The New Irish Table cookbook


Simply stunning photos and recipes that make me excited to cook again! Visiting Ireland is now high on my list too. Each section begins with a brief introduction about the region and then dives into menus from a chef or two in that region.

Fall is coming, which means it is perfect timing for soups like Potato, Prawn & Lime or Carrot, Potato & Cumin. There are plenty of warming dishes.

I can tell that things like Cucumber Pickle and Goat Cheese Mousse will become pantry staples. I knew it was easy to do a quick semi-pickle, but adding whiskey … pure genius.

I love that the desserts range from a simple poached pears with cream up to a delightful mini trifle and things with meringue.


I’d recommend this for foodies or for anyone who loves Ireland.

Delightful English tea weekend in Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria, BC is a lovely little island of Canada that is picturesque and well known for Butchart Gardens. But if you don’t know, it’s also a delightful place to pass the time away with fun little bookstores, tea shops and walks along the harbor.

It’s also the location of a tea festival every year, and so every year a friend and I drive up there to enjoy a weekend of bliss.


Gorging ourselves at Murchie’s – though the lines are some times long, many of the cakes are worth the wait. I am sorry to admit that instead of a healthy lunch, I opted for a sandwich and two entire desserts just for me. The cheesecake was tasty and the fruit tart delicious. I do not regret this decision.

Tea display at the Victoria Tea Festival – usually  full of vendors and providing an enjoyable afternoon with displays, samples, souvenirs, talks and classes. If you like tea I definitely recommend it.



High tea at the Fairmont Empress – a very posh affair with a fresh fruit cup, sweet treats like chessboard cake, Key Lime chocolate cake and nut shortbread, delightful little sandwiches with traditional egg salad or fancy crab, and a scone with tiny jam jars and fresh cream. You have to dress up a little and it is a fun time.

Wine and cheese plate at the Magnolia Hotel – a nice hotel that is central, with excellent service (better than the Fairmont Empress in my opinion). Everyone was extremely friendly and their Girls Getaway package features money to spend at their spa or restaurant, and a cheese and wine plate. They were so nice about providing goat and sheep’s milk cheeses only, all fantastic (I regret not asking for the names) and a bottle of very good red wine. The spa was a relaxing way to start our morning, I highly recommend it.


A French inspired lunch at Bon Rouge – right next door to the hotel is a French bistro that is packed at night and reasonably quiet on Sunday afternoons. The duck prosciutto with toast and the pistachio-crusted pate were both delicious, as were the main courses. Service was nice and we sat in plush chairs that were practically couches for one.

If you go visiting Victoria, BC you can get there by a seaplane, the Clipper ferry or by driving up and taking the car ferry across. I’ve done all three and I recommend the seaplane for the views or the Clipper ferry for the speed, but we go by car due to my getting seasick. If you get seasick too I warn you that there’s a strait on the way that you will not enjoy. I have a special and irrational dislike of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

There are many other great sights even aside from the world famous Butchart Gardens that I still have not seen. Great tea shops, restaurants, bookstores and clothing stores, surprising for such a small island. One year the Royal BC Museum had an Egyptian exhibit on loan from the British Museum that was superb. It even had real mummies, something I haven’t seen since. Even after 3 weekend trips I can’t seem to fit it all in.

Bon voyage!

Wonderful Eating in Paris

I really love Paris. Well, almost everything about Paris (aside from the smell of those subways, which caused me to be dubbed “The Ninja” by traveling companions as I wrapped a black scarf over my face). But I digress. Back to the amazing.

Pâtisseries, cafés, bistros, not to mention the crêpe stands near the Notre Dame de Paris … most of my memories center around food. What better way to share my trip to Paris than over a few delicious meals? And a reminder to myself as I’m learning French about how much more amazing it will be to return speaking French.

Petit dejouner at Le Pain Quotidien – a not so small breakfast after all, featuring soft boiled eggs, salad with cured ham and several cheeses, thick creamy yogurt with homemade granola and delicious baked goods smothered in jam or Nutella. And don’t forget the fresh squeezed orange juice. Fear not US residents, they even have a few in the US and the lunch at their Los Angeles location was very tasty.

Grand Marnier Souffle at La Fermette Marbeuf – a light, hot and fluffy concoction full of sugary sweetness and the hint of orange liqueur. The grand prix menu was expensive but delicious, and a great way to soak in the gorgeous Art Nouveau decor.

Steak frites at Le Relais de L’Entrecôte – they only serve steak and fries at this restaurant, along with a choice of house wine or soda, and bread. But honestly that is all you need. Deliciously smothered in a meaty, herby sauce and large portions that are re-filled along with crispy fries, mmm!

Salad Niçoise at Angelina’s – while decent, the food at Angelina’s was by no means as delicious as their confections, and for the price I highly recommend sticking to dessert and eating your meals elsewhere. But their chaux au chocolat (hot chocolate) is good and strong, and they are famed for their chestnut desserts called Mont Blanc.

Gateau et thé at Ladurée – a pâtisserie famed for macarons that has shops along the Champs-Élysées and other high traffic areas. Sitting down to thé (tea) and gateau (cake) was a highly relaxing moment after a stressful day being jostled by crowds.

Petit dejouner at Ladurée – while we’re on the topic of that well-known pâtisserie, what about breakfast there? Oh so worth it! Possibly one of the most enjoyable meals we had, with soft boiled eggs and toast soldiers, sweet and savory buns, juice and coffee, and an exquisite opportunity to watch real Parisians in a small setting. Très chic!

Bon appétit!