Santa at Tankardstown

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love spending time with my family and friends and Christmas is another excuse for everyone to meet up. Yesterday was extra special for me as I got to take my niece and goddaughter Emily to visit Santa.

It would be an understatement to say she was excited. She had been speaking about it for days and was dressed hours before I came to collect her.


We arrived at Tankardstown and there was lots of activity for them to do. Colouring, decorating biscuits with coloured icing, and a santa letter table and post box. Facepainters were a great idea. Children’s Christmas movies were playing on a big screen. Mulled wine available in the bar.




When Emily got called in to see Santa, she got all nervous but embraced it. She spoke to Santa about “frozen” and about what her baby sister wanted. A gift was given to her. Santa took his time to chat to her and you were not made feel rushed.


She had a great day and loves her Auntie Carmel even more. A big thank you to Helen in Tankardstown and all the staff. You made lots of children feel very special. Well done.


I have been eagerly waiting for this new addition to St. Andrew Street to open. Its run by two brothers Paddy who is front of house and Stephen who is the head chef. They also have a restaurant in Churchtown called “Arch Bistro” 

Stephen is known  for his attention to detail and with his innovative dishes featuring a continental influence, Stephen’s culinary skills have helped to build the Arch Bistro’s reputation for quality food at affordable prices and he hopes to bring this to St.Andrews Street.

My husband arrived before me and was seated down stairs by the window. A lovey cosy romantic table. I was starving and was curious to see the menu, they have only opened and are waiting on their website to go live. The menu read well. With a great selection of dishes to choose from. Wine was ordered and bread and butter dropped.

I decided to have the “Smoked Trout” this dish was slightly changed to suit my food allergies. I loved every element of this dish. The pickled cucumber and carrot was amazing, the dish was seasoned perfectly, I would come back for this again.


As we sipped on our wine and chatted to Paddy, it was very clear that these guys were very passionate about their new venture. The decor is great and my husband strolled upstairs to take a look around there with Stephen.  Up next was ‘Hake” I love this fish. It was served with some mussles, Fantastic dish, only one thing I would say, and this is not a critisim but a “Carmel Thing” I love when my mussels are served in their shell. Saying that the dish was cooked to perfection and presented lovely.


I am not a dessert person, but the sorbets looked fab. I would highly recommend Stanleys. I’m already looking forward to my return. Wishing the guys every success.




 Happy Birthday 









I was Invited to the 10th Birthday celabrations of Cooks Academy on Monday Night. I was really looking forward to this event. It was so nice to meet Vanessa and Tim. I had always wanted to check this place out as I can’t cook. I’m now really looking forward to booking a course in 2015. The theme was Pixels and Palates.

The evening started with a big smile and introduction from Vanessa and a nice chilled glass of prosecco. I was eager to try their “Molecular Gastronomy Challenge”. and quite nervous, it was how ever great fun, and of course I got none of it right.


It was nice to meet up with Melissa from the Glen House. I think she done slightly better than me, getting 1 right. Well done.



Tim then gave us a little chat about Cooks Academy while we nibbled on some lovely canapés, smoke salmon was my favourite.  It was nice to hear how their school started.The school offers a broad range of culinary programmes, short courses and wine courses geared for both enthusiastic amateurs and aspiring culinary and hospitality professionals.


We were invited then to have some fun, to put on our thinking hats (Chef Hats) and try to come up with a creative dish using some of the ingredients pictured below, the theme was “Christmas Street food”. It looked incredibaly easy untill we actually set about doing it. My idea was Indian Christmas ( I wonder where I got that idea from ) I then noticed some lovely Mexican sauce which I discovered was made by an ex pupil. I was having that. New name was decided ” India meets Mexico Christmas Street Food”  I was quite proud of my presentation, no idea how it tasted and was grateful for Cooks Academy and guests that no one had to taste it either. Please find it pictured below. We had to take a picture of it in a “Pop up Sony Box” which was an incredible idea, where can I get one???

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After all our hard work and a few glasses of wine it was time to listen to Conor Lynch from Social Media Very insightful speech and I was fascinated listening about Instagram as this is one of my weak spots. Looking forward to picking his brains in 2015. We got to listen to Rachel & Brian Nolan from  NoBó also. Its one of my favourite desserts, its dairy free and I’m lactose intolerant. It was quite inspiring to hear how they came up with their name, which simply means “No Cow”. Love it. These guys really are an inspiration. They have achieved so much, and are available in Supervalu now. Big hats off to you guys.

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The winner of the Christmas Street food was announced and surprise surprise it wasn’t me…..the winner was Dublin By Mouth and well deserved. We were then treated to lovely goodie bags from glenisk  and a lovely pyrex dish.

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I would like to thank Cooks Academy for asking me along to help celebrate their 10th birthday, it really was a lovely fun night and I’m really looking forward to doing a course in 2015.

Cooks Adademy

19 South Willaim Street

Dublin 2


Christmas at The Lodge

Christmas is my ultimate favourite time of the year. I love when families and friends get together to celebrate. You can imagine my excitement when I seen that Virginia Park Lodge was hosting a Christmas Lunch on 30th November. I have had the pleasure of dining in The Lodge early this year and have eaten in Corrigans Mayfair in London.  So I think it’s fair to say that I’m a big fan of  Richards cooking and philosophy of food.



Delighted to see all the changes made to The Lodge since my last visit. We arrived and we were  greeted by Richards sister Deirdre with a big smile and a lovely festive feel to the bar.  The fabulous Christmas tree and candles  everywhere really gave a very magical feel to the afternoon. We were starving and really looking forward to our lunch.



We were seated in the board room. A fabulous room with one large table. The table setting was stunning and we started to pull our Christmas crackers. Christmas had offically started for me.



We were treated to some lovely home made breads, sausage rolls and cheese canapé  to start. Followed by a lovely grilled prawn and chickpea soup.  There was a lovely spice to the soup and it was a welcome starter.


It was a lovely idea to have lots of people sitting at the same table. As we all got chatting, it was nice to here everyone’s stories about their connection to either The Lodge or to Richard.  Really nice table conversation. Of course Richard was popping in and out to check how our afternoon was going.  The service was flawless and very professional.
Next up was our main course,  everyone got a lovely plate of Turkey and Ham. For me however I was treated to a lovely plate of veg from Richards Kitchen garden. The carrots were so sweet. I was very happy.


It was nearly dessert time, now I never eat dessert.  Usually too full on stuffing myself with starters and main courses but everyone really enjoyed what they got ” Christmas in a Bowl” Christmas pudding and ice cream.


After dinner we sipped on mulled wine and enjoyed some lovely mince pies while we listen to Carol singing from the Virgina Choir. This was my favourite part of the day. I secretly shed a tear or two as I taught about someone very special. Christmas always reminds me of how lucky I am to have great family and friends but also reminds me of who I have lost. One special little guy was on my mind, and I was remembering all our special Christmas together.



A big thank you to Richard and all his team for giving me a very special start to the Christmas season. Another great memory.

Matthew Logan from Chapter One is 2014 Young Chef Of The Year

I was invited to attend the Euro-toques  Young Chef Of The Year last night in Marketplace on Capel Street. It was held in a private car park with 5 market stalls where each chef prepared a dish for us to taste. Euro- toques Ireland was established in 1986, by Myrtle Allen. Today the membership is made up of about180 chefs; most of them active in restaurant kitchens, some in catering and consultancy, others engaged in teaching; who support the philosophy of sourcing top quality local and seasonal food ingredients to serve to their customers, therefore delivering foods of flavour, authenticity and provenance. Euro-toques Ireland is a non-profit organisation, financed by membership subscriptions and sponsorship from a number of selected companies and related bodies.


We arrived on time and we were really looking forward to seeing how this ” Street Food” concept was going to work. The car park was buzzing with bloggers, media, chefs from around Ireland and eager guests looking forward to meeting the 5 finalists and tasting their food. The car park was warm and the scene was set perfectly.  Each chef had his street stall with what he was serving displayed. As one of the main partners of Euro-toques  Wines Direct  proudly supplied all the prosecco and wine for the night. Bell Lane coffee was also there, I really love their coffee.

The countries best 5 chefs were competing for a prize of two weeks work experience at the two Michelin-star London restaurant The Square. Early in the day the 5 Chefs prepared food for the judges at Cooks Academy in Dublin, before preparing for us (200 guests) It was a very long day for the guys, so a big hats of to them.

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David and Stephen Flynn from The Happy Pear introduced us to the 5 finalists and explained how the night was going to work. The brothers were fun and really got us in a good mood and were one of my highlights of the night. I think the whole concept of keeping the event casual, informal and quirky was a great idea. More events should follow suit.


First up to taste was a dish from Ian McHale, from Chapter One  he cooked Braised pork cheek, crispy pigs ears, spiced pumpkin crush, sage puree, brandy apple and horseradish.

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Second Dish was from Chris Fullam, a 3rd year Culinary arts student at DIT, Cathal Brugha Street, he cooked, Cappuccino of bouillabaisse with a cream of sea urchin foam, baguette au levain and a traditional marselle roulle.

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For our third dish it was “Bacon & Egg”, Ballinwillain farm venison bacon scotch egg, little milk company vintage cheddar custard, black pudding raisin and Longueville cider puree. Cooked by John Fitzpatrick of the Mustard Seed 

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Our fourth Savory dish before we headed for our dessert was from This years Winner Matthew Logan from Chapter One, he cooked Ballyhoura wild mushrooms, smoked Potato, onion galette.

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Finally was our dessert prepared for us by Luke Ahearne from Campagne , we had Sea Dog Rum pannacotta, pear and chestnut.

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Its great to see how food is evolving in Ireland and how proud we are of all our irish produce. Ireland has so much to offer and its great to see young chefs supporting this. The talent last night was at an all time high and I can only imagine how difficult it was to make a decision.

Euro-toques partners are 


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Scallops-12 no

Ginger Garlic Paste-1tbsp

Chilli Powder-1tsp

Garam Masala-1tsp

Salt-As per Taste



White Pepper-1tsp

Cumin Seeds-Pinch



Fresh Coriander-garnish

Lemon Juice-1tsp





Marinate Scallops in 1tsp Garam Masala,1tsp Ginger Garlic Paste,1tsp Chilli Powder for 2-3 hours.


Cauliflower Puree

Add oil in a pan, Add Cumin Seeds, Add Butter & sweat Cauliflower for few minutes and cook in Milk till softened. Season with Salt and White Pepper.

Puree the cauliflower mix using handy blender.

Pass the mix through a sieve so you have a smooth puree.

Add 40gm Butter in a pan till golden brown. Stir in to Cauliflower puree with lemon juice. Keep Warm


Cook Scallops

Add oil in a pan, Add 1tsp Ginger Garlic Paste, Saut for a Minute and then add Ground Spices (1tsp Garam Masala,Ground Coriander, Chilli Powder, Turmeric) and cook spices on slow heat. Add Butter and cook Scallops in the spice mix for 2 minutes on one side and 30 seconds on other side. Finish with fresh coriander


To Serve

Use Scallop Shells, Arrange them in round fashion. Add 2tbsp Cauliflower Puree and rest Scallops on it. Add Pea Shoots as Garnish



Searing Scallops slowly will release natural sugars and golden colour

Butter Noisette (Brown Butter) Cooking at 150 degrees celsius gives a lovely hazelnut colour


Best Indian Restaurant Ireland ” Yes Chef Awards” Copper and Spices

Copper and Spices Wins “ The Best Indian Restaurant” at this years Yes Chef Awards.

Copper and Spices located on Ludlow Street, Navan, received The Irish Overall Winner “ Best Indian Restaurant” at the national “Yes Chef” awards on Tuesday 28th October.

Carmel (Owner of Copper and Spices) says “ We are absolutely delighted to have won the prestigious “Best Indian Restaurant Award” in the all Ireland Final especially after such stiff competition amongst our peers”
The “Yes Chef” awards are sponsored by “ODAIOS FOODS” “SHANNONS JEWELLERS” “JOHNSTONS COFFEE” and “FLO GAS”

“We would have to say thats its a fair reflection on the quality of our food here in Copper and Spices and we would like to pay tribute, in particular to our dedicated staff and personal and to all those who nominated us” Carmel added.

The awards are a celebration of the best Irish cuisine and recognise the hard work that restaurateurs put in all year round. Ireland has so much to offer to the culinary tourist, and these Awards remind everyone of the quality and class of Irish restaurants and Chefs.

Head Chef Nitin says “ Food has always been a passion of mine, an exciting adventure. For me, Copper and Spices is about staying connected to my culture, my religion, the rich history of India, while exhibiting the finest local artisan food here in Meath. I love showcasing the beautiful culinary creations of Asia. Its an honour to have won this award, Im very proud to be apart of such a great team here at Copper and Spices”


Scrapbook_1415214902902                  Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Happy 10TH Birthday

Dennis Smith knows how to throw a good party. Last week he celebrated been open 10 years in Supervalu Johnstown. What a great achievement. He decided to showcase some of our local and Irish Artisan Food and Beer suppliers. I was delighted to be there and meet some of owners of the products that are always in my kitchen.

First up was Bru Beer, I don’t think there is any need to give an introduction, these guys are everywhere, and so they should be. They have some of the most amazing beers,from Pale Ale, Rua, and their flagship Brú, their new beer is their Autumn Ale, really nice pumpkin flavour. A BIG Congrats to the lads who picked up 2 awards this year at the Bank Of Ireland Start Up Awards. Its well deserved, these guys work really hard. (Below)


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Next up was Goodness Grains who have been in business for over 3 years, their products are gluten free Breads, Desserts and Pastries, and they pride themselves in customer satisfaction. They got 6 winning products in this years Taste Awards, what a great achievement. (Above Left)) Next to Try was Burkes Ice Cream. Makers of the finest Jersey Milk Ice Cream and Sorbets, Their business is located just outside Navan Town. They have a great selection and always have in season specials. Nothing is ever to much for them. I remember a few months ago I asked Bernie Burke (owner) to make me a Basil Sorbet for a special menu, we both got excited with this little project and anxious to see the result. Of course it was simply delicious. (Above Right)



As I pushed my trolly around I could see the Coole Swan Display. This Liqueur is one of the Top Irish Liqueurs, ( in my opinion ) and a friend of mine living in Australia loves it, so I regulary sent it to her. Its not only good as a drink but can be used in lots of desserts.  I really enjoy knowing where products get their inspiration from and theirs is a great story. (Below Left) I was keen to see what Hartys had to sample, I’m embarressed to say I hadn’t tried any of their products until that day, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Ginger Hot Pepper jelly was to die for and some got added to my shopping. (Below Right)


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As my shopping trolly was getting full ( and so was I with all the sampling ) i couldn’t resist but stop off here at Meade Rooster Chips I LOVE this great IRISH product. The only home grown frozen chips now on the market in Ireland. Made exclusively from Irish Rooster potatoes, sunflower oil and nothing else. If you haven’t tasted yet, you must. I can not recommend them highly enough.



Mc Donnells were here also, passing out samples of their crisps, another great Irish Product. They have 5 different varieties, all I’m sure equally as good as the next, my favourite is Cider Vinegar and Sea Salt, what I love about this product is that their is no artificial colour or flavours. Im pretty sure their Hickory Bacon Crisps won an award last year at the National Food awards. (Below Left)


Of course a stop had to be made at Lilys Tea, i don’t drink Tea, even flaovored tea but i did have a sampler with me, who loves his tea and this got a big thumbs up, I even got talked into adding it to Copper and Spices tea selection. (Below left) Last on my list to try and right next to the checkout was Whats for Pudding  again had my sampler on hand and The Sticky Toffee Pudding he declared was the best he tasted. Two packs were snapped up by him at the checkout. Happy days. (Below Right)


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There were more Local business at the 10th Birthday Celebrations but I simply didn’t get to go and chat to everyone.  Its great to see so many Local Irish Small Business getting support. And walking around my Local Supervalu and seeing all the displays were truly an enjoyable shopping experience. Kudos to Dennis Smith.

Taste Of India

This blog is slightly different from any other. Copper and Spices launched their Autumn Winter tasting menu on Tuesday 7th October.  I would normally blog about the food and atmosphere but I think my opinion would be slightly bias, seen as I own the restaurant, I don’t think it makes for good reading when you blog about yourself and blow your own trumpet, so I got all the guests to write down their experiences of the food, service and over all atmosphere. All content is genuine, good bad or indifferent.

Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing          Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing          Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing




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  Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing


Keith Dawn and Jamie Crawford ” We were greeted by Carmel Corrigan, owner of Copper and Spices with a big smile, glass of bubbles and a perfect atmosphere. For anyone who wants to experience the true Taste of India look no further than Copper and Spices Navan. Without doubt the best Indian food we have ever experienced. Bhalla Papdi Chat, lentil dimpling with tea infused chickpeas, they left a subtle but surprising taste a great start ( Jamies Quote) Scallops and Crab, presentation was amazing as they say you eat with your eyes, cooked to perfection, and a surprise to see on the menu, but a must try for seafood lovers. Pork belly and Shrimp, one of my favourites, but with an Indian twist, I’m converted. Lamb and venison, cooked to perfection, the lamb just melted in your mouth, the venison was excellent. Dessert, see below. We would like to thank Carmel and Nitin on a fantastic night, and a big thank you to the staff for yet another special evening. FYI DESSERT was amazballs, them macaroons were to die for. xxx”

  Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Lisa Boyle ” Very pleasant evening, glass of bubbly on arrival was a lovely touch. Great chance to try new dishes. Fish dish – delicious. Just the right amount of spices, 2nd dish Crab ball was yum, cauliflower puree went really well. 3rd dish prawns and pork belly, not sure bout the two together, but each component very nice (pork would be even yummier with crackling on top) Music creates nice atmosphere, love big candle holders and decor. Lovely staff, very helpful. I think Carmel is made for the job  the way she chats to each table.”


  Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Shane Glynn ‘The restaurant is quite pleasent and welcoming. First time here and first time to taste Indian food. The first 3 course were presented and tasted fabulous. The spices on the food were not to much and left an enjoyable taste in the mouth. We would return to the restaurant in the future and recommend to our friends.”


 Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Benny and Pauline Reilly ” Lovely friendly welcome with a glass of prosecco and a photo. The restaurant looks fab, very well laid out. Nice welcoming introduction to the evening by Carmel. Welcomed regular and new customers alike. Food was fantastic very tasty with just enough spice. Plates were very artistic and tasted as good as they look. Absolutely loved the pork and shrimps, it tasted sensational. Hubbys fav (so far) was Bhalla Papdi Chat. Great atmosphere, fab food, friendly staff. Will definitely be back again. Thank you.”


  Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Aoife and David Reilly ” 1st 2nd 3rd course stunning. Pork Belly amazing, never enjoyed pork belly like this in our life. Fabulous combination of flavours, spices and textures on every dish so far. Really seeing Indian food in a whole new light. With Carmel on front of house and Nitin in the kitchen it makes the ‘perfect” dining experience. Fabulous atmosphere and most importantly  fabulous food. Definite for a date night.”


  Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Nicola and Gordon McGuirk “Bhalla Papdi Chat, even though there was no meet the lentil dumpling was so ‘meaty’  we didn’t miss it. Loved the chickpea mix. Left a lovely heat after taste. This was our favourite dish so far this evening.  Scallops and Crab, first time eating scallops not a seafood fan but enjoyed it – not to fishy. Really enjoyed the crab croquette, soft and full of flavour. Excellent plate display, nice heat at back of throat. Pork and Shrimps, pork was soft and delicious. Enjoyed the Dhal. Shrimps were lukewarm and didn’t taste the chilli flavour, perhaps Dhal over powered the chilli.”

  Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Lorraine Melia and Des Corbet “We were warmly welcomed to the autumn winter tasting menu night at copper and spices with a lovely glass of bubbly. The night flowed perfectly from there, each course prepared for the next leaving us anticipating what came next. Had a very enjoyable night and as usual Carmel was the perfect hostess while Nitin works his magic in the back ground. Fabulous night, thank you for having us. PS omg- dessert – restaurant went quite. ”


  Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Claire Davey ” Nice neat flavours off the Bhalla Papdi Chat. The different textures of scallops/crab meat, cauliflower puree worked amazing together. Combination of mustard and curry crab meat, wow amazing. Ill be trying that at home. Melt in your mouth Pork Belly, nice hints of cinnamon from it. Perfect combo to the Dhal. Shrimp could do with more chilli/Lime very mild for my taste. Delicious Lamb cutlet, very tender and flavoursome, I felt the venison wasn’t at the same standard as the other items. It tasted very bland, over powered by the spring roll, it could have been any meat inside. Some jus or sauce would help? PANACOTTA PERFECTION, so many delicate flavours, did I taste Basil? The macaroon was a brilliant burst of coconut/pistachio. Nice to see local/Irish craft beers on draft, I hope more restaurants follow your lead. Thanks for a great evening”


  Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Tammy Byrne Tony Fogarty ” Enjoying the company and food. The food is fabulous, each course getting better. So we are looking forward to our final course, especially the dessert. The flavours and textures are fantastic and the presentation is 100%. I myself am not a fan of Indian food but have to say after tonight I am converted and I would gladly travel the 2 hours for dinner here again and we will book. DESSERT: WOW an orgasm in a bowl. ”


  Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Collette Carolan Grainne Cahil ” Fantastic food, just amazing well done Carmel and Nitin and staff. Very enjoyable evening.”


  Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Emma Mangan ” Pork and Shrimp was my favourite course, the flavour and combination of both the shrimp and pork was very enjoyable. Combination of flavours in the dishes were both unusual and exceptional, Tea infused Chickpeas.

Sylvia Skelton “Wow everything was amazing, had to choose a favourite, but pushed it would be the cinnamon lamb cutlet. Very enjoyable night, both relaxing and entertaining. Carmel was the perfect hostess as usual , one of my favourite restaurants, never fails to impress”


Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing              Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing               Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

For pictures and tweets please check out

Big thank you to The North Meath Herald and Kieran Mcguire Photos.

Copper and Spices  Autumn Winter tasting menu is available until the end January.

Copper and Spices had the launch of thier Autumn Winter tasteing

Copper and Spices

18Ludlow Street