to the sense of sophistication throughout. There is also a great collection of eclectic artwork to be seen and admired on the walls. It held a Michelin star for a short time in the early eighties. Its style is European in influence and much of the produce is locally sourced. It is by no means cheap, but for a special occasion, or romantic dinner, this destination restaurant most certainly delivers. We have dined here on three occasions, most recently with two friends of ours. Chez Hans, just in the past few years, now has two sister establishments worth checking out - Café Hans, a delightful daytime café, just a minute up the road from Chez Hans, and Stef Hans, located in Thurles' Source Arts Centre.
The old church setting of Chez Hans

Friday, 18 December 2015

Best Mulled Wine

I'm back! With a little festive cheer in the form of one of the tastiest Christmas tipples. Some might say it's an acquired taste, but to me its taste, aroma, appearance...everything about mulled wine = CHRISTMAS! I would strongly recommend serving a hot glass with a mince pie or two. Our family tradition is to enjoy our mulled wine mid-morning (after mass) on Christmas Day and it just gives you that cozy hug you need to kick off a special, chilled out family day.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Ashford Castle Afternoon Tea

Ashford Castle in Co. Mayo is a plush, uber luxurious Irish castle, dating back to 1228 and it provides a truly five star experience. Afternoon tea in this idyllic spot is something quite special and memorable indeed.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Easy Banana & Chocolate Chunk Bread

This banana bread is actually more of a light cake really than a bread. It is perfect with a cup of tea as a little homemade sweet treat. It holds well when wrapped and stored in a container and it is great in that it uses up overripe bananas. Your fruit bowl will thank you!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Foodie Experience in Australia

I am back from over two weeks "Down Unda"! My first time to Australia saw me travelling between Sydney, Melbourne and some of the Victoria countryside. This blog post is a little bit of visual and written reminiscing of what was a great culinary trip.

1. Breakfasts. Boy, do the Aussies know how to make a good breakie and lucky for me, breakie is one of my favourite meals! Some of my top tips are...
  • The Fine Food Store in Sydney. Don't be put off by the name, it serves up some amazing breakfasts with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and with a real focus on healthy foods and with varying dietary needs catered for but with great flavour being paramount.
  • Bills. I am sure you have heard of the well known Australian TV chef and restauranteur Bill Granger. Well he has a few spots around Sydney and on a bleak beach day in Bondi of all places, we happily sheltered from the rain in Bill's and enjoyed a late breakie. This place packs up fast and I believe we were lucky to get a seat without having to wait or pre-book. Bill's is worth a visit.
  • Avocados - they love them and serve them very frequently in breakfast dishes. Go for it. A simple sourdough toast and avo is a thing of beauty.
  • Manly/Bondi/Beach locations - Ideally get the ferry to Manly and stroll along the well signposted coastal walks and enjoy a lazy breakfast/brunch at one of the many cafés.
  • The Flour and Stone or whatever may be your local bakery. We found this particular place thanks to TripAdvisor and it was literally two minutes from our hotel. It served some of the tastiest breakfasts and most luscious pastries and coffees. It is teeny tiny and evidently beloved by the locals. We noticed repeat business when we visited, which is always a positive!
Breakfast Panini with poached egg, bacon, cheese, spinach and chilli jam at Fine Food Store

Monday, 23 February 2015

Café Hans, Cashel, Co. Tipperary

Café Hans is a little pink treasure of foodie delights. It is nestled on a quaint street in the outskirts of the pretty town of Cashel, just a stones throw from the impressive Rock of Cashel.

We have visited for lunch on three occasions and been very satisfied each time. Our last trip was on Valentine's day.  The café is opened from 12 to 5, takes no bookings and unsurprisingly gets very busy during rush hour lunch time. We arrived about 20 minutes before 1pm and were lucky to get a great spot by the window. Here I had a great view of the "Rock's" round tower.

Café Hans in all its pink perfection!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Perfect Pancake Day Crepes

So I have been gone AWOL for quite some time now. I'm making no excuses this time, just a case of c'est la vie! However, I couldn't possibly let Pancake Tuesday (17th February 2015 FYI) pass without a post to mark one of my favourite foodstuffs. I am a breakfast fiend and though I have tried and made a few savoury pancakes, the sweet always wins over as a tasty morning breakfast treat for me. I have come to be a fan of thicker and smaller buttermilk pancakes in recent times, which I've blogged about before, but I will always stay true to my deep fondness for the crepe. This recipe is quick and easy. It can be prepared in advance. So, if you're all guns blazing to be an uber prepared breakfast queen/king, you can have this prepared and in the fridge on Monday evening! However, even fifteen minutes or so of resting time in the fridge provides really great crepes. This recipe should make about 6/7 crepes.

Crepes - left: served with maple syrup and berries, right: the traditional lemon juice and sugar

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Nigella's Cappuccino Layered Pavlova

So it's nearing new year's and the over indulgence in luscious edibles is in full swing. A whole tub of freshly whipped cream, chocolate and Bailey's smothered invitingly over layered meringues sounds perfectly acceptable; even relatively light one might say! My version of cappuccino pavlova inspired by Nigella Lawson went down a treat after Christmas dinner this year. It is simple to prepare and importantly at this time of year, is best prepared in advance, plus the aesthetic value makes this a bit of a stunner. It is definitely one I have now firmly added to my repertoire of desserts for entertaining and I think it would be a lovely option for the sweet element of a new year's eve or day feast.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Orange & Cinnamon Buttermilk Pancakes

Orange and cinnamon is a scent and flavour combination that sings the jolly season and these pancakes will do the very trick into getting you into the Christmassy spirit! Whether you want to enjoy a lazy brunch over the Christmas period or would like a festive breakie to set you up before a day of trawling the shops to find those last-minute presents, these simple and tasty pancakes should hit the spot. I would advise you for this recipe, go and get yourself a set of cup measurements if you don't already have one. They can be purchased very cheaply and they make the quantities so simple for this recipe.
This recipes yields 6 pancakes and, to me, (and I am a pancake-fiend), 2 is more than enough.

Orange & Cinnamon Pancakes

Friday, 5 December 2014

#BPBR no. 4 - The Happy Pear

'The Happy Pear' by David & Stephen Flynn, published in 2014

I had heard quite a lot about these guys over the past year or so. They are very on the ball in the social media realm and I had read some great reviews of the excellent, wholesome and healthy food they serve in their renowned Greystones restaurant. I was sent a complimentary copy of this book from their publishers, Penguin Ireland. From my first leaf through this literally "tablet-sized" cookbook, I was eager to get cooking!

1. The photos in this cookbook are fun, attractive and appealing. Uber healthy food (which the book contains in bucket loads) is displayed as appetising and interesting. There isn't even the faintest whiff of boring "diet" style foods and so I found my list of to-try recipes began growing longer and longer as I leafed through the book. Hardly a complaint! It's no secret either that the Flynn twins are very easy on the eye and there are quite a few photos of the two guys throughout the book too. I always find that a cookbook with some people photos featuring among the vast array of food photos, is a good thing. And it's no different in the Happy Pear, where family, friendships and health are put to the forefront. One more lovely thing - you must check out the fabulous sunset photos on page 161 - a lovely interest that formed from the time of the birth of Dave's daughter...and grew legs from social media. Very pretty indeed!
Look at those dips and tasty treats!