22 June 2008

Irish Blood, English Heart

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Overheard In Our Kitchen:

Me: You know that new mouthwash of ours...?
Tim: Yeah...
Me: And how it says "Up to 12 hours protection against bacteria...?"
Tim: Yeah...
Me: Do you suppose that means I could eat raw chicken and not get salmonella poisoning?
Tim: Let's find out!
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It has been a while since my last post, mostly due to Tim's and my final English exam yesterday - calloo callay, we are officially on holiday for two weeks! I can read whatever I want! (If you're wondering; Leap of Faith by Shona Dunlop MacTavish, Wicked:The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch, by Gregory Maguire, and a shameless pile of Baby Sitter Club books.) I will miss that English paper though, the texts were amazing and the lecturer was an awe-inspiring, delightfully terrifying woman of the Old School.

We decided to do lunch after the exam at the Black Harp on Featherston Street. It is a reasonably priced place - otherwise we wouldn't have been there - with a huge range of menu items to choose from, and very cosy within. And they serve Guinness which meant that Tim was a very happy lad indeed.

He ordered the Dublin Coddle, which I think sounds like it could be a euphemism for all manner of interesting things. It turned out to be an enormous soupy stew of potatoes and sausages, with brown and white breads.


Above: The sausages were fabulous; smoky and hammy and tender with not the slightest hint of gristle. And you've got to love a place that serves bread with potatoes.

I got the potato and cheddar boxty cakes from the "Light" menu, it wasn't a terribly big meal (which makes sense) but the description didn't give much indication of size so I recommend you ask when you order how big something's going to be. No matter, they were delicious and we also had a side order of fries to fill any gaps.


Above: The potato cakes were simultaneously comfortingly stodgy and yet ethereally light. Don't ask me how. They came sitting in a pool of treacly balsamic vinegar and bright green rocket dressing, dotted with marvelously sweet and juicy roasted cherry tomatoes. The fries were hot, crisp and chunky, and the perfect accompaniment to more potato.

After this we were quiiite full but threw caution to the wind and bought a pudding to share. Now if there's one thing I hate it's going to a nice place for a meal and the dessert menu has the same tired old Lemon Tart and Chocolate Fudge Cake and Creme Brulee. Nor do I wish for wasabi sorbet with a bacon chiffonade. Just please, a little thought. Luckily, the small but well considered dessert menu was neither of these things. The Irish Coffee affogato beckoned us, and probably would have been a sensible option, but we plumped (as it were) for the Barm Brack with Butterscotch Braised Pear. Barm Brack roughly equals Bread and Butter Pudding. Emphasis on butter. This is not a bad thing...


Above: This was just magical. Thick, soft bread, swimming in a warm, spiced puddle of buttery custardy caramelly unctuousness. Oh, that I were that bread. We agreed that this would be tough to finish on one's own. I think I might have been lying though.



Needless to say, we staggered, rather than walked out. It came to $58 for two mains, fries, a dessert and a Guinness, which we decided was very reasonable considering we never go out and the bill was being divided between the two of us. I'd highly recommend this place, particularly on a cold day. The staff are friendly, the food comes quick and hot, and they are generous with their tap water. The only thing that really lets it down is the tacky pokie machine section near the loos, "totally huss" as Pascal West would say, but they are easy enough to ignore.

The Black Harp Restaurant and Bar
131 Featherston Street
(04) 499 8000
http://www.blackharp.com/

We spent the rest of our Saturday wallowing in our crapulence* and being flagrantly non-academic. Tim watched the violence-heavy, plot-light Shoot Em Up (a movie that glories gloriously in gratuitousness, I think it's the male Sex and the City) while I read cookbooks and pootled on the computer. After such a lunch I didn't want to make a big dinner, but we were both feeling surprisingly peckish come late evening.

*look it up, use it often.



Who knew this was such an ultimate supper? The cloth-aged cheddar from the Kelburn Deli, some dried pears, a handful of pistachios. I think it was even better than the cheese-quince-scone triple punch combo. The grainy, almost fudgy sweetness of the pears was incredible with the very sharp cheese and the mild, nutty pistachios. I probably could have finished off the entire slab of cheese like this. We picked at this while standing at the kitchen bench. Then Tim made me a perfect soft-boiled egg over which I sprinkled maldon sea salt and pink peppercorns, (he had scrambled eggs on toast) and we ate this while watching Waiting for Guffman. I love Catherine O'Hara.

While I'm being obnoxiously beseeching, I'll be frank: I put myself up for a Blogger's Choice Award. Don't look at me like that - you're telling me 200 or so pages of food blogs up for votes were all nommed by other people? However, I do feel like my blog has something different to offer the world (a lack of linear direction for one) and it would be fun to see how far up the ladder I can get. Any interest would be beyond appreciated, all snarkiness aside. Truly, I would be unbelievably stoked if I get any votes other than the token "vote for yourself" one. You can go here to vote for me if you're already registered, or go to http://www.bloggerschoiceawards.com/ to register first and then vote for me by searching HungryandFrozen (one word). Yes, you have to register and it's a pain, but it only takes 30 seconds and you never need to use it again and besides, we are people of the 21st century, having 45 different passwords doesn't faze us...

Now, before I forget, I was tagged by Erica of Oh My! Apple Pie! and Jilly from 2 Drumsticks and a Bottle of Wine blogs. The premise is that you list 6 random facts about yourself and then tag six other people to do the same. I'm not big on tags, (and I'm terrible at nominating others to do it, either everyone is already tagged or else they don't like participating) and I'd like to think that my posts are a general grab-bag of willy-nillyness as it is, but how can I say no to such nice people?

Random Fact 1: I have read the entire Bible, (King James Edition if you please.) I did it when I was 16.
RF2: I've been to Poland and loved it, not least because I felt a natural affinity with their dumplingy cuisine, and it is roughly top of my list of places to see again when Tim and I manage to get back overseas.
RF3: When we shifted flats in 2006 it was the first time I'd ever moved house. My parents still live in the house I was born in.
RF4: I am really hopeless at driving. Not just your run-of-the-mill hopeless. Have you ever seen a grown man cry?
RF5: I truly dislike the music of the Dire Straits and Jack Johnson. Does that make me the devil incarnate? Some people get really worked up about that...just for the record, John Peel didn't like the Dire Straits either.
RF6: I am chronically, incurably untidy. So is Tim. Two wrongs do not a right maketh.

Now, I'm supposed to tag people but won't for the reasons stated above; instead I choose YOU, O reader, to leave a fact about yourself when you comment. Keep it clean, here's not the place to out yourself for murdering your ex-husband. Also, it's a good test to see who's actually reading this far. Toodle-pip!

13 comments:

  1. 30 seconds..... my foot! Have just spent a traumatic half hour trying to find my way through the "Rate my Blog" site - three times, as I stuffed it up each time and had to start from scratch again. It may say something about my navigation and ICT skills, however - I THINK I've voted for you, and THINK I added another category too.

    Random Fact: I found (while looking for the iron which still can't be located) a small box of Lindt chocolates in the cupboard, left over from our Christmas excesses, and only marginally past their "Use By" date (aren't we all...). Was toying with bringing them down to Welly in July but ..... several of them have just disappeared as a most efficacious balm to my cyber-frustration mentioned above. I'm not sure that there will be any left by July/end of today..... but am sure that a joint visit to the Belgian chocolaterie could be in order.

    Random opinion(as opposed to fact: You have some lovely regular visitors/posters.

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  2. That braised pear thing sounds delightful as does everything else you got there. Now I know where to eat the next time I'm in Wellington:-)

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  3. AnonymousJune 22, 2008

    Dear Laura, like your Mum, I think I have voted. Needed a map and a cut lunch to get signed up!!! Finally did it after 8 times. If it wasnt for you I dont think I would have persisted. Great to catch up with your blog, hope you get lots of votes, love Nana

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  4. Mum: Yes I do :) Sorry bout the rigmarole. The leading blog has over 200 votes - don't see myself beating that...Probably for the best that you ate the chocolates ;)
    Marc: Yes indeed it was!
    Nana: Thanks for persevering :) it's not a very clearly laid out site...nice to 'see' you :)

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  5. Oh Dublin Coddle now you've got me drooling and you're after making me long to go to Ireland again soon.

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  6. That's a great looking meal. I love potatoes and sausage, it goes back to the Polish roots. Congrats on being all done with school. It's only two weeks though? That's like mini-me short... too bad :(

    Um something Random?...

    I am the only heterosexual male I know who has done Equestrian riding and show jumping for about 2 years

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  7. man i totally cracked up reading that dialogue! :) awesome.

    congrats on completing your exams. i just got my results on the 18th. pheweee..

    have a great summer hol and oh man. the black hart looks wicked. what yummy stuff they've got. x

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  8. That is some tasty looking food at that pub.

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  9. Random fact...hmmm...geez, I can't think of one! The pub food looks fantastic!

    Oh, I thought of one random thing! I hated Wicked. Forced myself to read to page 100 and couldn't go one page further. Hope you like it more!

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  10. I have about 6,000 things to say right now bc there was a lot going on in this post, my friend!

    1) your new profile pic: gorgeous!
    2) the meal: god that looks good!
    3) mouthwash: hmmm, I wonder?
    4) awards: is voting still happening?
    5) random fact: I have locked my keys in my car while it's still running, TWICE. Yeah, I KNOW.

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  11. Call me stupid...... but I was sure I voted for you on the Blog vote thing - except I couldn't find any record of it, so did it again yesterday - and still.... no result. Not sure what I'm doing wrong - may have to get you to do it for me when I'm in Welly.

    Am loving "Outrageous Fortune". It's the first season I've been able to get into the programme as it usually clashed with other events.

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  12. Ok, am feeling a smidgeon smug! The least able on the computer in the whanau chiz chiz and it only took me ONE go to get on the vote thing - couldn't find where you were though without trawling until I get my pension to see if my vote counted LOL.
    Query re your blog? Do your regular commenters realise that by coming regular, they have become part of the extended family - I enjoy reading their comments as much as your blog - and have gone to one or two of their sites (will do more time and server permitting).
    Fact1: I held you when you were 10 mins old. You are still my bestest niece.
    And like Ann, one comment is not enuff -
    Fact 2: I am having a Molesworth revival after reading Ronald Searle's 'How to be Topp' and 'Whizz for Atoms' my favourite being 'Down with Skool'. I urge anyone reading this who has a copy to re read, and if you do not have a copy, search for one - they are a guaranteed larf!
    Lynn

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  13. geez that meal looked amazing! you write so well, I relaly enjoy the flow of your thoughts.

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