Archive | January, 2012

Breakfast of Kings (Part One); Bacon, Pancakes and Maple Syrup

28 Jan

I recently had two arguments with two separate friends on the greatness of the sweet and savory combination. By arguments I mean they said they didn’t like it and I proved them wrong. (Or at least that’s how I saw it)

Sweet and savory is a brilliant combination: peanut butter and jelly, cheese and chutney, pork and apple sauce, Tayto’s Cheese and Onion crisps followed by a Cadbury’s Dairymilk… what’s not to love??

I was first introduced to bacon and maple syrup when visiting a very lovely Canadian couple with my then boyfriend. We were staying in their seaside cottage for a few days on the very small and very beautiful Isle of Tiree.

On our first morning there, after a very early and nauseating ferry crossing, we landed into the most amazing breakfast: homemade waffles, grilled sausages and bacon, freshly brewed coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and of course, the maple syrup. My God.

So today, on a real morning-after-the-night-before, with my stomach feeling like I just stepped off that small rickety ferry once again, I decided to indulge myself and my housemates with my own limited homage to that morning on Tiree.

If you’re feeling peaky yourself do try this and after if you still have reservations on bacon and syrup then please seek medical or psychological help.

Seriously.

Weirdo.

Bacon and Pancakes with Maple Syrup

Bacon and Pancakes with Maple Syrup.

Serves 4.

For The Perfect Stack Pancakes;

(I’m using my magnificent friend Sola’s recipe for pancakes which can also be found here http://acatcalledmarzipan.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/a-gammama-sehr-wrong-you/)

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup milk

2 eggs

For the Bacon;

1 packet of streaky smoked bacon. If it’s not smoked then don’t bother. Just give up now.

Method;

Throw all the pancake ingredients into a bowl (or if your really smart use a jug so you can pour into the pan later with ease. I wasn’t that smart) and whisk like a mad yin ’til you have a thick batter with no lumps.

Fry some butter (add a wee drop of sunflower oil to stop it burning) into a medium hot pan.

Pour (or ladle if using bowl method) enough mixture to make four coaster sized pancakes

When bubbles form on top, flip them over and cook until golden and fluffy, keep warm in the oven and repeat until the batter is gone.

Fry the bacon in a dry pan on a high heat (don’t shuffle it around and you’ll get lovely crispy bacon) flip after 2 mins and cook on the other side for another 2 mins.

Stack the pancakes, top with bacon and serve with a drizzle (or a monsoon, depending your taste) of maple syrup.

Enjoy.

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Coffee Is The New Vice. Part One.

25 Jan

I have (for the most part) replaced alcohol with caffine.

I foolishly did this for three reasons: to save money, to spend my time on more important activities and to become a more healthy and svelte being. But it is all for vain. Coffee has become the same problem alcohol was. The quick pint after work is now a quick coffee. There is never just one, the bill is always higher then imagined and you ALWAYS must have food to accompany. However, diets, plans and financial sanity aside, it’s the perfect medium to meet ones sister for a lazy Sunday afternoon of gossip.

We went to Riva Brassarie (http://www.rivabrasserie.ie/html/home.html) on Earl St, Dundalk, one of my favorite haunts for a caffine fix. They recently gave it a make over and the stylish modern room is filled with a mismatch of chunky furniture and dainty light fittings. Most importantly to me however, is their now greater selection of foody books for customers to drool over whilst sipping at their Cappucinos

We asked for just coffees and requested the window seat to people watch if speaking  just became too much. We, of course, ordered the menu ( just to check), then finally bowed to our duty to try one starter…each (we couldn’t make a decision that early on a Sunday). I ordered the Caramelised Red Onion and Goats Cheese Tart while my sister opted for the Spiced Fishcakes.

The starters were the right size for two people who had just eaten breakfast barely an hour ago. Despite the unnecessary zigzags of balsamic syrup, my tart was very tasty with good contrasting flavours between the goats cheese,onion and buttery pastry. The spices in the fishcakes were slightly too mild but the texture was spot on by using chickpeas instead of potato and resembled more of a spiced fish falafel then a fishcake (which strangely was a good thing). It also had a curry mayo dip to give a bit of a lift.

The coffee is always a bit of a gamble in Riva so I opted for a hot chocolate. It hit the spot for the child in me and even had marshmallows. Looking at my sisters latte, it was obviously one of their coffee off days.

All in all, a perfect way to procrastinate and I didn’t even miss the booze…

..much.

Bad Coffee.

Good Hot Chocolate

Completely unnecessary but very tasty Spiced Fishcakes

Also unnecessary/tasty Onion and Goats Cheese Tart

"A Quick Coffee"

The Designated Driver

17 Jan

There is very few things that are good about January. It’s a cold, barren and frugal time of the year. We shudder at the gluttonous excesses of December and resolve ourselves to a masochistic regime of resolutions in a bid to make ourselves fitter, happier, more productive…

I’ve even jumped on the abstinence bandwagon (I can’t comprehend how, with gluttony and excess being two of my favourite pastimes) but it is here that the one joy of this bleak month is to be found. In the moment where one inevitably slips up and everything tastes the better for it.

On a day off last week, I woke up with a long and virtuous list of things to do. However, nothing could be started without a coffee. Not as treat, I tell myself (for such things are not to be had on such a perfectly productive day) but out of sheer necessity.

And so, several hours later, I find myself at a favourite restaurant, after an afternoon of gorging on cakes, running on beaches, hurling down winding country roads and becoming closely devoured by one overly excited pony. I sit and guzzle down my calorific chowder without so much of an apology and I bask in the glory of my New Years Failure.

I look at my companion.

She got the salad.

Skinny fool.

On the Quest For The Cure.

1 Jan

It’s New Years Day.

The memories of drunken conversations, stolen garden gnomes and slurred renditions of Auld Lang Syne are flashing back in nausating intervals.

And so I begin with the New Years Resolutions:

NO more drink.

Lose the Christmas flab.

WRITE MY BLOG.

All in all, finish (or in some cases, start) all the resolutions made last year. However, nothing can possibly be done until I have stopped all my internal organs screaming at me.

Now I originally planned to test out several reported hangover cures but that ended promptly after trying a shot of pickled gherkin juice. The Polish swear by it. I do not recommend.

So instead I made Scotch eggs. For those unfortunate few who have never heard of a Scotch egg (and I judge you heavily if you haven’t) it is an egg (I’m sorry for being obvious but how can I judge how far you culinary ignorance goes?) wrapped in sausage meat, covered in breadcrumbs and thrown into a deep fat frier.

Kudos to the Scottish. They will fry anything. (On that note, I urge you to try deep fried pizza if you ever go to Edinburgh. Oh sweet merciful god yes.)

However, before even attempting this or anything else today you must have a can of Coke. None of this Coke Zero in a glass with a twist of lime nonsense. One can of ice cold Coke. Do it. And do it now.

So now that you are properally rehydrated and feeling somewhat human you may begin. Or if reading this has been too laborious for one day please feel free to resume rocking yourself in the foetal position whilst murmuring incoherently “There’s no place like home”. That’s what I’ll be doing.

Hangover Curing Scotch Eggs;

Makes four:

250g sausage meat

4 slices of black pudding

4 eggs

1 egg beaten

100g breadcrumbs

Flour

Sunflower oil (for frying)

Thyme (or sage)

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200 c

Boil water, add eggs, leave for 6 minutes.

While eggs are boiling mix the thyme and black pepper into the sausage meat, roll into 4 balls

Oil a plate and your hands and flatten the balls into oval patties around 2cm thick.

Flatten black pudding to 2cm thick and place on top of sausage meat.

When the eggs are done run under cold water until cooled.

Peel and douse in flour

Wrap the egg with the sausage meat and make sure it is completely covered.

Dip in beaten egg and then into the bread crumbs, repeat

Heat heavy based pan of oil (medium high heat) drop eggs in carefully and cook until golden brown and crispy.

Put on baking tray in oven for 5 mins.

Place on kitchen paper to remove excess oil and serve