Friday, September 25, 2009

rush hour heading to Shillelagh!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

orange and nothing but the orange - going organic

Recent research by a well known UK university shows organic food doesn't have more nutritional value than average produce. This study caused quite a stir back a few weeks ago, shocking many - which surprises me, in fairness, since an carrot still remains an carrot - be it organic or not.

The issue is not what organic food HAS but what it DOESN'T have: pesticides, hormones and a whole selection of unsavoury chemicals no regular producer would dare adding to their produce labels...

It is not about getting more vitamin C for your orange, it's about getting orange and nothing but the orange. At least, that's the way I see it. Stripping not only veg but also meat and poultry of any additional extras that aren't really needed and might be harmful to your health - and usually not very eco-friendly, as far as production goes...

The myth: organic is more expensive. The truth: sometimes.

Anyway, if you are still on the pro-organic side, try The Farm, an organic restaurant in Dublin 2. The bright and luminous decor might make it look like a trendy cocktail bar but don't judge it by its cover, the food is brilliant and the huge menu will please all, from vegans to omnivores alike.

The puds are brilliant - and with an early bird of under €20 you can't go wrong really.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kisses - for the most amazing views of Dublin City

Kylie and Dylan are 'after running away'.
To some it might feel like another nitty gritty Irish movie focusing on disfunctional families, rough around the edges suburbs and pained childhoods. But I just love Lance Daly's Kisses.

Set in contemporary Dublin, this Ken Loachesque take on Irish society (back in vogue since the economy has gone dire straits) is a 5-star movie and it has some of the most amazing footage I have ever seen of Dublin city: when Kylie and Dylan hitch a lift from the dredger guy.

Have a look at the trailer on

A birthday, a wedding and a lobster

So it has been a busy weekend, the last one. First of all I turned 30 on Friday... which is scary enough but as someone said you'll get used to it (but by that time you'll probably be nearly 40...) that sounds about right...

Then, we were also travelling to Herefordshire, in England, for our friends Kate and Tom's wedding- which was amazing... and I really mean it. After crossing in my list weddings in Ireland, Spain, Slovakia, Poland, the UK and the US I have to admit I'm always impressed with the simplicity, practicality, elegance and excellent food I've enjoyed at English weddings.

On Thursday night (before getting the ferry from Rosslare to Pembroke on Friday morning) I finally got to have dinner at this famous seafood restaurant in Co. Wexford, The Lobster Pot.

Since 30 is quite a birthday I decided I'd go for the lobster, of course ;-) - after all, I was driving so didn't spend much on the wine/booze department...

The staff were super friendly and the place has a lot of character, looking more like a gastro pub than a fancy resto. However, I'd say the average age of the clientele was waaaay passed my big Three O, and it might as well - it made me feel young again!

Not that I'm ageist but in these sort of places you usually find ladies like the ones sitting next to us on the waiting table. The waiter is politely asking how the meal was and she points out the potatoes were 'awful' - they had eyes on them... Mark actually thought she meant there was ice in the spuds, which made it even funnier...

anyway, the grumpy old bat got a free pudding... so maybe that's the only reason people complain at restaurants... specially about potatoes having eyes or ice or whatever it was she felt it was wrong with her spuds.

Our food was lovely. However, I'm slightly disappointed with the range of the menu- I sort of expected a wild selection of creatures available (I'm from Galicia after all!) that simply wasn't there. The puddings were nice but a touch overpriced and not really matching the quality of the main course. It was definitely worth the drive though, and that lobster was really tasty...

On Friday morning we took the 9 ferry to Pembroke, which in theory only takes 3 hours and 45 min but, in my experience, it always ends up taking at least 4 hours - and it feels quite long...

This seems to be another hot spot for OAPs, I've noticed... and I wonder if they get a special pass or if they are just scared of flying... any ideas???

Tom and Kate's wedding was in this lovely manor house called Whitney Court, in Whitney on Wye, just by the Welsh border (very near Brecon). It has the most stunning views of the countryside -helped by a weekend weather of remarkable sunshine and summer temperatures!

What I loved about Tom and Kate's wedding was:

A/the fact that there was no religion involved (Churches have hijacked weddings for way too long people!) and

B/ it just fitted their personalities so well. It was warm, welcoming and featured all local produce - including booze.

Then there was dancing and drinking and more dancing and drinking ... and then Cornish pasties at midnight. Who said the Brits can't pull a gastro fest? well, if someone can that has to be Tom and Kate, which I hope are having a brilliant time in Croatia.

I wonder if they eat Cornish pasties in Croatia...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Galician Pipers at Viveiro's mighty party: Naseiro

Here's a little clip of some Galician pipers (gaiteiros) doing the 'vermut' rounds at Viveiro's mighty summer party: Naseiro.

As a teenager, growing up in Viveiro means suffering a pretty bleak winter but a prospect of a damn good party-fuelled summer AND counting down the days for Naseiro.

Old and young build the shacks where they'll spend the five best days of the summer: day and night. Basically, Naseiro is like a massive picnic gone out of hand. Whereas my grandmother's generation used to go down to their nicely set up temporary tables to have a few dances and enjoy a few drinks and food with friends, the whole thing has now evolved into a shanty-townesque mad structure spreading along the river. Imagine cramping a whole town into a few acres of land. The whole town moves temporarily for five days. That's Naseiro. And Viveiro people love it.

All the excesses are allowed: too much food, too much drink, cross dressing, maybe a few unplanned pregnancies as well... Since Naseiro means the end of the summer holidays for some, the energy that goes into the whole affair is phenomenal - had it been organised in early June, the myth of Naseiro, the mighty party of Viveiro, might not be quite as huge.

Each of the five days is dedicated to a traditional Galician dish but the most popular one is Octopus Friday, cooked 'a feira' style (fair/market style - what the non-Galicians call Galician Style).

I've loved it since being a child, I worshipped it as a teenager and now, living abroad, I don't get to go to Naseiro too often. In fact, until this year, I hadn't been for a good few years. Having enjoyed the sesion vermut (the midday dance and drinks session), some tasty pulpo and a couple of dancing nights, I'm back to work feeling homesick - and counting the days for next year's.

If there is one thing that a true Viveiro person doesn't want to miss, that is Naseiro- without a doubt.