Tagged with "Best Irish recipes Archives - Wise Words"
Jan 30 2016

Tuco’s Taqueria Galway: Review

Posted by     2 Comments    in Kitchen

Tuco’s Taqueria

6 Abbeygate Street upper

Galway

Open: Monday – Sunday from 12 noon – 9pm

http://www.tuco.ie

 

Taco's Taqueria Galway

Having spent more than 15 yrs living and working in the US, it goes without saying that we all love Mexican food here at Chez Wise. So much so, that due to the lack of any decent Mexican food eateries in Galway over the last 8 years, we have just had our own little weekly fiesta at home. We have pined silently and patiently for someone to open up a Chipotle or heaven forbid, somewhere like The Comet in Northside, Cincinnati, Ohio, where we used to frequent quite a bit when we lived the other side of the pond.

Over the last couple of years, there have been a few interesting additions to the Mexican food offerings in our little city-by-the-sea, and I am here to tell you that Tuco’s Taqueria is leagues ahead of the others.

Taco's Taqueria Galway

A couple of years ago, we caught wind of the fact that Boojum was coming to Galway – a chain with decent offerings and large portions. It had all the potential of becoming a favourite cheap n’ cheerful kinda place, but we all felt a little queasy every time ate there, so we ditched that plan!

For a few years, if we found ourselves in Dublin around lunchtime with little time to spare, we’d stop in to Tolteca. They frequently offer a two-for one deal and the kids and himself were kept happy. Then, joy oh joy, they opened a branch in Galway, over on Newcastle road near opposite the hospital and close to NUI Galway. It was good – but not as nice as the one in Dublin, but hey, better than nothing!

Then a few months ago, late in the autumn, we discovered Tuco’s Taqueria, hidden away on upper Abbeygate street, almost immediately opposite Lynch’s Castle cash machines, which incidentally you will need to get in line for as Tuco’s accepts cash only.

Taco's Taqueria Galway. With vibrant chalk board menus hanging on the wall, there are lots of options to choose from. They have six different salsas to tickle your tastebuds, ranging from Cremosa (mild) to Tuco’s Terror (very hot). Now, unlike the little flames on the menu at Papa Rich Asian Street Food Kitchen, where hot means hot, these salsa’s are not going hurt you too much,

Taco's Taqueria GalwayHowever, what they lack in heat, they make up for in flavour. They are all scrumptious, fresh and zingy salsas! AND, they have a kick ass hot sauce collection on the tables!

The kitchen and service crew seem native, to Mexico that is, and I think this might be the kicker for Tuco’s and why their food tastes so gooood; way more authentic to the other two places.

Take for example, their Carnitas. Slow cooked (100%) Irish Pork ..it is mildly addictive. Actually, I might just go on record here and state that it is totally addictive, and I am addicted to it.

Taco's Taqueria Galway

That look of ‘Mom, I am not waiting for you to take a photo of my food!’

Their burritos, much like all burrito joints, are massive, so go with an appetite if you are putting this Galway gem on your list of places to try. But in saying that, the kids wolf ’em down everytime, loaded with Pinto beans, rice, guacamole (divine), salsa and either chicken, pork or beef.

 Taco's Taqueria Galway

The Taco’s ( 2 per order) are my favourite. You can get wheat or corn tortillas and different fillings in each.

As with all these eateries in Galway that we find and take time to tell you about, this one was quite well priced too. Lunch, or supper, for 4 pp with soft drinks or water, comes to under forty euros every time.

Taco's Taqueria GalwayTaco’s Taqueria serves Desperados and Corona beers, but until they get a few local brews in there, I will be saving my extra dosh and sticking to the H2O for now.

With a funky interior, and seating for 40 pp (upstairs and down), Tuco’s Taqueria is a very welcome addition to the cheap n’ cheerful side of dining in Galway.

Taco's Taqueria Galway

Let me know if you have tried it? Oh, and they also use Deliveroo – so no excuse really. They can drop it to your door in 30 minutes!

That’s all for now guys n’ dolls …

next up .. Kebabs and embracing them whilst sober!

WiseMona

Nov 23 2015

Shopping for Christmas in Galway

Posted by     6 Comments    in Kitchen

Dear Santa,

All I want this year, is a truly beautiful Galway Christmas.

Sadly, my children no longer believe in you; we never saw it coming.

One minute they were cute, small and believing, and the next thing we knew, they were lanky, long and thieving.

So this year I am requesting a few treats from a few of my favourite Galway shops making our Galway Christmas all the more special. Seeing as we are still planning on honouring the terms of our contract and plan on feeding yourself and the reindeers, I thought I might take advantage of you being none the wiser of the kids sudden state of awareness and ask for a few gorgeous Galway gifts – just for myself and himself this year, seeing as you do not have to blow the budget on the kids anymore! He does, after all, do all the feeding of you and your eight not-so-tiny reindeer.

So first things first … and in case you do not even know where to start … I am just gonna give you my Top Five or Seven Favourites … in no order of importance at all .. you decide Santa .. we have both been very nice (not naughty at all!) this year .. and to be frank, could use a little cheering up.

BEER

Let’s face it Santa. We, in Galway, have come a long long way in craft brewing over the last few years. Only last week I was blogging about the lads over at Galway Hooker Brewing because they have a new beer out that we love – so it’s simple. Please Santa – can we have some more? (Upcoming blog post later this week will be all about making a traditional Swiss Fondue using Beer – making it no longer a Swiss thang … totally giving it the Irish flavour it deserves!).

galway hooker 60 knots IPA christmas

BLING

Yes – this one is for me. Or for any deserving lassies you know Santa. There is this gorgeous little shop at the bottom of town, on the Spanish Arch … called Cobwebs. Santa … it is a treasure trove of wearable history. Sure, they have gorgeous new shiny gems too, but it is the antique pieces that speak to me.

 Cobwebs

BOURBON

Ok – I know, I know. Nothing Irish (or Galwegian) about this one at all, right? Eh, no – wrong – dead wrong. See, Santa, there is a new  bar and restaurant in town, where all the cool kids are hanging out, called Tribeton. And Santa … they have a massive selection of beautiful bourbons. So much so, that a gift certificate to Tribeton would be a total treat for the two of us Bourbon aficionados … t’would remind us our ole Kentucky home – well Cincinnati, Ohio but its on the border like.

Galway Christmas Tribeton

Now, that is not to say that I would not be upset at all with a Gift certificate to our favourite, and in almost everyone’s opinion, the best restaurant in Galway.

Kai

BEAUTIFUL

Right. This one is kinda sorta for me, but I’m a-gonna be honest and tell you if you bestow a gift certificate upon  me for this gorgeous shop, My Granny Likes it, I will most likely re-gift it immediately as I have been forbidden from ever going in there. Santa, they stock everything, and I mean everything from incredibly talented crafty and artsy Irish folk. My most sought after piece right now is a piece by Armagh artist Stephen Farnan .

My re-gifting efforts would not go to waste, as I would post lots of these cute colouring kits to my Irish friends and family, who are dotted all over the world and no doubt, missing the motherland at Christmas. It’s probably a blessing in disguise, but I am still sad that I can’t purchase these on line from this cute little shop –  if you must pop in yourself, you will surely understand why I have been forbidden to go there.

 Irish Artist Granny Likes it

BUTCHER

Now Santa…..I know what you are going to say about this one. Yes. it is true, we do indeed have lots of our own butchered meat in the freezer for the winter. And when we do step outside of our own meat raring, it is to buy Pork (and this year Lamb) from our friends in Tipperary at OldFarm. But on occasion, himself and myself love nothing more than to sit down to a beautiful piece of crimson, marbled with intricate traceries of fat, grass fed beef.

Tormey’s Butcher Shop in the Galway Shopping Centre isthe only place we buy Organic Chickens, beautifully aged grass-fed Rib eye of Beef  and (special order) Veal Chops. And before you go all crazy on me Santa, I am referring to the 35+ week old grass and milk fed Rose Veal, not raised in crates. In response to your concern though, some farmers have adopted more organic, free range operations for raising their calves. Crating is banned in a number of countries, including the European Union and the United Kingdom, and several states in the US. Sales of free-range veal have increased in recent years, which hopefully will prompt larger producers to change their farming methods.

Galway Christmas Tormeys Butcher

BLUSH

Ok – I know I said I would only give you my Top Five … but I have worked up an unquenchable thirst while working on this list, so thought it best to add in a few of my favourite bottles of wine. We are promised a cold Winter here Santa in Galway. Nothing as cold as the North Pole like, but we are eagerly anticipating a few lovely long weeks of low lights and lazy days intertwined with blazing fires offering up a calmness @ChezWise like never seen before.

So first up for the wine  fridge, how about a bottle of this flawless NZ Pinot Grigio? With it’s signature pale pink blush from the Pinot Grigio grape, we have been known to gift to our friends over the festive season .. and they too love it .. but then we are left with none for ourselves. .. and this makes me sad, Santa.

Another popular bottle of wine which you could happily bestow on us is this gorgeous oaky Sicilian red wine. The native Nero d’Avola grapes with the world travelled Cabernet, brings us a blissful blend.

Both of these wines, along with a massive amount more excellent wines, can be found at Cases Wine Warehouse along the Tuam road.

Cases Wine

BREAK

Last little mention goes to Solaris Teas. Santa, if nothing else, bring some home to Mrs. Claus for  a well earned tea-break!

Solaris Tea Gifts

Right so Santa….. there you have it. A few nice treats for myself and himself … most of which will be shared with our friends and family because we don’t like to eat or drink alone … and because without our friends and family, life would be rather dull, wouldn’t it Santa?

We are gearing up for a lovely Irish Thanksgiving here with our friends and family in Galway this week. We hope, wherever you are in the world, you can take a minute out to offer up a little thanks for your health, your family and your friends.

That is all for now guys n’ dolls …. happy shopping!

 

WiseMóna

 

 

Nov 15 2015

Galway Hooker Beer Cheese Soup

Posted by     8 Comments    in Kitchen

It’s one of those days.

The weather, no, storm Abigail, has clenched her teeth on the West of Ireland and seems unwilling to release; even if we play nice.

I have received several requests from friends an family to met up for a cup of tea today, but I have insisted on doing nothing that requires me to get dressed. We declared today a pyjama day –  and so it is.

Early this morning, I started Googling for some comfort food inspiration. Himself was in the throes of making a loaf of bread and we were undecided as to what our Sunday supper would consist of; neither of us felt like cooking.

Thankfully, himself had cooked a whole shank of veal yesterday, pot roast style, so that’s supper sorted then, but what about lunch?

Late last week, we had stopped in to visit our friends at Galway Hooker Brewery. They have another beer added to their repertoire, which we had yet to try.

The brewery was established in 2006, in Roscommon by two first cousins, Aidan Murphy (below) and Ronan Brennan. A couple of years ago, they decided to return the brewing operation back home to Galway, and they have been brewing and blossoming ever since.

This new (since earlier this year) India Pale Ale is excellent. Himself will probably never stray from their flagship beer (Galway Hooker Pale Ale) but I am always interested in finding a new beer, and I get especially excited when I find one that is homegrown.

galway_hooker_60_knots IPA Beer Cheese Soup

The Galway Hooker India Pale Ale  comes loaded with that hop filled flavour we love (and fun at 6.5% alcohol content!) and it was begging to be incorporated into our lunch plans. Hey, what else is a girl going to do on a dream wet wintry day in the west? Having a beer with lunch never sounds like a bad idea!

The soup is a bit tricky to make. Not in the sense that a novice cook can’t take it on as a challenge, just in the sense that it is easy burn it (as there is milk in it), and there is always the likelihood that the cheese will break and you will end up with lumpy soup. The key to your success, should you attempt to make this, is to keep the temp low on the stove when you add the cheese.

Galway Hooker India Pale Ale Beer Cheese Soup

5.0 from 3 reviews

Galway Hooker Beer Cheese Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

A delicious soup to warm you from the inside out on a cold wintry wet day.
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 60 g flour
  • 950 ml chicken stock
  • 1 bottle Galway Hooker India Pale Ale or any beer you like to drink
  • 115 g cream cheese
  • 450 g grated sharp cheese (we used Mossfield Organic hard cheese)
  • 250 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon Colemans English mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and White Pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. In a large pot sauté the onions, carrots, and celery and garlic in the butter. Put the lid on the pot, reduce the heat, and cook until soft.
  2. Stir in the flour, like you are making a roux and cook until thick and it browns just a little bit. Whisk in the chicken stock and simmer or a few minutes. Reduce heat leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, for a half an hour, then using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables to produce a nice thick stock.
  3. Add the beer, followed by the cream cheese and handfuls of grated hard cheese of your choice, whisking all the time ensuring the cream cheese is smooth and the cheddar has melted. Do not let it come to a boil, as it will burn easily and boiling can cause the cheese to separate.
  4. Slowly pour in the milk, then add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce, then bring the heat up just a touch to allow the soup to gently simmer. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Serve with a slice of toasted bread or your favourite crackers.

Galway Hooker India Pale Ale Beer Cheese Soup

Now, I am not saying you should be drinking a beer on your lunch break tomorrow at work, but this is definitely one to tote with you to work in your Thermos.

Absolutely smooth and silky and the chicken stock keeps it light enough ensuring the texture is not gloopy when you get ready to serve it. I would refrain from using any kind of Mozzarella cheese, even if you just happen to have it in the fridge, as it is really annoying to end up eating a soup that just strings along on your spoon and won’t let go!

Right – tis almost supper time here at Chez Wise and time for someone to open a bottle of wine! I hope your weekend was nice and relaxing and you managed to squeeze in a bit of rest and relaxation before heading back to the grind tomorrow morning!

WiseMóna

 

Aug 9 2015

College Prep Cookies for the Gluten intolerant

Posted by     2 Comments    in Kitchen

Ah Cookies Cookies Cookies …. or biscuits depending on where you are from, right?

We have had a fantastic summer despite the fact that the weather has not been great. The kids and their cousins had a nice long run of things in July, and they are welcoming the ‘back to school’ chatter we have started around the house.

Vanilla

Last week, I met up with one of my friends, who is getting ready to send her eldest off to college. She was racing around buying him everything he might need during the day and forcing herself to teach him a few cooking tips and tricks, which he had zero interest in, every evening. She figured, that if she spent the month of August doing that, he might be able to survive without her. As we chatted, and nibbled on a batch of cookies I had just baked, she lamented the fact that she had not taught him enough skills in the kitchen. I sent her home with a recipe for the cookies.

Butter Coconut Oil

No matter how hard we try to prepare kids for moving out of the house and living on their own, even if co-habbing with other students, two things are going to happen.

1. They will survive and not die of starvation because most colleges/universities have canteens, and

2. They will still bring home their dirty laundry and clean out your cupboards when they come home.

Craisins

One thing is for certain, if you are adept at all at making something they really LOVE, then you can be guaranteed they will always come home for their favourite dinner, or dessert.

Nuts

I was thinking about our kids, and how we have at least 7 years before any of them are ready to head off to college, but I am still certain this is one of the treats I will be packing in their bags when they do go.

Rye Barley Oatmeal

If you are releasing a teen into the wild this September, then make up a few batches of this recipe and freeze them. Pack them with clear instructions for your teen then they can impress all their new friends when they whip up a batch of freshly baked cookies on their first weekend away from home.

This is not the time to shed a tear … rejoice in your new found freedom!

Eggs

College Prep Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Simple
Cuisine: Treat
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 24
 

Chewy oatmeal raisin n’ nut cookies
Ingredients
  • 8 oz / 225 g butter
  • 7 oz / 200 g caster sugar
  • 7 oz / 200 g soft brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7.5 oz / 215 g Einkorn or Khorasan Flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 8 oz / 225 g cranberries (or mixed berries/raisins)
  • 8 oz / 225 g mixed nuts
  • 10 oz / 285 g rolled oats/rye/barley

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C
  2. Cream the butter with the sugars, and then beat in the eggs one at a time.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, then mix into the butter/sugar/egg mixture.
  4. Now mix in the dried fruit and oats.
  5. Place balls the size of a large walnut onto a greased, non-stick baking tray (remember to allow room for them to spread, so about 9 cookies per baking tray) and cook for about 15 minutes or until verly lightly browned.
  6. Cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a cooling rack. Do not handle while they are hot, or they will crumble.

 

This recipe is the best for chewy Cranberry Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – so if you prefer crunchy cookies, let them cook a little longer at a lower temp. I like to make a double batch every time and I roll and freeze the extra cookie dough in clingfilm and keep it in the freezer for ’emergencies’. Whip it out, leave to thaw for ten minutes, slice and bake. Your friends will be very impressed. You will be very smug and have that ‘oh, it was nothing’ look about you. Well done.

Khorasan Kamut

Now – moving on to the exciting bit of news for those of you who suffer from Coeliacs disease or are Gluten intolerant.

Einkorn

We have been testing a couple of new bags of flour, and by new I mean very very old, here at home. The first one, is called Khorasan (or Kamut) flour and the second one is called Einkorn.

Both are ancient (wheat) grains, and in contrast with more modern forms of wheat, evidence suggests the gliadin protein of Einkorn may not be as toxic to sufferers of coeliacs disease. It has yet to be recommended in any of the GF diets, but I have a feeling this could happen in the next 12 months.  I will not lie to you – we are asking a few GF/Gluten intolerant/Coeliac family members and friends to be our guinea pigs and I will let you know the outcome, but so far so good!

In the meantime, just ask your local Evergreen.ie (in Ireland) or Jovial Foods (in USA) store to order the flour for you. They retail at €5.50 per 1kg bag (ouch) but are so much richer in flavour and texture. You will gladly overlook the price as you smell your cookies baking away in the oven.

Letting go of the kids is, apparently, a hard thing to do. Right now we are in the throes of teenage hell with our two eldest girls and in my mind, sending them off to college would be bliss … and by the time that does happen, I reckon they will be making their own cookies and heck, they are already doing their own laundry so things can only get better, right?

How is your summer going?

Móna x

May 9 2015

Féile na Tuaithe (Festival of the Countryside), Castlebar, Mayo

Posted by     No Comments    in Kids

 

 

Baby Eagle Owl and Grainne

 

Féile na Tuaithe (the Festival of the Countryside) is happening again this year and you really need to have this on your calendar.

It takes place on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th May in the National Museum of Country Life outside Castlebar.

This is the National Museum’s largest event, it is the biggest free family festival in the west and is literally a cornucopia of all that’s good and wholesome about country life, food, craft and art.

Entry is free, parking is free, the shuttle bus from Castlebar is free and it’s even on the Greenway so people can cycle there (and safely park their bikes for free).

 

 

Salmon a leaping

This year it’s taking a quantum leap forward and literally covering the entire 30 acre grounds.

 

There are over 100 exhibitors, demonstrators and attractions including:

– the Celtic Tenors

– food demonstrations with an Irish and historical twist by Domini Kemp, Catherine Fulvio and other chefs

– craft village

– food village with some amazing new tastes

– gundogs, birds of prey, farm animals, steam threshers, bee keepers, wood workers …..

 

Art installation Lynn brothers

 

The Museum remain true to their ethos and there’s not a hurdy gurdy or a cheap plastic toy stand in sight. There is lots for kids to do though – actually doing stuff rather than just watching things being done.

 

Claremorris Strawboy

 

Well, you would have to have a pretty darn good reason not to attend this one guys n’dolls …

See you there!

WiseMóna

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Special thanks to Lesley Emerson from PR West who sent me a reminder about this festival and wrote most of the text above in order to encourage me to remind everyone else about this. She is a fab lady and is doing a great job spreading the word about this excellent FREE family-Fun event in Mayo! Tell your friends please  x

 

May 2 2015

Galway’s #BestScone – send in your nominations please!

Posted by     6 Comments    in Kitchen

Ah …. nothing quite like a cup of tea and a scone.

Some like their scones warm with butter, a bit of jam or clotted cream. Some like them burnt a bit around the edges, caramelisation of the currants and raisins, and some like ’em hot outta the oven with nothing on ’em.

When it comes to finding ‘Galway’s Best Scone’ I thought about it for a few weeks before taking action. I chose a few places in the city centre, and a few in the outskirts.  All of them have damn fine reputations for their baked goods.

And why am I doing this I hear you ask? Well, because Goodalls Ireland is running their #BestScone competition again this year. Last year I was kinda disappointed that Galway did not win, even though Mitchell’s Café at Kylemore Abbey did make it to the final ten!

So this year, we have take it upon ourselves to find a few decent scones to nominate from right here in Galway!

I need your participation please, after you do your own research of course, I want you to hop over on to their Facebook page or send them a Tweet to nominate your favourite Galway Scone. If you look up the hashtag #BestScone on Twitter, you will see a long stream of scone nominations coming in from all over the country.

The Top Ten Best Scones in the country get in to the finals and the overall winner, aside from claiming the title of Irelands Best Scone, will also win €1,000 for their shop.

Shur – we could all use a few extra pennies in the purse guys n’ dolls.

So please, use my research as motivation to get your favourite scones on the map. Nominate today! (Because the deadline is May 8th, so hurry).

SONY DSC

How ‪#‎Bestscone‬ competition works.

Firstly Goodalls invites nominations from the public (via Facebook and Twitter) as to who they think have the Best Scones in Ireland.

At the end of the nominations period the 10 businesses with the highest amount of nominations go forward to a public vote which will be worth 50% of the overall result.

The final 50% will be earned at the scone tasting at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin, by a panel of expert judges.

The marks will be counted and verified on the 8th June 2015 and a winner chosen!

SONY DSC

Scones for the taking. Taste at Born.

I assembled a tasting panel of four experts, (no kids this time just industry experts) and we held a blind tasting. This is the best way to get totally unbiased feedback from a group of Galwegians, because trust me, their loyalty to certain businesss’ might just sway their decisions.

I know the photos below are not sexy, but there was a need to make this as simple as possible, giving the price and weight of the sone too – incase this matters to the reader, or the eater!

One thing I found interesting when reviewing the details with our tasting panel, was that in this instance, size actually didn’t matter.

The criteria we felt was important was simple:

–     Fruit content – this is very important

–     Mouthfeel (not gummy and not dry)

–     Over mixed/dense – don’t overwork the dough!

–     Balance of flavour (not too sweet, or salty, can you taste baking soda?)

–     Attractiveness (colour, shape, burnt or not!)

–     Is it fresh??

I weighed them all and shared the prices too. Keep in mind, both Kai Café and Taste at Born are more eat in cafés than take-away-bakery so their prices are that much higher and their scones are bigger. We also placed the scones in a low-lukewarm oven to give them all a chance to appear ‘fresh from the oven’.

To kick of our quest for #Galway’s #BestScone, we started at Galway’s Best Café!

I make no bones about it. #WeLOVEKai. I have had their scones on previous occasions and knew they would be contenders as all of their baked goods are pretty stellar.

SONY DSC

Here is what the tasting panel had to say:

Expert 1: A bit doughy, great taste but not enough fruit.

Expert 2: A bit disappointing and not enough fruit.

Expert 3: Nice, but I really need butter and jam with it.

Expert 4: Not enough fruit but decent.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Next up, an institution of fine foods and wines in Galway for years, and slap bang in the middle of town, McCambridges of Galway.

SONY DSC

Here is what the tasting panel had to say:

Expert 1: Way too dry. Fell apart when cut open and no fruit.

Expert 2: Very dry – and no fruit at all . This was clearly yesterday’s scone – not fresh.

Expert 3: Way too dry; No fruit at all. Tight crumb, no air and way over-mixed.

Expert 4: Dry. No fruit, or there was a bit of a raisin – but it was burnt.

(Note to readers … by ‘no fruit’ they mean when cut open the scone is bare but there are one or two raisins scattered on the edges – so technically there ‘is’ fruit, but clearly not enough).

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Ok, the third scone we sampled came from the lovely Jenny – Taste at Born on the canal. If you have not been to this little café, then you need to put it on your list. Sitting on the banks of the canal, she has quite possibly the nicest outdoor patio in the city. AND, she  does not ‘charge extra’ for her gorgeous range of Gluten Free baked goods. She also makes the best cupcakes in Galway and is known to many as ‘the cupcake lady’.

SONY DSC

Here is what the tasting panel had to say:

Expert 1: Would be better with butter and actually was.

Expert 2: Lacking in flavour but decent texture.

Expert 3: Too doughy, a bit under baked and could do with a bit more sugar.

Expert 4: Not enough flavour or fruit but nice texture.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Ok – moving on to number four, we cut open what I thought looked like a stellar scone. A bit square, and loaded with fruit, it looked like the kind of scone we used to have as kids. This one came from The Oven Door, at No. 3 Middle Street (close to entrance of Augustinian church) and their phone number is (091) 563 805.

Interestingly enough, these guys have zero web presence hence the sharing above of physical address and phone number.

They are aptly named, because you walk in the door of their tiny shop and are practically in their oven. Floured from head to toe, the pleasant bakers are there to tempt you with tarts, scones, bread and a slew of other beautiful traditionally baked Irish goodies.

 

SONY DSC

Here is what the tasting panel had to say:

Expert 1: The crust is really lovely and this scone is loaded with fruit.

Expert 2: Loved the crunch of the crust and texture. Might have found a little baking soda aftertaste but not offensive.

Expert 3: I’d buy this scone again. Just lovely.

Expert 4: Great flavour and fruit. From the looks of it might not buy it as I prefer a more ‘well done’ scone, but this was very nice.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

And now, we move on to Griffins Bakery, located down the town near the Kings Head. A favourite bakery of many a native and tourist, Griffins has been feeding the city of the tribes for decades.

 

SONY DSC

 

Here is what the tasting panel had to say:

Expert 1: This looks and feels very strange. The texture is very different to the other scones and the taste and mouthfeel is just weird.

Expert 2: Way too salty. It is not like a fruit scone, even though it has fruit.

Expert 3: This looks and tastes like an American savoury biscuit. Like the ones you have with sausage gravy for breakfast. I don’t like it.

Expert 4: This tastes very different. It tastes like it is supposed to be a savoury scone maybe? It seems like they used a different flour too as it is nothing like the other scones in texture, weight or to look at.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Moving on to number six, we sliced into the scones from The Gourmet Tart. Now, as I live with a baker, there is very little need for me to buy a loaf of bread around here, but I have been known to purchase their seeded Ciabatta on occasion.

SONY DSC

Here is what the tasting panel had to say:

Expert 1: This tastes burnt. The raisins are hard and there is not enough fruit.

Expert 2: Burnt outside and undercooked in the middle. The oven was too hot.

Expert 3: I just don’t like it. It is too doughy/under baked in the middle.

Expert 4: This is kind of like eating cream crackers. It’s doughy and dry at the same time. and a bit of a slimy-across-the-tongue texture.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

And last but not least, we finished up with Morton’s of Galway. Now, as we were doing a blind tasting, you can be sure that the tasters did not have a clue they were rating my husband’s scone. Had they even tried to guess, it would have been impossible because  all scones were so different. Had the panelists known they were sampling his morning efforts, they might have shown bias or have chosen not be honest enough with him – just to spare his hurt feelings, bless their little hearts.

Feedback is crucial folks. Be it positive or negative. We can always learn from a bit of criticism.

SONY DSC

Here is what the tasting panel had to say:

Expert 1: There is not enough fruit. The cranberries are lovely – just need more. The scone is delicious.

Expert 2: Baked perfectly. Great crunch, mouthfeel and texture. More fruit please. I’d up the price to €0.90 and add loads more cranberries. ( I wonder how Eric Morton will feel about this?)

Expert 3: This is a good scone. I’d buy it again.

Expert 4: A bit salty and shaped too perfectly but not bad.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

So there you have it guys and dolls.

SONY DSC

It was clear to us which bakeries were using a high quality flour and just raw ingredients. Some are using a premixed ‘just add water’ kind of mix and others are using a product that has lots of dough conditioners and modifiers in it.

A pre-mix is not necessarily the end of the world, and many bakeries use this because it is hard to offer consistency when you have a (sometimes) transitional staff. One baker makes and bakes the first batch in the morning and the lunchtime baker does the next batch. The first baker might mix his batch by hand, making sure the dough is never overworked and sticks to the recipe. The second-shift baker might throw it all into the mixer because they are in a hurry and could forget to add salt if not following the recipe.

You can’t compete with a bakery that offers consistency all year round. They are the ones who deserve the title of #BestScone in Galway and Ireland for that matter.

SONY DSC

Kai Café always showcases the most beautiful baked goods.

So, our panelists all agreed that Kai and Morton’s shared second place and Taste at Born  ranked third.

SONY DSC

Only one bakery had their ingredients listed – Morton’s (eggs, butter, marg, flour, salt, sugar, raising agent, milk, cream, buttermilk, cranberries). Morton’s takes the lead in offering the cheapest scone out of the bunch listed here, an they also offer mini scones at €0.38 ea – this is a great deal.

The clear winner for all panelists was:

Number FOUR – The Oven Door

 

So now that I have done all the hard work for you and whetted your appetite for a lovely warm scone this dreary dismal Saturday morning, can you let your fingers do the walking and please nominate your favourite scone in Galway!

Vote here on Facebook or here on Twitter.

Thanks for reading along and enjoy the bank holiday weekend!

WiseMóna

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

If you would like to be added to our panel of expert tasters for future research, shoot me an email at MonaZWise {at} GMail {dot} com

And if you have a favourite scone – leave  a comment right here below telling us why it is so great, and share a link so everyone else can check them out.

I have already heard from a few people over on Instagram that PoppySeed in Galway and The Hungry BookWorm in Loughrea have excellent scones.

 

Mar 2 2015

Crushed Cauliflower Sauté

Posted by     4 Comments    in Kitchen

The humble head of Cauliflower.

Mostly roasted with coconut oil, turmeric and a bit of sea salt is how we snack on this vegetable or sometimes just raw to dip in a bowl of blue cheese or ranch dip; it’s a favourite here at Chez Wise.

Recently, we have been enjoying this beautiful brassica in an entirely new way and this recipe is here to stay. 

Cauliflower duo

 

The beauty of this recipe is that you don’t really ‘need’ a recipe. If you have ever made a stirfry, then you already know how to make this.

 

Cflower ingredients

 

Crushed Cauliflower Sauté

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of cauliflower, leaves and stalk too
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 green onions
  • 2 hot chilis
  • 4 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 2 tsp butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper (white)

Instructions

  1. Trim the leaves of the cauliflower and set aside.
  2. Cut the cauliflower up into florets and slice the stalk into large dice.
  3. Place it all in the flood processor and pule until it looks like rice.
  4. If you don’t have a food processor, grate the cauliflower on a large box grater.
  5. (This can be kept wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for a few days and it freezes well too).
  6. Slice the green onions an fresh chilis.
  7. Using a wok (or a large pan) add the butter and 4 eggs. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper and scramble roughly for 3 mins on high. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  8. Wipe out the pan, then pour in 1 Tbsp sesame oil.
  9. Start adding the cauliflower and stir it as it sautés.
  10. As you add in more cauliflower, add in a little more sesame oil.
  11. The cauliflower needs the oil to cook.
  12. It will not harden or crisp up – it just cooks into a delicious bowl of something that resembles rice.
  13. When the cauliflower is piping hot, add in the green onions and chilis.
  14. Then add the egg into the mix, one spoonful at a time.
  15. Optional
  16. If you want to add a bit more protein to this meal, you can add it at this point (already cooked) and just allow the cauliflower to re-heat it. We tend to eat it asa veggie dish – because no one notices the meat or fish missing, but have had it with sesame crusted prawns and chicken too.

http://www.wisewords.ie/index.php/2015/03/crushed-cauliflower-saute/

 

Cflower ingredients egg

 

No one has noticed that there is ‘no rice’ in this stir fry. The kids all go back for seconds.

The nutritional value in cauliflower is high and it is very low in carbs. All in all, this is a humdinger of a dish, not to mention quite inexpensive too.

 

Cflower finito

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Basic nutrition details for this brassica:

A 1/2 cup of cooked cauliflower has 14 calories, 1.1 gram of protein, 2.6 grams of carbohydrate, 0.3 gram of fat and 1.4 grams of fiber. The low calorie and carbohydrate content of cauliflower makes it a suitable food for helping your lose weight as well as control your blood sugar, if you have diabetes.

More nutritional information right here

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Ok – it’s Monday morning and there is a light blanket of snow on the ground in Galway. The mornings are getting brighter (around 6:45am this morning no lights were needed to find my way to the coffee pot!).

The kids are rambling around the house readying themselves for school and I have a long list of ‘crap to do’ this week – so Monday – let’s be having you!

Have a great week y’all.

WiseMóna

Sep 28 2014

19 years and counting ….

Posted by     2 Comments    in Kitchen
Jack's Hands

Teaching hands … with his whole heart

Funny how the time slips by so fast, isn’t it? One minute you are walking along minding your own business and the next minute you are wham! head over heels in love with a man who is just not that in to you.

IMG_5779

Well, at least not until you got him drunk on Irish coffees and kept him that way until he succumbed to your wildly Irish ways.

IMG_5782

19 years later … he is still here by my side, cooking and feeding our family with so much more than food.

IMG_5785

I have just finished judging the finals of  the annual Blog Awards, and honestly, bloggers out there, hats off to you all. The very best part of blogging, aside from meeting lots of new friends right here on this blog and then in real life, is discovering all the new voices and talent behind so many new (and old) Irish blogs.

I had some real favourites this year and I can’t wait to see who cleans up at the awards ceremony in a few weeks. Best of luck to you all!

Now, on to the crux of the matter.

 

IMG_5799

A recipe for these excellent little balls of dough stuffed with even more excellent spoonfuls of shredded Oldefarm pork and vegetables.

19 years and counting ….
Author: 
Recipe type: Steamed and stuffed Pork Buns
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 14 buns
 

Light and lovely little buns stuffed with anything you want really. This recipe makes 14 buns
Ingredients
  • For the buns
  • 2¼ tsp dry active yeast
  • 240 ml milk
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 700 g flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp sugar/honey
  • For the filling
  • 450 g shredded (cooked) pork (or could use ground (raw) pork too.
  • 250 g shredded cabbage
  • 1 carrot, diced small
  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp grated ginger, fresh
  • 2 green onions
  • 4 garlic cloves

Instructions
  1. First .. for the buns
  2. Heat the milk and oil in a pot until it is lukewarm. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid and let it sit for 8 to 10 minutes – this helps activate it.
  3. Sift the flour, salt, and sugar together in a bow.. Add the yeast liquid into the flour, mixing with a fork. Once all the liquid has been poured in, knead for 15 seconds until the dough comes together. Do not overwork the dough – or it will become chewy.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes max. Place the dough in a large, greased bowl, cover, and let it sit for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  5. When the dough is almost done with its rise, sauté it all together in a pan the ingredients for the filling — pork, vegetables, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, ginger, green onion and garlic.
  6. Next, punch down your risen dough. Turn it onto a floured surface again and knead for just a few strokes.
  7. Cut off a ping pong ball-sized piece of dough and roll into a 3″ diameter flat circle.
  8. Place about a tablespoon of the pork mixture into the circle and fold the dough up around the filling, pinching and pleating until the top is sealed. It doesn’t have to be perfect
  9. Place the finished buns on a baking sheet and cover with a damp towel to keep them from drying out as you fold the others.
  10. Fill a wok (or pot or rice cooker, depending on what you’re using) with about an inch or two of water and bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. After the water has begun to simmer, set the basket over the water, covered, and steam for about 15 minutes, or until buns are resilient when touched and the filling inside is cooked.
  11. Make sure to refill the water between batches, as it will likely evaporate during the boiling. You may also need to adjust the heat to low as the water boils — a low simmer is all you need.

We did lightly pan fry ours right after steaming, in a toasted sesame oil, and served it with a Korean dipping sauce – a staple here at ChezWise … and Jack, our nine-going-on-nineteen son, can make it with ease.

IMG_5797

It is delicious. Give it a try.

 

Korean dipping sauce

When planning a meal around here, the sauce always has a big role to play in the end result. When we come across a sauce loved by the whole family we tend to keep a jar of it on hand in the fridge and that way, when trying to feed a hungry brood in a hurry, there is one less thing to make. This dipping sauce can be used as a favourite sauce served alongside a plate of wontons, poured over a delicious fried rice or noodle dish, or as the perfect accompaniment to seafood pancakes.

What you will need

236 ml [1 cup] soy sauce 129 ml

115 ml [1/2 cup] water

1 Tbsp brown sugar/honey

1 pinch black pepper

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp concentrated vinegar (Essig essence)

2 green onions, chopped

2 chili peppers

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

How to prepare

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Store in the fridge in a jar with a tight seal for weeks on end.

We use this sauce a lot here at home. We have basted roasting chickens with it, dipped dumplings in it and it is also an excellent choice for drizzling over a bit of fresh salmon sashimi if you are fortunate enough to have it on hand.

IMG_5804

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Anyway … it has not all been a bed of roses guys n’ dolls … and there have even been a few times where neither of us knew which way was up or which country we were headed to next.

But we have hung in there and are still working out our differences – every single day of our version of this wedded bliss. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Would you?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

A quick reminder for those of you who have been following along … this is how loaded our special day really is.

September 30th was the day we met, the day we got married, the day we opened our restaurant, the day we brought Jack home to live with us and the day we closed our restaurant right before moving back home to Europe.

We have kept it fairly uneventful since then … but I always have a feeling that something significant will happen on this special day.

Another week awaits us and this one brings a new month rolling in with cooler breezes.

Thanks for tuning in x

WiseMóna

 

Aug 30 2014

Blackberry Bourbon Old Fashioned

Posted by     8 Comments    in Kitchen

 

Blackberry Sunrise 2014

My day starts so calmly. The most beautiful sunrises can be experienced in Ireland as soon as Autumn’s first blush occurs. A life-long early bird, I usually stumble out of bed somewhere between half five and six o’clock every morning and assuming there has not been a deluge of rain throughout the night and carried over till dawn … this image above is typical of what greets me daily at that hour. We are noted in these parts for having beautiful sunsets … you have surely heard the song, no?  Well, I think it is high time someone wrote a song about our sunrises too.

Blackberry bush 2

Blackberries have been ripening in our back fields since the last week in July. We have picked and packaged them lovingly in the freezer and have a few more weeks of preserving ahead of us. We will be making chutneys, jams, jellies and lots and lots of pie filling. I think it’s time for a bigger freezer!

Blackberry Cong

We have had an excellent summer. Sure, I was bogged down for several weeks finishing up my thesis for college, but the last few weeks, before the kids went back to school were just bliss. We spent a lot of time traipsing about meeting old and new friends for fun frolics about the countryside and even squeezed in a spot of fishing with family.

Blackberry Beets 2014

Now that the weather has turned, and Autumn is well and truly here to stay, all the colours around me seem richer and filled with flavour. The markets and grocery stores are still heaving and groaning with a bounty of fruit so time to get out and load your shopping basket with it all while it’s still in season. See the next issue of Nuacht Chlair for a gorgeous recipe for a late summer Clafoutis.

Blackberry Clafoutis 2014

Now that you have your ducks in a row and your basket is brimming with berries … I think it is time for a little reward. Earlier today, I shared a photo of a Blackberry Bourbon Old Fashioned .. and was bombarded with emails and notifications requesting the recipe. Here’s the thing guys and dolls, especially when it comes to drinks … if you taste it and like it, its perfect. Keep that in mind when you foray into the world of lovely libations.

Blackberry Bourbon Old Fashioned

Makes one drink (but who likes to drink alone?)

Ingredients

2 oz of Bourbon

2 tsp brown sugar or honey (honey dissolves quicker)

1 Tbsp Blackberries, more if you like the fruit

2 dashes of bitters (I love Rhubarb bitters)

2 slices of orange, saving the rest of the orange for juice

Lots of ice

Method

First, macerate the blackberries in the brown sugar. Dump them into a glass and add the slice of orange and muddle it all together. Drop in a few dashes of the bitters, add your Bourbon and stir. Squeeze the remaining orange juice and stir. Taste and adjust sweetness or citrus as desired.

Fill the glass with ice. All the way to the top. Stir and then drink. Use a spoon to eat all the blackberry bits once you get to the bottom of the glass and always, always, always eat the orange slice. It’s chock full of Vitamin C after all.

One small note to make here. This can be made with Irish Whiskey too and it tastes equally delicious but quite different.

And in a few weeks, I’ll be making the exact same drink only with boiling hot water, to ward of any colds or hint of flu that might be threatening and goes hand in hand with the change in the seasons.

Ok … enjoy every bit. If, like me, you have just surveyed back-to-school chaos, you deserve it. And on a parting note … one more photo to help you settle in to your weekend slumber …. just watch the sunset right outside our door.

Blackberry evening sunset Autumn 2014

 

That’s all for now guys and dolls …

WiseMóna

 

Jun 24 2014

Bog butter

Posted by     8 Comments    in Kitchen

Bog Butter

Dunmore residents give us the dish on an old delicacy

by Móna Wise

15 June 2014

(Originally published in the Connacht Tribune on Thursday 19th June 2014)

Dunmore Demesne golf club looked fabulous in all its summer glory as I wheeled my way through the Galway countryside last weekend.

 IMG_5395

Larry McGuire and Anne Reddington, owners of Galway Goat Farm based just outside Dunmore, had made a recent discovery of Bog Butter and curiosity got the better of me. It was easy tempt me to make the hour long journey out from Galway city to see it, and even taste it.

Butter, it seems, is quite a common thing to find in the bogs of Ireland. Over 274 instances of bog butter has been recorded between 1817 to 1997, and several more since then. A recent find in 2011 of over 45 kg of bog butter found in Tullamore, County Offaly, thought to be 5,000 years old.

IMG_5365

A few weeks ago, when taking a walk down in the bog, Anne’s brother, Michael, happened upon this small wheel of butter and phoned his brother-in-law Larry, straight away. Larry, being familiar with all things dairy, due to the fact that he milks his goats daily, raced down the bog after them to check it out.

“They were gone ahead of me so I tore off in the van down the road after them. I had heard of other people finding butter in the bog, but was curious myself to see this. It looks like it had been wrapped in some kind of leaves, maybe cabbage, and there was lots of moss and maybe a bit of straw wrapped around it too.”

 IMG_5388

The tradition of burying butter in the bog dates back centuries with their even being a poem by London poet, William Moffet, written (in 1755) to describe how much a part of every day life this was:

 

“But let his faith be good or bad,

He in his house great plenty had,

Of burnt oat-bread, and butter found,

With Garlic mixt, in boggy ground,

So strong, a dog, with help of wind,

By scenting out, with ease might find;

And this they count the bravest meat,

That hungry mortals e’er did eat.”

 

The reference to garlic comes from the fact that a lot of the butter might have been wrapped in wild garlic, it certainly grows a plenty in this part of the world, but this particular stash had a very mild scent and certainly no trace of garlic essence to be found.

 

“Gurteen, the area where we are now” said Larry, was predominantly poor land years ago, with not much around here except a massive oak forest. The area was hard hit by the famine, and due to there being so much bog land around here, there would have been very poor grazing land for cattle around here, so it is hard to tell why the butter ended up being stored right out here in the middle of the bog.”

IMG_5364

After Larry unearthed the butter, weighing more than a kilo, it was surprising to see how intact the butter still was. The texture crumbled easily enough like a dry waxy cheese, and although quite odourless, it had a mildly rancid flavour, something that can only be described best as ‘really old waxy unsalted cheese’.

 

While some forms of bog butter found are meat based made from tallow, it seems more plausible that this one is dairy based as the colour still leans more towards yellow.

Jack Wise. Age 9. Claregalway

Larry and Anne have a call in to the curator of the Galway Museum in the hopes that they might come out and have a look at it and help them identify a timeline for their find.

 

In days gone by butter was considered a luxury item, and it is really no different today as it is one of those items that carries an ever fluctuating price. In the past, because it was always deemed valuable, that reason alone made it worth hiding. As none of the butter found in recent times in Irish bogs have been known to have salt in them, the best conclusion we can come to is that this was buried, wrapped in leaves, moss and grass, in the bog as the only way of preserving it, pre-refrigeration days.

IMG_5406

The mystery as to why it was buried so far removed from any form of dwellings even ancient ruins, remains a mystery we hope the curator of the Galway museum can answer.

Rori Wise, Age 11. Claregalway.

One thing is certain though, preserving a fabulous food-find right here in Galway is vital to us finding and revealing a lot more of the gastronomic details of our ancestors daily diet.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Who needs a fridge for butter with the bog nearby?

Our cultural landscape

There are many theories behind the burying of butter. A common tactic in war was destroying the enemies foodstuffs, ensuring a famine, so butter might have been buried for reasons of security and defence, so this find might indicate a sudden attack or flight of the people who stored it.

Another theory is just a practical farming one, in that the cattle were released to graze in greener pastures during the warmer months and the butter was made and stored nearby.

Why the bog?

Peat bogs provide a cold and wet environment with virtually no oxygen circulating in its muddy depths.

The build up of plant materials over thousands of years creates highly acidic conditions making it perfect to preserve many items including food and even bodies. Whilst we have butter in our bogs, many other countries have buried and re-discovered other food products such as eggs in China, ghee (clarified butter) in India, cheese in Italy and even milk in Norway.

Interesting details

A piece of bog butter found in Rosmoylan, County Roscommon, was discovered in wooden barrel with a selection of plants like ‘sedge’, ‘wheat grass’ and ‘hypnum’ a type of moss. All three of these types of plan materials were commonly used by people to stuff their mattresses for bedding, with the Latin word ‘hypnos’ even translating to the mean ‘sleep’. It is lovely to think of the Irish milking maids of days gone by wrapping up their wheels of butter and laying them down in the bogs for a nice long sleep in the bog.

 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Thanks for reading – if you are in or around Galway this week, then keep an eye out for this weeks Connacht Tribune on Thursday 26th, 2014. I have a two-page spread on fun activities ALL FOR FREE ….. a cut out and stick on the fridge piece to help keep the kids occupied (and not break the bank) this summer!

WiseMóna

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
  • Contact Mona
Ron Wise About the Chef
You can't find the Chef here.
You might as well just come visit.
He prefers face to face communication.

From The Kitchen

Larder360
Taco's Taqueria Galway
Papa Rich
Galway Shopping Christmas
Cava Wine Galway Wine Trail Campo Viejo

Buy the Book

The Chef and I

SHE WRITES, HE COOKS, THE KIDS MAKE A HUGE MESS

Click Here to Purchase

Best Food & Wine Blog (2012) Best Photo Blog (2012) Best Blog of a Journalist (2012) and Best OVERALL Blog (2012)

blog awards ireland

Top Food Blog

Top Food Blogs

Archives

Sound Cloud