Grubtacular Brekkie

Quite often before going on the beer for the Ireland rugby matches, I get a bunch of the lads over and cook a massive breakfast while we begin our journey to hangover town. Usually it’s the standard thoroughfare of the full Irish but I wanted to change it up a bit. I had a few things in mind...huevos rancheros, breakfast tortillas, Eggs Benedict but they all seemed a little messy for a bunch of “half cut” blokes. Then jackpot! pancakes, who in this world doesn’t love pancakes? Usually in this country we are served crèpes, but I wanted some thick flufftacular American style pancakes with a mountain of bacon, that should keep the lads happy and make sure that the majority of them get through the match without falling asleep. Ingredients:

Pancakes

- Self raising flour (225gms) - Baking Powder (1 tbsp) - 3 eggs beaten (2 if extra large) - Sugar (3 dessert spoons) - Milk (325 mls) - Pinch of Salt - Butter (unsalted 30gms melted and cooled, some for cooking too)

Bacon

- Shit loads of decent streaky bacon - Brown Sugar (2 tbsp) - Beer, either ale or stout, preferably dark and not fizzy, if you get a chocolatey one then you’re really paying attention to detail, I was not.

Method:

For the bacon, pre heat the oven to 190. Lay all your bacon out. Get a bowl and pour in about a quarter bottle of beer, chuck in a few spoons of brown sugar. No need to be too precise here. Mix it all together with a fork and voila you have a sugary glaze. At this stage you’re thinking that this breakfast is damn grubby, and you’re right, loadsa sugar and fat, can’t beat it to line the stomach on match day (I’ll share some healthy options in due course). Glaze the bacon and chuck it in to the oven, it takes about 20-25 mins each side, keep glazing the bacon as often as you want until it looks a little like the pic below:

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An added bonus is that it makes the house smell damn good. For pancakes chuck all dry ingredients in together. Make a well in the centre, lob in the beaten eggs. Get a whisk and starting mixing it all together, slowly adding the milk and then the cooled butter until you get a mix like this.

pancake-batter

Chuck on the non stick pan. Throw in a small bit of butter just to keep her lit. Then, when the pan is roasting, ladle on some mix. When the mix begins to bubble, flip it over and when gold brown on both sides you’ve got yourself an American style pancake. I promised I’d add a bit of a healthy element and here it is, throw some blueberries or sliced banana into the mix if you want to spice things up a little. The mix makes about 10 medium pancakes or so. For 7 of us I went through 3 batches of batter and 36 pieces of streaky bacon, so be warned people get pretty grabby when they come out. I made myself a short stack, lobbed the bacon on top and smothered it in some good Canadian made syrup. Others added nutella, jam, lemon and sugar, whipped cream, ice cream, add whatever you want, they’re your bleedin pancakes!!

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So there you have it, a grubtacular breakfast that makes a change from the match day full Irish, give it a go, it’s simple and delicious.

PS. It did the trick, the first lad to fade wasn’t until 5 pm, that’s a god damn winner alright.

Finger Chicken Good

Beer Can Chicken With a string of champions league matches coming up over the next week, its that time again when you and your mates put the feet up with a beer and a bit of grub. So here's an awesome simple recipe for the perfect roast chicken with a killer twist, a can of ale in the cavity of the chicken. Its a genius idea and believe me it makes some seriously moist chicken. So you'll need:

  • 1 1.5kg chicken
  • Tsp each of fennel seed, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and smoked paprika
  • 1  50 ml can of lager/ale or stout
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp of dried chilli
  • BBQ sauce
  • Fresh coriander scallions and a red chilli to garnish

Bang all your spices,dried chilli, salt and pepper into a pestle and mortar and bash them up. Massage (yes massage) your chicken with olive oil and chuck on your dry seasoning and rub it into every nook and cranny until that bird looks damn tasty. So nows the best bit, drink about 2/3's of the booze and pierce a few holes into the top half of the can so more steam can be released. Now place the can into the cavity and place in a roasting tray. It should look like this:Tasty chicken

The more times I look at this picture the more it reminds me of Joey in Friends getting the turkey stuck on his head. Whack it into a preheated oven at 200°C for about 55 mins until the skin is lovely and crispy. Take it out of the oven and pour over some BBQ sauce  and put it back into the oven for another ten mins until its sticky and golden,  it should turn out like this. Garnish with the fresh chilli, coriander and scallions.

beer can chicken

It's such an easy recipe with a whopper twist. Happy eating,

Peace and Love, EG.

Antoinette's Bakery

Recently I have become more and more intrigued with baking. I consider myself a dab hand at the basics but with the rise in popularity of gluten free baking I have begun to give that a go. I have done so with varying success, using my flat mate as a guinea pig. The success, that I mentioned, has varied from bad to inedible. I was intrigued to check out the new completely gluten free enterprise on Kevin St Lr “Antoinette’s Bakery”. The owner Sinead Vaughan was diagnosed coeliac just before she began a Baking & Pastry Arts course in DIT. Not ideal timing you could say. After getting some experience in a Dublin restaurant, she began her gluten free venture in her parent’s home and sold her wares around Dublin’s markets.

The bakery hasn’t been open long but I went one lazy, rainy Saturday afternoon looking for a quick pick me up. The bakery itself has quirky decor that made the experience a homely one. There was lots on offer; Vegan Donuts, Choc Chip Cookies, Orange and Poppyseed Cake, Cupcakes, Carrot Cake and Croissants to name but a few.

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I ordered a Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownie while my partner in crime ordered her favourite, Lemon Drizzle Cake. The brownie was much lighter than expected, full of chocolatey goodness and catered to my peanut butter addiction. The lemon drizzle cake did what so many others don’t, it had a strong zesty taste of lemon to it. We were both chuffed with the offerings. Clearly no gluten doesn’t mean no taste at this establishment.

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Sinead even made time to come and speak to us about her business venture which was a nice touch. I even managed to get a few sneaky tips for my future baking attempts. With coffee provided by Mojo Roastery and green tea by Koyu Matcha this little gem is well worth a visit.

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For 2 cakes and 2 soft drinks the bill was a reasonable €9. It get’s the Grizzly Bear Paws up from this Dog Hungry Bear  and it is definitely a Dublin venture that is worth visiting.

Antoinette's Bakery, 5 Kevin St Lower, Twitter @antoinettesbake

Etto

"Stop reading this review. Now pick up a phone and ring the number at the bottom of the page to book a table. Done? Okay now you can read on." Irish Times review of Etto Restaurant and Wine Bar November 2013 I followed the very dramatic instructions and then a few weeks later, I followed their instructions again. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have bundles of cash laid aside each month for going out to dinner on multiple occasions but this place hits all the spots…sweet, bitter, sour, salty and even the G…reat atmosphere spot.

Inappropriate jokes aside (It’s an Italian restaurant come on!), this is a brilliant place to go for some top quality, nicely frilled food and a great time. Even from the get go; the entrance from a cold, wet and windy Merrion Row straight to bang in between bustling floor staff and candlelit customer smiles being stuffed with beautiful food says it all. It’s quite a small area which immediately creates an intimate and informal atmosphere, leaving the food do all the talking. Speaking of which, the Etto menu is mouthwatering. Combining seasonal and locally sourced Irish ingredients with foreign traditional recipes is a really interesting concept which thank beejaysus is creeping into a lot of eateries but very rarely executed as well as here.

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The theme seems somewhat yet to be decided... the first time I went the bar food was on the main menu along with the ‘small’ and ‘large’ plates, which gave the impression of a Brioche (Ranelagh) style non-Spanish tapas menu. This I quite like because it was possible to order some snacks such as a selection of charcuterie, pork belly and eel croquettes or smoked cod roe and fried pig skin, while deciding upon what next to order. The food was outstanding and surprising at the same time. I had never heard of the dish Vitello Tonato before, which is a classic cold Italian plate of thinly sliced veal served with tuna sauce. I had to ask the poor waitress to repeat the combination on more than two occasions before growing a pair and deciding to give it a try. My girlfriend on both occasions went for the mussels which, with wine leeks and most importantly samphire, contained a DHB foraging favourite so went down very well. I definitely asked and was responded to as to where the unbelievable bread was from, but the flavours to follow knocked it well and truly out of my brain.

I had the cod, nduja and purple sprouting broccoli the first visit and lamb neck the second, while my partner in crime got the butternut squash anolini, cavelo nero and parmeggiano. The crispy potatoes, rosemary salt and pecorino consistently tastes as if its sourced from the bottom crispy bits in the frier…in an unbelievably good way. I don’t want to be alarmist, but by about a million tastebud miles the best desert I’ve ever had is the prune desert. The dense, creamy and heavy vanilla mascarpone provides an amazing foundation for the red wine spiked gobsmackingly juicy prunes which will definitely put on the hectograms, and it’s no wonder that the lovely Liz told us afterwards that it was one of the stalwarts of the menu.

Definitely go…and don’t tell them the Irish Times sent you. Tell them that the Dog Hungry Bears did.

Shredded Chipotle Chicken

A few weeks ago, I was faced with a free Saturday, the Ireland-Australia rugby match, and a gig later on that night, so needed something good and tasty to tide me over. I love a good day of cooking, and I really love Mexican food. I fancied some sort of spicy shredded chicken taco with all trimmings. I tried something similar a while ago, using a lot of liquid and slow cooking, but thought I could improve on the recipe so set to work. The result is pretty amazing, the effort to make a rub for the chicken and make a sauce is defo worth it. The final product is amazing - secret ingredient is the chipotle peppers, they are spicy and smoky. I bought mine in Madrid last year on holidays, but would imagine you can get them in Fallon & Byrne, and definitely from here. They freeze well, so I portion them out into single chillies, and defrost when needed.

This will make enough for 4 burritos - although was easily polished off between 2 of us!

Ingredients:

  • Shredded Chicken:
  • Chicken thighs
  • A tin of chipotle peppers
  • Dried oregano
  • A cinnamon stick
  • A bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 tomato
  • Half an onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • Juice of half a lime, maybe more

Pico de Gallo:

  • 4 tomatoes
  • Other half of that onion
  • Juice of the other half of the lime, maybe more
  • Good bunch fresh coriander
  • Pinch of salt
  • Green chilli

Guacamole:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Lime juice to taste
  • Dash of Tabasco/other vinegar based hot sauce

Method:

I like to the take the skin of the chicken thighs, as it's slightly healthier. So - remove skins!

Ingredients

Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan on a high heat til they pop. Add to pestle and mortar with some salt, pepper, dried oregano and a bay leaf and bash up. Pat all around chicken, cover and leave to sit for a while.

As I mentioned, it was a Saturday, so I opened a beer and watched the rugby to let the flavours develop a bit. It's up to you really though, but would say half an hour at least.

Next, heat back up that dry pan until smoking and put on peppers, a garlic clove, tomato and half an onion. The idea here is to blacken the skins of the peppers and tomatoes which gives them a bit of a smoky flavour and you can peel them. Turns out it works for onion and garlic too, although it happens a lot quicker.

Pan Blackening

Once peppers and tomatoes are well blackened, add to a bowl and cover with cling film for a minute or two, to let steam. Once cooled slightly, you should be able to peel the skin and de-seed the peppers.

Meanwhile, get a food processor or another bowl and add in 1 whole chipotle pepper, half the onion, the clove a garlic (skin off), coriander stalks if you have them, a bit of salt and pepper, then your de-skinned pepper and tomato. Blitz up til smooth, then add in a squeeze of lime and check for seasoning. It may need salt, pepper, sugar or more lime - up to you. Let this sit while you get the chicken ready.

Heat your oven up to 180 degrees or so. Get your dry pan, and put it back on a high heat, and add a glug of olive oil. Uncover chicken, and brown nicely in batches. Add chicken to an ovenproof dish once all browned, and cover with the sauce from the food processor. Pop in a small cinnamon stick, and put in the oven for 45 mins or until cooked - you want to easily be able to pull the bones out.

Pre oven

While the chicken is on, make the trimmings. These are pretty easy to do, and are my staples when serving some Mexican.

Pico de Gallo:

  • Half and - your tomatoes and finely chop.
  • Finely chop an onion - strictly speaking, use a white onion, but I prefer red.
  • Finely chop your coriander - the more the better in my opinion.
  • Finely chop a green chilli - seeds in or out and amount is up to you.
  • Squeeze in juice of half a lime and a pinch of salt, check seasoning and adjust as you see fit.

Guacamole:

  • Half your avocados, and mash-up in a bowl.
  • Add up to a clove of garlic, to taste.
  • Add lime juice to taste.
  • Add a splash of Tabasco or equivalent vinegar based hot sauce.
  • Add a pinch of salt.
  • Adjust seasoning to your liking, and mash as fine as you like.

You can add onion, coriander, tomato to this, but as I usually serve with pico, I cover my bases there. Good tip for keeping guacamole green is to cover with cling film as close as possible to the avocado - air turns it brown, so if you remove the air, you've a better chance of keeping it green.

Refried beans:

Didn't include this in the recipe as it's from a tin but: Take a tin of refried beans - Old El Paso are good. Heat up some finely chopped garlic in a pan with some olive oil, add beans and stir til hot through.

After 45 mins or so, and your chicken is cooked, take it out. Remove all bones from chicken, shred meat and add back to the sauce. Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick, mix around and you're good to serve.

Serve with some tortillas, heat on a hot pan before serving. Finished product

Layer beans, pico, guacamole, chicken, some grated cheese if you fancy, sour cream if you fancy, hot sauce, and beer!

Enjoy!

Dublin's Meanest Sandwiches

Every year around this time there's a flurry of students towards the UCD library to get the heads down coming up to the Chrimbo exams, I try to involve myself in this flurry best I can but one thing that really pisses me off is that with all the cash they put into the new facilities there isn't one feckin spot in the whole place that makes a decent sambo (or any decent lunch grub actually). After putting in a few hours with the books students look forward to a sambo and a vital fix of caffeine but instead they receive a measly chicken fillet roll, where the chicken tends to diminish each day you return, soon a veggie roll will be the only call of the day. So myself and a few of the lads went on the ultimate one day search of the of some of Dublin's best spots to get your lunchtime sarnie. We were looking around for ones that were  made to order with the best ingredients that fall in and around 7 quid, no pissing around. Unfortunately none were in walking distance of UCD to cater for the deprived students but that's another days business venture. So I'll rattle them out in no particular order.

1. The Fumbally, Fumbally Lane Dublin 8

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I've frequented to this spot a good few times before and I love the place more and more every time I head back, its an unreal place to just chill on the couches listening to the beats. The  brekkie here  is awesome, you can't really go wrong with the Gubbeen ham with scrambled eggs or the avocado with eggs that are served on brioche  but seeing as its sandwiches were after I had to cut to the chase. I went for the porchetta ciabatta, it was a generous portion of pulled pork with caper mayo and plum sauce, the plum sauce was delicious and the pork was done how it should be, low and slow and for €6.50 it's a real treat, maybe bring a bird for extra brownie points . I didn't get a snap of the sambo itself but I had one in the archives of the eggs and ham.

2. Oxmantown, 16 Mary's Abbey Smithfield, Dublin 7

oxmantown

We had a throw a northsider  into the mix to please everyone. This place is right beside the Four Courts Luas stop and its definitely worth making the trip.  I had never heard of this place until one of the bears mentioned it to me and he swears by the place. Of all the places it was the best example of simple food done very well, there's a simplicity about the whole place like the white tiles with the sandwiches written on them,  nothing extravagant but a nice touch. The sandwiches were lethal, I went for the ham hock toastie  with Gruyère and unreal roasted tomatoes, the tomatoes really made it a serious contender for toastie of the year and washing it down with some home-made limeade made it really special. My mate had the 12 hour pulled pork on the Waterford Blaa and it looked just as appetising. Oxmantown was the dark horse of the day and there's no doubt I'll be banging back over the river to try the other four €5.50 delights. 

3. Pig and Heifer, 2 Charlotte Way, Harcourt Dublin 2.

Two sandwiches down and it was time to strap on the food bag for a third time in 5 hours. I only realised after chowing down in their Pearse street deli that they have another one closer to home in Harcourt which will make my guaranteed return that much easier. This is a New York style deli that ticks all the  boxes. This place is a carnivores heaven. I had heard great things about the New York Reuben(€6.75) and they were all true, it was jam packed  with delicious pastrami, I've never seen or eaten anything like it, the Swiss cheese and the wholegrain mustard really complemented the mass of meat big time. The sandwich choices are endless in this place from  a ham and brie to an Italian hoagie,  a far cry to the oh so simple Oxmantown but not to worry this place is banging out some seriously scrumptious butties. pig and heifer

4. Juniors, 58 Grand Canal Street Upper, Dublin 4.

I have a huge amount of time for this place and I couldn't put a number on the amount of times I've had lunch in Juniors, we wouldjuniors sneak out of school at lunchtime and pop down to get their famous char-grilled chicken ciabatta and it never fails to disappoint. It's tiny little cafe is always packed come lunchtime and you'd want to be in before 1 to avail of their daily special which is generally deadly especially the pulled pork with the home-made slaw. You really cant go wrong with the juicy chargrilled chicken ciabatta with cherry tomatoes and rocket, throw in the side salad which changes every day and for 8 quid it really can't be beaten. This place gets 2 thumbs up in my books and seemingly everyone else's too, bring a lady friend here and then head to 3FE around the corner for a coffee and you'll be in for a treat in every sense.

After some  tough deliberation these four places made it to the top of the list on the ultimate sandwich quest but there's endless options of places to go and get some unreal sambos in Dublin, like the rotisserie chicken sandwich in Avoca Salt and Poulet Bonne Femme in Monkstown and Suffolk Street, the club in KC Peaches. I've also heard that Honest To Goodness are serving up some pretty special meatball subs on a Friday which I'll be hitting up for sure this week. Sandwiches are so easy to mess up but these places are doing some much needed justice to the good old sambo so try out some of these places. You may be paying a wee bit extra but stay away from the feckin chicken fillet roll in Spar for Christ.

Peace and Love EG.

Nonna's Kitchen

I was speaking to a colleague about going to the cinema at the infamous dominion in Edinburgh when they told me that if I went that I would have to hit up Nonna's Kitchen beforehand.

 
The Mrs was visiting and we fancied a relatively quiet night so I booked us in for last Saturday. I called on Tuesday and could only get a table at 6pm which we had to give back by 7:30pm, obviously busy which boded well.
 
We arrived and were seated at a cramped table beside the cloakroom. Several different waiters looked after us but one stood out, we were asked if we would like to hear the specials. Little did we know that they had 14 different specials on offer and our waiter reeled them all off, much to my amazement.
 
 I was impressed. At this point I would like to add that I have been following a fairly meat and veg diet recently as I like to lift heavy stuff so tonight was a seriously sought after night off. The meatballs, monkfish, haddock and salmon cakes all sounded good, one thing jumped out though and I plumped for homemade pumpkin ravioli as my main. She also went for ravioli but of the ricotta and spinach variety and we shared aroncini formaggio (deep fried rice balls) to start.
 
 
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I'm a well of emotion before the main event

The rice balls came out and were light, full of gooey stringy mozarella and delicious. Then the main event. I genuinely dropped my fork like an absolute goober when I tasted the pumpkin ravioli, which was in a light creamy sauce and covered in chopped hazelnuts. The phrases of party in my mouth and food envy hurt my ears from across the table. It was quite simply exquisite. While her ravioli packed too much of a garlicy punch, it was certainly excellent.
 
We had no room for dessert but had 2 glasses of the house cabernet which was full, rounded and fruity although I know diddly about wine to be honest. That wine was the end of our attempt at a quiet night though as I vaguely remember waddling home about 3am.
 
The bill came to £45 including a tip. Would I go back? You're damn right I will, we have unfinished business. 9/10
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ravioli Shangri-La

Focaccia For Thought

photo 3 Awesome Tomato & Rosemary Focaccia

So last week we decided to pick the green tomatoes from the vine in our greenhouse  because they were growing but not ripening in any way. I  plonked them on the windowsill for a while next to a few bananas which supposedly quicken up the process. Anyway it turned out better than expected and we had a bunch of tomatoes that couldn't go to waste, so it was time for some tomato experimentation.  The rosemary and tomato focaccia was the by far the best bit of grub during the weeks cooking. I made it in the afternoon and it was all devoured by 5 that evening and it couldn't be easier to make.

  • 250 gr of whole-wheat flour
  • 200 gr of plain flour
  • 7 gr of dried yeast
  • 350 ml of luke warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of table salt
  • Any type of ripe tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary
  • Good pinch of maldon sea salt and black pepper
  • Optional: Roasted peppers, black olives, thyme.

Right so chuck both the flours, the yeast , the table salt, the olive oil and the luke warm water into a mixer and mix it on a slow setting until it looks a bit like porridge(wet and sticky consistency). This should only take a minute.

Then take it out of the mixer and put it onto a well floured surface(It will be very sticky at this stage so flour everything in sight just to be sure). Start to add more plain flour to the mix while kneading it, keep adding the flour until it starts to become smooth and elasticy it should take around 10 mins . At this stage form it into a ball and put it into a lightly oiled bowl with some cling film over the top. Leave it in a warm place for 2 hours to let it double in size.

photo 1

After the two hours take off the cling film and give it a few punches like you're Floyd Mayweather (less the money, cars and lets face it the good looks). Leave it to rest for another 15 mins with a damp cloth covering it. Take the dough and put it into a well oiled sheet pan and stretch it out into a rectangular shape.

This is when you're creative nature can take over and you can pretty much put your favourite toppings onto the dough, I went for tomatoes, rosemary, roasted red peppers, sea salt and loads of black pepper and it turned out delicious but you could add all sorts like Serrano ham or anchovies. Throw a good glug of olive oil over the bread before lashing it into the oven for 20 to 25 mins at 220°c or until golden brown. I recommend hiding a few slices for your own consumption as everyone is bound to be all over it.

Camden Kitchen

So the first coming together of 80% of the Bear’s minds happened last week and we think it’s fair to say that anyone who’s anyone in the Irish food industry felt the shockwaves of such a titanic event! And if they didn’t, the restaurant we ate in certainly did due to the atrocious parking attempts of one of the Bears whacking off the curb outside on numerous occasions. The lucky host of this historic food milestone was The Camden Kitchen just off Camden Street, we booked to take advantage of the ‘Dine-In-Dublin’ food festival which has circa 50 restaurants around Dublin offering reduced prices for some of their showcase menus. (Basically a way for restaurants to bridge the cashflow drop between Summer and Christmas spending!)

First impressions of the restaurant were very good; I think that there’s been a bit of an influx of reasonably priced and informal restaurants with a focus on short menus and good, local & seasonal food around Dublin over the last few years and the Camden Kitchen is a prime example.

Autumnal stuff like game, mushrooms, berries & nuts were dotted around the 3 course for €25 menu so we really could have ordered anything and we would’ve been happy. Unfortunately, everyone felt pretty carnivorous and fond of Wicklow that evening because the Wicklow wood pigeon starter and Wicklow venison saddle main course jumped out at all but one of us! The radical among us got the hake with cockles and mussels for main course. The desert offering was chocolate fondant, ginger madeleines and Cashel blue extra mature cheese, all of which was positively wolfed down.

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All in all a great meal, the meat was tender and juicy and served with some funky side like pigeon parfait, root vegetable terrine and girolles which were all delicious and complimentary. Nice, fun atmosphere with an (apparently ;) ) attractive group of female fellow diners made for a great first Dog Hungry Bears dining experience!

Urban Farm

In July I went to visit an 'urban farm' I had heard about online (http://www.urbanfarm.ie/). It's basically a rooftop in North Dublin that a guy has taken over with growing veggies. It's pretty awesome, he's focused on vertical growing to make the space as efficient as possible and re-used materials so there's potatoes growing in old barrels and boxes etc.

He's bringing in an aquaponics system which (from my understanding) is a sustainable system of fish in a barrel at the bottom, the ammonia-heavy waste from these guys is brought up to the soil, which is transferred to nitrates. This is good for the soil and growing veggies and fish are grown at the same time. Winner winner fish and veg dinner basically.

 

Pretty sure there's not many pictures of chickens with the spire in the background...!

Farmer Browns

So...for the first restaurant post... Hit Farmer Browns on Bath Avenue in June as we had been running by it a lot and it looked jammers every night, especially their outside section with the summer evenings we had. FBs is a sort of casual, locally sourced food, homemade sauces & coffee on the shelves and available to buy - kind of place.

Pretty much my kind of restaurant, lots of colours, fresh food at reasonable prices etc. There was four of us there so we split the wings and bruschetta board between us to start. Wings were pretty much a carbon copy of Tribeca/Canal Bank Cafe but hey if it ain't broken.... Bruschetta board was very good, it was served with a half bulb of roasted garlic to rub onto the bread, the idea being a sort of make your own kind of thing. I liked it and thought it rather traditional.

I liked the size of the menu, not too many items but still a good range of seasonal irish food. I got the fish & chips (below) which was presented very well and the cherry tomatoes were awesome. Fish batter was a bit too crusty and crunchy and needed some sauce. That said, a good 'home-madey' plate of food. Friends got the seafood linguine & burger which were both apparently good too.

No room for deserts which I was dog disappointed with because they looked great.

Overall, 7.5/10 for me. Decent restaurant food/really good pub food sort of level.

 

Wild Garlic innit

The first road trip of the group in June was a very successful one. Wild garlic was the target of the week so we rocked out to the Phoenix Park with a couple of tins, a bit tipsy after our Tamp and Stitch burgers and bubbles. As soon as we spotted the white flowers we were laughing, apart from the odd confused stares we were happy out picking away....giving less and less of a **** what people thought with every can!

A lot of pesto was made...top stuff over omelettes, fish, potatoes etc. or even just bread. I've tried commercial stuff before and thought ours packed more of a punch...perhaps because we picked reasonably late in the season and I figure the bigger & stronger leaves might develop more character. Wild garlic is prevalent in ireland in May & June, spot them by their white snowflake shaped flowers and almighty pang!

In any case a very good start for the lads...and lady!