Monday, 25 July 2011

....and Relax....

So I'm finally getting my breath back after what was a brilliant weekend of food. I'd just like to say a huge thanks to all my guests who made last Saturday's dinner such a huge success and also an enormous thanks to my very dapper butler for the evening, Ed. I guess all good things come to those who wait!

I thought I'd throw a few of the recipes your way and also give you the run down of where I sourced the produce and what went into the whole evening.

Going back in time, this was Thursday...

Picked up the meat for Saturday's dinner today from Ennis's butchers up in Rialto. A really good local butchers, and surprisingly good value. Great to get the bones thrown in as well, which are currently bubbling away in the kitchen to make the stock for the tagine, which I'm going to make tomorrow, time enough to give it a good stew overnight to get the most out of all those lovely spices. The meat is currently in the fridge soaking up the spices that will give the dish it's delicious flavour, lots of cumin, paprika, cayenne and tumeric - it smells great!

Then Friday....

I'm very excited and can't wait to start cooking. I've tried as much as possible to keep out of the supermarkets for this one and get my ingredients from independent retailers and markets. Here's a run down of what I've been able to find. It's amazing what's out there when you put in a little leg work! (although with all this rain, those legs do tend to get a little wet).

I'm very lucky to be surrounded by a great Asian community and the local shops are stuffed with all the spices, pulses, grains, and treats a girl could want, so a short trip round the corner was all I needed to stock the press with the required spices for my menu. Is it wrong to get excited about buying spices?

For the record, you get twice the amount for half the cost of the supermarket
variety and I'd put money on them having a better flavour. I was also able to pick up the Rosewater for my dessert. ( got my inspiration here, but the Rachel Allen recipe worked really well with the Rosewater, about 2 teaspoons, also tried a river cottage recipe but the yoghurt made it a bit too tart for the rose water!) Amazingly they had three different options to choose from. It's great to see the choice of produce in Dublin increasing with the influx of different nationalities. When I first moved home from London I pined for the Turkish shop we used live over, with it's fresh veg, broad bean crisps (if you can find these, you'll never stop eating them...on second thoughts, maybe don't go looking!) and delicious kalamata olives and vine leaves, all cheap enough to buy for everyday use. There were few shops like it here but what there was were badly stocked. But, happily, the last year has seen a huge change and I for one am loving it.

Finally to Saturday, which was one of those beautiful Dublin mornings, where everything looks ten times brighter and lovelier than on an average day. Got out to the market good and early just as the city was waking. Down to Pearse Street to see what they had to offer. It's a lovely market, quite small, but with some great sellers and welcoming atmosphere. I got my veg from Ballinroan farm and a few leaves and spinach from Bogach farm. It wasn't cheap but it was all organic and for the salad leaves it was definitely worth it for the taste. Being the cheese fiend that I am I couldn't leave without taking a little bit of cheese from Mossfield farm for my lunch, which was really delicious. Then, a quick trip in to Temple Bar Market, which, while beautiful and interesting is a little prohibitive price-wise for regular shopping. However, I braved the tourists to pick up some olives and vine leaves. Last stop was on Aungier Street for the Baklava. Picked it up in a little ethnic supermarket. Great value and delicious. I really do love these shops. in fact I think I'm a little obsessed.

All that was left was a quick trip to the mammy's garden to get flowers for the table and a few treats for the salad and the job was done.

So, the results? I really enjoyed making all the food and shopping for it. Nearly all the plates came back clean, seconds were had and smiling faces were many. I choose to take that as a good sign.

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