Flamenco girl I´ve taken a week to travel a bit in Andalucia, looking for inspiration and the possibility of opening a shop here. The latter is a fairly crazy notion because of the transportation from Ireland, but given the outrageous rents at home, it could well be that transportation costs are offset by lower rent.

Mind you, there seem to be as many cranes on the skyline in Spain as in Ireland, so who knows…

Caves In any case, I´m having a bit of trouble connecting here, so it looks like I will have to wait until I find a more reasonable connection before posting more and just enjoy the scenery…

Technorati tags: , ,

Out and About in Dublin, Part 2

I have taken another day in Dublin, and it has been quite a bit of fun! A bit of business and a bit of pleasure. It started with a visit to the new Donnybrook Fair on Baggot street, where I was happy to see our ice cream in the freezer and bought a bar of Godiva chocolate for breakfast.

Off then to the WB Yeats exhibit at the National Library and then brunch at Fallon and Byrne. Their salmon blini topped with an egg hollandaise was supurb, and the fresh orange juice was delicious.

Next stop in my rather haphazard tour was Mortons, where I picked up a snack of organic chocolate by Vivani. Now I will follow the advice of Caroline and eat at Ho Sen before heading to the Gaiety for a bit of Kerry theatre with John B. Keane and Year of the Hiker.

I love a (mostly) free day in Dublin!

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Out and About in Dublin

I am in the Big Smoke after dropping ice cream to the Great Taste Awards. They are being hosted by Fallon and Byrne, a customer of ours with a new shop on Wicklow Street. Rather than go for a wide range of goods, they have chosen carefully and have a limited but tasty selection of foods. I would give you a link, but it seems their website is down…

My brother had signed us up for Bord Bia’s International Specialty Food Forum, and since ten companies including Tesco and Jurys Doyle expressed an interest in meeting us, he asked me to hang around in Dublin for couple of days and help him out. I didn’t need much coaxing. The meetings are not until tomorrow, and it is fun being a tourist in the capital.

Last night I ate at Dunne and Crescenzi, nestled in next to the Piedmont wines, and it was a tasty, light option as I had gorged on juice at the aforementioned Fallon and Byrne, and did not have a huge hunger. For people complaining about value in Ireland, this restaurant chain certainly would not bust the wallet, and a simple but delicious insalata caprese made with buffalo mozzarella and a nice orvieto went down a treat.

Then it was off to the Abbey to get a bit of culture. Aurelias Oratorio was the offering, performed by Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter Aurelia Thierrée. It is a visually stunning piece and quite a bit of fun.

I am still disappointed with the coffee around the place, but more on that later, and if anybody has any recommendations…

Tonight I think we will head for Rolys Bistro, and who knows what else!

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Hither and Thither

I’m just back from an extremely gruelling trip to Belfast and back in the search of new honeycomb (caramel) pieces. The trip was successful, the honeycomb pieces are much better, and I can now say that I’ve been in a honeycomb factory. Very cool.

Belfast was most memorable for the friendliness of the people, which I found surprising. It’s been years since I’ve been there, and back then I remember fear and suspicion. Not anymore, it seems. Everyone was most helpful in helping me find my way, and the three running the factory were absolutely delightful.

HowthOn the way back down, I stopped in Howth for a break and a stroll on a lovely day. I would dearly love a shop there. It’s such a delightful town, and seems to have the same open, relaxed, holiday vibe as Dingle.

All for the future, I suppose! Now I’m heading home. I’m knackered!

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Beghrir – Moroccan Pancakes

Tafaroute In Tafraoute, the landscape is miraculous with strange rock formations like pink Henry Moore sculptures and a swathes of yellow flowers that turn dazzling in the sun. The almond trees were in blossom – ghostly white, and snow capped the mountain tops. Tafraoute has fewer tourists than it should, and it certainly was a highlight of the trip.

The breads in general were excellent, the best we have tasted so far, as were the breakfast pancakes called Beghrir. Both are made with semolina and maybe its the water there or the mountains – in any case how simple and wonderful. The pancakes in the morning served with honey and accompanied by a cafe au lait, the bread after a hike in the hills…

Beach sunsetI will post a recipe when I get home and try it out myself. I bought a Moroccan dessert cookbook in French and so it will take a little work!

I am back at the coast now and the sunset was glorious. Two weeks is not a lot to spend in this country. I recommend it very highly, and it was a bargain (379 euro including flights from Shannon and accomodation in Agadir though Sunway, which is so cheap that you don’t hesitate skipping out of town and making your own way around).

I will miss Morocco!


There is a such romance about the Djemaa el Fna , with the exotic expectation of the snake charmers and fire-breathers that the reality leaves one a little disappointed. The cobras seem small and doped up – the charmers have to flick at them to get them to stand up. As for the stalls, there is little that we haven’t seen in other towns around Morocco, although the spices are better displayed!

Still, there is a great pleasure in looking at the bustle of it all – the seething crowds, the darting mopeds, and hearing the clamour of the music and storytellers, especially when drinking deliciously cold, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and munching on dates…

Mind you, a much better way to spend time in Marrakech is to sneak away to the Jardin Majorelle and spend some time among the plants and beautiful colours. (You could even bring along the dates!)


Grilled Fish and Fabbri

 In Essaouira, there is a fish market and you can choose the fish you want to eat and they grill it for you on the spot. We chose sea bass, and a massive fish it was too. They patted it down with spices and the skin was crispy and the inside perfectly moist. What a great place for a meal, under the ramparts, watching the town go by and the sea gulls trying to steal a snack of prawns…

On the down side, the gelateria on the square proudly displayed Fabbri (pre-manufactured mix and flavouring company) labels, when you would think they would be ashamed. How sad it is to go into an ice cream shop in such a far-flung place and see the generic ice cream.

It really seems that ice cream is a dying art as more and more places go for the easy option… Even on our recent trip across the North of Italy, the shops that made their own ice cream from scratch were tiny minority…


The mountains around Agadir are beautiful. It is certainly worth renting a car in Agadir and getting out of town. It is easy to drive in Morocco, and for the most part the roads are deserted once you get out of the cities. The best part of the trip for me was in these areas – from the mountains to the edge of the Sahara – the people are wonderful and the scenery is breathtaking. Also, the food is very good though quite simple.

One thing these parts are known for is honey. The most exotic comes from the pollen of the Argan tree – better known for its nuts that are made into oil for cooking and cosmetic use. The strangest thing is that the process of extracting the oil involves goats climbing the trees, chewing the fruit and leaving the seed on the ground for easy collection.

But I digress, for the goats have nothing to do with the honey, and the honey is excellent. You can buy it on the side of the road, and it is amber in colour and has a caramel taste that is like no other honey I have tried.

An especially tasty option is Amalou (sometimes spelled “Amlou”) – a mixture of honey with almonds and argan oil. I think it would be a great companion to crepes…