Salon des Saveurs


Food can be a great comfort at the less than joyous moments of  life – painful break-ups, embarrassing job interviews, economic meltdowns, etc.  I’ve always been amazed at food’s ability to make the bad things all just… go away.  Even if it is just temporarily.

So what better week to have been invited, along with 8 other food bloggers, to enjoy a tasting menu at Conrad Gallagher’s Salon des Saveurs at 16 Aungier Street last Thursday evening.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, which is in the space Darwin’s used to occupy, my anxiety levels were pretty high.  The country is falling to pieces all around us, there’s talk of mass emigration amongst a lot of my friends, most of us have lost faith in politicians from all parties, and to top it all off we’re going to be earning less while getting taxed more and paying higher prices for the stuff that makes us happy.

And yet, there I was, heading out to be treated to a five course meal with matching wines for each course.  I felt like a traitor myself.  Brian Lenihan’s mantra “We All Partied” circled around  my head while I was led to our bloggers’ table which was dressed in white linen – and more cutlery than I knew what to do with – our group enveloped in the plush, red hue of the restaurant’s decor as we settled in to be pampered by Gallagher’s knowledgeable and attentive staff.

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Come Dine With Me: Orange


Last week saw my group of schoolfriends’ Come Dine With Me in Colours move onto Round 2.

This time it was Judith and Sarah’s turn and holy wow, did they deliver.  Although I do think Fiona and I did a lovely job with our yellow evening, the Orange girls raised the bar quite significantly.  Looking forward to Round 3, which is either Green or Red.  Bring it on!

Have a look after the jump for Judith and Sarah’s wonderful orange-tinged dinner.  Phwoar!

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Butternut Squash Muffins: Shut Up That’s Awesome


At the end of a fairly awful week for everybody here in Ireland, it was nice (for me personally) to be reminded through American friends that it’s important to give thanks for the small things.

Despite economic meltdowns,  I for one am very thankful for my wonderful family, BF and friends.  Duh.

Amidst a long list of inherently insignificant things I am extremely thankful for are hot showers, Fade Steet, Following Fade Street, having a half workday on Fridays and food.  Always food.

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Italian Food Festival at The Bernard Shaw


Oooh this could be fun.  It’s an Italian Food Festival at The Bernard Shaw on South Richmond Street this Sunday the 7th of November.

The organisers are the Italian couple behind the Coffee To Get Her which operates in the pub during the week, Monday to Saturdays 13:00 to 19:00.

The Sagra dell’Arrosticino Festival – presumably named after the Cafe’s speciality Italian lamb skewers – will run between 13:00 and 20:00 and will feature stalls of cheeses, meats, vino and other delicious Italian goodies.  Goody!

Have a look on the Bodytonic website for all further information as well as the facebook page over here.


Monday/Tuesday Stuffed Pepper Pick Me Up


Roasted peppers stuffed with cous cous.  It couldn’t be more simple yet more rewarding.  I made this last Tuesday when I  was still feeling the after-effects of a rather joyful weekend.  I needed something light, healthy and perhaps above all, fast.

The great thing about this dish is that you can keep it super simple, but you can adapt it to make it a little more exciting, depending on how you’re feeling.  It all depends on what you end up putting in the cous cous for the filling.  I went for the most simple thing possible, but by adding a few sultanas, some feta cheese, herbs and the like, you can go to town on this baby.

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Courgette Carbonara – kinda.


After our yellow feast on Saturday night, I had a beautiful yellow courgette left over from our courgette and parmesan tarts.  I picked up this lovely legume in Fallon and Byrne, and although last month was really the right time to be eating them, they still tasted swell.

This afternoon, after a mercifully halfdayMonday, I was craving pasta for lunch.  This Jamie Oliver Courgette Carbonara which I’d seen on Lottie’s A Food Awakening a while back was what I thought of first.

However, I wanted something a little lighter and decided to alter the Carbonara recipe and make it a lighter mascarpone cheese based delight.

I can’t tell you whether my version of this is actually less calorific or whatever than Jamie’s.  It’s missing the eggs and double cream of the Carbonara but there is a whopping load of cheese in it so…perhaps it’s safe to say it’s the lesser of two evils.  Delicious evils at that.

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Mellow Yellow Come Dine With Me


Our Come Dine Yellow With Us menu

It’s that time of year again, folks.  That’s right – it’s Round 3 of my school friends’ Come Dine With Me, wherein we ruthlessly mark each other out of 10 for cooking a three course meals in teams of two.

This is the third year that my friends Frances, Fiona, Emma, Jenny and Judith have come together to dine competitively.  We  have two new members of Sara and Wendy this year, bringing us up to a more bubbly number of 8.  It’s a different crowd from this series of CDWM. you may have read about last year.

Bizarrely, I’m truly not a competitive person but I seem to find myself in competitive cooking situations rather often…hmmmm…

The first year we didn’t assign themes, as getting through a three course meal was stressful enough without having any particular restrictions, whereas last year we were brave enough to assign countries – France, Spain and Italy – as themes.

This year we’ve upped the ante a bit by creating themes of colours.  The other teams are doing Green, Red and Orange, while my partner Fiona and I were given Yellow, as well as the arduous task of hosting the first evening.

The marks were all done in secret at the end of the night, written on bits of paper with comments, plopped into andd envelope which was then bound with tape, signed by us all and adorned with a makeshift wax seal i.e. a bit of candle wax smudged with a wine bottle cork.

Have a look after the jump for pics of our Yellow Feast :)

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Batta bing batta bean!


We’re definitely at the end of our transition into Autumn here in Dublin.  The lightish winter coat has come out of the closet and I’m slowly but surely getting reacquainted with my scarf collection.  Which I’m very happy about, indeed.

Another thing I’m happy about is the wintery-esque weather gives one the excuse to indulge in comfort food.  Nom.

This cannellini bean bake is a good cross-over dish, as you have the late summer tomatoes paired with the warmer of a nice bake with a deliciously crispy topping.  It was inspired by this recipe but I’m trying to be a more instinctive cook so I sort of threw this one together. Also, I definitely ate something similar to this in Cornucopia one day!

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Unsicht-Bar: Berlin


Dinner at unsicht-Bar, Berlin

Exactly a fortnight ago, myself  and Niall went through one of the more unforgettable food experiences we’re likely to enjoy on our culinary travels together.

Upon recommendations from a reliable source on Twitter, we made a reservation for the unsicht-Bar Berlin before travelling to the capital city for the Berlin Festival 2010.

I’d read about the “blind” restaurants in London and Paris, and for quite some time have had them on my (ever growing) list of  food places to try out before I go to the Big Cheese Shop in the sky.  Or wherever.

These restaurants are referred to as “blind” restaurants because a) customers eat in the pitch dark and b) the waiters are often visually impaired if not completely blind.

The idea behind unsicht-Bar – “unsicht” being an apparently untranslatable pun on the words invisible and bar – and the other restaurants like it is that the visual sense is the one that most of us  depend on the most for our day to day experience and giving customers the opportunity to remove that sense over dinner could lead to an awakening of other senses.

So, here’s what happened…

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Cully & Sully Chef Factor


Last week, I enjoyed a lovely evening with the good folks at Cully & Sully who had invited some food bloggers to the Westbury for a creative take on lamb and couscous and to tell us about their Chef Factor competition.

Have a look at this lovely video which tells you all you need to know about Chef Factor .  Have a look at the Chef Factor website for details on how to enter and all the prizes to be won.