Pre-Christmas Lunch, Cheeses and Other Nibbles

Every year, we are lucky enough to have our parents take us out for a pre-Christmas lunch. Last year it was the Westin, this year they went all out and brought us to Thornton’s, Kevin Thorton’s restaurant on the first floor of the Fitzwilliam Hotel at St. Stephens Green. Definitely one of the top three restaurants in Ireland at the moment.  Second best meal of my life. EVER (The best meal of my life was probably Chapter One earlier in November this year, unbelievable.) 

So I couldn’t take photos of the food, I was a bit too scared for that. I had slow roasted quail, with a little brioche and bog oak sauce, with an added smokey poached quail egg served on the side! Also had was braised pig’s head and although I personally am very sceptical of anything to do with the head of an animal, (it was a rolled, braised and seared slice of pig cheek and jaw) it was delicious. I will definitely consider cheek or ‘head’ if ever on a menu in the future.

For the main I had peppered milk-fed veal with a fondant potato and broccoli mousse. Textures were interesting and the pepper somewhat overpowering but the meat was so tender it just melted in my mouth. Goose breast and John Dory were the other favourites at the table. My parents decided to pay corkage fees and bring their own wine a 2004 Puligny Montrachet and a 2001 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Chateau Payas, I think?). Unbelievable wines that just blew our minds, (and I don’t even understand them for what they really are, but I do appreciate that they are amazing).

I thought there was no question on the desert front – The lemon curd tart and raspberry sorbet was just divine, however the cheese platter was popular and a warm chocolate fondant and coconut something was amazing according to my brother. God I love when my parents cover costs for these kind of amazing experiences. That said the price was very very reasonable for what you were getting at €47 a head it was a steal in terms of quality. But it was the lunch menu, and lord knows I didn’t see the final bill!

So when guests come over, planned or unplanned the fridge is usually packed with cheese. Because, there is nothing like a fabulous plate of cheeses and some homemade bread or a selection of crackers. Add to that some wine and you’ve got a party! Recently I picked up these three cheeses, all raw unpasteurised  and delicious! They are from corleggy and I got one smoked cows milk cheese (Drumlin smoked), a hard goats cheese (Creeny) and a softer sheeps milk one whose name I’ve forgotten. And my little brother acquired this nifty bodum cheese/chocolate slicey thing, (see picture) one which you can sort of ‘mill/slice/scrape’ off a slice of cheese.

Anyway I am madly in love with the smoked Drumlin one, a slice of that with some relish on a burger is just the bees-knees after a long day!

But we are very open to many other cheeses, the Corleggy ones are from Cavan, Co. Ireland, but out fridge usually stocks a huge variety. Brie, St Agur, Comte and a load of different cheddars are staples in the cheese box and then we often have Manchego, Gruyere or Camembert floating around too. There is never enough cheese. Fact.

So cheese is a fabulous nibble to have when guests are around. We also love our mine pies, see an early post for why mine are the best ever mince pies! Nom. I love making hors d’oeuvre sized mince pies, the baby version. However they do take up much more time than the bigger ones, but there is just something cute and nifty about normal foody things that are small!

Mini-any recipe floats my boat – Nomnilicious.

The Christmas Dinner and Puddings are next.

Nom nom nom.

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