Sunday 28 May 2017

Friday lunch

Well first of all I have to say I am appalled at myself for not blogging for so long.  It's been really irking even upsetting me for a while now...I am questioning my existence lol.  Well no, but I was questioning...if I haven't blogged for two weeks or so, can I really call myself a blogger?
Anyway I am back!
And back with a report of a lovely day with Enid on this Friday just gone
Here we are pictured just before we left Enid's house
And here we are over in Fitzwilliam where we were attending a lunch in aid of Aware featuring the culinary skills and imagination of the Michelin star chef Ross Lewis of Chapter One restaurant.

Soup of Smoked Haddock, Fermented Horseraddish, Cauliflower, Dill
This starter was a beautifully light and delicately flavoured chowder.

But it was the main that really blew me away!
Navarin of Irish Spring Lamb with Smoked Buttermilk Potato Puree
The lamb was succulent and melt in your mouth.  And the potato!!! I have never tasted anything like it.  I'd eat that every day, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It was incredibly buttery with a supreme soft smoky undertone.

Hot 70% Chocolate Mousse , Barley and Hazelnut Milk, Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream, Lemon Jelly.
Another winner!

But as good as the food was it was even more of a highlight listening to Ross himself speak.  He had some wonderful stories about one of his first jobs working with the character(!) Peter Langan in Langan's brasserie in London.  He also had the most amazing anecdotes about cooking for President Mary McAleese and the Queen of England on her visit to Ireland a couple of years ago.  He got only three weeks notice for it! And the work that went into it was just phenomenal! And then on the day - the amount of staff, the amount of security (someone watching the fridge all night in case the electricity went off) and the amount of work again. It was a great story.
Also nice to hear about setting up his own restaurant in 1992 - and how the Northside location meant they "tried harder" and have continued to try harder and offer more (the ingredients, the menu, the service, the value).
He is a very charming and entertaining man.  A quick wit and lovely self deprecating manner about him - although don't forget the 10 Michelin stars "did I mention that already" as he said himself :-)

Around 5pm I was fading and I went on to the martini espressos (eek!).  A couple of them and I certainly felt em, awake.

The sun was shining and it was lovely afternoon.
At about 9pm, again flagging, we went for something to eat (yes more food!!!) with Ciaran and Gerry to Dillingers.

I love this photo of Enid and Ciaran.  To be honest, lately I am feeling tired of the over filtered perfection of "instagram style" photos, and this to me is natural and "as is", and will in years to come be a better record of "a moment in time".
I love Dillingers! I just don't think I've ever eaten a bad meal there. 
Plus the atmosphere is always good.

Nothing massively special about the food. 
Like I can't say anything more about it other than I just think it's good!


This little monkey!
I stayed over with Enid.  A split second decision which in hindsight I should just have gone home.  This boldie had us up all night with his niggling.  This photo was taken of him next morning looking like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.

Sunday 14 May 2017


Last week I went for a flying visit to Galway for one night.
Primary goal was to see Katie in the Galway Musical Society performance of Rock of Ages.
Ok so I am completely biased but she was awesome.
Lol - totally biased!

Secondary goal to catch up with my wonderful friend Laura - on the right of this pic in the grey.
After the show we had a great night in The King's Head where a great band was playing.  A total throwback to the trips (lots of them) my friends and I used to take when in our early 20's to Galway. 

The next morning before my bus home I pottered around Galway.
I was impressed with their city bike scheme.  The bikes are similar to the Limerick ones, and they look like they are in great locations all around the city.

Eyre Square was lovely in the sun.
In the background you can see the Meyrick Hotel which was previously the Great Southern and hence was named The Southern Comfort hotel by myself and an ex of mine when we used to stay there.  Also in my early 20's like the trips to Galway mentioned above.
It will always be the Southern Comfort to me therefore :-)
This adorable little café is near the bus station.

It screamed Key West to me  And I didn't catch a photograph but an old lad strolled past it in a leather jacket and a quirky captains sailing cap which also screamed Key West to me (you get all kinds of great characters on the rock!)
So that was it!  I departed the sunshine of Galway and arrived home to lovely sunshine in Dublin too.  I spent the afternoon and early evening chilling out in Merrion Square which is always lovely when the sun shines.

Thursday 11 May 2017

Shopping trip

I met my mother this evening and we went to Gap (in Arnotts) on Henry Street for a browse.
I've wanted a denim jacket for ages, in particular after seeing a lovely one that Enid had on our recent trip to Muscat.  I really like the colour of this one. 
Gap and it's crazy sizing...Medium was huge on me, this is size Small

Bag and flip flops for the beach - trip to Ibiza coming up in September

A white shirt for throwing on over my bikini in Ibiza.  Again the crazy sizing in Gap, this is size Extra Small!!!

This is not my style at all but my mother made me buy it.  I guess it looks good on, but I just need to get used to it - it just isn't something I'd normally wear.  It's a nice colour though, and the cutouts on the shoulder are not at all as big as they look on the hanger, when you are actually wearing it.

I specifically wanted some new graphic t-shirts.  These will look good under my new denim jacket I think.  Lol, you want to hear something funny? These are from the boys department of Gap - they are for boys ages 12-13!

Monday 1 May 2017

Muscat trip 2017 - Part 2

I started a blog about about my recent trip to Muscat which turned into not so much a post about Muscat, and more a post about Dubai and Abu Dhabi...  Funny how that turned out! Read it here.

So this is about Muscat! 
Enid and I had the best time!  It was great to see Lydia and catch up with her on everything. I also particular loved seeing her living her life, dressed for work etc (glamourama - she is cabin crew).
I also liked showing Enid around - as I have been to Muscat before but this was her first time.

So what did we get up to - bearing in mind we were there for just a week there was only so much we could squeeze in.  We did all the usual tourist stuff, The Grand Mosque, Mutrah souk, walking along the corniche, drive through the mountains, a small hike in the wadi (valley) etc.  And then we did a lot of usual holiday stuff - pool and beach. 
Enid has posted on her blog in detail about some of these places so I've linked to them above and below.  She has lots of photos as well so worth a read..

The beach! Sigh.
We had the best beach days. There really is nothing like a day at the beach.  Completely different from being at the pool.  Nature is so restorative.  And relaxing!  It really felt like a holiday/break from the norm.

The food!
We ate the best Arabic food.  I absolutely adore the hummus over there.  It has a more gritty/grainier/drier texture than at home.  Plus a super intense flavour.  Mmmm 

Cocktails for, eh, a cocktail party

So! You are throwing a party! Or like I will be doing this coming Friday, hosting a gathering and having a few people over for a few little drinkies before heading out.

What to serve?!

If you have been following my blog you will know that mixing drinks for friends is my thing.  Well one of my things :-)

Here are a few of my failsafe recommendations for a good night.

1. Caiproskas
Ok so these are labour intensive.  See here for my full instructions on how to make them.
While these ARE a bit of work alright, they are so worth it.  And in particular one thing I always say about these are they suit both men and women.  I do hate generalising, but you know the way some cocktails are just "womens" e.g. a Cosmopolitan and some more "men" e.g. an old fashioned or a basil gimlet.  These are real kicky drinks. And any fellas I've served them to have seemed to enjoy that kick alright!

2.  Falling Waters
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!!!!  The complete antidote to the Ciaproskas
There are loads of recipes online but here is how I make them.
Using a potato peeler peel strips of cucumber into martini glasses.  Hold the cucumber above the glass as you peel and the juice will go in the glass also.
Add 2 large ice cubes - or 3
Pour in 2 shots of vodka - the large side of the a drinks jigger
Top up with sprite
And that's it!

3. White Russians
I loves these! Particularly October, November, December and January.  Don't ask! Just because!
Ice, vodka, tia maria and milk in a cocktail shaker.  And shake.
This is a handy one also because you can make a large amount in a jug and then it's ready, and just pour into the shaker with ice and shake throughout the evening.
For my gal pals on Friday I will serve them in cute little milk bottles like this with straws. Another night I might serve them in cut glass old fashioned glasses or plain glasses a la The Big Lebowski. The dude abides.

4. I am not a big Prosecco/champagne drinker but I always find a bottle of Prosecco on ice goes down well

Any of the above and I am giving my absolute guarantee of a good night!  Enjoy!