Monday, October 28, 2013

Snapshots of Dublin


Most of my time in Dublin for TBEX was spent inside because of all the rain. My last day there cleared up, so I was able to take some outdoor shots of the area along the canal (Ballsbridge area).

When I studied at UCD, I would often ride the bus through Ballsbridge on my way from city center through Donnybrook out to UCD’s campus. So it was nice to revisit the neighborhood and poke around streets and shops I never wandered around 9 years ago.

A statue along the canal.

A statue along the canal.


The back of the Pepper Canister Church.

The back of the Pepper Canister Church. Yes, that sign is in Irish about the vote to abolish the Seanad.






I was amused at the packaging for cherry tomatoes at Donnybrook Fair, a fancy grocery store with prepared foods as well.

I was amused at the packaging for cherry tomatoes at Donnybrook Fair, a fancy grocery store with prepared foods as well. Also, drooling over the parsnips.


The Georgian doors across from the TBEX hotel.

The Georgian doors across from the TBEX hotel.

Of course, I did take a few photos from the TBEX opening party at the Guinness Storehouse. True story, it was just my second visit to the Storehouse despite 7 or 8 trips to Ireland.

Guinness bottle collection in the lobby of the Storehouse.

Guinness bottle collection in the lobby of the Storehouse.


Samples of corned beef boxty (a crepe made from potato though these were like gnocchi).

Samples of corned beef boxty (a crepe made from potato though these were like gnocchi).

If the weather had been better, I would have taken so many more photos. It was just raining too hard to risk ruining my phone. But at least I captured some shots that aren’t your usual Dublin photos like pub signs, Molly Malone, Ha’Penny Bridge, the Liffey, or that Knobs & Knockers shop near Trinity.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Snapshot: Fall in Boston


The leaves are changing in a staggered wave here in Boston. The tree in front of our apartment turned yellow a month ago and is nearly bare, but the tree in the backyard is still green.

This sugar maple had an ombre effect going on. It’s at one of my jobs (yes, I have multiple jobs now) in a suburb of Boston.

Have the leaves changed where you are?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Addictive Honey Oat Muffins

You know when you want something sweet but not too sweet?

Not a cookie, not a cupcake, but a muffin. A healthy-ish muffin without 14689 cups of sugar. Because muffins are infinitely easier and more forgiving than busting out a traditional Irish raisin scone (though I will have that coming up in a future post). When I studied in Dublin for a semester, muffins from the on-campus bakery and scones from anywhere got me through many a rainy, cold day.


Well, Amy over at Fearless Homemaker had a recipe for these quick muffins back in the summer. They popped into my brain over the weekend because I wanted a healthy-ish muffin and had no real muffin-y fruit on hand.


Let me tell you, I may make double-batches of these and freeze them. After just two days, only 4 survive from the starting dozen. They remind me of baked oatmeal but are chewier and lighter.



Addictive Honey Oat Muffins

Yield: 12

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Total Time: 28 minutes

Not too sweet muffins with honey, oats, and coconut oil. Adapted from Fearless Homemaker.


2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar (my brown sugar was lumpy so I didn't bother trying to pack it)
3/4 cup skim milk (or whatever milk or milk substitute you want)
3 Tbsp to scant 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp honey
1 3/4 cups oats (I used rolled oats)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (I would've used 2 or 3, but the hubs doesn't like cinnamon)


Preheat the oven to 375.

Line or grease a muffin tin.

Using a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until incorporated. Add the remaining liquid ingredients (milk, oil, vanilla, honey) and beat on medium for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the oats until just combined.

In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients and add to the wet. Stir gently to not over mix.

Spoon batter into the muffin tin. Bake for 13 minutes or until done.

Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Then let the addiction begin.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saturday Snapshot: Fall in Dublin


If you wandered down the side street behind the hotel where TBEX was hosted, you would stumble upon a large house with a vines growing on the side. The bright red leaves resting on their wall really popped on the gray granite.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Giant Trees and Fancy Dinners at Bellinter House in Co. Meath

On our last full day in Ireland, my in-laws took us to Sunday dinner at the nearby Bellinter House in Co. Meath. It was just a few miles down the road near the Hill of Tara.


The estate dates back to the 1650s, but the current home was built in 1750 in the Palladian Georgian style. It operated as a country home for the Preston family. In the late 1700s, the estate became known for its hunting hounds and hunting parties. It stayed in the Preston family until 1892. After that, it changed hands a few times until the property was ultimately sold to the Irish Land Commission and broken up. The Sisters of Scion took it over in 1965 and ran it for 50 years.

Now it’s a small hotel, spa, restaurant, and wedding venue.

Rocket and duck salad.

Rocket and duck salad.


Spinach and ricotta tortellini

Spinach and ricotta tortellini with a rocket and parmesan salad on top.

We ate in the Eden Restaurant which used to be a chapel. The ceilings were vaulted, and it reminded me of a spartan version of the ground floor of Sainte-Chapelle. After all the meat-heavy dishes at TBEX, I was happy to have a salad and pasta. It was a nice, quiet dinner and the portions were not gigantic but more than filling. The fresh bread was ridiculously warm and delicious. I could have eaten a whole loaf.


The feature the struck me the most at Bellinter House was the gigantic weeping beech tree on the front lawn. I had seen this tree on Pinterest (after searching Navan, Ireland), and I thought it was a fake photo or wrongly attributed. You rarely see trees this large in Ireland, and I had never seen a weeping beech tree before. I thought weeping willows were the only weeping trees. I could totally see a small, intimate wedding ceremony being held under the tree in the summer.