The 15 Series, Week 1: 15 Essential Autumn Foods

ely restaurants celebrates its 15th birthday this year and each week, The 15 Series brings you 15 tips on topics such as food, wine, culture, lifestyle, craft beer and more!
#ely15years

 

15 Essential Autumn Foods You Should Enjoy

As the days slowly shorten and the sun plays harder to get, our appetites begin to change, too. Where just weeks before, it seemed natural to toss a salad together on a whim, now our thoughts turn to a bowl of soup, or a comforting casserole. Here are our tips on some of the foods you should be making the most of this autumn.

1. Pump Up The Jam
Photo credit: http://www.flynnsfreshveg.com

Get to a hedge and grab a handful because this time of the year is the best for blackberry picking! Their warming sweet taste can be enjoyed well into the winter months by making jams, chutneys, freezing for later use as youghurt and dessert toppings and work beautifully in berry mojitos and martinis.

2. An Apple A Day

Apples ripen anytime between the end of august and October. Commonly used this time of the year in pies and purées, you’ll also meet many of these cider apples when they leave the orchard and end up on your bar table in bottle form.

3. Crave and Carve
rtepumpkin

Photo credit: http://www.rte.ie

 Not quite there with the scale of obsession that the USA have with pumpkin flavoured everything this time of the year but nonetheless, we’ve embraced their ever popular pumpkin spice lattes with open arms. These colder days cry out for a bowl of hearty pumpkin soup and a wee sprinkle of cinnamon and ginger really enhances the taste.

4.  What A Pear

Now, poached pears may remind you of your granny but the juiciest of pears are plentiful and seriously tasty at this time of the year. Moving away from the citrus and tropical fruits of summer, poached pears with blue cheese or sliced pear with walnuts make a great addition to any salad.

5. Seasonal Seafood
ely hq halibut&beetroot gratin

Photo credit: ely restaurants

 Halibut is native to Irish waters and comes into season this time of the year. Its mildly sweet meat is delicious but dries out and cooks very quickly. Season the fish after it’s cooked as if you do so before seasoning, it’ll dry out. Lightly drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over fish and roasted autumn veg.

6. An Alternative Root

Many of us are familiar with beetroot, enjoying it pickled, raw, roasted and in soups, but did you know that the leaves are edible too? Extremely good for you, why not think about adding these to omelettes, salads and juices like you would with spinach or kale?

7.  Not So Offal 
ely kidney&mushroom pie

Photo credit: ely restaurants

Offal is a much misrepresented ingredient. Whether it’s lamb sweetbreads, oxtail soup or a wonderfully assembled in a rich sauce with wild mushrooms and flaky pastry (a la kidney and mushroom pie) there’s a, not so, offal dish for everyone to enjoy this season.

8.  Go Green

Photo credit: ely restaurants

This time of the year, you might be surprised to come across some green tomatoes, but don’t be alarmed! These last late ripening tomatoes left on the vine can still be enjoyed. The most common and delicious way is frying them up but these little green guys can also be used in salsas, relishes, chutneys and soups.

9.  Figuring It Out
Figs 367098

Photo credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk

The sweet honey taste of this fruit makes it a wonderful and popular pairing with pork and cured meats. Figs also work beautifully with rich desserts, fuller salads ans warm aromatic spices.

10. Not Just For Rainy Days And Tuesdays
ely pancakes

Photo credit: ely restaurants

Now, hear us out. Not necessarily an Autumn staple, and some of you may have over indulged on Pancake Tuesday (enough to have had your fill for one year) but the mouthwatering taste of maple syrup really does slide into our minds and our mouths with the change of the season.

11. Sweet Spuds

In the land of the traditional Irish potato, it’s hard to see how any other spud could ever make its way into our hearts. However, this creamy and sweet, healthier alternative is now featured almost everywhere. If you ever hear our friends from across the Atlantic calling out for “Yams” around Thanksgiving, these are those!

12. Toasty Nuts

Toasted, roasted and quickly devoured. Autumn’s hazelnuts add indulgence to any chocolate dessert but we’re also guilty of packing some into a sandwich bag for snacking on the go!

13.  Goldilocks And The Three Bears
rhubarb fool - ely

Photo credit: ely restaurants

Summer (at times) may have seemed too hot. Winter (most times!) can seem too cold. Many agree that the Autumn temperature in Ireland is just right. Light breakfast snacks give way to the blonde and her bears’ favourite dish. There’s nothing quite like the warm familiar taste and smell of porridge in the mornings.

14. Ireland’s Famous Fungi

And no, we’re not talking about the famous fun loving Dolphin, we sense that the Kingdom might not be too pleased about that! Autumn in Ireland brings foragers from all over Europe to try their hand at finding some of the season’s delicious and gourmet wild mushrooms. Be careful though, always go with a guide and if you do decide to go out to the woods today, you may be in for a surprise. Some poisonous species may just be mistaken for edible delights.

15. Cheater’s Cuppa
tea poster A3 final

Photo credit: ely restaurants

If we’re being smart about it then technically tea (leaf) is actually is a food. However, we’re know we’re cheating slightly with this last one. Iced coffees, smoothies and juices from summer just cannot compare to this nice warm, put-your-feet-up-after-a-long-cold-autumn’s-day delight. In fact, we’ve just popped the kettle on as we type this!

tips, tipples & table talk – Week 17

This week’s tips, tipples & table talk  is all about the beautiful Burren. We fill you in on our 15th year anniversary trip to our family farm and let you almost imagine it, as if you were there, and could feel the country air. We also infuse Moroccan and Burren cuisine with a gorgeous lamb tagine recipe, perfect for these Autumn months and we discuss some wine phrases in an ely urban dictionary’d language you can understand.

Enjoy!

Tipple Tip(s) of the Week: Wine Phrases Without the Pretension

Have you ever had somebody describe wine and find yourself nodding along without a clue? More often than not, these terms means something very simple and we’ve picked a few of the ones that some people struggle with, in a language you can understand. There are wine bores, there are wine snobs and there are those – like you and I – that just like wine.Big tasting

  • Austere

They say: Wines that are austere are generally not terribly pleasant wines to drink. An austere wine is a hard, rather dry wine that lacks richness.

We say: An austere wine is not necessarily a negative one. This would be that seemingly stern and formal gent you get seated next to at a dinner party. The quiet type, but as the evening goes on, you start to realise that there’s a lot more to them and certainly, they’re more fun the more you get to know them. 

  • Barnyard

They say: An unclean, farmyard, fecal aroma that is imparted to a wine because of unclean barrels or unsanitary wine-making facilities.

We say: Well that sounds horrible! Old Burgundys and sometimes, old Rhones, can take on aromas that you might find in, say, a “recently” cleaned stable or perhaps by the carriages around Stephen’s Green. Thankfully this is a great example of how wines don’t always taste like they smell.

  • Bouquet:

They say: As a wine’s aroma becomes more developed from bottle aging, the aroma is transformed into a bouquet that is more than just the smell of the grape.

We say: Really… just a poncey word to describe the scent of a wine.

  • Tannic:

They say: The tannins of a wine, which are extracted from the grape skins and stems, are, along with a wine’s acidity and alcohol, its lifeline. Tannins give a wine firmness and some roughness when young, but gradually fall away and dissipate.

We say: Tannins are what give red wine its colour and dries out your mouth.. A tannic wine is also what’ll what give you away the morning after, with your black teeth and stained lips! 

  • Hot:

They say: Wines with alcohol levels in excess of 14.5% often taste hot if the requisite depth of fruit is not present.

We say: Feeling a little merrier than you expected you might at 6pm? A hot wine describes nothing to do with the temperature of the wine, but suggests that the alcohol levels in the wine are too high (yes, there is such a thing!).

  • Lush:

They say: Lush wines are soft, richly fruity wines that are both concentrated and fat. A lush wine can never be an astringent or hard wine.

We say: Not just a brand of natural cosmetics or  what a young British bloke might holler at a particularly good looking lady, a lush wine is rich, smooth, full, fruity, velvety. Highly desirable, a lush wine is basically the Jessica Rabbit of wines.

Learn more about wine at our BIGGEST wine tasting event of the year, ely’s Big Tasting on Friday 10th October, 2014 at ely bar & brasserie, IFSC.

the BIG tasting September 2011


Taste Tip of the Week: “Craggy Island” Lamb Tagine

There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but once you put a little bit of love into it, it’s really worth the effort. A Burren-Moroccan fusion dish and a nice alternative to the traditional Irish Stew.

What you need:

  • 800g–1kg lean lamb shoulder, diced (at ely, we use organic “Craggy Island” lamb)
  • plain flour, to coat lamb
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 each red and yellow peppers, diced
  • 2 large or 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme, 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 small, red chilli, dried or fresh
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10g fresh ginger, peeled and grated, or ½ tsp ground
  • 20g dried ground cumin
  • 100ml honey
  • 800g tinned chopped tomatoes or passata, or enough to submerge all ingredients
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 courgette

Serves 6

Lamb Tagine Collage

How we do it:

  • Lightly coat the lamb in flour and brown in a little oil on a hot pan. You will need to do this in batches. Set aside and remove any excess fat.
  • In one large frying pan (or two, if necessary), fry the onion, peppers, carrots and garlic in some olive oil until they are soft.
  • Add the lamb, bay leaves and fresh herbs.
  • Now add the chilli, cinnamon sticks, ginger and cumin. Stir well to coat the lamb and vegetables.
  • Drizzle the honey over the lamb, then pour in the tomatoes or passata. Stir well.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
  • Slowly reheat the tagine when you are ready to serve.
  • Chop the aubergine and courgette into large chunks, fry in some olive oil and add to the tagine. Doing this last prevents the aubergine
    and courgette from being discoloured by the sauce.
  • Serve with couscous (see note for the cook).

A note for the cook:

  • This delicious lamb tagine tastes even better the day after cooking, when the flavours have had a chance to blend and settle.
  • It’s best served with couscous. Rub oil into the couscous (before cooking) to prevent it sticking together.
  • Mix equal quantities of hot stock and couscous, cover with cling film and leave for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the cling film and run a fork through the couscous to separate.
  • Season, add some fresh mint, and serve.

Enjoy grass fed, organic “Craggy Island” lamb, sourced through our family farm in the Burren, Co. Clare at ely wine bar, 22 Ely Place.

craggy island lamb


Table Talk of the Week: ely’s Farm Trip to the Burren, Co. Clare 

On Tuesday 23rd September, to kick off ely’s 15th year celebrations, a gang of us slipped on our wellies, tucked our ponchos into our bags and headed out for a fun filled and insightful trip to the ely organic family farm in the Burren, Co. Clare.

The day started bright and early at 8am with the warming scent of homemade sausage rolls and brownies laid out for breakfast at ely bar & brasserie, IFSC. Fed, watered and one chorus of Irish mammy style “make sure you go to the restroom before we leave” later and we were off on the 3 hour luxury coach to Clare.

Our first stop found us outside of the coach and inside our TV boxes, at “Craggy Island Parochial House”. Father Ted’s house, the McCormacks’ organic farm, is where all of ely’s delicious organic lamb is reared. Cheryl McCormack, the lovely lady of the house, treated the gang to scrumptious home baking using only organic ingredients; scones, brown bread, home made jams made from their own fruit, organic tea and coffee, served in a welcoming home atmosphere. Patrick McCormack, the first speaker of the day, so eloquently recited the poem Lost” and discussed the simplicity and passion of a simple Burren farm life along with a much needed reminder, to always try to take a little “Burren time” for ourselves, in our fast paced and busy lives.

“Stand still. Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you. Are not lost.” – David Wagoner

Outside Father Ted's

The beauty of farming in the Burren, Co. Clare lies in the fact that it has been farmed in the same fashion for 6,000 – 7,000 years. We then visited a site, which to the naked eye might have just seemed like grass, rock and shrubbery, but which was in fact the home to rare and unique Burren flora and fauna. Paula and Sharon from the Burren Life Project spoke to the group about the importance of Burren landscape preservation, the difficulties that organic Burren farming faces and the strict grazing methods being used to counteract these difficulties.

Group at Burren Life Project

Following this, in true Irish fashion, the clouds began to darken and the drizzle appeared. With a few rumbling tummies and rain jackets zipped up to the neck, we hopped back in to the coach and headed off to the home of Hugh and Isobel Robson, the organic ely family farm, for a much anticipated farm lunch.

Having worked up an appetite, we were in for a treat. What awaited us was a feast of Burren produce featuring organic Burren beef tongue with black truffles, organic porchetta rolled in local Burren herbs and succulent organic Burren rib, all from the ely family farm. We also enjoyed nori, dillisk and kombu smoked organic salmon from the Burren Smokehouse and homemade MOPE (Most Oppressed People Ever) potato cakes from the Burren Spud Project, all accompanied with salads, quiche, artisan Burren cheeses, ely’s homemade Guinness bread and 7-day pickled eggs. Deirdre from the Burren Spud project spoke about the importance of the humble potato in the global food crisis while Birgitta from the Burren Smokehouse spoke about combining her love of the west of Ireland with her passion for organic smoked salmon.

All of this wonderful food for thought was washed down with Irish craft beers such as Orpens Irish Cider, O’ Haras Curim Gold and Trouble Brewing’s Sabotage IPA and enjoyed with wine favourites such as Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage Blanc and Thalran Syrah Castell d’Encus.

Farm Dinner

A tour and insight into the organic ely family farm from Hugh Robson finished off nicely, what was an extremely special day out for us in the Burren, Co. Clare. We, at ely, were extremely privileged to share with our guests, the passion that our Burren community, friends and family feel about all of the different work that they are engaged in.

To experience ely’s organic family farm in The Burren, Co. Clare, without having to leave Dublin, visit any of our 3 ely venues. 

horses and cattle on the ely family farm

tips, tipples & table talk – Week 16

Slight warning folks, our dessert recipe in this week’s tips, tipples & table talk is sure to have your mouth watering so reader discretion (during work hours or you know, on a public bus…) is advised! We’ve also got some Bavarian beverages you might like to enjoy during Oktoberfest Dublin and we discuss what makes farming in the Burren, Co. Clare so very special.

Enjoy!

Tipple Tip(s) of the Week: Oktoberfest Dublin

In excitement of Oktoberfest arriving to George’s Dock (Dublin 1) this Thursday 18th, we’re getting our Bavarian dirndl dress and lederhosen together, and planning which German tipples we’ll be enjoying this week (and no, not all at the same time).

Oktoberfest-Dublin

  1. Erdinger Weissbier – From one of the world’s largest wheat beer breweries and the official sponsor of this year’s Oktoberfest Dublin, is one of the most famous weissbiers. While it is fruity, what we enjoy is that it isn’t too sweet either. Light and easily drinkable, this is a great thirst quenching beer.
  2. Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier – A well balanced wheat beer, you can certainly taste the yeast and banana, without it being too overpowering. Quite sweet which compliments the light bitterness, this medium bodied Weizen is fresh and flavoursome.
  3. Krombacher Pils This German Pilsner has nearly an all grain flavour with a minimal hop taste. This is a crisp and light bodied beer, best enjoyed on a warmer Autumn’s day. Brewed with natural spring water, this provides its refreshing taste.
  4. Wagner Stempel Spätburgunder – A German Pinot Noir, from the Wagner-Stempel winery encapsulates all that is great about Pinot as a variety, and Germany as a wine producer. This softly perfumed wine is delicate but beautifully flavoured, with raspberry, cherry and redcurrant flavours.

Pop in and enjoy ely bar & brasserie, IFSC, Dublin 1, when visiting Oktoberfest Dublin.

Oktoberfest Dublin Tipples

Taste Tip of the Week: Jamaican Coffee Pecan Brownies

As the days get cooler, we step away from lighter desserts and enjoy heartwarming indulgent classics. These gorgeous brownies are heavenly served with ice-cream and also ideal for storing as treats for your coffee break – if you can resist them for that long!

jamaican brownie collage

What you need:

  • 400g caster sugar
  • 375g unsalted butter
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp finely ground Jamaican blue mountain (or your favourite) coffee beans
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g pecan halves
  • 6 tbsp freshly brewed Jamaican coffee
  • 100g dark chocolate,
  • 70% cocoa solids, chopped (Valrhona is ideal)
  • 30 thin strips crystallised ginger, or candied orange peel
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Makes 15

How we do it:

  • Line a baking tray, measuring approx 38 x 26cm, with greaseproof paper, or lightly grease a glass ovenproof dish. A lasagne dish is ideal. The tray or dish should be 2cm minimum in depth.
  • Combine the sugar, butter, cocoa, ground coffee and salt in a metal or heatproof bowl.
  • Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and leave until the butter melts, stirring occasionally to help blend the ingredients – the texture will be grainy.
  • Remove the bowl from the water and allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm.
  • Whisk in the eggs and vanilla
  • Sieve the flour over and fold in.
  • Take three-quarters of the pecan halves and roll up inside a clean tea towel. Bash lightly with a rolling pin to break up. Stir the pieces into the mix.
  • Pour the freshly brewed coffee over the mixture with the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared dish or tray and spread evenly.
  • Allow to cool and thicken for approximately 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the brownies comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and cut into squares.

Dress the brownies with the reserved pecans and ginger or candied orange peel. Dust with icing sugar. Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream.

Or, let us do the work for you! Homemade desserts by ely’s executive pastry chef available at ely wine bar, 22 Ely Place.

Pecan Jamaican Coffee Brownies

Table Talk of the Week: What Makes Farming in The Burren So Special?

For those of you who aren’t aware, the ely organic family farm is located in the Burren, Co. Clare (refresher here). Often people have asked us why we have chosen to keep our farm there and what makes farming in the Burren so special.

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The beauty of farming in the Burren, Co. Clare lies in the fact that it has been farmed in the same fashion for 6,000 – 7,000 years. This way of farming, where your animals are up on the hills in the winter months, is unique only to the Burren, Co. Clare. Due to its limestone structure, the Burren landscape acts almost as a storage heater. The land receives heat from the Atlantic drift in the summer and it stores that heat for the winter as the soil depths are so shallow. Gentle heat releases from the limestone all winter making for very little frost, and allowing the animals to be happier and warmer on the hill (also called the winterage) than in the valley. The animals then come down to the valley for the spring and summer months.

Burren Farmland.

Also unique to the Burren is the way in which land is distributed. Land in The Burren is sold, not by the area, but by the numbers of animals you keep or feed. Summer land is matched with the winter land and you always have enough winter land to maintain the animals you keep on the summer land. Many of the cattle farmers in the Burren might produce calves in the spring, feed them on the rich pastures of the valley in the summer, sell the calves in the autumn and put the cattle back up on the winterage in the winter.

Life in the Burren always works as a balance.

We source all of our grass fed beef, pork and lamb through our organic family farm in The Burren, Co. Clare. 

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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.

tips, tipples & table talk – Week 10

Is the phrase ‘leftover wine’ an oxymoron? We know a few friends and colleagues that might think so! Nonetheless, this week’s tips, tipples and table talk has a few ideas on what to do with that leftover wine. We also have an easy, simple risotto recipe for you to try, and we introduce you to the newest, hairiest member of the ely family – and no it’s not our new sous chef Steve (kidding)!

In case you missed it last week, don’t forget that we’re giving 10% back to you, our fantastic ely customers, all summer when you use your ely loyalty card. Don’t have one yet? And if not, why not? Sign up here

Taste Tip of the Week: Simple Risotto 

This popular dish is perfect for serving at a dinner party but equally so, easy enough to make for a delicious dinner at home for one. Light enough to eat during the summer heat, you can also include almost any ingredients to adapt to your tastes. Here’s a simple risotto recipe for you to try.

What you need:

  • 1.75 litres vegetable or chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 350g risotto rice
  • 85g butter
  • 6 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • rock salt, black pepper

How we do it:

  • Bring the stock to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently.
  • In a separate pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat.
  • Add the onion and, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon, cook until it softens and becomes translucent.
  • Add the rice and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, making sure that every grain is coated with oil.
  • Add 1 cup (250ml) of the stock and stir until absorbed.
  • Continue adding the stock, about ½ cup (125ml) at a time, stirring frequently and making sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding more.
  • When most of the stock has been added – this should take about 15-20 minutes – test a grain of rice.
  • The risotto is ready when the rice is just tender and creamy, but still ‘al dente’, with a little bite to it.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir vigorously for about 30 seconds to give a creamy, glossy finish to the risotto
  • Add in mushrooms, asparagus, butternut squash, prawns etc. Whatever you fancy – get creative!

You can now enjoy our great value early-bird menu all evening, Mon – Sat at ely bar & brasserie, IFSC. 

risotto collage

Tipple Tip of the Week: What To Do With Leftover Wine

As our executive wine manager Ian Brosnan would argue, leftover wine is somewhat of a myth. However, we do know that sometimes you are faced with some leftover wine and the thought of throwing it down the sink (we can’t watch!) pains you. Therefore, we’ve put together a few useful tips, cooking being the most obvious (great for also popping a good splash of white in when making the above risotto recipe!), on what to do with the remains from the bottom of the bottle.

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  1. Freeze Please – First things first, fill an ice cube tray with your leftover wine and pop it straight in the freezer. Now you can use a cube or two for cooking whenever you need to.
  2. Wine Syrup – This rich syrup a bit tangy, similar to Balsamic vinegar but simmering the syrup with cinnamon or vanilla makes it sweet and delicious enough to use on pancakes or with ice cream. In a wide saucepan, combine red wine with sugar (3 cups wine to 1 cup sugar), bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until syrupy and reduced to about a third of the volume. Let cool, bottle, and refrigerate.
  3. Save For Mulled Wine Season – Put leftover red wine into a freezable container and for use in the winter months. Empty the frozen wine into a large pot; add spices such as cinnamon sticks and a spoonful of whole cloves. Melt wine over medium heat, then sweeten to taste with honey, sugar, or apple juice. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve in glasses with a citrus slice.
  4. Poaching – Soft foods taste amazing when poached  in wine flavored with aromatics and spices. White wine for eggs and fish, and sweetened red wine is perfect for poaching fruit.
  5. Salad Dressing – Leftover white wine makes for a flavoursome, fresh-tasting salad dressing. Blend wine, lemon juice, honey (if wine is sweet, leave out the honey) salt, and pepper in a bowl. Still blending (either with a fork, whisk, or the blender), slowly add olive oil. Voilà!

Learn more about wine in a fun and informal setting at an ely wine tasting evening. 

Table Talk of the Week: New Addition To The ely Family Farm

Well well, who do we have here? These magnificent creatures, and the newest additions to the ely organic family farm, are Highland cattle descendants from Scotland. These cattle are extremely adept at grazing on steep, mountainous lands which makes the limestone rocky slopes in The Burren, Co. Clare, an ideal place for them to rest.

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Natural born survivors, the Highland cattle’s long horns were developed to protect themselves and their flowing locks grown to shelter them from harsh, cold winters – which makes us think they must be a little warm at the moment! Their short, stumpy legs provide them with excellent balance and surprisingly, Highland cattle can be found up to 10,000 feet high up in the Andes.

Welcome to the farm guys!

We source all of our grass fed beef, pork and lamb through our organic family farm in The Burren, Co. Clare. 

 

 

tips, tipples & table talk – Week 7

In this week’s tips, tipples & table talk we reminisce about the fruit & veg wars we had at home when we were younger – and how those who still feel the same can tackle the problem today. We also look through the glass and discuss how you can make an average wine taste better and our what’s on this week includes babies carrying watermelons, fire breathers in Dublin city centre and 1970’s aristocratic Ireland.

Tipple tip of the Week: Through the Looking Glass – Why that wine glass really matters.

In our opinion, Riedel has perfected the art of making the right glass for the right wine. However, that said, you don’t need to spend a fortune on wine glasses for use at home. Here are some quick tips in choosing a glass for your wine.

Hang on, does it actually matter?

Yes it does! Did you know that you can turn a great wine into an average wine by serving it in the wrong glass – and make an average wine taste better by using the correct glass. Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say.

Hmmmm, tell me more.

The bottom of the glass should be bowl-shaped, with the rim of the glass sloping inwards to capture and concentrate the aromas.
The bowl of the glass should be wider for red wines, which benefits from a little swirling around. On that swirling note, a good solid stem is always always important, nobody wants a broken glass! A more subtle light and delicate white wine will concentrate better in a tall glass with a tapered rim. Always use a tall, slim flute glass for your sparkling wine and champagne. This will keep the bubbles flowing and help keep its sparkle!

In an ideal world, we’d all wash our wine glasses by hand but we know as well as you do that this quite tedious. Most good glassware is dishwasher safe, just make sure to check before purchasing (or before you pop it in the dishwasher!).

More on ely’s wine appreciation classes here.

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Taste tip(s) of the Week: How to Eat Healthier – Even when you hate fruit & veg

We remember it like it was yesterday. Seven years old and sitting at the dinner table having a stand off with the ‘rents. Surely, they have to give in first. Surely, they couldn’t leave me to starve? Surely, if I could just get them to look away for a minute I can easily hide them in my lap. Or in my pocket. Or maybe in my Velcro runners. Give peas a chance? Not a hope. This was full blown veggie war, with only one winner.

Now-a-days, while we’ve out grown out of table tantrums, there are still many of  you who are just plain adverse to certain (or many!) fruits and vegetables. You know the advantages, you know it’s good for you and you know you should be eating more of it, but sometimes… y’ just don’t want to. Our taste tip of the week, here are a few easy ways to include more fruit and vegetables into your diet.

  1. Replace today’s soft drink or coffee for fruit juice – There are now some top class juice joints in Dublin city, Staple Foods and Green Beards Juicery to name only a few, so why not replace your sugary soft drink or coffee at least once a week with some fresh fruity goodness. Alternatively, head to the fruit aisle, grab a blender and make some yourself at home.
  2. Add a new vegetable to your regular meals – Take a staple dish that you love, like pizza or pasta, and try to add a different vegetable to it, at least once a week. Whether it’s adding peppers to your usual margherita pizza or mushrooms to your creamy chicken sauce, why not be brave and try it. 9 times out of 10 you’ll find you might actually like the flavour.
  3. Replace dessert with sweet fruits  If you’re used to eating something sweet after every meal, try sweet fruits like mangoes or strawberries for dessert instead. Similarly, frozen yoghurt with fresh berries, is basically ice cream… right? As featured on our blog a few weeks back, you can check out the recipe here.
  4. Dunk ’em & stuff ’em Like breads and crisps, sliced vegetables like carrots and celery also taste great dipped into humous or a (light) sour cream dip. Peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms can all be stuffed with pesto, cheeses and more, not only complimenting but enhancing the flavours.
  5. Vegucate yourself – Sure, we all know that fruit and vegetables are good for us but how many of us actually know the specifics? Particular fruits can help with everything from anxiety to acne and certain vegetables can cure ailments along with boosting energy, endorphins, stamina and much more. Read up, vegucate yourself and maybe it’ll tempt you to try something new.

Try new healthy, seasonal summer menus at ely wine bar.

fruit and veg collage

What’s on this Week

A big one on Merrion Square this weekend folks and so much happening at this year’s Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular, formerly the Street Performance World Championship. The very best in family fun and entertainment, the event itself will be held July 11th – 13th but will also spread across Dublin city with concerts, family picnics, artisan food events and outdoor screenings until July 27th. The event map can be enlarged by clicking the image below and the full Dublin line up can be found here.

Just up the road from Merrion Square, ely wine bar, 22 Ely Place is open for Saturday lunch + dinner. 

laya map 2

The hugely popular Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage was put in the corner (of Grand Canal Square) last night and will run until the 26th July at The Bord Gais Energy Theatre. Featuring all the best bits from the film and more, this fantastic show still has some tickets left and can be purchased here.

Book pre-theatre at ely gastro bar, Grand Canal Square.

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One of Brian Friel’s finest plays, The Aristocrats, runs in The Abbey Theatre until August 2nd. A moving drama about a wealthy Catholic family in 1970’s Ireland, it surprisingly relates extremely well to current and modern times. With a fine cast executing Friel’s fantastic script with haunting undertones, this play is a must see for any theatre lover. Tickets are still available, to purchase click here.

Enjoy pre-theatre dining at ely bar & brasserie, IFSC.

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