The Irish Mocha Martini

Posted on: 25 February 2011 No comments

As long as there are wine snobs, there will always be wankology.  Is there anything more irritating than some gobshite harping on about the merits of some bottle of plonk he/she picked up?  “The rich tones of this Zinfandel contrast so well with the creaminess of this chicken…..”

The worst part of the death of pub culture, is the sudden fascination the Irish and Brits have with wine. All of a sudden, everyone’s an expert on grape varieties, vintage years, old world vs new and what bottle of Spar purchased shite goes best with their Goodfella’s pizza. Over recent years, there is a newly formed insecurity about one’s drink purchases that has been forced upon us by wine snobs.  They would have us believe that no meal is complete without a bottle of their tipple of choice. This is such bullshit. Drink whatever the fuck you want to drink,  with whatever food you’re having. One of the most refreshing things about Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals was his beverage suggestions, which included Hibiscus tea and home made smoothies. Not even a drop of alcohol in sight, let alone of a glass of Cab Sav.

When we opened The Sugar Club 11 years ago,  about 70% of alcohol in Ireland was purchased in pubs and clubs. Now 60% of alcohol is bought in offies and supermarkets and that trend continues. This wouldn’t bother me so much if punters weren’t so rapidly becoming wine snob drones. There are alternatives! I’d love if people  made more cocktails at home. Not only would they be purchasing less vino, but they’d be widening their palettes and having shitloads of craic. That’s why I’m involved in 2 Minute Cocktails, our quick and easy guide to get you shower of wasters mixing some drinks at home. Throughout this online series I will personally conduct demonstrations of how to make a load of outstandingly moreish, yet very simple cocktails. And each one will be two minutes or under.

The latest one is called The Irish Mocha Martini, if you click on the photo below it will take you to the demo. It tastes like an Irish coffee but with a sweet chocolatey kick. If you want a proper auld pick me up after a meal, there’s no better buachaill. Enjoy!


Get it inta ya!

Clonakilty Coddle – A Corkonian Classic

Posted on: 18 February 2011 3 comments

It took a geansaí load of gargoyle and a stunning 3 course feast – but I have finally forgiven the people of Cork for giving us Brendan O’Connor and Eddie Hobbs.  Last Saturday, I attended an outstanding dinner party organized by the good people of Clonakilty Black Pudding, where over the course of 6 nights, 180 people were entertained in an incredible private residence on North Great George’s Street.

Invites could be applied for online and I was fortunate enough to have procured one, albeit with the threat of extreme physical violence. I do not like to miss out on ANYTHING, especially after hearing such glowing reports from the week before.  Guests were treated to bubbly upon arrival but were advised to bring along their own wine for the meal. I brought 3 bottles and judging by my purple Ribena lips in all the photos, did serious damage to the lot of them. White and Black pudding canapés were served in a beautifully opulent drawing room with a blazing fire. The pear chutney on the white pudding was particularly moreish and made me feel certain that the food was in good hands.

We were meeted, greeted and served by the Queens of Neon – a charming collective of individuals who have such a keen eye for glamour, they could make a Taliban Death Camp look like Eurodisney. After they gave us enough time and prosecco to get to know one another, we were ushered into the dining room and got stuck into a wicked meal where each of the 3 courses contained a Clonakilty product. The bacon praline that came with the chocolate tart was the bollocks. And the black pud that was sitting underneath the scallops for our main was bang on. But for me, it was all about the starter, the Clonakilty Coddle. As soon as I saw it on the menu, I thought that the chef had some serious balls. As far as I know, Coddle is a dish that is as synonymous with Dublin as Molly Malone and the methadone clinic on Pearse Street. If you start fucking with one of our dishes on our home turf, you better be able to deliver the goods. Thankfully for the guests and indeed for the chef Ted Berner,  it was amazing.  He has been kind enough to share his sublime recipe with me. Many thanks fella! And hats off to Clonakilty, The Queens of Neon and Thinkhouse PR for staging such a brilliant event!



-300 grams Clonakilty Blackpudding Bacon, diced

- 300 grams Clonakilty Blackpudding Ispíní Sausages, chopped

-2  small carrots diced

-2 stalks of celery diced

-4  Shallotts diced

-Good lump of Ginger diced

-5 Egg whites

-2 Lt of Good Homemade Pork Stock (Boiled Pork bones, Ginger, Onion, Carrot, Water, Celery and Herbs)


Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and whisk while raising the temperature  until just before boiling point. The liquid should look cloudy  -  Stop whisking.  Simmer gently for an hour and avoid any temptation to stir! The egg whites form a filter that will gently rise to the top.

After an hour gently ladle out the coddle and put it through a cheese cloth. Add a good dash of soy sauce or dry sherry to enhance the flavour.  Then Julienne (finely slice) a leek, green cabbage, pickled ginger, fried bacon and sausages. Put them into the bottom of your soup bowl then ladle your beautifully clear hot broth over the vegetables.  If re-heating the soup,  do not allow it to boil or it will go cloudy. Enjoy!


Mr. Pat Dam Smyth – This fella lashed out some tunes towards the end of the night. He was cool.


The dolls in the glass cupboards and the Queens of Neon everywhere ensured that the glamour was off the fucking charts.


Yours truly after I finally found some poor unfortunates who would listen to my controversial views on thermo nuclear physics and the songs of Sinitta.

Stromboli: Pizza for Sophistimicated Grown Ups

Posted on: 11 February 2011 No comments

Naked German Of The Week, Spanish restaurants where every dish is shaped like a mickey and eccentric entertainers like The Amazing Randy.  Euro Trash – what an exceptionally deadly TV show. Not only did it make me laugh me hoop off, but it always provided me with a glib satisfaction that Europeans were as equally fucked up and flawed as the Yanks.

I moved to Dublin from Jersey City when I was ten. My first day of school involved having the shite knocked out of me just for  using American phrases like bathroom instead of jax.  I could understand plain auld prepubescent xenophobia when it came to being mistreated, but throughout my teens I would get constantly berated for being thick and useless simply because of my nationality (I think). The common perception was that every citizen on the other side of the Atlantic spent their days shopping for plaid golf clothing and accidentally killing their pets by placing them in microwaves.  It wasn’t until Euro Trash came along that I could safely have enough back up to say that the old world was indeed as tacky, obscene and zany as the new.

Yank bashing by Europeans doesn’t end with general stereotyping either, they can be more specific when they want to be. During the Dubya era, one could read a daily put down of him in any newspaper around the continent.  As if no story would be complete without a dig at Americans and their choice of leader. And yet, as I write this Berlusconi is looking at another stint in court – this time they want to jail him for having sexy time with an underaged brasser. Stay classy Silvio!

I draw the line with food though. Feel free to slag off our culture and elected officials, but you cannot claim that American cuisine is shite. Admittedly, we may have given the world Twinkies and corn dogs, but we also created Cajun cuisine and mastered the fine art of barbecuing. And I just recently discovered that the heavenly stromboli was actually invented by an Italian American in Philly.  Pizzas may have first been baked by the Neapolitans a couple opf hundred years ago, but they got pimped out and perfected in the 50’s.  A stromboli is basically a pizza that is rolled like a turnover, which means that you can stuff a load more toppings into it.  A prime example would be this little bad boy here:


This is pizza for grown ups. Something with that kind of sex appeal would be wasted on the under 18’s.  If you wanna take the humble pizza and turn it into an edible porn star, then read on.



- Enough of my pizza dough to cover a lasagne dish. Click here for the recipe

- About 1.5 ladles of my Cork Street Marinara. Click here for the recipe

- 1 packet of Hick’s Chorizo – Buy this at their Temple Bar Market or from Liston’s on Camden St

- 8 slices of milano salami – any Superquinn will stock this

- 8 slices of spicy salami

- a fistful of sundried tomatoes

- a tablespoon of capers or olives

- 2 ladles of dried mozzarella cheese

- 1 egg beaten for an egg wash

- 1 tablespoon of polenta to sprinkle on top

- little drops of olive oil


- Fry or ideally, barbecue your Hick’s Chorizo sausages. Let them cool off and then slice diagonally into half inch cuts. Heat your oven to 180 degrees.

- Get a baking tray of some sort or a lasagne dish.  Cover it with some parchment paper that you brush with some olive oil.

-  Dust a flat surface with some flour to roll out your pizza dough on. Roll out enough dough to just about cover the dish. The dough can’t be too thin or it will collapse with the fillings. Leave it about half an inch thick and keep it rectangular, like so:


- Smother some marinara sauce on the dough, without touching the outer perimeters of it. Then drop half of the cheese on and the sausages on top of that evenly,  like so:


- You then have to evenly place the sun dried tomatoes and capers on, then the milano salami, then the rest of the cheese and then the spicy salami. Like so:


- At this point, you have to brush the dry, outer perimeters of the dough with some egg wash. Then you have to start rolling it from the widest section in, so that you will end up with something that will resemble a Vienna roll/turnover.

- You will be left with a crease in the top of the dough, seal this tightly by pressing each side in. The eggwash will hold it together.

- You should now have something that looks like a big fuck off baguette with a seal on top. Brush the top of it all with the egg wash and then sprinkle on the polenta evenly. The polenta will give it a great crunch.

- Bang it in the oven for  an hour.  Let it sit for a few minutes to cool off and settle.  You slice each serving into 2 – 3 inch pieces.  When you cut it open you should see something like this:


- You can garnish it slightly by drizzling some marinara on top of it.  Feel free to change any of the fillings. For instance, you can replace all of the marinara with puréed roasted garlic. Chicken instead of the sausage, etc.

This is exactly my kind of food. Shit loads of pig flesh, cheese, sauce and a nice dough to soak it all up. Don’t be shy, give it a lash. If you can’t be arsed making the dough, one tip that I picked up from my Uncle Jimmy is to buy some from your local pizza joint.


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