A little bit of news & Dance tomorrow!

A few of you know that we will be leaving Dublin in June… and if you didn’t – I’ll tell you more on here later. So as a last hurrah (and first gig), I’m playing fiddle with our friends Téada orchestra TOMORROW!

There will be pipes & dancers, and a mix of music styles. One of Ireland’s leading professional sean-nós dancers, Sibéal Davitt who has performed internationally will be joining us.

You can expect trad, folk dances, and the magical harp as well!! If not, come for a few drinks after.


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LITFEST Lessons Learned

Highlights: we got in a great conversation with David Lebovitz whose recipe aided in my first successful batch of french macarons.

A photo posted by Vania Ling (@lovemesaysfood) on May 18, 2015 at 8:36am PDT


Lit fest has something for everyone, from the casual partygoer who goes for the live music and craft beer in the big shed to the serious food journalist.  The cooking demos, cocktail talks and coffee cupping keep it interactive- what’s not to love.  By far the most important thing for me was to set an intention for going prior to making the journey down.  I didn’t want it just to be a feeling of ‘i’m here because everyone’s here’, rather, I wanted to really get something out of it.  I was captivated by the story of three generations of cookery writers in the Allen family.  At the heart of it, the Litfest is ultimately a food literature and writing event.  SO, how did i do in reaching these intentions? — only alright.


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After missing last year’s Ballymaloe Lit fest, I decided that I wouldn’t miss another opportunity to see what seems to be the largest gathering of food community, enthusiast, writers, and drinks specialists.  The festival brings international names like Tim Wendelboe, Ottolenghi, Noma’s René Redzepi to Ireland.  This year inspirational food pioneer Alice Waters from Chez Panisse, and another, David Lebovitz pastry chef and writer, who i have been following since i knew what blogs were, came to speak.  There were a few challenges that stood in the way of me going to the festival, but they were sorted with a bit of compromise.


The talks and wonderful food stalls were great, but many of the ideas I came away from this weekend were through conversations with like-minded ‘food-crazy’ people at the event.  It’s hard to capture the mood and magic of the weekend.  It must be a combination of pure craic, the only kind you can get in Ireland (yes, i said it), strong literary culture, and some of the highest quality of food/ producers in the world.     Oh yes, and it helps that the whole event takes place in a working farm, not the usual convention centres where these events are often held.


Met some people who, like me, were also fascinated with ‘curated’ meals with a multi sensory component.  I.e.) using meals to create conversation about a specific topic, or reframing food  through thought-provoking experiences.
I can’t get over how food is able to bring people together!

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Ballymaloe Lessons learned:
1) hustle for the talks so you don’t miss them, no time of socialising if your talk is coming up!
2) whatever you do, book accommodation early!
3) volunteer, give your time it’s a rewarding way to meet other people
For more reading: see The Family Behind Ireland’s Artisanal-Food Renaissance The Wall Street Journal. 30 March 2015
Photos featuring: Mrs.Marta @loaf_story
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Dublin Wine Fest is full swing!

Right, so I finally emerged from under my pile of proverbial rubble. (Rubble of papers on Coffee, the environmental, health, and economic impacts of the trade and policies to improve prices and health of coffee farmers) – If this doesn’t sound fascinating to you, well, I guess we can’t be friends.


I have to lock all social media and distractions away when trying to write papers.  So that’s why i’m coming to you so late.  BUT, the first
Dublin Wine Fest has been getting tremendous support in the last week.


5 things you need to know about Dublin Wine Fest!:

1) It runs from the 20-25th of APRIL, blink and you’ll miss all the fun!


2) It’s a great way to see parts of the city that you haven’t explored. There are four HUBS (Georgian Dublin, City Centre, Liffey Side, and Green Luas)
The map identifies areas or travel routes that help you find a ‘local’


3) Each participating restaurant has a wine or drink feature and special meal offer this week!  Also lots of talks and tasting events happening!


4) There are fun competitions and prizes to be won!
 tweet about the best wine experience using #BestDublinWineExp or put it on Facebook.com/GreatIrish Beverages


5) HOW MUCH?  €5 wristband here will get you in for deals at 32 restaurants & bars
This isn’t all about drink, it’s food & wine, so get your wristbands and your friends let’s start at the end of the Luas line and end in town!


Prizes for voters include a €200 case of wine from O’Brien’s Wine, €100 case of six wines from The Corkscrew, a voucher worth €70 for The Cavern wine bar from Baggot Street Wines, and two tickets to ‘Wine Tasting Wednesdays’ Burgundy tasting (6th May) at Green Man Wines.

Looking forward to galavanting the city for all the wine in the city.

Here are a selection of ‘Wine Experiences’ that might entice you
Super Miss Sue Dublin Wine Experience: 
Shrimp & Oris: Small plate pairing of char-grilled shrimp and honey gyros with Ciu Ciu ‘Oris’ Pecorino/Trebbiano (€12, daily 2pm–7pm)


Whitefriar Grill Dublin Wine Experience:
Three-course early bird menu with paired wines (€32), plus a 10-question wine quiz where each correct answer docks 10% off your bill!


ely wine bar Dublin Wine Experience: 
A flight a night: let us lead you astray with a themed tasting flight of four different wines every night, priced at a 30% discount.


China Sichuan Dublin Wine Experience Offering:
Choice of starter pairings: glass of Fantini Fiano & Chinese Turnip Cakes (€12) or glass of Allegrini Palazzo della Torre & Tea-Smoked Jasmine Ribs (€15)
Stanley’s Dublin Wine Experience:
‘Skin-contact’ wine & brief history of wine-making seminar (5pm–6pm daily, bookings welcomed) including flight of skin-contact wines with pressed duck terrine canapé (€12)


disclosure: we’ve received two wristband for the week

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PROJECT – BLACKOUT, food & music in the dark


The last couple months has been a whirlwind of ideas and exciting times.  The newest projects I get to tell you about is Blackout an immersive, multi sensory, contemporary music concert series with Kirkos Ensemble taking place in the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin.


The idea surrounds three dark pieces, performed in darkness.  The goal is to create an extraordinary ambience by making sure that we have total control over what you can see, and over what you can’t.  By depriving your eyes, other senses can can be heightened.


A fascination of mine is creating ways to shape or recontextualise the role of food or music in our lives. Food and music have both been instrumental elements of how I express or experience the day to day.  It’s fitting that I get to tie together the science of the senses with the textures of melodies, tones, and pitches of this performance.  Kevin from Gruel Geurilla will be sourcing foods that grow or  thrive in the dark and you will get to take in a innovative sensory experience of complementary tastes and smells with some of the most talented musicians in Ireland.



If you think this sounds interesting, and you want to take part in this tangled web of senses and ideas be an early adopter of the project, make it happen here: http://fundit.ie/project/blackout
I can’t wait to share more!


These are the three concerts.

The first two were composed and premiered during the war or symbolise themes of war.  In July there will be a performance of new pieces composed by young Irish composers in response to either of these pieces.  You’ll find that both the Quatuor pour la fin do temps (the quartet for the end of time) and Different Trains, are very dark, but also play on dissonance of tones and rhythms.

Concert 1 :: May 8/9 :: Le Quatour Pour La Fin Du Temps by Olivier Messaien

Concert 2 :: June 12/13 :: Different Trains by Steve Reich

Concert 3 :: July 18/19 :: Harry Patch by Sebastian Adams

Tickets are currently only available via FundIt – booking during the campaign is recommended as capacity is very limited.


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Fitness – A new way to Yoga


(examples of how NOT to do this pose)

The fight goes on – and by that I mean, the fight with pain. The last month has been positive, staying active even with migrating soreness in my lower lumbar. -I’m pretty sure cycling 100 km last weekend didn’t help it.  Great news, though, the wrists are back and I went to my first yoga in months!

We continue here about a few core-strengthening. Training your core can help improve chronic pain and teach smaller muscle groups when to “get to work”, especially as they fatigue with repetitive actions like cycling or running.

I try and do three core exercises everyday since Cambodia.

1. Glute Bridges

2. Cat/Cow iteration

3. Supermans, or Bird/Dog but on your back! 

Maybe i’ll do a video to show you want I mean…

Kim at (@Kimmcneilyoga) has been doing a great black and white Q&A series on instagram, which is phenomenal and interactive if you’re continually wondering how to improve your yoga practice.

A photo posted by Kim McNeil (@kimmcneilyoga) on Mar 22, 2015 at 5:39am PDT

What’s a yogi to do when they have tendonitis, arthritis, injury, or plain ‘old lack of flexibility in their wrists? Are poses like Downward-facing Dog, plank, or Cat Pose off the table?


The answer:

Support wrists to prevent too much flexion. Here she’s using a bolster to do the same pose I attempted in pain over christmas. Now that I know, I’ll certainly use a bolster.

Got a yoga therapy question get in touch with Kim, email info@kimmcneilyoga.ca

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RECIPE – Want Chinese Chicken?

Remember Nong’s Thai take on Hainan chicken in Portland?  The bird poached in fragrant stock. Rice steamed just perfect. Don’t forget the famous dark, gingery, just-tart sauce.

Here’s our version.

Ok Imma make this quick and dirty, because this is a meal I associate with late-dinners or Friday evenings when Dad didn’t want to cook, while I was growing up.  These are the best meals, and also ones I forget to share as I feel like most people already have their quick go-to’s.  It takes minimal prep, is extremely healthy, and if you’re lucky you might have leftovers for lunch.  I’m aware that the lack of colour on the skin may take some getting used to, but it’s clearly clean-eating!

There are many variations of this dish, from the Thai-take on it, to the Hainese (HOI LAM GUY FAN|海南雞飯).  Most Cantonese families will have it with steamed rice and boiled vegetables, making it is very low in added fat. Other variations of the recipe have fancy ice baths and salt scrubs to ensure the skin of the chicken looks as appealing as possible, but really now – ain’t nobody got time for that. 


Right so let’s get started.


Pick up a whole chicken at the store make sure it’s super fresh.

Try to get a free-run chicken, because traditionally our aunties tell us that they have the ‘firmest’ meat not like that mushy stuff we get in North America.


NOTE: Please do not wash your chicken.  DO NOT wash your chicken with water in the sink, because you will more likely get ill than if you skip the wash step.  Washing with water effectively sprays campylobactor, a pathogen found in >60% of Irish chickens, up onto the counter and surrounding area.  This is not a food safety lesson, but it kind of is.  





Gently lift the chicken out of the hot water bath using stiff utensils like serving spoon/fork or kitchen tongs.  The cavity of the bird will be filled with water so let that drain out and careful not to tear parts of the chicken.

Place it on a large plate to catch any juices

Pierce the drumstick with a chopstick (the real asian way), and if the liquid runs clear and not bloody, then your chicken is finished.

I would recommend using a temperature probe. Poke the probe into the thickest piece of meat without touching the bone. Your chicken is cooked at 160ºF or 71ºC.

While your chicken cooks (or bathes)…

Make it a nice sauce.

This. Sauce. Is. DEADLY.

It’s quoted to be as addictive as crystal meth by some, but it’s simple – just a grated ginger and chopped scallion/green onion sauce.  It can be made into a vinaigrette, but let’s keep it simple.

Using these ingredients from the list:

2-inch nubbin’ of ginger

scallions,chopped finely

cooked or heated oil

1/2 tsp salt

Oyster sauce (optional)


Grate the ginger into a bowl, take care to keep the juice.

Add the chopped scallions

In a small sauce pan, bring the oil to smoke. Set aside to cool.

Add salt & oil the warm oil to the bowl and mix.


There we are, voila… poached chicken & deadly sauce.

Carve the chicken and serve.

If you need help carving look HERE (video) or HERE (pictures).  We personally loved the instructions from Thomas Keller’s ad hoc at Home book as well.


Few final notes:

Do you want to know how to make perfect rice, no measure, every time? We will share our secrets with you if you give us a shout-out below.

Reduce waste – the water that you used to cook the chicken can be saved and used in other dishes as a mellow broth.






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We drink only the best – Tea Brewers Cup & UK Brewers Cup

Trailblazers are those who champion change and create new ways of approaching things – In which case, I’d say last weekend was a great success. 


Kas, who started the incredible Waterloo Tea’ six years ago, had the feat of hosting the first of its kind – a Tea Brewers Cup competition in conjunction with the UK Brewers Cup last week.  Now, those of you who know coffee competitions know the intricate planning, judging rubric, and preparation that go into these competitions.  It was exciting to see the community of tea and coffee come together to collaborate, innovate, learn, and have a ball doing it!


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It is a delicate place, the point where coffee and tea intersect.  I have to say our coffee friends are laughing at how deceivingly simple tea brewing seems and in contrast, tea people think we coffee-folk take it all a bit too seriously with extractions, refracting our brews ‘tds’, fancy spice grinders, roast profiles, etc.  Without getting into this discussion, I am ecstatic to see how speciality coffee and tea were showcased side-by-side.

Discussions surrounding quality and the pursuit of more information and education in tea got great thoughts brewing, literally and figuratively.  There are lots of similarities that we can draw from both commodities, but also they are so different in the trade, culture, and history.  It was an eye-opening weekend, with a talks & Q&A’s from Cory Bush at Falcon Coffees and Angela Pryce, a master tea buyer & expert who has been working with tea for nearly 15 years.

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How the competition works: 

1) the Heats (compulsory stage): the closed portion of the competition where competitors were provided three mystery teas and had to brew them accordingly.

The goal: to bring out the colour/appearance, aroma, and taste that are associated with the particular tea.   There are specific times, temperatures, and some other parameters that one alters to get a tasty cup

2) the Finals (open service): there was an open competition where competitors were to present two teas to the judges and a 15-minute presentation on the teas

All in all, we had a great discussion on where tea industry can grow in transparency and absolute quality.  I think the take-away was although there are similar challenges in both commodities (coffee & tea), they are incredibly different and can’t be approached in the same way.

If you were there last weekend, or would like to add to the chats about this event do give a shout below! We want to hear from you.

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Now to be honest, AJ is someone I have been admiring on instagram for a while. She is honest and transparent in her posts; she goes deep when sharing her inner musings. Her personal style comes across in her photography and writing and it transcends faith, introspection, and authentic glee for life and community!

AJ is originally from Calgary, but moved to Toronto in the last year to pursue her dreams & study culinary, food styling and photography. This month’s Women’s day blog series has been mostly Q&A’s so to switch it up, I asked her to share a little insight about her journey since moving to Toronto.


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We chose to feature AJ because of her incredible eye for photographs. Too often I read her creative projects, like #40conversations project, and they articulate thoughts that resonate so well, I can only imagine that they would be point of reflection for many of our readers.

Just like…

A photo posted by Alexa Fernando (@ajfernando) on Mar 9, 2015 at 1:56pm PDT

“Okay, I’ll show you what I mean. On one end is what we know and on another end is what we don’t know. In the middle there’s this grey area. That’s where ideas come from and where you’ll find the building blocks required for innovation.” – Omar, MD/PhD, Day 17 Have you ever been in those situations where someone’s explaining something and you’re nodding your head in agreement but you actually don’t get it because it’s nowhere near your field? Next time that happens, don’t be afraid to admit your ignorance and just ask. Omar is in the business of text mining and to help me understand better he grabs a sheet of napkin and draws on it while explaining his point. It was a nice gesture because as a creative, having that visual was all I needed to get it. People are willing to put an extra effort, sharing what they know, as long as you are willing to learn as well. So meet them halfway! There is that grey area after all.


“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” Since I missed a conversation on Day 19, thought I’d share another one from a different day. I saw this quote scribbled on Aya’s notebook and started our conversation by reading it out loud to her. It really resonated with me cause although I had just started my project (I was on Day 5) I knew already that it would be something that I would want to do for the rest of my life. Those life/inspirational quotes you post may get redundant to some but don’t let that hold you back from sharing. The little things you do matter. Somewhere out there it might just be that push that someone needs in their day or that simple reminder that he/she is doing okay. #40conversationsproject #lessonsfrompeople To coincide with this post, I’ve left some prints with handwritten quotes at @650cafe. Just say hi to Stef (maybe start a conversation with him!) and mention my name/instagram and he’ll let you choose from the set.


“I think one of the biggest realizations I’ve had since moving to Toronto is that the world does not revolve around me. There are far greater things at work and if I want to make a difference especially in a city like Toronto then I have to stand on my own feet and make it happen. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I should stand out—I only need to stand up. After all, I am just a [small] piece of the entire picture. We all have a part to play and who I am as an individual is made up of all the people around me. Whether we know each other or not, I’ve learned that each person that I encounter has a significant role and influence in my life: I am because you are.” – ALEXA


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Thanks for reading, are you liking the series guys? If you enjoyed this please comment below or share it! Do let us know if you are liking what you see.

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NOM NOM NOMinate my blog


Hi all,
I don’t often hear back from you who read the blog – but I know you’re out there 😉 so I made this video and today is the last day that you can nominate this or any other blog for an award at Saveur.com.
So give us some love!

Watch the video and follow the instructions below.


Sharing my nut & pulse collection with you!

CLICK HERE: http://saveur.cc/yTjZ1j

1. Enter the URL of your favorite blog: http://www.lovemesaysfood.com

2. (pick a category you wish, multiple entries are allowed!)

3. Are you nominating your site? *
(No, this is another site)

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Jo is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle photographer. She takes us on journeys to exotic places and tells compelling stories through her photographs at ‘CandidsbyJo’.

We met a year ago at the Food Bloggers Connect conference in London.  I watched her stealthily capture moments throughout the weekend One particular thing stood out; her ability to warm up to anyone and engage them. Jo has a bubbly, warm, and up-beat personality.

We chose to feature Jo not only because her photos are damn-nice, but we can identify with her strength.  It’s exciting, crazy, and breath-taking to move across the pond, re-acculturate, and find your feet while chasing your dreams.  As part of her feature, she’s given us a taste of her travels at a cheese producer in Portugal.



Where are you from originally and what is your educational background?

I grew up in Boston also I got my undergrad and post grad degrees in Communications & Business there.

Why London, if you weren’t in London where would you be?

I was in a three year long distance relationship with a Brit and realized one of us has to cross the pond. I made the leap and am really glad I did! if I weren’t in London I’d love to work in New Zealand for a year.

How did you transition into food & travel photography?

I started a personal project in 2012 where I took a photo each day for a whole year. My end goal was improve my photography but the project also led me down an unexpected path towards specifically food & travel. I haven’t looked back since!

What have been a few things that you can attribute your growth in the industry to; is it practice, networks, training, assisting?

Practice is definitely key, especially for people like me who learn through trial and error. Once I started shooting often enough I began to pay attention to light and how to work with it for a style specific to me. Networking in person and on social media has been helpful in raising awareness of my work too.

How has your creativity evolved?

Once I started becoming comfortable with my style (which took a long time) it was really easy to expand from there. I gradually evolved from beautiful bright food photos to ones that incorporates a darker tone and shadows.

What can you suggest to empower other women out there?

As women, we are often the ones who hold ourselves back.  I think it’s necessary to recognise that pattern when it happens and push through it. It’s helpful to have a good support system both personally and professionally.

You say you know the secret of making a mean Old Fashioned?

Muddle really well! 🙂

Last one, what’s your favourite place to eat in London? (you can give us five, it’s hard to pick)

My list is continually changing since there are so many wonderful options in London! I’m a big fan of Restaurant Story, Duck & Waffle, Kanada-ya, Sushi Tetsu and Dishoom. They have all been consistently wonderful.


Thanks for reading, If you enjoyed this please comment below or share it! Sharing is caring.

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Dublin, Love me Says food

Sophie’s for Brunch!

[SHORT, Quick Lovin’ ]

Service:  Prompt & friendly

Likelihood to return: I’d be keen to have a late drink!

Food/Coffee: Food 2.5/5, Coffee 3/5.

Chillness: 4.5 chill chairs!

Highlights: the view



It’s quite the place the Dean Hotel, I’m sure most Dubliners would agree you’re transported to a different place when you walk through the doors. It’s a boutique hotel located in Georgian Dublin on Harcourt St.  The interior feels as if you’re in a trendy New York hotel and Sophie’s is on the  top floor.


Sophie’s is so aesthetic, you’re surrounded by windows and it boasts, likely, one of the best views in Dublin aside from the Guinness storehouse and the Marker Hotel’s Rooftop bar. It has stark black and white tiles and you can see into the kitchen which adds to the atmosphere.   The bar in the middle of the restaurant is one of my favourite elements. They have not spared any expense.



As far as food goes, we were optimistic.  After all it was a brilliant place. We had lots of brunch! But, as one of our friends put it “Well they could have done a little bit with the presentation?” If you’re looking for hard poached eggs that took a tan sesh under the heat lamp, then sure, here you are.  The staff were accommodating and friendly.


Despite all this our experience was great the drinks were fabulous and overall it’s one of the most enjoyable views.  This place is stunning. It has a lot going for it so we hope it only gets better.

What have your experiences been like I’d love to hear that give us a shout!

Check back on Sunday for our next Feature in the Women’s Day Series!


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LOVE_ my Coffee Ritual

Here’s a wee time-lapse video I did – I’d love to see what your ritual is like.

I’m making a 3-minute filter coffee on the clever brewer here, but find that more often than not I get an under-extracted cup.  Geeks abroad, is that your experience?

What’s Your ritual?

Share with us, post a video or send it to me and I’ll post it below!

Don’t forget to check out this month’s series on international women in Food!


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Calgary, Dublin

WOMEN’S FEATURE – That Food Cray’s Nicole Fung, Hong Kong

Nicole has taken the Hong Kong food blog scene by storm, stole their hearts with ease, and looks amazing doing it.


Since starting the exceptionally popular “That Food Cray!!!”, she has shared her love of food with us, tantalising us with food-porn-worthy photography and her gangster-chic voice that is unique and real.  We recently caught up with her in Hong Kong and she was so sweet!


Nicole your writing is authentic – it’s strong, fun, but feminine.
We chose to feature Nicole first as her new project, MISSBISH encourages and empowers women who are leading their own industries – it is a gorgeous content-rich website with a place to shop to your hearts delight.
 – enjoy! 

source: missbish.com

“MISSBISH is essentially a community of beautiful women who are fearless, creative and empowering.”

Where are you from originally and what is your educational background?

I was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. I studied at the University of Alberta for a couple years, then finished my Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of Calgary majoring in accounting.

How did you end up moving to Hong Kong and what got you interested in food in the first place?

I took some time off after graduation and figured Hong Kong would be a good travel hub for 6 months. My dad’s side of the family lives in Hong Kong so it was the most economical way for me to travel. During my time in Asia and Australia, I found my passion for food and travel.

So you decided to start a food blog, which is so entertaining to read – by the way. What do you think helped set it apart – is there a specific niche that you had in mind?

I lucked out and met some amazing people in Hong Kong, my husband included. My friends and husband played a major part in motivating and inspiring me to start That Food Cray !!! My husband has been extremely supportive and showed me the ropes in terms of learning how to use WordPress as well as schooling me on photography. That Food Cray !!! differentiates itself from most food blogs and doesn’t take food too seriously. I’m not trying to be a food critic or shut people down for the sake of traffic. We try to keep it 100, funny, easy to digest, relatable and accessible with a strong focus on photography. We are constantly learning about new foods and exploring new places hoping to encourage others to also step out of their comfort zones to travel, to explore and try new things.

Most recently you’ve started the site ‘MISSBISH’ with two other gals, Lindsay & Gillian. It emanates empowerment for all women out there. Can you tell us a little about the mantra behind it and why you decided to embark on this wicked project?

MISSBISH is an editorial website with an e-commerce component that we started for women, to celebrate women. We focus on empowering women by creating strong female-driven content. We share stories about inspirational females who are killing it, whether in fashion, music, art, food, whatever. MISSBISH is essentially a community of beautiful women who are fearless, creative and empowering. We felt that this was something that was definitely missing, but so necessary.


Where do you draw your creative influences from and how does it evolve? Have you always been creative?

To be 100% honest, I’m still very new to this whole creative scene. Most of my creativity is inspired by the people around me. My closest friends are the ones who have pushed, challenged, and inspired me to move in the direction I’m moving in now. I feel like is another reason why building MISSBISH was so important to me on a personal level. For me, I wanted to build a network of women to inspire other females as a way of spreading the love / good karma that I have been blessed with. To answer your second question, I grew up in a pretty traditional Chinese household. At the end of the day, getting good grades in math, English, and science was what mattered. That being said, my parents also felt it was important to allow me to express my creativity via piano and art lessons. I also had hobbies including cooking, music and designing my AsianAvenue / Calgary Planet webpages haha.. However, when it came to choosing a career path, something that would land me a cushie 9-5 corporate job seemed like the right choice. I didn’t realize until afterward, that the financial industry was not me. Regardless of how hard I tried, it just wasn’t something I was passionate about.

What can you suggest for other girls out there working away at something they don’t feel fulfilled by – can anyone be a creative?

I strongly believe that anyone can be creative. You just have to find something you’re passionate about, work hard at it, and make it happen. This may sound super cliche, but anything is possible as long as you’re willing to commit and put in the work.

It must be hard to stay fit in the midst of a life of eating, striking a balance is everything; how often do you have to hit the gym?

This year, my new years resolution was to hit up the gym at least 2-3 times a week. So far, I haven’t fallen off the wagon! When I’m not stuffing my face with burgers, ramen, and whatever else I post, I’m probably eating something boring – like a salad or yogurt haha.

Last one, what’s your favourite place to eat in HK? (you can give us five, it’s hard to pick)

This is a tough call, so I’m going to name a few. Yardbird and Ronin – run by the same peeps, Matt Abergel and Lindsay Jang (she’s also one of my MISSBISHpartners). Tung Po is a fun spot with good vibes, the food isn’t amazing, but it’s always a good time. Sushi Shikon, my favorite sushi restaurant in Hong Kong. Via Tokyo if you’re into Japanese soft serve, it’s the best. Kakurega Ramen Factory, IMO the best tsukemen in HK.


Thanks for reading, If you enjoyed this please comment below or share it!  Sharing is caring.


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Calgary, Dublin

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’s DAY Features #repicturewomen

Because the world needs you to change it. – Lean In.org


This Sunday is International Women’s Day and to celebrate, I have selected a few creative risk-takers, who I’ve met through food, to share about what they do and how they stay motivated!  I hope this will empower others to take leaps and encourage authentic individualism. Rethink the identity of women in our daily interactions; in leadership, at work, online, and at home.


Feminism has been prominent in the media and policy space lately.  From the UN to Getty images, this must mean we are taking notice that social change needs to happen.  My image of a strong woman used to be a girl playing sports or demonstrating masculine qualities like being strong, but that is changing. We, (men & women) perpetuate these ideas but we need to break these stereotypes.
(3-months ago I wrote about it -here-)


I am really excited to share this with you and hope that you will check back throughout the month for the features of these diverse international women from around the world!  – FIRST Post is Sunday, 8th of March!

Empower, Encourage, Accompany

Empower – feel the capacity to achieve what you want to accomplish
Encourage – lend support  to keep someone going
Accompany – be the company present in someone else’s struggle.

thx lads & dolls, don’t forget to follow on twitter & drop us a note below!

ALSO, Saveur is taking nominations for blog nominations! I would love love love it, if you’d take 30 secs to nominate us!


Click here:

Enter the URL of your favorite blog:==>www.lovemesaysfood.com

(pick a category you wish, multiple entries are allowed!)

Are you nominating your site? choose *
No, this is another site

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Dublin, Love me Says food, Photography

A REVIEW – Plenty More, Ottolenghi

Until recent years, I was not a believer in cookbooks because why pay for a book when one can scour the internet for free recipes?  Well, now that I have you gasping – fear not!  I’m not that person anymore.  A year ago, we bought Polpo & Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem book.  I now own all four Ottolenghi’s books.



Plenty More builds on the vibrant veggie recipes of its prequel, Plenty.  I’ve read heard Ottolenghi speak and read his articles a few times; he writes a weekly column on vegetarian recipes in the Guardian.  He isn’t vegetarian, but felt that vegetables should not be limiting.  Unlike Jerusalem, these recipes don’t follow a specific ethnic cuisine. They draw from many flavours and interesting ingredients.  The layout of the book is very intriguing, chapters are categorised by cooking method – tossed, steamed, blanched, braised, grilled, roasted… and baked! I tried to do a variety of them.

I like that the flavours are asian, indian, middle-eastern in inspiration, but don’t commit to any of them! Ottolenghi is creative in substituting traditional ingredients with others, like who woulda though – courgette ‘baba ganoush’ or steaming aubergine with sesame and spring onion.


Lentil with Hardboiled egg

This is one of my favourites in the book, also one of the simplest.  There was a fantastic balance of flavours and textures.  The bite of fresh red onion & herby coriander, contrasted with the heartiness of the lentil & earthy warm spice… Mmmm. I don’t know what my obsession is, but I love saying “there isn’t enough ACID,” in any dish we eat.  This dish has great acid to brighten the spice and tahini, it even brings out the sweetness in my coffee this morning. It was mentioned in the book that you can have the dish for breakfast or dinner. – I couldn’t think of a better breakfast.

I would say this is a 8.5/10. (if breakfast was only this good everyday! Satisfying)


Mixed Vegetables & Yoghurt with Green chili Oil 

A very similar recipe to a few of the other books.  In Jerusalem there is a roasted veg salad with a yogurt sauce that is quite similar.  This is a crowd pleaser, tastes great and flavours are amazing.  Yogurt and roast veggies are fantastic.  The extra heat from the green chili is adds to the dish.

I would say this is a 8/10. (solid results, dependable as a healthy good compliment to a meal)



Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomello & Star Anise 

Attempted this recipe a few times, once with ruby grapefruit, which has a slightly more pronounced grapefruit flavour compared to the pomello.  Pomello can be drier or juicy depending on your selection skills.  This recipe wasn’t a favourite of ours. I was drawn to the asian influence of the ingredients (star anise, pomello, ) spicy & sweet.  It is exactly what you expect it to be, slightly odd with the brainy bitterness of the brussel sprouts, fresh citrus and a bit of sweet syrup with a christmasy sharpness.

I would say this is a 6/10. (consider the effort of obtaining the exotic ingredients and having it taste just, ok)

Sprouting Broccoli & Edamame Salad with curry leaves and coconut

I must’ve made this recipe three times, to ensure consistency.  I believe it has to do with my husband’s aversion to curry leaves – I also did not attempt the recipe omitting it. The first time, I used desiccated coconut and second shaved fresh pieces of coconut into the dish.  It was lacking a depth of flavour that we were hoping for.  The curry leaves give it a very distinct taste.

I would say this is a 6/10. (slightly bitter, but overall it is definitely do-able. )


We got on a bit of a roll, here are the recipes I attempted: 

Steamed Aubergine with Sesame and Spring Onion

Sprouting Broccoli & Edamame Salad with curry leaves and coconut

Sprouting Broccoli with Sweet Tahini

Alphonso Mango & Curried Chickpea Salad

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomello & Star Anise

Mixed Vegetables & Yoghurt with Green chili Oil

Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini & Cumin



Overall a great read and a beautiful book. It has stunning photos, but Jerusalem remains our favourite. – Have you tried any of the Ottolenghi books? Don’t be shy, let me know what you think!


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Dublin, Fitness

Fitness- Yoga for the hurting

I’d like to do a quick shout out to Kim at (@Kimmcneilyoga). I’ve been following her and a few other inspiring yogis to remind myself to slow down, focus, and take care of your joints. Last time, we spoke a bit about chronic pain and how to combat it.

I’m a lover of yoga; it builds strength, teaches mindfulness, and often relieves physical and mental stress from other forms of training. It’s key to my workout schedule. However, I’m crushed because my wrist has been in very bad shape since November and I can’t put any pressure on it or bend it. I asked Kim about my practice.

What’s a yogi to do when they have tendonitis, arthritis, injury, or plain ‘old lack of flexibility in their wrists? Are poses like Downward-facing Dog, plank, or Cat Pose off the table?

The quick answer:

Nope. Start by changing your wrist support. Fold back one edge of your mat and place your palms on the edge with your fingers and finger mounds off on the floor. The idea here is you’ll increase the angle of the wrists so they don’t have to flex as much. (I had to bend it a few times to give my wrist the height) – In other news, I realised that you fold the mat UNDER, only after I did a whole day of rolling it up, silly me.

A photo posted by Kim McNeil (@kimmcneilyoga) on Feb 17, 2015 at 8:51pm PST

Got a yoga therapy question get in touch with Kim, email info@kimmcneilyoga.ca

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Ethnic Food Series: Q&A with DUCK Dublin



It’s time to celebrate and of course we don’t discriminate, lunar new year isn’t just for Chinese people. Every one on the lunar calendar celebrates the new year this time of year. Apparently it’s the largest migration of people in the whole year! People returning to celebrate new years at home.


Dubliners, we continue the ethnic food series this week.  It just so happens to be the lunar new year, and that means we are extra festive, eat WAY too much, receive lucky money from all our elders, and in turn wish them well wishes! Take this time to give any overseas family a call to see how they are doing tell them you’re thinking of them, it’s kind of what we do.  (also, it’s a time where we buy/wear new clothes.  fitting, Brown Thomas has a New Years Celebration on today with all the cultural experiences of a Lion Dance and candy! Take it in )

the prep time can span a few days; marinating, blanching, then drying the duck. ..roasting it in the special bullet oven. 



This past summer we welcomed a new Chinese noshery to Dublin.  Why is this exciting? – because it is unlike any of the other Chinese place you know.  I want you to take those ‘sweet & sour’, ‘fried wonton’-preconceptions and throw them out.  I dare say, it offers the closest experience of Hong Kong-style barbecue street meat that one can get in Dublin.  It really hasn’t gotten the press it deserves, considering it straddles our Irish trend of 2014 ‘Southern BBQ meat’ and the recent obsessions with street food.


What to order: BBQ Duck and/or Pork on Rice (don’t be afraid to mix & match)


DUCK is just across the way from Fade St. Social, on Fade Street ;).  It is in the core of the city and is approachable and oh so oriental.  It is the new innovative project brought to you by Eva, who is a lead at the Asia Market Importers.

There’s no better way to learn than to ask questions.  So, Eva and I had a chat about the Chinese food in Ireland and here’s the Q&A:


How do you think Irish perceive Chinese food & how do you think we can change that – is it indicative of what Chinese food really is? 
I think a lot of Irish people like Chinese food. Chinese restaurants and take aways can be seen everywhere even in the smaller towns in Ireland.  The earliest Chinese immigrants to Ireland would have come from Hong Kong so a lot of the Chinese food style that currently exists is influenced by Hong Kong style dishes, including sweet and sour pork, beef in black bean sauce, spring rolls. 


What did you study?
I studied Information and Communications Technology at Trinity College Dublin.


What’s your most fave thing to make at home? I love making soup noodles and sushi at home.

Fave place to eat & place to get coffee in Dublin? 
It’s difficult to choose a favourite place to eat, but I love pichet on trinity street. 
coffee wise i like sasha coffee shop on Drury street, very near to where i work and the coffee is really good.

What’s the most influential thing that has developed your understanding of food?

My parents have influenced me a lot in developing my understanding and love of food.  I used to help them cook dinners when I was younger and my dad would help me bake cakes and make cookies. he blames his big belly from eating all the goodies I make!


Thanks Eva for sharing your thoughts with us.


As a final note, I spent another day with the chef at Duck and it was really eye-opening.  It’s true that everyone has a story, and learning new cultures and assimilating to new places can be different experience for each.


In the west, we have pastry chefs, commis chefs, etc. In contrast, Chef Yip tells me that there are special bbq chefs and dim sum chefs in Hong Kong, who train to make these specific dishes.  The prep time for some of these things can span a few days; marinating,  blanching, then drying the duck.  Painting on the secret sauce for the outer layer and roasting it in the special bullet oven contraption.  (must be the Chinese answer to the Tandoori) It is an intricate process, that requires exceptional skill to get a crisp and flavourful duck that is moist.  –  oh, the things we take for granted.


I’d encourage you to try the pork belly ‘siu yok’ if you like crackling!

Tell me, what are your cultural experiences.  What’s something you’re extra cautious about let’s chat!

IMG_0501 IMG_0531 IMG_0527
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Dublin, Recipe

Happy Pancake Tuesday avec Donal Skehan & Happy Pear!

Here in Ireland, pancake Tuesday (aka Shrove tuesday) is done very BIG!

BIG and Festive; by festive, I mean we have crepe-like pancakes topped with lemon juice and dusted in icing sugar. I’ve never seen a place go so crazy over pancakes, but I won’t deny you the pancake-pleasure, I love them so much! You must, must, must top them with CANADIAN maple syrup 😉

So if you haven’t prepared your sourdough sponge overnight like I mentioned last week for sourdough pancakes don’t be frettin’.  Here is plan B, follow this alternative recipe by Donal Skehan & the guys at Happy Pear for Dairy-free, gluten-free, banana buckwheat pancakes! secret recipe: tahini.  These guys are so entertaining – yea, it’s Irish charm they’re all charming.

-Final note: notice the fancy wok used to make the pancakes

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Where to go for ‘cultural’ food in Dublin

So many complain (or give out) about the quality and authenticity of ethnic food here in Dublin.  Fridays for the following month are going to be devoted to ethnic foods I love, because variety is the spice of life!


I won’t say we have the best offering of multicultural food, but what I can do is hopefully get you excited to try something new.  I think there is a certain curiosity because so many of us travel abroad and explore different cultures. We start off at Zaika, one of my faves!


Zaika’s actually an Indian take away.  Yes, I know, please judge me.  My best Indian friend swears by their lamb biryani – Spiced and hot with cardamom, clove, star anise, and coriander it’s also served with yoghurt.
As I sit here waiting for my order, my ears are ‘massaged’ with the top 40 pop countdown, Justin Bieber (the biebz himself). I smell the spices wafting towards me and have counted the number of Indian people that walk into the shop – because that’s always a good measure, we are 3/4, not bad right?


Lamb biryani and chickpea curry (chana masala) with naan. The other day I saw someone order a spinach dish (palak/ paal paneer), something I’m going back for! The Naan is fresh made in the tandoori when you order and yes, they also do delivery.
It isn’t highlighting Irish food per se, but what it is doing is bringing diversity to the market. A little fact here, that 58% of Irish shoppers in a 2013 survey said they looked at the origin label when shopping for food. – ok bit of a tangent, just saying, not all food we buy is local.


Source: Bord Bia

Source: Bord Bia


Youseff, the cook generously agreed to share a bit of his skill with me. So look back to some additional posts on our cook session! (yea, kind of nerdy and really love Indian food)

I’d love to hear what gets you excited about food in Dublin. Don’t forget to comment below.
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V-day’s MY DAY

This is for those lucky enough to believe in Valentine’s day and celebrate it too!
Also for those who also forgot until today that it’s two days from now.
Here are a few things you can pull out and still impress…
with increasing difficulty, starting with the least time/effort required
BOY ARE YOU LUCKY, I made it reallll easy  (click photos for links to buy)


Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 17.26.03
No. 1
Cake Cafe does room service, in your own room! 
This is absolutely genius, for those like me, who do not want to brave the weekend crowds for brunch, there is just something sane about having brunch at home.  They cater to both veggies & non veggies but this does take the planning of one-day’s foresight and the click of a button.
No. 2
Get a thoughtful card.
There are a few places in town like Fallon & Byrne and Irish Design shop that sell Irish made cards.  However, if you want to be very creative someone in our family takes pictures of great cards and sends them to us on the day via iMessage!  well lucky me, or lucky YOU, i’ve adopted this practice. (But honestly, support the independent creatives that are making these cool Irish cards!)
Photo: Bean and Goose Facebook

Photo: Bean and Goose Facebook

No. 3 
Bean & Goose Chocolate 
This Irish chocolatier is creating quite the movement.  S & I particularly love the milk chocolate bar with sea salt.  But just the other day I tasted the champagne truffle and my oh my, I will gladly receive a whole box of these.
They will be at the Temple Bar Market on the day, Saturday the 14th!
No. 4
There are two easy stops to pick up these french macarons, Laudurée in Brown Thomas or Cocoa Atelier on Drury street.  Why’s this romantic?  I’m not sure if it’s because they are a labour of love, they originate from France (of course Paris is romantic), or the fact that they are pastel and lovely that these little sweets will make you GOLDEN!
No. 5 
Succulents from |the garden|
Why not get something a bit longer lasting?  These are so easy to tend to and they live forever. These little guys are known for storing water in their leaves, so as long as you don’t over water they are the perfect alternative. However, the garden bouquets are also absolutely stunning!
While i’m aware that this has been almost an entirely sexist post geared towards guys, getting things for girls, i’m pretty sure that you guys can appreciate almost every one of these things on the list.  


my wish list is this pineapple macaron box & these cute heart cookies that’ll be coming in my breakfast in bed from cake cafe!

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Dublin, Fitness

February Fitness – I hate core day

Hello fitness friends & food-lovers,

I recently had a conversation with a friend about chronic pain; it sounds worse than it is, but anyone who’s experienced prolonged pain will know it can reduce you to nothing.

This is one reason to stay active and on top of core work. Either to maintain your mobility and strength (if you have pain), or to keep it at bay by staying as mobile and pain-free for as long as possible.  The ‘Use it or Lose it’ motto applies here!

So when people ask why I train, it’s not only to be strong, or lift, or bulk, or aesthetics.  I’m a firm believer in functional training for what our bodies were meant for. – y’know, before we were sitting at desks with computers we worked the land and ploughed fields.

All jokes aside, here is some of the core work that I’ve tried to do on a daily basis.  Building discipline is tricky, and pay-off is slow.  (about that six pack though…)

CLICK HERE> Core Workout 


Tips for Workout:

– the hip raises can be done both legs together, and then isolating one leg at a time as you get stronger

– make sure you engage your core & pull in your belly for all the core exercises. (pretend like someone’s going to poke you in the stomach and you’ll tense tense it up)

– for plank & side plank, try to incorporate these into one exercise by transitioning from side plank facing the wall to a one-handed side-plank tucking the arm under and across the body/belly

– I’ve turned the bird/dog upside down and done them on my back like this


– Leg raises can be done with a bent knee. If you think these are easy just make sure you are engaging your core AND your back is touching the ground at all times – then we’ll talk.

QUIZ TIME, What is this and what is it for??


It’s a lacrosse ball!  More on mobility later, but I’d say massage & lacrosse balls are key for rolling out tight spots.  In Dublin, this is where I’ve found them:


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Love me Says food, Recipe

RECIPE – Sourdough Pancakes

Not to worry, I know that I’m about 2 to 3 years late to the game of sourdough and all the cool kids are already done with this, but hey better late and really passionate than never –  I think.
So, after a little scare last week where I thought I killed my sourdough mother, I revived it.  These were a bit tart/sour, hence, sourdough.
I think it just takes a bit of getting used to, but still delicious and even better as a savoury crepe.  I took a departure off the path of the recipe because after attending the Real Bread Ireland meeting, I was convinced to try things made exclusively with the sourdough as a rising agent (sans bicarbonate). Personally I do not have any aversion to it, as it is in the ‘generally regarded as safe’ (GRAS) food additives – it’s fine, nothing will happen to you if you eat bicarb.  seriously.
I’ve now made two recipes with the sourdough, and one thing that one must get accustomed to is the wait time.  You mix the starter to make a so-called ‘sponge’ first and then let it do it’s work!  Loads more wait time involved, but this is well worth it.
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Love me Says food, Love Travel

LOVE_travel BBC Travel – Piecing together puzzles in Cambodia

A coincidental piece was posted on BBC Travel 3 days before my Cambodia post here.  It may be a bit of a read, but truly indicative of how I felt after 3 days in Siem Reap – Kind of bewildered, slightly uncomfortable. Since returning from Cambodia, I’ve watched this movie and have gained a whole new perspective after talking to a few people about the history and condition in Cambodia.  I knew that I missed out on experiencing the authenticity of some parts of Cambodian culture when we were there, but I didn’t push myself.  This article really makes you reflect on the underlying culture and histories of the destinations you visit and how they can have a distinctly profound effect on you after.
just one good reason to travel

The article from[WORDS & WANDERLUST] by Don George follows:

As Mr Kim navigated his car onto the puddled, potholed road that led to Banteay Chhmar, he turned to me. “Where are you staying?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.

He looked at me out of the corner of his eye. “There are no hotels in Banteay Chhmar.”

“I know,” I said. “I arranged a homestay. On my computer.”

“OK. Where is the home?”

“I don’t know.”

He swivelled to face me. “Where should I take you?”

This moment seemed to symbolise my entire Cambodia trip: Where was I going? Why was I here?

I had arrived in Cambodia after a week-long tour consisting of lectures, book readings and writing workshops in Melbourne and Singapore. When I was planning that tour half a year earlier, I realised that Siem Reap was just a short flight from Singapore. I had been wanting to visit Siem Reap since childhood, when I had seen a photo of Angkor Wat in a National Geographic magazine. Some kind of seed had been planted then, and over four decades, its stony tendrils had blossomed into an irresistible longing. I had to see that place, touch its ground, smell its air. Now it would be just two hours away by plane. I booked a one-week visit.

Over the ensuing months, as I was researching Siem Reap, I discovered a village about 160km to the northwest called Banteay Chhmar, where an organisation named Community-Based Tourism (CBT) arranged homestays. There was scant information online, but what I found promised amazing ruins and kind people. At first I thought I would base myself in Siem Reap and spend one night in Banteay Chhmar. Then I decided to make it two nights. As time passed, the image of going off the map to little-visited Banteay Chhmar took hold of me, and I ended up reserving a three-night stay through the CBT’s website.

(Candace Rose Rardon)

Mr Kim met me at the airport to take me to my Siem Reap hotel. During the 20-minute drive, he spoke easily and impressed me with his knowledge, English fluency, and calm, kind air. I asked him about getting to Banteay Chhmar. A few years earlier, he said, the drive would have taken most of a day, but recently a paved highway had been built almost all the way to the village, and now the journey would be about three hours by highway and just 30 minutes along bumpy, unpaved paths. “Of course,” he added with a wry smile as a sudden downpour turned the windshield into a washing machine, “it’s the rainy season, so it might take longer.” I asked if he could take me, and he said sure, that he liked that part of Cambodia and had served in the army there.

Over the next two and half days, I immersed myself in a giddy, deluge-dodging round of ruin-hopping and restaurant-gorging in Siem Reap. I saw Angkor Wat at dawn and dusk, mysterious strangler-figged Ta Prohm, the benevolent, beguiling faces of Bayon, and exquisite Banteay Srey. I slung back Indochine Martinis at the seductive Miss Wong bar and savoured a six-course seasonal feast at acclaimed Cuisine Wat Damnak. I was exultant to have reached the place I had dreamed of for decades, but somehow among the thousands of balloon-panted, sarong-wrapped, selfie-snapping foreigners, I sensed the essence of Cambodia eluding me. Even immersed in the cultural heart of the country, I felt somehow distanced from the place.

[more] via BBC – Travel – Piecing together puzzles in Cambodia : Cambodia.

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Camerino Bakery, Dublin

[SHORT, Quick Lovin’ ]

Service: fab smiles & take-away

Likelihood to return: 4/5 

Food/Coffee: Food 4/5, Coffee 4/5.

Chillness: 4 chill chairs!

Highlights: one of the few places in the city where you will find Roasted Brown coffee & fresh baked bread in-house


North of the river, most of the places I frequent gravitate around a 1 km-radius of Capel street. Shameful, I know.   Sushi, Indian, Brother Hubbard, and now Camerino’s!  A cafe that started as a bakery, but now has a new face on Capel street.
You need to go check this place out, and here’s why:
They do coffee.  (I don’t mention that unless it’s worth mentioning)
Daily lunch offerings are wholesome, filling, and homey.  But really now, a place that does sweet treats and makes sandwiches from their own fresh house-made bread.  Caryna and Julie are the lovely mainstays, you are always greeted with a smile that will warm your heart.  The display window is filled with pretty cakes, and shelves stocked with Canadian maple syrup. Caryna has an amazing way of making people feel right at home.
You may recognise Caryna’s face from the similarly delicious Caryna’s Cakes, who supplies cakes to a cafes in the Dublin area.  It boasts an award-winning Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie!  Cakes can also be made to order, cycling cakes, ninja turtles, all can be a special ordered.
Camerino-1931 Camerino-2002 Camerino-1999
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Love me Says food, Love Travel



Hong Kong is the ultimate travel hub for most of Asia.  Travel to most of South East Asia can be made through transfers through the HK airport.
We arrived in Siem Reap on Tuesday morning just before noon. As I write this, I’m excited with anticipation of seeing a completely new culture. (obviously I wrote this with every hope of posting this earlier)  What I’m not doing well with is the thought of 30+ weather. All I hope for is less humidity –  nope, no such luck.
We walked out of the airport, past the drivers offering transfers to the hotel, looking for these ‘Tuktuks’. Now, the sun and humidity were beating down, and we weren’t so sure where to find them.  Luckily enough, our friend D chatted up ‘Chet’ who took us over to his tuktuk, just outside the airport gates. He strategically fit all our bags into the motorised rickshaw and checked into our hotel.

Here are the top temples on our list: 

Lady Temple (Banteay Srei)

Pre Rup. (Prae Roup)

Angkor Wat

Ta Prohm

We made it to Banteay Srei, the Lady temple, and watched the sun set from the Prae Roup. The Ladies temple is known for its intricate and numerous seductive lady figures carved throughout the monument.  Our tuktuk driver, Chet, seemed to know the drill.  He took us to Prae Roup, along with all the other tourists to watch the sunset.  What a beautiful place, I had a fantastic time running around catching the setting light – also lost the group a few times. Prae Roup had steep-as-hell stairs to the sky it seemed.  If you are afraid of heights, i’d say stay far away from the edge.  There are no railings except on the stairs.  After sunset, we headed to Pub Street in Siem Reap for dinner.
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Weds Morning


When did i get up this morning, 4:30 am. 😐  This exciting hour calls for coffee and not much else, but instead we shuffled ourselves down to the lobby to meet our TukTuk driver, Chek. (HINT: Bring a flashlight/torch & bug spray!)  Off to another sunrise with about 500 other tourists at Angkor Wat.  I said in Hawaii, that I wouldn’t ever get up on holiday for another sunrise, but I made an exception.  This is Cambodia and it’s phenomenal
This was the most interesting experience, rushing to find the best photo spot, but not to worry, i used my elbows.  The most interesting bit proceeded not to be the sunrise, rather the vendors at the gates greeting us with names like Harry Potter no. 5, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and none other than James Bond!  They were selling hot tea, coffee, and other breakfast items.   Harry potter even gave us some photo tips.  As instructed, we stood near the pond past all the crowd to the very left of the path so as to capture all five peaks of the domed temple.  We explored after sunrise, and came back to have a coconut shake at Harry potter’s place.
Next stop, we visited Ta Prohm known for its characteristic tree roots and eerie feel.  Restoration works have been going for years now, but during our visit, they worked industriously still chipping away at the rock and filling crumbling pillars.  After losing my group once again, we were templed out for the day and caught some much needed R’n’ R at the beautiful pool.
That night we hit the night market full of various textiles, endless scarves, and local street food. (tarantulas and bugs in syrup!) Nope didn’t have the gutts.
And that was cambodia.

I’ll tell you about our cooking class & stay next time 🙂

If you’ve been to Cambodia what were your highlights?? Comment below.

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Dublin, Fitness

Yogis or Pilates – Fitness Edition

Sure, it’s new years and if you’re like a few people out there you have a goals or habits to build this month – and hopefully maintain throughout the year.

If getting fit or bendy is one of them, this little infographic will help you understand the differences between pilates and yoga.
I know I learned something about pilates.

(I’d like to hear which one you tend towards and why?) Personally, I’d tend towards yoga, but according to the physio and this infographic, sounds like I might benefit from trying a bit of pilates to help with chronic pain. Well, off to practice a bit. Hope your fitness is making leaps and bounds this month!

-Good luck!

 Pilates or Yoga: Which Practice is for You?


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Dublin, Love me Says food

Food Fermentations at the Fumbally Stables

[SHORT, Quick Lovin’ ] 

April makes everyone feel they can ferment at home, easy-peasy! Just play with it !

**Take away** always taste and smell the fermentation as it progresses so you know if it is going off.

Last night I attended a Fermentations class at the kitchen in the Fumbally Stables.  This. place. is. sick!

I know the Fumbally as the hub of community, from yoga to learning to eat better, to actually eating better!!

There has been lots of interest in recent years about wild fermentations, especially in beer and wine.  Industrially these would have been uncommon because companies want to be able to guarantee an outcome; a certain amount of ‘alcohol’ or gas is being produced in the time expected.  Due to the manufactured nature of food, consumers expect the same bottle of wine or vinegar and flavour every time.  Well, if we shift our minds off that for a moment and let our expectation wild, you get a much more organic growth that is inherent to the environment.  the ‘mother’ culture (or starter) is shaped by the environment it’s in.


April Danann, a food and nutrition specialist from Cork came to talk to us about wild fermentations.  We got hands-on experience with all the different types of micro-cultures.  She is the fermentation geek, I’d say. She runs the fermented food and wellness stall ‘Rebel Foods’ at a few markets in Cork.

She demystified the technique behind the science – and/or vice versa depending what you were getting from it.  We made each of the following: Sourdough, apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, and vinegar drinks.

It turns out April had a previous life in microbiology & worked in a similar capacity to me in Canada. Woohoo! This is the interesting part of the story for me.

For myself, after a whole semester of fermentations & degree of studying microbiological and biochemical pathways, I can confidently say that I actually have NO idea about fermentations.  Well, i mean there was the failed kimchi, the bread pickles, a few batches of beer and bread; and brief stint in wine-making.  I have so much to learn about sourdough and keeping these little organisms happy 😉
I am happy share that I’m a proud owner of a sourdough starter (yet to decide on a name for my new baby), and some vinegar mother that I can proliferate! Gut microflora here we come.

*if you’re interested in any of the procedures or tips we learned in class let me know below and i’ll do another post on those =) 

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Dublin, Fitness

Doing NEW YEARS right – Fitness Edition

“You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting,

So… get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

 Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

planning & fitness

I want you to believe fitness is real and the journey is relatable, anyone can do it.  Eating amazing food is a lifestyle as much as staying active is.  It doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye, but it’s your body and you are responsible for taking care of it! – I’m not a serious lifter or a trainer.

I get a lot of pain most days, but it’s still important to keep moving because how much I eat! So I sat down and looked through past training.  I planned a printable & visual workout! –> here is my new plan for the week. 

Take a look and try it out!

 4 steps to getting started 
1) Students, go at Off-peak hours
2) Make use of free classes
3) Track your journey – Is it me, or was 2014 the year of all fitness trackers?! (shows no signs of slowing)
4) Follow a Fitness ambassador on twitter, instagram, or blog

stir my soul

There are a few things in the pipeline that I am so super excited about. They really pull together everything I’m about, but for now I’m contemplating my first triathlon! (thanks to my friend Elyse) It’s something I thought about last year before I got into cycling. – Anyone interested?



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NEW Year, What’s NEW?

“happy new year!” … are we still saying that?

I heard somebody at the airport ask the same question when I was traveling. He asked the the guy on the other line, is it too late to still be saying this? – it’s only…. 13th of January. Well I think it’s never too late since I haven’t seen any of you yet this year but, I have been meaning to say lots and lots of things. 

You know, New Years is a season of expectation and anticipation, sometimes almost too much anticipation.  Like I get it, it’s a reset where we can evaluate how we’ve done in the past year and set new goals, but it seems as though there’s this looming expectation for us all to do everything that we haven’t done in the last year or years of our lives ALL at once and achieve it, ALL!

We decide to kick every bad habit that we have, lock the liquor cabinet (or have ‘dry January’), hit the gym, eat better, be better people, be more successful, hope for better things, start the things that we have always said we would but haven’t, and pretty much everything else that we can think of – or maybe that’s just me. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, that sounds hugely daunting!

Downfall of a New Year

No, forget all the S.M. a R.T. goals but even the smartest goals won’t help me feel positive about that.

nobody talks about about (OH my goodness), what if you wake up on the other side of the new year, and it’s JANUARY. it’s grim and grey. and it’s the coldest time of the year in most places (not Australia). You don’t feel like setting any goals or tackling the mountain of things that you haven’t done.

I was really encouraged after coffee with food-friend, Vincci. (cecinestpasunfoodblog.com). It made the new year seem more achievable!

It’s more difficult to break bad habits, than it is to form new healthy ones.  Recently, we’ve been talking about culture and society in food at school, and this involves knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours.  What this means is just because we know something is good for us doesn’t mean it changes how we think about it or behave. For instance we know that eating healthy & drinking less, and getting active is better for us, but so many other things in our environment or daily lives get in the way of that happening.

Before you know it, you’re at the till in tesco/superstore after work, and you’re crumbling to the temptation of one little bit of mars bar ;P Is it not easier to form new habits? You don’t have to go cold turkey and never touch a drink again! Just focus on moving towards a new little thing, like eating one more serving of veg a day, or maybe just ONE beer this week 😉

Get a buddy for motivation!

My point: new years resolutions are frustrating when we don’t stick to them. December doesn’t have to be the month to live it up and detox later.  Maybe a constant dose of sanity and fun along the way and we don’t have to put so much pressure on in January.

Tell me,  what you have all signed on for and committed to this January?  

this is what I did on new years!

this is what I did on new years!

…. P.S. I should also show you how we (ATE) rang in the new year, right??

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Calgary, Recipe

RECIPE- theVESPER – the only way to kiss 2014 goodbye.

Kiss 2014 goodbye with my new favourite classic, the Vesper.  Can we really go wrong with James Bond’s drink choice in Casino Royale?

‘Shaken, not stirred’


I love cocktail parties with my mum, after all, she is a pro.  I take every opportunity to glean skills and drinks from her.  I truly believe that cocktails are a craft; they take time, attention to detail, and proper technique.
She generously shared her recipe with me, and let me just say this is a perfect proportion.  The sweetness and aroma of the Lillet, just make me smile.


Please make sure you cool the classes with ice and water prior to making the cocktails.

Strain the ice off the shaker into cooled glasses, sans ice!



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Brown Thomas sandwiches?

[SHORT, Quick Lovin’ ]

Service: generally helpful & warm

Likelihood to return: returned twice already

Food/Coffee: Food 3.5/5, Coffee 3/5.

Chillness: 3.8 chill chairs!

Highlights: variety & all-day breakfast items 


You’re done the door crashing for Stephen’s day sales- Good. When you’re in town shopping though, ever discover that at about noon you are famished and need some fuel?
I know the perfect pit stop. It isn’t the first place that comes to mind when asked to suggest a place for all-day breakfast or a quick snack, but look, keep an open mind and the possibilities are endless.

The restaurant on the top floor of Brown Thomas has a few new nibbles for you. Not only is the space and ambiance of this place great, I am in love with the decor from the retro hex tiles to the 60’s style upholstered chairs. The colour scheme is warm greys, wood panelling, steel blue chairs and touches of yellow.

Here is why it’s worth a shot, there’s a brand new menu!

IMG_8836 IMG_8834

Who designed the menu?

Chef Kevin Garrigan teamed up with Patrick Guilbaud to design a new menu to draw the masses and give it a facelift.

Who’s responsible for executing the food?
Chef Kevin Garrigan has a long list of accolades, working for several years at the Shelbourne Hotel. I had a moment to chat with him about what’s to come and it sounds new and exciting!

is there afternoon tea, you ask?
They are looking to launch a special fashion-inspired afternoon tea

What kind of coffee?
Badger & Dodo or Java Republic, at your request. There is a price difference but you may ask for your preference




  • fantastic proper salads plated & pretty
  • all day breakfast
  • drop in for a champagne treat
    -affordable piece of afternoon cake


  • you need to walk through three floors of retail space to get to it unless you take the lift
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Dublin, Recipe

RECIPE-Tonight means mass, carols or just mulled wine

A few years ago, we took an enchanting Christmas market tour starting in Budapest, down the Danube River through the different cities of Bratislava, Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, and Passau.  If you ever want to be enchanted by a white and chilly Christmas filled with snow and warmed by Glühwein (mulled wine), stuff your belly with more WURST than you can handle, and enjoy some classic gingerbread, linzer torte, opera cake, the list goes on…. I’d suggest a christmas tour.
Well anyhow, I tell you this because that was my introduction to mulled wine.  Essentially, it spells Christmas in a cup! It seems like it’s much more prevalent in Europe than North America, but I could be wrong.
It’s Christmas eve and there is absolutely nothing better to enjoy than this. So I think I’ll share our joy with you and your family.  It comes highly recommended!
This season we made quite a few batches and it really helped me get in to the hospitable festive season! Hopefully you can have some friends and family over to enjoy this heart-warming treat.  You can also bottle it up in heat-proof glass jars and keep in the fridge for the occasional sneaky glass.
(good to go)
– Good Luck!
hints: try a bit of grapefruit for a sweet zingy acidity
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cycling, Dublin, Fitness, Love me Says food

Christmas Prep! Fitness edition

Guys, I’m going to be writing here a bit about sport and fitness in the next little while.


The goal is to make getting active more relatable and hopefully it inspires you to stay healthy- especially after all that Christmas food love!  The way I see it, if you’re going to enjoy the food, you’re also going to have to pay for it – by burning the energy/calories up!!

I want to give you an strategies.  Give you an idea that, hey, someone else sometimes hates the activity and can’t get motivated but that’s life!  Getting active doesn’t always have to happen in the gym, because I know some of you are thinking the gym is not a fun place.  Just start somewhere!


Trouble getting to the gym? Here are some strategies

[One] Pick a gym that is SO close to either work or home that
it’s undeniable that you must get through the door of the gym – reduce the odds of skipping

[Two] If you have troubles getting there, either make an appointment with a friend, trainer, or schedule yourself for class – then you have to show up

[Three] Think about how well you will feel after your work out and sweat out that stress – visualise and feel smug about it

[Four]  Find the WHY – do you want more fitness or more tone or to lift more set goals based on your motivations and stick to them – Dangle the right carrot in front of you

[Five]  If you are weary, buy a pair of new pants. A new pair of Lululemon usually makes me want to work at

[Six]  Don’t eat crap the day before, you will regret it when trying to lift yourself and it the next day

[Final Words]
Rules for spin, please please please, do not eat a burrito in any way
shape or form before class. Why? Because everyone pays

Switch up your workout if it’s always spin, your body will get used to
it and so will your mind. You’ll be completely bored.

Don’t know what to do? Join a class, employ a good trainer, or take a friend.

Find the best time for you and your schedule to get in the gym I like
evening workouts but some people love first thing in the morning.  Them disciplined smug bishes – yes, sometimes I’m a morning-hater.

-Good luck!

(don’t forget to enter the Knorr draw for 5 hampers this week!)

Next up: Ten BIG mistakes I made as a nube to cycling 


Dublin, Recipe

Pumpkin Spice cake

Earlier in the autumn, I was craving pumpkin pie and asked the local grocer if they carried pumpkin purée.  The clerk looked at me like I had ten eyes! Well, I guess I would have to search a bit harder to find this ‘speciality’ item. Instead, I bought a pumpkin … because how hard could it be to make pumpkin purée?

“Well, here’s how:”

Preheat the oven to 175ºC. Cut and deseed the pumpkin, toss with oil and place on a pan.  Bake until soft, then remove from the oven and srape the flesh off the skin.  Put in a pan and purée with a hand blender. Once finely mashed, pass through a sieve.



After all that, I topped the cake with chopped pecans and crystallised ginger. Dust it with cinnamon to finish.


Don’t forget to enter the Knorr Giveaway!! Just leave a comment or RT the tweet.


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Christmas Brunches & Goodbyes

Last Sunday, we said ‘see ya soon’ to our friends Katie & Rio.  It’s been a complete blast in Dublin, and there is no other way to send someone off than with a good and memorable meal.  It’s surprising how time’s flown by!

It’s funny how we go through life travelling places, living in new cities, and really, finding ourselves a new community.  On a more introspective note, the way people’s paths cross is really a pretty awesome thing.  It challenges who we are, who we want to become, and sometimes what we believe.  Each city has a different vibe and I suppose the more places you live, the more you realise that it’s just a place and the people you meet will make or break the experience.  (that, and your fantastic attitude) That said, we LOVE LOVE LOVE Dublin.




Well, life is more than we can plan for, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Now onto the Christmas brunch at Forest Avenue. (yes, excessive love on here and here i’m sorry)- but can you believe it been only a year!?

There is really nothing more festive than having mulled wine & a bit of mince pie.  So if you were one of the lucky ones to book in for a Christmas brunch, you are luckier than you know.

Mince pie – you never imagined a mince pie so delightful.  It’s a touch of Christmas with a lot of sparkle in your mouth.

DSC01123Yoghurt, House made granola, apple, blackberry & spiced bread
Fried egg sandwich, cod goujon (not pictured), avocado & romesco sauce


And for those who subscribe to veggie diets, there is love for all of you.  Melty gnocchi, is an always-fave.



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Dublin, Recipe

Friday Giveaway! Win: One Of 5 Knorr Flavour Pot Hampers

Recently, I posted a recipe for Easy Stir-fry Curry Noodles here.   The Knorr flavour pots are a handy thing to have around to add a bit of zip to your dish. If you’re used to using stock cubes, you’ll be great with these!

I thought I might share one more recipe with you, to give you some variety. The recipe is below!

[Contest Details]

I’m giving away 5 Knorr Flavour Pot hampers, Happy Christmas!  Want to win? It’s easy!

To enter, comment below with your favourite Knorr flavour OR retweet the contest link on twitter.  Hint: there are 5 flavours 😉

5 winners will be chosen at random.  Contest closes at 5PM GMT, 19th of December.

Don’t forget to follow my instagram and twitter!








Disclaimer: information is based on personal experience and pots were provided by Knorr.

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Love me Says food, Love Travel

Love _Hong Kong

Hong Kong-

Is a very, very special place.  It’s many things, depending where you are in the small area of space we call Hong Kong, it can be a combination of a chaotic, raw, confined, roaring mess; contrasted by beautiful, amalgamation of modern culture and thwarted histories.  It is densely populated.  It is the product of its colonial past.  Despite the old, it is a progressive place with an undying desire to grow and renew itself.

People here are proud and open-minded in some regards; they work extremely hard and also eat like at all hours.  It also has an international population with lots of expats choosing to reside in the bustle.  Food culture in Hong Kong can be extremely interesting.
There are the tourist must-sees, and also the new movers & shakers who are doing cool new shite.







photo: prestigehongkong.com


First night I landed and my friends were off to Yardbird.  They heard about it on the Peninsula blog but I was super excited because Yardbird was genuinely on the list!  This trip was off to a great start.

We ordered up a storm. One of our friends is vegetarian, and we found the menu very veg-friendly with lots of mushroom and vegetable dishes. Take for example, the sweetcorn tempura, grilled mushroom, and KFC (korean fried cauliflower).  Honestly, not much of a sacrifice, because it all tastes amazing.  You didn’t even notice!

After finishing the meal, one of our friends called the establishment – a hipster gathering. I was a bit surprised, but the atmosphere feels like you’re actually NOT in Hong Kong. The food and service are both quite North American, and the diners are a mix of locals and visitors with a mosaic of different-sounding languages being spoken. One thing that is constant though, that everyone is enjoying the conversation and the Yakitori (Japanese-styled bbq). Since its opening, it has received much praise and lots of accolades (here and here), which may be attributed to the fact that there really isn’t anything else like it in Hong Kong.

[apologies in advance for the photos, I was camera-less]



From the top-left:

[1]Sweetcorn Tempura

[2]Grilled Mushroom

[3]KFC: Korean Fried Cauliflower, yuzu-chili




Overall I was inspired by the savoury asian flavours presented in a snack-styled bar.  The food was satisfying and the KFC was one of my faves.  It had a thin coating of sweet chili and tangy soy batter…. and i believe the chicken is confit and grillé-ed.  A definite must try.  No bookings, just turn up.

There you are, yet another amazing inspiring food pioneer hailing from Canada.  🙂


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Uncovered a gem in Blackrock – Blackrock Cellar

[SHORT, Quick Lovin’ ]

23 Rock Hill, Blackrock, Co. Dublin

Likelihood to return: be back fo shizzle! easy, just take the Dart!

Chillness: 4 chill chairs!

Highlights: the view

Our friends invited us to join them on their usual beer-trek yesterday and gave us a lift out to Blackrock. Just behind the Supervalue in Blackrock, we uncovered this wine and beer store that you HAVE to know about! They have a few hundred beers in their selection with the backdrop of the sea.


Three things I think are most important in a wine shop:

1) Selection & Variety

2) Knowledgeable, friendly staff

3) Beautiful Sea view… no, just kidding.

We were wowed by their immense collection of beers, it was one of the best we’ve seen in Dublin thus far. The other highlight was their Spanish wine collection. Since our trip to Spain, we have been intrigued by the different Spanish wine regions producing great value wines and I’ve been on the look-out ever since. – and I mean look past Rioja.





Are you Irish? You know that sense of familiarity you feel when you meet other Irish people abroad and you’re like ‘do you know… so and so?’ and you find not only do you have six common friends and four coworkers, you’re also related through distant cousins who married each other. Haha well, one of the gals, Sarah is originally from Vancouver Island in Canada! so although I don’t know any of her friends and we aren’t at all related it was great to chat about the different wine-cultures in both Canada & Ireland.

consensus: both expensive. excise tax is a killer.

Irish Beers alone!

Irish Beers alone!

Here’s our haul. Where do you get great beer in Dublin? Drop a comment below!


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the thing every girl needs on their gif keyboard

Why I’m writing this post?

Because we are all a little crazy. I admit to being completely crazy, but only when i’m hungry.

In case you live under a rock, you will have heard or seen the ubiquitous face of miss Taylor.   I’d say you love her or hate her, but I love her. She is full of drama in this new video ‘Empty Space’.

Don’t know  what a gif keyboard is?

It’s an app that gives you animated GIF videos right in the message. like THIS app.  b*tch please, I think everyone needs these expressions for easy access for your everyday conversation.

need more crazy ideas, whirl yourself around her mansion with this fairytale app.


the ‘oops, did you need to text your ex’ face




the ‘i been out on the lash, but why you gotta be so mean’ face



the ‘i’m gonna moulin rouge all over your face’-face



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Dublin, Recipe

5 great reads if you like Food or Coffee!



[1] Food & Travel Summer edition

Great visuals and inspiring recipes.  I have been reading it all summer and thumb through it occasionally for more inspiration.  I don’t buy a lot of magazines but this has been a game changer for me.  You’ll see some of the recipes here.


[2] My Berlin Kitchen (Weiss) 

I picked this up at the Food Bloggers Conference in London.  It’s a story of how Luisa, blogger the Wednesday Chef, leaves her life in New York to forge a new life in Berlin.  It’s a personal chronical interspersed with a collection of recipes.  Touted the “new Julie & Julia”.


[3] The Virtues of the Table (Baggini) 

Catherine Cleary lead a panel discussion with Catherine Fulvio & Julian Baggini during the Dublin Literary Festival, where I learned of the book. Julian is a philosopher focused on food.  It challenges our understanding of labels on food.  Do ethical labels even mean anything?

In the book he talks about the ‘holy trinity’ of of food right now S/O/L – the idea of seasonal, organic, and local.  The meaning behind the terms and why we all strive to eat this way.  We touched on the idea of food commodities and supply chains, and how they loosely resemble old-times slavery.

Is local definitely better? Is it more sustainable, less impact on the earth? Does it necessarily taste better? Trust me, we can’t grow coffee here in Ireland, not well. But the book is has poignant descriptors of food, almost every other sentence is a quote, it’s a book of quotes.


[4] The Coffee Paradox (Daviron & Ponte)

is an in-depth and well-researched analysis of coffee from farm to consumer. If you are looking for a book to engage you in a critical analysis of that brown stuff that 2.25 billion cups are filled with each day (as per 1999).  It will give you an understanding of global value chains that you never wanted, but also will explain the inequalities in the coffee industry and challenge you to question what it is you are consuming.  Also, touches on the ever-elusive quality topic.  I will be sharing a few things I have understood through my reading and expert ‘coffee-drinking’, while working in speciality coffee.


[5] Swindled – a book on the history of food adulteration (Wilson) 

It talks about history of food fraud and labelling, including roasting fake beans for coffee and manufacturing fake tea with elder and sloe leaves. The book traces fraud back to the rapid urbanisation of Britain, creating distance between food producers and consumers.  Essentially, what we know as lengthening the supply chain.

“Adulteration thrives when trade operates in large and impersonal chains. In a rural setting, swindling is a risky business. If you are the village milkman, the chain between you and your customers is very short: you know them all by name because they are your neighbours.  If you start watering down your milk, the chances are the word will soon get out and you will be ostracised” 


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Dublin, Love Travel

NONG’S KHAO MAN GAI, Portland – sometimes asians just do it right

[SHORT, Quick Lovin’ ]

Service: Goody, but a quicky – take-away 

Likelihood to return: next time we’re in Portland

Food/Coffee: Food 4/5, no coffee.

Chillness: 3 chill chairs!    


We were on a road trip travelling through Oregon last month.  Upon arriving in Portland for the first time in my adult life i was delighted with the city, I thought to myself ‘I could stay a while!’.  The food, the bikes, the conversations, well and the coffee! (we didn’t even get to the beer!!) I love this place.

On Sunday in Portland, not all the food carts are open – but a few things are VERY open; they are the donut shop, farmers market & Stumptown.

We arrived at Nong’s Restaurant, known for its speciality Thai Chicken rice. What started as a 9’ x 9’ food cart, has now evolved into two locations and a restaurant and small-batch packing facility.  It’s a great cheap-eat, casual and tasty.  Now if you’re not passionate about chicken or rice, or some variation of it served with broth, then… we really can’t be friends; all joking aside, they offer a vegetarian option and a more embellished option with the chicken livers etc.



The thing I most enjoyed about this experience was its no frills, no joke mentality.  They are here to master an authentic chicken rice, full of flavour.  On the side you can help yourself to some tea or you can order some cold drinks.  There are only a few variations of choices, and that is why you come here, the chicken and rice… oh, and the sauce!




When we got home, my star bro-in-law surprised me with a bottle of the sauce! Anyone in Ireland want to try some??

If you’re wondering, the dish is really quite similar in taste and appearance to the chinese bat cheet gai.


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EGGS are really not that topical on a Firday afternoon.

Ever wonder why we don’t refrigerate eggs in Europe, and what about those silly North Americans their refrigerated eggs?  Back in Canada, a few of my friends are egg inspectors. It always intrigues me how much fraud and regulatory presence there are in eggs.

The egg regulations cover specifically Chicken eggs, probably because it is most relevant to our daily consumption, and therefore also a major trade concern.  I mean, how often do you eat an guinea fowl egg?

Here are a few differences from what I’ve observed between the regulations.

In Ireland  In Canada
At farm level, measures taken to detect & control salmonella at early stages.
Control the temperature of the egg stores to ensure that ambient temperature does not exceed 18°C. Storage temperatures should be below 4ºC.
Eggs are not washed because it potentially damages physical barrier, the cuticle.As per EU regulations.  Damaging the cuticle makes the shell porous. Fresh shell eggs are washed in hot water & detergent/sanitizer, then rinsed & dried
I find feathers on my eggs frequently, don’t think that’s an observable defect. Defects are noted, such as fecal matter & feathers on the outside of eggs. (associated with pathogens like salmonella)
Eggs that are unrefrigerated at store, sometimes shipped in refrigeration. Eggs are shipped & sold under refrigeration
Vaccines and antibiotics are not permitted for use under Irish regulations, if flocks are positive for salmonella, they are to be slaughtered.
This includes all types of production Organic, Free range, Barn, and caged.
Hormones are never administered under any circumstances. – Egg farmers of Canada

Decode that Stamp

You know that stamp on the egg? It actually tells you lots about where that egg has been.

In Ireland the stamp has a code that will tell you where the egg has been produced.

  • Ireland (IE)
  • Northern Ireland (UK9)

The regulatory bodies have also found imported eggs from other European countries, such as Germany (DE).




Tracability & Quality

Only eggs produced in our country can be sold here, reason? ‘tracability’. This means that they can go back if there are any foodborne illness outbreaks and find out what & where in supply chain something has gone wrong and, identify & rectify the problem.

Is it unsafe to eat German eggs? no. We just don’t have any idea how they get here and this is, in turn, is a public health concern if there are outbreaks. Then again, being conscious of eating closer to home, and ‘shortening supply chains’, why would we want the eggs at home to travel across Europe when we can support our own farms? This is a deep-set TRADE issue, that has eventually been written into law.

All eggs in the Bord Bia Egg Quality Assurance Scheme carry the Bord Bia Quality assurance logo both on the packaging and on the egg itself.

Egg production covered in the code include flock sourcing, hygiene, disease control, flock welfare and environmental protection. There is particular emphasis on hygiene and disease control especially on the control of salmonella.

It’s a shame this has taken so long to post, but this post was spurred on by a chat with Andy from egg farmer Golden Irish. I was reminded of it I came across the Thank-you card from Odaois tented-event!

Happy Weekend!


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How John Oliver nails it with sugar.

#SHOWUSYOURPEANUTS – click play below

3 days, 1.5 Million views, and well articulated message about our food.

John Oliver took on the issue of sugar in our diet and made a strong point, but also keeps us interested by being completely hilarious and very enjoyable.

I was blown away by the amount of truth and scientific evidence he used in 11 minutes, considering all points of view including industry, marketing, government, and special interest groups like the sugar association, Ocean Spray, and the American Beverage Association.

‘as it relates to obesity., there’s plenty of evidence to exonerate it [sugar] from obesity & diabetes’  – Sugar association

35% of sugar American’s consume are from sugar beverages

Sugar, a $5 billion dollar sugar industry, has “fought for decades to project their products’ health benefits,” once even touting sugar as a diet aid.



WHO & FDA warn about the implications of our over-consumption of sugar.

Now we’re not saying that corporate money distorts science, but when examining the findings from studies funded by companies with a conflicts of interest, he points to some evidence of biases (PLOS medical paper).

The 2013 paper showed that the link between sugar and weight gain was not conclusive in industry-funded studies, whereas it was clearly associated in other studies.

Nutrition labelling requirements – ‘added sugar’

Recently, there have been changes to both US & Irish food labelling requirements.  In the US, they are proposing to label ‘added sugars’ on the nutrition label. Now this is very topical and exciting; especially exciting for me because I used to review Nutrition labels!  John Oliver urges food companies to reveal how much sugar is in their product not in teaspoons or grams, but circus peanuts!! —  ON the MONEY, am I right?

FDA sounds like it’s being lobbied by all of industry to prevent demystifying the amount of hidden sugar.  The American Beverage Association wants grams instead of teaspoons, because they ‘carry unfair negative connotation’… right.  Who are we kidding! Do you know by looking at ’22 g’ of sugar what that amounts to? Nobody does.


A final shout out to Ocean spray, I bet when the new regulations come out, there will be an odd loop-hole that exempts ‘cranberry beverages’ from the declaration of sugar content – Just saying.

Favourite quote: ‘cranberries taste like cherry’s that hate you; they taste like what a raspberry drinks before a colonoscopy’

Overall, entertaining & very well researched rant.  Thanks John.







#Danonne, #showusyourpeanuts

Just a thought, if you had the equivalent of a canned beverage of ‘yogurt’, ie. 355mL, you would have 38 g of sugar! Coke has 25 g.

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Dublin, Love me Says food, Recipe

Butter beans Reinvented – Recipe

butterbeans reinvented



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New Tasting experience – Ely Wine Bar

Details Below: How to Win 2 tickets to taste almost 100 wines of the Rhône Valley!


Ely Wine bar has been a name in existence to me since my first week in Dublin.  One of my friends was telling me how she’d been taken to the gastro bar on Grand Canal dock for a date, and I thought wow great view! However, since then I hadn’t made it to dine at any of the three locations. We all know where Ely Bar & Brasserie is in IFSC, but maybe it’s just the circles I run in, but we don’t get down to IFSC that often … unless its for sushi.

On a recent unexpected occasion, Jeri extended a fantastic welcome to us to join Ian, their sommelier & wine manager for a chat through some of their French wines.  Delighted, I brought my husband; who, to his credit has a single blog post on his wine blog 😉 and dabbles a little in the wine world of WSET accreditations just for the ‘lols’.  We love tasting events and relish any opportunity to discuss, deliberate, and expose our palates to more; more wines, more tastes, flavours, and descriptors! We love it all.


Ely Wine bar is located on Ely place, just a jaunt up from Baggot Street.  The intimate setting of the wine bar is in a Georgian house that looks a little like you’re walking into a solicitors office.  It opens to a bar and double Georgian doors  into a dining room with tall windows and a high ceiling, just how you expect those houses to be – and this, is why I love Dublin.  Enough detour, back to the wine.

The wines in the tasting were all from France.  The goal was to see some of the lesser known French varieties or regions.  So the following are what we tasted:

[1] 2013, Domaine Felines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet, Coteaux du Languedoc
[2] 2013, Hugel ‘Gentil’, Alsace
[3] 2010, Domaine Charles Jouguet Chinon ‘Cufee Terroir’, Loire Valley
[4] 2010, Chateau Lab Baronne, Corbieres
[5] 2009, Domaine Moureau Madiran

The benefit of ‘off the beaten path’-wines are that you can get a quality and hand-crafted bottle of wine for more affordable prices.  This, in contrast to the usual big name ‘Burgundy’ or Bordeaux wines.

As is with most wine tastings, I think the discussion is as deep or shallow as the participants’ knowledge and interest.  Ian led us through the discussion and threw in some tidbits like to answer questions like ‘what the legs on a glass of wine mean’, etc.  [Answer: they glycerin content of the wine, which in part, has to do with sugar and alcohol but not always correlated with quality] As part of the tasting, we took a food break with charcuterie boards, calamari, and other tasty treats.

IMG_1687Ian has a broad base of experience working with wine, at one point he mentioned working at Chapter one.  Ian, Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with us! We look forward to the new exciting selections to come!

ELY EVENT: The next event is Rhone Week Ireland on the 3-8th November. Ely is hosting a tasting where guests will have the opportunity to taste of 100 wines from the Rhone valley! and get this, I have 2 tickets for you to bring a friend or date, or that really special foodie oenophile… ie, please take me if you win.

Follow @lovemesaysfood on twitter. Retweet this post and tag a friend to bring, and name one variety of grape typically used in wines produced in the Rhone Valley.  Winner will be announced on the 29th of October.

For those who are more advanced and want to appreciate their wine with a bit of pzazz, they also have a Four-week wine appreciation course 
Every Tuesday (starting 13 Jan – 3 Feb, 2015)
Every Wednesday (starting 14th Jan – 4 Feb, 2015)

And if you work for a swanky office, and your management look to team-build. Click Here to build a very strong team 😉


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Sister Sadie, Brother Hubbard


One of Dublin’s foodie darlings, Brother Hubbard has taken the plunge like many other north-side businesses.  They have come to join us on the South side.  Isn’t it somewhat true that northies stay on the north and likewise for southies.  I frequent the north for a few reasons, different ethnic cultural food offerings, and different cafes and customer experience.  Trust me, it is different.

Well, the long awaited little Sister Sadie of Brother Hubbard has arrived as of a couple weeks ago, and know what?- We are overjoyed.  Not only do we now have Boojum burritos at our doorstep, among other quality establishments such as Busen Burger,  Etto & Ely wine bar, we have one of our favourite brunch spots.

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As of right now, they have the same menu but limited brunch items, including salad bar and tasty sambos but now, closer.  I have to admit that in two years there have been a handful of times that a Brother Hubbard brunch would have hit the spot really well, but the trek all the way across the river was just not going to happen.  So south-siders, and hopefully our Northie friends who want to come visit us 😉 join me in welcoming another fab food stop who also have a coffee-centric mantra.

There are maybe three or four places in Dublin that I would say take both their food and coffee very seriously.  These guys have worked very hard to be a real mainstay for serious food & coffee friends. Here’s the full Brother Hubbard menu.




[SHORT, Quick Lovin’ ]

Service: quick sit down or take-away 

Likelihood to return: we’re neighbours, of course we’ll be back

Food/Coffee: Food 4/5, Coffee 4/5.

Chillness: 4 chill chairs!    


1. 3fe Brother Hubbard blend in a nice flattie (as Niall calls it) – i.e.) flat white, it’s nutty,
2. Rosted Aubergine with pom & parsley
3. Slow Roasted Pulled pork sandwich

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Dublin, Love Travel, Photography


IMG_1359Couple weekends ago now, I took an weekend trek out to Connemara.  You may have seen on my excessive flood of instagram photos that inundated you.  Had I known how breathtaking the views would be and how long the journey was from Dublin, I may have planned to stay another day.  On Friday afternoon I travelled four hours from Dublin through Galway to the very west of Ireland, in Connemara.  I was off to Dillisk!

Dillisk, Irish for sea weed or kelp; was the exceptional dining experience constructed in an old boathouse near Cleggen in Aughrusbeg.  From talking to the locals in town, the project has experienced great success every weekend of the summer.

I arrived in Clifden, and the lovely lady from the Quay house met me and personally drove me down to the B&B.  She really went over and above, even pre-booked a cab to take me out to the Dillisk.  The whole 20 min drive to Dillisk, my jaw was literally on the ground.  I mean, every turn in the road between the hills and ponds was quintessentially Irish.  It was surreal.  The driver said “If you think this is great, oh you haven’t seen nothin’ yet”.

Seriously, I would rip my heart out and give it to you.  THAT is how beautiful it was, sure, it’s dramatic but really.  There were moments I had to just open my (asian) eyes just a little wider, take a deep breath in and think, this… this is, breathtaking, beautiful, and no words should be able to describe this sky or the sunset. What an ethereal mood that night.  The conversation, the music and singing, the surrounding low tide combined with the courses of fine, foraged, slow-cooked food.  There was just something about the whole experience that was raw and yet very polished.  I hope the photos give you a bit of an idea, but honestly they can barely capture the emotion that I was feeling that moment.   – thankfulness & grace.

IMG_1382 dillisk_sunset











predinner IMG_1408

Katie & Jasper, the curators of this food project have beautiful vision, followed by an amazing execution.  The creativity flows through the walls of this surreal experience. However, they make it look effortless and authentic,  just like having friends for a nice meal at their family home.

From the little details of the drawn map of Connmere to the compost lavender-filled loo with with a view of the landscape, thanks for sharing a beautiful dream with us.

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[Pre Dinners] Seaweed Pit lamb, here he explains how the lamb was cooked in an subterranean/underground pit.


IMG_1449  IMG_1446



[i] Cleggan Crab & fermented kohlrabi

[ii] Clams

[iii] Crispy pork belly & dillisk broth

[iv] Broccoli, kale, galway plumbs Toonsbridge ricotta


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[iv] Cucumber Dingle Gin + horseraddish

[v] Pollock fennel + sea beet + oyster leaf. Delicious flaked texture with beautiful depths of flavour.

[vi] Connemara honey Carrigeen, chcolate soil, wild sorrell.

3fe – Kenyan Kiri Brewed coffee

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Dublin, for the Love of Coffee, Love me Says food

Coffee & Quality

I have always wanted to write about coffee and yet never done it.   Why, you say? – because the coffee crowd is sometimes cray.  You put an idea out there, and it gets immediate acclaim or well, the opposite is a very quick exile of doom.  Love it or hate it, it is what it is. Coffee drinkers are a passionate crowd, and speciality coffee an even more serious subset of this.

I have learned and loved speciality coffee for a long time now.  So it was only natural to choose coffee as the topic of a recent paper.  We had been talking about political economy and supply chains in food commodities, and coffee has been long traded as a agricultural commodity.   I will be sharing a few things I have understood through my reading and expert ‘coffee-drinking’, while working in speciality coffee.

thanks for your time. and thanks for being nice.
to the ladies of coffee 😉

[On the topic of Quality]

What is quality to you? is it a tasty coffee, a well roasted and extracted coffee, a replicable and consistent coffee that is always getting better; and if it is all those things, how do you measure quality?  I mean there is the basic scientific sense of it, like how in manufacturing of food and other things we instil quality control/assurance programs to ensure we can identify defects that deviate from the defined ‘quality’ attribute is and aim to eliminate situations of lesser quality.

In the Coffee Paradox book by Daviron & Ponte, they suggest that there are three classes or distinctions of quality; being material, symbolic, and in-person service.  Anyone who works in speciality coffee will agree with the evidence of all three in a successful quality coffee brand.

Material quality, independent of the buyer or seller, speaks for the physical product.  We can measure this with technical and scientific equipment, sensory evaluations, etc.

Symbolic quality is more what I know as a ‘perceived quality’ associated with the product brand.  This is derived from reputation, for example, what the brand or trademark stands for.  In retail sale, all the sustainability & fairtradingtrade or geographic claims.  How many people at supermarkets will give priority to a ‘fair-trade’ label or say “oh that’s blue mountainy coffee or Kona coffee, must be good.” 😉  It has been observed that UK consumers are willing to pay more for a fair-trade product.  But, that can be a very deceptive.  One must consider what these trademarks or brands hold as a meaning, for more insight on this I suggest you see Hasbean owner Steve’s blurb on direct trade & fair-trade (here, and here).

In-person service quality is by far the most personal and involved; and is the basis of what speciality coffee seeks to highlight over others.  This involves buyers, sellers, producers; and because it is an interaction between the consumer and the seller, it cannot happen independent of that relationship.  This relationship is based on a service; it’s the preparation of the drink at the cafe, or talking through the types of retail coffees.  What I think speciality coffee alone depends on.  Ultimately highlighting what everyone up the supply chain has done thus far.  (farmers/processors, green buyers, roasters, etc.)

Producing countries are most concerned with material quality according to Daviron & Ponte because coffee is just a product grown to be exported; with the exception of from Brazil and Ethiopia, where there exists a coffee consuming culture. I found this breakdown to be quite helpful in showing what we know as ‘quality’

[1] genetic type of coffee (arabica, robusta)
[2] cultivar (bourbon, typica, caturra)
[3] agro-climatic conditions (terroir, soil, altitude, rainfall)
[4] harvesting procedures(sun or shade growing, mulching, irrigation?!)
[5] primary processing (wet or dry)
[6] export preparation
[7] handling during transport (because we all like non-manky coffee)

There is a significant difference in processes and labour applied to speciality, whole bean retail, or instant coffee.  Some argue that an informed customer with a better understanding of quality attributes will drive the roasters on all levels to provide a better product.  It’s my hope that consumers would have the discernment from among the homogenous mass-marketed coffee, to recognise more than just brand-associated/symbolic quality.

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Dublin, Recipe

Blueberry Yoghurt & Polenta cake – Recipe

[ADAPTED from: Food & Travel July 2014]

This is likely the easiest recipe to whip up, so have fun friends!

There are subtle but large differences between supermarkets in Ireland and North America.  I find it hard to describe, but one of the largest differences is seen in the variety of offerings in prepackaged & fresh foods.  It stems from consumer preference, regional food trends, but also regulations.  Like here in Ireland, among the surprising things to find, it’s easy to find marzipan, fondant/ready-to-use icing, gelatine sheets, and even fine polenta… so here we are, a recipe for polenta cake! It’s moist & relatively low fat. Good luck =)




Dublin, Recipe

How to improve your cocktail game with a Poitin shot – Recipe here

Yes, Poitin!

A quick drink experiment 🙂  – I probably shouldn’t admit this to you, but I kind of like mess around with cocktails at home.  I really don’t have a huge problem drinking alone, it allows me to perfect it for when there IS company. – so i tell myself.

As you do, because we are in Ireland, I’ve opted to swap everything for Poitin! A clear distilled irish liquor (spirits from grains of whiskey) without the ageing in oak



Adapted from Martini & Rossi Factory Martini

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SLOW FOOD pop-up dinner tonight!


I’ve been a member of Slow Food and also followed the growth of the movement for many years. To clarify, slow food is not just the alternative to fast food; it’s an international organisation supports regional food production, encouraging people to eat clean and sustainable. It’s a grassroots movement that focuses on the enjoyment of food while being committed to the community and environment.

Tonight, Slow Food Dublin’s is turning the spotlight on food waste. We’re gathering community for dinner & hosting speakers at the Dublin Co-Op on Newmarket Square, Dublin 8.

The goal is to raise awareness of food waste in our own homes and communities and ways in which we can all help. Plus hopefully raise some funds for various campaigns.

Have you seen this previous projects Food Cloud & Feeding the 5000  

Here is our lineup of speakers:

Mindy O’Brien from VOICE – Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment
Liz Fingletion & Kate Cronin from Obeo – Fuss-Free Recycling
Tony Lowth from the National College of Art & Design, Dublin Organic Community Garden

Tickets are: €15 Slow Food members & €20 non-members & are available at the door.
Click here to book in.

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