Ireland. For those of us in the UK it’s that green isle but a short hop from us on any low budget airline, heralded for craggy coastlines and, let’s face it, folk fond of a drink or two. For those further afield, a destination hopelessly romantic, perfectly quaint. But how to discover it? Recently I donned my woollens against the chilly Gaelic winds and hopped on the Aer Lingus flight to Cork to do just that on a trip sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey.
This weekend I embarked on a most exciting adventure and one that marks a solid leap in the journey of whisky discovery I began this year with FoodGoblin.
One might think that all roads in this journey lead to Scotland. Not so. Historically it was Irish whiskey that was the most popular in the world, with Jameson Irish Whiskey producing 1 million gallons annually in the 19th century, 5 times as much as Scottish Glenlivet. Debate still exists as to who invented whisky, however it is known that the first legal distillery in the UK was licensed in Northern Ireland in 1608. With this in mind and a growing appreciation for this unique spirit, it makes perfect sense that my path would eventually lead back to these spiritual roots in Ireland.
FoodGoblin reviews Shackfuyu, the newly launched Japanese fusion sister restaurant of BoneDaddies.
Maybe it's the New Year, maybe it's my ever increasing waist size or maybe I'm just becoming more conscious of the healthier things in life, but recently I've been getting into coconut water. Second thought, I'm probably just missing my times in India. I have fond memories of lying on the beach, sipping coconut water fresh from the nut.
Anyway, I recently discovered Vita Coco; one of the premier brands of coconut water (and I think the largest too). I've been making up smoothies with them for a delicious, fresh drink or breakfast. Here is my first #cococreation. Tweet me if you like it and with any photos of your own!
Damn, you think to yourself. The neighbours are coming over for dinner this week and you have neither the energy nor inclination to design a dinner for your suave new friends from down the block. Lo, there is a knight in a brown paper bag, a mere few clicks away, whom comes quicker than you can say, “balls! I forgot the truffle paste”! Well, not quite but swift enough and with more ease than having to pop down to your local Waitrose. Marley Spoon is a fab alternative to recipe hunting and trolling through the aisles of the supermarche for recipe ingredients. This can be a right pain especially when you realise you have to buy a 5 quid tub of some far-eastern tapenade-like goo, which you know you will NEVER use again.
Whisky. What is it to you? Nectar of the Gods? Something ghastly you wouldn’t touch with a barge pole? Maybe you’re not sure, you’ve had it in cocktails but never in its native form and you’re scared to take the plunge into those intimidating bar menus laden with Scottish, Irish or more far flung sounding names? To me, whisky is a new love. I began drinking it years ago when I was working on cocktail bars and first began learning about it. Time has passed and I’m still continuing my journey, exploring this old and complex spirit.
Quiz time, readers. Who can tell me anything about South African food? Can anyone name me a dish? South African people, put your hands down. Nobody else? Not entirely unexpected. Until a few weeks ago I was in the same boat. I suspected there was meat involved, mostly from the South African blokes I’ve come across (and blokes is definitely the best word here), but would have been hard pressed to expand more. Then I heard about a new opening in Soho, bringing traditional Durban ‘workers’ food to London, Bunnychow, and went down to find out more.
The name is drawn from the dish itself: the Bunny Chow. This meal began in Durban in the 1940s as a portable lunch for migrant Indian plantation workers. I am told that since the more traditional Indian meal of roti and beans tended to fall apart too easy, they took little loaves of bread, filled them with curry and topped them with the bread lid, providing a portable and cheap meal. In more modern times this has become a popular street food item in South Africa and was introduced to London in 2013. Crusty bread and curry or spicy stew: a winner, right? Right.
It’s nice to know that after years of exploring the world of food and drink, a product can still surprise me. Recently I was invited down to one of a series of dinners sponsored by Yeni Raki, Turkey’s number 1 raki brand. You’d be forgiven for asking what raki was. Prior to this dinner my sole experience with this spirit was having it forced down my neck on holiday by Turkish waiters at the end of a meal. Raki is a spirit made from distilled grapes flavoured with aniseed. In its bottled form it is clear but when drunk water is added, prompting a curious transformation that renders the liquid a milky colour and texture, attracting the name of ‘Lion’s Milk’.
On Thursday 12th February, if you happened to be strolling through the streets of Covent Garden you might have been forgiven for thinking you were in the vibrant streets of Rio de Janeiro. Not a claim that London can often make and certainly not a result of our inclement winter weather. No; this February Rio Carnival was transported to our nation’s capital in a week long extravaganza hosted by popular Brazilian club, Guanabara. The celebrations kicked off that Thursday with a Carnival Parade marching through the streets, bringing the party officially to this iconic 600 capacity party venue.
Between February 11th-17th Guanabara put on 7 non-stop days of Carnival celebrations including a masked ball, samba dancers, circus acts, live Brazilian bands and of course…plenty of authentic street food and rum cocktails.