Food, Restaurants, Wine

On The Tapas Trail

I buy lotto tickets occasionally and I’m ever hopeful but my luck came in a few weeks ago when I won a competition with the  Irish Food Bloggers  – an afternoon on the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail .

So on a rainy Sunday (well it is the Irish Summer!) I took the train to the capital to join a group of like minded bloggers in The Market Bar where we greeted by our  guide Paul  and organiser Anri with a very welcome glass of Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva .

It was lovely to meet up with some familiar faces including  Nessa from Nessa’s Family Kitchen and Paula from Paula’s Kitchen Table. I finally got to meet the delightful Fiona from Hunters Lodge and the lovely Magda from Madga’s Cauldron who became my ‘trail companions’ for the afternoon.

Our guide Paul outlined the event – 4 restaurants in the area , 3 signature tapas and a glass of Campo Viejo Reserva in each and a little sightseeing and banter along the way. I know – it’s a tough life but hey, somebody’s got to it!

The food was good – my personal favourites were the patatas bravas in the Market Bar and the black pudding and prawns in Havana; the wine was excellent and the company was most entertaining , just a pity about the weather!

I also learned lots along the way from Paul – who knew Dublin had so many links with Spain!

If you’re looking for something different to do in Dublin this summer then I highly recommend this – the Tapas Trail is on Wednesdays between 6.30 and 9 pm and Sundays between 2 and 4.30 pm and is great value at €20!

Thanks again to Irish Food Bloggers, Campo Viejo and Conway Communications for a great afternoon out!

Now I’m off to buy a lotto ticket……….

Baking, Cakes, Catering, Cookery Classes, Cooking, Food, Recipes

There’s no chocolate in it honestly!

As you may have noticed  I  have a ‘slight’ addiction to cookbooks. I also have a tendency to collect recipes from magazines, newspapers etc  – I have a box of pages and clippings from various publications that I have garnered from numerous sources ………..

Some look tantalising when I’m in the hairdressers or in a waiting room but once assigned to the ‘box’ they never leave, others make it straight to the kitchen for testing and some even go on to become firm favourites.

One such find was a recipe for an Espresso Tart – I think it came from a Food & Travel magazine and my apologies for not acknowleding the original owner of this recipe but your details aren’t on my valued clipping.

I’m not really a dessert person but I do like this (must be the caffeine).  Almost everyone who tastes it is convinced there’s chocolate in it but as you’ll see there’s none.

This  tart is divine on it’s own but can be raised to another level if you serve it with a mascarpone sorbet. I often make it into individual tartlets to serve at dinner parties and it’s always well received

Individual Espresso Tart with Sorbet

I brought one of these tarts to Inishfood in May and I’ve been asked to share the recipe – so this is especially for Donal, Imen and Bríd.

Espresso Tart

Oven Setting: 180ºC/ Gas 4

What you need:

  • Sweet Shortcrust Pastry *
  • 125g butter
  • 250g muscavado sugar
  • 2 tsp espresso coffee (finely ground – I use Illy)
  • 6 tbsp Kahlua or Tia Maria
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g self raising flour, sieved

What you do:

  • Line a 24cm loose bottomed tin with your pastry and leave to chill
  • For the filling, heat butter and sugar until sugar dissolves, then ad the coffee, liqueur and eggs.
  • Gently fold in the sieved flour and pour the mixture into the pastry case.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 mins – you want a ‘squidgy, fudgy’ texture- be careful not to overcook!
  •  Leave to cool before serving.
* I use 1lb flour, 8oz butter, 1-2 egg yolks, 1 tbsp caster sugar and a little water to make my pastry – this should give you    enough for 2 tarts. You don’t need to blind bake the pastry for this recipe.
Espresso Tartlets
As I said this tart can be served as an excellent dinner party dessert with ice cream or créme fraiche but best of all with mascarpone sorbet which is not as complicated as it sounds – please try it as the taste combination is divine!

Mascarpone Sorbet

What you need: 

  • 250g tub mascarpone
  • 250ml  milk (the proper full fat type please!)
  • 150g caster sugar

What you do: 

  • Whisk the  mascarpone with the milk until thick, smooth and lumpfree. Then stir in the sugar.
  • If you have an ice cream maker, pour in mix and leave to stir until thick and creamy, then freeze until needed.
  • If you don’t have an ice cream maker then pour mix into tupperware box and freeze for an hour. Then whisk in frozen edges back into centre of mix to break up any ice crystals. Freeze for another hour then beat again. Repeat until sorbet is thick, creamy and frozen.

Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy – and now you know there’s no chocolate in it, honestly!

Happy Cooking !