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I’ve proclaimed my love for meals that work as breakfast, lunch and dinner on this blog before. When I was a kid, we always had cornflakes at night for supper. I think this might be an Irish thing. None of the other kids on the compound I grew up on in Saudi Arabia had cereal for supper. So maybe that’s where I got my appreciation for all day breakfasts.

I recently had a lip-smackingly yum Red Flannel Hash at Momma’s Place and I really wanted to recreate it at home. I thought I’d add a bit of spice to the mix and mess about with the idea a little. The end product was a glorious brunch/brinner which you could easily make for a weekend brunch or a mid-week meal.

I’ll definitely be making it again, but next time I think I’ll substitute the harissa yoghurt for some flaked smoked mackerel. Now that would be a killer brinner.

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Tuesdays blow!  They do.  Most of the people around you are invariably in a foul mood, which multiplies into skirmishes over communal staffroom milk once it meets your own personal Tuesday Funk.  Argh.  I despise Tuesdays.

Once again, my culinary chum chorizo has come to my Tuesday Night Dinner Rescue.  I love chorizo because it does the work of three ingredients – it adds a depth and intense flavour with, like, NO effort at all.  It’s amaze.

I whipped up a super quick tortilla with hardly any fuss after work this evening, and though perhaps high in cholesterol with the eggs for some of your diets, a Spanish omlette/tortilla/frittata/whatevayawannacallit is a great mid-week dinner for Busy Bees and Tuesday Victims.

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Poached egg with nutmeg, onion and pinenut spinach

Regardless of how arf-tastic my blog post titles become, we remain huge fans of poached eggs in our house of a Saturday and Sunday morning.  Or afternoon, rather.

Poached eggs are one of those tricky kitchen knacks that freak people out.  I have never made a successful poached egg in any other kitchen besides my kitchen at the moment, and I honestly believe it has something to do with our city centre water.  Anybody know if there’s any truth in my hunch?

Advice on poaching always says to create a circular movement in the water which just seems daft and complicated.  Here’s how I do it.

  • Bring a large saucepan of water seasoned with a pinch of salt to the boil.
  • Once boiling, add a glug of red wine vinegar, about two tablespoons.  I’ve tried white wine vinegar (because the red wine vinegar dyes the eggs ever so slightly) but it doesn’t seem to hold the eggs together as well as the red type.
  • Now break your egg gently into the water, from as close to the water as you can get (without burning your hands on the steam, obviously).
  • Set your timer for 3 and a half minutes.
  • Get a plate with kitchen towel ready.
  • After 3 and a half minutes, scoop out your egg with a spoon (preferably a slotted spoon so you gt rid of most of the excess water).  The eggs may have a pinky hue from the vinegar so when you’re scooping them out, you can try to “wash them” with the water a bit, to get rid of some of that.  If you know what I mean.
  • Place on the plate with the kitchen towel to absorb the last bit of water on eggs.
  • Carefully transfer egg to the top of your toast and enjoy.

Read on after the jump for recipes for three of my favourite ways with poached eggs.

Poached egg with chorizo and parsley

Poached egg with Marmite on toast

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Well, in my family, we’ve always called them scones as in “John” and I was surprised to hear someone pronouncing them as in “cone” for the first time.  A quick search on wikipedia assures me that the “cone” pronunciation is recognised but it seems that the Scots – who invented these little beauties in the first place – pronounce it as in “John.”

But what’s in a phonetically ambiguous name, anyway?  Even if scones were called “garst-boogers” they’d still taste awesome.

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Seamus MacInnes and I on the first of myself and Niall’s three visits to Cafe Gandolfi in two days.  We just really liked it.

As I travel around, I find myself collecting favourite hang out spots, whether they be restaurants, cafes, bars or shops that I love.  Mentally, I’m creating my perfect town which would house all of theses wonderful places.

In this town, among lots of others, there’d be a Katz’ Deli, a Walpole Cafe, a Beacon’s Closet, a Dim Sum Go Go, a Bistro Guillame, a Triple R station, a Gruel and a Mermaid Cafe, a Cake Shop, a Bernard Shaw, a Grogan’s, a Mono, and there would most certainly be a Cafe Gandolfi’s, the second place the good folk at Visit Scotland had us down to visit last weekend in Glasgow.

Cafe Gandolfi –  or Gandolfini’s as I continuously and unwittingly referred to it as – has been serving the good people of Glasgow with excellent but unpretentious grub since 1979 when the founder Iain Mackenzi took over the empty offices of the Cheese Market to create a hub of deliciousness.  The business has since expanded to include Bar Gandolfi upstairs at the original cafe premises as well as a fancier restaurant two doors down with Gandolfi Fish.

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Pic taken from Ard Bia website

We had the most joyous of nights in Galway last Saturday for the 2010 Irish Blog Awards.  Happily, Niall came away with the Best Music Blog award, leading to much merriment and supping and chatting and spontaneous singing and even a bit of rapping.  And that was just me.

Big congrats to all the winners, especially my foodie buddies at The Good Mood Food Blog (Best Food Blog) and 9 Bean Row (Best Newcomer).

Feeling well rested and fresh *ahem* on Sunday morning we made our way to Ard Bia at Nimmo’s near the Spanish Arch at the end of Shop Street.

I lived in Galway for a brief spell about 6 years ago, and had brekkie or lunch in Ard Bia at the end of Shop Street a number of time, loving the way the lady of the house called everyone darling and that she gave everyone little pots of honey instead of crappy plastic boxes.

Nimmo’s was a seafood restaurant near the Spanish Arch which my Mum brought me to for a special treat one weekend she visited me.  It was the first time I had ever tasted oysters and it was a really memorable experience.

I had discovered the day of this year’s Blog Awards that my two favourite eateries in Galway had morphed into one since my last visit (which was aaaaages ago).  I knew it was going to be good.  And by golly, it was.

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The Daily Spud’s Cumin and Cayenne Pepper Potato Farl with poached egg as eaten by I Can Has Cook?

Moving back up the Food & Drink (sponsored by Bord Bia) longlist for the Irish Blog Awards we find ourselves in The Daily Spud territory.

The Daily Spud is one of the blogs I look at the most often, as Aoife Daily Spud’s love for the humble spud is truly infectious.  She’s a fantastic writer, a wonderful food photographer and a lovely lady to boot.  And she gave me some surplus produce from her very own vegetable garden.  They made such delicious food.

She’s also been a great source of advice for me personally.  As a nervous beginner cook, it really is great to have someone like Aoife on the other end of Twitter to question about flour types, pastry fails and how to achieve the perfect mashed potatoes.

It’s been a year now that I’ve been eating vicariously through her Daily Spud pictures, after we met at last year’s Blog Awards wherein she won Best Irish Food Blog.  But in all that time, although I’ve promised myself many times, I’ve never actually gotten round to cooking anything from her blog.  Well, that all changed this morning for Sunday brunch.

Obviously, I had to go for a potato based recipe, and what is better on a Sunday than Potato cakes, or And So I Watch You From a Farl as Niall has dubbed them.

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Eggs Benedict with my rather runny homemade Hollandaise Sauce

Man, I just love Sundays.  A perfectly lazy day can be made even better with a ludicrously delicious brunch and a copy of The Observer Food Monthly.  I’m so happy right now.

In Alex James’ column in OFM, he mentions Kate Moss’ mantra “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.”   Having once been rather slender (and infinitely hungrier) I can sort of understand where she’s coming from.  However, this fleeting feeling of sisterhood with the famous waif evaporates once I remember that her comment is inherently wrong, if not completely mental.  What the hell is she talking about?

She has clearly never eaten Arancini, gobbled a Monte Christo sambo or made her own Hollandaise Sauce.  Of course, it’s lovely to fit perfectly into all your clothes and to never have to hide bumpy bulges behind flowing tops.  However, I’m of the opinion that the satisfaction of feeling slim can in no way compare to the feeling you get when something you’ve cooked has made you and your partner/friends really, really happy.

But, of course, it’s all about balance.  Obviously, you don’t want to be eating Egg’s Benedict every other day, as it’s full of artery-clogging-heart-bashing butter.  But one should allow oneself to enjoy it once in a while, without thinking of the consequences to one’s backside.

Anyway, I made my own Hollandaise Sauce this morning to make my Egg’s Benedict complete, using Antony  Worrall Thompson’s Cheat’s recipe.  It has a lottttttt of butter in it.  But what the hell, you only live once.  I’d prefer to be content and plump than thin and miserable, any day. So take THAT Kate Moss. Heh heh.

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Phew.  What a delicious holiday it was.  Mine was full  of things like:

And that was only Christmas Day itself.

I’m still pretty full.  But this week has  found me dedicated to a new diet, one that does not involve masses amounts of  butter, cream, potatoes, chocolate or indeed booze.

Instead of doing some insane Cayenne Pepper and Oxtail Soup Detox Diet madness, I’m going to up my intake of winter vegetables by cooking copius amounts of soups and putting together an array of winter salads.  Bring it on.

As we all know, the best way to start a winter’s day is with a lovely, warm bowl of porridge.  It’s all about what you add that can turn a bowl of sloppy gruel into a most magnificent bowl of warming comfort food…

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Oh, man.  I’m having the best time EVER.  I love this city!

We had breakfast in a little place called Ballaro on 77 Second Avenue in the East Village, see muffin above.  Delicious served with a lovely fluffy latte.  Not a big ambitious NY breakfast but enough fuel for a big walk from the bowery up to Central Park.

katz deli outside

Lunch was in Katz’s Deli on the corner of Houston and Ludlow Street.  It’s famous for being the best Deli in the city.  And also as the place where Sally has the fake orgasm in When Harry Met Sally.

katz inside counterkatz inside

The pastrami sandwiches were TO DIE FOR.  Beautiful, beautiful stuff.  We got a Pastrami Sandwich and a Rueben Sandwich and shared a piece each.

katz sambos above

rueben and pastrami

Dinner was in Benny’s Burritos on 93 Avenue A.  I had a mini quesadilla served with the most YUM sour cream.

benny burritos outsidebenny burritos inside

It was perfect fuel for a night out.  The best thing about the whole meal was, in fact, the frozen margueritas.  Squiffy!



peace love and guacamole

Peace, love and guacamole!

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