Marmite: Let Me Count The Ways…

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Apologies for those of you with Egg Fear – this pic is pretty graphic!

As my regular readers will know, my relationship with Marmite has exceeded the expectations of how a person should feel about a condiment.  I’m not saying that I want to marry Marmite but I do feel that I’d be anxiety-riddled should I ever be parted from a pot of the yeasty elixir for too long.

Tomorrow I am travelling to Austin, Texas to shoot a documentary about the South By Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festival.  It’s going to be one of the most awesome, crazy and incredible experiences ever and I am giddy with the excitement of it all.

This means that I won’t be able to go through any more Irish Food Blogs from The Irish Blog Awards longlist, as I will not be cooking for the next 9 days, but instead living on a diet of Breakfast Burritos and Tex Mex Tacos *droools*  I will, of course, do my best to document on this here blog.

Alas, I have one major reservation about this trip to Texas – will I be able to bring a pot of Marmite through US Customs?

Last weekend I had the pleasure of sharing my love of Marmite with 15 lovely people in my humble abode.  Unbeknownst to them, this was their Initiation into the Realm of The Marmarati.  That’s  right, the secret society who have sworn to uphold the majesty of Marmite for the rest of eternity.

Being a secret society, it would be unfair to disclose who attended the event.  Let’s just say there were loads of lovely, fabulous, awesome, gifted, fantastic, beautiful, deadly folks there, and a few more without websites.

Have a look after the jump for the recipes and pics of our Marmite feast…

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Wowzers!

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The Dramatic Chipmunk – a true internet classic – as everyone knows The Irish Blog Awards is full of drama. Oh, lolcatz.

Woahhhh! I Can Has Cook? has made it to the shorter longlist for The Irish Blog Awards.  The blog has made it into the Best Food/Drink Blog and Best Newcomer Category.  I’m tickled pink and as happy as a chubby kid in a tub of taffy.

Congratulations to everyone on the lists, best of luck to you all, big thanks to the sponsors Bord Bia and LastMinute.com. Below are the complete longlists – get clicking and spread the hit-love y’all!

Here is the longlist for the Best Food/Drink Blogs sponsored by BordBia:

Here is the longlist for Best Newcomer sponsored by LastMinute.com:

Sponsored by LastMinute.com

Thanks again to everyone involved in The Awards, and a big shout out to Damien and his Super Blog Team.

Lola-Lu’s Lamb Tagine

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Lola-Lu’s Lamb Tagine with Apricots, Cherry Tomatoes and spices as eaten by I Can Has Cook?  God damn it’s hard to get stews and tagines to come out nice in a pic. Zut alors!

The ladies over at LoLa-Lu’s Kitchen blog provided me with our delicious Tuesday night supper.

Lola-Lu’s Kitchen is run by two friends Lucy and Rayne, who are not only fabulous cooks but accomplished musicians and great gals to boot.  They really are exceedingly lovely.  Their blog is about good comfort food aimed at pleasing the cook and the eaters!

Head over here for their lovely Lamb Tagine recipe – I did everything exactly as the girls said but I divided everything in half and only cooked the lamb tagine for 2 hours, instead of 2 1/2 – 3 hours.  It was deliciously sweet and super comforting.

We plopped a dollop of natural yoghurt on top and had some bulgar wheat on the side.  It were yum!

Click here for the full delicious and super easy recipe on Lola-Lu’s Kichen!

TUNE/VID

This one goes out to the Lola-Lu massive, it’s a special track that I think they’ll love.  And you’ll love it, too.

An Italian Foodie Lunch

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This delicious, healthy and quick snack – well, it’s a snack to my insatiable appetite  – was found on another lovely Irish food blog and past winner of Best Irish Food Blog, Italian Foodies.

Italian Foodies is run by Lors, who owns an Italian Deli La Cucina with her husband in Limerick.  Lors’ blog focuses on yummy Italian treats, and I often see a pattern of quick, delicious and healthy meals, perfect for a busy Mama who wants her Princess to eat well :)

I love spinach so I was happy out with this recipe.  The one thing that I will say is my Cannellini beans dissolved in the simmering process, which I find often happens with tinned Cannellini Beans.  Any tips there, Lors?  Maybe you can tell us a good brand that minimizes on beans falling apart!

Head over to Italian Foodies for this recipe and loads more.  This was delicious and TOTALLY guilt free – win!

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A Daily Spud’s Spud Cakes

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The Daily Spud’s Cumin and Cayenne Pepper Potato Farl with poached egg as eaten by I Can Has Cook?

Moving back up the Food & Drink (sponsored by Bord Bia) longlist for the Irish Blog Awards we find ourselves in The Daily Spud territory.

The Daily Spud is one of the blogs I look at the most often, as Aoife Daily Spud’s love for the humble spud is truly infectious.  She’s a fantastic writer, a wonderful food photographer and a lovely lady to boot.  And she gave me some surplus produce from her very own vegetable garden.  They made such delicious food.

She’s also been a great source of advice for me personally.  As a nervous beginner cook, it really is great to have someone like Aoife on the other end of Twitter to question about flour types, pastry fails and how to achieve the perfect mashed potatoes.

It’s been a year now that I’ve been eating vicariously through her Daily Spud pictures, after we met at last year’s Blog Awards wherein she won Best Irish Food Blog.  But in all that time, although I’ve promised myself many times, I’ve never actually gotten round to cooking anything from her blog.  Well, that all changed this morning for Sunday brunch.

Obviously, I had to go for a potato based recipe, and what is better on a Sunday than Potato cakes, or And So I Watch You From a Farl as Niall has dubbed them.

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Val’s Flapjacks

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Moving on non-consecutively and purely randomly down the Food & Drink Blog longlist (sponsored by Bord Bia) for The Irish Blog Awards, I spotted these delicious looking Flapjacks on Val’s Kitchen.  I knew I’d have a bit of time to get these together on a Saturday afternoon, as well as having all the necessary ingredients in the house!

Val’s Kitchen is run by Val, a Limerick born and based journalist, whose foodie musings appear in the taste-making Bridgestone Guide To Irish Food.  Bet that’s a torturous job. NOT.

This flapjack recipe was flawless.  It was my first time making flapjacks, and as my regular readers will know, my history with baking disasters could have certainly taken the flap out of the jacks.*  I followed Val’s recipe exactly – except I only put them in my oven for 15 minutes as it is like the centre of the earth in there, so hot – and they turned out perfectly.  FYI I used honey instead of golden  syrup and I used light muscovado brown sugar.

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Donal’s Hungarian Goulash

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Donal’s Hungarian Goulash and Brown Rice as eaten by I Can Has Cook?

One of the best things about The Irish Blog Awards, in my opinion, is how it helps all of us bloggers/blog readers to unearth new blogs that we may have been unaware of.  It’s a chance to discover new favourites and a way of seeing how active the Irish blogosphere really is.

Instead of relying on my small library of cook books and the BBC Good Food guide, for the next few weeks I’m going to try to work my way slowly but surely through the longlist of the nominated Food & Drink Blogs. There are quite a few that I look at regularly, but I realised I’ve only ever drooled over the photos, without actually making proper use of them.  And so, let’s keep it local from here on in!

I can’t promise that I’ll be able to work through the Drink blogs – the fact that I’m taking a break from booze for the time being may hinder me in that respect – but I’m going to start on my little journey through some of our Irish foodie blogs withThe Good Mood Food Blog.

The Good Mood Food Blog is run by Donal Skehan.  Donal, secretly Jamie Oliver’s long-lost son, is an inspiration to us all as a case-study of pro-activity.  Not only has he released his own cook book, he’s had number 1 singles with his band Industry, he ran against Dustin for a chance at The Eurovision, and even played Peter Pan in a Panto.  And he was born in, like, 1995 or something.  Well, ok, maybe he’s not that young.  But still, he makes me feel like an unproductive old betty.  In a good way, of course, heh heh :)

I was in the mood (sorry) for something warming this Friday night as it’s been chilly here the last few days, but I also wanted something super simple after a busy week.  In the end, I went for Donal’s Hungarian Goulash.

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Come Dine With Me Winners!

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The CDWM Crew – me, Colette, Alan, Jocelyn and John with Niall taking the pic.

So, remember, like waaaay back last August (LAST AUGUST?!?) myself and Niall hosted the first Come Dine With Me? Well, we had the second Come Dine With Alan & Colette in late September, followed by John and Jocelyn’s night in November.

Well, let me tell you.  It is super hard to get six people plus a neutral judge and his other half together for a Winner’s Announcement meal.  We had hoped to go out together to The Hop House on Parnell Street for one last meal and a divulging of scores.  In the end, we were all together last night for Colette’s birthday, and our brilliant neutral judge @fensterdj texted us the results, bit by bit!

We had marked each other’s nights out of ten for five separate categories: Starter, Main Course, Dessert, Presentation and Ambience.  Here’s how we got on…

Winner of Best Starter: Aoife & Niall with The Strawberry Salad with 36/40!

Winner of Best Main Course: Alan & Colette with their Fragrant Lamb Curry served with Raita and Chutney with 28.5/40!

Winner  of Best Dessert: John & Jocelyn with that amazing Cheesecake with 36/40!

Winner of Best Presentation: Alan & Colette with 33.5/40!

Winner of Best Ambience: Alan & Colette with 33/40!

And so, that meant THE OVERALL WINNERS OF COME DINE WITH ME DUBLIN 2009 are….ALAN & COLETTE!!!

Whooop!

The final scores were:

1st: Alan & Colette with 164/200

2nd: Aoife & Niall with 160/200

3rd: John & Jocelyn with 150/200

FYI: John & Jocelyn lost most of their points for having the first Ireland vs France (not the handball one) on in the background during dinner.  Take note!

That was soooo much fun.  So, who’s going to take up the baton and start CDWM Dublin 2010?

Take a hop skip after the jump to find the recipes for each winning course!

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Neato!

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Ah, deadly!  I Can Has Cook? has made it to the long list for Best Food & Drink Blog at this year’s Irish Blog Awards.  They’ll be taking place in Galway on Friday the 27th of March.  The sponsor of the Food & Drink category is Bord Bia and word up to Damien as always for getting the show on the road.  And of course, thank you to whoever it was who nominated this blog!  I’m chuffed.

Below is a link to all the other Food & Drink Blogs on the long list.  Hook them up with some hit-love, yo!

This blog also made the long list for Best Newcomer sponsored by LastMinute.com!  Have a look at all the other longlisters after the jump…

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Whole Roast Sea Bream

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I felt today that enough time had passed for me to lift my self-inflicted ban on the BBC Good Food site.  I had such a hankering for fish today, and I spotted the below recipe.  Man, I’m glad I did.  This was a lovely and easy supper, hugely flavoursome while being light at the same time – a perfect meal after which to head out to a gig.*

I got my Sea Bream at Kish Fish near Smithfield Square, a great city centre fresh fish shop that I am truly delighted to live so close to.  In conversation on twitter today, Catherine @backpedalling told me about the weekly draw they’re currently running at Kish Fish.  Every time you buy something, you can enter your name in a draw.  Every Saturday, a name is picked, and that person gets €50 worth of Kish Fish to take home.  WANT!

I was distracted by the size of the lovely Bream that I picked up, and so, alas, I’ll have to get there again next week to enter myself in the draw.

I used Barney Desmazery Whole Roast Bream With Potatoes & Olives recipe over on BBC Good Food.  It was totally awesome, very easy and completely delicious.

Here are a few notes from my experience with this recipe:

  • I used Kalamata olives, which are technically purple rather than black, but mannnn, they were amazing in this.
  • I used curly parsley and it was perfect.  What is the difference between curly and flat leaf parsley?
  • On the site, it suggests serving with spinach, and although this would be lovely, it was totally a meal in itself, with the added bonus of only having three items to wash-up.  This means a lot to me. Hate cleaning up.  Of any kind.
  • I’ve realsed that I really like a lot of Barney Desmazery’s recipes on BGF – they’re usually for totally unpretentious and simple food, my total favourite. Have a look through them for yourself!

Uncooked fish on partially cooked potatoes.  That fish does not look happy.

I feel like I’m cheating at food blogging linking to other sites but, for realz, I’m not at the stage to be making up recipes, and if I shared some of my own creations, this would not bode well for your tums, seriously.

*TUNE!

I mentioned we went out to a gig after dinner tonight.  Twas to Yeasayer in The Academy and it were brill! Follow the link to their track O.N.E. on Hype Machine.

O.N.E. – Yeasayer