Tag Archives: Dublin

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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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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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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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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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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