A baked cheesecake is one of those dishes that I’ve been meaning to make for a long, long time. So, when I saw that it was the theme of Hey Hey it’s Donna Day #10, as hosted over on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, nothing was going to stop me from participating. I had also fully intended to get involved with HHDD #10, soufflés, as well but that kind of fell by the wayside when we had to start flat hunting in Dublin again. Spending your evenings getting frustrated with trying to find somewhere to live and the calmness necessary for soufflé cooking just don’t seem to go hand in hand.
Last night’s Slow Food evening was the perfect introduction to Harry’s Café Bar in Dún Laoghaire. Since reading about the Polish food on offer there, especially the pierogi (dumplings), this had been a long-anticipated – but never quite realised – trip. Although there was no sign of pierogi on the menu circulated with the email about the event, the mention of dishes such as Marinated Roast Beef (Pieczen Wolowa) and Roast Pork Shank (Golonka) were more than enough to convince me.
Did I mention that I was a bit dotty with dates recently? I managed to MISS the Irish Blog Awards, thinking that it was on next weekend. It actually took place last night and I only discovered when I did a wander around the Irish blogosphere this morning. Although I’m disappointed that I didn’t manage to make it along, it was great to see that some of my favourite bloggers were among the winners. Take a bow Ice Cream Ireland (Best Business Blog, Best Specialist Blog), Conor for Best Blog Post (You may feel a small prick), the lovely ladies at Beaut.ie (Best Design and Best Newcomer) and The Sigla Blog (Best Arts and Culture). Congratulations all!
I’m heading off to Barcelona with the sister for three days in a few weekend’s time and I’d love some food suggestions! We’ve never been there before so this is completely new ground for us both. The Boyfriend has been recommending the “silky” coffee to me, the sister has lists of places to try out (she arrives several days before me) and, my appetite whetted by the Mediterranean Food Company’s tapas class and several nights consumption at Dublin’s Market Bar, I have every intention of eating my way through as much as possible of everything on offer in Barcelona.
I have made this dish a couple of times for Pancake Tuesday as I love to have a pancake main as well as desert! One of the best things about it is that many of the elements can be made beforehand. This year I made the pancake batter on Sunday, the pancakes and tomato sauce on Monday, then assembled, baked and served on Tuesday.
Not being very clued in with dates, the first notice I received of the annual pancake flipping day was a display of bottles of squeezy lemon and pancake batter mixes at Morton’s in Ranelagh. Pancakes really are one of the easiest things to make so don’t bother with the mix – it’s normally nothing but flour anyway – buy a real lemon and whip up your own pancakes in minutes with some of the recipes on Greatfood.ie – try sweet pancakes, crêpes, savoury French Galettes or even some fluffy American Buttermilk Pancakes from Bakingsheet.
This is the most useful recipe to have in your repertoire. I use it – sometimes with the addition of broccoli, chorizo, bacon or chilli – with gnocchi, pasta, cannelloni and polenta, as a topping for pizza and even when baking pancakes. If you can track down some decent Italian plum tomatoes, it’s all the better for that; if you can’t, just keep tasting and adjusting the flavour with sugar if it’s too bitter, red wine or balsamic vinegar if it’s too sweet, tomato purée if it needs more body, water if it’s too thick. If you have fresh basil, add it at the end to lift the flavour of sauce. I often use thyme – fresh if I have it but sometimes dried – if I want the sauce to have a herby tinge.