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Greetings from Dublin (Ireland)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone,

I found this forum when looking for answers to some questions regarding stainless steel cookware as I'm in need of replacing several of the non-stick pieces I use regularly. Based on the answers and looking around a bit more to some of the topics, I thought it would be well worth dropping in from time to time. Seems like a very knowledgeable group of people here.

The main reason I went ahead and joined is that I'm interested in taking my cooking to the next level, but I can't fit in taking any courses (even evening ones) at the moment. I like to cook (and eat), and I mainly do a lot of Asian (Thai, Chinese and now working on Indian) and Asian-influenced stuff based on what I see and like in addition to the basic, Mid-Western fare I learned from my mother and have done over the years. Not opposed to anything else, just don't do it that often.

Have been cooking for about 18 years and would probably cook between 50%-75% of the meals for our little family, depending on the week. Like to experiment with things, and I rarely follow recipes exactly except for maybe the first time.

Anyway, mostly just looking for pointers, advice and techniques on how to do a better job and maybe some new ideas on stuff to try out on the family. I've had a few friends that either were or have worked professionally, so I've seen a few things, but I wasn't really as interested then as I am now. Of course, now I wish I'd paid more attention...

Looking forward to reading more of the forum.


ast (Andrew)

BTW, even though I live in Ireland, I'm from the US originally. I was really wishing I could hide a bunch of All-Clad cookware in my carry-on on the way back from Christmas this year--especially with the exchange rate. Your basic 25cm SS frying pan is $138 over here, and that's without the shipping from the UK (probably between $65-150, depending on how many pieces).
post #2 of 5
Thank you for your introduction, Andrew. We're happy you found us and hope to see you participating often. Many of us are home cooks; we find that we can learn so much from the professionals, but we also do our part by sharing what we know.

I see what you mean about the exchange rate!!! The U.S. is on sale, so far as the rest of the world is concerned. I heard tourist sites in India won't accept dollars any more because of their drop in value. This would be an excellent time to get some All-Clad if you can swing it.

Have you learned to use any local ingredients or prepare any local dishes? I would be eager to browse in the food shops to see what's there and how the products are used.

We hope you enjoy exploring the site and return often to participate. Welcome!

Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi Mezzaluna,

Thanks for the welcome.

A note on the above: have you ever been to Ireland or ever been to a local Irish store??? :D

While there are some typically Irish dishes, most of them involve potatoes, potatoes, potatoes, and, well, more potatoes. There's also cabbage, but very little corned beef, I'm afraid.

Gammon (or bacon--what we would call hams) boiled in water and served with colcannon (mashed potatoes, cabbage and onions) and salted, boiled cabbage used to be the normal Sunday dinner, but not so much anymore. You get a lot of roast lamb, beef, chicken and the occasional turkey or bacon pretty much in any pub as the Carvery lunch. You can have one of usually those two accompanied by your choice of parsnips, carrots, roast potatoes, chips (french fries, of course), mashed potatoes, maybe some boiled cabbage and a roll. That's pretty much what you get for the big dinners like Christmas too. Oh, and by default, you get some of all of the sides, including the three kinds of potatoes. Most of Ireland is a "quick sandwich at your desk" kind of lunch culture, however.

Near the coast, you can get a lot of fish, but a lot of it is batter fried except in some of the more touristy or up-scale places. There are some lovely steamed mussels in many places in Ireland, however.

Don't get me wrong: I like most of those foods, but Ireland would hardly be the culinary capital of Europe. Most restaurants serve a mix of traditional fare, along with an interesting combination more "modern" food with some French and Italian influences. There's a lot of Italian, Chinese (but nothing like Chinese in the US), Thai, a few French, loads of Pakistani/Indian/Tandoori, a few Spanish, a few Japanese (but for a city on the Coast, the sushi selection is pretty basic), a few Mediterranean and I'm sure I'm missing out many others.

As far as the shops go, I've never seen more kinds of potatoes that you can buy here. There's at least 8 or 10 varieties, depending on the season. There's 3 or 4 types of cabbage, and zucchini, eggplant and sometimes mushrooms are called by their French names (courgettes, aubergines and champignons). There's some really nice fresh lamb pretty-much year-round, and, if you go to the right butcher shop or one of the more high-end supermarkets, you can get some good beef and/or fish.

Buying some items can be a bit of a challenge, as different locations of the same supermarket chain will have different items. Things will also go "missing" from the shelves for up to a couple months at a time and then suddenly, as if by magic, re-appear somewhere close to where they used to be. Personally, for the things we buy each week, we can't get them all from the same store--it takes at least two. While you could potentially get an "equivalent" item, it might not be the same brand, or the same quality.

Oh, yeah... If you want oregano or you can't find it in the shop, you must pronounce it ore-a-GAN-o, or no one will know what you're talking about (of course, this didn't happen to me... ;)).

All that said, my family eats a mish-mash of American, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish, Chinese, Thai, Indian (British Indian Restaurant - otherwise known as 'BIR' - style), South African, and Mediterranean things that we make at home. Between my wife and I, we've lived in half of those places, so you pick up a few things every where you go (escargot and foie gras are not-to-be-missed staples of Christmas and New Year's now, but then my wife is French, after all...)

I've been here over 6 years, and the amount of change to what you can buy in the shops has been massive. Of course, people from all over the world are now coming to live in Ireland - particularly from Poland and Eastern Europe - so there's now even an entire section of shelves for Polish products in many stores in addition to many products to support people's needs from Asia and the Far East. There's a few killer East Asia and Indian/ Pakistani grocers around for all the things that are hard to get in the normal shops.

It's an interesting place to be. :)

Apologies, because this turned out to be significantly longer than I'd originally intended. Hope I didn't put you to sleep! ;)

Thanks again for the welcome.


post #4 of 5
Hiya ast. You and I obviously know 'different' Irelands!

I've done a few cookery courses at Ballymaloe School - and the food and produce is second to none.

I've also eaten at many restaurants there - yes, there are some pretty bog-standard Irish rubbish pubs (just like ours in Scotland!) - but there are also some amazing gastropubs and great restaurants, too.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Not trying to start a war...

Hi Ishbel,

I'm sure we probably do. I wasn't trying to imply that there weren't exceptions. There are a number of restaurants we go to from time to time which range from quite good to really great, however that isn't the "day to day" Ireland that I was trying to describe. I've had some great food in places large and small in many parts of the country.

Not every day is a night out in a nice restaurant (for us at least).

Ireland is just like any other place when it comes to good and bad: it offers something at the extremes and everywhere in between. My wife has also been to cookery courses here which she thought were exceptional.

I'm not a tourist. This is our home and we've chosen to be here, but it's a place like most others where "normal" is, well... pretty normal. :)


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