Jul 13 2015

Summer loving and having a blast

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You know how it is …. summer holidays kick into high gear at the end of June and before you know it, it is the middle of July and you haven’t stopped for a second to just…………… breathe.

The kids are on high doe as all ‘the cousins’ are here for the next three weeks. To say they are having fun is an understatement. They are all still of the age where so they are happy enough hanging out with their parents and the trampoline has never seen so much action!

They are all getting bigger and bolder and our eldest starts secondary school in September. I’ll tell you, as cliché as it sounds … where does the bloody time go?

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Right now, they are signed up for a month of Tennis lessons. It was so much fun watching them all battle it out on the court today – cousins against the ‘home’ team. They are ferocious competitors but still very much into having FUN while they learn. I can tell, as Friday approaches, their Tennis coach is really looking forward to his two days off!

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Despite a bit of rain here and there, the weather has stayed dry enough for them to play and wet enough to force everyone to take a bit of time out to catch up on summer reading and relax.

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Last week, we had a lovely 4th of July celebration with one of our friends, and also former employee, visiting from USA. We try to always have Americans in the house for July 4th and for Thanksgiving – which falls on November 26th this year – so if you fancy popping over for a visit, start planning now!

 

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We have been spending A LOT of time over at the new park on the Westside of the city. This is one of the best facilities we have on our doorsteps with a running track, a rollerblade path, a fenced in skateboard area, a gated tiny tots playground, a zip line cable, and swings and monkey bars too.

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The hill leading to the climbing apparatuses is covered in a blanket of wildflowers right now and I’m sure there have been many vases of Poppy’s perched on plenty of peoples windowsills these past few weeks.

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Another excellent feature of this park is the weight training machines dotted all along one side of the rollerblade path. I have seen so many people using these machines over the last few months.

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Although we no longer have toddlers, the Tiny Tots playground is well designed too and I have met a host of Mum’s at this park who love the freedom it gives them and their kids to just ‘play’.

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Back at Chez Wise we have ‘cut the crap’ right out of the family diet. About a month ago we decided to just throw any crap sweet treats in the bin and told the kids if we made it/baked it, they could have it, otherwise there would be no treats. This has had an excellent result, with the kids baking more each week and learning how to make their own cordials to mix with sparkling water.

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And finally …. because you might be headed West for a little getaway – there is a few new places in town open for business. The first one, is a cute little French restaurant called Le Petit Pois.

Run by a husband/wife team from Brittany, France, they just opened last week. The 40 seat restaurant is beautifully designed and decorated and I hope they have a very busy summer! Their wine list, and extensive wine knowledge, is well worth the visit for the oenophiles out there.


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Another FUN place to put on your list is the new bar at the top of Eyre Square called McGettigans. Yes, I know it sounds very twee…. it is a massive global company with several bars dotted all over the world, and their sign out front  is not all that inviting either, but this place is decorated quite nicely.

Plush booths flank the walls downstairs and they offer decent prices on beer and they have the kind of menu that caters to large groups. I was in there just a few days ago and had a gorgeous bowl of chowder n’ ciabatta for €6.50 and tip top service was offered when I visited; I can’t wait to go back for more!


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Ok – that is it for now … I just wanted to check in with y’all to see how your summer is going.

I will be laying low for the next few weeks as my siblings are home for a few weeks, and we are enjoying a bit of family time before my brother’s wedding in a few days.

There is much drinking and dancing to be done!

I hope you are having a fabulous summer wherever you are.

 

WiseMóna x

Sep 8 2013

{When in Mayo} Recipes 4 success

Posted by     No Comments    in When in Galway

 

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Occasionally …… we get invited to events that leave us wondering if it was all business or just all pleasure.

We spent the last few days tooling around the northern stretch of County Mayo, invited to join in the festivities for Westport Food Festival, and we found it hard to tear ourselves away from all the fun when it was time to return home to Galway.

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We kicked off early Friday morning with a workshop led by John and Sally McKenna and Oonagh Monahan of Oonagh Eats blog and John McGee from the local Community Enterprise Board.

In attendance, and hungry to learn, were several local food producers sat beside several local (small) restaurant/Café owners. They were all wondering how they could make more of an impact with their product and service; all wondering how they could attract more customers – and retain them. They all beamed with pride when they hear that ‘everyone wants a Greenway’. It took years of planning, but the Atlantic Gourmet Greenway has already proven to be a massive attraction to tourists this year. ‘ … The Gourmet Greenway is a food trail devised by Mulranny Park Hotel, in association with several Mayo food producers, to showcase the wonderful artisan food in the vicinities of Mulranny, Newport, Westport and Achill…’

There were Tweets flung back and forth all morning about how Recipes4Success (Mayo) could really be applied to most counties around the country. Click on this link to see a recap of some of the more interesting Tweets.

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After the workshop, we all congregated for a pot-luck lunch. Ron had teamed up with Kieran & Marjorie O’Malley from Achill Island Sea Salt (brand new product still in small production) to make a few tasty treats. First, he took a few tubs of their absolutely gorgeous flaky sea salt and he Turf-smoked it. The smell and flavour is so familiar to us Irish folk because we have been burning Turf in our fires for centuries. He made a few Sourdough crackers and a tub of Hummus for dipping in. It seemed to have been a big hit – the chef was delighted.

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Café Rua (from Castlebar) was there in style, sharing their patriotic message and delicious food.

They also showed a fine example of team-work by creating and sharing a beautiful Blackberry Panacotta made from Cuinneog buttermilk.

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We all sat around for a little while sharing ideas and notions about what might work and I feel certain that we will see a few joint efforts from this group of small business owners soon.

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After lunch, we stole away for a few hours to enjoy the leisure centre at Hotel Westport where we overnighted. The pool is most certainly a huge attraction and I can tell you right now if you are thinking of a few nights away with the kids, this would be a great place to stay.

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After our swim, we decided to chance our arm at a hike over near Clew Bay and boy am I ever glad we did. Raincoats were needed as the showers we intermittent – but after an hour, the skies cleared and the afternoon was just glorious. As if by magic.Clew Bay

 

Needless to say, the photo is enough to convince anyone to take a trek over to the Mayo coast for a little mini-break.

The Tavern

 

On our return trip back to Westport we stopped in to The Tavern, in Murrisk, to say hi to a new Chef-friend of ours (Myles) and his lovely wife. Myles had told us, earlier that morning, that the Mussels he serves at The Tavern are the best in Ireland because they are fished from the cleanest water in the country. No silt or sand, no cleaning needed. We thought this was a pretty big statement for him to make – but love it when people stand behind their product and insist they have the best. Sean Kelly in Newport does the same thing. They are always right.

Mussels

Ron said they were the best Mussels he has ever eaten in Ireland. I had to agree. They were the freshest, most tender and tasty mussels … they reminded me A LOT of the mussels we used to get from PEI, when we had our restaurant in the US.

Coffee Kellys 

The next morning we headed north to the small town of Newport to pay a visit to Kelly’s Butcher shop. We have met Sean Kelly several times now and I always enjoy listening to him. He is the best motivational speaker around folks. None of that fluff with him. Get off your ass and work hard. Believe in your product. Don’t try to sell crap. Be the best in your field.

Kellys busy

I stood back and watched him and his brother take care of a flurry of Saturday morning customers and marvelled at how everyone knew everyone. The meat display cases were filled to the brim with weekend niceties and weekday-savers but most people were asking for extras and personalised pieces.

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Chops were cut thinner and thicker. Shanks were shorn, pieces were ordered on the bone and off the bone. Bespoke butchering if you will.

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Recipes ideas were shared and the butchers convinced their customers to do as they were told because the Butcher knows their meat. Why wouldn’t they, and the cows and pigs and lambs only a few fields away. Sean said he had to stop apologising for the prices that he charges for the meat they butcher and sell

… ‘yes, it is a bit more expensive than what you get at the supermarket, but I hand pick the animals that go to slaughter. We have our own abattoir. I take care of the animal from the field to your fork’ …

I can’t imagine anyone as passionate about butchering as this man. He is the Meat mascot of Mayo for sure.

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Once we had finished shopping for a few other necessities we loaded up our bags and headed back to Galway

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right after a delicious cup of coffee in Kelly’s Kitchen (right next door to the Butcher) which is run by Shauna Kelly,  daughter of Seán.

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When we got home, we unloaded all our goodies and admired the strength of ‘local product pushing’ that goes on in Mayo. There are a few hard-core business owners that do so much more than ‘talk-the-talk’. They are out there, meeting, greeting and conniving on how to do it all better. How to put Mayo on the Map. They are not only ‘walking-the-walk’. They are running.

Should I tell them they’ve already done succeeded?

Kellys Lamb Shank

 

Tonight, as we wind down from our running around and settle the kids for their week at school, we will dine on a slow cooked mint and marjoram lamb shank that we bought when at Kelly’s. There will be a big loaf of Sourdough rye and a glass or two of wine. The fires have been lit. Autumn is well and truly here.

If you have, or know of, a unique Irish food product, and would like us to give you some feedback on the product, then please email us at WiseIrishFood@GMail.com

We are happy to help you get the word out –

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today – Up Mayo!

WiseMóna

(A massive thank you goes out to Alma Feeley of Midas PR who took excellent care of us this past weekend).

 

Apr 9 2013

{When in Galway} Sheridan Cheesemongers

Posted by     10 Comments    in When in Galway

Sheridans Cheesemongers

14-16 Churchyard Street

Galway, Ireland
galway@sheridanscheesemongers.com

Tel:  091 564 829/564 832

 

Cheese.

What’s not to love, right?

Before we kick off here .. most of these images (except for the last one) were taken by Galway’s fabulous photographer Reg Gordon and he – being a total gent – gave us permission to use them.

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From their website : 

Sheridans Cheesemongers is run by its’ owners – Kevin Sheridan, Seamus Sheridan and Fiona Corbett. The company was founded in 1995, when brothers Seamus and Kevin started selling Irish farmhouse cheeses at the Galway market. Shortly after we opened a shop in Galway with Irish farmhouse cheeses piled from floor to ceiling. Fiona joined in 1997 and Dublin markets and a shop on South Anne Street in the city centre were established that year. The Irish cheeses were quickly joined by their European cousins as well as a huge range of other artisan foods including olive oils, cured meats, condiments and pasta sourced during  travels in Europe.

Sheridans is more than just your ordinary cheesemongers. Sheridans is where the locals go to have a glass of fizz before dinner and a snifter of Port wine before bed. A place where tables and chairs mesh together at the sound of footsteps climbing the stairs to the wine bar – right above the cheese shop. A place where you go when you are hungry and will be sated when you leave thanks to the food, but more so, thanks to the company you will keep.

Sheridans … go there … Eat cheese and drink wine … you’ll feel like a Galwegian instantly.

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Although they have been in business since 1995 (read all about how they got started) I did not get to know Seámus Sheridan until late 2008 when I moved back to Ireland after having lived abroad for almost 15 years. We had heard about the shop from my Mum (a self acclaimed cheese addict) and popped in to fill our tummies with as many Irish cheeses we could sample. We were only too delighted to find the wine bar above the cheese shop and felt like we were well and truly ‘home’.

Everyone feels like that when they visit Sheridans; Not just the locals.

Seámus was ranting on about something that night from behind the wine counter. All of it making sense and all of it serious rantings too. It was about the importance of supporting our local farmers and producers. It was about eating dinner together as a family; it was about how delicious a plate of thick cut Irish chips are (french fries) and how they were one of his favourite things to eat. This is an image that is burned in my mind … Seámus describing the heat and grease of a plate full of chips all salted and vinegared … (I know vinegared is not a real word .. but I am telling the story here).

I am still licking my fingers, almost five years later, pining for that plate of chips.

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Seámus Sheridan is a story teller like no other and his passion and ethos for food is commendable. Not only does he run a tight ship (with the help of his brother Kevin and their other business partner Fiona Corbett), Seámus has taken his ethos that little bit further and is giving back to his community. Something we should all do more of.

Several years ago, a young (and seriously talented) chef by the name of David Gumbleton, all the way  from Darlington Australia, began working at Sheridans Cheesemongers.

   ‘ … “What I learnt was that, with food, it’s not what you do to it, it’s best what you don’t do to it,” he once said. … ‘

David died of a massive brain haemorrhage in 2004 and John McKenna (of the McKenna Guides) wrote so eloquently about the amazing man that David was.

Seámus set about forming the David Gumbleton Memorial Prize, established in 2005, which from then until 2012 was awarded annually to an outstanding young chef in the Culinary Arts Degree Programme of the DIT Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin. The g Hotel and the event organisers are now very proud to announce the extension of this award to include students of the GMIT Culinary Arts Degree. This is excellent news for Galway culinary students.

The 2013 recipient will receive a travel bursary and the unique opportunity to work with some one of the world’s best restaurants including Tetsuya Wakuda and Noma – two of the best restaurants in the world and after that the young student will be aided in finding a job. An incredible opportunity for a young and budding chef. (or older mature culinary student too!)

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The g hotel, one of Ireland’s leading five star hotels, is delighted to host a gala dinner to announce this year’s recipient of the David Gumbleton memorial prize.

The event, which takes place the evening of Wednesday, 1st May, 2013, will be see a unique and rare gathering of some of David’s oldest friends and Irelands best known chefs including Kevin Thornton; Ross Lewis of Chapter One; Denis Cotter of Café Paradiso in Cork; Enda McEvoy (formerly of Aniar); and Pauline O’Reilly of the g Hotel. The chefs will all speak during the evening, along with the evening’s MC and close friend of David, Seamus Sheridan. The finale of the night will be the presentation of the David Gumbleton Award to this years and last year’s recipients.

At the gala event, guests will be treated to a drinks reception in the hotel’s Grand Salon, followed by a seven course meal, designed especially for the event by The g’s head chef, Pauline Reilly in conjunction with Enda McEvoy, all ensuring that the menu reflects the type of food and ethos that David strived to achieve.

Tickets for the event are priced at €95 per person and are available to purchase through The g Hotel www.theghotel.ie or 091 865 200.

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From Left to Right : Ross Lewis, Seámus Sheridan and Pauline O’Reilly.

If you are living in Galway and up for a delicious evening then this one’s for you. Also, if you are a culinary student, or the parent of a culinary student, this is a unique opportunity to meet, and learn from, a few of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the industry. They are coming to share their expertise with us and we are fortunate that Galway gets to host such an incredible line up of talented chefs.

We are never too old to learn.

Hope to see you there.

WiseMóna

 

Mar 4 2013

{When in Galway} The House Hotel – Easter break giveaway

Posted by     98 Comments    in When in Galway

The House Hotel

Galway’s City Centre Boutique Hotel
Lower Merchants Road
The Latin Quarter
Galway

+353 91 538900

info@thehousehotel.ie

This is a doozy folks. I know y’all are probably getting sick and tired of all these fabulous hotel giveaways but you know when we get the opportunity to share something fabulous with our readers … I can’t help myself. I could of course just use this myself … check in for a night or two with the Chef – take a break from the kids. .. enjoy the peace and quite of the hotel and then write up a quirky blog post about what a gorgeous place it is and how much fun I have had there … and what would you get out of that? Nothing really … maybe a bit annoyed that I got the nice experience and you got your nose rubbed in it?

Nope – not me. I like to share. I like it when people come to visit my home town and more than anything I love making sure that they have a great time. This hotel, and their carefully appointed crew, will make sure that you have that kind of experience when you come.

So now you have the chance to stay at The House Hotel in Galway. Up for grabs (details at the end of the post) is two nights bed & breakfast (for two people) and dinner on one of those nights. Arriving on (holy) Thursday March 28th and enjoying gorgeous Galway and the Galway Food festival for two days and two nights … .

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A wee blurb on the hotel : 

The House Hotel is Galway’s leading city centre boutique hotel is home to the most popular of Cocktail Bars and trendiest Relax Lounge. With only 40 bedrooms this boutique hotel is warm, chic and prides itself on excellent customer service and a warm ‘Galway’ welcome. The rooms are chic, quiet, intimate and oozing in comfort, perfect for any visitor whether it be to enjoy Galway’s Festivals, for business meetings, or simply to relax in the City of the tribes.

 

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Perfect for those romantic weekends away, or a fun filled break with the girls, The House Hotel offers it’s guests the ultimate in relaxing surroundings midweek and is now renowned as the place to be seen on a Saturday night! If it’s cocktails is you’re looking for then there is no need to go any further. The House Hotel mixologists are among the best in Ireland – many representing their country last year in destinations such as New York and Paris.

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Sip on one of their fabulous Pink Champagne Mojitos, sit back and relaxing in the stunning lobby bounded by pieces of art that will take your breath away.

Located in the heart of Galway’s Latin Quarter everything is quite literally on your doorstep.

 

 

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All that promotional jargon above is true. But the real reason you should WANT to stay here is simple and will come as no surprise to you. It is the people. From the minute you set foot inside the hotel you will be taken care of. The hotel is tiny so this affords the employees to remember who you are and what room you are staying in.

Over the last four years, whilst I have been toiling away at NUIG trying to get myself an education, I have sought refuge on their cosy couches and they know I like bottomless pots of black tea and free wifi. They also know how I like my dirty martinis when the Chef and I step out for a night on the town and they know that we like to sit by the window in the summer to people watch and by the radiator in the winter with glasses of hot port.

They don’t take notes and keep journals of all their guests likes and dislikes – they just do their job and offer the warmest of Irish hospitalities … the way it should be.

Ok – the nitty gritty.

Visit their page on FB please and say hi. This will double your chances of a win.

Leave me a comment finishing this sentence ….

I want to stay at The House Hotel in Galway over Easter because  ……..

Please note that many of you (already registered as avid readers and commenters here on WiseWords) are automatically entered to win as soon as you comment down below – but those of you that are not registered to receive updates via email are not … so make sure you register right here. It is free and relatively painless.

AND … it also ensures that you will be kept informed about all the cool stuff happening in the West .. and I know you do not want to be the last to know.

The lucky winner will be chosen randomly on Tuesday March 12th 2013, giving you plenty of time to plan your get-a-way to Galway!

OK – get cracking!

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,

WiseMóna

AND THE WINNER IS :

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Mar 3 2013

{When in Galway} LizzieMay’s Cakes, Cupcakes and Cookies

Posted by     30 Comments    in Kitchen, When in Galway

I like to test the theory ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ from time to time .. especially as ‘the old dog’ aka my handsome Chef, knows everything quite a bit about cooking and baking. A few weeks ago I noticed a few images flitting about on Facebook and I clicked my way back through the myriad of friends that had been ‘liking’ the images to a very cool landing page of LizzieMay’s Cakes, Cookies and Cupcakes.

There was a few images on her page that made me think of my dear friend Paula over at VanillaBeanBaker blog . And I thought ‘bummer . . another highly skilled cookie decorator that – probably – lives on the other side of the world’.

Except this highly skilled cookie decorator lives right here in Galway and only a stones throw from us really. I sent her a message tout sweet (ha ha) and asked her if she could come out to the house and give us a lesson on ‘how to decorate cookies’.

Gail Porter, owner of LizzieMay’s Cakes, Cupcakes and Cookies got back to me straight away and was only too delighted to oblige.

Icing bag

At the very tender age of 30, Gail decided to take advantage of being made redundant at her ‘proper job’ with Nortel and followed her passion for food. She enrolled in a twelve week course at Ballymaloe but had no interest in working with sugar or making cakes. I think that is the cool thing about food; whether you like it or not, when you are good at something it weaves its way in to your world and you sometimes end up going down a road you had not planned to travel. After she graduated from her course (and needing to find a way to pay for her education loan) she launched her new business and called it  LizzieMay’s after both her Grannies.

Gail arrived out to our house with her, eh, guns loaded and icing whipped and sorted in small little cling film pouches. This made clean up a snap later and I would encourage all of you to do the same should you attempt to decorate a few cookies any time soon.

 

Icing

 

Explaining as she worked, that the secret to becoming a pro at icing cookies, is first patience, followed by fabulous icing, followed by a steady hand. We had a few (duck) egg whites left sitting at room temperature and whipped up a small batch of royal icing (90 g egg whites/480 g icing sugar) and stood to attention waiting for her tutelage.

 

A steady hand

 

The peanut gallery looked on with eagerness. For future reference, this is an excellent way to keep the kids entertained for a while and keeps the kitchen that wee bit cleaner too!

 

Kids 'learning'

When you want to learn ‘how to’ do something new, it is first best to admit that you know nothing and start fresh.

When icing cookies, start by piping a border using a heavy consistency of icing. By the time you have ten cookies iced, the border icing has set up enough for you to start filling in the rest of the cookie with the flood icing.

Flooding

 

Once you have that part done, place the cookies in a fan oven on (almost) zero heat for twenty minutes. This hardens up the royal icing greatly and you can carry on and finish your cookies with a bit more bling.

 

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While Gail worked away on her cookies, teaching and talking away, we gave an icing bag to the Chef to see if he could match her skill.

Border piping

 

His cheerleading squad looked on with interest and were delighted that he did not screw it up!

 

Bula Bus Brats

 

When you remove the cookies from the oven you will have a fabulous hard icing with a beautiful matte finish on your cookie. The No. 1 icing tip is best for piping the border and writing.

 

Kiss the Chef

 

But be forewarned folks. This.Takes.Time, and an incredible amount of patience, skill and creativity.

And it gets messy. Learning how to decorate cookies means you are working with sugar and food colouring, meaning you end up having a sweet sticky colourful mess on your hands for the afternoon.

 

Mess 

And you know … someone has to clean it all up …

 

Kitchenaid 

As we were mixing and matching colours I was getting a little confused over which ones were border/piping icing and which ones were flooded – because once wrapped up in little cling film packages  it was hard to tell the consistency of the icing. Of course, and because I am so slow to catch on, the answer is easy … the little ones are the border icing (which you use less of) and the bigger ones are the flood icing, which you use lots more of.

 

Lesson Orange icing 

A steady hand and the ability to not laugh or sneeze while working is vital .. because one false move can screw up a cookie. In Gail’s line of business you can’t just throw one out if you mess it up half way through the process. She likes to use a damp paintbrush to clean up her messes – but we did not see her put that into action once!

 

Gail concentrating 

Supporting local business’s is something we strive to do more and more of each day.

Discovering a new  local business woman making and baking her product from scratch only reinforces our way of thinking, buying and eating.

We will think of her now when we have a special occasion looming but are strapped for time and still want something real and delicious.

Religious cookies 

We are going to continue to buy local and support local business’s because we like to – and NEED to – know where our food is coming from. We like to see where it starts and how much work has to be done to the raw ingredients before they end up ready to go on our plate or cupcake stand.

 

Mother's Day Cookies 

Maybe you are wondering what to buy your Mum for Mother’s day next weekend? (March 10th here in Ireland and UK).

Gail can whip up a dozen cookies with a few days notice and can ship them to you!

 

Kiss me I'm Irish 

Or maybe you want to get something for a client for a special Paddy’s Day party or for an Easter celebration?

 

Galway Easter platter 

Or maybe you will break down and give it a whirl yourself and even let the kids try their hand at decorating a few cookies.

Kids cookies

 

No matter what you decide … there will come a time when you want to buy someone a beautiful gift from Galway and in our opinion this is one of the best places to start – so make a note of Gail’s contact details.

 

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When you are popping in and out to our website (and we are ever so glad that you do) please note we have added a new tab called ‘When in Galway’ and this will make it easier to find all local business’s that we blog about. There are only a few on there right now but that will change over the next few months once I am finished with college …………..

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and have a bit more time to tell you about all the Galway Food heroes we have in this tiny fabulous city by the sea.

Galway Star

 

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,

WiseMóna

 

 

 

 

Feb 17 2013

Come to Galway … Hotel Meyrick has a room for you.

Posted by     189 Comments    in Kitchen, When in Galway

 

Hotel Meyrick

Eyre Square,

Galway

Tel : +353 (0) 91564041

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HotelMeyrick

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeyrickHotel

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Sitting at the bottom of Eyre square, Hotel Meyrick has graced us with her stately presence since 1852. Her doors flung open wide inviting guests to eat, sleep and play, in (what we consider) one of Galway’s most welcoming hotels.

Originally constructed with Galway’s train station, Hotel Meyrick is built using Ashlar Limestone, exactly the same as the Galway Cathedral. Statuesque and filled with more than a century of stories, it is one of Galway’s gorgeous gems.

2011 JuniorSuite

 

A quiet spot in town to study, where the wifi and tea flows freely, is not always easy to find. Although the library on campus at NUIG and in town offer quiet places of respite for students, sometimes it is the white noise and clatter of forks and spoons that aid in my choices of where to spend a few hours writing, reading or dreaming.

 

Hotel Meyrick Afternoon Tea 1

 

Taking a small step back in time and treating your Mum to brunch or afternoon tea at Hotel Meyrick would be considered a lovely gift for Mother’s Day (March 10th 2013 in Ireland).

But the greatest gift of all would be a few nights stay here in Galway over the Easter break (March 29th-30th 2013) and that is what Hotel Meyrick has (most) generously given us to share with our readers!

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Two nights bed & breakfast plus dinner in their award wining Oyster Grill on one of those evenings. All this … for Easter weekend which falls on the same weekend as the second annual Galway Food Food festival.

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So jump in … enter the giveaway and start planning your Easter break in Galway!

When in Galway – if you are looking for a place to eat supper on the second night of your stay I would put this place on your list for dinner and go here for brunch on Sunday. I would also make sure you stop in here to and donate a few shillings to their cause because they are doing tremendous work here in Galway helping people in need and are dependant on private donations to keep food in their bellies of those that are hungry.

All you have to do is leave a comment here on the blog letting us know why you want to come to Galway?

The winner will be chosen at random on my birthday (Saturday 23rd February) so you will have PLENTY of time to plan your Easter break. I can’t wait to see who wins this one and hope it is someone I know!! My last class (of four long years of college) is March 27th … so I expect to be in a deliriously happy mood that particular weekend!

Special thanks to Hotel Meyrick for this excellent giveaway! Pop over to their Facebook page to keep up to date on all their special deals – especially during the food festival and race week in Galway. Special thanks also to my blogging buddy Anne Marie Carroll of Warm, Snug & Fat food blog for the food festival photos and of her gorgeous children.

 

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,

WiseMóna

And the WINNER is …….

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 11 2013

Galway Pottery Classes

Posted by     8 Comments    in When in Galway

Get a little dirty … and throw a little clay.

Make for a fun filled afternoon … right here, near Galway Bay.

This is not to be missed if you (a) live in Galway or (b) are planning a visit to Galway.

Tight spaces are not my thing. Tight spaces in rooms with no windows are definitely not my thing.

This has got to be one of the smallest spaces in Galway and, in our opinion, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the City of the Tribes and what our beautiful city has to offer.

www.GalwayPotteryClasses.com

Kevin:          086 1620755
Laurence:    086 1020308

Email: kevinokellyceramics@gmail.com
 

 

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Laurence O’Kelly has taught pottery here in Galway for over 35 years and now, with the help of his talented son Kevin, they are launching a few more classes. We feel that this is one of the best ways to spend your hard earned cash, be it for you, or for the kids – or – something to do with the kids.

 

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Here is a wee blurb from their website …

Laurence O’ Kelly

Laurence graduated from Belfast College of Art and Design after studying Sculpture. He then went on to set up a workshop in Galway where he has been teaching classes to both adults and children for the last 35 years.

Kevin O’ Kelly

Kevin has just completed the Craft Council of Irelands Ceramic Skills and Design Course. A two-year full time intensive course where he achieved a merit and was shortlisted for a Future Makers Award.Kevin has grown up around pottery, attending and then eventually teaching classes.
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Lined up on the shelves o’er head you will see plenty of hidden gems. Some are there as part of the decor and many are for sale. Why not spend an hour or two learning how to throw clay … then make a special wedding present for a young couple this year, or a first cup for a new baby, or a birthday present for a loving partner or a teapot for your Mum.

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Get a little dirty ….

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Don’t worry about making everything so perfect in life …. it is in the whimsy and the flaws that we find all the fun.

 

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But definitely get stuck in  … and enjoy working with your hands. Enjoy creating something beautiful. Then pop in next door for a cocktail or around the corner for a pint when you are finished.

 

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At €15 (kids) for 1 1/2 hours, or €18 (adults) for 2 hours, you will surprise yourself at what you might accomplish.

 

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New class for kids at 11:30am on Saturday mornings.

Totally mucky, totally worth it.

Sign up. Go play with the clay.

 

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today.

WiseMóna

 

Jan 5 2013

{When in Galway} Lunares Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar

Posted by     21 Comments    in When in Galway

Lunares

3 Daly’s Place, (near McSwiggans)

Woodquay, Galway, Ireland

Phone + 353 (0) 91 44 56 18 / + 353 (0) 91 44 57 34

eMail : LunaresRestaurant@Hotmail.com

Facebook : Lunares

 

Lunares Facade

It is no secret that the world of (food) blogging can be downright competitive. I would even go as far as to say that there have been plenty of occasions where bloggers, despite many insisting it is a ‘supportive’ community, get down right nasty.

I manage to steer clear of a lot of it because I live in a small city and to my knowledge there is only one other food blogger in my hometown … she can kick my ass with her words any day of the week.

As a matter of fact, I am sharing this restaurant review with you today because she beat me to the finish-line with her review of Lunares Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar in yesterday’s weekly issue of the Galway Advertiser.

Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 18.44.25

I sent her a Tweet telling her that I could not have said it better myself.

Lunares wall sign 1

Lunares is what I like to call a ‘mom & pop’ shop. It is run by two sisters, Amaya & Virginia Fernandez (both chefs) with the help of Amaya’s husband, Lucho, and their son Alvaro, who handle the front of the house. The exterior is painted in a happy splash of yellow and red, livening up this nook of Galway. They have been open for over a year now and seem to be trucking along just nicely. Open daily from noon (or 1pm) onwards they have quite a decent range of menu items to choose from. With all we have eaten at Lunares I cannot imagine that anyone is complaining about their food, or their service, or their prices. There have only been a few reviews on Trip Advisor and so far – all looking good methinks.

Virginia and LuchoLucho and his sister-in-law Virginia taking a quick break

As much as the Chef & I enjoy dining alone when we get the chance, we very rarely actually eat a meal without our kids in tow. This restaurant is unique in the sense that it is a great date night place or equally suitable to bring the whole family. And so we did.

Ron & AmayaThe Chef making small talk with Amaya Fernandez regarding a few of the menu items we tasted today.

Here are a few photos from our last few visits. If you are not already hungry for your next meal then you will be when you get through looking at these.

Lunares house potatoes

One of their house specialities … Patatas Lunares …. lightly fried potatoes with serrano ham, topped with a perfectly poached egg. Note there are two eggs on this plate above because the Chef reckons they do the ‘best eggs’ in town.

Lunares soup

This is one of my favourites … Sopa Castellana … think egg drop soup with a chicken and tomato broth. I could dive in right now for another bowl for my supper and be very content for the evening. Note there are four small spoons sharing this massive bowl. No one complained about sharing and they are looking forward to their next Tapas adventure already.

Lunares croquettes

There may have been a few other little snacks for the kids …. like ham and cod croquettes. I have it on good authority that these were cooked perfectly but no-one offered to ‘share’ a bite of these nibblers.

Lunares Spicy prawns 

Prawns in a spicy tomato sauce … there is a secret ingredient in this one; you MUST try it.

Lunares Guitar

A bit of whimsy on the wall …

Lunares dining room

Window seats and soft cushions inviting us to linger longer at the table ….

Lunares whimsy chicken

A bit of kitsch to remind us not to take everything so seriously and just kick back and have a bit of fun ..

Lunares Wine bottle cozies

A reminder that it is two women running the kitchen … love this one.

but my personal favourite bit of décor from Lunares Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar is this ….there is love in their kitchen … and it is certainly evident in their food.

Lunares Wall sign Food Heart

Oh …. and the fact that lunch for seven starving people cost €53.00 … that was with two glasses of wine … hic!

Go to Lunares. Mark it on your calendar … make an evening out of it. I hear they have traditional Spanish music at the weekends too.

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,

WiseMóna

The blogging authorities have stated, and rightly so, that bloggers must declare if they were, in any way, compensated for reviewing restaurants, products, books etc. In this particular instance, like 99% of my reviews, this was paid for in its entirety by us here at WiseWords; and worth every penny. If you have a restaurant or café or food product you would like us to review then please send us a link via email to MonaZWise@GMail.com or just share the link in the comments section down below. 

Oct 22 2012

The land of opportunity, right here in Galway.

Posted by     16 Comments    in The Snug, When in Galway

I am not a straight ‘A’ student. I never have been, and I never will be.

I am more of the ‘creative’ kind of student. One that reads slowly and learns at a different pace.

I never thought that college was for me, (somedays I am still not sure it is) but what changed my way of thinking was the course I took.

In 2009, I was accepted into a relatively new course at NUIG (National University College of Galway) titled BA Connect – Creative Writing (GY111). I think it is safe to say that I was ready for college and college was ready for me. Finding the right course is more than half the battle.

Which brings me to the reason why I am writing a blog post about a new course just unveiled at NUIG. This course is so ‘hot off the press’ is is still not even on the college prospectus so I decided to share a copy of their fancy brochure right here on my blog.

BA in Journalism (GY119) at NUI Galway. A level 8 degree.

Next start date: September 2013.

NUIG BA in Journalism prospectus (page 1)

 

Perhaps you are interested in returning to education yourself, or if you have a teen ready to fly the coop and go to college next year? Are you thinking that it is too soon to start worrying about this just yet?

Let’s face the cold hard facts here folks. There are only NINE Sundays between now and Christmas which means you have only a few weeks after that to get the all important CAO forms filled out and uploaded (usually by end of January). For you or your teen.

No.Need.To.Panic. ……. there is plenty of time.

 

NUIG BA in Journalism prospectus (page 2)

 

If you are interested in this course then feel free to print out these images for your reading pleasure and if you would like more information on this course leave a comment here on the blog and I will make sure you get a copy of the brochure sent out to you personally via snail mail or email.

They are only accepting FIFTEEN students. Small classes, like mine, means you get a lot of attention from your teachers. It makes it harder to skip classes and many of them are workshop style which means you work harder. You also get an extra year to work on placement in your chosen field which means you have (valuable) work experience when you graduate. And you know how important it is to have work experience when you start looking for a job these days.

 

NUIG BA in Journalism prospectus (page 3)

 

Although I do love the course I was accepted into I can’t help but *sigh* when I read the details of this new course. Specifically ‘Year 2 – The Journalists Web’ where students get to focus on social media as an effective communicative tool. Twitter, blogging, photography and movie making are just a few of the platforms that will be covered.

 

NUIG BA in Journalism prospectus (page 4)

 

Ok – this is an exciting course and I can’t tell you what a great university NUI Galway is. You need to come visit and see for yourself.

So, if you, your child, or anyone you know is getting ready to enter into third level education then share this link with them right away. This one should not be missed!

 

Those are all the WiseWords I have for this evening,

WiseMóna

4BA Connect-Creative Writing (final year)

PS – have you entered the competition with The Sunday Times yet?

 

 

About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
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Ron Wise About the Chef
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You might as well just come visit.
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