Yearly Archive: 2005

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The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants 2006 & The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay 2006 by John and Sally McKenna ****

The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants With 15 years of eating and sleeping the length and breadth of the country in a tireless quest for the best of the best, John and Sally McKenna have it down to a fine art. This year’s editions of The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants and The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay are as wonderfully opinionated and idiosyncratic as ever. And also, very importantly, they are independent. The McKennas and their travelling editors pay for their own meals and accommodation, refusing – as they note at the start of each book – any offers of discounts or gifts.

2

The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants 2006 & The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay 2006 by John and Sally McKenna ****

The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants With 15 years of eating and sleeping the length and breadth of the country in a tireless quest for the best of the best, John and Sally McKenna have it down to a fine art. This year’s editions of The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants and The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay are as wonderfully opinionated and idiosyncratic as ever. And also, very importantly, they are independent. The McKennas and their travelling editors pay for their own meals and accommodation, refusing – as they note at the start of each book – any offers of discounts or gifts.

Nigel for Christmas 0

Nigel for Christmas

Now that the turkey has settled, the Cranberry Sauce eaten and the crackers pulled it’s time to get round to reading through the pile of Christmas books, top of which is Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries. It was difficult, but I managed to hold out till Christmas to get my hands on it. My Cuisine subscription has started too – I discovered the magazine had arrived at home and been placed underneath the tree! – although it does seem strange to read descriptions of picnic and barbeque food while we’re surrounded by late December freezing fog. Not that it’ll stop me from enjoying the magazine, though. Now it’s time to dig out a selection box, pull the big armchair up to the fire and get stuck in to reading. Happy lazy Christmas!

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Cranberries at Christmas: Cranberry, Orange and Port Relish

Fresh cranberries The best thing about being back in Ireland is Christmas in winter. Somehow – although my readers from the other side of the world may not agree! – cold long nights and short wet days make me feel Christmasy. It’s that whole feeling of getting indoors and battening down the hatches for the miserable weather. Perfect for Christmas preparations! And driving home for Christmas surely isn’t the same unless you arrive late, on the evening before Christmas Eve, to see the house lit up with all the lights on and there’s lots of tasty smells coming out of the kitchen.

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Ladies who lunch @ Café Paradiso, Cork

Fabulously enjoyable and imaginative food at a reasonable price After my appetite had been well whetted by Denis Cotter’s A Paradiso Year: Autumn and Winter Cooking, I decided that it was time to return to Café Paradiso itself and last weekend I went down to Cork. All my nights were tied up but Saturday lunchtime was designated Paradiso-time and who better to share it than my Sister, who lives in Cork, and the Canadian friend that I met in New Zealand. Both the girls are waitresses – one in the nearby Liberty Grill, the other in Cork’s famous Jacobs on the Mall – so Café Paradiso wasn’t getting the most uncritical audience.

Winter Food on radio 2

Winter Food on radio

Back at work in Ireland, I have access to a much faster internet connection than I was used to – meaning lots more scope for radio listening! I’m still tuning in regularly to Eat Feed but it is particularly nice to discovered an Irish radio show called Winter Food. It’s presented by Slow Food activist – and editor of the very useful Slow Food Ireland Guide to Producers – Clodagh McKenna and I’m listening to her fascinating Irish farmhouse cheese episode, including a pasteurised versus un-pasteurised debate, at the moment. The whole series is archived online and it’s well worth a listen. You’ll also find an article by Clodagh McKenna on Farmer’s Markets here.

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Zarbo Zest by Mark McDonough

Intriguing combinations of flavours and techniques New Zealand cafés do fantastic salads and whenever my tastebuds need a kick and I’m looking for an unusual salad recipe, I turn to former café owner (now cookbook writer) Julie Le Clerc or one of Mark McDonough’s Zarbo books. Zarbo is the name of a popular Auckland-based delicatessen, fresh food store and café but its name is familiar throughout New Zealand from being emblazoned on its own range of dressings, marinades, rubs and chutneys. The shop also stocks an exceptional range of imported food products, meaning – if you’re in Auckand, of course – that you’ll never be stuck for any of the ingredients mentioned in Zarbo Zest.

4

Rachel Allen on RTÉ

The lovely Ms Allen herself After all the debate about Rachel Allen, I felt that I just had to watch her show! Last night I was home alone at my lovely friends’ house (being a bag lady makes you realise how good your friends are) and I decided I was going to take the plunge and actually turn on the television for myself.


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