Food Is Life... With Rosemary Mac Cabe
Rosemary is was more concerned with sweet than savoury, but that doesn't deter her from seeking out new places for brunch every weekend. She's brimming with recommendations of places to eat (especially Asian eaterys), so if you're in need of inspiration, read on.
What’s your favourite dish?
I'm 100% a dessert person, so my favourite is always going to be sweet, rather than savoury. Lately, I've been trying to eat mostly Paleo, so earlier this year when I spent an insanely amazing weekend at Legan Castle Farmhouse with my boyfriend, Caroline – the owner, chef and hostess – made us the most sinfully delicious beetroot brownies. On the first night, we had them with Nobó frozen goodness, an Irish-made dairy-free ice cream, and on the second day she served them up with raspberries and Greek yoghurt. I still think about them whenever I feel a dessert craving coming on.
What’s your favourite cuisine?
It's probably Asian – I live in Dublin 1, just past Chinatown (essentially, the end of Parnell St. that's not the Cineworld end), and we eat in Kim Chi a lot. Their sushi is really good. Pho Viet, a Vietnamese restaurant next door, is also really good, and for Chinese, M&L on Cathedral St. is brilliant. Asian is always my goto; if I'm doing takeout, I'll go for Saba To Go or Kanoodle.
Best place to grab breakfast in Ireland?
Because I'm trying – not always succeeding – to be super healthy lately, I try to eat “clean” at breakfast, too, but it's definitely the hardest meal of the day to make clean. Fia, on Rathgar Rd, does this amazing eggs 'n' greens dish that'd be hard to beat – it's not massive, but it's near perfect. I also love Brother Hubbard's home-baked beans with chorizo, and their granola pot is pretty delish too.
Best place to grab lunch in Ireland?
I'm currently enjoying an obsession with Sprout on Dawson St. – they just opened another branch on Mount St but I haven't been yet. Their Sataysfied Turkey Bowl is amazing; for summer, they've started serving it with a pineapple salsa, which is all the more delicious because I don't really eat fruit, so it feels like a bold treat! I'd be lying if I said I just went for the salads, though; they also stock sweet treats by Nutshed, another Irish biz that's doing gorgeous things. Their chocolate peanut slice is worth committing crime for.
Best place to have dinner in Ireland?
I'm a huge fan of Taste at Rustic, Dylan McGrath's kind of Asian fusion restaurant, above Rustic Stone on the corner of George's and Exchequer Streets. You can get small dishes, to share (if you're a weirdo), or just to eat yourself – the pork belly comes out on a teeny tiny grill on hot barbecue coals. Everything is just really interesting; the whole idea, I think, is to combine tastes and flavours, so you have sweet and sour, spicy and bitter. They also do this insane doughnut dessert (of course!) that comes with miso dipping sauce and green tea ice-cream, and sounds bizarre but is just AMAZING.
Best place to get coffee in Ireland?
I'm a big fan of Proper Order Coffee in Smithfield, on Haymarket Square. It only opened a few months ago but the guys are just so nice; they're real coffee nerds, which I'm pretty sure they'd be happy for me to say! The décor is really cute, too, and they have a little retail arm, which I love – they sell books, different types of coffees and different coffee equipment.
Best place to get a cocktail in Ireland?
I actually don't drink alcohol – I know, I'm the most fun feminist at a party – so I wouldn't have a clue where to go for cocktails, or even mocktails. I've become the drain in the corner with the sparkling water with a dash of lime in it! But if you want to know where to get the best water, I am a big fan of Alchemy in BT2! Their water is purified by reverse osmosis, which I thought was total bullshit until I tasted it; it's so clear and pure, it's kind of made me hate my home tap water.
Best shop/ supermarket to grab bits for a home-cooked dinner?
I've started trying to do that thing that we should have been doing all along, and shop locally and as I need it. So I'll try to go to the butcher for meat, the local greengrocer – Tops N Pops on Gardiner St – for veggies... But I often forget, so once or twice a month we'll do a big shop in Lidl or Aldi, whichever takes our fancy. I get veggies delivered by Nudiefoods, yet another Irish startup – they'll deliver a box to your door, and you can tell them if there are any veggies you love or hate, or whether you want fruit... And they'll even throw in free range eggs! It's really handy, especially when you work from home so you're there for deliveries.
What’s your favourite meal to make at home?
I recently did a cookery lesson at Saba, and I'm now really into making green curry at home, from scratch. I'd tried it a couple of times before, and felt like nothing really went right – the coconut milk and oil would separate, or I'd overcook the meat, but now I feel like a pro. And it's so quick and easy. I don't really eat carbs, so I ditch the rice and just have it in a bowl like Thai green curry soup! Yum.
Who’s your favourite cook/ chef?
I love Sharon Hearne Smith's stuff. She has two really smart books, No Bake Baking and No Cook Cooking, which are just genius – basically, how to put together bits that are already cooked to make delicious gourmet desserts or delicious gourmet meals! One of her “cakes” is this stack of chocolate crepes, sandwiched with crème fraiche and raspberries (I told you, I'm a dessert person!). I made it for a friend's wedding shower and it went down a treat; it was so easy to make and looked really impressive!
Do you have a favourite recipe book?
I love the Deliciously Ella book, her first one. I'm not mad into every single thing she's about – I eat meat, for example, and a lot of it, and I'm not 100% anti dairy – but she has some great recipes and good ideas. Adding grated carrot to bulk up your chilli, for example, would never have occurred to me! Her sweet potato brownies are delicious and her home-baked beans are amazing.
Favourite restaurant you’ve ever been to & why...
My parents are from Kildare, so we sometimes go down that direction to visit them and go for a meal. Recently, we went to Two Cooks in Sallins, and I was really impressed. The menu changes almost daily, based on what's good and in season, and it was just really interesting – without overegging anything. Obviously I remember the dessert best: it was those amazing doughnut peaches, with pieces of actual doughnut and then little chunks of meringue. It was incredible.
What city, from your travels, has the best food?
I know I should probably say Paris, but the last time I was there I paid about €70 for two sandwiches with frites, so I'm still sulking. But I went to Portland for a week, a few years ago, and was really impressed by their biscuits! They're like scones, except savoury, and you have them with meat, and maybe gravy... Kind of like a meat pie! And my sister used to live in Dallas, where we would get the most amazing Mexican food. I would eat guacamole with every meal.
What’s your favourite ingredient to use in cooking?
Ginger! There is always space for more ginger.
Best place (or website) to get gorge bits for the kitchen?
Article, in the Powerscourt Town Centre. I could quite literally buy every single thing in that shop, and there's nothing I wouldn't like.
Oh God, I feel like you're asking me to name my favourite child! If I had hundreds of children, all of whom I love equally. It would probably be some form of white chocolate cheesecake – but not just any white chocolate cheesecake. It has to be really white chocolatey. I don't go for any half measures.
Er, water? If I'm feeling really rock 'n' roll, I'll break out the elderflower cordial, but, like, that shit is mad fancy. So we're talking Christmas or a significant birthday.
What six people would make up your dream dinner party?
Ooh I love this question! Okay, so: designer Peter O'Brien, who always has the most hilarious and onthenose things to say about current events and red carpets; Siopaella co-owner – and good friend of mine – Ella de Guzman, who I know I can see any time but I kind of love introducing her to new people, and seeing how they react to her being totally laugh-out-loud funny and adorable; UFC champ Ronda Rousey, who just seems like such a boss, and for whom I would probably leave my boyfriend; David Sedaris, who is a comic author, mainly so that he could put me in one of his books; Orange is the New Black's Laverne Cox, who seems like she'd have loads of interesting shit to talk about; and my sister, who I just don't see often enough as she lives in the US.
What food/ ingredient do you detest?
I actually don't dislike any one ingredient, but I can't abide certain things together. Like butter: love it (Kerrygold only, please) on toast, but put anything else on that toast (jam, meat, salad stuffs) and I won't touch it. Weirdly, I don't like crisps or popcorn, and I wouldn't eat spreadable cheese if you paid me.
Rosemary writes & Snaps about loads of things. Read all about them here.