All posts by Elly

Taste of Dublin 2013

Many thanks have to go to Electrolux for providing us with a pair of tickets to Taste of Dublin this year.

Taste of Dublin has become an annual event that I look forward to. I chose to go on the Friday this year, as it’s seen quieter crowds, and after the disaster that was Bloom 2013, I couldn’t face being shoved around. Tickets are still available on the door today if you felt like dropping in, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon in Dublin.

The O'Brien's Wine Masterclass tent, with the Electrolux Theatre in the background

There was the usual mix of vendors, demonstrations and an opportunity to taste some of the best restaurants in Dublin.

I especially enjoyed the Thai pavilion, that was set up at the back of the event, with plenty of seating provided by Elephant Beanbags in the green area in front – I think I’ll be having me one of those beanbags soon! There were a lot of different activities on offer, as you can see

Thai dancers 

Thai Dancers again, with one of the wonderful Elephant beanbags in front
Thai Dancers again, with one of the wonderful Elephant beanbags in front


Brilliant Thai massages for free!



Thai Massages

A Sprinkling of Fairy Dust

A little over a month ago I left a comment on Cake in the Country’s blog, and shortly after I received an email from the “Appliances Online Fairy Hobmother“. Despite the girly-sounding name, it’s a wonderful bloke called David who is behind the invention of this supernatural being, whose purpose is to travel the blogosphere sprinkling round fairy dust and Amazon vouchers wherever she goes.

Image via Wikipedia

I was lucky enough to be offered an Amazon voucher to spend as I liked and I had several items on my wishlist just waiting for such an opportunity. George also had a lot of items on his wishlist, so there was much debating as to who could get what. Happily, my work came through with another voucher as a little thank you, so I was able to treat both of us!

Ever since George spent some time working in Eden in Temple Bar, he’s been hankering after their cookbook so that he could replicate the dishes at home more accurately, so that was an easy choice for both of us. Next up was baking supplies – I’ve been trying to bake more often, and to do decent batches of stuff so that it will last for more than a couple of days. Space is at a premium in the kitchen, so a set of stackable cooling racks seemed like a great idea, and it was joined by a set of springform tins, so that I can finally make Grannymar’s Infamous Chocolate Cake.

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to make jelly shots for any parties we throw, and ever since I discovered Jelly Shot Test Kitchen Blog, my ideas have been getting more ambitious! A set of silicone jelly moulds will ensure that the next jellies I make will be a little more adventurous than basic jelly shots.

Our final choice was a joint one and an easy decision to make. We’ve both been lusting after a gorgeous book by Niki Segnit, called “The Flavour Thesaurus” for a long time now. It’s an incredibly useful book that details what flavours and ingredients go best together, which means that if you suddenly find yourself with excess of an ingredient you can find classic or less well known matches for it without having to experiment yourself.

Now it’s your turn! Tell us what you would choose if the Fairy Hobmother granted your wish. Is there a cookbook you’ve been meaning to buy for ages, a piece of equipment that your kitchen is sorely lacking or even something that you’ve wanted to treat yourself to for a while?

Leave a comment below telling us what you’d wish for and it might come true! The Fairy Hobmother will be inspecting all wishes left here before midnight (GMT) on Sunday 14th August, and it could be your wish that gets granted! [Open to residents of Ireland & UK only]

Recipe: Pastry “Pizza”

Pastry Pizza
Pastry Pizza


1 packet of puff pastry
5 – 6 tomatoes, as ripe as possible, diced roughly with the majority of the seeds removed
10 – 12 black olives, finely chopped
Shredded Parma ham (or other dried meat)
Mini mozzarella balls (or shredded mozz)
Handful of basil leaves, roughly torn up
Strong cheese, such as Red Leicester or vintage cheddar, finely grated
Fresh rocket (or oregano, thyme or similar)
Plain flour
Vegetable oil

Serves 2 as a main course, 4-6 as a snack/starter

Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Flour your worktop well and roll out the pastry to fit the size of a large baking tray. Place it carefully on the baking tray and brush all over with the vegetable oil.

Dress the pastry to 1 centimetre from the edge with your toppings, starting with the tomatoes, then moving onto the olives, basil, parma ham and mozzarella. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and place in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edge of the pastry is golden brown.

Remove from the oven, cut into large slices and sprinkle with the rocket before serving.

Recipe: The Tastiest Roast Chicken

The Tastiest Roast Chicken
The Tastiest Roast Chicken


1 whole chicken, best quality you can afford
30g butter, softened
Mixed herbs, finely chopped (should give approx 1 handful when chopped)
1 lemon, zested and cut in half. Zest finely diced
Coppa di Parma (or Parma ham)
Root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, onions)

Heat your oven to 180 C.

This is a beautiful and simple one tray dinner. Start by preparing your chicken – check it has been thoroughly cleaned out internally, trim away any excess fatty skin from the openings. Begin to delicately tease the skin away from the flesh of the breast area, creating a pocket under the skin.

Mix your chopped herbs, lemon zest and some salt & pepper with softened butter. Rub this into the chicken flesh inside the pocket you created by lifting the skin. Also rub it all over the outside of the chicken, covering all of the skin. Next, take your pieces of coppa di parma and place in the skin pocket of the chicken. Place one half of the lemon in the cavity of your chicken, this will help to keep your chicken moist.

Chicken should be roasted for 20 mins per lb plus 20 mins. Your vegetables and potatoes will take about 1 hour to cook, so place the chicken in a large roasting tin and place it in the oven. Now, begin to prepare your vegetables and add them to the roasting tin when there’s one hour of cooking time left.

Peel your vegetables as needed and cut into similar sized chunks. Toss them in a little olive oil (add a little dried herbs if you like) before adding to the roasting tin.

Ensure that the juices of the chicken are running clear, by cutting into the bird with a sharp knife, and then rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Cully & Sully launch Chef Factor

Meet Cully&Sully
Meet Cully&Sully

Everyone’s favourite producers of chilled hot pots, soups, pies and desserts, Cully&Sully were in the Westbury Hotel in Dublin last night to meet some of the Irish Food Bloggers and to launch a fantastic new competition – Chef Factor.

The evening kicked off with demonstration from Ivan, often referred to as the “&” in Cully&Sully – he’s the main development chef for the company. Over copious free beers, Ivan cooked a delicious lamb dish with couscous, white turnip & multi-coloured chard served with Bearnaise sauce, while dispensing numerous chef tips along the way to the eager crowd. Once the dish was served up for us to taste, it was time for Elaine (the “.com” in, as I nicknamed her) to show off the promo videos that had been made for the competition.

Both Cully & Sully grew up around Irish food powerhouses (Ballymaloe & The Granary Store), so it was natural that they were gourmands from a young age. Their upbringing has strongly influenced their business, as the entire range of products is free from artificial colours & flavourings and also preservatives – or as Cully puts it, “The only things you’ll find in our products are the things you’ll find in your Granny’s kitchen”. Talking to them after the launch last night, it was clear that this philosophy runs to their core, as they were eager to discuss any dishes and restaurants the food bloggers could recommend.

How to Enter Chef Factor

Cully&Sully’s Chef Factor is about giving someone a once in a life time opportunity to pursue a culinary career or get involved in making their own good food. They are also hoping to raise some awareness for Cork Simon Community throughout the competition as they are approaching their 40th anniversary and now as much as ever, are in need of support.

The winner of Chef Factor will get to attend the 12-week cookery course in Ballymaloe worth €12,000 (session starting January 2011) along with receiving everything they need to become Ireland’s next great chef: the course, a uniform, a set of knives, accommodation while they train followed by 2 weeks with Cully&Sully to learn about the business and have some craic!

If you want to support someone who has entered Cully&Sully’s Cheffactor, you just have to ‘Like’ their entry to vote for them! Voting opens on the the 25th of October and only Votes on count. They will also be giving away a number of Cully&Sully’s coveted hampers to voters at the final!

The 12-week course at Ballymaloe is highly respected and much sought after, and in their own words:

Our 12-week Certificate Course is aimed at anyone with a passionate interest in food. Some of our students use it as a springboard to becoming a professional chef (literally, hundreds of former students are now running their own restaurants or catering companies) – others to provide themselves with a marketable skill (for instance, cooking for private parties) – and a third group to maximise the pleasure they get from cooking at home. There’s no one age group (we have students who have just left school, others who are happily retired) and no particular level of experience (some are absolute beginners, others already accomplished).

So it’s time to get your thinking caps on and decide what dish you want to enter! Entering is easy, you simply have to upload a photo of YOU with your speciality dish. To garnish, put the words Cully&Sully somewhere in your snap. Then tell them a little bit about your dish and in 100 words or less why YOU deserve to be in the final!