Saturday, 15 June 2013

Taste of Dublin 15.06.13

I had never been to Taste of Dublin before but was tempted to visit earlier today in what is now the festival's eighth year. It takes place each year in the really pretty Iveagh Gardens off Harcourt Street, a nice 15 minute stroll for me.

It's not a cheap day out with standard tickets on the gate costing €28.50 and VIP tickets a massive €52.50, the only advantages of which appear to be access to the VIP tent (including canapes), a free glass of fizz and a cocktail. 

I wasn't naive enough to think there would be freely available food but I was genuinely surprised how little was included in the ticket price. I saw some cubes of Dubliner Cheese, one tray of Pink Lady Apple slices and some Kehoe's crisps. That was it. Everything else had to be purchased with 'florians', the Taste currency (cash is not accepted). 

And, though the very nice lad on the gate told us that "most things" were about a fiver, in fact almost all the starter sized tasting plates were seven florians (or euros). From the Dylan Restaurant we tried this little lamb cutlet with approximately 1tablespoon of buttermilk mash which was fine.

We were much happier with our subsequent choices. This steak, chips and bernaise sauce from the Chophouse was beautiful and the portion size very decent. 

From Jaipur's stall I ordered this Goan Prawn Curry from who I assumed was the owner, one of the most unpleasant individuals I have encountered in a long time. The curry itself was faultless. I really must try to make it soon.

We spent our final few florians on some Movenpick ice-cream - Pannacotta and Pistachio for me and Chocolate and Vanilla for him. 

We left after an hour, well fed but strangely deflated.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Curry Chronicles: Part 2 - Easy Punjabi Chicken Curry

And so my adventures in curry continue (though they are not documented here as much as they should be, *slap on wrist). I adore Indian food and, earlier in the year, set myself the challenge of, if not mastering it, certainly improving my skills in that area. Since the beginning of the year,  Dan Toombes aka The Curry Guy has come to be my curry guru and I have achieved excellent results from his restaurant style curry recipes namely his Saag, Bhuna and Dhansak and Monkfish curries which are all made from a pre-prepared base curry sauce.

Having been quite disappointed with most of the traditional curries I had tried previous to finding Dan's site, I had stuck to these until now but recently decided to branch out.  This Easy Punjabi Chicken Curry seemed to be the perfect 'bridge' dish, described as a traditional curry but not a million miles from restaurant style. The recipe begins with Garam Masala which I was able to whip up in seconds thanks to my little Lloytron Spice Grinder which cost just €21 from

I, like more and more shoppers get my spices from the Asia Market on Drury Street in Dublin and never lose the sense of satisfaction of paying less than a third of supermarket prices for what I have no doubt is much fresher produce. 

The key with this curry is to cook the onions and tomatos which form the basis of the sauce down slowly without browning them. However, mine may have been chopped a little too chunky and so, after frying for the required time and having nothing resembling a broken down sauce, I gave half the mixture a quick whizz in the food processor.

Alas I had no time on this occasion to make Dan's spectacular stove top Naan Bread which is easily my most made and favourite recipe of the year so far giving perfect restaurant quality results every time - a revelation.

And the curry? Definitely one I will make again. A good, flavoursome all rounder which has proven to be a great introduction for me to traditional Indian cooking. In case you haven't guessed, I am a huge fan of The Curry Guy and am really enjoying my adventures in Indian with him. Cheers Dan!