Saturday, 30 August 2014

Bell & Pot Café Kitchen, Dublin

This cute and quirky breakfast, brunch and lunch café is a real find! Nestled in a pretty hidden spot right behind the Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, beside the Travelodge hotel, I never even knew of its existence until Rory from the Eat Drink Run Fun blog and Niamh of Gourmet Grazing recommended it as a weekday breakfast spot in the heart of the city centre.

The Bell & Pot is open every day from 7 am to 9 pm and its breakfasts are top notch. I was catching up with my sister, after she arrived into Dublin airport on the red eye flight and before we were due to hop on the one of the yellow ducks and do the touristy thing around Dublin. The café had a lovely chilled vibe and there was a nice amount of people tucking into some tasty food, which gave the place a relaxed and welcoming buzz.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Hummingbird Hazelnut & Chocolate Cupcakes

These are the perfect kind of sweet treat when a sister, such as my own, is coming home for a little holiday. Or, if you're feeling down in the dumps and in need of a decent chocolate hit, they would be an advisable remedy. As this is back to school week for me and many, many teachers (and we cannot forget the students!) across Ireland and beyond, one of these would go a long way in easing that bit of back to routine blues ;-)

After my very memorable visit last year to the Hummingbird Bakery in London, I was quite sure that these cupcakes would rival any others I'd tried and I was not disappointed. My only adaptation to the original recipe is a change in quantities for the icing, as I had quite a lot left over on my first bake. These cupcakes are quick to bake and surprisingly simple to decorate.

Hazelnut and Chocolate Cupcakes

Friday, 22 August 2014

The First Big Grill Festival, August 2014

I had been looking forward to this food festival for some time. It's been a long time since I was at a food festival, Bloom in Phoenix Park last year springs to any case, I was all set for a day of good food and entertainment. The entry fee into the Big Grill Festival in the lovely setting of Herbert Park in Ballsbridge was €15. There were early bird prices and I did get my ticket for a little less than this price. However, I was disappointed that literally everything had a cost involved once inside the venue. The cost was in the form of "smokin' tokens" and one token equated to one Euro.

Scenes from around the park at the Big Grill Festival

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Duomo - Two Michelin Star Dining in Sicily

I have eaten in a couple of restaurants I would class as very high standard; Neven Maguire's MacNean Restaurant in Cavan stands out, as does the beautiful gourmet getaway, The Old Convent in Tipperary. L'Écrivain, with its one Michelin star in Dublin didn't fully wow me as I thought it would. So, I was certainly excited but also had some mixed feelings about what to expect in Duomo, a two Michelin star restaurant in the spectacular UNESCO baroque town of Ragusa Ibla in Sicily.

Friday, 15 August 2014

The Chiappas' Cinnamon Sponge Cake with Apples

'Simply Italian' by the Chiappa Sisters is a very recent addition to my cookbook collection and I am delighted with it. I love the combination of cinnamon and apple and when I read through this recipe I straight away knew it was a sweet treat I really wanted to try out. I had one of my sisters calling over for dinner and baking fever is high these days anyway with The Great British Bake Off on our screens every Wednesday evening. Plus, I recently discovered that apparently it's afternoon tea week until 17th August and just how authentic an afternoon tea treat is a slice of sponge cake with a cup of hot tea?!

So there, I had three excuses to bake. I have slightly adapted the recipe from the original. You will get about eight generous portions from the cake. Here goes...

Monday, 11 August 2014

Gluten-Free Cookery Classes with the Coeliac Society of Ireland

A few weeks ago, I was kindly invited by the Coeliac Society of Ireland, as a guest to one of their cookery classes in the Miele Gallery, in Citywest, Dublin. I am not a coeliac myself, but I do feature quite a few gluten-free recipes on my blog - you can check out my gluten-free label on my homepage - and I am aware that gluten-free diets, due most often to medical reasons or sometimes personal lifestyle choices, are becoming far more common in Ireland.

Gluten-free menu: Top - Profiterole with goat's cheese, left bottom - Tagliatelle carbonara, right bottom - Pancakes

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Hairy Dieters' Chicken Tikka Masala

I said I would blog the most popular recipe chosen from my first blog birthday post and true to my word, here it is, and I do not think you'll be disappointed. I will give one piece of advice - marinade in advance, as in the night before you plan to serve it. I have to say this really impacts upon the flavour and makes this a truly winning and satisfying version of one the most popular takeaway treats. And, added bonus, it's healthy!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Hugo's Restaurant, Dublin

Hugo's Restaurant on Dublin's Merrion Row, was somewhere that I was blissfully unaware of for quite some time. On the particular evening we ate there, we were in search of a pre-theatre meal, close to the Gaiety Theatre, in a restaurant that could accommodate us at 5 pm at the latest. Hugo's opens at 5 o'clock, so we were in business. I love the outside of Hugo's - the turquoise/aquamariney colour is striking and appealing and an unusual but pretty choice for a restaurant facade I think.

Hugo's front
~ Image sourced from website ~

Friday, 1 August 2014

Best Potato Gratin

We Irish love our potatoes, and for many reasons, feel a very strong bond to the humble spud. It features on many the Irish dinner plate. But we have to hand it to the French, potato gratin or 'pommes de terre dauphinoise' is a pretty mean recipe to spruce up a potato. It is one of my very favourite ways to serve potato and it's a real treat. This recipe is always a winner for me and I hope you like it too.

Best potato gratin, served!