Dublin: brunch at Dillinger’s

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For Halloween last year I went to Dublin for the weekend to visit my friend Sinead and the city was bustling to say the least; in part because of Halloween but it was also the Dublin Marathon that weekend and of course there was a big rugby game on (like most weekends in Ireland).

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I arrived late on the Friday night so we only had time to catch up over a bottle of wine, but spent the next day out on the town. We started with a delicious brunch at Dillinger’s in the cosy Ranelagh area.

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The place was packed when we arrived but we got a nice table (can’t remember if you can book or not) and started to read to menu. For a brunch menu, this was one of the best I’ve seen; I wanted to eat everything!  In the end I decided on the hash brown with guacemole, poached egg and smoked salmon while Sinead had the waffles with fried chicken and maple syrup. Both dishes were really nice (just a tad too big for us).

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We also had bellinis drink (appropriate when on holiday) and coffee.

Our lovely Saturday continued with some shopping, both in Ranelagh and central Dublin, and some drinks outside before going home to change and then on to dinner.

Dillinger’s, 47 Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Ireland

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Recipe: udon noodles with spinach and poached egg

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This simple and very comforting dish (funny how foods not involving melted cheese can be comforting, but they can!) I found in Vogue of all places, i.e. not where I usually get my food inspiration from, but it’s nice they write about food as well as fashion.

The only slightly daunting part of this meal is poaching eggs, but if you have the freshest of eggs and a slotted spoon you’re halfway there. Further instructions here.

Udon noodles with spinach and poached egg, serves 1

1 portion udon noodles, cooked according to the instructions on the packet 

2 handfuls fresh spinach

200-300 ml vegetable or chicken stock

1 poached egg 

Heat up the stock. Blanch the spinach in boiling water and squeeze it dry. Pour the stock into a bowl. Add noodles and spinach and lastly the poached egg. Sprinkle with chilli flakes or Aleppo pepper. 

Trattoria Caminetto d’Oro, Bologna

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Our first day in Bologna (Good Friday) we walked all over town to explore, but despite the many restaurants here we really struggled to find a nice place for lunch in the area where we were. After a while we settled for Pizzeria Trattoria O Sole Mio, where we had an OK lunch. I had a pizza with plump porcini mushroomsch and Caroline had gramignone pasta with salsiccia and copious amount of cream. Nothing to write home about but just what we needed.

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Our dinner that day was a little more exciting, as we had booked a table at Trattoria Caminetto d’Oro. The menu looked really good so we decided to share two starters to get to taste as much as possible. But first we had the amuse bouche above; a fish mousse with fennel I believe.

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One of the starters was this potato filled ravioli with pecorino and black truffle. It was absolutely delicious and just the type of Italian food I had been dreaming about before our trip.

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The second starter was the daily smoked fish: seabass, with finely chopped vegetables, orange peel, rosemary and thyme. Absolutely delicious! I must remember to pair orange with fish, it works so very well!

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I never tire of truffle so I chose the poached egg with parmesan, white truffle, purple potato purée, croutons and a whole artichoke for my mains. Everything was delicious but it was a dish that you ate in sections because of the artichoke, but still lovely.

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Caroline tried the ‘traditional boiled meats’, which was similar to a pot au feu, tender meats in a deliciously flavoured broth. Very filling though as some of the meat was sausages.

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It came with two sharp sauces, to cut through the richness of the meat; one with herbs and one with chilli, both really nice.

We really enjoyed the food, but the service could have been better. The sommelier was not helpful at all, and actually quite rude. The saving grace was the restaurant manager/owner who really did a great job, but he should hire better staff!

Worth a visit.

Caminetto d’Oro, Via de’ Falegnami 4, Bologna, Italy 

Poached egg with girolles, Västerbotten cheese and toasted hazelnuts

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My first attempt at cooking a 63C egg didn’t work too well, as I tried to multitask and wasn’t paying attention the whole time. Big mistake. Huge. So instead I poached eggs. And served it with butter-fried girolles, Västerbotten cheese and toasted hazelnuts. It was delicious but I still dream of perfecting that 63C egg and serve it with girolles. I mean, is there anything better than a runny egg yolk with garlicky mushrooms?! I don’t think so.

Listening to my favourite food podcast (in Swedish) I learnt a new way to toast nuts, in the oven. So much better than in a dry frying pan. It will change your life. I promise. All you need to remember is 150C for 15 minutes.

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Poached egg with girolles, Västerbotten cheese and toasted hazelnuts, serves 2

2 fresh eggs

a splash of vinegar 

200 g girolles

1 tbsp butter

1 garlic clove, chopped

salt, pepper

chopped parsley

2 tbsp grated Västerbotten cheese (or comté)  

20 hazelnuts

Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Pour the nuts into an oven-proof tray and toast for 15 minutes. Clean the mushrooms and fry in butter with the garlic until golden brown. Add salt, pepper and parsley and put aside. 

Take a large saucepan and fill half of it with water from a just boiled kettle. Bring the water to a gentle simmer (it should not boil) and add the vinegar. Pour ice cold water into a bowl and have a slotted spoon at hand. Crack and egg into a mug or cup. With a spoon, create a whirl in the pan and lower the mug/cup with the egg into the water and pour it out. Repeat with a second egg and let them poach for 3 minutes. Remove with the slotted spoon and place in the cold water for a few minutes. Remove with the slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. 

Re-heat the mushrooms is needed. Divide them between to plates, leaving a hole in the middle for the egg. Scatter with grated cheese. Chop the nuts and scatter. Serve immediately. 

Avocado toast with feta and poached egg

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Last Sunday I woke up to a picture similar to this one on Instagram, it was Foodetc parading his excellent breakfast that I decided to copy since I had all the ingredients at hand. Delicious!

I often eat avocado toast but this was the first time I had feta and poached egg with it. A recipe is superfluous but here’s a quick description of what’s on the plate: toasted Poilane (or other nice sourdough) with mashed avocado (and limejuice, tabasco, salt and pepper), crumbled feta and a poached eggs. Yum!

Brunch: purple sprouting, poached egg, dijon and tarragon crème, parmesan

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When spring has sprung my body just craves greens and other healthy things it wasn’t interested in much during the winter months.

That’s why I made this healthy brunch dish last weekend. The combination of broccoli, poached egg, a lovely crème with dijon mustard and tarragon and some salty parmesan certainly hit the spot on a sunny spring Sunday.

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Purple sprouting with poached egg, dijon and tarrgagon crème, parmesan, serves 1

4-6 stems purple sprouting broccoli

1 egg

50 ml creme fraiche

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp dried tarragon

To serve: parmesan shavings, grassy olive oil

Combine creme fraiche, dijon mustard in a bowl. Add salt and pepper and set aside. Cook the broccoli in salted water for 2-3 minutes. Then drain and return to the dry pan to keep warm while poaching the egg.

Bring water to simmer in a sauce pan. Add a tsp of white wine vinegar. Crack the egg into a mug (or small bowl) and lower into the simmering water and pour out the egg. Let it simmer for 3 minutes (set a timer). Once done remove with a slotted spoon and put the egg into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Place the broccoli on a plate, place the poached egg on top. Drizzle with the crème, scatter parmesan shavings and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.