Under Portuguese Sun

Casa Grande, Douro Valley

They say that pictures are worth a thousand words…and I believe THEM, therefore I decided not to write a single word about my trip to Portugal, which I totally fell in love with, but instead post photos from my Portuguese vacations and let your imagination take you away!

Porto
Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Douro Valley
Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

My hubby :*
Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

Provesende, Douro Valley, Portugal

Lamego, Portugal

Sintra near Lisbon
Sintra, Portugal

Portuguese rarities
Lisbon, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Lisbon
Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Have you been to Portugal? Do you have your favourite places? Your favourite Portuguese food? I would like to hear from you :)
Marta

Sipping the Douro

Douro Valley, Portugal

Olá! to you all from the Douro Valley in Portugal where together with my hubby we are spending holidays in a truly wine-lovers way.

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Picture with iPhone 5

We’re so wowed by the steep terraced vineyards which rise from the banks of the Rio Douro! Once we get home, I promise to post more pictures and write all about Nuno & Sonia’s little family vineyard, the wonderful Alexandra & Huberto of Casa Grande do Serrado who treat us like we’re part of their family and of course the heavenly tasty food of North Portugal.

Muito obrigado para parar perto! ;)

A look back at the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine

Ballymaloe Lit fest 2014 Food and Wine Festival

Ballymaloe Lit fest 2014 Food and Wine Festival

Spending last two days in Ballymaloe at the Kerrygold Lit Fest was like being in a fairy tale; beautiful scenery, magical smells, soft music, gorgeous weather and super-friendly people. I’ll definitely put Ballymaloe Literary Festival into my annual agenda.

I am truly amazed by the work and dedication that was put into organising such an exceptional festival- well done Ballymaloe team, volunteers and sponsors!

The Book Shop at the Ballymaloe Literary Festival
The Book Shop at the Ballymaloe Literary Festival

I booked five events so I was a busy bee :) Between panels you could see me restoring my levels of energy with absolutely delicious food from the Big Shed.
Also, it’s been fantastic to see so many familiar faces; Cliodhna of Breaking Eggs, Jess of La Domestique,  Sharon of Foodie Fancies, Caitriona of Wholesome Ireland, Jette of Jette Virdi, Nessa of Nessa’s Family Kitchen and Bill & Sharon of Slow Food Dublin. Great pleasure to hang out with you guys; eat and listen, simply become a part of this wonderful gathering.

The Big Shed at Ballymaloe Lit fest
The Big Shed at Ballymaloe Lit fest

I started Saturday by attending Rene Redzepi in conversation with John McKenna. It was funny and inspiring. I liked when  Rene said that food is the last old school thing, because the rest we can download now :) Also, I totally agree that chefs should be able to leave the kitchen more frequently to interact with the guests. He compared being a chef to cooking for friends and said “you wouldn’t stay in kitchen all the time if you were cooking for your friends”.

Rene Redzepi in conversation with John McKenna
Rene Redzepi in conversation with John McKenna

After having the copy of Rene’s journal signed, I moved to the Big Shed where I enjoyed some luscious food; korma by Green Saffron and chocolate brownie with lemon card matched with a craft beer by Brews We Plate.

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It was a joy to eat and listen to Caroline of Bibliocook chatting to her guests about best & worst cookbooks.

Second panel I went to, was about blogging; whether it is good enough without editors and publishers or not. I liked it although I didn’t agree with everything that was said, like for instance that bloggers ask brands for free stuff. I totally disagree. Speaking from my own experience, it’s food bloggers who are being approached by the companies to write reviews. I get this sort of emails at least 3 times a week and I have never written “on request”.

Nessa Robins, Donal Skehan, Lilly Higgins, Tom Doorley, Caroline Hennessey, Sharon Bowers, Tom Parker Bowles in conversation with David Prior.
Nessa Robins, Donal Skehan, Lilly Higgins, Tom Doorley, Caroline Hennessey, Sharon Bowers, Tom Parker Bowles in conversation with David Prior.

I finished my Saturday at Ballymaloe Lit Fest with a mind blowing panel about forgotten skills. I was seriously impressed with a legendary Diana Kennedy, a fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz and Ben Reade, the Scots chef at the cutting edge of food technology. I especially enjoyed what Sandor had to say about the sauerkraut :) I am a living proof that eating sauerkraut is completely healthy. I remember making it with my granny, my mum and now I stuff jars with it. It is great as a side dish, in soups or mixed with mushrooms, tomatoes and many more. Highly recommended! :)

Forgotten skills - Ballymaloe Lit fest Diana Kennedy Sandor Katz
Diana Kennedy, Sandor Katz and Ben Reade in conversation with Joanna Blythman

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First Sunday event I went to was dedicated to the Food in the Middle East. Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi and Ariana Bundy were the panelists. And what an inspiring and educational conversation it was! They discussed their love of the food and cooking of the Middle East region, which made this panel a wonderful international journey. I’m definitely putting Jerusalem and Tehran on my list of foodie-places-to-go. By the way, did you know that biryani and samosa are not Indian? They originally come from Iran. 

Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi and Ariana Bundy in conversation with Tom Parker Bowles
Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi and Ariana Bundy in conversation with Tom Parker Bowles
Yotam Ottolenghi
Yotam Ottolenghi
Yotam Ottolenghi
Yotam Ottolenghi

Finally, my wonderful weekend finished with Donal Skehan, Nessa Robins and Simon Hopkinson in conversation with Rachel Allen. It was truly an enthusiastic discussion on the subjects of food styling and photography in cookbooks.

Donal Skehan, Nessa Robins and Simon Hopkinson in conversation with Rachel Allen
Donal Skehan, Nessa Robins and Simon Hopkinson in conversation with Rachel Allen

I started this post by saying that spending weekend at the Kerrygold Lit Fest was like being in a fairy tale. Below are just a few pictures which I hope will give you a taste of the beauty of Ballymaloe

Ballymaloe Lit fest 2014 Food and Wine Festival
Ballymaloe Festival 2014

Ballymaloe Lit fest 2014 Food and Wine Festival
Ballymaloe Lit fest 2014 Food and Wine Festival
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See you at the Ballymaloe Food and Wine Festival 2015! :)

Sunday afternoon at Dun Laoghaire People’s Park Food Market

Sunday Market at People's Park, Dun Laoghaire

Every newbie in town has a list of places-to-see and things-to-do. I’m very lucky to have friends who look after my weekend plans and send me here and there, basically to all must-to-be places in and near Dublin. Hannah, who I work with and who happens to be a food blogger too (check out her Veg Lej blog!) highly recommended the Dun Laoghaire People’s Park Food Market. And bless her for that! What a picturesque place to be on Sunday afternoon! Situated close to the Seafront, it truly is an ideal market venue. Once I entered the market, I was attracted to the eclectic arts and crafts stalls, not to mention how wowed I was with the multi cultural dimension with Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Palestinian and of course Irish food on offer! Everything looked and smelled so delish that I couldn’t resist and bought some gorgeous pears, homemade butter and yoghurt, Chinese dumplings and other fruits and veggies that names I can’t even repeat ;)
I met some incredible characters who I cannot wait to meet again and learn more about the great produce they have available. I also managed to take some pictures, so take a look and hopefully see you at Dun Laoghaire People’s Park Food Market next week! :)

PS. A cone from Teddy’s (Dun Laoghaire’s famous hole in the wall) was a cherry on the top ;)

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A Taste of Vietnam

Salad at Mermaid, Hoi an, Vietnam

It’s been more than 3 months since we got back from Vietnam but I still can remember the taste of this amazing food.
I would like to share this experience with you. And even though I probably mixed up some of the names, I hope the colours and the presentation of the food will give you an idea of how vibrant vietnamese cuisine is.