Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

A note for PR companies…

Roasted Anjou pigeon, 70% chocolate ganache, blueberries, red wine and celeriac

I get at least one unsolicited email per week from PR companies asking me to spend my free time writing about their latest product/restaurant/book. I host and maintain this blog for my own amusement. Unless your email is accompanied by an offer of something free (and ludicrously expensive), please don’t bother asking me to help shill your products. If the product is good enough, people will create their own buzz. Thanks.

Sadly, Bang Café is no more…

Gravlax with Beetroot Purée

Sadly, Bang Café is no more, according to this article. Dublin has lost one of it’s best restaurants. I have some very fond memories of dining here.

Toasted Special review here.

“Old El Paso” Fajita Spice Recipe

There’s a particular type of foodie out there who has a bizarre fascination with replicating brand name products at home. I can kind of understand this fascination – I was overjoyed when I chucked some dried oregano into garlic butter and stumbled on what I consider to be a dead ringer for “Pizza Hut” garlic bread.

If you’re sad like me and interested in researching this topic further, check out Top Secret Recipes. It’s a database of recipes for (mostly American) brand name foods. If you’re really insane, you might be interested in following this guy’s mind-bogglingly detailed instructions for reproducing a Big Mac!

I’m currently going through a phase of trying to eliminate as many processed foods from my diet as possible, plus we all know that homemade tastes better anyway. Here then, is my take on Old El Paso’s Fajita Spice mix. I’m not ashamed to say that this product and I go back a long way. Unlike some of the fajita spice preparations available, this one has a deep smoky flavour which I really like. The smokiness in this recipe is provided by the chipotle chili powder. Use Mexican oregano if you have it, but the regular one will do fine.


  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano (preferably the Mexican variety)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli powder

Mix together the ingredients and store in an airtight jar. This recipe makes about 5 tablespoons of spice mix. I like to use 2 tablespoons when I’m frying chicken and vegetables for 2 people as I like it quite spicy, but you can use more or less. Just hard fry some boneless chicken fillet until it just starts to blacken in patches, then add your vegetables: onions, peppers etc. Now add 2 tablespoons of spice mix and stir-fry for a few minutes until the vegetables and chicken are cooked through. Add a splash of water if you think the spices are starting to burn. I like to serve this in the (cough!) traditional manner with flour tortillas, lettuce, fresh tomato salsa and sour cream.

And you know the best thing? There’s not an ounce of maltodextrin, hydrolyzed soy protein, silicon dioxide, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, sulfiting agents or ethoxyquin in sight. Ay caramba!

Dine in Dublin is Back

Press release as follows:

‘Dine In Dublin-Restaurant Week’ Is Back!

Monday October 12th to Sunday October 18th

Today, Wednesday 30th September, the Dublin City Business Improvement District in association with the Restaurants Association of Ireland and The Irish Hotels Federation announced details of  ‘Dine In Dublin-Restaurant Week’ which will run from Monday October 12th to Sunday October 18th 2009 – so mark your calendar and start saving room for dessert as we embark on yet another culinary adventure!

For the second time this year ‘Dine In Dublin-Restaurant Week’ will see many of  the city’s top restaurants offering special promotional rates of €25 or €30* per person for traditional three course dinner menus. From 7pm each evening, customers will be presented with a three course dinner menu at a set price of at least 20% below what the menu would cost outside Restaurant Week. There are over 50 restaurants participating in the initiative including Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse & Grill, Fallon & Byrne, Bleu Bistro, Saba , Brasserie 66 and many more.

For the first time several of the city centre hotels are also offering customers a 10% discount off the lowest quoted accommodation rates. Hotels confirmed to participate in the initiative include the Westbury Hotel, Conrad Hotel, Westin Hotel, Jurys Inn Hotel Parnell Street, Hotel Isaacs and the Academy Hotel, to name but a few. Customers will not only have the chance to experience the culinary delights of the city centre restaurants but also be able to treat themselves to an overnight stay in some of the city’s top hotels.

Commenting on the event, Richard Guiney, CEO of Dublin City Business Improvement District said, ‘The inaugural ‘Dine In Dublin-Restaurant Week’ saw over 17,500 people eating in participating restaurants during the course of the week with positive knock on effects for bar, retail and theatre outlets. The involvement of the Irish Hotels Federation adds another dimension to the initiative as it will open ‘Dine In Dublin-Restaurant Week’ to a wider audience making it accessible not only to Dubliners but also to people living outside the city who want to come and experience Dublin’s vibrant culinary scene and soak up the city’s unique atmosphere. We want to encourage even more people to come into the city this October and experience this unique culinary initiative”.

‘Dine In Dublin- Restaurant Week’ will allow culinary enthusiasts to please their palates without draining their wallets, experience new gastronomic delights and discover new cuisines. A list of participating restaurants and hotels is available online at

According to Adrian Cummins, CEO of The Restaurants Association of Ireland , “We are delighted again to get involved in ‘Dine In Dublin-Restaurant Week’ as  it provides the perfect answer for diners who have been watching the pennies but long for a gourmet meal during these tough economic times. It is also a great way for participating restaurants to attract extra business during a typically slow time of year. The economy may be gloomy, but what better way to brighten your day than with an indulgent yet inexpensive night out on the town?”

*determined by the participating restaurant

How to Store Ginger

I often find myself binning ginger because it either shrivels up or goes rotten. A great tip I found recently is to peel your ginger and portion it into thumb-sized pieces. Pop them into a zip-lock bag and store in the freezer. They do tend to lose a little bit of their zing, so they’re not much good for juicing, but they’re fine for a curry or a soup. If you don’t want to freeze your ginger, store in a paper bag in the fridge and it will last a lot longer. Give it a try.

“Cheap” Cuts of Meat?

Lamb Shoulder

Did anyone watch “Economy Gastronomy” last night? It’s a new BBC cookery show presented by Paul Merrett and Allegra McEvedy which attempts to educate people on how to eat better for less money. In last night’s show, Paul Merrett stated that lamb shoulder was a “cheap” cut of meat and claimed a 2kg shoulder should cost about £12. That’s less than €14. Perhaps Paul and Allegra should pay the Emerald Isle a visit. I’ve never paid less than €20 for a shoulder of lamb. I find myself getting frustrated by reading food writers who claim that cuts of meat like beef shin, pork belly and lamb shoulder are cheap. This is absolute rubbish.

According to Tim Hayward in the Guardian, the current economic climate is the cause of rising prices for cheaper cuts, but I don’t agree. These “trendy” cuts were never cheap here. So, are we being ripped off? Again…?

Read Tim’s article here.

Come on boys, you can do it!


My dreams of slurping on carrot and coriander soup are almost ruined. With just two weeks left until harvest, my children, I mean, my carrots are not exactly thriving. But there’s still hope… Come on boys!! (Those folks at Suttons are full of shit, man… 😉 )