Culinary Adventures

Culinary Adventures

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Posted Thu 30 Jun 2022 4:33 PM
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Island of Ireland
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One of the best parts of a holiday abroad is trying new, local food! Not only is it a chance to try truly delicious dishes, it’s an expression of culture and a way of life - one that can be enjoyed by anyone. For the next month, I will be posting a series of threads all about different foods to look for while here in Ireland, and spots you truly shouldn't miss. Nothing is off the table, so to speak, so grab your forks and spoons and let’s dig in!

And there’s no better way to start than with Sweet Stops! This dessert-first menu starts now.

When thinking of dessert, nothing is more classic than melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. From rich and slightly bitter dark chocolate to sweet and smooth white, chocolate can take many forms. In an article on our website celebrating Easter, several famous chocolate shops and spots are mapped out for tasty convenience. The best part? Even if you can’t visit, several of these locations will send a taste of Ireland right to you!

For families with children, the Chocolate Making Experiences at The Chocolate Manor can offer children a look at how chocolate is made. 

If you're looking for a classier bite of decadence, Chocoa Couture Chocolate House and Bistro is famous for its desserts. If you’re looking to cool down from the summer heat, there are plenty of ice cream shops to choose from, as well! Some personal favourites include Murphy’s famous ice cream shops - with locations across Ireland, Glastry Farm Ice-cream, and Morelli's Ice Cream

What’s your favourite sweet spot on our island?
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Posted Fri 8 Jul 2022 12:47 PM
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There’s something very special about the idea of a nice cup of afternoon tea, and the Emerald Isle is a wonderful spot to enjoy this classic and classy dining option. From prim and proper teas served in fine china, to casual and modern treats that anyone can indulge in, here are a few spots to make mealtime an occasion.

To open this list, there’s nothing quite like having a proper cup of tea at a fine manor. I’d personally recommend the Brownlow House Tea Room for this experience.

The Tea & Garden Rooms in County Clare is another unforgettable option for afternoon tea! Boasting all local ingredients, it is a true treat to stop by. As is Ruby Ellen's Tea Rooms, which give a taste of Victorian traditions with a mixture of classic and modern recipes.

Looking for a mix of vintage and trendy fun? There’s even a tea-themed tour of Dublin called Vintage Tea Trips, which escorts guests through Dublin in a vintage bus, all over a cup of hot tea and tray of treats to pick across.

If any of these spots are calling to you, feel free to leave a message below! And if you have a suggestion to add, there’s plenty of room for more recommendations!
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Posted Thu 14 Jul 2022 6:15 PM
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I’ll let you in on a little secret: I love pub food! It’s warm, comforting, delicious food served in a cozy environment. If you are lucky, there may even be a trad session to liven things up. What isn’t there to love?

I don’t have to tell you that unforgettable pubs can be found throughout Ireland. Sometimes the best culinary adventure is just stumbling across a little-known gem in a small Irish town. While I would encourage anyone thinking about visiting to make room for the unexpected and find places that only locals know of, there’s also no harm at all in planning to visit some spots that have made a name for themselves.

Personally, I adore pubs that feature live music. A good trad session is exactly what I need to feel fully immersed in Irish culture. It sets the mood for good, traditional food! That’s why we’re opening this post with an article all about pubs famous for their trad music. These pubs mix great food with an even better atmosphere to make for a one-of-a-kind experience. One of my favourites is Gus O’Conner’s pub, if just because I adore surfing through their Instagram feed. Pro-tip: Try clicking on their food stories!

For more unique experiences, look no further than this article all about the most one-of-a-kind locations across Ireland. There are plenty of amazing spots to choose from, though, as book lover, one of my favourites has to be the pub modelled after the Shire, in Killarney. With dropped ceilings and food that would keep any Hobbit full and happy, it’s the perfect mix of geeky and foodie. Need another reason to go? Well, this spot is even dog friendly. Because no one can just walk into Mordor - not without their best friend! 

There are few things more quintessentially Irish than a good pub. The music, the environment, the feeling of home, pubs embody it all! Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway, a spot for stories and dancing, or another world entirely, there is a pub for you.
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Posted Thu 21 Jul 2022 7:05 PM
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What does it mean to have a taste of Ireland?

In this culinary series, we have explored food both high-class and casual. We’ve lifted cups at afternoon tea, before finishing the evening with a trad session at a local pub. And while all of that is very Irish, there’s still more to eating like an Irish person. For those who want to get a taste of the real deal, we’re ditching preconceptions and feasting on food that’s just like Mum used to make. 

Make no mistake, there is a lot of amazing food that is truly Irish. Ireland’s long, beautiful coast is brimming with fish and I love nothing more than to try the catch of the day at the beach. There’s a reason why seafood, oyster, and other food festivals are so popular - the food is just that good! And with so much farmland and a dedication to raising the best in produce and meat alike, and fresh food is undeniably good.

But nothing beats a good Irish Crisp Sandwich! This simple but addictive sandwich is home on a plate for many Irish people, and it is easy to make no matter where you live. All it takes is fresh white bread, good Irish butter, and plenty of crisps. Crunch it down and enjoy a true taste of Irish Culture! 

Which does bring us to something of a rivalry here on our Emerald Isle. A great battle of the crisps, Tayto vs Tayto. Don’t let the name(s) fool you, these are two very different crisp experiences and everyone has their favourite brand. Personally, I won’t spoil which I add to my sandwich but will give a hint - it’s Tayto. 

There are more traditional dishes than just this salty and crunchy delight! This article about Ireland’s famous cuisine lists ten incredible and traditional dishes that are as historical as they are downright delicious. Readers beware: There are photos and it looks delicious - so no peeking on an empty stomach. 

Finally, we’re ending this journey with a 99. For those in the know, this dessert needs to introduction! It’s a delicious soft-serve vanilla cone with a stick of flaky, decadent milk chocolate plunged into the side. With 100 years of history, this treat began with the famous Cadbury Company, who used excess chocolate ribbons to create the chocolatey addition to this chilly treat. Over the years, it’s become a true cultural icon! 

I know some of my friends here are sure to have a cornerstore classic of their own to share! Martin, I’m looking at you, pal!
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Posted Thu 28 Jul 2022 9:13 PM
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While I wish I could say our adventure will never end, unfortunately, we do have to come to a close for now. Still, there is one more element of adventure that I would like to share: Home recipes.

Every culture in the world has their own taste of home, which is shared through careful recipes passed down for generations. I truly and sincerely believe that one of the best parts of cultural exchange is sharing these recipes, giving others a taste of your history. I also believe there’s no better way to remember the good times than to tuck into a good meal. So, as we close out this adventure, I’m going to share a few of my favourite Irish recipes, and encourage everyone to do the same.

There are plenty of amazing recipes right on our website that I encourage everyone to try! These St. Patrick Day recipes, for example, are delicious year-round. Honestly, once you’ve tried freshly baked Irish brown soda bread, there’s no going back. And for coffee lovers, there’s nothing better than this recipe all about Irish coffee! Even some of our most famous restaurants will sometimes share their recipes, as with this article on famous Irish dishes, which features a simple but incredible recipe for chargrilled lamb and mouthwatering potatoes.

But for our final article, I wanted to share a recipe or two that I love to cook.

To start us off, this is my favorite version of an Irish stew!

1.5 kg’s lamb (Shoulder works beautifully! A hearty beef is also quite nice, if less traditional)
1-2 tablespoons flour
Salt & Pepper
Vegetable oil (As needed)
3 medium onions, quartered
1 leek
6-8 carrots, chopped
1 kg baby potatoes (Or chopped russets)
1–2 cups frozen peas
4 cups chicken bone broth
2–3 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf

The method is very simple, too.
Preheat oven to 175c (or 350 f)
Chop your lamb into stew-sized chunks, and roll in the seasoned flour to make a thin coating on the exterior.
Brown the meat in your pan over medium-high heat, just until a crust forms. (Tip: Work in batches to avoid overcrowding!)
Once the meat is browned and removed, add carrots, onions, and leeks to the pan. You may add just a splash of the broth to help get the fond off the bottom.
Cook for 8-10 minutes, until carrots are starting to become tender.
Add in meat, potatoes, herbs, and enough broth to cover well.
Move to preheated oven for 90 minutes, until lamb is tender when checked with a knife.
Skim fat from the surface (To avoid a greasy soup!)
Add peas, let cook for 5-10 more minutes.

Of course, no stew is complete without a side! While I would strongly (very strongly) suggest baking a loaf of that brown soda bread I linked above to eat with this stew, I’d also recommend serving it beside a mountain of buttery colcannon.

2lbs mealy potato (about 3 Russets, or equivalent) 
4 cups chopped cabbage/destemmed kale 
100 grams spring onions, chopped (About a single bunch)
1 cup milk or cream
3 garlic cloves, chopped
6 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. salt, plus additional to taste
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Start by selecting your potatoes. Any mealy (Starchy) potato will work. Russets are a favorite for this recipe, but Yukon Gold potatoes are also delightful. If you can use them in a mash, you can use them here.

Start by peeling and dicing into about 2-inch cubes, they don’t have to be perfect but should be uniform.
After rinsing away excess starch, start the potatoes in a pot of cold, heavily salted water (About a tablespoon of salt per potato)
Bring to a boil. Potatoes don’t need much stirring, but just make sure they aren’t sticking to the bottom and don’t boil dry. Cook on high until they are easily pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes.
Drain thoroughly, and leave uncovered to dry in the colander.

In the now-empty pot, add all of the butter and the chopped greens of your choice. Both kale and cabbage are lovely in this recipe, and need more time than the spring onions and garlic, so add them first. Cook over a medium heat until tender, which could take between 5 and 10 minutes. Remember to season with a bit of salt and pepper (Always taste first)!

Once your cabbage/kale is softened, add the spring onions and chopped garlic. Garlic burns very easily and only needs a minute or two, so watch carefully.

Reduce the heat to medium-low to avoid scorching, and pour in your milk or cream first. It will need to be warm before adding your potatoes, but will only need another minute or two as well.

For the next part, you could add everything to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the cabbage/kale to a finer consistency. This will make a smoother colcannon, but I personally prefer to just add the potatoes. Mash and stir until there are no big lumps, but don’t overmix or the potatoes will become gloopy.

Finally, serve with a pat of butter and enjoy!

And that is my perfect Irish meal. A hearty soup, fresh bread, and delicious colcannon.

Please, feel free to share your favourite Irish recipes below!


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