7 Days in Dublin (part 2)

Hello again.. as promised I would like to let you know the up next of my 7 days in Dublin. And it starts with Day 4.

Day 4 – Strolling around at the city center

We supposed to go to the coast today, but unfortunately there was no train available to take us there due to some rail works. So we decided to stroll around the city. We walked through the Trinity College Dublin area, and enjoyed some local cricket team playing. Then we had a quick chinese duck for lunch before continue to visiting the shopping area.

Where we eat:

Duck Bao
Address: 15 Fade St, Dublin, Ireland

Day 5 – Malahide Castle & Gardens

Address: Malahide Demesne, Malahide, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Finally we went out of town! It costs me only 4.5 € for one way train ticket to the Malahide town, so 9 € return ticket, and it was really worth to visit. Well, I was kind of dissapointed when I visited Dublin Castle, because it wasn’t really look like a castle. So I told my friend to take me into a proper castle around Dublin.

If you want to go inside the castle (and you must) you need to buy a ticket for 12.50 € and you will enjoy a castle visit with their friendly guide.

Malahide Castle and Gardens offer a history of the Talbot family dates back to as far as 1175 and is one of the oldest castles in Ireland, set on 260 acres, this magnificent & historic castle was home to the Talbot family for over 800 years. (click here for more info)

The ornamental gardens adjoining the castle cover an area of about 22 acres and were largely created by Lord Milo Talbot. He was an enthusiastic plant collector who brought specimens from around the world to create the gardens here; he also re-landscaped the grounds here to dramatic effect. (click here for more info)

Day 6 – Kilmainham Gaol

Address: Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 RK28, Ireland

Killmainham Gaol is a former prison in Dublin. It is now a museum run by the Office of Public Works, an agency of the Government of Ireland. Many Irish revolutionaries, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, were imprisoned and executed in the prison by the British. (source wikipedia)

After visiting three landmarks around Dublin, I finally knew how it works, you bought an entrance ticket which already included the guide tours. So, instead of strolling and looking around alone, you will take the tours around the landmarks with mostly friendly tour-guides and they will let you know the history of it. I bet you won’t feel lonely when you’re travelling alone.

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As it was a prison, so don’t be surprised if some places are dark, gloomy, and pretty scary. However, at the end of the visit you will be overwhelmed by the victorian area of the prison.

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Day 7 – Time to leave

Finally, it’s time to leave Dublin. I decided to chill at home before taking my flight back to Paris. I walked to take the bus, and I was actually arrived a second right after the bus left the bus stop. It was red light, so I brave myself to knock on the bus door, and the bus driver open his door, smile at me and said “fortunately I saw you knocking..” and he asked me if my holiday went well in Dublin.. and even said had a safe flight before I left. What a nice Lad.. I’m not sure if you will see that kind of attitude from the bus driver when you travel in Paris. xoxo Dublin. Hope I’ll have time to visit you again another day..

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7 days in Dublin (part 1)

Checked one of my bucket list cities that I’ve always wanted to visit and finally I have one good reason to finally visit Ireland, well my friend works here and it has been a long time since I told her one day I’ll come to see her there. And here I am..

Day one – First impression

Well I took my flight in the afternoon with Aer Lingus from Paris Charles de Gaulle. As my friend still had not finished her work, so she told me to take the express bus 757 or 747 to one of the famous tech-company. The bus driver asked me my destination, I said I was going to this tech company, but to be honest I had no idea what stop was. So the guy just told me you need to stop at the convention center. OK, which it was just two stops from the airport after passing through the tunnel. I’ve remembered my colleague told me that Dublin is not beautiful as Paris or London, but the Irish people are really humble and nice unlike Parisian. Well, that was true! When the bus arrived at the convention center, the bus driver took his time to explain me how to get to my destination. That will never happen if you are in Paris. You’re lucky enough if Parisian is smiling at you.

Day two – Hop on Hop off tour

You’re not visiting Dublin if you’re not trying the Irish breakfast – poached egg with avocado, sounds weird, but surprisingly pretty nice.

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Herbstreet brunch menu: Breakfast of Champions

Where to eat:

Herbstreet Restaurant
9 Hanover Quay, Grand Canal Dock,
Dublin 2, D02 KP20, Ireland

Since my friend was not available, I strolled around Dublin alone with Hop On Hop Off city tour bus with 20€ , actually it was really amusing, the bus driver was really funny explaining each area or landmarks, it made me feel like I wasn’t travelling alone.  My first stop was Saint Stephen’s Green area, is a city centre public park in Dublin, Ireland. The current landscape of the park was designed by William Sheppard.

The area is finally showing a pretty neighbourhood in Dublin with decent architecture of the surrounded buildings and houses.

The perks by getting on the green bus of Hop on Hop off tour bus, you actually got a free entrance ticket to go to The Little Museum of Dublin (it was worth 10 € by the way). So I decided to jump in. According to Andrew (The Museum’s guide) the museum is also known as a people’s museum, because most of the museum’s collections are given by the locals. The museum exhibitions include the 1916 Rising, U.S. President John F. Kennedy‘s visit to Dublin, and many other landmark events in Irish political and social history. The museum also recently opened a new exhibit that focuses exclusively on the success of the rock band U2. (Source: Wikipedia)

The museum address:

15 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, D02 Y066, Ireland

My next stop was The Temple Bar’s area. I thought it was just a bar that you must to visit. It’s actually a pretty famous and hype neighbourhood in Dublin. Beside bars, the area has lots of restaurants too, so you can eat at any hours.

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Last stop by the end of the day: Facebook office tour. (P.S. This is not a landmark as many tourists wish for, so unfortunately you can’t get in unless you know somebody who works there)

Day 3 – The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland

This is actually my favourite place in Dublin. It is located 5 km north-west of Dublin city centre and there’s no fee for entrance ticket as being a tourist destination and an amenity for nearby residents. The gardens are very huge, so you will spend at least half of your day to enjoy and have a nice walk there.

Address:

The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland
Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland

Don’t forget to have a big brunch before you visit the gardens. Here’s one of the fine one located in Dublin city centre.

Where to eat:

Brother Hubbard (north)
Address:
153 Capel St, North City, Dublin 1, D01 V9V0, Ireland

As I cannot fit all my 7 journeys in one article, I’ll promise you to give the ensuite of my journeys in Dublin. To be continued..

Weekend in Bruges, Belgium

This was actually my second time visiting Bruges, but really my first experience of enjoying the sightseeing. I’ve slightly remembered the first time I went there, as it was only for couple hours in the evening, so I basically didn’t see anything.

I didn’t expect that Bruges has a lot attractive views and lovely architecture. It reminds me of Lille, France, only this one has canal ways.

Make sure you wear sneakers when you visit this town. The pathway made from old cobblestones, and you will do lots of walking. Normally, I’m kind of person that hate walking, yet I’ve really enjoyed walking trough the small streets and taking pictures of the city. If you are a beer person, you will be very happy. Bruges has bars in every single street (I might be exaggerated a bit), but I mean really, I’ve never seen too many bars and restaurants like every 10 m I’ve walked! 🙂

 

Where to stay

Hotel Jacobs

Address : Baliestraat 1, 8000 Bruges, Belgium

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The Jacobs Hotel Brugge is housed in one of the typical stepped-gable buildings that give Bruges its fairy-tale atmosphere, and is near the Langerei, one of the picturesque canals that once transported cargo for the medieval textile industry. (source: click here)

What to see

1.
The Market Square
2.
The Canal ways
3.
Flandres Architectures

 

Braised Guinea Fowl with Veggies

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I never thought to cook or buy this kind of bird before, until my nearest butcher was ran out of chicken supply. And I didn’t regret that as now I can proudly say I know how to cook a Guinea Fowl.

So I decided to make a braised guinea fowl with some vegetables that I have left in my fridge. Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • A whole guinea fowl, ask your butcher to cut it properly
  • Mix of wild mushrooms
  • 4 teaspoons of veal stock powder (chicken)
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 or 4 carrots, cut in half, then chopped 5 cm
  • 500 gr of baby potatoes, washed and keep the skin
  • 50 gr of salty butter
  • 2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • chopped parsley, to garnish
  • salt and black pepper for the rub.

Method:

1.

Prepare the stock using 4 teaspoons of maggie veal stock into 300ml of boiling water. Set aside.

2.

Boiled the baby potatoes  for 10 minutes. Drain it. Place some butter in pan, sauté de potatoes until their skin is golden brown. Set a side. Do the same thing with carrot – but you only need 5 minutes to boil it.

3.

Meanwhile, season the guinea fowl pieces with salt and pepper. Place the butter in a large frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Fry the guinea fowl in batches until golden brown on all sides. As you cook the batches, spoon the browned guinea fowl pieces into a bowl and set aside, leaving any oil/butter in the pan, then put the shallots and garlic once the butter melt and hot. Stir fry until they golden.

4.

Add the mushrooms, and  cook over low heat until they soften. Return the guinea fowl pieces to the pan. Add the stock and rosemary, bring to a simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened slowly.

5.

Cover with foil and place in the preheat oven (180°) for 20-30 minutes.
Scatter with parsley and your dish is ready to be served! 🙂

 

 

Sweet & Spicy Beer Butt Chicken

After a long day at work, roasted chicken is one of dishes that I really like to cook for dinner. First, it is easy to make –  you just need to rub the chicken and put it on the oven, meanwhile you can have some rest and watch telly until your meal is ready. Second, lots of left over when you cook for yourself. So, you can bring it to work and re-heat it in the microwave, and your lunch is ready.

I found the original recipe  (again) from Jamie Oliver (please don’t blame me if I like his recipes a lot, in fact most of them are really easy to make and taste good too).

The way of cooking roasted chicken with beer is originally found in the US. The beer itself give very tasty juicy results.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 x 1.5 kg of whole chicken
  • 300 ml can of beer (I used 1664 Kronenburg)

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  • 4 tbs sweet & mild barbecue sauce
  • 2 fresh green chilies, deseeded.
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander

For the rub:

  • 1 tablespoon of cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon of espelette powder
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika powder
  • 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil

Method:

  • To have a better taste roasted chicken, I always buy fresh whole chicken from the butcher couple hours / an hour before cooking.
  • Wash the chicken and put in the large casserole tray. Bash the rub ingredients to a fine powder in a large pestle and mortar, then drizzle the chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle over the rub and use your hands to massage all those lovely flavours inside and out.
  • Crack open the beer and pour out around two-thirds of it, then carefully lower the chicken cavity onto the can so it looks like it’s sitting up. Position the chicken so it’s upright on a roasting tray, then place in the oven and cook for around 45 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. To check it’s done, insert a knife into the thickest part of the thigh – the juices should run clear.
  • Brush the chicken all over with the barbecue sauce, then return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, then re-brush again with the barbecue sauce and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. img_8838.jpg
  • In the mean time, finely slice the chilli and shallots and pick the coriander leaves. Once ready, carefully remove and discard the can, then carve up the bird, scatter over the chilli, shallots and coriander leaves, then serve with homemade chips.