May 2010

St George's Market

Joanna Schaffalitzky — 

A couple of weeks ago, myself and the Beau took a very fleeting trip to Belfast on a Friday evening to see some friends. In our brief look around the city on the Saturday morning, we went to visit the St George's Street Market.

The minute we walked in the door I was jealous, as you can see from the picture above, it's vast! We also happened to enter to the end with the seafood stands and the variety of fish, shellfish and other underwater delights was overwhelming. I'm not the world's biggest fish fan but at that moment, visions of paella, bouillabaise and simple baked fish dishes floated through my mind.

But it didn't just stop at fish, pretty much anything you could imagine was there. We spent about an hour there wandering around and drinking in all the sights, smells and sounds. In the middle of the market was a space where people could sit, eat and listen to the band.

Around this central space were stalls that specialised in food to eat there and then. These varied from the usual sandwiches and crêpes to more exotic things such as paella and intriguing Indian dishes. There was even a hog roast, if I hadn't just had my breakfast, it would've been in my belly in the blink of an eye!

The vegetable stands also caught my eye, and if I thought it would've survived the journey home on the train I would've bought a week's worth right then and there. As it was I contented myself with a bundle of extremely fresh rhubarb.

The two stands that really caught my eye were the seaweed stall and the most amazing spice stand that I have ever seen. I will have to write a shopping list for both of them and then return as the choice was just so varied, especially for the spices, that I couldn't remember what I had in my own cupboards at home. The seaweed I liked as I've never knowingly eaten it, but I've always wanted to give it a try and there seemed to be so many different types available.

The oddest thing I was shown while we were there was "Vegetable Roll", which seems to be an exclusively Northern Ireland thing, as it consists of a large sausage which has some green bits flecked through it. According to the Beau it's the green bits that earn it the title of "vegetable" despite it being almost entirely made of meat.

Regional idiosyncracies aside, the market also contained some lovely looking bread and cakes. There was also the usual fancy oil stand (though I loved the way he showed off the oils by putting lights behind them) and a delicatessan stand with olives, cheeses and a range of chacuterie style meats.

As you can probably guess from my rather gushing tales of the market that I loved it. Is there anywhere in Dublin that has somewhere like this? Where there is a huge selection of produce at competitive prices? If there was I would be there every week to buy my groceries.

Next time I go to Belfast I will be bringing the car and a lot of shopping bags.

2 Side Dishes

Joanna Schaffalitzky — 

Prepartion Time
Total Time

To ease us all back into regular updates I have recipes today for two very simple side dishes. Some of you may already know how to make these, but then there could be those who would never think of cooking them at all.

First up is oven chips. These are very simple to make and delicious with pretty much everything, but especially things like steak and roast chicken. They're crispy on the outside and light and fluffy in the middle.

The other dish is a very simple mushroom side, again this is delicious with steak and other beef dishes.

Here are both of them served with a t-bone steak. That was a good dinner!

4 large
2 cloves
Olive Oil
2 tbsp
Salt & Pepper
to season
Mixed Herbs
to season
Other Requirements

A sharp knife, an oven proof dish and a saucepan.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Take the potatoes; peel them and chop them up into bite sized pieces.

Place the potato pieces into an oven-proof dish and pour over the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and herbs (optional).

Using your hands, spread the oil and seasoning as evenly as you can across the potatoes. Then pop them in the oven for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes, pull out the dish and flip the potatoes over with a spatula, moving them around in the dish as well. Then put them back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

After the second set of 20 mins the potatoes should be done and turned a nice golden brown colour. If they haven't pop them back in the oven for another 5 - 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Next up is the mushrooms!

For this recipe the mushrooms need to be cut as finely as you can make them. A really sharp knife is a great help in this.

Put the mushrooms into a saucepan and leave to one side. Next crush the garlic and add to the pot with the mushrooms.

Now add in the butter to the saucepan and turn on to a low heat. Stir the mixture until the butter has melted and the liquid has started to be released from the mushrooms. Turn up the heat so that the liquid starts to boil.

When all the liquid has boiled off the mushrooms and they have started to brown, the mushrooms are ready to serve.

Scrambled Eggs

Joanna Schaffalitzky — 

Many apologies for the lack of updates lately. I have been battling with writer's block. However I think I've got all of that sorted now and I am working on several new posts. In the meantime I thought I would put up my favourite breakfast recipe, by Gordon Ramsey. I'm not a big fan of his but this is a seriously delicious version of scrambled eggs.

I hope you enjoy it. Normal blog service will resume on Friday.