buy cialis once daily

Irish Food Blog


Like Mam Used To Bake - Google Chrome_2013-09-25_20-04-54

When I first moved to Ireland in March 2010, I only knew a handful of people. Because I was working from home and living in the (new-to-me) town of Drogheda, I turned to food blogging as a way to pass my free time and to make new friends.

Roseanne was one of my very first food blogging friends, and since she lived not too far from me I invited her to my house for dinner one night along with a few other bloggers I’d met online. Since then we’ve become good friends, going on double dates with our respective hubbies (usually at L Mulligans or Eastern Seaboard – two of our faves), meeting up at blog events or just chilling out and having a good gossip session over tea and cakes.

The last time I was at Roseanne’s place, she showed me the print-outs of her book pages and we reviewed them together whilst stuffing our gobs with her famous pavlova. If you read her blog, you know Roseanne’s obsession with pavlova; she makes one nearly every week for her [very lucky or long-suffering, depending on which one of them you ask!] husband, J.

Pavlova-005

You can find the recipe for this incredible dessert – the perfect combination of crunchy/chewy meringue topped with beautiful heavy cream and a truckload of fresh fruit – in her newly released book Like Mam Used to Bake. The book is full of mouthwatering treats like Caramel Macaroons, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, Coconut Cake and so much more (there are even some bread recipes in there like Farmhouse Rolls and Wholemeal Soda Bread).

To celebrate the launch of the book, I have one signed copy to give away. Just name your favourite dessert and why you love it so much in the comments section below, and on Friday morning I’ll do a random draw for the winner. Best of luck to everyone – and congratulations to Roseanne on this incredibly impressive accomplishment!

Competition open to anyone in the island of Ireland!

*Photo of pavlova from LikeMamUsedToBake.com

10006252_title_kuechenmaschine_klarstein

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know that in the last few months I’ve really gotten into making my own bread. The seed was sown last year when I became addicted to the Great British Bakeoff, and was nurtured by a steady diet of Paul Hollywood’s Bread episodes and various River Cottage shows, which frequently sees the curly mopped-topped Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall whipping up batches of fresh baked breads and cakes.

There’s just something so satisfying about the process of making your own bread: the mixing, the kneading, proofing and of course watching the pale ball of dough transform into a golden, crusty loaf. That said, I have found it difficult to find the time to bake bread regularly and up until now it’s been an every-second-weekend hobby. Mixing the dough by hand means making a goopy mess of the bowl and your fingers, and the kneading process requires a clean worktop (meaning you need to sanitise it first!), 10-12 minutes of pushing and pulling the dough and then of course the clean-up afterward.

Spelt Bread Irish Baking 2

Sometimes during this laborious process, I’ll think of my beloved stand mixer, which is still sitting in a dark storage space in my hometown of Los Angeles. Put simply, when it comes to breads and cakes (and a million other edibles), it does the work for you and makes it easy to have homemade baked goods without having to schedule a chunk of time in your diary.

(more…)

Honeymoon 20

Even on the sunniest of days, when the sky and the ocean simultaneously reflect the most radiant shades of blue and the birds chirp away in the full, lush trees and everyone’s showing off their stems in rarely-worn shorts and exposing their bashful big toes in sandals; even on those rare, beautiful Spring days in Dublin, there’s something missing.

It was one of those days yesterday, and while Mountaineering Man toiled away at the office I decided to head out into town and get some much-needed Vitamin D, plus a few other things I’ve been meaning to purchase. My first stop was Fallon & Byrne, a place that has become almost a sacred place for me. Some people have churches; I have gourmet food shops and farmers’ markets. Even if I only need one item, I amble down every aisle and rest my eyes for at least a few seconds on every single item on every single shelf. From smoked salted almonds and squid ink lasagna sheets to sweet-smelling star fruit and whole wild rabbits, the selection is comprised of the most wonderful, mysterious things that never fail to inspire.

(more…)

IMG_0428

It’s been awhile, and I apologise for my absence but it’s that time of year when everything just seems to go batsh*t crazy all at once. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing; it’s just a very hectic time of year.

One reason I’m finding myself increasingly busy lately is because I’ve taken on a new role at work. I’m now managing the Social Media team as well as one of our largest accounts – a juggling act to say the least! I’m so wrecked at the end of the day I find it difficult to find the brain space to write blog posts, hence the long silence.

Another reason for the mad schedule of late is that this is the season of entertaining and gifting and meeting up with mates; all good but time-consuming endeavours. In the last few weeks I’ve gone to two work ‘dos, a friend’s housewarming/Christmas party, one wedding and have spent several hours Christmas shopping in between. In the next few weeks we have a brunch, an engagement party, Christmas drinks and Christmas Eve & Day at the in-laws before we’re off to Los Angeles for a warm and hopefully relaxing New Year’s holiday.

(more…)

IMG_0228[1]

It was a complete and pleasant surprise when I received an invitation to Parlour Games, a new pop-up restaurant in the Portobello area of town. The sender of the email invite was Ian Marconi, chef and founder of the Paella Guys, the mobile food truck serving up heaps of the beloved Spanish rice dish at various outdoor markets around Dublin.

Funnily enough I’d only tried the Paella Guys a week prior to receiving the invitation. It was a typically cold autumn day here and some co-workers and I trekked up to the Grand Canal Village Market for a lunch of comfort food. The steaming, hot plate of spicy rice mixed with chorizo, onions and peppers really hit the spot; after one bite, I understood why the line at this truck is always far longer than the others.

IMG_0227[1]

Ian’s new pop-up shows what this talented chef can do outside of paella. Shortly after arriving at the location, which we quickly learned was his own house, his lovely wife Lisa served us two kinds of crostini: one with slices of spiced, medium-rare lamb, the other with slices of tender pork. Both were exactly what you want in a canapé: the perfect bite, full of flavour with the right combination of textures. If these were an indication of what was to come, we were in for a treat.

(more…)

Gunters

If you’re lucky, you have a few people in your life that are just plain good. They’re unselfish, ethical and generally quite happy and their goodness inspires you to be better. If anyone were to say a bad word about them, you’d be ready to fight tooth and nail to defend their honour.

Bill and Sharon Gunter – known in foodie circles by their blog, Gunternation – are two such people. I first met them on an Irish Foodies outing I organised to the Brown Hound Bakery and Eastern Seaboard, and we immediately hit it off. They’re expats too, and we bonded on everything from adjusting to a new culture (they’ve been here a few years longer than me, so they were full of great advice) to our favourite foods from back home.

Veggie Pie

Though we’re all Americans, we hail from different regions; the Gunters are from the South and mid-west and I’m from Southern California. So when we talk about the American foods we grew up with, we talk about very different dishes. Sharon loves her Frito Pie and Bill, who went to college in New Orleans, is nuts about po’ boys and gumbo. Me, I’m all about the sushi and Cali burritos. I love hearing them talk about the foods they grew up with, because it’s so different from what I ate as a kid. From pimento cheese to chicken spaghetti, I now have a whole new list of down-home American dishes I want to try.

(more…)

Il Valentino 2

Food can be healing in many ways. The joy of eating something that tastes wonderful can make you feel great; the experience of feeling the various textures in your mouth and inhaling the beautiful aromas of something delicious can give you an out-of-body experience. And when you have all of the above, and you’re eating something pure, natural and prepared with love, you’re in heaven.

Il Valentino Al FresoIl Valentino 3

For me, the food at Il Valentino Bakery and Cafe encompasses all of the above. Whenever I eat lunch there (I’m lucky to have it so close to my office!), I leave feeling happy and satisfied, not stodged-up and tired. From the focaccia pizza and fresh rocket and mozzarella salad to the polenta cake and financiers, everything is made fresh on the premises by people who are passionate about what they do. At the risk of sounding corny, you can see and taste the care that goes into the food at Il Valentino.

(more…)