March 24, 2014

Turning Japanese: A Ramen Masterclass & Easy Japanese Homecooking

Japanese food is one of my big loves. It is a cuisine I have really only discovered in the last few years basically because not many Japanese restaurants existed in Dublin! The scene has changed dramatically over the past few years and now I have my regular gotos, such as Musashi, Zakura, OCHA and Wagamama for my fill of sushi, ramen and noodles.  It is a cuisine and culture I love learning more about and jump at every opportunity to do so.

My Marinated Eel Ramen

Recently I was lucky enough to get invited to two events all about Japanese food. First up was a Ramen session with Wagamama’s head chef and trainer Juan Carlos Manteca. Wagamama opened in Ireland in 1998 and was actually the first place I ever tried ramen so I was delighted to go back to learn more. The morning started off with a very interesting presentation about ramen from Juan and was filled with loads of interesting facts. Did you know that ramen was actually brought into Japan by China and that nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen! 

Juan Carlos Manteca

Next up was a ramen cook-off. We were introduced to all the ingredients  that the Wagamama kitchen uses and were free to sample them. I was particularly taken with the marinated eel as it was something I had never encountered before. I also never realised that Wagamama uses Irish seaweed in some of its dishes which I thought was fantastic. Then it was time to make up our own ramen. We choose our broth, cooked our noodles and picked out our toppings. Then it was down to a taste test between all five. Happy to say I won but I think the choice of marinated eel swung it for me! 

Feeling very proud of my dish!
It was a very informative and well spent morning learning about a chain I regularly visit and one of the dishes that I love the most. Wagamama provides customers with chance to eat high quality, tasty, fresh fast food and you get to eat it with chopsticks. Need I say more!  

A few days later I attended an Easy Japanese Meals demo in the Miele Gallery run by Fiona Uyema. Fiona, who blogs at Fiona’s Japanese Cooking, has recently become very well known in Ireland for her easy to follow Japanese style recipes which mix contemporary and traditional tastes. I had previously attended one of her sushi making classes so this demo was a broader take on Japanese food. 

Fiona telling us all about lotus root

She started off the session by introducing us to the ingredients that are regularly used in Japanese cooking. I took pictures of all of these so I can remember what they are! We were then introduced to a series of recipes including Yakisoba, Chicken Katsu Curry and Poached Fish in a Teriyaki sauce. Fiona made sure the demo was fun and interactive and fielded a lot of questions from the audience.  The great thing about this demo was that it showed us how easy and quick Japanese meals can be. The demo has inspired me to tackle the Asian market and to start cooking Japanese at home!

Some of the Japanese dishes we got to sample

Her next demo is on the 14th April and costs €25. Just email her at if you would like to book a place. 

Disclaimer: I was invited to these events free of charge but at no point was I asked for a review. I am sharing this information as I think it is of interest to my readers. 

March 20, 2014

Dr. Oetker Easter Bake-Off

Dr. Oetker is calling on bakers nationwide to grab their aprons and mixing bowls because the Easter Bake-Off is about to begin! The prize is every baker’s dream kitchen appliance, a top of the range Kitchen Aid stand mixer worth over €500. The winner will also receive a gorgeous hamper of designer bakeware. With weekly prizes of Dr. Oetker baking goodies up for grabs, this competition will set every baker’s heart alight!

The Easter Bake-Off is open to all levels of home bakers, and the winner is the person who bakes the most creative cake, bun, cupcake or dessert using at least one of the following Dr. Oetker products: Wafer Daisies, Wafer Butterflies, Giant Chocolate Stars and Giant Chocolate Hearts. 

To enter, contestants simply ‘like’ the Dr. Oetker Baking Ireland Facebook page and upload a photo of your creation via the dedicated competition app. The competition runs from the 24th March until 20th April 2014, so there’s plenty of time for baking enthusiasts to whip up a one-of-a-kind creation.

Dr. Oetker have also devised some delicious Easter recipes which are sure to inspire you for the Bake Off. The decadent White Chocolate Pistachio Cake tastes as good as it looks and is the perfect addition to an Easter afternoon tea. If you’re having an Easter party for kids, the Marzipan Chick Truffles and Easter Chocolate Slab are sure to put a smile on their faces. 

Dr. Oetker Wafer Daisies, Wafer Butterflies, Giant Chocolate Stars and Giant Chocolate Hearts are all on promotion in-store during the competition, and there will be lots of tips, recipes and baking inspiration on Facebook (Dr. Oetker Baking Ireland) and Twitter (@DrOetkerBaking).
Sounds just like my kinda competition! 

March 12, 2014

March's Food Festivals & Events

Spring is officially here. The daffodils are out, the sun is shining and there isn't a cloud in sight. I have even seen a guy in shorts which I'm taking as some sort of good omen! The good news is that it is also meant to last over the St. Patrick's weekend so there is no excuse not to get out and about. 

Here are a few events taking place this week:
If you would like to have your food event or festival added please contact Kat at thepurplepageireland (at) Dates are always subject to change so please check the event website before getting all geared up to go out!

Enjoy the long weekend or in keeping with the St. Patrick's Day spirit - Bain taithneamh as an deireadh seachtaine.

March 07, 2014

National Burrito Day is Today

Did you know Ireland has a National Burrito Day?? Well it does and it's today - 7th March. It isn't an official day, just a great sounding one, and a few burrito places across Dublin City have put on a few special offers to celebrate. 

Tolteca, who came up with the idea, will be serving €5 burritos all day, in all stores, and will be making a donation proportional to the donations in store to Temple Street Children's Hospital. So you can stuff your face and still feel good about it!

Cortina's in Dundrum are doing a buy one, get one free lunch offer.

El Gringo, located in Green and Baker Food Village in Stephen's Green Centre have come up with a fun idea to celebrate. Tweet @elgringoburrito your best #OscarSelfie and tell them your fave burrito. They will then DM a special offer just for you. 

So Happy Friday everyone and enjoy those burritos! 

March 05, 2014

Tindal Wine Tasting at the Marker Hotel

Tindal Wine Merchants is showcasing their 2014 range, this evening, Wednesday 5th March, at The Marker Hotel. The tasting will be attended by several wine producers and there will be music from Sligo band Tucan. Tindal Wine Merchants is a family owned business importing a fascinating selection of wines from around the world. The company also markets certain wines under their own label, with Anthony Tindal being directly involved with selection and blending of the wines. Their wines are selected on the basis that they are free of excessive chemicals, pesticides, and fertilisers and are produced and handled in the most natural way possible
The portfolio tasting will offer the public a chance to sample the range of wines that Tindal Wine Merchants import from all over the World. The audience will have a chance to discuss the wines with the producers, giving an exceptional opportunity to gain access to some of the world’s top wineries and their experts. The producers who will be visiting include: Catherine Leonard from Bouchard Pere et Fils, Paul Pelle winemaker and family member of Henry Pelle in the Loire, and Joao Vasconcelos from Symington Family Estates. 

The tasting is the first Tindal Wine Merchants have arranged in the recent years so this is excellent opportunity to sample a large selection of their wines in one location.

 “We at Tindal Wine Merchants decided to offer our audience a chance to taste our wonderful new range of wines and are grateful to our partners who have decided to honour the occasion by visiting the tasting.” – Anthony Tindal

The tasting will be held at The Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2 on Wednesday March 5th 2014. Public portfolio tasting is from 6pm to 8pm, and tickets are €10 if you use the online registration.

Twitter: @TindalWines