Category Archives: food

Afternoon Tea in Dublin ~ The Westin Hotel

Afternoon Tea in Dublin - The Westin Hotel | City of Blackbirds Photography

Whenever I get the chance, one of my favourite things to indulge in is afternoon tea.  Munching through delicious miniature treats and sipping tea from delicate cups is a delightful way to spend a couple of hours, and there are so many lovely places in Dublin that serve their own unique version.

A couple of months ago I decided to start a new blog series, visiting different establishments around the city and photographing their afternoon tea.  So here is the first offering, and I hope to have many more posts to come in the future!

I decided to start in The Westin Hotel, right in the heart of Dublin’s city centre on Westmoreland Street.  One gloomy Sunday near the end of November the city was bustling with Christmas shoppers, but The Westin’s Atrium Lounge provided a welcome tranquil space, away from the crowds, comfortable and warmed by a blazing fire.  Dublin photographer Elisha Clarke joined me in a quiet corner and we tried The Westin’s unusual take on this traditional treat, A Most Peculiar Afternoon Tea.

This option comes with the classic three tired stand filled with delicious morsels, but what makes it peculiar is that the customary pot of tea is replaced with a cocktail made from Hendrick’s Gin served in a tea pot and drunk from tea cups.  It felt unusual but charming to savour a mojito from a tea cup!

The food was delectable, my favourite being the middle tier of banana and walnut bread that came with a little pot of cinnamon and honey butter to slather deliciously all over it.  Of the desserts the popcorn panna cotta and popping marshmallows left me wanting more, they were fun to eat as well as being just the right sweet taste to finish off our meal.  Have a look at the menu to check out all the options for yourself, as well their traditional afternoon tea which looks just as enticing.

I must say thank you to The Westin for being kind enough to allow me to take some photos.  And to Elisha for being such wonderful company and showing me how to use her incredible 5D Mark III camera (the first shot in this post must be credited to her!).

I wish that I had taken more photos, but it is to The Westin’s credit that I was too absorbed in the food and atmosphere of The Atrium that I didn’t take as many as I should have!  If you decide to visit The Atrium, or if you have any favourite spots around the city for afternoon tea please do let me know so that I can check them out for future posts in this series!

Afternoon Tea in Dublin - The Westin Hotel | City of Blackbirds PhotographyAfternoon Tea in Dublin - The Westin Hotel | City of Blackbirds PhotographyAfternoon Tea in Dublin - The Westin Hotel | City of Blackbirds PhotographyAfternoon Tea in Dublin - The Westin Hotel | City of Blackbirds PhotographyAfternoon Tea in Dublin - The Westin Hotel | City of Blackbirds Photography

Posted in Dublin, food | 19 Comments

Fairy Cakes ~ Link Love

Fairy Cakes | City of Blackbirds Photography

I spent some time in the kitchen today, whipping up some chicken noodle soup, bread rolls and a batch of fairy cakes.  It’s always a pleasure to spend time cooking and baking, I find it so relaxing. These buns are so easy to bake, but I always manage to make an incredible mess when making them, I’m still dusting icing sugar and flour out of my hair!  Their sweet size and taste remind me of childhood, when an icing covered treat like this was something to be treasured.

It’s been a little while since I shared some link love, so here are a couple of things that caught my eye online lately:

These bread rolls from Rosanne at Like Mam Used To Bake – I made these for the first time today, and they’re delicious.

Wonderland Room – an Etsy shop that sells all kinds of pretty things to make your packages and presents look wonderful, good to know about as Christmas approaches.

DIY Paper Heart Wall Hanging from Honeybee Vintage – this tutorial is a couple of months old, but I only spotted it yesterday thanks to Pinterest.  I love this idea, may just spruce up my bedroom with it in the near future!

A Handmade Christmas Tree Tutorial from Shauna Mailloux.

– I adore this cute iPad cover from Cath Kidston, it’s on my Christmas wishlist!

– Another thing on my Christmas wishlist is this book about Irish homes: Essentially Irish.

Nutella Pie Pops from Call Me Cupcake – don’t they look divine!

– A sweet little Morning Tea Party from Tabitha Emma.

– What I’m reading at the moment: The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Lany, The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman and The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron.

– Blog I fell in love with recently: Elephantine

Posted in food, links | 8 Comments

Gluten Free Baking ~ Lemon Polenta Cake

Gluten Free Lemon Polenta Cake | City of Blackbirds Photography

Because of some health problems I’ve been going through the last couple of months I’ve had to stick to a very restrictive diet.  Part of this is eating gluten free.  I’m not coeliac, but through elimination it became obvious that it’s a problem food for me.

Because I tested negative for coeliac disease I may be able to eat it regularly again in the future, but for the moment I need to avoid it.  I’m finding this tough, almost every meal I ate had some form of gluten in it.  It’s overwhelming how many foods list it as an ingredient.  Things you wouldn’t imagine have wheat products in them, like chocolate, baking powder and breakfast cereals!

So I haven’t been able to eat my beloved cupcakes for a few of months now, and my passion for baking dwindled.  That is until I saw Nigella Lawson on TV, making the most delicious looking lemon polenta cake I’d ever seen!  I went straight online and found the recipe, thankfully gluten free and easy to bake.

So today I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen, giving my first gluten free baking experiment a go.  It takes me a long time to bake because I stop to take photos after almost every step; I’m sure most of you other bloggers are the same!  The result was the lovely cake you see at the top of this post, It’s got an amazing lemon flavour and intense yellow colour when you cut into it.

Nigella’s recipe is here if you’d like to give it a try yourself.  It’s easy to make, so suitable for all levels of baking and would make a perfect treat for afternoon tea with a friend.  I’ll hopefully have more gluten free baking experiments to share in the future, but for now it’s back to enjoying a slice of this cake!

Posted in food | 8 Comments