Dublin Bay Prawn Festival

The Dublin Bay Prawn Festival is one of the most anticipated events in my calendar. Granted, I have only actually been there twice, but I actually think it has only been running for two years (please correct me if I am wrong). Prawns, Howth, sun and beer, whats not to like? I went on Sunday with a group of friends and its was PACKED, jammed, wedged and any other synonym you can think of for full! It helped that the weather was amazing - bright, warm sunlight and not a cloud in the sky - bliss.

I love Howth at the best of times and its natural charisma is only enhanced with the prawn festival. It attracts many different cultures and demographics (mainly Spanish from what I could see). The buggy brigade was out in force, also dog walkers, hikers, tourists and Sunday drinkers (us!).

To the prawns, oh the prawns! I had them in a quesadilla, in batter, in a paella, in a curry, in a taco, naked in the shell, in a salad and in fishcakes! Note I didn't munch all these myself, I had a little help (not a lot, but still..)

The only negative aspect of this amazing festival is the way you have to use prawns punts to buy a drink. I think the prawn punts are a good idea for the food although for a fiver, some of the portions were a little small, but for the drinks I think this is too much. Five quid for a pint of beer might be the norm for matches in stadiums and concerts but for a little community festival in Howth, I think this is too inflated. Why not just have a regular cash bar and reserve the prawn punts for the food, after all they aren't called 'pint' punts.

That being said, have a look below at all the delicious prawny products and I defy you not to start planing your trip to the festival next year.
Prawn Quesadilla
Pricey Beer
Fish n Chips
Dublin Bay Prawns
Prawn Curry
Fishcakes and Prawn Taco
Seaweed Salad


Getting a Spiralizer Changed My Life

My spiralizer is amazing

If you follow me on Twitter you will have heard me going on and on and on about it but I don't care, IT'S JUST THAT GOOD.

Ok, lets put things into perspective, its not as good as an amazing proper noodle sensation or a really good spaghetti carbonara, but when wheat products are of the table, this really is the next best thing.

For anyone who doesn't know what a spiralizer is (ok, you might have a life) it is this incredible machine that makes pasta out of vegetables, I mean not actually pasta but pasta shapes. I got mine online at Amazon here, I haven't seen them for sale in any shops. Also shout out to Roisin Ingle and her article for giving me the push I needed to actually buy one, I had been debating for quite a while.

In all its glory

I have been spiralizing the shit out of stuff for a week now it just gets better and better. I found this blog that is dedicated to the art of spiralizing. It has some great recipes and ideas - sandwiches and pizza out of spirals? WHO KNEW!

I am only at the start of my spiralizing journey, its great especially if you are trying to stick to a paleo (ish) lifestyle but miss the comfort of a bowl of noodles/spaghetti. Here are some pictures of my spiralizing fun so far.

Naked cucumber noodles

Cucumber noodles with prawns in a peanut sauce
Minestrone soup with courgette noodles
'Spaghetti' Bolognese

Again


Black Pudding and Cabbage Mash

This isn't really a recipe but rather a new creation. I'm not going to patronise you by telling you how to make mashed potato - you surely kno, right? If not, this Nigel Slater recipe is the best I've found. I wanted to jazz up spuds for a Sunday roast and seeing as it was St Patricks weekend, chucked black pudding and sautéed savoy cabbage into my mash. The result? You've guessed it a complete fecking taste explosion! This is not the prettiest thing you will make but the taste is worth it. Tip - the more butter the better!

Method
  • Grill some (depends on taste) black pudding slices, let cool slightly then crumble with fingers into freshly mashed potatoes.
  • Add finely shredded sautéed savoy cabbage, salt and pepper.
  • Combine well and sever with an extra dollop of butter.
I served this mash with roasted pork belly and roasted carrots and parsnips but I imagine it would also be awesome with white fish.





Paleo Chocolate, Beetroot and Walnut Brownies

These Brownies Will Surprise You!

I've been eating Paleo for a while now - not massively strictly or anything, mainly during the week actually (life is way to short for that many restrictions #yolo!). But, eating grain free does make me feel better and I actually don't miss sugar most of the time. Saying that there are times when I crave some dark chocolate with a cup of coffee. These brownies are the answer to those times - they aren't that sweet so you won't overeat and they are grain and sugar free so you can still feel virtuous and look down on sugar-eaters!

The strangest thing about these brownies is that one of the main ingredients is beetroot! Hear me out with this one - you can't actually taste the beetroot and it actually gives a lovely richness to the brownies without the calories. Sure you're practically eating vegetables! 

Ingredients
3 eggs
120g honey (the good stuff)
50g butter (use coconut oil if you are doing really strict paleo)
1oz cocoa powder
4oz ground almonds
3oz walnuts
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8oz dark chocolate (again, the good stuff - 70-85% cocoa)
2 cooked beetroots - puréed
2 tablespoons coconut flour
11/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Melt the butter, 5oz of the chocolate, honey and vanilla extract in a pyrex bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.
melt the chocolate and the butter

Chop the nuts and the remaining chocolate roughly. Add them to all the dry ingredients (make sure to sieve the cocoa powder and the baking soda)



When the chocolate has cooled a little, add the beaten eggs to the mixture.

Add the puréed beetroot to the chocolate mix, then add all ingredients together and stir well to combine. 

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes then remove and leave to cool in the tray for another 30 mins.
Makes about 25 small brownies. 




Smoked Salmon, Prawn & Crab Terrine - A Perfect Christmas Starter

I decided to have the family over last Sunday for dinner. What I had forgotten about was that I had already comitted to a big night out in town the previous evening. I needed to do as much prep as possible because it was feasible that I might be feeling a bit erm fragile the next day. I have wanted to do a smoked salmon terrine for ages but after an extensive Google search turned up nothing decent apart from a few 'Come Dine with me' recipies. So I came up with the recipie which, if I do say myself is actually pretty fecking good, and extra wonderful because I made it the day before so it was sitting in the fridge wating for me.

 How did the dinner go you ask? actually quite well considering I was hungover to shite and had a slight touch of the fear! Terrine for starters followed by roast leg of venison with all the trimmings and apple crumble. Safe to say I'm in the good books for a few weeks and will be making this terrine again for Christmas day starter.

Smoked Salmon, Prawn & Crab Terrine
800g large packet of smoked salmon
300g crabmeat
400g raw prawns
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
6 sheets of leaf gelatine
300g of cream cheese
150g of creme fraiche


  • Butter a bread tin then cover in cling film.
  • Line the whole tin with slices of smoked salmon making sure some overlap
  • Soak 6 sheets of gelatine in some cold water, squeeze out the moisture then add the gelatine to a saucepan with the juice of the lemon.  Heat and allow the gelatine to dissolve then cool slightly.
  • Cook the frozen prawns and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper, allow to cool
  • In a bowl mix the cream cheese and creme fraiche. Add the crabmeat, red onion, lemon zest and spring onions, salt and pepper (you could also add parsley at this stage).
  • Chop the prawns and remainder of the salmon roughly and add to the mixture
  • Add the slightly cooled lemon and gelatine mixture
  • Pour half the mixture into the bread tin then add a layer of smoked salmon
  • Fill the bread tin with the remainder of the mixture then fold in the smoked salmon to cover.
  • Leave in the fridge to chill ideally overnight
  • Serve on a bed of leaves with a wedge of lemon and some fresh brown bread 






Dublin's Latest Food Trend - A Killer Sandwich

Bringing my lunch in during the week coupled with also not eating bread makes me very very (sadly) excited for my Friday lunch. Killer Sandwich have obviously realised this gap in the market for the indulgent Friday luncher who throws caution to the wind and feasts on whatever their hearts desire.

The concept is simple a fuck off (their words) sandwich every week, order it on a Wednesday through Twitter (how very trendy) and pick it up on Friday.  The sandwiches themselves are awesome and they use local breads and ingredients.  The first one I got was beef to the heel which featured a TAYTO crumb, yes tayto it was heavenly (I am a big believer of adding crisps to a sambo for extra crunch) Last week's one was just as spectacular with a special shout out to the gorgeous onion vlaa from Arun bakery.  Check out this promo video from the Irish Times that my goofy face appears in (cringe, I basically said the same thing twice)

Great concept, great food, great people, get yours at @akillersandwich



Beef to the Heel



The Roy Keane





Foodie Guide to London

I returned from London nearly two weeks ago, but am only now feeling up to writing about it.  Never in my life have I been so physically and mentally WRECKED from a weekend.  We went on the October Bank Holiday weekend, my lovely friend had gotten the trip for me as a birthday present.  Arriving at Dublin airport at 7pm we proceeded to neck a bottle of prosecco to get us into the mood for the trip.  We finally arrived at our destination in Clapham at 12, we were staying with my friend's friend who also had necked a bottle of prosecco and had to be woken up to open the door!

It might be worth noting that this was my first trip to London.  It seems like such an anomaly, I have been to most European capital cities, New York over half a dozen times but never made the short trip across the pond to London.  When I inform people of this fact they react (mostly) shocked and surprised "YOU haven't been to London, like YOU of all people would love it" I've been hearing this for so long that London had big boots to fill.

We had a jam packed itinerary which mostly consisted of eating and drinking which suited me just fine, I did insist that I wanted to see some touristy things and I was reassured that they had been included in the plan.

I could go in dept into everything that we saw, ate and drank but the fact is that we jammed SO much into the weekend that I would be here all day.

So without further ado here are a roundup of my London experiences. ( I LOVED them all)

Strolling down Northcote Road, popping into Gail's for a mini salmon and avocado roll and a camomile tea to start the day. 
Tasty Delights in Gails

Halloween Treats in Gails

Checking out these colourful beauties in Jamie's Recipease store on Northcote Rd.

                                    


Walking from Clapham through Battersea park on on to Chelsea where we picked up these bad boys..

Borris Bikes
                                 
Yes I did fear for my life at points - our tour guide (friend who we were staying with) is a menace on the roads - just trying to keep up was stressful but it was a great way to get around and I got to see loads and a great way to burn off all the extra calories. 

Kedgeree
                             
Lunch in Nicole Fahris, Notting Hill.  Definitely one of my favourite experiences, I was having menu anxiety but when I informed our friendly waiter that I was slightly hungover (the prosecco from the night before) he immediately told me the was only one cure for it - the kedgeree.  Am I glad he suggested this; it was a creamy, warming, spicy bowl of goodness that stuck to my ribs and regenerated me for the next leg of our mammoth bike trip.

Well there was to be a little more regeneration to be done before we got back on the bikes, in the form of dessert from Ottolenghi's.  We got it to take away and it washed down with a bottle of prosecco in the local pub, I know, we don't half love ourselves!

This is how we do it
Lemon Marscapone Tart and Chocolate Peanut Butter Smore
After all the touristy stuff and still (moderately) full of energy, we were taken to Brixton Village Market for dinner.  By night Brixton market houses tons of quirky pop-up restaurants and bars.   The place was literally buzzing and is definitely a foodie's mecca.  We ate at KaoSarn a Thai place in the market, it was certainly an experience - my mouth has never burned like it! Cheap as chips and BYO which was a good thing considering I drank so much wine to calm my flaming tongue.  We finished off the night at Hootanannys because we are gluttons for punishment.  Yes my friends all this was done in ONE day.
The Full Veggie
Brunch the next day was in Ben's Canteen in Clapham, I opted for the full veggie which was good and if you Instagram a photo of your food you get a free Bloody Mary - nice!
Band in Columbia Road Market
Next was the two-day camel trek out to Columbia Road Flower Market, which, in fairness was worth it.   We browsed the shops, listened to a band then yep , you've guessed it ate again.


This time it was a gloriously large seafood platter from this little place that was so tiny that I forget the name.  It wasn't on the menu but our friends had had it there before so we chanced our arm and the staff were happy to oblige. 
                                        
                                             Food Trucks Shoreditch











Street Art in Shoreditch (he looks how I felt after London!)

We walked from Columbia Road to the Hipsters Paradise that is Shoreditch, I could have stayed here all weekend, the atmosphere was electric and it will be top of the list for my return trip(s)
Hair of the dog
The weekend was finished with a little night cap in in Draft House Clapham - its a dogs life but someone's got to do it.  I'm actually knackered after writing this piece.  London you have my heart and you nearly had my life but I love you.

Obligatory Tourist Shot

Pretty much sums up the weekend

Brixton



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