Kinsale – the foodie capital of Ireland

If you have been following us on Instagram, you will have noticed that I was recently Europe (though, it feels like a lifetime ago). Each country I travelled to opened up a new window of food opportunities to explore. Now, if I were to ever win the lottery, I would eat my way around the world in an absolute heartbeat! This trip cemented the idea, and lets hope one day I can actually make it a reality!

One of the most surprising foodie finds on my trip was Ireland. For those who know me, know I lived there for a year many moons ago, and I was quite familiar with the few traditional meals they have; potato, colcannon, potato, irish stew, potato, boxty pancakes, potato, soda bread, and more potato. Seriously, the Irish love their potatoes so much that I had it 5 ways on a plate one night as part of a Sunday roast!

Before I depart for any trip (even if its only a weekend away), I do my standard food research, and it was no different for Ireland. We were planning a few days in Cork, and one of the suggested ideas was to drive a further 30 minutes south to a small town called Kinsale. What a delight it was!Untitled design (11)

Kinsale is a historic port and fishing town, about 25km south of Cork. It is a beautiful, quaint town, and looked like a postcard with all brightly coloured buildings. Kinsale is known as the ‘foodie’ capital of Ireland, because of the beautiful fresh seafood that comes into port daily.

So what do you think we did? We went to a pub of course!

When travelling in Ireland, most of the food comes from a pub. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, you will find different styles of pubs, but rarely will you find restaurants or cafes like you would here in Australia (more so in the big cities). I always look forward to eating at a pub for a hearty, comforting and enjoyable experience!

So, for lunch on our day trip to Kinsale, we went to the Blue Haven Hotel, which claimed to have the best seafood chowder in Ireland! I may or may not have already eaten four bowls of seafood chowder in four days…so from my expert knowledge, I agree, this chowder was tops! My friends also had excellent meals; a chicken and mushroom pie (to die for!), scotch eggs with crispy potato skins, and a wonderfully fresh toastie.Untitled design (10)

If I haven’t sold you on Kinsale already, you absolutely must go for the chocolate. Koko Kinsale handmade Irish chocolates are decadent and, sorry I have to say, to die for! We only stopped in to get the driver a coffee before we drove home, and we all bought a few chocolates for the road! There was such an extensive selection of chocolates and truffles, and I would love to tell you all about the flavours, but as soon as I tasted their salted caramel chocolate I soon forgot all the others. I do not say this often, but golly that was some of the best chocolate I’ve tasted. So much so, my sister and I went back into the shop to purchase more because the two salted caramels we purchased weren’t enough! If only his chocolates could be shipped to Australia!

I so loved my little journey to Kinsale, it has definitely gone into the bank of memories, and added to the list of hidden gems!

Where have you been and fallen in love with the food? Where is your hidden gem?

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Review: Salt Meats Cheese, Surfers Paradise

Who doesn’t love a little weekend away? A random couple of days relaxing, eating, drinking and catching some sun.

Only problem is deciding WHERE to do all of the above. Hashtag first world problems.

salt meats cheese smallWe decided on Surfers Paradise, and on the recommendation of some friends, chose Salt Meats Cheese for dinner for one of the nights we were away. Now, as previously mentioned, I’m quite fussy about pizza. However, as I always do, I went with an open mind and wasn’t disappointed.

It was a pretty simple meal – we had some arancini to start and shared two pizzas between three of us.

Sadly, I was disappointed with the arancini because they weren’t seasoned well and I honestly could barely tell the difference between the three different flavours on the plate. Also, it came as a serving of five, which is kind of annoying.

However, the wood-fired pizza was delish. It took me a while to choose (somehow I always end up being the one to order everything, wonder why that is?) because everything sounded really good. We ended up with a Prosciutto (tomato, fior di latte, prosciutto, rocket and shaved parmigiano reggiano) and a Caramelised (tomato, fior di latte, caramelised spanish onions and fennel salame). Simple combinations, but so tasty. The bases were clearly fresh – soft, chewy, a little charred – and the toppings were just enough. If there was less, it would have been disappointing and if there was more, they would have been sloppy and unimpressive. As an added bonus, the seasoning was good!

I’ve been thinking about those pizzas since my dinner there. I think that’s a good sign!

The details
Salt Meats Cheese Surfers Paradise
10 Beach Road, Surfers ParadiseMonday-Friday: 9am – late
www.saltmeatscheese.com.au

 

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Chocolate earl grey cake

Chatting to one of my colleagues the Friday before Valentine’s Day, he asked what was up to over the weekend. Remembering that it was Valentine’s Day, I quipped that I was “probably going to make something heart-shaped for the blog”. He laughed at me.

I was only off by a bit though. I ended up experimenting by making a triple batch of chocolate earl grey cake with sour cream white ganache (my favourite kind), so I also made some cupcakes. To make it ‘Valentinesie’, I drew some red chocolate hearts for decoration.

I may have applied for The Great Australian Bake Off, so in my head it was practice just in case!

Cake ingredients:

  • 125 grams butter (softened)
  • 140g sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used sour cream instead of milk*)
  • 190g flour

Cake method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150* degrees.
  2. Prepare two 15cm cake tins (greaseproof paper with some oil to make sure it sticks).
  3. Cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add vanilla (I used 2 teaspoons, but I really like vanilla).
  5. As you’re mixing, add eggs one at a time.
  6. Add small amounts of milk and flour alternately as you’re mixing.
  7. This should result in a thick batter.
  8. Put the batter evenly in each tin and bake until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Ganache ingredients:

  • 90g sour cream
  • 300g white chocolate

Ganache method:

  1. Melt white chocolate. I used the microwave in this case, 10 second intervals.
  2. Add sour cream and mix.
  3. This should result in a thick mixture, I let mine cool in the fridge for a bit before using on the cake.

 

chocolate earl grey heart cake

 

Some notes:
*My cake was 2 of the above recipe and the ganache I used was 1.5 of the above recipe.
*Sour cream tends to keep the cake lovely and moist for longer.
*150 degrees seems low, but a professional I know told me that on 150 degrees, the cake cooks slower and there isn’t a giant hump in the middle of the cake when it’s done!

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April cook book club – Moorish

As I write, I’m still full from lunch!

This month, we all cooked recipes (in some cases, each of us cooked more than one) from Moorish by Greg and Lucy Malouf. And what a feast we had:

  • Green split-pea dip with black olives and goat’s cheese with fresh homemade pita
  • Chicken tagine with green herb couscous
  • Chicken roasted with forty cloves of garlic and merguez sausages
  • Tabbouleh with roasted walnuts
  • Rabbit paella with chorizo and Hungarian peppers
  • French onion pizza with Turkish sausage
  • Shredded carrot salad
  • Medjool date ice cream
  • Alaju (honey slice)
  • Orange cardamom sour cream cake
  • Middle Eastern tiramisu
  • Chocolate macaroons

cook book - chicken tagine and haloumi

Because the cook book covers everything from North Africa, Spain, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Middle East, there are a huge range of flavours and plenty of meaty and non-meaty dishes to choose from. Actually, there were so many choices it was hard to choose a dish to cook in the first place!

cook book club - french onion and chorizo pizza + rabbit and chorizo paella

We also had a range of sauces, including hilbeh (spiced fenugreek dip), harissa and tahini-yoghurt, and a homemade haloumi all thanks to my friend David de Groot (a top notch cook, photographer and so much more!).

cook book club - tabouli + chicken cooked with 40 cloves of galic and merguez

I cooked the green split-pea dip with black olives and goat’s cheese and decided late last night to make some pita bread too. I also cooked the chicken roasted with forty cloves of garlic and merguez – it brought back a lot of memories because I’ve been eating merguez since I was a small child and the potatoes from the dish reminded me of potatoes my grandmother makes.

cook book club - chocolate macarons + orange and cardamom sour cream cake

It was an amazing spread of food and it was so hard to pick stand out dishes, because they were all so damn good! The recipes are a mix of beginner and upwards, so there is something in there for all levels of skill. However, some of the ingredients were a bit difficult to come by (Turkish sausage and proper orange blossom water for example), but that’s ok, it’s always the case with food not part of our everyday diets.

cook book club - middle easter tiramisu + medjool date ice cream

We’re now thinking of the next book to cook from, so if you have any ideas and want to come along next time please let us know!

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