V-day's MY DAY

This is for those lucky enough to believe in Valentine's day and celebrate it too!
Also for those who also forgot until today that it’s two days from now.
Here are a few things you can pull out and still impress…
with increasing difficulty, starting with the least time/effort required
BOY ARE YOU LUCKY, I made it reallll easy  (click photos for links to buy)

 

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No. 1
Cake Cafe does room service, in your own room! 
This is absolutely genius, for those like me, who do not want to brave the weekend crowds for brunch, there is just something sane about having brunch at home.  They cater to both veggies & non veggies but this does take the planning of one-day’s foresight and the click of a button.
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No. 2
Get a thoughtful card.
There are a few places in town like Fallon & Byrne and Irish Design shop that sell Irish made cards.  However, if you want to be very creative someone in our family takes pictures of great cards and sends them to us on the day via iMessage!  well lucky me, or lucky YOU, i’ve adopted this practice. (But honestly, support the independent creatives that are making these cool Irish cards!)
 

Photo: Bean and Goose Facebook

No. 3 
This Irish chocolatier is creating quite the movement.  S & I particularly love the milk chocolate bar with sea salt.  But just the other day I tasted the champagne truffle and my oh my, I will gladly receive a whole box of these.
They will be at the Temple Bar Market on the day, Saturday the 14th!
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No. 4
Macarons 
There are two easy stops to pick up these french macarons, Laudurée in Brown Thomas or Cocoa Atelier on Drury street.  Why's this romantic?  I’m not sure if it’s because they are a labour of love, they originate from France (of course Paris is romantic), or the fact that they are pastel and lovely that these little sweets will make you GOLDEN!
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No. 5 
Succulents from |the garden|
Why not get something a bit longer lasting?  These are so easy to tend to and they live forever. These little guys are known for storing water in their leaves, so as long as you don't over water they are the perfect alternative. However, the garden bouquets are also absolutely stunning!
 
While i’m aware that this has been almost an entirely sexist post geared towards guys, getting things for girls, i’m pretty sure that you guys can appreciate almost every one of these things on the list.  

ONE LAST THING:

my wish list is this pineapple macaron box & these cute heart cookies that'll be coming in my breakfast in bed from cake cafe!

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Sunsets in Ireland

a single photo from this past weekend, because that's all I have so far! I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be seeing this surreal scenic country we have been living in for about two years now.

This last weekend I travelled 4 hours to Connemara to visit the very special Dillisk Project.  I have been wanting to get out for way too long.

this is just the beginning...

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Grow HQ- A project that's creating waves

Today I want to share a video and tell you about the really exciting project in Ireland called GrowHQ.

They are having a golden ticket raffle, for a prized spot at the Ballymaloe 12-week cookery course. I almost don't want to tell you about this because that will dilute my chances of winning the prize, but out of selflessnes.... ok I'll tell you.

Why is this exciting you ask?

GrowHQ takes into account a lot of the problems with our food system, like long, sometimes misleading food supply chains; lack of understanding of our food and where it comes from; and limited access to good, fresh, healthy food; and addresses them in a creative and innovative way.

In uni, one of our profs had said that Obesity will be a problem that our generation is tasked to solve, and from a purely dietetics approach I couldn't systematically see how that problem could be solved.  This is the way forward, through better policies, industry and government support, and fostering skills and access to better food,

The goal of GrowHQ resonate so close to my own; which are, to create a culture of food empathy and broader understanding, teaching children about food.

Encouraging awareness & conversations about food and giving people skills to prepare their own food is the core of creating a food-centric culture.  (& also the best way to forge a happy healthy relationship with food to chip away at this obesity problem).  I hope you'll join me in supporting this.

They have a fund-it campaign (http://fundit.ie/project/giys-grow-hq) and if you'd like to try your luck at the Golden ticket, click the link!

 

Japanese Collab Dublin - Manatsu

  A month or so ago, we had the pleasure of taking-in (by this I mean consuming) a project bringing so many of our creative & food community together in Dublin. Manatsu, meaning spring-summer,  was a beautifully assembled 12-course dinner, or ramen-lunch.

Junko & Robyn, our new friends, worked tirelessly all night to serve up these local ingredients in Japanese flavours.  So you'll see the charred broad bean with kelp salt, but tricky-tricky doesn't it remind of edamame?

The fabulous Orlaith Ross hosted the evening, gliding us from course to course and many of the courses were paired with a japanese tea or complementing beverage.  My favourite being the cold-brew Hojicha & the second harvest Sencha.  Japanese theme was woven throughout the evening from the calligraphy to the performance of Japanese instruments.  Hunt & Gather gals, created an space that was absolutely stunning.  Hanging garden included!

manatsu mosaic-1 manatsu mosaic-2

The menu:

[1] mugi-cha roasted barley tea with wood sorrel syrup

[2] charred broad beans with kelp-salt

[3] chilled noodle with channel wrack seaweed

[4] simmered marrow with duck dumpling, strangely homey, reminding me of my mom's soup and very satisfying

[5] grilled erengi mushroom with shiso pesto

[6] kakuni slow cooked pork belly

[7] deep fried summer veggies

[8] pressed sushi with trout & egg kohlrabi pickle, this is Ireland for-ya!

[9] home-fermented miso with grilled aubergine and ginger

[10] tomato jelly with gooseberry, a refreshing & cool clean course to bring us to dessert

the meal culminated in a summer fruit salad & rose petal tea & matcha castella cake. so photogenic!

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Food Cloud Feast - feast, not waste

Foodcloud-1 I know life is cyclical and so are its seasons. Ever feel like you have a creative block where you don’t feel the drive for discovering and or searching for wonderment, but it’s just going about the days and you’re tired but you can’t break out of the cycle.  I call that creative death - whatever you call it, it’s a motivational low.  There can be exciting things happening around you, your days are packed and there is meaning to what you do don’t get me wrong, but there’s just a lethargy about it.

The last couple weeks has been absolutely full of fun food events, I’m ecstatic that I’ve met such a variety of amazing people here.  There is no doubt that Dublin is a vibrant and growing city, but  I suppose when there’s so much happening I get lost in all the action.

Last night was a real awakening. The Food Cloud Feast was held at the stunning Smock Alley theatre. It was to bring about knowledge and attention to food waste & the Food Cloud the app.    Food Cloud is a dynamic project by Iseult & Aoibheann aimed at helping get food surplus from food RETAIL level to charities serving high needs areas in Dublin.

Foodcloud-3 Tesco “We think it’s a brilliant idea “

We were fed a serious feast! Sophie Morris, of http://sophiekooks.com/ prepared a delightful Indian-themed menu including poppadoms, spiced rice dishes, and a lamb korma curry.  The spice was just right.  It prepped us for the panel discussion regarding food waste - why it happens, who are the key players, whose role is it to fix it, and what effect it has on Dublin, Ireland and beyond. Foodcloud-2

Most surprising to me was that retail giant Tesco was also present for the discussion.  Everyone from policy-makers, chefs, retailers, pub owners, foodies and the like were all present.  A group that honestly spanned all ages. The whole evening brought about awareness to food insecurity in our country and the excess in which we live; that is, in order to keep retail food shelves stocked with the selection we see on a daily basis, there are business models in which retailers replenish food and circulate it to get shelves looking as full and enticing as possible.  I think awareness is the first step of understanding the food system and the needs that exist, but what stirs about change for an individual is a movement of people committed to a similar goal.  Thanks gals for inspiring so many to know more about food waste and how we can spur on change. Truly leading by example.

Have you seen this previous post Dearest Dublin: Week 3 - Love food, don't waste food, #FEEDING5K  

I’ve been sitting on an idea to discuss food retailers (Tescos, Aldi, Lidl, etc) and their power in the food system.  Starting next week, I think I’ll try to write a series about this power and what it means for us as consumers.

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[ABOVE PANEL: Oisín Quinn, The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Emer Costello, Labour Party’s MEP, Eoin MacCuirc, Bia FoodBank, Odile LeBolloch, EPA]

Forest Avenue - Sussex Terrace, Dublin 4

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[SHORT, Quick Lovin' ]

Service: simply real & relatable 

Likelihood to return: we're neighbours, I'll be back next week

Food/Coffee: Food 4.8/5, Coffee 4/5.

Chillness: 4.9 chill chairs!  This would be my place to hang out!  

Highlights:  Brisket, cannelloni of celeriac & ox tongue, onion, grilled leek & horseradish

 

A year ago I arrived in Dublin and I was pleasantly surprised with the food scene.  I have definitely observed quite an entrepreneurial spirit here, I thought my hometown Calgary was filled with start-ups and the like but as one Dubliner recently said, well if you don’t 'make it' yourself, nobody else is going to just give it to you.

I’m fortunate to have a husband that knows how much I love, love, LOVE food- he is probably the source of all my up and coming food knowledge.

Forest Avenue is a restaurant set up by husband and wife team Sandy & John.  I didn’t have the opportunity to attend any of their previous pop-ups, 'The Supper Club', but this is the real thing so we make it count!  We walked in just on Sussex Terrace, a block off the canal and we were completely caught off guard. Unsuspecting place. The space is minimal and white, but decorated tastefully, loft-like high ceiling in the entrance; then to the left there’s an espresso & brewed coffee set-up. I’m feeling quite at home now.

The photos will speak for themselves.  I’m really trying to write more succinctly or not at all.

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[insert snacks here] ;)

Can i just say that the bread is out of this world? I don't want to get your hopes up but ask for the potato bread, or the toasted walnut bread....

FA midi

[i]House made ricotta, squash, chicory & truffled hazelnuts

[ii] Brisket, cannelloni of celeriac & ox tongue, onion, grilled leek & horseradish

[iii]Cod Broccoli, spiced miso butter almonds & mussels

IMG_8451 [ WHITE PORT DRINK OF CHOICE ]

FA dessert

[i]Venison,parsnip cooked in miso, beetroot, cavalo nero & pear FANTASTIC - I currently have a serious obsession with cavalo nero. Can NOT get enough of it.

[ii]Spiced bread crumbled, pear, chocolate cremeux, salt walnut ice cream

[iii] Petit fours - tasty as hell-beignets & marshmallows

 

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The open kitchen made for an intimate meal where we were able to observe the chefs at work without even getting in their way.  This kitchen is well on their way to wow-ing Dublin; their composure, and friendly, authentic staff were beyond 'grand' and made us feel so at home.

 

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Now, I know that people were hesitant about our opinions.  I think probably five people asked how our coffee was that night.  Honestly, it was great.  The detail, tasting notes, and information on the farm that Cloud Picker Coffee Roasters provided is just testament to the growth of coffee culture in Dublin.  They say there is a Resident menu for Weds & Thursdays, an abridged taster of our meal - but I am so excited that our neighbourhood has this new resident to feed our gullets

Now that we've satisfied your dinner needs, look forward to brunch at Forest Ave.

8 Sussex Terrace, Dublin 4 Tel: 016678337 Website: http://forestavenuerestaurant

Guinness + Mumford = Ireland

Yesterday was Arthur Guinness day- a day of musical events started  in 2009 to commemorate the 250 anniversary of the brewery.  It also commemorates the happiest day, ever for my dear in Dublin, Ireland. (that is, until the day I arrive)  So, hurray - he's sharing on the blog today.

Since living in Dublin, I haven't really had a lot of time to go out and see many things.   This has restricted my adventures to two things; finding great food and frequenting 3FE on a weekly basis... if not more.  I love listening to music, but rarely have I taken the opportunity to go see a concert.

It was rumoured that Mumford and Sons *might* be playing a short free gig prior to their ticketed show later that evening. They were in Dublin as part of the Arthur's Day Celebration. I couldn't pass it up.

After a brief personal food poisoning scare (another story altogether), I met a number of classmates and friends waited outside Toner's on Baggot Street after legging it from class. We waited, obviously honouring the marketing genius who made up the Arthur's Day, by drinking pints of Guinness.  The bar filled up pretty quickly, there were people waiting outside while they played!  After the opening act and a bit of a wait, Mumford and Sons made it up to the stage, picked up their instruments and just dropped all their hits, including The Cave, Awake My Soul, and Little Lion Man, and some great new tracks from their latest album, Babel (I Will Wait and Whispers In The Dark).
 
It was an incredible experience. They played with such fervor and intensity. Their style of music really plays off a rowdy crowd in the middle of Dublin. Not much else to say besides the fact it was probably best experience I've had in Dublin so far. Period.
 
Thanks to the person who had all the inside information (you know who you are) and all the buddies who were there to enjoy the evening with me. We even topped it off with Pablo Picante Burritos afterwards, haha!
 - From Ireland with love  

Thomas Keller's Perfect Poached Egg In the Magazine: bonappetit.com

Thomas Keller's Perfect Poached Egg via Bon Appetit

Yes, ok I know this is cheating - but I couldn't resist after staring intently and drooling over this animated gif of the poached egg.  I love how the oozing egg yolk fills the plate and they use the bread to soak all the goodness up!

Poached eggs, so simple, yet difficult to perfect.  Nutritious and delicious on just about anything, except for, maybe deep fried banana, no wait.... still good. I would actually like to try it on a poutine - that would be BRiLLiAnT! - and if you don't think so, I implore you to explain your reasoning.

See the link for Thomas Keller's tip to perfecting this perfect protein.  Tell me this doesn't make you want an egg.