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Chinese Chips – French (Bean) Fries with a Chinese Twist

Chinese Chips – French (Bean) Fries with a Chinese Twist

The last time I visited China Sichuan Restaurant in Sandyford, Dublin the owner Kevin Hui gave me a book. Now it takes a special kind of restaurateur to know his clients so well that he can surprise them with something they will treasure. For this is no ordinary cookbook. It’s “Hunan – a lifetime of secrets from Mr Peng’s Kitchen”. Mr Peng is the owner of a restaurant called Hunan in London that opened in 1982....

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Sichuan Chilli Squid with Black Beans

Sichuan Chilli Squid with Black Beans

That little ray of sunshine who is my grandson has gone back to China leaving an 0.84m high void in my life and a host of fresh memories. Shane, Shan and Dermot returned to smoggy Beijing the Friday before last. Cue a few days of moping and feeling like a lost soul without my little sticking plaster, a few days of (secretly) relishing a quiet and tidy house and a few more of re-grouping and getting back into the thick of my normal working...

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Xinjiang Lamb with Cumin and Sichuan Pepper

Xinjiang Lamb with Cumin and Sichuan Pepper

It’s been a while good friends. My excuse is that I have had the Chinese branch of the family staying with me for the past three weeks and it hasn’t left much time for blogging or other social media. My little grandson Dermot is 20 months old now and a bundle of energy and fun. Arriving home from work to his face peering out the window, his jumping up and down with delight to see his nai nai or ye ye at the door as he ventures...

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Chilli Beef in Black Bean and Yellow Bean Sauce

Chilli Beef in Black Bean and Yellow Bean Sauce

It’s the first day of autumn and, despite the fact that the weather has warmed up a little after last week’s torrential rain, I’ve begun to yearn for spicier food that will warm me up on the inside when I get in at the end of a long day and that I can prepare and get to the table within 30 minutes of arriving home. It’s not the only thing I yearn for. At the end of this month Shane, Shan and Dermot will pay us a visit...

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Stir-fried Sugar Snap Peas with Garlic

Stir-fried Sugar Snap Peas with Garlic

This side-dish is so simple that it hardly deserves a blog post all of its own but it is one of those recipes that is very handy to have in your repertoire when you want to rustle up something fast to serve alongside spicier dishes or even with a traditional Sunday roast. It is one of the many “home style” dishes that my Chinese teacher Wei Wei has taught me since we started combined Chinese and cooking lessons some weeks ago. After...

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Sardinia – Living Like a Local in Alghero

Sardinia – Living Like a Local in Alghero

When Shane was a teenager he had a t-shirt with the slogan “Be a traveller not a tourist” which neatly summed up his and my attitude to travelling. I’ve often pondered the distinction between the two. A typical Italian sea-side holiday at a beach-front holiday apartment or hotel with days spent lounging on a lettino under an ombrellone is not for me although thousands upon thousands of Italian tourists love nothing more than...

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Sardinia – From the Mountains to the Sea

Sardinia – From the Mountains to the Sea

The ability to use long haul travel to visit  family in China and Australia is a privilege but it is also tiring and takes its toll. At least once a year I get the urge to do something closer to home, to hop on a plane that will get me to my destination in a few hours, no jet-lag to contend with, no lost days of recovering from exhaustion, just a week to unwind, away from it all, to while away the days with long walks, good books, great food...

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