Archive for January, 2010

Pesto Sauce

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

We’re still plodding our way through January (will it ever end?) and coming to terms with 2010 so I guess the first effort at making something this year should not be too taxing.

Home made Pesto sauce is quick, easy, and far better than any of that stuff in a jar. Tastes better and probably better for you. Once you know the basics add your own details e.g. a dash of Lemon, some different herbs and so on…

One (25g) pack of fresh Basil.
Half a clove of garlic, finely chopped
100g of finely grated Parmesan
A Handful of Pine Nuts
1/2 Teaspoon dried Coriander
Olive oil

Toast the pine nuts in a pan over a gentle heat, keep moving them around so they don’t burn. Add all the ingredients into your blender with a dash of olive oil. Blend down into a paste adding adding more oil as you go along if necessary, don’t add too much oil at the start, get a feel for how much you need as you go along.

When this is done cook some pasta, drain, add a knob of butter and stir in the pesto sauce. Buon appetito.

Martijn Kajuiter awarded a Michelin star

Saturday, January 16th, 2010
Cliff House Cookbook

Having written about the Cliff House Hotel on a few occasions, we enjoyed a stunning dinner there last summer, I was delighted to hear (via twitter) that Executive Head Chef Martijn Kajuiter has been awarded a Michelin star.

Martijn and his team use all local produce to produce some stunning and absolutely unique food. Although I have yet to read his cookbook maybe you are brave enough to try some of the recipes yourself. Well done to Martijn and The Cliff House Hotel.

Anyone for Gin and Tonic?

Saturday, January 9th, 2010
Gin and Tonic

We are currently having a touch of a cold snap here in Ireland, as the Japanese say “Every crisis brings opportunity”.

Does anybody have a large glass?


Chateau Lynch Bages 1985

Monday, January 4th, 2010
Chateau Lynch Bages 1985

From time to time I write about wine but apart from knowing what is nice and what is not nice I don’t have the wine vocabulary to get my point across very well. I leave that to the experts you can see listed over on the right-hand column down towards the bottom of the page.  However this is a special wine with a story attached.

In the early nineties a group of us who were friends in college had just been let loose on the real world and were earning money for the first time, some in Cork, myself in Athlone and most in Dublin. During the course of his duties in Dublin one of the group was given an opportunity to own a then seven year old bottle of Lynch Bages. The year was 1992. The opportunity was taken.

The wine was cared for and and moved around Dublin from rented house to rented house all the time managing to stay unopened which was no mean feat living in the some of the places it did. Over the years it travelled around Ireland and and maybe even further afield but all the time it remained protected from the elements. The owner left to work abroad whereupon it was cared for by our buddy Dan. On the occasions when we would all get together the wine would often come up in conversation, usually “Do you still have it?”.

In the ten years between 1992 and 2002 there was engagement, marraige, birth, divorce and a death within the group. Seven years on and everybody fondly remembers our friend Alan who passed away in August 2002 from an asthma attack. A common or garden asthma attack. This year it happened again. Just before Christmas 2009, a week before his 38th birthday, Dan passed away. Another member of the group gone at a stage where we should be celebrating fortieth birthday parties not going to funerals.

This New Years Eve those friends who were in Cork came for dinner where the wine made a surprise appearence. After owning it, and caring for it, for seventeen years it was shared with the small group of friends at the table. We raised a glass and drank to Dan and we drank to Alan. Two friends who left much sooner than they should. The itself wine was superb but sometimes the occassion can be worth a whole lot more. Life is short. Stop and smell the roses (or an ’85 Lynch Bages if you have a friend good enough to share with you). Don’t let things pass you by. Thanks EB.

Happy 2010.