Recent Blog Posts

Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can Chicken

What a glorious Irish summer we have been enjoying. It reminds me of the idyllic summers of my Wexford childhood or my rose-tinted memories of them anyway. Irish seaside holidays are back in fashion. Duncannon is teeming with families, small children licking 99 ice-creams, trailing sandy towels up the tiny main street, teenagers in languid groups chatting, the beach packed with cars acting as windbreaks for impromptu picnics of sandwiches,...

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Aldridge Lodge Restaurant Duncannon

Aldridge Lodge Restaurant Duncannon

I love to travel, to wander the world in search of new experiences and great food, but sometimes the best treats of all are on my own doorstep. This weekend is one of those lovely summer weekends in Duncannon. My Big Green Egg has been on since 6 am this Sunday morning and Pulled Pork and Beer Can Chicken are cooking away as I write. I’m preparing a barbecue for 12 of our family to celebrate my Mum’s birthday and my own which we both...

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Getting to Know Cantonese Food in Hong Kong

Getting to Know Cantonese Food in Hong Kong

As I write the kitchen is suffused with the scent of fresh sesame oil from Derry’s baggage plunging me back into Jiang Tai market in Beijing where I purchased it from the spice counter on Monday of last week. In my minds eye I can see Claire and Shan at my side while Derry takes Dermot around to the fruit sellers and fish mongers, the butchers and bread makers. A child who loves every kind of fruit, he is mesmerised by the fruit stalls as...

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A Tale of Two Cities – Beijing and Hong Kong

A Tale of Two Cities – Beijing and Hong Kong

“I’m an alien. I’m a legal alien…” – the words of the  Sting song get stuck in my head as I read the sign in the lift as it climbs to the 21st floor in Shane & Shan’s apartment. Of course I have never gone to the local Jiang Tai police to register and I’m confident enough that a combination of my valid visa, Irish passport and visiting relatives status would get me by if I was challenged but...

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From Duncannon via Beijing – Shananigans Pulled Pork

From Duncannon via Beijing – Shananigans Pulled Pork

Well hello there. I’m the pool of liquid on the sofa in Shane and Shan’s Beijing apartment trying my best  to reconstitute myself into human form. I am back in China for a second time in as many months and it is hot, hot, hot. Summer has arrived with a vengeance. The temperature rises from 28 degrees C at 6 am to a humid high of 36C in the early afternoon and then slowly drops again overnight. Even now at 11 pm on a Saturday night...

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Gan Guo Tu Duo Pian – Hunan Spiced Potato and an easy Chinese dinner party menu

Gan Guo Tu Duo Pian – Hunan Spiced Potato and an easy Chinese dinner party menu

I’ve started Chinese lessons. Once a week Wei Wei, who was Shan’s bridesmaid, comes to my house. We spend a few hours poring over her notes while I try to get my head and tongue around Chinese phrases, echoing the sounds and tones familiar in Beijing. My dream is to surprise Shan’s Ma Ma, my qing jia mu, with a text message in Mandarin characters and by addressing her in Chinese the next time we meet. I’ve a long, long...

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Funcannon BBQs on the Big Green Egg

Funcannon BBQs on the Big Green Egg

Our second last meal on our recent trip to China was the Grill Mates BBQ with Shane and Shan’s friends in a hutong on the outskirts of Beijing. While the menu that day had all the hallmarks of a classic American BBQ, the experience of sharing good food with family and friends, everyone helping themselves from a communal table, felt quite Chinese. I arrived home looking forward to a summer of experimenting with my Big Green Egg and to...

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