Crackbird Dublin: The Verdict


And so, the verdict on Crackbird, Dublin’s latest pop-up restaurant on Crane Lane in Temple Bar, brought to us by the good people of Jo’Burger?

We came, we saw, we ate – it was AMAZEBALLS.

There is an emphasis on sharing and communal eating here, and as our waiter (although waiter almost seems too formal a word for the laid-back set-up) explained, the more you buy, the cheaper it all is.  So a whole skillet fried buttermilk chicken shared among two (€17.95) is better value than a half chicken (€9.95).

Same with the booze.  There are lots of lovely non-alcoholic drinks available but if you’re out for the evening, Crackbird have wine by the glass or bottle as well as cold bottles of Pilsner, which you can buy by the bottle (€4.25 per bottle), in four packs (€4 per bottle), or by the crate (€3.75 per bottle).  All basic economics, I’ve been told. For the numerically dyslexic like myself, however, it’s simply wondrous.

The vibe seems to me to be a place to hang out, have a few beers, and enjoy some chicken.  I don’t know of any other restaurant in Dublin that actually encourages customers to hang out.  Do you?

There are 54 regular seats in Crackbird apart from the now famous #tweetseats.  If you’re on Twitter, you can request a booking for between 2 and 8 people for a time and a date between now and the 22nd of May to @crackBIRDdublin.  If there’s an availability, they will slot you in and you and your group will eat chicken for free.

Unbelievably, we enjoyed all of the delicious chicken you can see if the pictures below for free because we were sitting in the #tweetseats.  Our total bill at the end of our lunch was €20.95 for the four beers and our (ah-mazing) red velvet cake.  If we had sat in one of the 54 regular seats and paid for our lunch in full – which we will be back to do asap – it would have come to €42.55 for everything.  Which I think is still very good value for what we got.

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Clodagh McKenna at The Village at Lyons


Last Saturday, I had the most gloriously foodie-indulgent day which began at The Village at Lyons in Kildare and ended in a Supper Club in Dublin 8.

My buddy Alan and I were invited down to Clodagh McKenna’s Cookery School to take part in her Homemade Cookery course, which coincides with Clodagh’s cookery book of the same name.  It was my first visit to The Village at Lyons, and as you’ll see why by the pictures after the jump, it certainly will not be my last.

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Crackbird Dublin


Image by Crackbird

Squeee!  A pop-up restaurant in Dublin!  Crackbird, brought to you by the good folk behind Jo’Burger, will be supplying people with reasonably priced and on-the-slightly-naughty side of food, with an emphasis on fried chicken.  I WANT TO GO TO THERE.

Having opened on Monday of this week, reports on Twitter last night described an absolutely heaving restaurant.  Crackbird will be with us every day from 12 noon to 12 midnight right up until the 22nd of May, when it will turn off its chicken fryers and head off into the night.

If you’re on Twitter, you even have the chance of eating for free.  Each night, there will be a table made up of #tweetseats, assigned to lucky tweeters who only have to holla @crackBIRDdublin and request a time, a date, and a number of people between 2 and 6.

We’ve got our #tweetseats booked for this weekend – although we might have to pop in for lunch before then to have a taste, such are the intensity of our fried chicken cravings.  NOMZ!

I Hear Jerusalem Artichokes A-ringing Da-dinging


What ARE you?!

Every Monday is like Christmas since we’ve signed up to Home Organics (sorry for constantly going on about this new service but I can’t help it, it’s just too awesome).  I work evenings so the bag is delivered to our house when I’m out.  Like an excited child who can’t wait ’til Chrismtas morn, I’ve been texting Niall getting him to tell me what goodies await me at home.  This week, the text went something like this:

“Mushrooms, rocket, bananas, broccoli, oranges, turnip, apples, avocado, eggs and weird yokes.”

The aforementioned “weird yokes” are the Jerusalem Artichokes pictured above.  I really had no idea what in the what to do with them.

I consulted the HO blog and found this recipe.  I also consulted my new BFF Book, The Flavour Thesaurus, which has a chapter on Globe Artichokes.  There was mention of an artichoke based rigatoni and cream bake that caught my attention and reminded me of Jamie Oliver’s Cauliflower Mac ‘n’ Cheese (as cooked by Tony’s Kitchen here) wherein a lightbulb went off in my head (*bing!*) and I knew what I was going to attempt with these crazy little weird yokes.


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Smoked mackerel and toasted cous cous


I love couscous.  Always have, always will.  It’s such a quick thing to prepare and makes for a great light lunch or dinner.

I recently discovered a new way of preparing it, thanks to Home Organics.  Until now, I’ve always just poured boiling stock over a bowl of cous cous and fluffed it with a fork until all the sotck was absorbed.  This post, however, has changed my cous cous forever.  ‘Cause it’s toasted, y’all.

It’s a very simple extra way of cooking an already simple ingredient, but it adds the most lovely smokey flavour to your cous cous based salads.  Lush.

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Nigel Slater’s Chorizo and Kale Soup


Some of you may know that I recently embarked on a weekly Foodie News column in The Irish Independent’s Weekend magazine on Saturdays.  This not only started 2011 off with a delighted squeal of happiness but it has also allowed me to to work a few hours less at my day job as an EFL teacher.  Subsequently leading to a lot more time to cook and blog from home.  Hurray!

Last week’s Home Organics bag had a beautiful head of kale inside, with which I went to work on this gorgeous Chorizo and Potato soup by Nigel Slater, which I found over on London based blog Gourmet Traveller.

I adapted it ever so slightly to fit in with other ingredients in my Home Organics bag, and you can follow the recipe yourself after the jump!

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Three Ways to Eggsellence


Poached egg with nutmeg, onion and pinenut spinach

Regardless of how arf-tastic my blog post titles become, we remain huge fans of poached eggs in our house of a Saturday and Sunday morning.  Or afternoon, rather.

Poached eggs are one of those tricky kitchen knacks that freak people out.  I have never made a successful poached egg in any other kitchen besides my kitchen at the moment, and I honestly believe it has something to do with our city centre water.  Anybody know if there’s any truth in my hunch?

Advice on poaching always says to create a circular movement in the water which just seems daft and complicated.  Here’s how I do it.

  • Bring a large saucepan of water seasoned with a pinch of salt to the boil.
  • Once boiling, add a glug of red wine vinegar, about two tablespoons.  I’ve tried white wine vinegar (because the red wine vinegar dyes the eggs ever so slightly) but it doesn’t seem to hold the eggs together as well as the red type.
  • Now break your egg gently into the water, from as close to the water as you can get (without burning your hands on the steam, obviously).
  • Set your timer for 3 and a half minutes.
  • Get a plate with kitchen towel ready.
  • After 3 and a half minutes, scoop out your egg with a spoon (preferably a slotted spoon so you gt rid of most of the excess water).  The eggs may have a pinky hue from the vinegar so when you’re scooping them out, you can try to “wash them” with the water a bit, to get rid of some of that.  If you know what I mean.
  • Place on the plate with the kitchen towel to absorb the last bit of water on eggs.
  • Carefully transfer egg to the top of your toast and enjoy.

Read on after the jump for recipes for three of my favourite ways with poached eggs.

Poached egg with chorizo and parsley

Poached egg with Marmite on toast

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Clonakilty by Candlelight


Photo by Reilly

Tonight marks Round Two of Clonakilty by Candlelight, Ireland’s first flash restaurant, which will be happening tonight, tomorrow and Saturday night in a secret location in Dublin.

I was lucky enough to go along last Friday, and if you read on, you’ll see what wondrous treats awaited us at this truly special dinner party.

But if you’re due to go over the weekend, don’t spoil the surprise for yourself!

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Home Organics


My two food goals this year are a) to be more creative, more loosy-goosy in the kitchen and not such a recipe slave and b) to endeavour to use more seasonal, local produce and produce less waste.

These two goals, it turns out, can actually be achieved alongside each other.  My buddy Aoife from My Adventures in Veg had told me last year of Home Organics, the organic fruit and vegetable delivery service that she had signed up to.

Home Organics are a small family-run Dublin based company who deliver a number of different organic vegetable and/or fruit bags around the city.  They collect produce from Irish farms as much as possible, working mainly from Philip Draper’s farm in Birr, Co Offally, as well as with Denis Healy and March Michel’s farms in Wicklow.  The Irish produce is at its best from Spring until December, so the bags are supplemented with organics goods from the nearest countries possible – UK, France, Spain and Holland – to keep the bags full until April/May time.

Another extra service they have is their food blog, where a seasonal recipe is posted every week to coincide with the produce prevalent in the bags.  How clever!

I’m hoping that having a bag delivered to me each week will ensure that, instead of buying ingredients for a recipe inevitably leading to waste, I will look into my fridge and see what I have and decide what to cook and eat that way.

There are a few different options of combination bags that you can order, including the option to add goods such as grains and olive oils.  We went for the €22.00 Fruit and Vegetable Bag.

Read on for more info about the bags, as well as an Experimental Sconey-bread recipe and some of the other meals we whipped up with our Home Organics fruit and vegetables.

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Dakshin, Dublin 4


Dakshin (Photo courtesy of Dakshin)

Last weekend, thanks to a competition run via the IFBA, myself and three other food bloggers were treated to a complimentary meal at Saji Mathai’s (Jaipur, Ananda) latest venture, Dakshin in Donnybrook.

Myself, Aoife from My Adventures in Veg, David from Kitchen 72 and John from The Navigatourist met upstairs in the space above Kiely’s Pub in Donnybrook, greeted by Saji himself and brought to our table wherein a veritable feast was gradually laid before our eyes.

Thaali (Photo courtesy of Dakshin)

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