Thursday, 30 September 2010

Connemara Photo Opportunity

This is a must do thing while you're passing through Galway. Driving in the Connemara, this area of West Ireland is all about outdoor, open space with a touch of wild factor to it. A real therapeutic experience away from the life on the fast lane.

Scenic shot at Screeb

Starting in Galway City head west towards Spiddal along the scenic coastal route. I've been warned that road signs will all be in Gaeltacht(traditional Irish language) once I'm in Connemara. I don't really mind, somehow I deemed it as a challenge and fun drive trying to comprehend what the road sign says.

Gaeltacht Road Sign

Once at Rossaveal drive northward and suddenly the distant Maum Turk and Twelve Bens mountain ranges appear on the horizon. I continue to dry till I reached Maam Cross and decided to take northwest toward Clifden. It was an easy drive through wild landscape, sparsely populated area, scenic mountains, grassland, lakes etc. Decided to take a break at Clifden for lunch. A little Irish town with nice feel to it. Quite a few seafood restaurant offering lunch menu. Went to a nice cosy restaurant for sandwich and seafood chowder.Wow, the seafood chowder tasted so fresh and fulfilling. One of the best chowder I ever tasted.

Best seafood chowder with chunky chicken and melted cheese sandwich

After lunch decided to drive eastward towards Connemara National Park. Since the weather is still fair, I decided to hike up Diamond Hill, a trek of 6km to the top. The main landscape here is of bog, grassland and heathland.

Diamond Hill at the background, Connemara National Park

Path leading up to Diamond Hill

Hike up and you'll enjoy nice view of rolling hills and coastal plain of Atlantic ocean. I enjoyed my time at the National Park embracing the great outdoor.

I stopped at several places along the drive for photo opportunity. Connemara is truly magnificent place to drive around, I enjoyed it very much. I hope the pictures will do the talking for me. Enjoy.....

Friday, 24 September 2010

Drive Around County Clare, West Ireland

I left Athlone early Sunday morning and headed westward to Galway. My self drive route will cover roughly about 120 miles which took me through the fascinating landscapes, the sweeping limestone rocky hills and plateau known as The Burren, passing through little villages & country side, leading me to the dramatic and stunning vertical Cliffs of Moher.

These are sheer striated cliffs, rising over 200m out of Atlantic ocean. The cliffs stretches over 8 km along the coast. These cliffs create a haven for seabirds - nesting gulls, puffins, kittiwakes etc. The coastal area constantly battered by high winds from Atlantic ocean. On the main stretch, the main walkways and viewing areas along the cliffs have been surrounded by stone wall which were set too far back from the edge. Oh dear! I wonder how to experience living life on the edge. Fear not, there's relief and joy for those who seek a bit of thrill, walking close enough to the edge. Walk southward towards Hag Head, allow around 1 hour walk, you'll be amazed that you chose this walk, of course take note of the pounding wind from Atlantic, proper clothing and walking shoes recommended...... and of course not going too near to the edge :-) .

After Cliffs of Moher, I drove along small road along the coastal route to Ballyvaughan. This is yet another scenic drive around the tip of the coastline at Black Head, waves ideal for surfing.
It was a nice and enjoyable drive of the western coastline this time of the year where the summer holiday crowds had gone.

Some brave souls surfing and swimming in the Atlantic

Stay tuned for my next self drive through Conemera....

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

To Athlone again

Just back from Ireland, mission number one: attending my good friend's wedding, mission number two: self drive holiday to scenic Ireland's west coast.
After landed in Dublin on Friday evening, I hired a car and drove all the way to Athlone, relying on my good ole GPS. Reached my destination on time. So good to meet up with my friend and her family and relatives again.
The wedding reception was held at Athlone Springs Hotel. The menu consist of 5 courses :

Appetizer - Crispy Duck Salad with Cherry Tomatoes of Balsamic
Soup - Cream of vegetable soup with freshly baked bread
Passionfruit Sorbet
Main course-Duo of sea trout and lemon sole with pesto reduction & creamed emulsion
Desserts - Assorted treats

I must say the food was very delicious, nicely done to a high standard by chef Michael Talty.

Stay tune for my mission number two.......

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Roti Jala (Net bread)

I have wanted to make roti jala for a long time but never come round to it. So the mould has been sitting in my kitchen cabinet for awhile. Since I've prepared curry chicken the night before, so it's high time to put my roti jala mould to good use.

Roti Jala
Ingredients (make about 12 pieces)
  • 125g flour
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  1. Mix all the above ingredients except oil to form a runny batter. Then add in the oil, mix well and set aside.
  2. Prepare a non stick pan. Heat on low heat, lightly grease with some vegetable oil. Once it's hot, scoop a laddleful of batter onto the mould and run it over the pan. You can see the video here how it's being made.
  3. Once it's cook, transfer from the pan to a plate. You can wrap it in traingle form or roll it.
  4. Served with curry.
I like my roti jala, tasty with authentic Malaysian curry.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Apple Pie

I saw my colleague brought in a bagful of cooking apple - to be precise it's Bramley apple. Apparently it's from her garden. She told me to bring back some and make lovely apple tart. Oh, I told her honestly I have never cook with apple before let alone Bramley apple. Alright I told her, I'll give a try, so I picked out 4 large apples, thanked her with a smile.

Apple Pie

For the short crust pastry
225 gm plain flour
120 gm unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp of cold water

For the filling
3 large Bramley apples
75-100g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon of mixed spice/cinnamon/nutmeg
1tbsp plain white flour
25g butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C, 15minutes before baking the pie.
  2. Peel and core the apple and cut into thick slices, set aside. Mixed in sugar, cinnamon powder and flour.
  3. Make the short crust pastry using rub in method. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Roll 1 portion to form 8 inches diameter circle of 2-3 mm thick. Then lay the circular dough onto 7 inches pie tin. Prick the pastry with fork on the bottom. This will allow the pastry to breath while it's baking.
  4. Roll out the other dough to 8 inches diameter of 2-3mm thick as well. Then place the apple into the pie tin. Cut the 25gm butter and dotted them over the apple.
  5. Cover the pie with the dough. Firm the edges by pressing with your thumb and index finger. Remove excess trimming. You can use the trimmings to decorate the top of the pie. As for me I use Christmas cookie cutter to form the pine tree decoration.
  6. Bake for 15minutes, then quickly brush with egg wash on the surface and continue to bake for additional 15minutes till the pastry turn golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let it cool.
I always find the pie tasted better the next day :-)
In my picture...even the wasp is attracted to the lovely pie.