Tag Archives: food blog

Challenge me

18 May

Right short post- but I have a challenge for you!

I want my next proper post to be a recipe- I am starting to get cooking withdrawal symptoms. You guys get to pick what I cook. Please comment below and I’ll pick one of the ideas!

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A new (neon) gem on Camden Street

15 May

In recent weeks, I have been on a quest to try Dublin’s newest eateries. I had grown tired of the usual suspects in town, and I took to twitter to seek tips from you nice people. It was very promptly suggested by a friend that I give one such newcomer a try.

I was meeting another friend for lunch in town and so we headed to Neon (He wanted to get a mention if I wrote about this- Hi Mark.) Upon entering Neon, you are greeted with a very sleek restaurant, with bench seating and counters at one end, behind which is an open kitchen (something I always enjoy seeing.)

We took a table while perusing the menus, on the advise of the very friendly staff.  I opted for a Red Curry with prawns and Mark opted for Chicken, chilli and cashew nuts.  The lunch deal is great value: a main and soft-drink for €9.95, and comes with a free DIY ice-cream cone (They have a mini 99-stlye machine in the corner!)

The dishes were served in takeaway containers, and for those of you who like eating from more refined receptacles there are dishes on every table. Sitting on top of my very generous portion of curry were a number of prawns. I wondered for a moment whether there would be any more lurking in the sauce beneath. I am delighted to say that my scepticism was misplaced, it was truly crustacean-filled, delivering a nice amount of heat. Mark was similarly pleased with his dish.

After just about finishing our lunches, we toddled over to the ice-cream machine to round off what was an excellent meal. Neon’s food, staff and surrounds are all likely to impress you- oh and the ice-cream probably will too.

 

Is there anywhere else in Dublin you think I should try?

 

 

Chicken Pasta Bake

23 Sep

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

350 g pasta (Penne, shells or similar)

380 g chicken (cooked or raw)

200 g  mushrooms (cut into quarters)

4 blocks (technical term) of frozen spinach/ half a bag of fresh

250 ml of cream

60 g cream cheese

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

3 cloves of garlic (crushed)

cheddar

 

This recipe was the product of a few factors last weekend. Leftover cooked chicken, a very cold evening and a desire to cook something incredibly straightforward. Bonus about this recipe is that it doesn’t create mountains of washing up.

 

Firstly heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

 

In a large pot, bring salted water to the boil.  Add the pasta and cook until very al dente. If you are using frozen spinach, start thawing this out in a small pot with a tiny drop of water. When the spinach is cooked- drain all liquid from the pot.

 

I had to supplement the cooked chicken I had, so heat some olive oil in a pan and add the raw chicken, cut into small cubes/strips. After the chicken has sealed, add in the mushrooms and fry until the chicken is golden and cooked.

 

To the same pan add the cream, cream cheese, thawed/fresh spinach, garlic and mustard along with the leftover cooked chicken if you have any. Heat until it bubbles and is well combined. When the pasta is cooked sufficiently, drain it and return it to the pot. Add the sauce mixture to it and stir well until all is combined.

Spread into an oven dish and cover with a generous grating of cheddar. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

 

Enjoy.

 

On a side note- thanks to all who have subscribed. If you haven’t please do! I would really appreciate people sharing these recipes, tweeting  or telling friends and family- share the silver chicken word!

 

Mushroom, Asparagus and Spinach Risotto

9 Sep

Ingredients: Serves 2:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

25g butter

1 small onion (finely chopped)

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

150 g of Arborio rice

150ml white wine

500ml stock

4 x asparagus stalks (chopped)

8-10 x button mushrooms (chopped)

1/2 bag of washed spinach

Parmesan to serve.

Risotto is one of my favourite comfort foods, and can be adapted for any season by varying the ingredients. The basic recipe is the same no matter what you put in, so if you wanted to change it, you would substitute your preferences in for the vegetables I have listed.

I would like to deal with the hype about how risotto is insanely difficult to make or it can go wrong easily.  It is an easy dish to make, but I feel there are three success factors.  First, have all your ingredients, stock etc, measured and ready to go, so that you can concentrate on the cooking. As many of my friends will testify, this is not my normal style of cooking- but I feel it pays dividends here.

Of course by cooking I meant stirring. You need to constantly stir the risotto. Do this gently, but make sure you are scraping the bottom of the pan and mixing thoroughly. Thirdly, have the risotto at a constant low heat so that when the liquid is added it is just bubbling gently.

 

First heat the olive oil and the butter in a deep pan. After they have heated add the onion and sweat it off, until it softens a little. At this stage add the garlic and fry for another while. Before the garlic gets too coloured, throw in the chopped mushrooms and asparagus and toss in the mixture. I recommend chopping these into bite-size pieces. Fry for a minute and then add the rice. Make sure everything is well mixed. Continue to cook for another minute while the rice lightly toasts, but make sure that you stir constantly so that it doesn’t stick.

Next add the white wine. I would advise buying a whole bottle- not a small one- this way you get to pour yourself a glass while cooking and have one with your meal.

Stir until the wine has been absorbed by the rice. If it smells a little acrid, don’t worry, the alcohol will burn off leaving a great flavour in the rice.

At this point add in the first third of the stock- I would recommend vegetable or chicken. Keep the risotto barely bubbling and stir until all the stock has been absorbed and the mixture is thick and slightly heavy to stir.

Add in another third of the stock and repeat the process until the stock is absorbed. Add in the final remainder of the stock and repeat.

As the final third of the stock is close to being absorbed- add in the spinach and stir in. Once the mixture has thickened sufficiently, turn off the heat and serve into heated bowls immediately. Serve with some grated parmesan and that glass of wine.

For the carnivores amongst us, you can serve this risotto alongside some grilled meat. I recently enjoyed it with some steak. Another option is to shred some cooked chicken in at the spinach stage- and just heat the chicken through.

Enjoy.

Nice food guide

26 Aug

I recently came back from a short break in Nice. I had heard a lot about the beautiful climate and beaches, but what about the food?!

Everywhere you turn in Nice, there are (touristy) reminders that you are in Provence. Lavender and olives feature heavily as souvenirs, transformed into an impressive array of incarnations. I did happen upon one wonderful shop (http://www.alziari.com.fr) where the olive was highly celebrated from the oil to the wood. I bought a canister of their olive oil and it is truly incredible stuff. Here are some of the whole olives they had for sale, they had multiple varieties in a range of sauces and spices.

Apart from the influences from Provence, something I hadn’t thought of was of the Italian influences you can see on the menus in the town, owing to Nice’s proximity to the border. Pasta and pizza both feature heavily. Admittedly some of this is for feeding time at the tourist-zoo, but even in the restaurants off the beaten track, you can get some very good, authentic pizza.

Being on the coast there is a vast amount of seafood on the menus in Nice. This was dinner one of the nights. It was one of the biggest plates of pasta I have ever been served, and thoroughly delicious.

Another great spot in Nice’s old town is the Cours Saleya. It is a mish-mash of stalls selling various forms of art, trinkets, and most importantly is home to a lot of sea-food restaurants. As this is tourist-central, prices on the menus reflect that. However some of the seafood on offer is just wonderful. Dinner another night was this wonderful seafood platter. The oysters were the highlight for me, fresh and sweet.

As I had arrived late to the trip, my travelling companions were intent on dragging me to an ice-cream shop, which they assured me I would love. Little did I know what I was in for.

This is Fenocchio (http://www.fenocchio.fr). I overheard a local talking to what must have been a visiting friend, “This, is the main attraction of Nice.”

Over my few days in Nice, I frequented this place numerous times. You would need to, they have 94 flavours currently. 59 ice-cream and 35 different flavoured sorbets. They were incredible. They have all of the regular flavours one would expect, and then the rest! I had too many ‘favourites’ to start giving an in-depth analysis of each, but one that really stands out was the rhubarb sorbet. It was insanely good, and incredibly refreshing in the hot weather. There were some fantastic flavours on offer, but in addition it was also beautifully made ice-cream.

I will be back to Nice. Its mix of great food and even better weather is a winning combination. Plus I still have over eighty flavours to get through.

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