IRELAND: PART II and a recipe

August 11th, 2008

The thing I miss most about traveling and moving happens to be the lack of time and often space to cook. When I returned from Ireland, I couldn’t wait to get all floury again and I made Challah. With the some leftovers and the “starting to go stale” challah, I made a really good brie and balsamic onion sandwich that I chowed down as I packed. Now for the rest of Ireland…
Off I went to Galway, a fun, university town on the Western Coast. I spent my days roaming around the town, falling asleep by the river and doing a bit of shopping. I had two fabulous meals…One day for lunch, I stumbled into Anton’s Cafe, a cute and artsy cafe. Craving avocado, I decided on the Smoked Bacon, Avocado & Beef Tomato with Red Onion Marmalade sandwich. It was very good. A few days later, I had a lovely dinner at Ard Bia. This cute restaurant sits on the river near the Spanish Arch. It is like walking into the dinning room of your favorite artsy, bohemian and eclectic friend. Nothing traditionally matched but all the tables and decoration created a welcoming and comforting atmosphere. I had to wait for a moment as the servers finished writing down the menu on the blackboard, which was then placed in a chair next to me so I could decide what to order. I chose a seared white fish fillet with lentils and a fresh summer salad. It was a wonderful meal. They even had fennel and pomegranate seeds in the salad…yummy!
During one of my days in Galway, I took a day trip around the Connemera…a beautiful part of Ireland with mountains, hills and ponies. We went to this Franciscan Abbey and the Kylemore Abbey (below). The countryside was gorgeous!
After Galway, I went back to Dublin for a few days. I went shopping, got my haircut and saw a great art exhibit at Chester Beatty Library and Gallery of Oriental Art. I saw this cake in the window of the cafe, Leon, and like every good foodie…I stopped in for a slice. Although the picture is quite blurry, I think it speaks for itself. Yum!
That kind of sums up the highlights of my trip…The best part of my trip though, which I can not show you in pictures, was the many different people I met. I stayed in hostels and every night I would meet a new crew of people from Germany, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland…and the list goes on. Often, we would go sit at the pub together, meet the locals and listen to the music. These people made my trip very fun and interesting. I have many memories and new friends that I will not forget.

Brie and Balsamic Onion Challah Sandwich

2 slices of Challah
Balsamic Caramelized Onions (Jennifer’s recipe)
1/2 Vidalia Onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of brie
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1. Peel the Onion and cut in half. Slice the onions into strips.
2. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sautéed the onions moving the onions around with a spatula until they soften and brown.
3. Drizzle the onions with the balsamic vinegar and mix with a spatula.
4. Cover the pan and stir occasionally until the onions have caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Move to a dish.
5. In the same pan, toast the bread and melt the brie on both sides. Sprinkle with the Italian Seasonings.
6. Top with the onions and eat.

P.S. For more photos from Ireland, check out my flickr.


August 6th, 2008

Ah, Doolin! How I miss you…your beautiful rolling green hills, sparkling blue sea and occasional sunshine… I have been back in the states for over a week now and have been running around none stop. I moved out of my current apartment and temporarily into my aunt’s house. Next week, I’ll be driving my things out to Chicago and into my new apartment. Until then, there is no rest for the weary but rather a long list of odds and ends that need to be taken care of…so in between the craziness, I am going to try to post some…I’ve even cooked a bit and took some pictures…hopefully, I’ll have a few free moments to get them up here…but first a bit about my trip…

When I graduated from college two years ago, I had three non-career related goals…

1. Learn to make a souffle.
2. Learn how to blow glass.
3. Travel to Ireland.

I am happy to announce that I completed all three…one and two will make it into a post one of these days… My trip to Ireland was alot of fun. It was the first time that I had ever traveled alone for that long. Overall, I loved it. I spent my time roaming, reading and relaxing.

After arriving in Dublin, I took a bus over to Doolin, a small town on the Western Coast known for its fabulous music. From there, I took a beautiful but strenuous hike to the Cliffs of Mohr. These photos are from that trek. That night, slightly exhausted, I settled down in the pub with a wonderful Guinness Beef stew served over mashed potatoes with a pint of Guinness. It was an excellent meal and the local music did not disappoint!

After a few days in Doolin, I took the ferry to the Aran Islands. I spent one day biking around Inishmore. There were many old ruins to explore and I saw seals. I did not take too many pictures because the weather was very misty that I did not want to get my camera too wet. I did break it out to capture these roosters…

That about sums up the highlights of the first part of my trip…I don’t want to leave you without a recipe. When I returned, J and I made a green chutney inspired by Salman Rushdie‘s Midnight’s Children as we had previously done with our Lotus Root Curry disaster. The chutney was a success and did not last long. We ate it with some samosas and a chicken curry. The pictures looked awful but it looks like any green pesto or dip. It was fabuous!!!

Green Chutney
(adapted from One Hot Stove)

2 cups packed fresh cilantro
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped onion
2 green chillies
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp lime juice
salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend with a little water to get a thick chutney.

P.S. For more photos from Ireland, check out my flickr. Warning: I am just learning how to use flickr.