Spring Recipes
St. Patrick's Day 2017: Recipe inspiration
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St. Patrick’s Day 2017: Recipe inspiration

It’s almost that time of year again that nearly 5 million people celebrate being Irish, and millions of others wish they were. I’ve made quite a lot more recipes involving either Irish ingredients or based on traditional Irish recipes this last year, so there’s plenty for you all to choose from! Make sure to shop for local products as well, so you’ll have the best of the Irish produce when cooking any of these recipes.

I hope you all have a fantastic day on Friday, let me know in the comments below how you plan on celebrating!

  
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Crunchy Homemade Pan Fried Tater Tots with Irish Rooster Potatoes
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Crunchy Homemade Pan Fried Tater Tots with Irish Rooster Potatoes

This recipe is one that I made for my brother, as he’s the one who mentioned it to me and asked if I could whip up a recipe for him. I must admit when he first asked me about Tater Tots, I had no idea what he was talking about but it sure looked like a tasty treat! I personally really like potato croquettes so I wasn’t too sure if I would end up liking Tater Tots but they were an absolute delight! Crunchy on the outside, fragile and soft on the inside: fantastic! I read that they are considered kid’s food in a lot of places, but as I didn’t grow up with them I personally don’t get it, especially when you add loads of herbs and spices like garlic powder, as kids generally don’t tend to like it that much. I’ll for sure be making more ‘grown-up’ tater tots inspired recipes in the future, with the first one up being a sweet potato version!

  
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Electric Cork - Fishbar
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Electric Cork – Fishbar

After the fantastic dinner I had at Electric’s Restaurant during Cork’s Burger Festival, I just had to go back to try their Fish Bar as well, after seeing a sneak peek of it already during my last visit. I had already seen the gorgeous views before, but I had no idea what to expect when it came down to the food, and I must say my partner and I were absolutely over the moon with what we ate that night!

But let’s start with the beginning: what and where can you find Electric’s Fish Bar? “This riverside bar, situated on the first floor of Electric has panoramic views of the Trinty Church and St Finbarr’s Cathedral, as well the River Lee which cascades on the weir below. Drop anchor & order the freshest fish, simply cooked, unadorned, letting the fish talk for itself, 1/2 dozen oysters, crab claws, fish stew, .. The FishBar at Electric brings a taste of the sea to the City. No reservation required, so drop by today. 

  
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Coast: Recipes from Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way
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Book Tip March 2017: Coast – Recipes from Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way by Rachel Allen

Happy March everyone! I always love March because that’s when we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Even before I moved to Ireland I had been celebrating it with my friends in Belgium, which was always such good fun! In honour of Ireland’s most globally celebrate event, I have decided to pick an Irish book tip of the month as well. It’s not a new release, but it is just such a good book I had to share it with you ‘Coast: Recipes from Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way‘ by Rachel Allen.

Ever since moving to Ireland I’ve become very passionate about using local ingredients, as Ireland has so much to offer when it comes to fresh and locally sourced food. There’s a large variety of local produce, whether it’s top quality beef or farm fresh sauces: there’s a lot to choose from!

  
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Cauliflower soup with turmeric and soy cream
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Cauliflower soup with turmeric and soy cream

One of my favourite vegetables to eat during the Winter has to be cauliflower. It’s available all year round of course, but I personally think of it more as something you have during the colder months, but that’s mostly because of the recipes I cook with it are better suited for Autumn or Winter. This will probably also be my last Winter soup recipe as well, any soups I make in the following months will be lighter and possible even chilled soup, so I hope you’ll enjoy this Cauliflower soup as much as I did!

I kept this recipe quite easy, no oven grilling this time like I did with my roasted tomato and butternut squash soups. I also only used really basic ingredients, so I decided to add a bit of a twist to it by using turmeric to spice things up and soy cream to make it suitable for vegans and people with dairy-intolerance or allergies. If you’ve never tried soy cream before I highly recommend you give it a go, you won’t be able to taste it at all!

  
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Irish scallops with black pudding and cauliflower cream
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Irish scallops with black pudding and cauliflower cream

Although the weather hasn’t been spectacular the last few weeks, we do have some pretty good weekends! And by good I mean: no rain. Whenever it’s not too cold and rainy I like to get out and do a bit of Sunday walking, just to get some fresh air and to discover new places. Last weekend we headed down to Mount Hillary near Mallow, but this weekend we decided to venture out to Kinsale beach, just outside of the town. We had never been there before but I have always really liked Kinsale, as it’s the gourmet capital of Ireland and there’s plenty to see and do! My absolute favourite spot is Charles Fort, which is not only very well maintained but it also gives you a stunning view of both Kinsale town and the sea.

After our walk along the beach and up through the green hills surrounding it, we went for a stroll through the town where we were met by the glorious scents of delicious foods in every street we walked into. Apart from getting hungry, it also gave me an idea for a new appetizer, with nothing but Irish seasonal ingredients. I got myself some Irish scallops, which are in fished mostly in Winter and Spring, although some species can be landed all year round and others are only to be caught from September until February.

  
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Cork Burger Festival: Electric
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Cork Burger Festival: Electric

As you probably have read by now, Cork Burger Festival is currently running here in Cork, Ireland. Although the festival is only in it’s first year now, it’s looking to be a great start. One of the goals of the festival was to help put Cork on the map a bit more, and to provide some good food entertainment in an otherwise quite boring time of the year. I must say Cork is one of the most active counties I’ve lived in and the amount of festivals is quite vast and big, like the film festival for example or ‘Taste Cork‘, a countywide celebration of the outstanding food & drink Cork has to offer but it does get more quiet around Winter. Festival Cork doesn’t only organise things themselves but they also want to help anyone who has a great idea but needs a bit of guiding or help to get it turned into reality. Ernest from Festival Cork: “We couldn’t be happier with the turnout for our very first Burger festival, with even butchers taking part and restaurants all over the county including Kinsale have turned this into a county-wide festival, instead of just a Cork City event’.”

  
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Cork Burger Festival: Yellow Sub
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Cork Burger Festival: Yellow Sub

With the Cork Burger Festival now in full swing, it was about time I went down to the city to try some burgers! On Wednesday I got invited to my first Irish blogger meet-up, hosted by Festival Cork and to get a sneak peek at what Yellow Sub is serving for the festival. Yellow Sub only started serving sliders a couple of days ago but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the quality, it was spot on!

The atmosphere was great right off the bat, there was loads of talking and laughs all over the place while the first sliders were being served. We started off our night with Fried chicken with lettuce, tomato and sub sauce. Sounds basic? Well turns out the key to success was in the sauce for this one! It had just the right amount of spice, which turned this burger into something a little bit more fiery than chicken burgers usually are.

  
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Book tip February 2017: This is gluten-free by Victoria Hall
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Book tip February 2017: This is gluten-free by Victoria Hall

Let me start off by saying something very important: do not cut gluten out of your life because you think it’s cool, because you think you’ll lose weight or because you think it’s healthy. Cutting out gluten is a major life chance and you shouldn’t do it without at least consulting a dietician, to make sure you’re balancing your new way of eating and are not losing out on necessary vitamins and so on. I don’t suffer from gluten intolerance myself but I do have an intolerance to wheat and a long list of other foods. Ever since I found out I’ve been trying my hardest to make the transition into cutting out wheat (luckily not durum wheat) and all the other foods, but it’s not easy.

My biggest issue so far is the lack of available alternatives in supermarkets. Since i’m also heavily intolerant to cow’s milk I’ve had to go look for food that was both wheat and milk free, not that easy! When it comes to wheat I am lucky enough to still be able to eat things like spelt bread, but for other things like cookies I very often have to by gluten-free cookies as there aren’t any wheat-free options in my supermarket. I can’t even imagine how much harder it would be for someone who has to cut out gluten, as it’s in so many things you wouldn’t even expect!

  
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Spiced up homemade roasted tomato soup with red onion and garlic
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Spiced up homemade roasted tomato soup with red onion and garlic

For someone who has rarely ever made homemade soup, I’m really starting to get into the habit of it! You may remember I most recently made my first butternut squash – carrot soup, but I’ve also made beetroot soup, white asparagus soup and parsnip soup before. Today it’s time for another basic but good one: tomato soup! Just as with the butternut squash soup, I decided to roast the tomatoes first, as it makes them much sweeter, especially when you combine it with red onion.

Now one thing to keep in mind though is that regular tomatoes are not in season right now, which is why I’m using plum tomatoes as they are available all-year round and are a great substitute. You can substitute it with tinned tomatoes too but I personally think you’re better of making it all from scratch. You’ll know exactly what’s going into your soup and you’ll feel so proud when it’s ready!

  
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