Category Archives: Dublin

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 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:
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

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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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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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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
So give us some love!

Watch the video and follow the instructions below.


Sharing my nut & pulse collection with you!


1. Enter the URL of your favorite blog:

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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