Friday, 31 October 2014

Autumn and the City

Dublin is such a remarkable city.

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It’s energising, charming, steeped in history, and a place I’m privileged to call home. 


Yes, it rains a bit here, and temperatures can be unpredictable at the best of times. Often you can’t leave the house without your raincoat and sunglasses, and on occasion you need to be able to strip down from a winter coat to a T- shirt in a matter of minutes! But if I had to list my top three all time favourite cities, Dublin would definitely be one.


Now, it’s no secret that I adore France.


So when I found out that there was a French Food Fair happening in the heart of beautiful Georgian Dublin (three of my favourite things under one roof!), I was there before you could say ‘bon appétit’!


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Number 63 Merrion square was transformed for the day into an ornate indoor market place.


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Irish-based French food producers showcased their delicacies on tables draped with pristine white table cloths.


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Some of the vendors at the fair included Chez Max, Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Cocoa Atelier, Le Ferve French Cider, and Tartine Bakery.


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We spent some time browsing and sampling, and purchased a selection of delicious French food to take with us.


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Before making our way outside to the garden (the only surviving Georgian townhouse garden in Dublin) and the warm autumn sunshine.


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As well as the French Food Fair there were also a number of food talks taking place throughout the day in The Helen Roe Theatre inside the house, and a screening of the movie 'Chocolat’. 


The event was organised by food blogger French Foodie in Dublin, it was a great success. And it’s one that I hope will be back again soon!


With glorious blue skies, leaves still on the trees, and plenty of leaves for the toddlers to stomp through on the ground, it was a perfect Autumn day for the park. So before we made our way home we strolled across the road to Merrion Square.


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The playground here was recently upgraded and is now even bigger with state of the art facilities for little ones. So we definitely had to pay a visit with the boys!


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Callum wasn’t sure where to start…


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But it didn’t take long before he learnt the ropes!


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The scrumptious French food, beautiful sunny day, and three happy boys made it a perfect afternoon spent in Dublin’s fair city.


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And before I go I’ll leave you with a recipe ideal for this time of year, for blue cheese and butternut squash quiche - delicious Irish ingredients in a classic French dish.


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The ready made pastry is a great shortcut in this recipe when time is of the essence, but of course homemade pastry is always preferable!


BLUE CHEESE & BUTTERNUT SQUASH QUICHE (Serves 4)



1 sheet of frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed


Butter, for greasing the tin


½ butternut squash, deseeded, peeled, and cubed


Nutmeg, grated


Olive oil


70g of Sheridan’s stilton (or any blue cheese will work in this dish)


½ tsp thyme, chopped


2 large egg yolks, plus one extra yolk


275ml double cream


Salt and pepper


2 tbsp of 4 seed mix (sunflower, pumpkin, linseeds and sesame seeds) or just sunflower seeds 



Preheat the oven to 180°C.


Grease a 19 cm x 4 cm tin (approx.) with removable base with butter.


Peel and chop the butternut squash into equal sized cubes. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt, freshly ground black pepper and grated nutmeg, and roast for 40 minutes.


While the butternut squash is roasting line your quiche tin with pastry. 


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Allow the pastry to hang over the edges of the tin slightly as it may shrink a little when it cooks.


Whisk the eggs with the double cream, salt and pepper.


For a perfect pastry base that isn’t soggy when the filling is added always use a metal tin and pre bake the pastry for 15 minutes before brushing the pastry shell with the egg and cream mixture, and bake for a further 5 minutes.


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When the pastry case is part baked next fill with crumbled blue cheese, the roasted butternut squash, and chopped thyme.


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Then add the egg and cream mixture.


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Pop back in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes until the quiche is set and has turned golden brown.


Next sprinkle with 2 tbsp of mixed seeds and pop back in the oven for 10 minutes.


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Serve with a green salad and a cool glass of crisp white wine.


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