A Christmas Tasting with Darina Allen

 

I have been a huge fan of Darina Allen for years. I grew up watching her Simply Delicious show on RTE so I was so happy to find out that she was hosting a tasting event in a London hotel recently! Needless to say I contacted the venue straight away to find out how to get a ticket!

The focus of the afternoon was a Christmas tasting menu with dishes featured in Darina’s A Simply Delicious Christmas, which was recently republished with some new recipes to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its launch. It was such a fantastic afternoon and I was grinning from ear to ear once Darina arrived in the room!
!
photo 1She spoke about Ballymaloe, the cookery school, Christmas cooking and baking as well as some other food topics as the different courses arrived. The first course was Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Chorizo crumb and it was just delicious, I was so caught up in the excitement of the first course that I forgot to take a picture- Oppsie! 🙂 Next was an oyster with Namjim (a Thai dresssing) I’m not an oyster fan but I tasted the dressing and it was yummy.photo 2 I absolutely love smoked salmon so the next course of Smoked Salmon with Avocado, Quail’s Egg and Cucumber Pickle was right up my street. The presentation was so delicate and pretty too! It was served with some yummy brown bread – Darina asked for more butter for us as they had been a bit sparing with it! Great minds think alike!! 🙂

photo 3

Next was Ballymaloe Spiced Beef with Avocado and Hazelnut Salsa, Cucumber Pickle and a Horseradish Sauce, very tasty!

photo 4Last of the savory dishes was the Smoked Gubbeen cheese and Pearl Barley, Cucumber, Pomegranate and Toasted Almond Salad. I hate lettuce so any salad without it is a winner in my books!

photo 5
All the dishes were served with wine, a Chardonnay with the soup and salmon dishes and a red wine with the spiced beef and salad dishes, not forgetting the glass of English sparkling wine on arrival!
We were served 3 sweet treats. First was Mummy’s Plum Pudding with Mrs Hanrahan’s sauce – so delicious. It went down very well with the glass of Jameson that was served with it!

photo 1We were then served a plate of Mendiants- milk and white chocolate disks with chopped dried fruit and nut toppings.

photo 2Last was the beautifully presented Frosted Tangerine which was the perfect ending to a delicious afternoon.

photo 4Each guest got a copy of the Simply Delicious Cookbook to take home and I had the opportunity to meet Darina and have the book signed at the end of the event which made a wonderful afternoon even more memorable!

I’m looking forward to making some recipes from the book over the Christmas period. It’s a tradition for my boyfriend and I to have our own Christmas dinner in London a week or two before we head home to Ireland so the book will come in very handy!

Until next time!
M x

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