tips, tipples & table talk – Week 11

“Coffee is the new craft beer” a colleague of ours stated matter-of-factly over the weekend, referring to current trends in Dublin. Whether this is true or not, the days of your only coffee options being ‘black’ or ‘white’ are long gone. Conscious of this, we’ve got a few ground rules for making great coffee at home. This week’s tips, tipples & table talk also discusses a mouth watering list of alternative options to the traditional wedding cake (warning: drooling may occur) and we give you a superbly simple lasagne recipe, featuring basil, the ultimate summer herb.

Also, as we’re coming into the last few weeks of summer, we’re offering a complimentary plate of organic smoked meats when you order any bottle of wine over €30 at ely wine bar, 22 Ely Place, Dublin 2. Available until Sept 1st, see the wine list here.

Enjoy everyone!

Table Talk of the Week:  5 Alternatives To The Traditional Wedding Cake

Wedding cakes are the most traditional desserts to serve, but we know as well as you do that wedding and post-nuptial celebrations aren’t always traditional! Sometimes, a wedding cake just isn’t for everyone. As a substitute, couples are choosing to serve unique treats that reflect their taste. Whether you’re skipping the cake completely or searching for an additional dessert option, this week’s Table Talk of the Week will hopefully satisfy any sweet (or savory) tooth.

cake

  1. Say Cheese – Perfect with wine, a cheese wheel wedding cake alternative is a great one for cheese lovers and those who want something savoury. Why not use locally produced artisan cheeses, or perhaps a cheese from that beloved vacation you once took in France?
  2. Cake Pops – Move over cupcakes, these little bite sized pops of icing covered cake balls are becoming increasingly popular with wedding parties. No need to fight over favourite flavours, simply get a bunch made in a variety of flavours to suit your tastes!
  3. Marriage Macarons – Incorporate a little taste of Paris on your special day. Sweet and sophisticated, these little delights can also be tailored to match the colours of your wedding theme.
  4. Holy Crêpe – Layer crêpes/pancakes, cover in syrup or lightly dust with icing sugar for a deliciously indulgent alternative to the classic cake.
  5. Bare All – Step 1, order a classic and plain (nude) wedding cake of your choice. Step 2, pick up some simple or lavish cake decorations from any good cookery supply store. Step 3, go to town and customize away! Why spend hours trying to talk your vision through with a cake designer? Great for a bit of bonding time with your partner (or with family and friends), have fun with your cake and decorate it any wacky way you choose.

Looking for understated elegance? Ask us about holding your special day at ely wine bar or ely bar & brasserie. We also do wedding desserts!  

wedding cake alternatives collage

Tipple Tip of the Week: The Ground Rules of Great Coffee

Bathing in coffee grounds fermented with pineapple pulp is a traditional Japanese therapy for reducing wrinkles and improving the skin. While we don’t suggest that you try this at home, we do believe that a perfect cup of coffee brings great benefits! We also think that the enjoyment of a meal can depend on the quality of the coffee that comes afterwards.coffee

Make Great Coffee at Home:

  • Always start with fresh, cold water.
  • Water should be heated to 92º-96ºC. It should not be boiled.
  • Ensure coffee is fresh. It is a perishable product. Once opened, store in an air-tight container to preserve its freshness.
  • Be generous with coffee. Allow approx 7g (¼ oz) for every 180ml (6fl oz).
  • Serve as soon as possible. Never reheat or leave on a hot surface for too long.
  • No matter which equipment you’re using, keeping it clean – to remove the oily residue left by the coffee – is a key factor in the art of making the perfect cup every time.

Enjoy specialty coffees, organic teas and homemade desserts at ely bar & brasserie, IFSC, Dublin 1. 

ely bar & brasserie.2.

Taste Tip of the Week: Pesto Lasagne

Homemade pasta is easier to make than you think and the lovely, fragrant scent of basil is one of the delights of summertime. This delicious, not just for vegetarians, lasagne makes the most of that favourite herb.

pesto lasagne collageLasagne Sheets

What you need:

  • 350g good Italian flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 eggs and 3 egg yolks (all large)
  • pinch of fine table salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tepid water (or more if needed)

Serves 6

How we do it:

  • Put the flour, eggs and salt into a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add the olive oil and blitz again briefly until the dough starts to come together.
  • Add the water, being careful not to add too much – you need to make sure the dough does not become too sticky.
  • Blitz again, then tip into a bowl and knead together for about 2 minutes.
  • Turn on to lightly floured surface, wrap with cling film and leave aside to rest for half an hour in fridge.
  • Then, cut the dough into two pieces and work with one at a time. Roll out the dough thinly on a lightly floured surface and feed through the pasta machine several times until it is about 1mm thick. Store the sheets under a damp cloth while you are working.
  • When ready to use the pasta, cook the sheets in boiling, salted water for about 2 minutes.
  • Drain and use immediately, or put into iced water for 5-10 minutes.

lasagne sheets 2

Pesto Lasagne

What you need:

  • 400g lasagne sheets (see above)
  • 1 quantity pesto (See our pesto recipe here), doubling the quantity of basil to 400g
  • 250g tub ricotta, drained
  • 3 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 50g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 50g pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 bunch of basil, shredded
  • rocket leaves, to serve

Serves 6

How we do it:

  • Make the lasagne sheets. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Put the pesto (recipe: here) in a large mixing bowl and mix in the ricotta. Slice the tomatoes.
  • Arrange the lasagne sheets in an ovenproof dish, and spread with the pesto mix. Follow with a layer of tomatoes. Keep layering the pasta, pesto and tomatoes, finishing with a layer of pesto mix.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through. Meanwhile, preheat the grill.
  • When the lasagne is ready, sprinkle with the parmesan and grill for a few minutes until golden.
  • Cut into wedges, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and basil leaves and serve with rocket salad.

A note for the cook:

The pesto mix can be prepared in advance, but the lasagne sheets should be cooked just before you are about to assemble the lasagne.

For more great recipes, check out our award-winning ely cookbook here.

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