The first step in cooking is buying groceries. Here’s where to go in Dublin.
It’s Sunday and you’re hungry, but you don’t want to cook or go to an expensive restaurant. And since you’re a student, most restaurants are ‘expensive’. Therefore, there’s only one thing to do: Go get $0.69 Tacos at 3 Amigos! Continue reading
You might have heard rumors in your pre-departure planning that Ireland is a tea-drinking country, and the Starbucks in the airport is going to be the last decent cup of coffee you’ll get until you return to the Land of the Free. You get off the plane and, as you’re heading into the city, you look around. You’re searching, desperately, along every street and down every alley. Not for the consulate or Gardaí presence, not for pubs (you’ll find those later, they look better by nightfall); you’re looking for what will be the focal point of your city map, the central position from where you will embark each morning: a good café.
I know some people who really, truly have the ability to burn water. It’s something. I also know people who don’t know how to boil water. (They’re Italian twenty-something boys whose Italian mothers not only did all their laundry for them, cleaned for them, and bought all their clothes for them, but also cooked for them–every day of their lives.)
Boiling water is a seriously underrated skill. These days, you could do just fine in the kitchen (and your wallet would appreciate you that much more than if you got takeout every day) if only you knew how to prepare dehydrated food. Seriously. Head down to the convenience store around the corner and pick up a packet of just-add-water pasta (at Spar, for example, you could get fettuccine alfredo, pasta primavera, spaghetti bolognese, and pasta carbonara), and for less than two euro, you can feed two people (or have two meals).
First lesson in cooking: boiling water.
- Put water in a (clean) pot. If you’re making pasta, fill your pot to about two inches from the top. If you’re boiling potatoes, cover them with an extra half-inch of water. If you’re making rice, the standard is 2:1 water:rice. If what you’re making requires a specific amount of water, measure it out. If you don’t have a measuring cup, half a Poland Springs water bottle is a cup of water (8 fluid ounces in a cup).
- Place the pot (which now has water in it) on a burner on the stove, and turn the burner on medium-high to high. If you put a cover on the pot it’ll boil faster, but you don’t need one if you don’t have one.
- Wait until it boils. What will this look like? Well, first steam will rise off the surface of the water. Little tiny bubbles will form on the bottom. This is not boiling. Those little bubbles will start rising to the surface. This is not boiling. Those little bubbles will start rising more rapidly, and turn into slightly larger bubbles. This is simmering. Patience. Those bubbles will then get larger, stay at that size, and break at the surface in rapid succession. This is boiling.
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah, you can boil water. Think of all the things you can cook now! (Note: if you let all the water boil away, you will burn the pot. Your food, from then on, will taste like burn metal and Teflon. Don’t do that.)
For you visual learners, a video tutorial:
Bonjour mes amis!
Every time I introduce a friend or family member to Montreal, the first stop is always Frite Alors! This place is a Belgian-Style bistro that offers a variety of burgers, sandwiches, and other lunch or dinner items, but the main attraction is Poutine. If you study abroad in Montreal but don’t try Poutine, you haven’t studied abroad in Montreal! This infamous dish is Frite Alors! home-made fries, drizzled with a special gravy, covered with melted cheese curds, and served with a sauce of your choice on the side. And that’s just the basics- you can also get a number of different kinds of Poutine which have everything from mushrooms and peppers to bits of bacon and steak!
Speaking of steak, the other specialty that I personally recommend (though not for vegetarians) from Frite Alors! is the horse steak. Yes, horse steak. It sounds weird at first, but you’ll never get it in the US because it’s mostly illegal there. Spoilers, it pretty much tastes like any steak you’ve had in the past, but a little greasier and (in my opinion) a little tastier. The best way to get it is to split one with a friend, that way it’s half the price and you can compare notes on the subject afterwards.
There’s a small Frite Alors! branch on St. Laurent street, down and across the street from the TD Bank, and there’s a larger one down on St. Denis. There are more around Montreal, but those are the two most convenient for we Champlain Students.
Here’s the website for further research.
Bon Appetit! — Emilie
“No meal plan? I can’t cook. I’m going to starve!”
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard students going abroad worry about how they’re going to feed themselves while they’re abroad. For you clueless cooks, we’re here to demystify cooking. Check out posts like How to Boil Water, The “Stuff” Shortlist, and some of our Cooking 101 recipes. You really can cook. Promise.
For you more experienced chefs, we’re always adding more recipes. In fact, we’re asking you to send in some of yours! Have a recipe you love and want to share? Email it in. Have a picture of a lovely meal you’ve made? Email it in. Have a video tutorial you’ve filmed? Definitely email it in!
We’re more than just recipes, though. Find a great restaurant? Tell us about it. Let us know what it’s called, where it is, and what’s good there. Send us some photos. Find a great deal at a grocery store? Fill us in. Love something at the Dublin Food Market in Temple Bar or the Marché Atwater in Montreal? Tell us about it. Send pictures (sensing a theme?).
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