Foodie Fieldtrip Friday: Le Cordon Bleu

An epic Foodie Fieldtrip Friday that I won’t ever forget took place in Paris, France at Le Cordon Bleu. I shared in my last blog post (a synopsis of our trip to Paris) that I would need to spend a whole post elaborating on this gastronomic experience.  I have to thank my Hubby for treating me to this Parisian keepsake, a foodie’s equivalent of an expensive designer handbag. Only this is something that I can use and reuse and share with friends, family and customers!  A course at Le Cordon Bleu on classic French sauces, the culinary backbone in fine dining.  I felt I had died and gone to heaven! Continue reading

Foodie Fieldtrip Friday: Food Tours Stockholm

While the name of this fantastic culinary expedition company in Stockholm is called Food Tours it was much more than that. Guided by the amazing Johanna our group of five eager participants learned all about the history of the Sodermalm area as well.  Because it used to be an area where immigrants settled, the food scene is reflected in the myriad of tastes and flavors.  In fact during our four hour tour we journeyed to several continents without ever leaving Sweden! Continue reading

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Last year was the first year I was blogging during my birthday.  Here is the post I wrote to celebrate:  “Triskaidekaphobia + 51 is the new 21“.  Now I realize that being 51 and 21 are totally different, so that part was a joke.  But there really is a phobia about Friday the 13th, and that was the day on which my birthday happened to be last year. And indeed I was also born on a Friday the 13th. So for me it is a lucky day! Continue reading

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When people hear TMI they might think of the acronym “Too Much Information”.  It is true some people share TMI, telling near strangers things better left unsaid.  But I have some TMI for you and it is info you need in your life!  Especially if you are on Instgram.  My version  of the acronym is called:  Tuesday, My Instagrams.  I’m talking about the Instagrammers on my feed that I like to follow! Continue reading

Woman Crush Wednesday Recap #5

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As promised last week, I am posting another round up of our amazing Woman Crush Wednesday recipients. Not only because there were too many fab chefs since the last roundup to cover in one post, but also because I will be traveling today. Hubby and I are headed stateside and I don’t think the flight attendants on Aer Lingus would be too happy if I busted out in my bad sining and dancing routine while I did a cooking tutorial. But next week I’ll be able to do a delicious recipe from another inspirational culinary queen. Until then let’s look back at some of the honorees that have graced these blog pages and snapchat airwaves!

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The Two Hot Tamales are Los Angeles’ darlings of Mexican food. Which if you don’t already know is my fav cuisine.  I was lucky enough to attend a cooking demo they hosted at one of their restaurants. The food was delicious and they were too! They are funny and informative, a perfect foodie combination.  And what I remember quite vividly about the day was that they served numerous boozy drinks!  So in their honor I actually made a lovely Bubbly Sangria and some savory snacks to go along with it. Oh and I wore a sombrero for the tutorial, of course! Click here if you’d like to make the amazingly refreshing drink and nibbles

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Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, happens to be my best friend’s favorite chef. And she literally has every book the American superstar has ever published. So when I was in L.A. in May staying at my friend’s house I figured I just had to make one of her recipes. Since I am a self admitted peanut butter  addict, I was eager to bake the Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars. And wow they were beyond delish. Please, click here to get the recipe and bake them yourself. If you don’t want to, then message me and I’ll bake them for you. Though I might eat 99% of them before I mail them to you!

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Skye Gyngell is an Australian chef living in London. She has gained massive acclaim for her restaurants, and is currently at the helm of Spring. Hubby and I went there for a Foodie Fieldtrip Friday. It was not only stunning but also ethereal. It seems daunting to take on a Michelin Star chef’s recipe library, but I chose a wonderfully easy but flavorful Poached Chicken Salad. If you’d like to say you cooked a dish from the fab Skye click here. Even if you don’t you’ll surely be inspired by her story which I shared as well.

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Yvette Van Boven and I met at the Ballymaloe Lit Fest in May. I told her I wanted to do a Woman Crush Wednesday for her. I’m not sure if she knew what that entailed. But hopefully she was happy enough with the way her gorgeous soup turned out in my humble hands. Yvette lives in Amsterdam and her food rocks!  She knows about flavors and what I love is how she illustrates and styles her cookery books. Her food is very accessible so if you’d like one of the best soup recipes ever, click here for the Sweet Potato Soup from heaven.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Rozanna Purcell at the Irish Blogger Conference in Dublin back in April. She’s probably one of the most physically beautiful women I have ever seen in person. My eyes hurt from her gorgeousness! But hand on my heart, she is so down to earth and friendly. She was kind enough to accept my very naughty S’mores Bars and we had a good chat. What I love is how she is reinventing herself from a beauty pageant winner and model to a food advocate. And her recipes are not only good for you, but quite honestly, awesomely delicious! Click here to get tempted by her chocolate protein balls.

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Caitriona Redmond is a household name in the Irish foodie world. Her blog Wholesome Ireland is my go to for tasty food that isn’t too difficult to make and won’t break the bank. Speaking of bank, the bank of recipes she has is phenomenal. She is one of the most prolific writers out there and has a heart of gold. I absolutely love her and feel so honored to know her in real life. One of my fav Foodie Fieldtrip Friday adventures was with her and her sister Olivia. And her Chicken Curry recipe that I recreated for her WCW was out of this world wonderful! Click here if you too want to have a super dish, a curry in a hurry at home!

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Silvena Rowe‘s Woman Crush Wednesday honor came at an emotional time. Istanbul suffered devastating terrorist attacks. Hubby and I had just spent an amazing time there so I was very shaken. But that is why I decided that showering her with LOVE and highlighting the amazing Turkish food she creates would be therapeutic. And indeed it was. Silvena is a powerhouse in the kitchen. In a profession dominated by males, she puts her own stamp on the culinary realm and we are all blessed for that. I actually made three dishes of hers for a delish dinner. Click here to see the chicken, rice and salad from this gorgeous gourmet gal.

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Michelle Darmody owns one of my favorite cafe’s in Dublin. I’ve been numerous times and each time have had a wonderful experience. So it was an utter pleasure to crush on Michelle and make her Chocolate Biscuit cake which is featured in the Cake Cafe cookbook. She is a true lady, and her quirky little oasis in city center is always on the “best of” lists for a reason. And this recipe is not only easy, but a lovely version of a classic. Just thinking about it makes me crave it! If you click here for the deliciousness I guarantee you a happy experience!

It is such a pleasure to shine the light on these women who have inspired me and others! Sharing LOVE and creativity through food is a true art. These are only eight of the 42 chefs I’ve highlighted this past year. Each one unique and each one as special as the next. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be able to share them and their recipes with you. Which is why I am so bummed that I won’t be cooking today. But I am looking forward to next week. Hope to see you then!

LOVE and culinary crushes,

YDP

Recipe: Guinness Chocolate Cake and Factory Tour

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Living in Dublin since 2008, the home of Guinness, the world famous stout pretty much becomes part of your life. Even if you don’t make regular trips to a pub to have the perfectly pulled pint, there are Beef and Guinness savory pies and all sorts of other ways to enjoy this liquid black gold as it is lovingly referred to over here. While we are currently in London, since I was back in Dublin this week I thought it was a must to make a visit to the Guinness Factory for my weekly episode of the Cookreel Snapchat takeover (the story will be up for 24 hours so go over to @cookreel to check it out). Oh and of course there had to be a culinary creation too! So why not have Chocolate Guinness Cake? YUM!

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For years Guinness ads have touted the goodness of the drink even recommending it to people with low iron in their blood.  While I won’t say Chocolate Guinness Cake is good for you, a cake made from scratch with real ingredients would be much nicer than some sort of prepackaged one. At least you know what is going into it and they are words in the ingredients list you can pronounce. And since Guinness is literally the number one stout in the world, I think we are pretty safe most would be able to say that word! Even if they don’t drink it themselves this brewery started in 1759 here in Dublin is known in all parts of the world. There is a world records book that comes out each year called The Guinness Book of World’s Records!  I think I might be in it for eating the most chocolate in the world, it’s my fav. So this recipe will be a massive hit for any chocolate lovers like me!

Guinness Cake

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

260g (9 oz) unsalted butter

300ml  (10 1/2 oz) Guinness

100g (3 1/2 oz) cocoa powder

2 eggs

420g (14.8 oz) caster sugar

2 tsps vanilla extract

180ml (6 1/2 oz) buttermilk

300g (10 1/2 oz) plain flour

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soday)

1 tsp baking powder

For the icing

100g (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened

300g (10 1/2 oz) icing sugar (called powdered confectioner’s sugar in the U.S)

1 tsp vanilla extract

300g (10 1/2 oz) full-fat cream cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C /325°F/gas mark 3. Line the base of a 30cm round spring form tin with baking parchment.
  2. To make the cake, heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat until melted. Stir in the Guinness, then remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla essence and buttermilk and then slowly add the Guinness mixture, whisking all the time.
  4. In a separate large bowl, sieve together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Using an electric whisk, slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and keep whisking until it is all well combined.
  5. Transfer the mixture in to the cake tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Test to make sure the cake is cooked by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake – if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Set aside to cool a little, and then remove from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Meanwhile, make the icing by blending all the ingredients together using an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy.
  7. Place the cooled cake on a plate and generously spread the icing on top. The cake will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

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My dear friend Lauren was so kind to let me use her kitchen and baking gear to get the cake baked. And while it was cooling I went on the tour of the Guinness Factory, which was a blast. I always take out of town guests there. It is like Disneyland for adults. I took the pic on the left of my pint of Guinness a top the factory at the Gravity Bar. And that foam on top was great inspiration for the delicious cream cheese topping that I put on the cake when I returned to Lauren’s.

I usually make my own Guinness cupcakes with a Baily’s Irish Cream frosting, but for this special day, a full cake was in order. I used a recipe from one of my Woman Crush Wednesday recipients, Clodagh McKenna. I saw her recently at a Supper Club in London she hosted and that I attended with a Snap Sista (Miriam from Bake My Style). And Clodagh specifically asked me to try the cake and let her know how I got on with it. Well, it was a smashing delicious success. Super easy to make and the cake was very moist and moreish! I only wish I could have taken nicer photos. But until I make it again, why don’t you try it and let me know how you do with it? Let’s say that there is only one small piece left! Though Lauren and I didn’t devour it! I was chaffing for a Supper Club of my own last night and this was one of the desserts! It was a great way to end a fantastic day!

Thanks once again Cookreel for the opportunity to host your snapchat channel, thanks Clodagh for the recipe, thanks to Lauren for your friendship (and kitchen) and mostly thanks to Ireland for being so special to me! My soul home forever!

Irish LOVE,

YDP

P.S. My own Snapchat username is blissbakery so come on over for some daily foodie fun!

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