Instead of sweltering temperatures, withering gardens, and mosquitos, high summer in Ireland is filled with cool temperatures and gardens where creativity and passion take center stage as flowers tumble over stone fences. Gardening is part of everyday life here and a majority of houses will have some type of garden, some that are generations old with plants tended from previous owners and relatives.
As a beginner gardener, I love visiting the many gardens in County Kilkenny. I often don’t know the name of the flowers I see, and so I spend time after each visit reviewing photos and researching for more information. Recording what I like, and expanding my knowledge of flowers and design.
There’s a famous Greek island off the coast of Turkey that is known for its centurions, despite what the Western world considers indulging in bad habits; a bottle of wine a day, cigarettes, soft drinks. The residents make up for the bad habits with plenty of better ones, including an active lifestyle, a diet heavy in antioxidants and light on meat, and daily naps.
For our summer vacation, we decided to live the Greek life for one week on the island of Corfu. A popular destination for Brits and Irish, the island is known for its beautiful beaches and relaxed lifestyle. Each day we spent either at the pool or finding a secluded beach, and each night was spent ingesting copious amounts of feta, tomatoes, and grilled meats.
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!
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.
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.
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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