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    Spain via Ireland

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  1. I'm a big fan of Denis Cotter, especially Paradiso Seasons. I could spend hours just looking at the pictures in that one! It is fancy vegetarian food from his restaurant Cafe Paradiso, but I have found that a lot of the dishes can be made much more accessible for everyday cooking by just taking one of the more "cheffy" elements out. There are definitely more great Irish books and cooks, but I'll have to have a think about them later!
  2. We are lucky enough to have an electric kettle (a rare enough thing in Spain) which we fill up with water from the dispenser, as the tap water is horrible. Three of us go for tea at about 17.00 every day - two black teas and an Earl Grey. We always use teabags, for convenience, but there'd be no problem with a tea pot if we wanted, I suppose. It is purely for relaxation - the Lavazza coffee machines would take care of the caffeine if that was what was needed! The tea (and coffee) is provided by work, but luckily they buy English tea instead of the Spanish stuff, which is very weak.
  3. I'm a big fan - they are beautifully photographed but at the same time, you're not afraid to use the book like I am with the bigger, shinier ones! They're definitely a little on the fancy side, but we discovered that by removing an element or two from a recipe, you still have a lovely and easy dish for tired, mid-week dinners. The other great thing is that they are very in tune with the Irish seasons, which I like because if you are trying to eat local in Ireland in February - well, the more help you can get, the better!! Glad there's another admirer. I'm still trying to get to his restaurant down in Cork though...did you make it for a meal? Niamh
  4. Hehe, no, no you're quite right, I DID ask for opinions, since I am a. not very up on knives and b. not very up on banks! I can find similar knives to the ones in the bank on the V&B website, here. In fairness though, I can't find anywhere selling them on the net, but if you search in Spanish, you CAN find that they are a fairly popular freebie. Ah well, I've learned a lesson anyway! I'll stick to my one-a-year method...
  5. Just to let you know, I was passing by Gold Gourmet on Ortega y Gasset the other day, and noticed that they now have a fishmongers about 4 doors down from the fruit etc. shop. I didn't have the time to go in, but I got the impression that it was quite new. They looked like they had a good selection, and if the other shops are anything to go by, it should be good quality (if not a little pricey!). Has anybody tried it?
  6. Hi all! My bank has an interesting offer on at the moment, basically standing on the premise that if you leave a chunk of money in an account for a while for them to play around with, they will give you a seven-piece Villeroy & Boch knife set. Alternatively, if you don't have the required chunk, they will do something fancy with your bank account and you will end up paying around €100 ($154) for them. So, has anybody used V & B knifes before? I saw them in the bank and they look nice, and its a well-known brand (for plates at least), so I am thinking it might be a good deal for someone who hasn't quite got the funds to buy good knives at a faster rate than one a year! Any opinions out there?
  7. I have to confess to being a jelly snake addict; in fact, I would probably chose them over chocolate any day (well, I would actually take both, but for arguments sake...). I especially love sour jellies, and the chewier the better. The only problem is that most are FULL of chemicals and colours and E-numbers (and I eat quite a few), so I tend to get a nasty jelly hangover the next day. So, except in times of dire jelly emergency, I try to stick to these beauties. They are obviously full of sugar, but not so many nasties. They are easily available in Ireland, but I've never seen them in Spain, so in with the tea and bread that any poor visitors are made carry, there is always a request for as many of the suckers they can fit. If that means that the packets are stuffed into shoes or used as an airplane pillow, so be it! Does anyone share my obsession? Or maybe you have jelly wonders of your own? Do tell! p.s. If they ARE available in Spain, I don't want to know! It would be jelly carnage!
  8. Wow, thank you all for your replies - even if I don't use all of them this time, they will be great to keep in mind for the future. Just to answer your questions: prasantrin - it doesn't have to be cake-like, that was just the idea I got in my head and that was what I went after. The mango pudding sounds lovely though; I love mangoes and they are easy to get. Domestic Goddess - Thanks for the recipe, I will give that one a try regardless of the occasion. The name is also interesting, do you know where it comes from (I'm a translator, so I'm a bit of a nerd about these things!)? I'll see if maybe a Latin American shop has pureed corn. If it doesn't, do you know how I would go about making it myself? pastrygirl - thanks for your ideas too. You can buy GF biscuits around here no problem. I should be able find digestives in any old health food shop or large supermarket. hummingbirdkiss - we have our winning recipe! I will try that and report back. Terrasanct - its a REALLY low-tech kitchen - no microwave either! Thanks everybody!
  9. Yep, corn is fine - the baddies are wheat, kamut, spelt, barley, rye, oats and malt, or anything that contains them. You can get gluten free flours made of corn etc., but most recipes that use them are for baked cakes - pssh!
  10. Well, I have a bit of a challenge for you bakers. The summer is coming and we have a four-day weekend starting tomorrow, so I wanted to make a cake to celebrate. I'm not much of a baker these days (for reasons you'll see in a second!), but usually I can come up with something. This time, however, I'm making things hard for myself. Problem 1: the cake is for everybody passing through the house over the holidays, including a coeliac friend (no gluten). Oh, and problem 2: I have no oven I was thinking of a refrigerated cheesecake with shop-bought gluten free digestive (graham cracker?) base, maybe strawberry, since they are all over the shops at the moment. I am sure I could find a recipe online, but I was wondering if anyone here had a tried and tested recipe, or indeed a totally different suggestion. Or maybe I should just make cocktails...
  11. Niamh

    Tofu powder

    Well, thank you all for your input. For the record, I went up to the shop yesterday. They had no tofu made on the premises, but a small selection of the juice-box stuff, and no sign of the powder. Right by the door they had a small selection of refrigerated things, and lo and behold, fresh tofu made in Madrid! I know tofu is made everywhere these days, but it still made me laugh to think it was actually Spanish tofu. I had this vision of two old farmers up in some tiny pueblo making it: "Hey, Juanma, what IS this stuff? No freakin' idea Pablo, but those foreigners down in Madrid will pay a fortune for it!"
  12. I suppose it depends where you are. Is that a US dollar sign you are using there, or pesos, or something else? I would imagine a much bigger tip is expected in the US than in many other countries...
  13. Niamh

    Tofu powder

    I have just seen that my local Japanese supermarket sells this tofu powder House Tofu Has anybody tried it? I have only seen the local shop's website (not the one in the link, I included that because it has a little more info), so possibly in the actual supermarket they have fresh tofu, but I'll belive that when I see it. Around here, tofu is in short supply, so if I could have a few packets of this in the cupboard and make up halfway decent tofu when I needed it, I would be very happy! I know I could make it totally from scratch, but I'm still working up to that... P.S. in the taste stakes, please bear in mind that I have never tasted fresh tofu in my life (sniff), so my tastebuds might be a little less demanding than your average tofu connoisseur's!
  14. I love game too, and try to have it whenever possible. I especially love game birds - I had quail yesterday, and saw venison on the main course menu, but passed it over in favour of some really delicious beef. I'm lucky to get a good supply in both Ireland and Spain, but like Simon said, we'll have to wait a while for the next round. Game is one of the reasons that I love winter so much! I've heard of a restaurant in Cork (but there are probably others) that does a special game tasting night in the depths of winter, I'd love to try that.
  15. Really Pax? I don't think I have ever had a sausage that WASN'T pork in Ireland. A sausage made from anything else would be a speciality thing that would be bought from a "gourmet" sausage shop, at at least a fairly adventurous butcher. I don't think anyone buying a sausage would be expecting one made of anything other than pork unless they specifically requested it. I don't think I associate any meat with being the default in Ireland - when I was growing up we had a fairly equal mix of beef, pork and lamb, and called each by their individual name.
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