Tag Archives: restaurants

Drinking Wine at the Kelly’s Resort Hotel

11 Mar
Reception at the Kelly's Resort

Reception at the Kelly’s Resort

Ok, so, this may seem like a smug brag barely veiled as a review but.. no, that is exactly what this is. I was spoiled rotten for a full 24 hours in a lavish hotel and I am unashamedly shouting it from the cyber rooftops of my site.

Last week I was  invited to taste some wines of the Loire valley in the famous Kelly’s Resort Hotel, and really, as a struggling blogger/allotment field hand, who was I to refuse?

Situated in the small port town of Rosslare in Wexford, Kelly’s Resort has that old school charm of a prestigious hotel brought into the 21st century.  I had already heard awed stories from friends and family about their lavish bedrooms, beautiful restaurants, top quality food, afternoon teas, and cheeses served from little trolleys but what blew me away was the way in which we were treated… a strange mixture between best friend and royalty.

Now yes, I am aware that we were treated as such because we were reviewing the place, but as I looked around during our lunch in the Beaches restaurant (which by the way was great, though it was traditional, it was exactly right for the place; classic food done perfectly) I realised everyone was receiving the same treatment. During each course our waitress would return to make sure everything was ok, and a few minutes later we would have various managers making their rounds, asking if everything was alright, how our stay was going and generally making happy small talk. Though initially I found this amount of hospitality over bearing (at one point, asking a waitress where the rest room was, she guided me right to the door and for a moment I thought she was going to join me) I oh-too-soon became accustomed to it.

Three Way Smoked Trout Crostini

Spicy Chicken Wings With Prawn Crackers

Three Way Smoked Trout Crostini

Three Way Smoked Trout Crostini

Pan Fried Lemon Sole with Grilled Courgettes

Pan Fried Lemon Sole with Grilled Courgettes

Stuffed Lamb Shoulder

Stuffed Lamb Shoulder

Warm Chocolate Brownie with Raspberry Sorbet

Warm Chocolate Brownie with Raspberry Sorbet

Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis, Crushed Macaroons and Apple Foam

Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis, Crushed Macaroons and Apple Foam

After we had settled into our room and had our afternoon tea on the balcony looking over the sea (*insert smug tone) I received a call from reception to advise us that there was a change of plan and instead of taking part in a wine tasting with Arnaud Bourgeois and other guests (It only ran during the week) we would be having a private tasting with Mr. Kelly himself.

Bill (we’re best buddies now, I can call him Bill) was a never-ending fountain of knowledge and brought us through each wine with such passion and enthusiasm and without feeling like we were being lectured. Telling us in depth about the areas where the wine was produced, the style used in that region, how the grapes variety/year/soil all affect the taste and smell of the wine and the characters of the people who make it really brought the wines to life.

We tasted 6 wines in total ranging from a light crisp Sauvignon from Touraine to a jammy sweet bio-dynamically produced red Bourgueil and finishing with a 2010 Clos Des Pape, a very special bottle from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the most renowned regions in France. This bottle came from Bill’s brother in law’s vineyard and was one of the most enjoyable and complex wines I have ever tasted. Though I usually find the language used by wine tasters to be flowery nonsense, I could smell the tobacco, liquorice and blackberry jam that was described.

After the tasting we were told, much to my idiotic delight, we could take two of our favourite wines from the tasting for dinner and I have never been happier my companion preferred to drink white wine, leaving lil’ old me to drink the Clos Des Pape (the bottle of which has now has a place of honour on my kitchen table)

Chateau de la Saule

Chateau de la Saule

Voigner

Voigner

Domaine Baron

Domaine Baron

Clos Des Pape, from the owners brothers vineyard

Clos Des Pape, from the owners brothers vineyard

After our tasting Bill brought us to the Marina Bistro, which is attached to the bar, it was a more relaxed atmosphere then the Beaches restaurant where we had our lunch and our waitress was lovely, chatty and had a great knowledge of both the wines and the food menu. The food again was traditional with a nice twist, I had mussels with garlic and my companion ordered a slightly odd combination of Texas style baby ribs with pak choi , stir fried noodles and French aioli, but it actually worked really well. My mussels were perfectly cooked; large, sweet and plump, served neatly in a circle ( though I do prefer to have a messy bowl of shells I can pick my way through).

The star of the meal for me was my confit of duck, on a bed of lentils with champ and a grilled slice of aubergine. Though I thought the aubergine unnecessary, the duck was spot on. Breaking my fork through its amazing crackling-like skin into soft strips of tender meat that fell off the bone, mopped up with the lentils and mash which tasted fantastic with my wine.

After squeezing dessert in (a light chocolate mousse and a really amazing lemon meringue pie) we went to the bar and decided to get a whiskey while we listened to the flamboyant, two-piece band perform an interesting remdition of Shirley Bassey’s “Big Spender”. We wanted something different and the bar man suggested Bushmill’s Limited Millennium Edition, which was great but cost 13.50 each, something we couldn’t really complain about seeing that was the only thing we had payed for.

Grilled Mussels in Garlic Butter

Grilled Mussels in Garlic Butter

Barbarque Ribs with Stir-fried Noodles, Pak Choi and Aioli

Barbarque Ribs with Stir-fried Noodles, Pak Choi and Aioli

Rib Eye Steak with Dauphinoise Potatoes

Rib Eye Steak with Dauphinoise Potatoes

Confit of Duck with Sweet and Sour Lentils, Champ and Grilled Aubergine

Confit of Duck with Sweet and Sour Lentils, Champ and Grilled Aubergine

Lemon Meringue with Raspberry Sorbet

Lemon Meringue with Raspberry Sorbet

White and Dark Chocolate Mousse

White and Dark Chocolate Mousse

The next morning we woke up and went to reception where I was told had an hour massage booked for 11. Delighted, we made our way to breakfast where we chose freshly squeezed orange juice, fruit salad and then a full Irish fry up. Good comfort food served by very bubbly, friendly staff.

Fresh Fruit Salad

Fresh Fruit Salad

Full Irish Breakfast

Full Irish Breakfast

I made my way down to the spa, which is beautiful and modern, and I was pampered with a body massage with oils of my choosing and my boyfriend was left to use the rest of the spa facilities which included three thermals suits, a mist shower room with heated pebbles and fresh sea water plunge pool.

As we went to check out to get our train back to the city, the manager sent for a car and gave us a box filled with sandwiches, salads, fruit and water “for the journey”.

And with that, two very happy, pampered and full bellied paupers returned to reality knowing that some day (when we become significantly wealthier) we will return.

Kelly’s resorts are currently doing 5 day Spring offers from 475 euro full board per person

Further information can be found on their website

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Waste Not, Want Not: Bottom-of-The-Fridge Stew

19 Jan
Spicy Chirizo and Lentil Stew

Spicy Lentil and Chorizo Stew

I know it doesn’t have the sexiest of titles but this is actually really tasty. I make this stew (or a variation of it, depending on what I have lying around the kitchen) once every week or two and it always turns out well. And it’s cheap!! I tried working out how much it costs per person but, since ALL the ingredients came from ransacking the remains in my fridge, I have no idea. Also, I want to tell you about my new frugal best friend: Smoked Bacon Off-Cuts. You can get a huge value pack of it in Aldi for under 2 squid and you can cut it up for omelettes/soups/stews/anything really( bacon fudge?) and it lasts for frickin’ ages.

I realised another way I’m saving money and reducing my food waste is generally buying and eating less meat. Though in no way am I a vegetarian (I devoured a rack of lamb only last week and I was still gnawing on the bones as the waitress pulled my plate away), my weekly meat purchases tend to be things like tinned anchovies (fantastic for sauces), the aforementioned bacon and, if I’m feeling posh, some chorizo.

So anyway, this is my Bottom-of-The-Fridge (or Spicy Lentil and Chorizo if you want to sound fancy) Stew, you can change it around with whatever vegetables you have in your fridge or freezer, the main important things are chorizo, tomatoes and as much garlic as social decorum will allow (I take that back, balls to social decorum, throw in as much garlic as you can. Garlic for all!)

Enjoy!

Spicy Lentil and Chorizo Stew

(Serves 4)

Put a large heavy  bottomed pot on a medium heat and add tablespoon of olive oil.

Add a handful of roughly chopped smoked bacon and chorizo, fry until crispy.

Add one onion, one leek, 5 cloves of garlic (yaay, garlic), 1 large carrot, 1 handful of cabbage and 2 handfuls of baby potatoes, all roughly chopped.

Add a tablespoon of dried chilli flakes (less if you don’t want it too spicy, obviously).

Stir and sauté for 3-4 mins.

Add a tin of lentils, a tin of chopped tomatoes (both 400g tins) and a teaspoon of sugar. Fill one of the empty tins with boiling water and a chicken stock cube and throw in as well.

Reduce to a simmer, add a bouquet garni (if you have all the herbs).

Cover and let it cook on the lowest heat for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Stir in 2 big handfuls of rocket or baby spinach.

Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Ladies Who Lunch: Belles Tearooms

29 Apr

In a family full of grown up women like mine there is always a need for a quick caffeine fuelled catch up ( though it’s rarely quick and it’s never just coffee) and of late, our new coffee haunt has become Belles Tearooms . It’s all just so fantastically girly and one cannot help but giggle and simper and coo at all it’s lovely-ness. I swear, I saw a fully grown man  sitting beside us giggling and sipping daintly from a china cup, his pinky stuck out proud. That’s the kind of place we’re dealing with here.

Top notch coffee comes in a mismatch of china cups, hot chocolate in individual teapots and the food is so god damn tasty, to the point of obscene. Their short menu contains filled sandwiches, salads and cakes. And that’s it. No soups of the day, no full fry up, no carvery dinners, which is why they get to keep the quality high and the prices very reasonable. I have already established a firm favorite on the menu and unashamedly order it without fail on each arrival, The Italian Job: A ciabatta bread topped with roasted red onion and filled with chicken, pesto, mozzerrella cheese and red peppers. I’m drooling on my keyboard just thinking of it.

A perfect place for a clan of McMahon women to meet for an obligatory catch up, gossip and to indoctrinate our newest member into the circle of Ladies who Lunch.

Hot Chocolate in a Teapot