Archive for February, 2010

Knife skills … for cooking

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Nothing gangsta to be seen here, a four minute video on how to become a kitchen ninja while not losing any digits in the process:

How To Learn Basic Knife Skills from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn on Vimeo.

Dinner in Orchids Restaurant, Hayfield Manor

Sunday, February 21st, 2010
Orchids Hayfield Manor

As a (belated) birthday treat we recently enjoyed a night in the five star Hayfield Manor Hotel and dinner in Orchids Restaurant which, in their own words, is “the premier choice for fine dining in Cork City”.

The hotel itself is lovely, nice setting and looks very well. The staff appeared warm and welcoming, the girl who checked us in asked if we had a nice journey and how we had heard about them. Off to a pleasant start but while I was in mid-response to her question the phone rang and she raised her hand as if to indicate “one moment, I have something more important to do” and answered the phone. How rude. She hung up and in case I wasn’t sure what to make of the incident she went and did it a second time. The phone rang, she stoped talking to us and answered it. What could me more important than welcoming new guests to your five star hotel? To her credit when the phone rang a third time she asked a nearby staff member to take the call but way too late to correct the terrible first impression.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, the leisure center and the hot tub are are nice treat. We chose Orchids for dinner over the less formal Perrotts Bistro. Surroundings were nice and we were seen to our table and had ordered without fuss. The duck starter was shredded duck wrapped in a clumsy and heavy pasta tube served with some butternut squash flavours. OK but let down by the pasta. The lamb for main course wasn’t bad, maybe a bit underdone for my taste but nothing to complain about. The most entertaining part of the night came from the sommelier who appeared with our bottle of Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine sur lie and launched into a description of the wine and the area of origin. It started to sound a little generic and vague so to try inject some stimulation I asked him what “sue lie” on the label meant. He stalled, said he had asked his teacher that very same question recently and finally reported it had “something to do with sediment”. He topped up our glasses and sped off. That was the last we saw of him for the evening.

Overall the best I can say is that I wasn’t bad but the point is for a five star hotel who claims to be the premiere choice for fine dining in Cork I think they missed the target. We had a nice stay, the hotel and surroundings are a treat, the staff (for the most part) are attentive and friendly, their prices are very competitive at the moment but I think they were just that bit short on the fine dining and its hard to forgive that girl for answering the phone twice while I was talking to her during check-in.

Peter Dowdall on allotments and growing your own veg.

Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Cork Allotments

I like to prattle on about buying local produce but how about going one better and start growing your own? The idea of allotments in Ireland is not really a brand new thing, you can visit or for a list of instructions but it does seem to be on the up these days.

Peter Dowdall, already well established in the real world with his TV work and Dunsland Garden Center in Cork, is increasing his online presence with and has recently been talking about a new allotment addition to Cork on his personal blog Have a look Peter’s new websites about all things horticultural…and maybe some rugby related meanderings on

Enough linkage for now, have a good weekend. Ireland to beat Italy by fourteen.