Foodie Fieldtrip Friday: The Happy Pear

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How fortuitous that I am here in Dublin for a quick visit and it coincides with a Foodie Fieldtrip Friday!  I have been wanting to go to The Happy Pear for ages.  When we lived in Dublin full time it was hard to anywhere as I worked nearly 7 days per week.  But I did get to peak my head inside their lovely cafe a couple years ago when I was nearby for work.  I only got a take away coffee, but I’ve always wanted to go back for a proper sit down meal. Then about a year ago, The Happy Pear owners, twins Stephen and Dave Flynn, were on our flight from London to Dublin. It was inevitable I make this day all about these fellas and the amazing team they have working with them.

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I took Snapchat with me (if you’d like to see it my username is blissbakery and it is available to view for 24 hours).  I went early as they’ve been known to have lines down the block!  It is such a popular place to go for a healthy meal or a quick clean take away. And their coffee has a reputation for being the best in Ireland!  It was 9:30am when I arrived and I ordered the Pimped Up Porridge. It was the most beautiful bowl of porridge I have ever seen. It had fruit, compote, coconut yoghurt, granola and seeds sprinkled on top.  I also ordered an almond milk cappuccino which was so lovely with the heart shaped foam on top!  I took my tray upstairs to the main dining area for a leisurely breakfast.  Not only is the food delicious, but the ambiance is very relaxed and at the same time inspiring with all sorts of cool quotes around the place.

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I literally couldn’t finish my porridge it was so big so I got a take away container for the rest of it. I don’t like waste and I’m already eager to have the rest tomorrow!  Then I toured around the health food store adjacent to the cafe.  This was actually the original part of the business. But over the past 12 years it has grown into a national brand.  All the staff were so friendly in spite of being busy with restocking or serving customers.  Chris was particularly helpful.  He wondered if I had anticipated meeting “the lads” Dave and Stephen.  Because my adventures are a surprise not only to those watching on Snapchat but also the foodie establishments I wouldn’t have asked for special treatment.  Apparently the guys are usually there on the weekends to greet customers.  But I was enjoying exploring all the nooks and crannies as it has expanded so much and I had the pleasure of having nice great conversation with one of the other customers.

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A beautiful woman with a pretty little girl were sitting next to me and I asked if they would mind my bag while I went to get the take away container.  When I returned I chatted to her about the local swimming area and she was kind enough to offer to loan me her wetsuit and togs (that’s bathing suit for my non Irish friends).  She said she lived across the road.  While I appreciated her kindness it was already raining and getting windy.  But we continued to chat about a variety of things.  Her daughter, named Izzy,  had kicked off her Wellies (rubber boots) and made herself at home.  Only later did I find out that it nearly is her home.  Her dad is Dave, one of the twins!  His wife was so kind and welcoming but never let on who she was. As well I was helped by the nicest woman when I arrived upstairs to eat, and apparently she is the twins’ mom!

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It really is a family affair.  With the Dave and Stephen running the shop and their younger brother in charge of the organic farm nearby, they have all benefitted from the healthy life style.  I felt very at home there myself as this is the kind of place you’d find on every street corner in Los Angeles where I lived for many years.  Wheatgrass shots, yoga on the beach and tank tops and shorts for all kinds of weather is what these guys are like.  But their energetic and positive outlook has a higher purpose. They really want people to get healthy!  And their mission has now gone across the Irish Sea to Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube!

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I watch the guys on Snapchat and really enjoy their energy, their recipes and seeing a gorgeous glimpse of Ireland each morning at sunrise when the go for their swim in the Irish Sea.  Though I opted against the kind offer to borrow the swimming suit, I did end up taking some lunch to go.  A giant Buddha bowl and a vegan Twix bar too. So not only was my morning sorted but my midday lunch and evening sweet treat all situated as well!

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I do hope to go back again as there were so many delicious choices. And I received lovely messages from other snappers watching that recommended things like the veggie burger. It really is a fab place to have healthy food in a loving family environment. On top of all that, the very nice Chris shared some of the Happy Pear Bars with me. So I will have to bring them back to London and Hubby and I can have a tasting. He is a master bar connoisseur!

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Until then, I hope if you are ever in Ireland that you make your way to the stunning seaside town of Greystones just 40 minutes south of Dublin. You will love the scenery and want to set up camp at The Happy Pear.  Sure, you might even become part of the family!  They are always recruiting new team members and their morning sea dips are growing in numbers. So the next time I watch the Sunrise Snaps I might see YOU!!!

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Happy LOVE,

YDP

Recipe: Woman Crush Wednesday

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While today’s Woman Crush Wednesday chef needs no introduction in the U.K or Ireland as she is one of the most beloved women in the culinary world here, for those of you elsewhere let me tell you about the Queen of Baking.  Mary Berry is a remarkably 81 years young. Married with grown children she is an accomplished Le Cordon Bleu graduate and has written over seventy cookery books. With numerous televisions shows under her belt, the one for which she is adored by millions is the popular Great British Bake Off.  Just back on television again after a summer hiatus, this is the reality television competition (which debuted in 2010) that all others try to emulate. Like Mary herself, it is pure class.

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I had the pleasure of seeing her live at the BBC Good Food Show here in London.  It was on tour last November and my Hubby bought me a ticket for my birthday. It also happened to coincide with one of my Foodie Fieldtrip Friday outings.  She and her partner on GGBO (Paul Hollywood) demonstrated a lovely meal.  And I was able to eat it after the demo at the restaurant there. I thought about making that gorgeous chicken with shallots and asparagus she shared at the Olympia Theater that day, but then again, one of her all time fav recipes is a famous dessert that I just know you’re gonna love.  I have never made her version ( though I have made a similar one before) so I am very eager to taste the Mary Berry Banoffi Pie from her book Baking Bible.

Banoffi Pie

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Ingredients

FOR THE BASE

65g (2 ½ oz) butter
175g (6 oz) ginger biscuits, crushed (about 17)
FOR THE FILLING

100g (4 oz) butter
100g (4 oz) light muscovado sugar
2 x 397g (14 oz) cans condensed milk
FOR THE TOPPING

300ml (1/2 pint) double cream
1 large banana
a little lemon juice
a little grated milk or plain chocolate

Instructions

FOR THE BASE:  melt the butter in a small pan then remove from the heat and stir in the crushed biscuits. Mix well, then spread the mixture over the base and sides of a 23cm (9 inch) loose-bottomed fluted flan tin, pressing the mixture with a metal spoon to make it firm.

FOR THE FILLING: measure the butter and light muscovado sugar into a roomy non-stick pan. Heat gently until the sugar had dissolved, add the condensed milk and stir with a flat ended wooden spatula, stirring continuously and evenly for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is a golden toffee colour and thick – watch like a hawk as it burns easily. Turn into the prepared crumb crust case and leave to cool and set.

FOR THE TOPPING: whip the double cream until it just holds its shape and spread evenly over the cold toffee mixture. Slice the banana and coat in a little lemon juice to prevent the bananas discolouring. Pile the bananas on to the middle of the cream and dust the whole pie with grated chocolate. Lift on to a flat plate and remove the ring. Serve very chilled.

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While this is a very simple recipe, it doesn’t deter from the wow factor.  It seems to be a dessert almost anyone would love (apart from people who are dairy free, though they could make substitutions). And the good news is no oven is required!  So with the warm London weather this pie is going to go down a treat in the house.  I suspect it might be eaten up in one night!   Which is best because of the delicate nature of the bananas browning.  However, with the squeeze of lemon over the bananas it will hopefully keep until tomorrow, that is if we have self control!

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Who wouldn’t want her job, taste testing all those treats on Great British Bake Off? Finger lickin’ YUM!

Mary has received so many well deserved honors such as the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), degrees and freedoms from many universities and cities.  And she’s even featured on top of the list of best dressed for over 50s!  She does look smart and gorgeous always!  But I have a couple of key reasons why she is so special to me.  First of all she is a Kitchen Aid Mixer devotee as am I.  As well she is very involved in charities especially the  Child Bereavement U.K.  One of her sons died at age 19 from a car accident. Mary has shown great strength through so many challenges in life including a debilitating illness as a young girl.  But her warmth and positivity has gotten her far in her career and into the hearts of her fans.   I wish her many more years to come.  Since her mother lived to be 105 we shall look forward to at least 70 more cookery books!

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Thank you Mary Berry for your inspiring life, in and out of the kitchen!

Sweet LOVE,

YDP

Recipe: Master CookReel TV Competition Cook Off!

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As I have shared on here several times, I’ve been fortunate enough to be collaborating with CookReel TV on their Snapchat account (username:  cookreel).  Basically I do what I do on my own Snapchat  account (username: blissbakery) so I feel very comfortable and at home when I do my “takeovers”.   I do my cooking tutorial with some wackiness.  The usual carry on of bad singing and dancing but a great recipe.  I’ve also taken the viewers on some gastronomic expeditions around London.  But last week they asked me to participate in a different sort of adventure…a cook off against three other chefs.

Sure, sounds like fun!  NOT!!!  Well NOT for me!!!  I don’t like those pressure cooker competitive situations at all.  If fact so many of my friends and family have encouraged me over the years to join shows like Master Chef, Next Food Network Star, Great British Bake Off, you name it.  And I always say the same thing, NOT!!!   I know I’d be the one in the corner in tears, which of course is great fodder for reality television.  But that wouldn’t work for my sensitivities.  I’m one of those that believes everyone should win a medal.  Plus I cry at the drop of a hat. I cry at the national anthem (any country’s national anthem) and in fact I even cry at the Happy Birthday song!

Yet, I found myself in a situation where I was scared out of my wits but couldn’t say no.  I really love what CookReel TV is doing by giving undiscovered chefs a chance to show their talents.  So I agreed to participate.  I was a wreck.  It wasn’t stage fright, I don’t get that, maybe because I started acting at age six.  But at the best of times I fall over myself sitting down because I am such a klutz.  I love cooking and have so much fun, but it’s at my own pace.  To do it in a preset competitive time frame, with a secret ingredient chosen by CookReel TV and that would be JUDGED by the viewers?  OMG heart palpitations, insomnia you name it!  But sometimes we have to do something that scares us,  not only our own growth, but as a favor for someone else.

Fridays are busy enough days.   I have my usual Foodie Fieldtrip Friday with my Snapchat (and post the stories on here).  Given the time zone difference (CookReel is located in California) and my schedule it was easy to make an excuse.  But I went through with it and I am so grateful I did.  On the day, according to the competition rules, I couldn’t do any of the kitchen prep ahead of time for the ingredients.  So I decided to prep my soul!  I went to church for daily mass.  I took a walk with my doggie Stella.  And I reached out to the Snapchat community.  I shared my fears and asked for support.  I didn’t ask for votes, just that they would try to watch if they could. Then I would feel like it was any other cooking tutorial.  No joke, they were there 100 percent!  I even asked for their help on which song to use for my opening snap.

When the 5pm start time arrived I felt like I was jumping off a cliff into a deep blue ocean of uncertainty.  But in 60 minutes I managed to make my dish, get it plated up and share my recipe and social media information (which all the chefs do on their takeovers).  I felt like I had won when I signed off their account and I was literally doing air fist bumps to myself running around the house!  I wasn’t even thinking about actually “winning” as I felt like I had won because I did it, I ran through the fire of my fears without setting my house on fire with my crazed cooking!

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Guess what? When the votes were counted, I actually WON!  I won the competition!  I am still in shock actually.  I went on my Snapchat and thanked everyone who voted.  I cried that ugly happy cry that you’d expect.  But that is me.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I am so grateful to CookReel TV for believing I could do it, for the Snapchat community for supporting me, and my Hubby for basically telling me to remove the NOT from my vocabulary and just do it!

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Well, I AM pretty stubborn. While I did do it, I managed to make a recipe that retained the NOT.  Because the secret ingredient was Nutella, and the first time I ever tasted it was in Santa Monica on top of pancakes I recreated that moment. Only mine were a healthy version. I used my Easy Peasy Pancake recipe which is gluten, dairy and sugar free. I figured having regular Nutella with all the sugar and dairy would kind of cancel out the goodness of the pancakes. While I love Nutella I decided to make a healthy version and keep the NOT.   I made NOTella  which was gluten, dairy and sugar free.

Easy Peasy NOTella Pancakes

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Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup (50 g) porridge oats

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

couple of drops vanilla extract

handful of chopped toasted hazelnuts

Nutella (or *NOTella if being healthy, recipe below)

Maple syrup

 

Whizz first six ingredients up in a blender until smooth. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken up a bit. On the stove top, heat a griddle or frying pan with some melted coconut oil or butter.  If you prefer you can use a non stick pan.  Drop the batter into small rounds using a turkey baster or a spoon.  Cook for a couple minutes then careful turn with a spatula. Continue to cook on the other side until golden brown.  Remove to a plate.  Between each pancake spread with Nutella or “NOTella” and stack them. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts. Pour some warmed maple syrup (that you’ve warmed with a dollop of Nutella or NOTella in it)  and serve.

*To make NOTella mix a jar of Hazelnut butter with 2 Tbps Cacao powder, 2 Tbsp honey (or 2 Tbsp maple syrup) 1 tsp vanilla extract in a bowl.  Because I was in a time crunch I couldn’t make a longer version of a healthy nutella recipe. It was a short cut to use the jar of hazelnut butter. But my friend Jen makes hers by toasting the hazelnuts in the oven to start.  If you’d like to try that recipe here is the link to it on her blog called Jen’s Gym Life.

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I’m NOT gonna lie, I am so excited and thankful. What did I win? Just the joy of knowing I could do it!  Of course with some big time help from all of you and some from above!

LOVE does NOT cost a thing!

YDP

P.S. I just wanted to mention that the other three chefs are beyond awesome.  Here is a snap that CookReel TV posted of all our Snapchat codes.  If you are on Snaps defo go watch them. They inspire me everyday! Or follow them on Instagram (links follow in their names).  Thanks Hayley, Brandon, and Ridhima!  Keep rocking the recipes!

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Blogging

Next week will be the first year anniversary of my blog. It’s hard to believe in many ways.  But it has been an amazing journey. Yesterday I actually had to renew my domain name. Where does the time go?

One of the best things to have happened this year was being featured on Claire Kane’s blog ClaireByReverie in a Spotlight Interview.  She is a well known Irish blogger and she knows her stuff about the digital realm.  In fact she has a recent post called “The 8 Things Bloggers Don’t Tell You“.  My fav is number 3: Starting a blog is actually easy, running a blog is hard.  In my case however it was also hard to start a blog due to my tech challenges.  While much can be said of the need for improvement in my blogging abilities, one thing I am proud of is that I have been consistent in posting.  Most importantly I have been sharing the LOVE!

Today I am going to share the interview Claire did with me as there might be some who haven’t read it. It might give you insight into my world, the blogging world, and indeed Claire’s world. She is a renaissance woman with so many interests, and she always tells it like it is!  And when she told me I loved Ireland more than anyone she knows, nothing could have been more sweet to hear. Hence it goes down as one of my all time highlights this past year. Thanks Claire!  Being part of this blogging community has truly enriched my life!
Irish Blogger Spotlight: Yankee Doodle Paddy
The Irish Blogger Spotlight is rounding off with a very special participant!

Everyone on Snapchat LOVES this week’s blogger, she is officially Irish (yay!) and also officially one of the kindest, genuine people I have ever come across so it is an absolute honour to be able to feature her on Clairebyreverie.com. I hope you enjoy Karen’s answers as much as I do!

1.Tell us your name: Karen Geraghty

2.What’s your blog: www.yankeedoodlepaddy.com

3. How long has it been up and running? I started the blog at the end of August 2015. In saying that I did have a blog for three months when I did the 12 week Ballymaloe Cookery course back in Jan/Feb/Mar 2007 however that was early days in the blogging world. Now everyone and their dog have a blog. But a dog’s blog should be called a Dlog! Anyway it was more like a travel diary. But it is still up in cyber space and I go to it now and again and relive those amazing memories (it is called: www.karenincork.blogspot.com )

4. Do you blog full time, if not what do you do alongside blogging?: Well, not sure what “full time means” in that some professional bloggers (ones that are sponsored and paid) may only write once per week. I’m not professional. And I don’t call myself a writer but a “sharer”. Just because I lived in Ireland for seven years doesn’t mean I soaked up the Irish talent for writing. I post as often as possible. For the first 33 days I posted every single day, then 6 days a week, then 5 days a week, etc. It was like a horse being let out of the starting blocks. Then I realized that it’s a marathon not a sprint in this journey so I post now about 3-4 times per week. I share about life, travel and of course food. I have am a professional chef and cookery teacher. Before I moved to Ireland, I lived in Los Angeles and was in the entertainment business. People always love my posts about the Hollywood days!
5. What has been the best thing to come out of blogging for you so far?: The cathartic aspect of sharing my story has been one of the best things to come from blogging. Not just for me but people reading. I have experienced many challenges and traumas in my life, along with some amazing joys and blessings too. Different ones have resonated with people who have longed to have someone put a voice to their suffering. But because food is not only my passion, it is also my therapy, I usually include a recipe within each story. It adds a bit of comfort to say, “okay that happened lets get in the kitchen and make something of it!” Also the connections I’ve made with other souls (who are inhabiting their “meat suits” as I call them) on this earth have been amazing. I am grateful that through blogging I have met people like you who have inspired me, taught me, and supported me along the way!
6. What’s your one rule for blogging?: Well, for me it is all about the LOVE. My purpose in life is to spread love. I happen to be a chef so I do it through my food, but also through my words on the computer screen. It isn’t a rule as such, but my hope is that with each post whomever reads it actually feels my love coming through their computer or mobile screen. And I always end my posts with some form of a loving sign off. Where as some bloggers have the same sign off each time, mine is dictated by the theme of the story. And LOVE features prominently in my Snapchat stories as well.
7. How do you think people perceive bloggers, and is it the reality? Since I haven’t been in the blogging world for very long I’m not privy to how people might perceive “us” but I can say one thing. I just attended my 1st blogging event (the IBA conference and awards in Dublin this past weekend) and it was one of the most invigorating experiences for me. The people I met and the information I gleaned will stay with me forever. I think we all have a story to tell, this one is mine. And I am truly honored and humbled to be a part of this amazing community.
8. What’s your favourite aspect of blogging? My favorite aspect about blogging is the nuts and bolts of it really. From beginning to end. To start, I like to take time to reflect on my different stories or themes and let them marinate a bit. I create a list of things I might want to share and have a fluid editorial calendar. By fluid I mean I am not tied to it 100 % I allow fate to shift posts depending on what is going on. While I am normally very social, when I am in blogging mode I am more introspective. But that time is very important. So when I actually turn on the computer and start typing, the words come pouring out. As you know from watching my Snapchat stories or reading my blog, my faith is a central part of my life. Therefore I trust that the truth will prevail and everything happens when it happens for a reason.

9. How much time do you dedicate to blogging every week? Just based on my last response there, it is hard to gauge since I often spend hours in thought about a post while I am out walking my pretty pit Stella (the dog who hates the bad singing and dancing I do for the Woman Crush Wednesday cooking tutorials, but loves the yummy treats at the end). The actual “writing” as you would call it doesn’t take that long, but because of my “tech-disabilities”, incorporating photos etc. takes me forever! Let’s say that I am often sleep deprived because of it! But it is so worth it that I don’t mind!

10.  What’s your favourite post you’ve written so far?  Wow, that is so hard to say, like saying which of my children I love the best, cuz of course I love both my kids equally and completely. But there are two that seem to resonate with readers the most. The one called “The Dog Ate the Pot Brownies” is about my mom being a drug dealer and our family dog eating her marijuana. I know it sounds unbelievable, but all of my stories are true experiences in my own life. However, there is actually a fab recipe in there for some healthy brownies, but the magic ingredient is actually sweet potatoes not pot! And the other popular post is called “Soul Dog” and it is a gut wrenching but poignant love letter to our dear dog who is in heaven now. I guess lots of folks out there have gone through similar experiences with their dogs passing away, so they can relate. P.S. those two stories I just told you about, both have dogs in them, but they aren’t the same dog!
11. Who are your biggest blogging influences? My two biggest blogging influences are my daughter and my daughter in law. My daughter no longer blogs as she is a mommy of two little girls and a full time student getting her masters in social work. But her blog is still up in cyberspace (https://inherchucks.wordpress.com) and is still an influence on me. It is a mommy and food blog and in fact I have used some of her recipes on my blog. Heather is an awesome photographer too. I hope one day she gets back into it if she can. Also my daughter in law (www.kokolikes.com) inspires me as well. She is great with design and blogger networking. She is the reason I joined the Great Blogger Cookie Swap at Christmas time. It was so fun to bake and exchange cookies with bloggers from all over! Koko is a fashion and food blogger. But her experience as the wife of someone in the military (my son) makes her blog unique and popular. I love them both so much!

12. What’s your favourite Social Media Platform? HELLLOOOOO I mean do you even need to ask me that my friend? LOL! Snapcrack, like it’s totally addictive and totally fun (hence I call it Snapcraic). But that is why I do the Sunday Spotlight Snap Sista series. There have been 27 honorees so far and it is fun to spread the love through our Snapland Family, just like what you are doing on your spotlight. Social Media CAN and should be supportive and kind!

13. The main focus of your blog is obviously food, do you have any favourite foodie places to go in Dublin and London? I do! Yes I have actually posted a list of top places to stay, eat and things to do in both Dublin and London. But specifically, in Dublin my “happy place” on the entire planet is Avoca so defo have to have something good to eat there (plus some awesome shopping) and for London I am a walking/talking advert for anything Ottolenghi. I did a Foodie Fieldtrip Friday to a couple of their restaurants. Amazingly crafted sweet and savoury dishes with fresh ingredients, it is to die for, literally! If any of you are coming to London I will offer my services as your tour guide free of charge!

14. You run a Woman Crush Wednesday every week where you feature a recipe from a famous female chef; have you got a favourite so far? Though I have done 40 #WCW and I absolutely adore each and every one of them, I have to say that Darina Allen was my favourite because she was my teacher at Ballymaloe and continues to be my mentor. What she has done for the Irish food scene is phenomenal. And it took me weeks of Wednesdays to get around to honoring her because I knew it would be quite emotional for me. I knew I would cry because I’m a sentimental sap like that. And my cooking tutorials are meant to be fun and festive. By the time I did do her crush I held it together! But she means so much to me I really love her! And I admire and respect her food ethos and her culinary passion.

15.  You are queen of snapchat, that is a fact! Do you have any tips for anyone who wants to get the most out of snapchat? What? Queen? That is hilarious! What until my Hubby hears that! Well I am really useless with technology, and as a chef I can do wonders with pots and pans but computers and smart phones, yikes! As well at 51 years old, I’m so late to the social media game. I am still not on Facebook! But Snapchat, though tricky to navigate for me, just works. I love the interaction and that is really how you get the most out of it. Simply by being social. Even for people who don’t want to post much themselves, if you are watching others’ stories, comment every now and again. Interact, if you feel safe with someone you follow. You might be surprised that you can strike up a friendship, or simply find common ground on a subject. I spoke of this and other aspects of snapchat manners on my Snapchetiquette story (and subsequent blog post). It was very well received because having manners is important in life, even on social media.

16. Two words: Marty Whelan. A national treasure, of course, but can you tell us why you love him so much? Great question you know me well! Okay here goes: Two words: Mancrush Monday! Not to be funny with my response but honestly, I have only done and will only ever do one Mancrush Monday and it was for Marty Whelan. I love him. And my hubby doesn’t even mind my saying that. I am happily married to my best friend and don’t even notice other men. But Marty attracts me like he does anyone who admires him. Marty is similar to a fragrance and it is called JOY. It permeates the air when you listen to him and stays with you long after his 7-10 am Monday to Friday slot on RTE Lyric Radio ends. I know it isn’t Thursday (cuz you know I like my #tellthetruththursday on Snapchat) but, here is a truth for you. Top of my bucket list is to meet Marty Whelan one day!

17. Finally, you are officially an Irish Citizen and you love Ireland more than anyone I know; what do you love most about our little island? Okay, Claire, I am actually crying reading this question because I miss Ireland so very much. Nothing against London, it is a lovely place. And nothing against America where I was born, I love the USA. But Ireland is my soul home. I love everything about it, the people, the environmental landscape, the history, the food and agriculture, the intellect and humor…how long can I go on here with this Q&A is there a max number of words? Cuz I could talk for Ireland about Ireland. But I will sum this all up with a short little story. My first trip back to Dublin after our move to London I was in my happy place (Avoca) having a bite to eat with a friend. But I wasn’t eating; I was looking around at all the patrons/customers/diners. I was staring at them and my friend said, “Are you okay?” I said, “Look, do you see all these people, they are so familiar to me” She said, “Oh do you recognize them because they were customers of yours or your cookery students?” I said, “No, it’s just this is where I belong, this is my soul home and I know them, I love them, they are familiar to me because they are my family.”
I love you Ireland, and I belong to you! Always and forever! No matter where I lay my head at night, I dream in green!

If you aren’t following Karen, eh, WHY?! See below for details on where you can find her:

Snapchat: @blissbakery
Instagram: @blissbakery (food/family/travel etc)
Instagram: @yankeedoodlepaddy (ONLY food)
Twitter: @yankeedoodlepad
Facebook: None, but I have a blog post explaining why I’m not. It is called Recipe: Blame it on Napolean Dynamite.

And also Youtube: Yankee Doodle Paddy (at the moment there are only five cooking tutorials, but hoping more to come soon).

 

Blogger LOVE,

YDP

Foodie Fieldtrip Friday: Good and Proper Tea

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One of the great things about the Foodie Fieldtrip Friday series is that I get to travel to different places that I might not ordinarily go to.  Such was the case this past Friday.  I took my Snapchat friends along as well (my username is blissbakery) and while the story has since expired, I hope this post will continue to inspire folks to go to Good and Proper Tea in London. With three locations, one on Leather Lane that I visited, another on Old Street and a third at the Brockley Market, this business is doing things right.  They also have a G&P Tea Van that travels to festivals.  In fact I remember seeing them at Jamie Oliver’s Feastival in the Cotswolds when I went last summer.  Their aim when starting was to source and brew the best tea possible.  They have succeeded.  And on top of that, their crumpets have been touted as the best in London.

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While their crumpets are square as opposed to the usual round variety, they serve them the traditional way, buttered, or many other sweet or savory choices. They even have a vegan option!  As well they have numerous cookies, bars and cakes to tempt, but I went specifically for the crumpets. For some reason I’ve always associated London with tea and crumpets. And when I came upon a great article on the Londonist with a list of the city’s best, I decided I must do it for a Foodie Fieldtrip Friday outing.

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I arrived later than planned but for good reason. I had a lovely surprise meet up with some fellow Irish Snappers.  But I made up for lost time when I arrived at Good and Proper Tea. Ashely and Freddy welcomed me with warm and friendly smiles.  They answered all my questions and offered suggestions about what to order.  I decided since I hadn’t had lunch I should order two crumpets!  One sweet and one savory (okay well I only ate half of each taking the rest home for Hubby to taste).  It was so hot that all I wanted was an iced tea to start!

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It was quite literally the most refreshing iced tea I have ever had. This coming from an American who lived in Los Angeles for many years.  Ice tea is more popular there than water! But this iced tea was so good in part because it wasn’t too sweet and I loved the grapefruit juice tartness.   I really felt like I was drinking liquid vitamin C gold!  I thought a savory crumpet would be best with the iced tea and indeed it was.  I ordered the avocado with cream cheese and chill flakes. It was very moreish I could have eaten the whole thing.  I loved the spongy home baked square crumpet.  There wasn’t a hint of stodginess!  I could taste the sourdough in each bite and there were loads of lovely bubbles perfectly baked inside!  It sure got the thumbs up from me!

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Now time for round two, sweet crumpets!  I ordered the weekly special which was peanut butter and banana with sunflower seeds. Since I am a self professed peanut butter addict you could only imagine my delight!

 

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I actually think I died and went to crumpet heaven!

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But then it was time to wash it all down with the real McCoy!  Some perfectly brewed tea, and not just any tea!  Only the most popular tea available at Good and Proper!  Even though the temp was warm outside (and London is notorious for not having air conditioning inside of buildings) I went for it.  I LOVED it and the little bottle of milk on the side (so cute) helped cool it down for me!

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I love the interior space of Good and Proper Tea.  It is clean, bright and well laid out. With free wifi, nice music and comfy seating I can imagine it being packed at peak hour. Because I was late in the day it wasn’t too busy. But it gave me a chance to chat with Ashly and Freddy about the business and all things tea and crumpets!  I also loved perusing the gorgeous teaware selection on offer.  Most certainly great gifts for a tea lover in your life!  Though I didn’t buy any thing myself other than my tea and crumpet feast, I definitely want to return with Hubby. However,  I wasn’t alone on this trip, as I said my Snapchat friends loved it too!

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The comments I received from those watching were in alignment with my thoughts about this little adventure.  First off, square crumpets, totally cool!  It is always great to break the ordinary mould in life and make things even better.  Next, the care with which each crumpet was made, the toasting and the spreading of butter prior to the toppings was actually an art form!

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Lastly, the method of brewing the tea was new not only to me but those watching. It seems to be engineered in such a way as to infuse the tea to perfection as in a scientific laboratory.  In fact Freddy told me the equipment they use is called a steam pump which was originally used for making coffee. They were able to convert it to their needs for the tea.

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I really appreciate an idea that is so passionate that someone would go to great lengths to achieve it.  The owner Emile has done that and with the help of her crowd funding support she can be proud of this wonderful business!  In a country known for centuries as tea drinkers, while the coffee culture may have picked up steam, at least they all know where to go for a good and proper cup of tea. Thanks Emile!

Crazy for Crumpet LOVE,

YDP

Recipe: Woman Crush Wednesday

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Today’s Woman Crush Wednesday honoree is probably no surprise to anyone aware of my  recent Foodie Fieldtrip Friday.  I visited the wonderful restaurant Honey and Co in London and had the most amazing foodie experience.  I had been there before with my husband for dinner, but this time was extra special.  Because I got to meet one of the owners, the incredible Sarit Packer.  I didn’t post a pic of us as she was in her chef’s uniform in the middle of a busy lunch service.  But she gave me a great hug and we had wonderful chats.   I was just blown away by this amazing chef who infuses her food with so much LOVE that I was busting to do a day devoted to her!

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No offense to Sarit’s lovely husband Itamar Srulovich who is her partner in their restaurant and cookery books, but since this is Woman Crush Wednesday until I have a separate day for Couple Crush, I am going to let the light shine on Sarit.  My feeling is he won’t mind a bit, but in essence it is also a reflection on him.  Their fluid collaboration is evident as the tone in the restaurant is loving and supportive.  In fact in the pages of their award winning cookery books you will find unctuous photos of food of course, but also pics of the beautiful staff which are really part of the family.

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As I mentioned in my Foodie Fieldtrip Friday post last week, I have tasted Sarit’s delicious Pomegrante Molasses Chicken with Bulger Salad, though I have never made it.  And since each WCW I take on a recipe I have never cooked before, I couldn’t resist trying to recreate it on here. I will also be doing a tutorial live on Snapchat (username blissbakery).  This dish is one that I ordered when Hubby and I ate at Honey and Co for our anniversary.   No joke, I have literally dreamt of it ever since!  It is the perfect combination of sweet and tangy.  The meat of the chicken melts in your mouth.  Now I will follow this recipe to the letter, but I am sure Sarit packs it with a secret ingredient that I hope to achieve.

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Pomegranate Molasses Chicken With Bulgur Salad
Ingredients
SERVINGS: 4
2 pounds (900g) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses*, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (182 g) quick-cooking bulgur
½ cup (70 g) dried currants
⅓  (40 g)cup unsalted, roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
¾ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley, plus more for serving
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ cup (40 g) pomegranate seeds

Preparation
Toss chicken, garlic, chile, and 3 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Cover and let chill at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, cook bulgur according to package directions. Drain and spread out on a baking sheet; let cool.
Toss bulgur, currants, pistachios, olive oil, ¾ cup parsley, ½ cup mint, and remaining 1 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses in a large bowl to combine; season with salt and pepper.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium. Remove chicken from marinade and, working in 2 batches, cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side (reduce heat if needed).
Serve chicken over bulgur salad topped with pomegranate seeds and more parsley and mint.

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This was probably one of the most anticipated recipes I have ever made. Why? Because when a taste is so prominent in your mind even your subconscious dreams of it, you wonder if it will match up.  Guess what?  This recipe didn’t disappoint.  It was simple to make, and so flavorful!  The various textures and colors are like a sensory explosion for the eyes and mouth.  In fact, it looks like a platter of jewelry the way it glistens.  And the aromas are better than any home fragrance candle!

Though I have to admit, I always think food tastes better when someone else makes it.  It is feeling the cook’s love in each bite.  This is the soul of Sarit’s cooking and why I adore her so much.  She began cooking at age five and has worked in some of the best kitchens in the world.  She pays homage to her culture and family recreating the food experience not just the actual dishes themselves.  This is why Honey and Co feels like home when you eat there. Not to mention that Middle Eastern Cuisine is such a communal culinary experience anyway with those large shared platters of yummy food.  So that is what my hubby and I are going to have tonight!  Here in our London flat!  A large delicious platter of love with some pomegranate molasses chicken!

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This pic was taken in the demo room of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, where I trained. That is my teacher Darina Allen on the left, Itamar in the middle and Sarit on the right. They were featured chefs at the Ballymaloe Lit Fest 2015

Thanks Sarit for all you have done for the gastronomic world.  As well, you’re a beacon of light for all female chefs showing that you can make a success of it while still retaining your essence. You are LOVE personified!

אהבה LOVE,

YDP

 

 

 

Recipe: Fruity Salsa With Churro-y Chips

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It is safe to say that Mexican food is one of my all time fav cuisines.  And living in Los Angeles for so long I was afforded the luxury of having many great places from which to choose fabulous authentic “South of the Border” cuisine at an affordable price.  I miss that about being in this part of the world.  While it might be hard to find certain ingredients necessary to pull off a great Mexican Fiesta, today’s recipe is pretty fool proof no matter where in the world you are.  It is a take off of the traditional tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole. Only this is made with all fruit!  It isn’t spicy but deliciously sweet.  And the chips on the side taste like churros, full of cinnamon and sugar. It is also adaptable for folks that don’t eat dairy. Just substitute the butter with melted coconut oil, and the whipped cream with whipped coconut cream as I have shown.

This is a perfect dish for a light summer dessert.  Since it is August, there is no better time than now to bust out all the summer fruit recipes.  As well, this is very satisfying for a healthier sweet snack for the kids.  They will love it!  Yet my hubby isn’t a kid and he ate almost the whole batch of “Churro-y chips” just on their own.  So here is what you’ll need for this no fuss treat.

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Fruity Salsa with Churro-y Chips

Serves 4-6

2 Granny Smith Apples

2 Kiwis

1 Lemon

½ lb raspberries and blueberries mixed

1 lb strawberries

3 Tbsp Fruit Preserves (you can use any kind you like, today I am using Apricot)

1 Tbsp Brown Sugar or Highbank Organic Orchard Syrup is best

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/3 cup (62 g) Regular Granulated Sugar

A little bit of melted butter or coconut oil

10 Flour Tortillas

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F/gas 4.
  1. Make the Churro-y Chips: Combine cinnamon and granulated sugar bowl and set aside. Brush both sides of tortillas with melted butter or coconut oil and sprinkle lightly with the cinnamon and sugar mix. Stack several of the tortillas and using a pizza cutter, cut into wedges. Continue until all have been cut. Place on baking sheet and bake for 8-11 minutes until crisp.
  1. Make the Salsa: Zest the lemon and set aside. Peel and finely chop the apple, then squeeze 2 teaspoons of lemon juice over the apples and mix well to combine. Finely chop the strawberries.  Peel and finely chop the kiwis. Gently combine all ingredients. The raspberries will break apart a bit but that’s okay. Allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.
  1. To serve, place salsa in a nice bowl onto a large platter. Spread Churro-y Chips around. You may also add some lightly whipped cream (or whipped coconut cream if making dairy free) in another small bowl if you desire. Let everyone help themselves!

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Ah, what a great recipe for the sunny days of summer!  I just think of the beaches of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico when I eat this.  Though I’ve only been once it is a beautiful place and the fruit is quite luscious.  I suspect one could eat this little snack while wearing a bikini and sitting in a beach chair.  You wouldn’t feel too guilty since it’s low calorie and not naughty. Though my bikini days were left behind on that beach in Cabo. Yep, true story, I had been working out prior to the trip and proud of the fact I could once again wear a bikini post childbirth. But the first day we were at the waves edge playing with the kids my bikini top literally busted off of me when I bent over. It ricocheted into the ocean!  Mind you this was not a topless beach!  And I am super modest so I was literally mortified and screaming. Um note to self, this only brings more attention to a situation.  So while I will continue to crave delish and nutritious treats, and enjoy my Mexican food, I will forever forgo the bikini aspect of summer!

I Churro LOVE you!

YDP