It started on a road trip in the magical West of Ireland with our friends visiting from Canada. We heard a recent talk on BBC Food program that talked about how sustainable oyster cultivation could be; so in light of all this, we went on a wild goose chase … or perhaps better-termed a wild [oyster] chase.Read More
This post is about you, every single one who we met. Even if you think it's not about you... it is.
There are a few times in life where you are deeply moved by a shaping experience. Dublin has been that for me.Read More
Highlights: we got in a great conversation with David Lebovitz whose recipe aided in my first successful batch of french macarons.
[SHORT, Quick Lovin' ]
Service: Prompt & friendly
Likelihood to return: I'd be keen to have a late drink!
Food/Coffee: Food 2.5/5, Coffee 3/5.
Chillness: 4.5 chill chairs!
Highlights: the view
It's quite the place the Dean Hotel, I'm sure most Dubliners would agree you're transported to a different place when you walk through the doors. It’s a boutique hotel located in Georgian Dublin on Harcourt St. The interior feels as if you’re in a trendy New York hotel and Sophie's is on the top floor.
Sophie's is so aesthetic, you’re surrounded by windows and it boasts, likely, one of the best views in Dublin aside from the Guinness storehouse and the Marker Hotel’s Rooftop bar. It has stark black and white tiles and you can see into the kitchen which adds to the atmosphere. The bar in the middle of the restaurant is one of my favourite elements. They have not spared any expense.
As far as food goes, we were optimistic. After all it was a brilliant place. We had lots of brunch! But, as one of our friends put it "Well they could have done a little bit with the presentation?" If you’re looking for hard poached eggs that took a tan sesh under the heat lamp, then sure, here you are. The staff were accommodating and friendly.
Despite all this our experience was great the drinks were fabulous and overall it's one of the most enjoyable views. This place is stunning. It has a lot going for it so we hope it only gets better.
What have your experiences been like I'd love to hear that give us a shout!
Check back on Sunday for our next Feature in the Women's Day Series!
Here in Ireland, pancake Tuesday (aka Shrove tuesday) is done very BIG! BIG and Festive; by festive, I mean we have crepe-like pancakes topped with lemon juice and dusted in icing sugar. I've never seen a place go so crazy over pancakes, but I won't deny you the pancake-pleasure, I love them so much! You must, must, must top them with CANADIAN maple syrup ;)
So if you haven't prepared your sourdough sponge overnight like I mentioned last week for sourdough pancakes don't be frettin'. Here is plan B, follow this alternative recipe by Donal Skehan & the guys at Happy Pear for Dairy-free, gluten-free, banana buckwheat pancakes! secret recipe: tahini. These guys are so entertaining - yea, it's Irish charm they're all charming.
-Final note: notice the fancy wok used to make the pancakes
I'd love to hear what gets you excited about food in Dublin. Don't forget to comment below. Follow us on twitter, instagram, or subscribe!
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!
“happy new year!” … are we still saying that? I heard somebody at the airport ask the same question when I was traveling. He asked the the guy on the other line, is it too late to still be saying this? - it’s only…. 13th of January. Well I think it's never too late since I haven't seen any of you yet this year but, I have been meaning to say lots and lots of things.
You know, New Years is a season of expectation and anticipation, sometimes almost too much anticipation. Like I get it, it's a reset where we can evaluate how we've done in the past year and set new goals, but it seems as though there's this looming expectation for us all to do everything that we haven’t done in the last year or years of our lives ALL at once and achieve it, ALL!
We decide to kick every bad habit that we have, lock the liquor cabinet (or have ‘dry January’), hit the gym, eat better, be better people, be more successful, hope for better things, start the things that we have always said we would but haven't, and pretty much everything else that we can think of - or maybe that's just me. If you're thinking what I'm thinking, that sounds hugely daunting!
Downfall of a New Year
No, forget all the S.M. a R.T. goals but even the smartest goals won't help me feel positive about that.
nobody talks about about (OH my goodness), what if you wake up on the other side of the new year, and it’s JANUARY. it's grim and grey. and it’s the coldest time of the year in most places (not Australia). You don't feel like setting any goals or tackling the mountain of things that you haven't done.
I was really encouraged after coffee with food-friend, Vincci. (cecinestpasunfoodblog.com). It made the new year seem more achievable!
It's more difficult to break bad habits, than it is to form new healthy ones. Recently, we've been talking about culture and society in food at school, and this involves knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours. What this means is just because we know something is good for us doesn't mean it changes how we think about it or behave. For instance we know that eating healthy & drinking less, and getting active is better for us, but so many other things in our environment or daily lives get in the way of that happening.
Before you know it, you’re at the till in tesco/superstore after work, and you’re crumbling to the temptation of one little bit of mars bar ;P Is it not easier to form new habits? You don’t have to go cold turkey and never touch a drink again! Just focus on moving towards a new little thing, like eating one more serving of veg a day, or maybe just ONE beer this week ;)
Get a buddy for motivation!
My point: new years resolutions are frustrating when we don't stick to them. December doesn't have to be the month to live it up and detox later. Maybe a constant dose of sanity and fun along the way and we don't have to put so much pressure on in January.
Tell me, what you have all signed on for and committed to this January?
.... P.S. I should also show you how we (ATE) rang in the new year, right??
Yes, Poitin! A quick drink experiment :) - I probably shouldn't admit this to you, but I kind of like mess around with cocktails at home. I really don't have a huge problem drinking alone, it allows me to perfect it for when there IS company. - so i tell myself.
As you do, because we are in Ireland, I've opted to swap everything for Poitin! A clear distilled irish liquor (spirits from grains of whiskey) without the ageing in oak
Adapted from Martini & Rossi Factory Martini
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...
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.
Cooking is a moral process, transferring raw material from ‘nature’ to the state of ‘culture', and thereby taming and domesticating it… Food is therefore ‘civilised’ by cooking, not simply at the level of practice but at the level of imagination(Lupton 1996, 2)
In my masters studies they’re looking for analysis & synthesis.
One thing I can do is analyse, but synthesis seems somewhat of an intangible art form! I find it challenging to do so or maybe I 'm not totally comfortable sharing. How does one define ‘synthesise’ - it means to form new ideas and create.
After a bit of critical analysis, I realised, Hey! I do really like building things and creating projects. So as a result i think I might just start sharing more; more recipes, more ideas... I didn't feel equipped to share my cooking, because I’m not trained in culinary nor do I work in a professional kitchen. I just spend a lot of time in our home kitchen. Your tv time is like my hang-out time in the kitchen. We don’t even own a tv anymore.
One thing a friend, and life coach& psychologist told me has stuck with me, she said ‘you identify the moments when you’re creative by knowing when you’re working away and time just passes - without you noticing.' These are times when you are at your creative best, what’s your creative best? - I wasn't sure of the answer, but well I think it’s food. It’s cooking, discussing, reading about, photographing, and analysing food!
So this is a very lengthy introduction to the recipes that will start appearing on the site periodically.
well, go'wwan what’s yours?
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!
 mugi-cha roasted barley tea with wood sorrel syrup
 charred broad beans with kelp-salt
 chilled noodle with channel wrack seaweed
 simmered marrow with duck dumpling, strangely homey, reminding me of my mom's soup and very satisfying
 grilled erengi mushroom with shiso pesto
 kakuni slow cooked pork belly
 deep fried summer veggies
 pressed sushi with trout & egg kohlrabi pickle, this is Ireland for-ya!
 home-fermented miso with grilled aubergine and ginger
 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!
201 days, 11,515km & 11 countries!
A few of my friends took a long journey, cycling from Cairo, Egypt to Capetown, South Africa.
I am completely inspired by their journey after watching their footage of all the different terrain & funny creatures they saw along the way. Imagine travelling with everything you need, on your bike! I can barely camp (tent-style), but taking it all on to a bike in the middle of Africa instills fear in my heart! The solitude an emotional highs and lows of missing family, friends, home, and comfort would be daunting. Another really cool bit is seeing the different countries along the road that are coffee producing countries - as a lover of coffee, that is very exciting!
Why do something crazy?
Because it scares you and because it is AWESOME! They raised funds for Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders and Room to Read.
Room to read is an organisation that promotes literacy and gender equality in education in Asia and Africa.
Doctors without borders is the worlds largest humanitarian medical NGO, and works in areas of distress, natural and man-made disaster or conflict. They do all this irrespective of race, religion, or political interest.
See the route here on the Irish Independent
Another weekend packed with friends and new surprises - apologies for this being a little late after Taste of Dublin. I’ve recently joined a cycle group that meets on Saturday mornings and this weekend we cycled 60 km to look over Dublin. Gawd, if only you could see how scenic this place is from all the hilltops surrounding the coast! (That's coming!) Saturday mornings are dedicated to these rides until the Banff Gran Fondo in August. I’m liking the new challenge and fitness goals, but sacrificing Saturday plans like going to the market is a bit of, well, a sacrifice. We have no greens for the week, better suck it up!
Taste of Dublin was taking place at Iveagh Gardens around the corner from us and I wasn't really planning on going until I received a surprise mail with an invite to the event. (thanks S for checking the mail :|) Overjoyed! I was able to get in late, but made it to the fantastic event where Aldi was doing a kick-off of their 28-day aged steak.
On the Menu: [cod brandade with lemon aioli], [28-day dry aged choice of rib eye or striploin], [triple cooked chips, hollandaise & crispy bacon/onion] , [strawberry & basil panna cotta with yogurt granita]
I sipped away at my wine absently while catching up on chats with a friend, until the crisp citrus, stonefruit, and mineral finish shocked us into discussion. We were pleasantly surprised at the white wine Spanish Abariño - I know the supermarkets get a bit of a bad wrap for the commodity wines they buy and although we should support small producers - here is an example of a wine that is really [worth your while].
Sinead, from Food Presence PR headed-up an impressive garden terrace and intimate kitchen dining experience in the midst of the busyness of Taste, also thanks to special guest Chef Cormac Rowe and team.
A bit on ageing meats. There are two methods; dry-aged & wet-aged. Generally, meats are hung for about seven days before broken into their retail cuts and sold. The reason for this is to make the meat more palatable and tender. As meat ages the collagen & muscle fibres 'relax' through an enzymatic process that starts about 6-12 hours after slaughter. Wet-aging is done in cryovac bags whereas dry aged meat is hung refrigerated. The research on the consumer preference of wet vs. dry aged could be quite polarising as they have distinctly different flavour profiles. We were taught that the tenderness reaches a maximum after 14 days but then why does industry insist on aging for longer? (Other factors such as flavour, colour, and juiciness are considerations too. Dry-aging meat is seen as a premium for many reasons, the time and controlled environment required for the process is one consideration; but, there is a massive loss in water (70% weight loss) and guess what you pay for when you buy fresh meat - mostly water. Tricky, tricky ;) Now to take that one step further what about 'seasoned' meat or 'marinated' meat, does that not absorb more water? Yup. So if you want to pay for water haha. Last party tip: Predominant Microorganisms in dry aging is psueudomonads vs. Wet ageing which is lactobacilli I always associated pseudomonads with spoilage and giving that off- taste so maybe that's what gives dry aging the funk in the meat.
For more reading fun
The last couple months has been exciting. unparalleled. insurmountable. I wrote in the Food Cloud post that I was overwhelmed with the positivity recently, and felt I had to take action. One of the reasons is this most-breathtaking & unreal experience - sshhhh….secret I haven't told you all yet. So I'm going to tell you now. One of, well ok, our favourite restaurant in Dublin, Forest Avenue afforded me a rare opportunity to hang out and capture some of what they do at the restaurant in hopes of getting some images for their website. Oh and we got to hang with their little one too, sweet as a button! Just to give you an idea; Irish times says it's 'ground-breaking without being swaggering or smug… giving us damn fine dining'. Lovin' dublin says, 'the food ... photos say way more than anything I ever could. Safe to say that it was all absolutely f[bleep]ing gorgeous'; French Foodie in Dublin, 'the most stylish restaurants. Absolutely magical!' and every blog post I see online has at least a dozen photos of the stunning food. The Irish Independent claims it's 'A Marriage made in heaven'; and Totally Dublin says ' I’m in love with the place, the food and the couple who are running the show at Forest Avenue.' Heck, Catherine Cleary said this would be her pick for birthday dinner, and honestly mine too. Forest Avenue has just won the Best Newcomer of the Year and John was awarded Best Chef in Dublin at the Restaurant Awards of Ireland. Hats off! So it seems fitting at this time, to share some of these pictures with you. If you don't know them yet, Sandy & John are the masterminds behind Forest Avenue. Sandy is super warm and guides the service team with a defined idea of what they envisage; while John leads the kitchen with his stoic unwavering focus. Together, their focus is on the flawless product . I am mesmerised by the work they do in and out of the kitchen, but also by their authenticity. Service is about creating an experience for customers - they consider this down to the plush of a pillow, the texture of (my favourite) potato bread, and the perfection of their quenelles.
It's hard to capture in words what the experience is like. It is undeniably the most passionate meal in Dublin in a subtle and understated way. There's just something about this place. I know it's about the flavours, the interaction, the atmosphere and staff, all these things are tangible but there is something completely not tangible that makes the dining experience at Forest Avenue. Something about their passion transcends through the food - it literally makes you want to be better at whatever it is you do because they work so hard from start to finish to be amazing. The one and only upsetting part of the story is that there is so much love for this place that booking must be done well in advance - so if you plan a visit call early! You've been forewarned.
Sandy, John, Forest Ave team, thanks for sharing your love with us.
See the [Dinner at Forest Avenue]
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.
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.
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.
[ABOVE PANEL: Oisín Quinn, The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Emer Costello, Labour Party’s MEP, Eoin MacCuirc, Bia FoodBank, Odile LeBolloch, EPA]
[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.
[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....
[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
[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
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.
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
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.
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.