La Maison had been on my list for quite a while to try. I had seen photo’s some fellow bloggers had posted of tasty looking food so wanted to try it myself. As it turned out they come up on one of those groupon sites. €30 for a voucher for €60 to spend in the restaurant on their A La Carte menu. That just screams good value to me. It was restricted to Sunday to Wednesday, which actually suited me just fine as I happened to be wandering about town on a Sunday afternoon. Continue reading
For 2015 I decided I’d try my hand at including a few recipes on my blog. A while back I took a class in Dublin Cookery School and made a whole host of delicious desserts. One of the recipes included on the night was friands. A friand is like a small muffin only about a million times tastier. Having given up booze for January my weekends have been so much more productive. Apparently there are people who do get up before 11 a.m. on weekends.
So a hangover free Sunday morning inspired me to dig out Lynda Booths recipe for Lime and Coconut friands and give them a go. So here’s what you need to know.
Ingredients for the Friands:
180g of butter, plus extra for greasing the tin.
160g of sifted icing sugar
90g of ground almonds
45g of sifted plain flour
5 egg whites, unbeaten
1tbsp of lime juice
2 limes, finely grated zest
45g desiccated coconut
Raspberries to garnish (optional)
I find when baking it’s easier to measure out all the ingredients in advance so they are ready to throw in when needed. It does of course give you more dishes to wash up but sure that’s what dishwashers are for. Steps as follows:
1. Pre heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. I have a fan oven so set it slightly lower at 180C.
2. Melt the butter slowly over a low heat. You don’t want it to boil or burn.
3. Combine the flour, ground almonds and icing sugar in a bowl, which basically means mixing them together with a spatula.
4. Lightly beat the egg whites until they are slightly frothy and add the lime juice.
5. Add the egg whites to the flour, almonds and icing sugar. Mix together using the spatula or a whisk. No need for an electrical mixer.
6. Add the butter and mix well until you have a batter like picture 3 below.
7. Fold in the lime zest and coconut so its even distributed throughout the batter.
8. Grease the tin with butter. I found using my fingers was the easiest way to do it.
9. Fill each section to very slightly below the rim. I actually poured the mixture into a jug and used it to fill them. Much easier to control and easier than trying to spoon the mixture in.
10. Add a Raspberry to each one and push it down gently. You can use blueberries here either if you prefer.
11. Bake in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes. This will vary slightly depending on the oven you are using.
While they are baking in the oven you can now make your lime syrup.
Ingredients for the Lime Syrup:
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp water
55g of castor sugar
Zest of 2 limes, finely grated
1. Add lime juice, sugar and water to the saucepan.
2. Bring the mixture to the boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar.
3. Add the lime zest and let it boil until the mixture reduces and becomes more of a syrup consistency.
When the friands come out they should be golden on top and have raised. Use a skewer to check if they are done. If they are it should come out clean. If not give them a few more minutes.
Spoon the lime syrup over each individual friand and allow it a few minutes to soak in while they are still in the baking tray.
Move them to a wire rack/tray to cool completely or begin eating straight away while still warm like I did, they are bloody delicious that way.
You can change the recipe to suit your tastes quite easily be substituting ingredients. Blueberries or blackberries instead of raspberries. For my next batch I plan to use Orange juice and zest instead of lime and add a square of dark chocolate instead of a raspberry. You could also add in some mixed nuts or anything else you think might be a good fit.
My friend R had been to La Mere Zou to try out their early bird menu before and gave a glowing report of the value to be had. We were both heading to a wine tasting event in Ely IFSC so decided to call into La Mere Zou for a quick bite before hand.
It’s a basement restaurant on Stephens Green and the early bird runs Monday to Saturday from 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. It’s fantastic value at 3 courses for €25. It’s a cosy space in the style of a French bistro and clearly very popular as it filled up quickly.
We were greeted warmly by Gosia and shown to a great table with plenty of space. Usually if I know in advance where I’m going to eat I have a look at the menu online. On arrival the very friendly French waitress (from Paris) pointed us to the blackboard above our heads which had a list of additional dishes which were on offer. Some had a small surcharge to be included in the early bird offer. All very reasonable I have to say.
I opted for the watercress and bacon soup. Quite a large bowl arrived and it was rich and creamy and tasty. After a few spoonfuls I realised there wasn’t a hint of bacon off it. I wasn’t sure if it was due to my tastebuds being dulled by the cocktails I had before dinner or not. I did mention it to the waitress who promptly relayed it back to the kitchen. There was an error with the order and the bacon was missing.
They could not have been more apologetic for the mishap and I had eaten so much at that point there was no need to replace it. In lieu of a replacement two glasses of Prosecco appeared on the table. I really couldn’t have asked them to handle it any better. It was a minor blip and who on earth would choose bacon over Prosecco anyway.
R had the chicken liver parfait. Beautifully presented and quite an ample size. Served with sourdough bread on the side. I’ve never liked chicken liver I have to say but R ate it all, including a second helping of sourdough which was quickly made available when asked.
For main course I went with roasted chicken supreme which was served with pearl barley and vegetable broth. Tender moist chicken and plenty of it. The vegetable broth was warming and flavorsome A very Autumn/Winter dish.
R had the slow cooked venison shank with honey roasted root vegetables, pomme purée and red wine sauce. I really wish my picture was better because the dish was gorgeous to look at and even better to taste. The venison was so tender and the red wine sauce thick and rich. Out of the two mains this one was the clear winner and I’ll be having it when I return.
Desserts were next and I opted for warm carrot cake, orange curd, and ginger bread ice cream with walnuts. I love carrot cake and this didn’t disappoint. Moist enough with a slightly crisp top. I would have liked a bit more ice cream with it though.
R had the classic crème brûlée served with a sugar snap tuile. Crisp caramel top with creamy vanilla custard. I would expect it to be hard for a French restaurant to get it wrong. They didn’t I’m happy to report.
La Mere Zou has plenty to offer. It’s a great location. It’s great value. The staff are friendly and welcoming and they change their menu to suit what’s available seasonally. I’d be happy to return.22 St. Stephens Green. Ph: 00 353 1 661 6669 Email: info@Lamerezou.Ie
I had been hearing great things about The Green Hen for ages. A friend had raved about it, but he is a vegetarian so I’m always a little suspicious of non meat eaters. Can you really trust someone who is part of the Quron movement (I joke). It was however on my list of places to try. As luck would have it a buddy had organised lunch there for me as an early birthday treat.
I’ll do my very best to be balanced in my review but quite frankly I was under its spell the second I walked up to it. It has that wonderful charm of a Parisian Cafe and makes you feel like you are stepping back in time. Just inside the door is a small bar area, perfect for a glass of wine or cup of coffee and some window watching.
The bar is followed by a narrow section which opens wider towards the back. Upstairs there is another dining space which is filled with light and in constrast to downstairs which is darker. Personally I prefer the look and feel of downstairs.
Every inch of the walls are adorned with framed movie posters from an era long gone by.
It was lunch time on a busy Saturday when we visited so we decided to try out the set lunch menu, which let me tell you is amazing value at 1 course for €14, 2 courses for €17 or 3 courses for €19.
While salivating over the menu we got a couple of glasses of prosecco to kick start. Light refreshing and crips with an underlying hint of fruits. There is just never enough in one glass though! Although if I do have more than one I start that really awkward flirting with the wait staff where they roll their eyes and say to themselves ‘great another tipsy fool thinking he is hilarious’. I do genuinely feel sorry for staff sometimes, having been on the receiving end of it myself!
For starters I went for the Braised Pork Cheek with a Pigs Head Croquette, Chicory, Pear and Calvadas Jus. The Pigs Head bit kinda threw me a little and I was a bit aprehensive about what would appear on the plate. It was bloody gorgeous. The Pork Cheek was tender and fell apart and the Croquette was crisp on the outside with soft and creamy potato and bacon on the inside. I literally licked the Jus off the plate, classy guy that I am.
My buddy had the Hot and Cold Goats Cheese and Beetroot Salad. A plentiful helping it was too. I’m not a big fan of goats cheese but I’m told it was quite tasty and he ate it all despite the fact he is usally a ‘salad dodger’.
For mains the following culinary successes were served up. Mine was the catch of the day which was pan fried Seabass on a bed of creamed potato with fried samphire. It also came with a delightfully tasty garlic sauce which was really mild and not overpowering with such a delicate fish. When I first looked at the plate I thought to myself, well this won’t fill me. Coming from a farming background I like spuds with me spuds so was thinking a little bit of creamed mash ain’t going to cut it. Happy to be proved wrong, it was suprisingly filling. The fish was perfectly cooked and only lightly seasoned. It was my first time trying fried samphire and I can safely say I’d eat a whole plate of it. Gorgeous!
The other dish was traditional fish and chips which is a fairly safe option. It was beer battered to perfection and served with chips, pea puree, rocket and a basil aioli on the side. Cooked and presented correctly a dish as simple as fish and chips can hit all the right spots and this one did. Let’s just say the ‘salad dodger’ cleared the plate.
Completely stuffed after two fantastic courses we needed a pre dessert breather which was filled nicely by a bottle of Domaine Mont Auriol which is a Viognier. A delicious French white with hints of apricot and lemon.
I also had a wander around the restaurant looking at all the framed posters of which there are many. Even the gents have their walls covered in classic black and white photographs of leading men. I can only assume the ladies is similar. Yes I took a picture. Yes it might seem odd to many but I thought it was quite stylish and am contemplating recreating this look (minus urinals) in my own bathroom at home.
I don’t usually have dessert unless it really appeals to me. However when the description reads Hazelenut and Caramel Cheesecake, Toffee Popcorn and Caramel Sauce my first thoughts are GET IN ME. The picture doesn’t do it justice at all. The presentation was perfect and had I not taken the picture before tasting it, lets just say there would be no picture because I pretty much inhaled the dessert it went that fast.
The other dessert equally appealing to the eye was also a treat for the palette. Creme Brulee with shortbread biscuit. There were also three dark chocolate truffles on a somewhat odd and flavourless bit of jelly accompanying it. Might be a case of style over taste on that choice. While I didn’t get to taste the Creme Brulee I’m assured it was delicious. I did however manage to grab a truffle and wasn’t disappointed.
For my first visit to The Green Hen, I have to admit, it was a pure feast for the senses in every meaning of the words. The staff were friendly and efficient. The good was tasty and plentiful and I’m still amazed that they were only charging €19 for three courses. It was incredible value. They even sent us on our way with a complimentary shot which left a nice warm feeling in our bellies as we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant.http://www.greenhen.ie