Happy Valentine’s & Blog Birthday Day

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Need a bit of passion in your Valentine’s Day?? Then simply top natural yoghurt with some passion fruit! 

The blog is also the big 2 today, that was a very fast two years. Thanks a million to everyone who has supported the blog so far, I really appreciate it and here’s to even more Delalicious delights for the next year!

Happy Valentine’s DayūüíĖ

The Taste.ie Features Delalicious 

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2017 is a year for me of new beginnings as I embarked just before Christmas on a year away from work as a chartered Physiotherapist and from the football field with both club and county. As I travel the globe, I am getting the opportunity to explore cuisines from many different cultures and countries. I am also afforded the time to concentrate a little more on my blog and really tackle some goals of mine to spread my recipes near and far. 

One such goal was to have some of my recipes featured on TheTaste.ie. If you haven’t subscribed yet to their newsletters you need to. They not only share with you some really generous offers for luxury getaways to Michelin starred restaurants all on your doorstep in Ireland but also showcase all that’s good about Irish food and hospitality. They give you rare insights into chefs and hotel staffs careers, inspiration and dreams. They also provide their readers with recipes from some of the most talented chefs in Ireland whilst also featuring Irish food bloggers

To be featured on their website was one of my goals for 2017 and in their February issue this was achieved. So enough waffle, follow the links below to two of my favourite recipes to add a little colour, life and taste to your day as we approach Spring time. 

Spring Bircher Muesli:

Broccoli, Baby Gem & Vegetable Crisp Salad:

Avocado & Tomato Loaded Garlic Bread

Lunch, Snack

This recipe takes only minutes to make and is a great option for brunch, lunch, as a starter or an easy snack option at any time of the day. The quality of bread used will make a huge difference so try to use homemade or locally produced where possible and wholemeal or sourdough would be my preference. This recipe was made whilst staying in Cabo Polonio, Uruguay where I stayed in a Rancho – basically a hut shared with it’s owners and other guests amongst the sand dunes hence the rustic and possibly sandy looking backgrounds.

Serves 2.

  • 4 slices of bread
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized¬†tomato, sliced
  1. Mix together the garlic, oil and herbs in a small bowl. Spread the oil mix over one side of the bread.20170126_154215.jpg
  2. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and once heated, place two bread slices oil side down on the pan. Grill for 5 minutes until the garlic crisps. Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining bread.wp-image-1660133219jpg.jpg
  3. Top the bread with the sliced avocado and tomato.

The Argentine Experience Review

Reviews

As I am lucky enough to be travelling across the world at the moment,¬†it is undoubtedly a luxury. Not only to have the time to do it but a luxury to discover new places, meet new people and experience new flavours. The Argentine Experience is a unique dinner party which may appear on the outside like a fine dining venture but actually is a very relaxed dinner where you get to meet like-minded people in a very informal and fun setting. They offer two venues in Buenos Aires¬†and Iguaz√ļ Falls. As I was travelling to both areas of Argentina, I chose the Iguaz√ļ Falls venue as it had just opened and it offered a more intimate space¬†compared to the larger Buenos Aires venue. The kitchen endeavours to¬†showcase some of the finest Argentinian national dishes including empanadas, chimichurri, dulce de leche and of the course the famous asado steak paired with a glass or two of Malbec wine so this was an experience I was really looking forward to and it didn’t disappoint.¬†15826060_381499625532637_8219063446784551646_n.pngFrom the minute you arrive to the dinner party venue, you are aware that this will be a very unique experience. One of our hosts for the night Tatiana greeted us in the venue entrance which has a few surprises that distracts your mind from the everyday and¬†immediately excites¬†your sense of curiosity. The other great beginning to the night is a beautiful cocktail in the form of a chilled Malbeca expertly created by Richard, our bartender for the night, which combines Malbec wine, apple juice, lime and Pisco….you need to try it!

As I love to cook and of course eat, this dinner marries the two uniquely as once you are seated each diner gets their own apron and chef’s hat which is perfect for the empanada making class and to protect your clothes in the case of messy eaters!! The dining room can accommodate¬†a maximum of 20 diners but on my night there was only eight – which was a comfortable number to get to chat to everyone and share travelling stories and tips.15991515_10211757782005902_1763687935_oNext our second¬†host, Paola – talked us through the eight-course mouth-watering menu from our welcome cocktail right through to the traditional Mate to finish. To kick start the eating we were served a beautiful fish ceviche which married a local fish called Sarubi (similar to trout), lime, red onion and passion fruit – a firework of flavours which was served with a white wine – Zuccardi Serie A Torrontes.

Now it was time to roll up our sleeves and flex our creativity for the¬†empanada making master class. Empanadas can be found on every street corner in Argentina and like anything that is plentiful, quality wavers dramatically and there are many possible pitfalls from the contents to the pastry. We used the thinnest puff pastry sheets to provide crisp, flaky pastry once cooked with beautiful fillings of marinated slow-cooked beef, spiced fish and a caprese mix of slow roasted cherry tomatoes, herbs and mozzarella. Empanadas have a unique folding technique depending on the filling so we learned how to master each with some teething issues along the way. After the trial run, things heated up as now it was time for the empanada making competition. I had looked at the Empanada Wall of Fame a few days previous and you should see some of the creations….my butterfly didn’t quite make it to the wall of fame¬†but it tasted spectacular!!

Argentina is famous for their Asado – which is basically a barbeque but takes hours to not only prepare but also to cook and typically don’t kick off until 11pm if you are attending one….my advice would be to eat well earlier in the day. Thankfully The Argentine Experience don’t make you wait that long for your main course but they also provide a beautiful Picado as means of a starter. Our picado, a mezze style starter course, included: lightly toasted country farmhouse bread, Spanish style chorizo in onions and cider, baked provolone cheese, slow-cooked pork belly, blood sausage rolls, black olive tapenade rolls and salsa criolla (red and green pepper, onion, parsley, white wine vinegar and olive oil) all paired with a light red – Zuccardi Brazos de los Andes Blend.15991918_10211757713364186_600478239_oWhilst we digested all that beautiful food, Paolo taught us some of the famous Argentinian hand gestures not all polite but great fun!! This¬†may come in useful when taxi-drivers go¬†the wrong way. We also learned how to order our cooking preference for the much awaited steak…believe it or not Argentinians like their steak cooked well done or “Bien Cocido”! Lomo – tenderloin was the steak cut we were served, all cooked to perfection with some guacho-style roast vegetables (carrot, red onion, potato, sweet potato and pumpkin) drizzled in a rosemary and garlic alioli …… food heaven!! The meat was so tender and juicy that the much-adorned chimichurri and salsa criolla were left untouched. The non-meat lovers amongst you need not¬†worry as The Argentine Experience also offer salmon served with a zesty lime and salt crumb or a roast vegetable stack. Needless to say, not a morsel was left on my plate and it was nicely washed down with a Zuccardi Q Malbec.

After all that feasting, things began to wind down as we sampled some unusual cheese and sweet offerings of pumpkin and edible wood bark from the Yacaratia tree which tasted similar to fig. Then, it was time to get creative again to make the traditional dulce de leche filled Alfajor cookie and Mate tea. Mate is not just tea to the Argentinians but a way to socialise and share in the laughter, conversation and silences that it evokes. There are numerous rules involved and typically it is drank four times a day, you will encounter people walking down the street sipping from a cup or carrying large flasks of water everywhere they go and I thought the Irish were mad about tea! I am not the biggest tea drinker and not even the numerous health benefits of mate could convince me to convert to the fan club. However, the Alfajores were delicious as the shortbread biscuit was literally melt in your mouth!!15991713_10211757696683769_1409036252_o-1All in all, it costs a bit more than a typical backpacker dinner but compared to a nice dinner out at home in Ireland it is great value and the quality of ingredients, wine and experience that the hosts provide is well worth it!! It is also a brilliant way to round off your trip or adventure, celebrate a special occasion or birthday or just treat yourself to a true Argentinian food experience.16003000_384717305210869_2131124929287486165_n

 

 

 

 

Just Eat – A New Year, A New You

Reviews

Happy New Year everyone!! It’s the beginning of another year and I’m sure you¬†are hoping 2017 will be the one you reach that goal you’ve been dreaming of. No doubt many of your New Year‚Äôs resolutions are related to food in some way; be it through fitness, to reduce sugar in your life, change your relationship with food or simply to lay off all the indulgent food over the last month. Food is essential to all of us to optimally fuel our bodies. However, what kind of food you decide on eating is a very personal and individual choice dependent on a large number of factors.

One of the big factors that can decide what you eat is time. Time is always something people say there just isn’t enough of. As a busy person with work, sport and blogging – all things I do of my own choice – I can really relate to this fact. However I find you can be prepared for these busy times and I have discovered Sunday evenings are a great time to prepare ahead and make big batches of food that keep me going for lunch and dinner during the week.

Another great¬†option is to use a food delivery¬†plan and there are a large number of companies providing this service in Ireland. I have come across a number of companies in Ireland offering these services and here I have done the hard work for you and tried and tested each service so you can compare each to find one that best suits your needs. These services ensure you are eating food that is prepared to meet your specific dietary requirements and perfect for those you don’t have time to go shopping for ingredients, let alone cook. I think these services are also perfect for when you are going on holiday or when you’re moving house etc. and you do not want to buy food that more than likely¬†will be thrown away.

LowCal Meals Delivered

LowCal Meals  offer a large menu of choices varying from weight loss to muscle gain plans with a great pick and mix menu too. I chose a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner options with my favourites being the Cauliflower, Lentils and Chickpea Curry, Salmon Teriyaki and the Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownie. The labeling is lacking any information on ingredients or macros but clearly highlights allergens and cooking instructions.

  • Delivery & Storage:¬†Dublin and surrounding areas, well packaged in sealed containers
  • Food Quality & Flavour:¬†Lacked some flavour
  • Value for Money: Good
  • Rating: 4/5

Gourmet Fuel

Gourmet Fuel offers a bespoke dietary option with an extensive menu for every meal of the day. They also have a number of prepared plans dependent on your dietary needs whilst also allowing you to select individual items to cover whatever meals you like. Your delivery arrives in a large styrofoam box with food still chilled to ensure maximum freshness of your order. All of the items delivered were fresh, filling and really tasty Рwhilst the portions were very generous! The snack section is also very good, my favourite was the Chickpea Cookie.

  • Delivery: Nationwide, packaged in vacuum sealed containers with very clear labeling of ingredients and macros, arrived fully chilled with a complementary 2 litre bottle of water
  • Food Quality & Flavour:¬†Gorgeous¬†flavours, extremely fresh and very high quality ingredients
  • Value for Money:¬†Excellent
  • Rating:¬†5/5

Paleo Meal Deliveries

Here I decided on trying out Paleo Meal’s taster menu which includes a lunch, dinner and snack option. Conor McGregor is a fan of Paleo diets and this company so you can eat like “The Notorious” if you like. Paleo diets as you know are high on meat and this menu certainly didn’t disappoint. My plan included Cream of Broccoli and Parsnip Soup with braised ham, Slow Cooked Brisket with braised red cabbage and sweet potato and swede mash and Banana Muffins. My favourite item were the banana muffins. If you love meat, then you’ll love this meal delivery company.

  • Delivery:¬†Nationwide, well packaged with clear labeling of ingredients used
  • Food Quality & Flavour:¬†Lacked any real flavour
  • Value for Money:¬†Average
  • Rating: 3/5

The Punnet Food Emporium

The Punnet offer two types of meal delivery options via their 3 or 5 Day Juice Cleanse or the Shredded 5 Day Salad Plan. I opted for the salad plan as it also includes juices and some very yummy protein balls!! The juices incorporate a number of super foods whilst the salads all include a protein option ensuring you don’t go hungry or lack any necessary nutrients. The salads also come with these outrageously good pestos too. Each day you receive a different meal delivery which all combine two juices and protein balls with two large salad bowls. I love salads so this option was right up my street. The¬†

  • Delivery: Dublin city only, adequate packaging
  • Food Quality & Flavour:¬†Excellent, fresh ingredients
  • Value for Money:¬†Very good value for quality of food
  • Rating: 4.5/5

Now you’ve no excuses to kick start your New Year’s resolutions! I would love to hear how you get on with these meal delivery options or your experiences to date using these companies.

Grated Carrot, Courgette & Pumpkin Slaw

Salad

If you haven’t figured it out already, I love salads!! It’s not just because they are healthy but I love the texture of salads, the crunch of cabbage, the burst of flavour that fresh herbs add and the juicy sweetness of sun-ripened tomatoes. This recipe is a very colourful slaw that combines lots of vegetables, seeds and a simple vinagerette that will add a serious burst of colour to your plate.

  • 200g  red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 medium courgette, coarsely grated
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley or coriander, roughly chopped

Dressing:

  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  1. Place all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the seeds and combine well.
  3. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together until well combined.
  4. Combine the dressing, lemon juice and freshly chopped herbs to the vegetables and stir together until well coated using a fork.

Christmas Dinner Recipes

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I’ve decided to help take the hassle out of your Christmas dinner by sharing some of my favourite recipes for the day. The secret to cooking for a large number or just cooking a lot of dishes for one meal is preparation. My top tips would be:

  1. Prepare all the vegetables the night before and store in ziploc bags in the fridge.
  2. Most desserts can be made in advance and stored in the fridge or frozen.
  3. Ask for help in the kitchen, having someone on hand to do wash-up is a Godsend.
  4. Breathe and enjoy the occasion, sometimes you can get caught up in trying to make everything perfect that you miss out on enjoying having all your favourite people around.

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Dinner Starters
IMG_4644Honey and Cider Roasted Sproutsimg_7302

Roast Hasselback Potatoesimg_7310

Christmas Dinner TrimmingsIMG_4687

Christmas Dinner Dessertscheesecake

Honey and Cider Roasted Sprouts

Dinner

Brussel sprouts are generally loved or loathed but I think this recipe will convert most haters fairly quickly. The secret is par-cooking the sprouts by blanching and refreshing them in ice cold water so that they roast really quickly in the honey and cider sauce. Some pecan nuts would also be delicious added in with the bacon and cranberries to add a little Thanksgiving-esque touch to your Christmas dinner feast. I’ve used carrots and turnips here but parsnips, squash, sweet potato or any other root vegetable would also work great.

Serves 5.Roast Brussel Sprouts

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 250g turnip, peeled and cubed
  • 400g brussel sprouts
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 100g bacon lardons or 3 rashers, cubed
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries
  1. Preheat an oven to 200¬įC/180¬įC fan/400¬įF. Melt the coconut oil in a large roasting tray.
  2. Once the coconut oil is melted, add the carrots and turnip and coat in the oil. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until soft through, stir regularly to ensure they evenly colour.Roast Brussel Sprouts
  3. Whilst the carrots roast, prepare the sprouts. Remove the outer leaves of the sprouts and rinse.
  4. Bring a large saucepan of water  with the salt to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the sprouts. Allow to blanch with the lid on for 5 minutes before straining and refreshing under cold running water.
  5. Whisk the honey and vinegar together and stir through the sprouts, bacon and cranberries until well coated.Roast Brussel Sprouts
  6. Once the carrots and turnip are soft through, add the sprout mix and combine together.Roast Brussel Sprouts
  7. Increase the oven temperature to 220¬įC/200¬įC fan/425¬įF and return all the vegetables to the oven. Continue to roast for 10 minutes until crispy.Roast Brussel Sprouts
  8. Remove from the oven and serve.

Roasted Hasselback Potatoes

Dinner

Christmas dinner just wouldn’t be the same without some roasted spuds!! Hasselback potatoes are basically sliced whole potatoes roasted with butter that results in the perfect crispy, golden potatoes. You can add herbs, crushed nuts, spices and anything else you can imagine to add a little twist to your potatoes. Here I’ve given you the recipe to my favourite variation but don’t be afraid to experiment – your guests will love you with the results!!

Serves 5.Christmas Trimmings

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 10 medium potatoes, peeled
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  1. Preheat an oven to 200¬įC/180¬įC fan/400¬įF.
  2. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until soft through.
  3. Place the peeled potatoes in a large bowl with the salt and cover with water (this can be done the night before as it will stop the potatoes from browning and remove the starch resulting in crispy potatoes).
  4. Place the butter and coconut oil into a large roasting tray and melt in the oven. Once melted, squeeze the centre of the roasted garlic out and mash together.Roast Hasselback Potatoes
  5. Remove the potatoes from the water and pat dry with a towel. Place each potato between two wooden spoons and slice width ways down to the spoon – leaving a section of un-sliced potato at the bottom keeping the potato whole.Roast Hasselback Potatoes
  6. Roll each potato in the garlic butter and oil mix.Roast Hasselback Potatoes
  7. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Regularly spoon any liquid over the potatoes to ensure a really crispy finish.Roast Hasselback Potatoes

JUST EAT – The Alternative Christmas Dinner Party

Reviews

It’s December, you have Christmas party nights coming out of your ears – the usual four course meal, tacky band and entertainment, seated into long tables beside twenty other groups where it’s a military operation to get to the bathroom and you may forget about the bar. You try change things up this year, reserve a restaurant instead and still end up with the typical “Christmas Menu” (there’ll be enough turkey on the 25th – do you really need to be eating it in the run up to the big day?). My Mam does the best Christmas dinner ever so there’s no point in even trying to recreate such a plate in a restaurant as it just¬†will never be the same!

So, instead I’ve decided this year to give my house a quick hoover, set the kitchen table, light a few candles, invite over some of my closest friends, tell them to bring their favourite booze and simply order a festive feast online. You’re going to order them pizza and chips…that’s very festive isn’t it?? Think again, online takeaway food isn’t just all about fast food and there is a wide choice of restaurants also available so read on and you’ll be re-scheduling your Christmas dinner party in no time!the-alternative-christmas

Starters: There’s something about seafood and in particular shell-fish that signifies Christmas and a touch of luxury for me. Crabshack dining is how Klaw¬†like to describe themselves but a shack is far from the standard of food they deliver. They have a wide variety of seafood on offer from oysters, crab, smoked salmon to whole lobster – they are also famed for their lobster rolls so I decided to create a sharing platter for starters. I included Klaw’s Signature Smoked Salmon served with melt in your mouth buttered toast, Atlantic Prawns served with a brandy spiked Marie Rose sauce and of course the Lobster Rolls. I think the picture speaks for itself and of course it didn’t stay looking that way for long, the festive feast was off to a flying start.
Mains: Now I am a farmer’s daughter so the The Farm¬†restaurant is obviously something that pulls on my emotions whilst¬†the food will leave you longing for more. The Farm’s¬†menu is perfect for a Christmas feast¬†as it is filled with plenty of warming, hearty, comfort food incorporating locally sourced and organic ingredients. The restaurant is collection only but it ensures you get the freshest food as they literally cook any protein right there whilst you wait to collect your order. They also carefully separate hot from cold food allowing you to re-assemble your dish which means you don’t have a soggy mess on your hands by the time it reaches your guests. I decided on the Organic Beef Burger, Grilled Organic Irish Salmon served with baby potatoes and a light¬†green pea and pancetta sauce and Organic Chickpea and Quinoa Cakes served with julienned vegetables. Believe it or not the chickpea and quinoa Cakes were the winners among my festive guests with the salmon a close second.img_7182

A relative new kid on the Dublin restaurant scene is Platform 61, self-described as “one of Dublin’s best kept secrets” and I can see why! They have a large menu to choose from and as I had a few vegetarians amongst my diners, I chose the Konnyaku Noodles with wild mushrooms, spinach and toasted hazelnuts – it mightn’t sound like much but it was ravaged within seconds (I just about got a picture before my Christmas¬†guests dived in!). It’s a very generous portion too so I’d recommend the regular size unless you want to feed three!! xmas-mains-1They also have a large choice of sides – as it wouldn’t be a Christmas feast without some type of spud, I chose the Roast Baby Potatoes with Chorizo and the Buttered Greens – a perfectly cooked mix of asparagus and tender-stem broccoli.img_7185

Dessert: After all that food, a time-out was called for in true Christmas dinner style and the kettle was put on to boil!! But by the time the kettle started to whistle, the question came “So, what’s for dessert?”. Each of the aforementioned restaurants have plenty of dessert offerings but instead I opted for a Berry Cheesecake from Bread & Bones which was a very adequate portion after all those delights.xmas-dessertI selected a ¬†Cheese Board again from Platform 61, which¬†included a selection of blue, Brie and cheddar with a delicious pear chutney. Similar to the seafood platter, it added a little touch of luxury and a festive feel.xmas-cheese

If you want a bit more of a blow-out Christmas feast or just want some comfort hangover food after your festive night out then I would highly recommend the Monster Kimchi Fries from Bread & Bones. It incorporates french fries, seared steak, BBQ pulled pork, a fried egg and kimchi – a traditional fermented Korean vegetable dish which is sure to help your immune system after all the late Christmas nights.xmas-hangover

As you can see there are plenty of options available online in Ireland for an alternative Christmas party; so get ordering! Be sure and let me know what you think in the comments section below and I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas!