Over the past year I realized I was repeating dinners over and over because I sometimes I find it difficult to pair recipes together. I have so many I want to try, but deciding what starter would pair with an entree can be time-consuming. I’m assuming I’m not the only one that struggles with this!
So, in case you might find this helpful, here’s a menu inspired by a recent trip to Corfu (more on that later!) full of veggies and lean protein. Because each dish is served separately, you can mix and match to easily edit the menu for vegetarians or gluten-intolerant guests.
This timeline is if you are doing everything day of. I normally don’t prep the night before because I have enough time between the end of my workday and when guests usually arrive. If you’re cramped for time, see the notes below for preparing ahead of time.
Two hours before:
Marinade the chicken
Prep the potatoes
Make and/or chill beverage.
One hour before:
Roast the potatoes.
Prep the salad.
Prep the baked feta.
15 minutes before:
Dress the salad
Bake the feta.
Warm the pita bread.
Both the salad and the baked feta can be made the night before. Don’t put dressing on the salad until half an hour before you serve, and wait to bake the feta until 15 minutes before. The potatoes can be roasted ahead of time and served cold, or you can warm them up just before serving. You can also marinade the chicken overnight or in the morning. More time in the seasonings won’t hurt it!
4 Large chicken breasts (cut into large cubes or strips)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 juice lemon
1 tablespoon parsley (finely chopped)
In a shallow dish, place the chicken in one even layer. Add the remaining ingredients and cover securely. Shake the chicken so it is completely covered then refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
If using wood kabob sticks, soak in water while chicken is marinating.
Pre-heat the grill to medium-high.
Thread the chicken onto the kabob sticks leaving 2" on each side. Grill for 8-10 minutes, flipping the kabobs halfway through. To test for doneness, remove one piece of chicken and slice in half. If no pink remains and juices run clear, the chicken is done.
A simple, three-ingredient recipe for roasted potatoes. Sure to be a crowd favorite, and a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken or greek salad.
1kg potatoes (yukon gold or roasting)
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1 packet italian dressing seasoning
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C.
Cut the potatoes into wedges by quartering them lengthwise. Place them into a large bowl, then toss with half of olive oil to coat. Add the seasonings and toss to coat. Set to the side for a few minutes to allow the seasoning to soak in.
Coat a large baking sheet with the other half of olive oil. Heat the sheet in the oven for 2-3 minutes until oil is hot. The oil will be shimmering but not smoking. Carefully pour the potatoes onto the sheet (away from your body to prevent splattering) and spread into a single layer. Place in the oven.
After 10 minutes, stir the potatoes so that they won't stick to the sheet, then place back in the oven. Turn the heat down to 150 C. Cook for 20-30 minutes more until potatoes are cooked through and toasted brown.
I use Good Seasons Zesty Italian Salad Dressing Mix. Each packet has 1.5 Tablespoons of seasoning made up of sugar, salt, garlic onions, peppers, carrots, parsley, soy sauce, and a few preservatives. In Ireland and UK, you can pick up packages of Schwartz Potato Wedge Seasonings with similar blends.
In a large bowl, crumble the feta and add the cream cheese. With a hand mixer or blender, blend together on low speed for a minute or two until crumbled. Add the paprika and mix together by hand. Mixture will come together into large balls.
Scrape the cheese into a ramekin or oven-friendly bowl. Layer the sliced tomatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the thyme, salt, and pepper over the top. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges are bubbling.
Heat the pita bread on a grill (you can use a gas burner in a pinch, just be careful) until toasted. Serve while warm.
A year or so ago, I attended a blogger meetup in Dublin. I’m one to avoid networking simply because the anxiety of being in a room of people I don’t know and feel responsible to meet is a bit overwhelming. But, I knew I wanted to make friends in the blogging industry in Ireland, and so I forced myself to attend, never realizing I would make such a good friend in the process. When she asked me to photograph her wedding, I balked. I stuttered.
But, I said I would consider it and let her know. I listed a million reasons in my head why this was a bad idea. I’ve only shot one other wedding, for a family member, and was convinced it would be no-good high-stress. But after giving myself a pep-talk, and reminding myself that this is a path I want to pursue, I said yes.
And I’m so glad I did. Because yes, it was high-stress (because I take the responsibility of shooting a day like this really seriously), but it was also fun. I met new people. I saw a mix of Irish and French loved ones come together and celebrate two people who are committed to each other. I strengthened a friendship that matters to me, and I took some damn good photographs in the process. I pursued a passion that I want to make a career, and I loved it. Did I panic? Yes. Was it difficult? Yes. But it was oh-so-worth it.
These two have such an easygoing feel to them. In the months leading up to the wedding, they intentionally kept things simple and calm. From how she chose her dress and jewelry, where they married, and who they invited. All in the effort to create a simple Dublin registry wedding that was just their style.
A small, intimate wedding is difficult to accomplish here. Irish culture is much like Southern US culture in that weddings are big, noisy affairs with hours of dancing and hundreds of guests. But the payoff came late that night, at the first of two receptions hosted by their families, where the toasts were long and meaningful, intimate and tearful, and nothing was done for show or pretension. Just brothers toasting their sister, a father raising his glass to his son, and a family who obviously loved these two deeply.
Experiences and food are two of the best reasons to travel, and so when my lovely husband came up with the idea of visiting great cafes while traveling, I signed up as fast as I could! Out of ten posibilities, Monocle was number one on the list for branding and reputation, so we headed on over to Chiltern Street for a late morning latte and snack.
The cafe is teeny tiny, and on a hot summer day a little stuffy, but the coffee and menu are worth the visit. The shrimp sandwich was amazing, and the cinnamon bun was just what I needed after the long walk over from Kensington. Everything in the cafe, from the sugar packets to utensils, was perfectly branded. Afterwards, we wandered over to their equally small shop to pick up the latest issue of the magazine.
Those of you who live in cities know that gardening space is usually very limited. We recently moved from a country cottage with virtually unlimited space to a row house in the heart of the city. The move forced me to give up a lot of the plants I worked so hard on last year, but I was able to move my containers. On a recent trip to London, I found the cutest street of row houses where each had an extensive container garden despite having limited space.
There were giant containers filled with an olive trees surrounded by lavender and ivy, pots of begonias and hydrangeas, fuschia, and sage. The containers ranged from modern black rectangles to aged terra cotta. Proving that you can garden anywhere, within any limitation, as long as you have a bit of space and an imagination!
Imagine the quiet excitement filling my chest when I looked up an events calendar and saw that Trooping the Colour would occur during a June business trip to London. I recruited a few friends to come along, and for the cost of our Tube ticket to Green Park, we had one of the best experiences of our lives.
Trooping the Colour is a British event dating back hundreds of years. It’s a celebration of the Monarch, as well as an annual review of royal guards and troops, and a great event to experience British pomp and circumstance.
The event is unique in that you get a lot of the Royal Family together at once. The Queen, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William, Catherine, Prince Harry, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edwards all participate. If you’re visiting London in June, it’s a much better experience than the typical changing of the guard!
Here’s my guide to Trooping the Colour:
Usually starts around 10:30am.
For the full procession, check out the Wikipedia article. Simply, the foot guards, military bands, and mounted troops begin the parade. The Royal Family follows in carriages and on horse. The troops are reviewed at the Horse Guards (tickets are very limited and given out by lottery). The Royal Family retreats back to Buckingham Palace, and after a short while the guards will remove the barriers at the end of The Mall, form a human chain, and the parade watchers can follow on foot behind them up The Mall to Buckingham Palace. The family appears on the balcony while a 41-gun salute is given and a flyover by the Air Force is performed.
The entire experience ends around 1pm.
Tips and hints
Check online for the date. It’s always a Saturday in June.
There is no cover for the weather, so bring an umbrella and rainjacket if needed. Get there about 90 minutes early for the best seats, but an hour is enough if you have a smaller group. If you have a large group, split up and spend some time in St. James’s Park while the other half saves seats.
Try to get as close to The Royal Society as possible. This is where the guards will first let the public in to walk up The Mall to Buckingham Palace. If you are further down at the end of the Parade, no worries, just walk as fast as you can down the footpath until the crowd stops.
Enjoy the wait and make friends with people around you! Some attendees come every year, which is how we were able to get so many good tips.
There are bathrooms at Marlborough Gate exit of St. James’s Park, and the streets aren’t barricaded until about 20 minutes before the parade starts.
Don’t blink. The family goes by so fast coming and going that you’ll miss them if you look away. We missed Prince William on the first pass.
When the guards remove the barricades, walk down the right side of the street as closely behind the guards as possible. Avoid the center as the crowd will back up. The guards will circle around the memorial and then allow the crowd to move forward. If you are directly behind them, and walk very quickly, you’ll be able to get at the gate of Buckingham without much fuss. Be nice. This is a very polite British crowd, which means little to no shoving, and absolutely no loud talking. They barely even cheered when the Queen rode by!
If you aren’t interested in standing and watching, you can sit on the grass surrounding the outer circle of the Victoria Memorial and watch the experience from a distance.
Hello! I'm a freelance writer and photographer living in Kilkenny, Ireland. Honeysuckle Life® is my creative outlet for my adventures in my home, kitchen, and travels. I'm available for hire, so if you would like to see a portfolio, please contact me!
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