Can’t Help Thinking About Chocolate?

Chocolates My father, always helpful, passed me on this story from the Daily Mail based on a study at the University of Hertfordshire:

It appears that the more you resist chocolate, the more you are likely to eat. In fact, those who try to stop thinking about chocolate, eat 50% more on average, with women more likely to gobble than men.

Of course, in my chocolate-addled thinking, why in the world would you resist thinking about that delicious creation?

Technorati tags: , , ,

Last Photos From Venice

Reflection, Venice I’m just back from Venice, and it’s a bit of a shock to leave the place. I can’t recommend it more highly, although I believe it must be unpleasant in the summer with the crush.

Accordian Player, GondolaFor anyone worried about the expense, just stay away from the cafes around St. Mark’s, and look for an apartment if you are staying more than a couple of days.

We had some meals out and some meals in, and all in all found Venice good value, especially if you avoid the patently touristy joints and make some meals from the market. And why wouldn’t you do just that? Delicious fish, fruit and vegetables at very low prices can make any meal an affordable feast!

Pidgeons couple laughingI do hope to go back to that magical city soon, but now I’m in Dingle, and I can’t complain much about that!

I must get to the business of ice cream (and back to blogging about it!)

So here are the last photos from Venice…

Technorati tags: , , ,

High Tide and a Great Meal in Venice

St. Marks Square Flooded This morning at 8:00, sirens sounded in the city of Venice, waking me from quite a sound sleep. Fire? No, it means “aqua alta” in Venetian or floods. At full moon in the Winter, high tide often floods parts of the city, and we decided to head down to Campo S. Marco for a gander.

Man in Wellies, St. Marks SquareFor those who think that Wellies are unfashionable, the sirens let Venetians know that it is time to don the rubber boots, they do it in style.

Not only do they manage to look just as good, but they clearly take pride in the fact that they can wade nonchalantly through the flooded squares, avoiding the crowds of shoe-wearing tourists on the raised gangways.

Police in Wellies

The great thing about the high tide was Campo S. Marco was peaceful and empty. If you could wade to a raised spot, you were alone except for everyone on the edges. What a beautiful sight.

We did go into the Palazzo Ducale for a look at the Venice and Islam Exhibition, which had some beautiful pieces, and took a quick stroll around the Museo Correr. Then we went back out to the square, and enjoyed the flooded square some more.

Pigeons St. MarksWhat really made it pleasant was that even the pigeons kept to high ground, perching on the chairs of the flooded cafes.

Last night, by the way, we had a stunning meal in Al Fontego Dei Pescatori in Cannaregio. Highly recommended Venetian fare (my Venetian partner in crime compared it to her mama’s cooking – high praise indeed). Make sure you peruse their excellent wine list, and leave room for the sublime desserts if you visit!

Technorati tags: , , ,

More Venice

Masks in a Venice Shop A week in Venice goes by very quickly! Even without the museums and other attractions, simply walking around the city offers enough diversion that the days fly in a series of beautiful images.

Sardines in Rialto marketOf couse, visiting the mask shops was a must for us, since Wrens Day is coming up quickly, and what better costume for this year than a mask from Venice?

It is a bit surprising to me how strong tourism is here that even in the end of October, the place is packed with us. I cant even imagine what it is like here in Summer. Anyway… 

For any foodie, the market in Rialto is a visual treat, and lunch today will come from the chunks of fresh tuna bought there along with fresh fennel and other vegetables.

Gondolier on the phoneIn terms of ice cream, Gelateria Nico in Zattere has been the best so far, and it is a perfect place to grab an ice cream for a stroll to see the gondolas being fixed in the boatyard or a wander along the lagoon.

It must be said that most of the ice cream around the place is utter junk, the then again, that is the case in most places…

La Zucca RestaurantThe best meal has been in La Zucca, a delightful restaurant with good vegetarian options as well as the usual meats, etc. The pumpkin flan (not a dessert) is worth a trip in itself, and the desserts are definitely weighted toward the chocoholic (happy days!)

Today, I think, will be a lazy day, and I will get some work done on the book. On the other hand, there is the Venice Biennale on at the moment, and it certainly is tempting to go wander the pavillions and soak in some (more) art…

Technorati tags: , , ,


Boats in the Canal, Venice It is so great to be in this city! The old buildings and faded grandeur are so refreshing coming from Ireland, where old is bad and every slightly weathered structure is ripped down in favour of spanking new semi-Ds.

Traffic JamI could spend a week simply walking, feasting on the visual treats. I’m staying in a rented apartment instead of a hotel, and it’s huge, quiet, central, full of charm, and brilliant in that I don’t have to have every meal out. Last night I made a pumpkin risotto with spoils from the market…

Tonight it’s a Handel and Vivaldi concert in Scuola Grande San Rocco beneath the masterpieces of Tintoretto, tomorrow it’s La Fenice. I’m so spoiled!

Technorati tags: , , ,

A Few Links

I haven’t put up any new links for a while, but here are a few sites I’ve been visiting:

Irish (why aren’t there more?!): Eat me Drink me – Good mix. No post since September, so hopefully won’t go away! ~ Fabulous Food Trails – Name says it all! ~ Well Done Filet – Musings of a Belfast waiter & his partner ~ Humble Housewife – Keeps getting better

Other: Ice Cream Man – Band/events and free ice cream ~ Baking and Books – Beautiful site ~ Kitchen Pantry – Tasty photos and recipes from an Italian PhD ~ 101 Cookbooks – One of the best… ~ Bong Mom’s Cookbook – Sophisticated recipes and lovely photos

Brown Bread Ice Cream

Brown Bread Ice Cream Here’s the ice cream recipe that Sean and I presented at the cooking demonstration during the food festival. We also made the chocolate whiskey sauce to go with it.

I know I have already posted a Brown Bread and Guinness ice cream recipe, but this has a new improved method for caramalising the brown bread – i.e. simply melting the brown sugar and adding the bread crumbs. It’s so much easier and tastes just as good!!!



  • 130g sugar
  • 4 Egg yolks
  • 220ml cream
  • 200ml milk
  • 1/3 vanilla bean
  • 250ml volume stale brown bread crumbs
  • 75g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

What to do:

  1. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and put in a saucepan with the milk.
  2. Bring the milk to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir for about a minute. Remove the vanilla bean.
  4. Beat the sugar and egg yolks together until thick and pale yellow.
  5. Beat the warm milk into the eggs and sugar in a slow stream (don’t over mix).
  6. Pour the mixture back into pan, and place over low heat.
  7. Brown Bread Ice Cream CloseStir until the custard thickens (around 60C).
  8. Allow the custard to cool.
  9. Stir in the cream.
  10. Melt brown sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar crystals have dissolved.
  11. Stir in the bread crumbs and allow to cool.
  12. Freeze the mix using a domestic ice cream machine, or cover and place in the freezer.
  13. Add the brown bread once the ice cream is thick.

Notes: 1. Use a very dark brown bread for best results. 2. If it is a fresh loaf, you can crush it into crumbs, spread it on a baking tray, and bake it at low temperature (50C) for a couple of hours to dry it out. 3. A fast way to make (small) bread crumbs is to use a blender or food processor.

Technorati tags: , , ,