Archive for the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category

A few weeks ago saw a rare weekend in Dublin it has to be said, living here mid-week i lead a second life in the country at the weekends, it seems like i’m like a turtle with all my belongs on my back!!

For many years i’ve been trying to convince my Mum to come up to Dublin to visit The Winding Stairs restaurant, it’s been a while since i’ve been there myself, but it definitely isn’t a let down. Located above a bookshop, if this restaurant had a cookbook it would be up there on the top of my list, its kinda that River Cottage meets Nigel Slater feel to the menu!

The vast menu has a mixture of traditional Irish with a twist, black pudding, chorizo, cockles & musells and pork.

I choose the Rhubarb stuffed Black pig pork fillet with roasted cube potatoes,  warm mixed bean and spinach salad and pear soured cream- it was beautiful the pork fillet was very tender, with very mild pork flavour, the contrast between the sharp rhubarb, tender pork and sour cream was amazing. The beans salad was great combination and light side dish.

Rhubarb stuffed Black Pig Pork Fillet with roasted cubed potatoes, warm mixed bean and spinach salad and pear soured cream.

Potted Dingle Bay Crab

Ted Browne’s Kerry Prawns with garlic and lemon

I would highly recommend a visit to the winding stairs, great atmosphere, amazing Irish food in a fab old building and of course a winding staircase , they do offer lunch and evening menus, do book ahead if you don’t want to be disappointed.

Enjoy Vick x

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Last week we spent a lovely few days down in sunny Kinsale & enjoyed the fine delighted of their local produce. We stayed in the Carlton Hotel, which overlooks Kinsale harbour, it also provides a shuttle bus into the town. On the first night we decided to go to Jim Edwards Bar to get a pint & some food, we had fried mushrooms to start & I had warm goats cheese salad & my other half had steak baguette. The food was really good & very reasonable.

On our second day we went to the renowned Fishy Fishy Restaurant for lunch, luckily enough we went around half past one and there wasn’t any que! We sat outside in the patio on what has to be one of the hottest days so far this year, the atmosphere was great, Martin Shanahan sat outside the restaurant chatting to customers.

I choose the Warm salad of chilli seafood – sautéed monkfish, salmon and shellfish in a sweet chilli sauce served on a bed of mixed leaves. The picture above doesn’t do it justice, it was so tasty & the texture of the crunchy salad against the perfectly cooked monkfish was delicious. The sweet chilli sauce added the perfect punch to the delicate flavours of the salmon and prawns. It was served it potato wedges & parsnip crisps.

The other half choose the Cod & Chips, which was a very generous serving, it was in a very light batter & I believe it was very tasty aswell.

I would highly recommend a visit to Fishy Fishy if you are in the region of Kinsale in the near future. While we got the main meal portions, they also offer smaller “taste” portions which is a great option for a light lunch. The other seafood dishes include Oysters, mussels and all fresh fish caught off the coast of Cork that very morning.

I’ll definitely be purchasing the Fishy Fishy Cookbook soon to try a few fish dishes myself.


Vick x

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Lismore has to be one of my favourite spots in Ireland, its such a beautiful historic town with the fantastic landscape of Lismore Castle towering over the town, the locals have won tidy town on numerous occasions, and of course there are great places to eat there and cute little antique shops to browse in.

I previously reviewed O’Briens chophouse in Lismore, however last weekend we went for lunch in The Summerhouse Cafe, a cute little shop at the front selling greengate china, kitchen gadgets & beautiful stationary, however hidden in the back is a wonderful cafe.

I had O’Flynns sausages & mash with onion gravy, while mum had the most amazing Lemon Chicken Stroganoff, it was so lovely & light with fantastic fresh flavour. I did try to recreate it this evening however it was too tangy!! Will post it once i’ve mastered the perfect flavour combo.

To follow I had a yummy raspberry tart …yum

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Last nights Cook Book Club inspired me to come home from work this evening & use up my butternut squash which has been sitting in my fridge a week (what a sin!) and cook Italian inspired Butternut Squash risotto. Catherine Fulvio was the guest chef / author of last nights 2nd CookBook Club, Catherine is of course famed for her tv show on RTE, Catherine’s Italian Kitchen & Catherine’s Roman holiday and of course Ballyknocken House & Cookery School. Catherine trained in Ballymaloe and is also inspired by her husband Claudio’s heritage & culture from his Sicilian home place.

Catherine’s humour, smile & enthusiasm was definitely inspiring & her love of Italy & Sicily was great to see how easy it is to cook up an italian dish & how quick a simple dish like Penne ala Vodka with some store cupboard basics! Every house should have a bottle of vodka just for the pasta of course!

Catherine’s Menu:

Antipasta Platter: Caponata, Arancine, Aubergine Parmigiana, Peperonata, Marninated Olives, Bruschetta


Chianti Braised Beef with Soft Polenta

Roasted Monkfish with Pesto Trapanese & Roast Mediterranean Vegetables

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage and Lemon Butter, Herb Salad with Lemon & Honey Dressing


Raspberry Tiramisu with Biscotti

Chocolate  & Almond Torte with Stem Ginger Ice-cream

Hazlenut & Orange Tart with Creme Fraiche

I have to say the Antipasta Platter was definitely my favourite part of the evening the flavours were just amazing, I’m definitely going to try to make the Arancine (rice balls) & aubergine parmigiana – they were amazing. I also had the Chianti Beef which was really tender & the Polenta, it was my first time having this, i think I’m a mash potatoes fan over the Polenta, but will try anything once, other cous cous would be great with the beef. The Monkfish also looked fantastic with the mediteranean veg & got great reviews. I had the Chocolate & Almond Torte for dessert it was fantastic & the ginger ice-cream was a great accompaniment.

And finally a picture of Catherine & me, she was so charming & lovely, really inspiring to meet her, & got a signed copy of the Catherine’s Italian Kitchen.

Happy Cooking,

Vick xx

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After looking at last week’s weather reports for the weekend we were a bit apprehensive whether to wear wellies & rain jackets as we set off Saturday morning to East Cork. However, it turned out to be amazing day of sunshine to add to lovely afternoon at the Midleton Festival of Food 2010. Midleton is a well-known town in East Cork for its Jameson Whiskey Distillery, Ballymaloe Cookery School & Ballycotton Seafood all in the surrounding area. The Farmers Market in Market Green outside Supervalu in Midleton is definitely one of the best in Ireland with a great selection of Seafood from Frank Henderson to Ballycotton Seafood, Organic Pork & Bacon & of course the tasty O’Flynns Sausages, Breads from Arbutus Breads to Gluten Free Treats and also of course Ballymaloe stall with fresh veg, jams & chutneys and Darina also shows up a few weekends to serve you herself!

The Festival of Food ran from the Farmers Market participants set up in the Market Green all the way down the main street of the town with many food, drinks & even craft stalls embrassing atmosphere of the day.

Selection of Cheese from On the Pigs Back

Chutneys & Sauces from Tastefully Yours

Yummy Cakes from Bite Sized

Selection of Fresh Squash

Cully & Sully

Ballycotton Seafood -note Shark’s Tale…and next picture of Sharks head! what a monster…

I’m really looking forward to eating my cheese, indian spices, apple juice & the sourdough bread is a distant memory!

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I would like to wish Elaine Walsh a big Congratulations on the inaugural CookBook Club last night with celebrity chef Paul Flynn, of the Tannery Restaurant Dungarvan. It was a wonderful evening, everyone was welcomed personally by Elaine to Town Bar and Grill, the food was fantastic and the atmosphere was buzzing. Elaine had a quick question & answers session with Paul, then we all enjoyed our 3 course meal & complimentary glass of wine.

Paul has won numerous awards including Chef of the Year, Best Restaurant & Cookery school of the year. Paul has also written two cookbooks, The Tannery, An adventure with food his first book which has been reprinted, and Second Helpings. The recipes which Paul choose to cook for the CookBook Club were from his first book and a fantastic choice for the stormy, wet evening, with wonderful hearty food.

There was a fantastic choice on the menu :

Starters:  Cream of Turnip, saffron & almond soup, Crab Creme Brulee and Terrine of ham hock with prunes, sage & onion.

Mains: Bouillabaisse of hake, mussels and chorizo, Braised lamb shank with cumin, chickpeas & dates,and Grape & parmesan Risotto

 Desserts: Rum & raisin pannocotta with figs, Coffee & cardamon creme brulee, and Croustade of crozier blue with poached pears

Crab Creme Brulee – beautifully creamy texture with wonderful light crab flavour

Braised Lamb Shank with cumin, chickpeas & dates, this was wonderfully cooked & melt in the mouth, it feel completely off the bone, the flavour of the cumin was fantastic, definitely one I will be cooking to impress guests at my next dinner party!!

Poached Pear with croustade of crozier, wonderful combination the sweet & savoury -yummy..

It was a wonderful evening and definitely an event that no foodie should miss! Next month is Catherine Fulvio, Ballyknocken House.

For details of upcoming events contact The CookBook Club on Facebook or http://thecookbookclub.ie/

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Finally here are the pics from my review of O’Briens Chophouse , Lismore https://vickscakes.wordpress.com/2010/04/11/

Brown Bread

Brocolli & Hollandaise Sauce

Lamb Kidneys on Toast

Sea Bass with Wild Garlic Mash

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