Sunday, August 19, 2012

Smoked trout, lemon & pea tagliatelle!

In a rare occurrence I am home alone today. I was really looking forward to having the place to myself, bringing the dog for a walk, making a nice lunch and putting my feet up. As I stood at the door waving goodbye at four of my favourite people in the world I felt a little pang and even more so when my little princess started blowing kisses at me! Talk about tugging at my heart strings. It's made me realise how lucky I am to have the opportunity to spend my days raising these little people, nothing can compare to sticky hands wrapped around my neck!

Well enough waffling on and onto my lunch! I wanted something quick & easy with not much cleaning up after and this is it! Excuse the vagueness of quantities but it's a throw together recipe!

You will need;

100g goatsbridge smoked trout, in strips
1/2 cup of creme fraiche
1 lemon, zest & juice
1 chilli, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
Handful of frozen peas
Olive oil

Put the tagliatelle on to cook.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the chilli and garlic. Fry gently.
Add the creme fraiche and stir well.
Add in the lemon zest and frozen peas.
Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the water. Add pasta with the reserved water to the creme fraiche mixture.
Take off the heat and stir in the smoked trout and the lemon juice.
Voila, lunch is served in less than ten minutes! That's my type of fast food.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bon Appètit

Bon Appètit translates as "hope you enjoy your meal" and enjoy I most certainly did! Bon Appètit in the picturesque village of Malahide has been on my radar for a while so I was delighted to be included in a bloggers dinner last night. Housed in a beautiful Georgian terrace property there are a number of options to choose from, an exciting tapas menu on the ground floor, an extensive brasserie menu with a separate 24 page bovine menu downstairs and for those special occasions a Michelin starred dining room upstairs! We were lucky enough to have dishes from all of the menus and each dish was incredible. We started off in the tapas bar where we were treated to succulent prawns pil pil, manchego cheese croquettes and risotto balls. I love the tapas style of eating, little titbits & tastes of various dishes. I definitely want to go back for an evening there with my girlfriends and try some more of the lovely dishes on the menu. We then moved downstairs to the brasserie where we were seated at a large round table which for parties of more than four should be compulsory! Delicious white & brown breads were served and I am hoping to get the recipe for the brown as it was so delicious. It was hard to choose what to eat as everything sounded so enticing but eventually I settled on salted cod scotch egg and sole on the bone, both were excellent. I had never had a scotch egg before and always imagined that it was a hard boiled egg encased but not so, fantastic vibrant runny yellow yolk, the stuff of dreams really! In between these courses we had a dish from the Michelin menu which consisted of suckling pig confit and scallop and also a selection from the bovine menu, truly amazing wagyu beef, bone marrow fritters, pickled vegetable tempura and little kilner jars filled with mashed potato, onion gravy and topped with crispy beef. My mouth is watering even thinking about it.

I finished my meal with bitter lemon slice, thyme shortbread and citrus curds,some fantastic petit fours and a delicious cup of coffee. My only regret is not slipping a few of the petit fours into my handbag!

I am really looking forward to bringing my family back for Sunday lunch soon, for each adult a child eats for free which is amazing value. I already know what I am going to order. I was also delighted to see a baby changing table in the toilets which is something that can be overlooked in a lot of restaurants.

Huge thanks to Oliver & Graham who made us feel really welcome. There was a great buzz around the whole building which for a wet and rainy Wednesday evening was great to see!

Bon Appètit,
St James Terrace,
Co. Dublin.

Telephone: (01) 8450314

Here is a selection of photos, unfortunately daylight was gone so justice wasn't fully done but hopefully my words have conveyed more!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Spanish Stew!

"What's for dinner Mam?" is without a shadow of a doubt the most uttered sentence in our house. I might not have even poured the milk on their cereal or even have the faintest crispness on the rashers when the words leave their lips! It's hard to keep everyone pleased but one thing I know for sure is that anything of a stew or curry texture will be devoured.
Today the boys are at a summer camp and for certain, despite having a big lunch they will be famished when they come home. It's a bit of a dreary oul day in Offaly so I thought I would liven things up with a nice spicy stew. Quicker to make than a traditional Irish stew and something to add to the dinner repertoire! .

You will need;

5 boneless pork chops
225g chorizo, sliced
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can plum tomatoes
400g can cannellini beans
1tsp smoked paprika
2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a large onion, chopped

Fry off the pork chops until slightly browned.
Add the chorizo, onion, garlic & smoked paprika and fry until onions have softened.
Add the two cans of tomatoes and the drained cannellini beans.
Simmer for an hour.
Serve with some plain cous cous or whatever takes your fancy!

I can confirm after two* servings that it is truly delicious!

*may have been three

It's so easy to get stuck in a rut when you are feeding a family. Would love to hear what your families favourite dinner is. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Alexis Tweet Up!

Twitter is a funny old thing with the power to get things rolling from a simple 140 character or less tweet! At this stage ye all know I love food and adore eating out. Last night we (the twitterati) had the opportunity to have a fantastic meal in Alexis, Dun Laoghaire. If you haven't already been try and get there, gorgeous dining space and a great buzz makes for a very enjoyable evening. Our dining experience was very special as none of us knew what we would be getting on our plates although that choice was obviously in incredibly safe hands! Will let the pictures speak for themselves.....

Thank you to Patrick & Alan for making us so welcome. I enjoyed every morsel of food and the accompanying wines went down very well......

So who is on for the next tweet up? Guaranteed to be good fun!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vanilla Sugared Plum & Frangipane Tart

My kitchen table is my favourite piece of furniture in the house and probably the county and maybe even the world. We bought it on the run up to our wedding and I still remember how delighted I was when it was placed in situ in our kitchen! Back then it was a little bit lonely with only the two of us sitting at it but now at least three times a day it is busy and full of crumbs! Nothing gives me greater pleasure than cooking for my family & friends, I love the whole celebration of coming together and sharing something that has been made with a bit of passion in the kitchen! I have my friends calling tomorrow for coffee and thought I would make a nice Autumn style tart for them, sure it is August after all!

To make this tart you will need to first make some sweet shortcrust pastry.
To make one pastry case you need;

125g butter
100g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
250g flour
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp cold milk

Cream the butter, icing sugar and salt together then rub in the flour and egg yolks.
When mixture looks like breadcrumbs add the milk to form a dough.
Place onto a piece of clingfilm and pat into a sausage shape.
Chill for an hour.
Once chilled cut slivers of the pastry and pat into an 11 inch tart tin. I never roll out pastry, I find it much easier to do it this way.
Bake blind in a preheated 180 degree oven for 12 minutes.
Leave to cool.

For the filling you will need;

300g ground almonds
300g unsalted butter
300g caster sugar
3 free range eggs, lightly beaten
6 plums, halved and destoned
3tbsp vanilla sugar

Cream the butter and sugar together until creamy.
Add the ground almonds and the eggs and fold in until smooth.
Place in fridge.
Toss the plums in the vanilla sugar and allow to macerate for at least ten minutes.
Pour the frangipane mixture into the pastry case and arrange the plums on top, pressing them down slightly.
Place the tart on a baking tray and bake in a preheated 180 degree oven for an hour or until the filling is firm but still slightly wobbling in the centre.
Allow to cool for an hour before serving with some cream, chat, coffee and laughter! The kitchen table in my house is most definitely the heart of our home, great memories have been made there and am looking forward to creating thousands more!

Thanks for reading!