A foodie guide to Dublin

Number 31. Photo: Hidden Ireland

Number 31. Photo: Hidden Ireland

I recently paid a short visit to Dublin to check out the ever-changing food scene. Dublin is such a wonderful city to visit; either for a weekend mini-break or for a longer stay. It is a city that offers something for everyone, young or old, whether you’re interested in culture, history, or just a fun time. 

The Irish food scene has been growing exponentially over the last decade, with a reputation for superb quality produce and a growing desire to celebrate the best of Irish cooking, translating it for a modern, International audience. 

Always in search of interesting and exceptionally good places to stay and eat when away from home, and keen to get away from big chains, I set about visiting the most exciting independent establishments in Dublin right now.

Where to stay

My base for this trip was Number 31, situated south of St Stephen’s Green, which is one of the most frequented areas of the city centre. Describing itself as a boutique guesthouse, Number 31 offers all the luxury and service you’d expect in a top hotel, but with the peace, quiet and hospitality you’d expect in the very best bed and breakfast establishment. It is a member of Hidden Ireland – a collection of exceptional independent historic houses. 

Two gorgeous buildings are cleverly fused together to form this elegant city centre retreat; a Georgian townhouse and a most interesting Modernist mews designed by notable Irish architect, Sam Stephenson. Connected by a lovely, private garden and a most stylish central space featuring a sunken lounge and mezzanine breakfast room, it is certainly a characterful retreat.

The welcome could not have been warmer, and gave me time to relax with an excellent cup of coffee and some homemade biscuits after a long journey. Once shown to my room, I was given a key as guests are free to come and go as they please, adding to the relaxed atmosphere. Rooms are spacious and decorated in the same super-stylish décor as the rest of the property. Beds are wonderfully comfortable, the sheets are top quality and the bathrooms are deeply luxurious making it the private and relaxing space I needed for my trip.

Breakfast is taken in the mezzanine area in the main building. The choice is superb, including homemade muesli, fresh natural yoghurt, and a gorgeous rhubarb and strawberry compote. Everything here is homemade and done really, really well. There is a wide and tempting choice of cooked breakfasts, excellent coffee and of course, delicious homemade soda bread and cake. It really is a veritable feast to start the day off well.

It is worth mentioning just how delightful all the staff who were I met whilst staying. From the owners, to the young man who helped me with my cases, to the girl who served me at breakfast. They were all brilliant. It’s no wonder Number 31 is a secret Dublin bolt hole to so many famous faces. A stay here was a faultless experience and I’m looking forward to returning already.

Where to eat

The most exciting opening of late, in my opinion, in Dublin is The Fumbally. Its creation is the culmination of four years of cooking and experimentation before launching, and the food is just brilliant. Open for breakfast and lunch every day, offering an enticing blend of Middle Eastern spices, Mediterranean and Irish ingredients, I found it is one of those rare and wonderful places to eat where just everything is excellent. Go, as soon as you can.

If you are looking for a lovely place to buy lunch or coffee in central Dublin, I highly recommend Emer’s Kitchen. It hasn’t been opened long, and Emer herself is in there every day serving here loyal customers. It’s a cool new café and deli, again situated just off the Southeastern corner of St. Stephen’s Green. The coffee is excellent, the lunch menu is fresh, imaginative and prepared using well-sourced ingredients and the cake is divine. If I worked nearby, I’d be calling in everyday for my lunch. A takeaway lunch from here would make the perfect picnic to enjoy in a sunny spot in the square.

Ananda Indian restaurant in Dundrum is another exciting discovery. It is the leading Indian restaurant in Dublin and takes curry to another level. Every dish is beautifully presented, and executed with real skill by Executive Chef Sunil Ghal, and his team, who devised Ananda’s menu in partnership with Michelin-starred Indian chef Atul Kochhar. 

Number 31, The Fumbally, Emer’s Kitchen and Ananda all offer a number of interesting options for dietary requirements.

What to do 

Visitors to Dublin are spoilt for choice for things to see and do. Fortunately, the City Centre is quite compact, so it is very easy to cover ground on foot.

Culturally, there is much to do, from visiting Trinity College, the Irish Government buildings, the Castle and a huge variety of museums.

Those in search of fun will enjoy a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, and a drink and some music in the Temple Bar area, situated very near Trinity College.

For shopping, I think the best shop in Ireland, by far, is the Brown Thomas department store. Staggeringly elegant and jam-packed with carefully picked lines from clothing, to kitchen kit, wines and cookery books, it is the epitome of style from top to bottom. The Kilkenny shop is a very interesting place to explore Irish crafts and sells a lovely range of pottery and glassware.

Thank you to Number 31 for inviting me to stay.

Homemade granola

GranolaThere is nothing quite like homemade granola. I first started to make it last summer. Tony and I were food shopping one evening and he picked up a pack of gluten free granola which had caught his eye. I took one look at it, clocked the price (at around £12 per kilo) and immediately replaced the packet on the shop shelf. “I can make something much better than that, for much less!”, I declared.

True to my word, as soon as we returned home, I turned the oven on, and made this recipe for granola, which lasted for around two days. I’ve been making it ever since. The fresh, toasted flavour of homemade granola is totally unlike anything you can buy, even from upmarket retailers.

You can mix and match the fruit, seeds and nuts you add to include your favourite ingredients. Just make it up to the total weight required in the recipe. It often turns into a kitchen cupboard raid at this stage, and I will use up open packets of fruit, nuts and seeds here.  I like to include dried cranberries, lovely large sultanas, mixed seeds and whole almonds. 

This granola is gorgeous served with milk, instead of breakfast cereal (Tony’s favourite!), or I like just a little sprinkled onto a bowl of whole milk yoghurt, topped with some fresh berries. 

I made a batch for my sister recently, who had texted me before I’d even returned home to ask for the recipe. I said I’d blog it, so here you go. Lucy, this recipe is for you. 

Homemade granola
Serves 12
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
642 calories
64 g
30 g
40 g
17 g
10 g
140 g
13 g
12 g
0 g
26 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
140g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 642
Calories from Fat 336
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 40g
61%
Saturated Fat 10g
52%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10g
Monounsaturated Fat 16g
Cholesterol 30mg
10%
Sodium 13mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 64g
21%
Dietary Fiber 10g
41%
Sugars 12g
Protein 17g
Vitamin A
19%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
7%
Iron
26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 165g butter, or coconut butter
  2. 165g honey
  3. 450g oats
  4. 300g total weight of dried fruit, nuts and seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Set aside a large baking tray. It needs to have sides, so that your granola doesn't fall off the tray.
  2. Place the butter and honey into a small saucepan over a moderate heat. Stir regularly until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat. Place the oats into a large mixing bowl, pour over the butter and honey mixture and stir well to coat the oats evenly.
  3. Tip the oats out onto the baking tray. Spread evenly and place in to the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven, turn over the oats and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Remove the last from the oven and set aside to cool. Continue to turn the oats regularly as they cool, so that they don't stick.
  4. Place your dried fruit, nuts and seeds into a large mixing bowl. Tip in the cooled oats and stir well to combine evenly. Store in an airtight container and enjoy within a month.
beta
calories
642
fat
40g
protein
17g
carbs
64g
more
Charlotte's Kitchen Diary http://www.charlotteskitchendiary.com/

Hazelnut Meringue Roulade

 Roulade

This is another of those really useful recipes to have up your sleeve. Just four ingredients put together make a very special pudding indeed. I have made this hazelnut meringue for summer buffets, autumn suppers and for a family weekend pudding, and it is one of those puddings that everyone seems to love, either on its own, or served with some fresh fruit. It has the added bonus of being gluten free, too, which ticks another box in my house. 

I actually think this roulade is nicer the day after it’s made, as I prefer a soft and less crisp meringue. Any leftovers keep very well for a couple of days, as the meringue develops a particularly enjoyable chewiness after a day or two.

If you’ve never made a meringue before, it’s really very straightforward. Just make sure you whisk the egg whites well before adding the sugar gradually, and make sure the meringue is stiff before transferring to the prepared tray. Runny meringue won’t work so well. 

I photographed the roulade on the chopping board, ready to slice. It’s so popular, I just cut it up and it disappears almost immediately, without fail. 

Hazelnut Meringue Roulade
Serves 6
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
35 min
324 calories
55 g
10 g
11 g
5 g
2 g
104 g
47 g
52 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
104g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 324
Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
16%
Saturated Fat 2g
12%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 10mg
3%
Sodium 47mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 55g
18%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 52g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
3%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. For the meringue
  2. 5 large free range egg whites
  3. 275g golden caster sugar (unrefined)
  4. To assemble
  5. 75g hazelnuts, skinned
  6. 300ml double cream, softly whipped
  7. Icing sugar, to dust
Instructions
  1. First of all, prepare your tin. Line a 30x20cm swiss roll tin with non-stick baking parchment and set aside. Preheat your oven to 180C Fan.
  2. Start by making the meringue. Whisk the egg whites until pale and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to whisk for another 10 minutes. Do make sure you whisk for this long. The meringue will be very stiff and glossy by this time.
  3. For a little extra flavour, pop the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and place into the oven as it warms up for 5 minutes. Remove the hazelnuts from the tray, chop roughly and allow to cool.
  4. Once the meringue is whipped, spoon into the prepared baking tray and level out using a palate knife. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the top of the meringue.
  5. Place the meringue into the oven and bake for 12 minutes. After this time, turn down the oven to 160C Fan and bake for a further 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the meringue from the oven and set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
  7. Once the meringue is cool, set out a large sheet of non-stick baking paper on the kitchen work surface. Place the meringue face down on the new sheet of paper, with the sheet it was baked on facing up. Very carefully, peel off the baking paper that lined the swiss roll tin.
  8. Spread the softly whipped cream over the meringue and roll up lengthways.
  9. Dust the meringue lightly with icing sugar before serving, sliced.
beta
calories
324
fat
11g
protein
5g
carbs
55g
more
Charlotte's Kitchen Diary http://www.charlotteskitchendiary.com/