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The holiday season is a surprisingly brilliant time to move house. It’s the second time myself and Niall have done so, and we couldn’t help but grant ourselves a few smug pats on the back for being so clever.

I mean, first of all, people don’t usually look for houses in the lead up to Christmas. Which means you have the pick of the lot. When it comes to actually moving, not only do you have a few days off work to get the heinous task of shifting your accumulated stuff from one abode to the next, but your friends and family are often free too. Which means loans of cars (thank you so much, Pauline), siblings hepling out with the move (thanks Lorcan and Peter) and Dads with van-like cars (that’s you, Eugene) at the ready to help. Which makes the process a helluva lot less painful.

But then of course, you have the psychological perks of starting a New Year in a new house. You’ve decluttered through the move. Well, you’ve certainly made an attempt at it anyway and have probably gotten rid of even a little bit of unnecessary junk. You’re in a new house in a new neighbourhood and everything is lovely and, well, new. It certainly brings a bit of oomph to the start of the year.

So not only have we moved, but we have been lucky enough to move from a lovely apartment to a stunning house. Of course, one of our main reasons for moving was to find a bigger and better kitchen. And by gum, have we lucked out.

I am a different cook in this new kitchen. Although I am very fond of my old kitchen because I learned how to cook in it, the difference in space between it and the new one is almost overwhelmingly amazing. It makes for an entirely less stressful kitchen experience. Which, as you may know, has always been the top aspiration for my kitchen life. Well, that and being able to make tasty food for friends, of course.

On New Year’s Day, we had one last brunch in our old flat. Niall made us some amazing baked eggs and I knew I wanted it to be the first recipe I posted from the new kitchen. So, it’s a dish that was perfected in our old place, but one that we’ve brought with us to the new place. Have a look after the jump for Niall’s recipe, as well as a few pics of our kitchens, old and new.

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Potato-based cakes and I have a bit of a chequered history. No matter how much advice kindly bestowed upon me by The Daily Spud, my potato cakes never quite stick together.

So it was with some trepidation that I approached this recipe for a Potato Rosti Cake. I erred on the side of caution throughout the whole cooking process and, happily, it was a rosti-good success!

We had this as part of Sunday brunch, with a simple poached egg and some Scullery tomato relish on the side. It would be great with some herby fried wild mushrooms or with some smoked salmon and creamy cheese. Do you think it would work as a side for a lovely curry?

As Catherine would say, rostinomz!

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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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Last week, a delightful package arrived at our flat courtesy of Kinvara Smoked Salmon, the award-winning family run business who specialise in organic salmon situated in Galway Bay.

I was gifted with the Salmon Multi Buy (35 euro) which includes a 300g pack of Smoked Salmon, a 100g pack of Salmon Gravad Lax and a 100g pack of Roast Smoked Salmon.  Just in time for Christmas!

Although I am going to save my large pack of Smoked Salmon for my family’s traditional Christmas breakfast of bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon – well, it’s been a tradition since last year anyway – I couldn’t wait another three weeks to try this delicious fish, for heaven’s sake.  So last Friday, once I’d finished my half day at work, I set upon the (not very tricky) task of making something delicious out of the Gravad Lax.

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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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Eggs.  I love them.  Tomato sauce.  Basil. Favourite things.  Together.  In one little ramekin.  Zing!  Brunch delight.

This was very simple to make and no fuss at all.  I was inspired by this recipe but tweaked it a good bit to beef it up.

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I think Brunch is my favourite meal.  I love it so.  And not just because it gives me the excuse to indulge in Bloody Marys.  It sets the tone of your day, leaving you feeling relaxed and pampered.  It’s such a luxury to spend time over it as opposed to the rushed slice of toast grabbed on the way out to work during the week.

Instead of going out for Brunch this weekend, I invited a few girlfriends over on Sunday early afternoon before Africa Day so we could start the day with Sunday papers, chats and Bloody Marys.

A few months back, there was a little booklet in The Guardian  of sample recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s latst book entitled Plenty. This  Shakshuka recipe caught my eye way back then, but it took until this Sunday to get around to actually giving it a shot.

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