Thursday, 31 July 2014
When I used to live in France I didn't become ecstatic at the sight of a French pastry shop like the way I do now when I go over. I probably took it for granted and never thought I'd move to another country with a different food culture, I never thought I would ever miss the pâtisseries. Over the last few months I've tried to bake a few of my favourite French pastries and I've enjoyed it a lot.
A few weeks ago when my parents came to visit me, my mam brought me cannelé moulds as per my request. Cannelés are originally from Bordeaux, they're made of a thick batter and their crust has a dark caramelised look. They are traditionally baked in copper moulds but you can find silicon moulds too.
So I tried to bake my first cannelés when my parents were here and I was terrified of failing as they can be quite tricky to get right and my parents are very straight forward (they wouldn't tell me my cannelés were lovely if they weren't). I used a recipe from one of my favourite food magazines and to my greatest surprise my cannelés were a success if I can say so myself and even my parents loved them.
I have never seen cannelés moulds in a shop in Ireland (let me know if you have) but with the internet I'd say it's pretty easy to get one in no time. Once you have the moulds, you don't need many ingredients but don't forget to make the batter at least 24hours before you want to eat them.
Bordeaux Cannelés (using silicon moulds)
(Recipe from Marmiton n. 16 Mars/Avril 2014)
50 cl milk
2 egg yolks
25 g butter (diced)
100g plain flour
3 tbs rum
1 vanilla pod
The day before
Split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape the seeds out and put everything (seeds and pod) into a saucepan with the milk and butter
Heat it until it simmers and then remove from the heat and let it cool down a bit
In a bowl whisk the eggs and egg yolks together with the sugar, add the flour and mix
Strain the milk into the egg mixture and stir until the batter looks almost like crêpe batter
Let it cool completely and add the rum to the mixture
Refrigerate the batter for at least 24 hours (be patient!)
The day you want to bake the cannelés, stir the batter and fill the moulds to 3/4.
Preheat the oven to 240C
Bake for 15 minutes at 240C, lower the heat to 180C and bake for another 40 to 60 minutes depending if you like them golden or very dark.
Take the silicon moulds out of the oven, leave them for about 10 min and then take off the cannelés from the moulds, leave them to cool down completely on cooling a rack.
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
Salamanca is a spacious restaurant that feels welcoming. The mosaics over the bar may vaguely remind you Gaudi's style and the chairs and chandeliers are a bit baroque: there is a Mediterranean feel to the place.
The menu is divided into the following categories: charcuterie & cold tapas, meat tapas, fish & shellfish tapas, meat from the grill, other tapas and desserts. The choice is extensive and includes many well-known Spanish classics, they aren't the cheapest tapas in town but portion sizes are pretty generous.
We went for the early-bird deal, which includes three tapas for €16.95.
We got 6 tapas between us, tapas are made for sharing so we made sure we both liked the sound of everything.
We got the fiery patatas bravas, these fried potatoes were lovely and crunchy on the outside and nicely fluffy inside.
Same for the croquetas de jamón (Serrano ham croquettes), they were little balls of creaminess in a crisp crumb shell.
The seafood paella was one of the nicest I've had in Dublin, they got the seasoning and consistency just right, it wasn't soggy like you get sometimes.
The fried calamaris were crispy, peppery and the batter was light.
We also had the Spanish omelette which was good too.
The battered mixed vegetables came with a homemade tomato and chili dip that was quite piquant.
We also ordered the cheese plate (€11.95) as we had some wine left (like I need an excuse to order cheese). The cheese course consisted of grapes, quince paste and 5 different cheeses. It was served with mini bread sticks that we didn't really like so we asked for bread which unfortunately wasn't great either and cost €2.50 (way too much). The manchego, the blue (Cabrales I think) and goat cheese were my favourites, overall the platter wasn't overwhelming but I'm picky in that matter.
Salamanca is one of those places in Dublin that have been here for many years and you sometimes forget because new trendy eateries catch all the attention. I'm yet to find amazing tapas in the Irish capital but Salamanca is probably one of the best places in Dublin for Spanish food. The food was simple but good and the gentleman who served us was warm and friendly. We managed to feel transported to Spain during the time of our dinner without spending too much money, which meant the evening was a success.
1 St Andrew's Street
1 St Andrew's Street
Monday, 21 July 2014
Bonjour from France!
No restaurant review this week, désolée. I've decided to publish my first vlog (video blog). It's short and sweet and features my French home, snail eating, mushroom picking and two farmers markets.
You might want to come with me next time!
PS: I miss Mr. FFID who stayed in Ireland though, poor chéri!
Monday, 14 July 2014
Today is Bastille Day or Le 14 juillet, the French national day that commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison.
You can't miss Place de la Bastille in Paris, there is a huge column in the middle called 'July Column' and this monument commemorates the 1830 revolution (we did have more than one revolution).
Anyway, I'm not going to talk about history here, but rather about one of my favourite markets in Paris: Bastille Market. It's on every Thursday from 7am to 2.30pm and every Sunday from 7am to 3pm.
I highly recommend a visit if you want to have a sense of what a Parisian food market is. There is a variety of stalls, not only fruits and veg but pretty much anything you'd like to eat.
From cheese to roasted chickens, from olives to crêpes made right in front of you...
Don't be shy, people are proud of their products, try talking to them. The man who sells saucissons (French cured sausages) is lovely, he has so many different flavours and speaks a little English.
If you love food, you'll probably enjoy this market very much.
If you're getting tired of the food, they also have flowers, clothes and souvenirs if I remember correctly.
Isn't it lovely? Now this is one to add to your list on your next trip to Paris, you're welcome!
Place de la Bastille
Friday, 11 July 2014
Do you like chicken? Well if you do then you’ll love Crackbird, as chicken is kind of the star on their menu.
I’ll be honest with you I’ve only been to Crackbird twice. The first time I was a little drunk and the second time I was more than a little hungover (please don’t judge me too hastily).
Crackbird isn’t new, it’s one of Jo Macken’s restaurants, he also owns Skinflint, Jo’Burger and Bear.
Crackbird is located on Dame Street and it’s quite spacious and bright if you visit during the day. At night it’s quite dark and the music is loud.
The menu is short enough, you can order little dips and nibbles that cost from €4.25 to €5.75 such as the deviled egg dip. Then of course you have chicken (buttermilk, soy garlic, chicken brochettes…) with prices ranging from €4.95 to €19.95. They also make salads and have sandwiches for lunch as well as a few sides, along with many different sauces.
I recently met with a friend for lunch, I had a few drinks the night before so it sounded like exactly the food I needed.
I wanted something not to pricy so I went for the chili chicken crunches (€4.95), the croquettes (€3.95) with their burnt lemon and whipped feta sauce (€2).
It did the job, the chicken was nice and crisp but what I like is their sauce, which was lovely to dip the croquettes in.
I was very thirsty and had a huge jar of their lime ginger spritzer (€3.95), it was refreshing and the portion size was massive.
My friend had the same thing, the chilli chicken crunches but with the chipotle baked beans.
The beans were very good, nicely spicy.
I suppose people who don’t want to go to KFC or Nando’s go to Crackbird when they crave deep-fried chicken. Deep-fried chicken for hipsters perhaps. It’s funky, modern and the staff act a bit like they’re too cool for school. The setting is trendy but you wouldn’t stay too long, great if you’re on a night out in the area but I still prefer Skinflint.
60 Dame Street