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Lights, Camera, Action

Last summer I catered for the film ‘A Nightingale Falling’ which was made by Mixed Bag Media here in Offaly. I loved doing it as it allowed me to experiment with things other than canapés and corporate lunches and also made me  embrace the discipline of working to a budget ( not an easy task for me!)

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Tapas and Wine

If you looking for something different to do in Dublin this month then might I suggest the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail ?
This is my third year to go on the trail and it just keeps getting better. The Chief Taster loves Spanish food but he was missing on a golf trip so I ‘persuaded’ my good friend Siobhan to come along instead.

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Beating the January Blues

2 weeks into January and my resolutions are still going strong – well most of them ! I started my get fit regime (albeit gently) , had a great turn out for my first cookery class and enjoyed my first meal out of the year.

The Chief Taster surprised me with a night away in Dunbrody House Hotel – just the thing to chase away the January blues. If you haven’t been, Dunbrody is a beautiful Georgian House in Arthurstown , Co. Wexford run by TV Chef Kevin and Catherine Dundon.

We stayed in a lovely room overlooking the garden and the beautifully laid out herb garden. I will admit to being slightly jealous 😉 The CT had to go do some work so I relaxed with coffee and my book.

Then it was time to preen ourselves for dinner and pre-prandial drinks by the fire. I’m still searching for a ‘grown up’ pre-dinner drink – thanks to a recommendation from the cocktail guru Geoff Boyle I decided to try a Hendricks gin and tonic but was a little disappointed to be told that they had run out of Hendricks over Christmas. I picked a Campari from the drinks menu after that – it will not be my drink of choice 😉 . He stuck to his usual whiskey and was happy.

We were served a very tasty salmon dip while we decided on our dinner choices and then shown into the beautiful dining room.

Menu

Dinner did not disappoint. We both loved the black pudding and chorizo bread  (I shall be attempting a version..). Then I had the Smoked Salmon and the Venison , while the Chief Taster had the Pigeon and the Halibut. I  loved the flavour combination of the smoked celery root purée with the venison but I will admit to passing on the sunchoke!

We don’t normally do desserts but our lovely waitress Sarah persuaded us – so he opted for the doughnuts and coffee and I went for the cheese board which would have comfortably fed four if not six people! And then there were handmade chocolates…… All these delights were washed down by a very pleasant Lawton Hill’s Pinot Noir.
We were so full we couldn’t even manage a postprandial drink – even the stairs were a challenge 🙂

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Would you believe the lovely Sarah turned out to be the equally lovely Paula Ryan’s niece. Talk about a small world!

Breakfast was another feast – did I mention I’m joining a gym! There were two ladies in the dining room who were heading to the Cookery School for the day and I would have loved to have gone with them but unfortunately it was time to head back to reality.

If you’re looking for a relaxing mini break with excellent food I’d definitely recommend Dunbrody House. Next time I’m definitely doing a cookery class 🙂

Speaking of cookery here is one of the dishes from my first ‘Healthier Cooking’ class – warm, comforting and healthy!

Chickpea & Red Pepper Stew

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp. rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red peppers, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1  jar passata
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Seasoning
  • Fresh coriander

 What you do:

  • Heat oil over a gentle heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add onion and pepper and cook for about 10 mins until softened
  • Add the garlic and the paprika and cook for another minute.
  • Add in the passata plus a pinch of sugar and the chickpeas. Leave to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Season and serve with rice, sprinkled with fresh coriander

PS Crisped chorizo sprinkled over the top may add a few more calories but it is rather delicious….

Happy Cooking !

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……….