Cork Foodie Adventures

I finally got to spend some time in Cork last week after 6 months of being estranged! I had such a lovely time, mostly focused on friends, family and food! The hardest thing I find about going home is that there is never enough time to do all the things I want to and to spend time with all those dear to me! I can usually just about manage a dinner or lunch with different groups over the course of a week. The best thing about that is I can usually choose to eat somewhere I love whilst catching up with everyone!

Beautiful flowers at Sakura Cork!

This time, I did feel like I had more time to enjoy my time at home. I didnt put myself under too much pressure. I managed to squeeze in many of my favourite food spots. Liberty Grill on Washington street got its usualy visit for some scrummy eggs benedict, which always lives up to my expectations. I always love the staff there and the recommended some great breakfast places in London which are on the To-Do list! I picked up plenty of O’Connails chocolate to make myself some perfect hot chocolate at home and of course I couldnt leave without a visit to Mahon Point Farmers market. I purchased myself lots and lots of wonderful Green Saffron spices, including trying their Tikka Masala for the first time. It was amazing and may have surpassed Rogan Josh as my favourite! I also stocked up on their devine mango chutney which Ive been devouring with cheese and crackers since!

I think I may have visited every cafe/food store in Cork! I was surprised at how quiet the city centre was but the suburbs were buzzing with ladies who lunch in the fabby food stores and yummy mummies dropping in for scrummy dinners! I particularly loved the huge On the Pigs Back cafe and food store in Douglas and the cosy GoGos on the Well Road. Jam at the Kinsale Road roundabout was also buzzing and we could barely get a seat at 3pm on a Wednesday! I also paid several visits to Cinnamon Cottage in Rochestown and was actually surprised about how quiet it was. They have stopped making ready to go dinners and I have heard people saying they are disappointed by that. I think its a shame as it was alway top of my list for great food, desserts and dinners.

The cornucopia that is On The Pigs Back

Best of all, I was lucky enough to visit the wonderful Ballymaloe Cookery School.  A friend of mine is currently doing the Twelve week course and invited me to come visit and watch a cookery demo. It was incredible, the most inspiring afternoon of my life! I have always wanted to do the course, it truly has been a lifelong dream. But after spending time with those doing the course and witnessing how dedicated the school is to contributing to the development of the Irish food industry, educating people about ingredients, techniques and just the incredible passion involved, I am convinced that it is excatly what I want to do.

Unfortunately for me it is still a dream, but I will spend every minute of my life working towards achieving it and in the long term, establishing my own food business. For anyone who is interested in food and developing a food business, I genuinly think you can not find a more incredible school than Ballymaloe.

I was so inspired by my day at Ballymaloe that I went home and tried out some recipes straight away. My favourite (and my mums!) was Lemon Souffle! So light and fluffy and still so tangy! Yum!

I think I surprised myself at my success with these!

So that was that, im back in London now. I think my main focus is to enjoy how lucky I am to live in such a wonderful and diverse city. I am going to eat as many different types of cuisines as possible, visit food stores and markets and just learn as much as I can about food while Im here. How many of us get the chance to live in a city like this! I always miss home but it will always be there! Who knows how Long I can eat Japanese food for lunch and Brazillian food for dinner!

Im Still Alive I Promise!!

I know…..Ive been a very bad blogger lately! I cant even begin to describe how crazy and busy the last few weeks have been, although that really is no excuse for neglecting you guys! Part of the craziness however, was a massively food filled trip to Cork! You all know what that means… and reviews on the way from that part of the world. And so it begins again! Todays post is more of a food inspiration than anything else. There is nothing I love more than having a big hearty lunch with friends and family. To be honest there is nothing easier than a selection of yummy cheeses, meats and salads that people can dig into and pair with some devine breads and crackers. The key with impressing everyone with this kind of meal is two-fold. 1. Providing enough variety so as to satisfy even the pickiest of visitors. As you can see by the picture, there is no limit to what you can include! 2. The other important factor is the quality of the componants for the meal. Using unique and well sourced ingredients can make all the difference.

For this particular lunch, I did exactly that. I bought some very good quality star ingredients to take centre stage and I used a few cheats that really surprised me! For the centrepiece of lunch, some devine wild salmon sourced from Mahon Point Farmers Market in Cork. The salmon was poached and simply flaked apart with a spoon of mayonnaise and some black pepper. We ate this on the most devine brown bread from the Cinnamon Cottage in Rochestown, where I also got a lovely sesame seed white loaf.

The other prime plate was essentially a meat and cheese plate. This is where the cheats come in! Most of this plate was actually bought from Aldi! Their specially selected range is fabulous quality and has a wide selection. I used  parma ham, chorizo slices, milanese salami and classic crumbed ham. The cheese selection was also wonderful, we chose a Tipperary blue, Wensleydale with cranberry and a mature cheddar with garlic. My favourite part consisted in part of a beautiful gooey camembert style cheese from Mahon Point market. It was strong and rich and tasty on crackers!

All of these lovely morsels are tasty on their own but can be lit up by a great chutney. Enter Green Saffron curries…their new mango chutney is maybe my new favourite food!! So tasty you want to lick the knife! I also think a lunch needs cucumber pickle, a totally refreshing topping great in sandwiches and on cold meats and cheese! Dont forget the salads such as coleslaw, green salad, greek salad, couscous or potato salad. A touch of Vino and your good to go!

Cucumber Pickle

  • 1 large cucumber, finely sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 175g sugar
  • c. 200ml white wine or cider vinegar
  1. Stir onions and cucumber to combine well
  2. Mix vinegar, sugar and salt to dissolve
  3. Stir all ingredients in a bowl and transfer into a tight storage container such as a jar and leave overnight to marinate
  4. Provides many servings and will last 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge!

Green Saffron Curries, Cork

Ok so I know Im on a bit of a Cork theme, but Im trying to catch up with all the amazing foodie experiences I had last time I was home. This time however, it comes from my London kitchen!

Simple ingredients for the best curry in the world!

Green Saffron is a small family run business that opened in the well known foodie town of Midleton about 5 years ago. The brought with them a wonderful range of pre-mixed spice blends that made indian cooking incredibly accessible to those of us who just didnt know where to begin. Its a fun and easy way to make an authentic, healthy and delicious indian meal, without having to invest in time and money into spice kits and blending from scratch. The best part is that you can now order online! Get on it people!

When I moved over I brought with me several packets of various mixes and always manage to pick up a few more when I go back. I certainly have my favorites….Rogan Josh, Korma and Jalfrezi are all great. They also do lovely seasonal mixes. In the summer, fresh fruity cordials appear while at Christmas, warm gingerbread and other traditional fare is on offer.

I regularly make a HUGE pot of one of these blends which makes 4 sizeable dinners for two of us. You can also vary the choice of meat. For the recipe below, I chose chicken but I usually make a lamb version. The best thing about this korma is there is no cream so it is far healthier than most versions! I really hope you guys try it!

Green Saffron Chicken Korma

Satisfying Flavoursome Korma!

Serves 6-8, Approx 4 PP per serving

  • 500g onions, finely chopped
  • 15g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg chicken breast
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 2 inches ginger
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sweetener
  • 1 tin low fat coconut milk
  • 300ml low fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 Packet Green Saffron Korma spices
  1. Melt the butter in a large casserole and add the oil. When melted, add the onions and sweat.
  2. Blitz the ginger and garlic in a food processer to make a paste then add them to the pan.
  3. Stir in the Green Saffron spices and stir well.
  4. Turn up the heat slightly and stir in tomatoes and sugar. Cook for 5 minutes to reduce.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and reduce by half to thicken the sauce.
  6. Once the sauce has thickened, stir in the meat and yoghurt.
  7. Cook over a medium heat for approximately 30 minutes.
  8. Serve with fluffy white rice and naan breads, its also lovely with a little raita poured on top!