Wednesday, 30 September 2015

FFID Instagram Challenge #FFIDOCT15

French Foodie in Dublin - Instagram challenge

Hello lovelies! I'm a big fan of Instagram which has become my favourite social platform in the last few months. I find it much more positive than Facebook and Twitter in general and a great way to interact with other foodies. That's why I've decided to run a 15 day FFID Instagram challenge in October to have a bit of fun!

First of all if you aren't following me on Instagram already you can find me here. The challenge will start on Thursday 1st of October and will end on Thursday 15th of October. All you have to do is to post a picture a day according to the 15 prompts above and use #FFIDOCT15 and tag @frenchfoodieindublin on each photo to join the challenge. Of course there is a lot of food related prompts but other themes too, just to spice it up a bit.

The challenge is just for fun and not for winning anything, it's just a great way to interact with other people. You will discover new accounts and make new Instagram connections (by following the hashtag and commenting on people's photos), maybe gain followers and challenge your Instagram skills at the same time. Also I will make a round up for each week and feature my favourite photos on the blog.

I hope you will take part and share all your pictures, I'm looking forward to interacting with you all and don't forget to invite your pals too!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

My Top 5 Blogging Tips + Blogging Workshop on Saturday 7th of November

Top 5 Blogging Tips - Blogging for beginners workshop

Blogging is a great hobby and a fantastic outlet for sharing your passion, it's something I've loved doing for the last three years. If you're thinking of starting a blog or you are already blogging, here are five of my top tips to make your blogging life a little easier.

1. Find your niche
In a sea of blogs it can be difficult to set yourself apart, but if you do find your niche you are likely to find your readership growing and have a successful blog. Being unique can be your best asset. Fiona Uyema from Fiona's Japanese Cooking is an excellent example of someone who found a niche and thanks to her blog she has now become an authority in terms of Japanese food in Ireland.

2. Know your readers
Once you've found your niche it's likely that you will know your readers too and this will help you to know what content works or not. With the stats and Facebook insights you will know the demographic and which posts get the most reads or clicks. It's quite handy for you to decide what to write about in the future and make sure that people are kept interested.

3. Post regularly
It's not easy but if you want people to keep reading you, you have to update your blog regularly. I had moments where I lacked the inspiration or motivation and could see the numbers of readers decreasing during those times. Blogging can be time consuming but the secret is to schedule it. Create an editorial calendar and plan your posts ahead, this can help you to keep a routine. An updated blog is more likely to be successful one but always keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity!

4. Don't compare yourself to others
Each blogging journey is different and of course when you start you might feel like you will never get as many followers as some other bloggers, you might even think that no one will read you. Focusing on blogging about what you love and connecting with your readers if far more important than looking at what the others are doing or comparing numbers.

5. Use social media
If you have a blog it's pretty much mandatory to use as many social media platforms as you can. Get on Twitter, create a Facebook page for your blog, use Instagram or even snapchat... This will help you to reach out and promote your posts as well as interacting with the blogging community.

I hope these five tips will help you with your own blog, or that blog you've been threatening to start for ages. If you are new to the blogging world, or you feel like starting a blog soon I will be running a Blogging for Beginners Workshop on Saturday 7th of November at 2.30pm in Brooks hotel.

You can book your space here.

Do you have any blogging tips you'd like to share? Please do in the comments below.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Keeping Things Simple: Fish Shop, Smithfield

Fish Shop Dublin - French Foodie in Dublin

After the first of our seafood dates in Klaw, Ms. L and I decided to visit Fish Shop next. Fish Shop is owned by the couple who ran Fish Shop in Blackrock which I enjoyed and reviewed a while back, so I was pretty sure their venture in Smithfield would be a good one too. I was a bit anxious though as Ms. L is from Normandy and very particular when it comes to fish. I remember her telling me how she dislikes how people in Ireland always tend to batter everything. I had to warn her that Fish Shop was no exception but better at battering fish than most of the other places in Dublin.

We visited on a weekday and the restaurant which can only sit 16 people was packed full, so I left my number and we went for a drink across the road in Dice Bar. It didn't take long to get the call from Fish Shop to let me know a table had just become available.

Fish Shop Dublin - French Foodie in Dublin

Fish Shop is tiny and they kept the decor simple with bare bricked walls, hanging exposed bulbs, school chairs and white tiles on one of the walls where they write their specials. There are a few stools for sitting by the large window, a few tables very close to each other and a large open kitchen.

Fried oysters - Fish Shop Dublin - French Foodie in Dublin

The short menu changes regularly but it's good to know that they post it on their Twitter feed . We started with fried oysters (€7.50) to share. Three oysters on a white plate were brought to us, coated in a very light crispy batter and dressed with a zingy salsa including chilli, coriander and lime. Even Ms. L who isn't fan of battered seafood enjoyed it.

Fish burger at Fish Shop Dublin - French Foodie in Dublin

Next I went for the fish burger (€10) with consisted of a delicious brioche bun filled with a crisp battered fillet of fleshy hake, garlic mayo and a crunchy fennel and apple slaw with subtle hints of mint. It could have probably done with a little be more salt but overall was a good fish burger, mainly thanks to the quality of the bun and of course the fish, not greasy or soggy at all.

Slip Sole - Fish Shop Dublin - French Foodie in Dublin

Ms. L  had the slip sole (€13) which was beautiful cooked and served with a sherry vinaigrette and a wedge of lemon on the side. She was very happy to finally see a fresh fish cooked and served simply. We shared a portion of good chips (€3.50) as the mains don't come with anything else on the plate and drank a can of Metalman's Equinox wheat beer which I can't get enough of at the moment. We didn't have room for dessert but the choice looked pretty limited anyway in terms of pudding.

Metalman - Irish craft beer -Fish Shop Dublin - French Foodie in Dublin

Overall a lovely little spot but not the place for an intimate conversation or for getting too cosy. It's a bit like a hybrid of a chipper and a casual restaurant; you kind of feel that you have to rush out because of their waiting list and the staff are standing quite close to you. That said, it's nice to see Irish people finally embracing their beautiful fish and seafood and seeing more places celebrating them.

Fish Shop
6 Queen Street
Dublin 7

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Perfect Foodie Gift: Delicious Dublin Tours' Gift Certificates

Delicious Dublin Tours' Gift Certificates, Irish food tours, Dublin food tours

As a food lover myself I can tell you that for any occasion I always prefer getting a foodie gift than anything else. Yes I'm like that, I want cookbooks, edible surprises or anything food related. I'm the queen when it comes to dropping hints for people around my birthday or Christmas time, so I always get what I want.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that if you know anyone who loves food, I'm now selling gift certificates for my Delicious Dublin Tours. The vouchers themselves aren't edible of course but yes, they are valid for one of my food tours and they look pretty swanky thanks to the fantastic graphic designer Mel Gardner. The voucher holder just has to email me to redeem it, letting me know which Saturday they want to join my tour. Simple as that!

The gift certificate will get them a spot on my three and a half hour walking and tasting tour of Dublin. The tour is a celebration of quality Irish food businesses and products, priced at €47 per person including postage fee. If you want to buy a voucher for more than one person you just need to change the quantity when ordering. Gift certificates can be bought via Delicious Dublin Tours' website.

Would you like one of those vouchers as a present? Well you better get sharing this post, subtle hints are always a good idea!

Monday, 21 September 2015

A Different Take on Afternoon Tea: Gentlemen's Tea at The Morrison Hotel

The Morrison Hotel Dublin - Gentlemen's tea

Having tried a few afternoon teas in Dublin and beyond over the last few years, the Morrison hotel was one that I hadn't made it to until last weekend. While their regular afternoon tea has never really tempted me, I've been dying to try their Gentlemen's tea for ages. The thing is, I'm not a gentleman so I requested the presence of a few gentlemen to see what they would think of it. We ended up being a party of six, with everyone being hungover except for yours truly.

The Morrison Hotel

We found ourselves in the bright dining room on Sunday afternoon where we were brought a pint of Wicklow Wolf IPA each to start off with, this afternoon tea doesn't include tea but an Irish craft beer instead.

The Morrison Hotel - Wicklow Wolf

It took a while for the food to arrive but when it came we were delighted to each be presented with a wooden board with both savoury and sweet items on it. 

The Morrison Hotel - Gentlemen's tea

The savoury highlight was a tasty and juicy pork sausage with jalapenos and pickled gherkins on a skewer. I found the steak and coleslaw slider a little unmemorable though and preferred the beef burger slider. 

Gentlemen's Tea at the Morrison Hotel

The paprika chips were perfect while the bacon and cheddar scone was a little dry but went very well with the apple chutney. The chill jam was quite lovely to eat with the sausage and the chips.

On the sweet side of things, the salted caramel dessert was rich and buttery without being too heavy while the chocolate and whiskey mousse was cutely presented in a little cup made of chocolate. It turned out the whole thing was pretty substantial and we were all ready to sleep afterwards, while the rain was lashing outside.

The Morrison Hotel - Gentlemen's tea

I collected the opinion of everyone just to give you an idea:

Monsieur C. (The Frenchie): 'I really liked the sausage combination with the apple sauce and the burgers were quite good but nothing special. The fries were really nice and the caramel dessert was awesome'

Richie Big Finger: 'Overall the meal was very nice, presented very well but didn't really capture the magic of afternoon tea. My highlight was the sausage but I didn't really like the caramel dessert'

Mr. FFID: 'My favourite was probably the sausage and the chilli jam. The steak was a little bit dry but the scone was very good. Overall it was delicious and the beer was very good!'

Gentlemen's tea at the Morrison Hotel

Mr. B: 'I think my favourite was the apple puree chutney thing and the salted caramel dessert. Least favourite probably the chips because they're kind of just chips'

Ms. L (The Dancer): 'For me the sausage was the best with the apple sauce thing, yeah it was all really good but I agree with Richie Big Finger it didn't quite capture afternoon tea like different layers, levels of separation although beer instead of tea was fine. I enjoyed the slider a lot as well!'

So overall the Gentlemen's Afternoon tea was a very enjoyable experience and reasonably priced at just €23 per person which is when you think about it the price of a pint and a main dish. We all thought it looked small at first but ended up being very full as a pint of beer is rather filling at lunch time. The Gentlemen's Tea is a nice alternative to the usual and also cheaper than many afternoon teas in Dublin. Don't be mistaken by its title, ladies with a more savoury tooth will enjoy it just as much as gentlemen.

Ormond Quay
Dublin 1