Fancy a glass of wine after work? Pop in from 5.00 Tuesday to Friday and enjoy a plate of complimentary nibbles

Ballymaloe Litfest & Meeting Our Hero: Claudia Roden

We were honoured and delighted to be invited to participate in Ballymaloe LitFest last weekend. It was such an amazing weekend – to be surrounded by so many wonderful people connected to the food industry, inspired by some many thoughts, ideas and discussion.

We hosted our own event to tell our story, and we were thrilled that so many people took an interest in our story and our cookbook. We also participated in a very interesting panel discussion about the business side of food.

However, it is fair to say, as thrilling as all of the above was, perhaps the most special moment (in a weekend filled with very special moments) was meeting one of our true food heroes, Claudia Roden!

Claudia has been an inspiration to us for so long now. It was in Melbourne, whilst sitting under a tree in a park on a sunny day, that I opened her seminal work “A New Book of Middle Eastern Food” for the first time. I had come across it in the amazing Books for Cooks bookshop and little did I know that that purchase would be so influential on the course of my life. 


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That sunny day, I opened that book and started at the beginning (which is actually quite unusual for me when it comes to cookbooks – I more often than not tend to just dive and jump all around the chapters, soaking up ideas and concepts). But this book was special. And I read it like it was a novel. From beginning to end. Making notes in the margins, marvelling at the sense of the food but especially the sense of history and context for so many dishes and recipes described in the book.

On the back of that, I set a course for 4 months in the Middle East – setting out to discover the settings and further context behind all of the dishes and stories gathered together in that special book. That was a very special adventure to me – one that lives with me to this day as I am constantly going back to my notes and memories for inspiration for our menus. A few simple examples include our Chicken Fateh on our evening menu and our Beghrir Semolina Pancakes on our brunch menu.

That book is one I’ve revisited often. That very same book, with post-its and notes scattered throughout its pages, is one that I often lend out to a new chef joining our team. Because, to an extent, that’s where it began for me and it set me on my course. And its stories, its recipes and its author is what has been so influential on what we now do here in Brother Hubbard.

We actually mention Claudia quite a bit in our own cookbook and one particular recipe is based explicitly on a wonderful recipe from her book (our Coconut & Citrus Cake is inspired by her classic Almond & Orange Cake).

So, it was such a thrill and delight to be introduced to Claudia last weekend – and to thank her personally for her book and to tell her how important it was to me.

We managed to get a picture together with Claudia and Darina Allen (who is actually equally influential on my story and adventures with food – and that will be the subject of another blogpost in the near future!).

This was a very special experience to share and thank you for reading. And I would absolutely encourage you to read that book or any of her other books – it may mark the beginning of your very own adventure.

Garrett

We've News! Here's the gossip....

We are thrilled and delighted to announce a new chapter for Brother Hubbard NORTH on Capel St. We’ve tried to keep it quiet but word got out so we’re ready to tell the world: we’ve taken on the premises beside us, formerly Rhodes D7/Brasserie 7 and will be expanding into that over the next few months.

 

We’re very excited about all the plans we have in store.  The next few weeks will involve rolling up the sleeves, getting to grips with the space, and working out how to get the best out of it.  But this much is certain:

 

·      We will have plenty more seating and space for everyone – we recognise that sometimes the current Brother Hubbard can feel a wee bit cramped – whilst we love the the hustle and bustle, and are hugely grateful to all the customers we welcome in, we recognise that this atmosphere isn’t for everyone.

·      We will have a bigger outside area meaning lots of fresh air and a chance for us to do a lot of “greening” of the streetscape around us!

·      We are hoping to actually grow some of our own produce to use on our daily menu (we are already technically farmers here on Capel St as we grow many of our own sprouted seeds for our salads and other dishes)

·      We will have a bigger kitchen – meaning we can introduce lots of exciting new types of dishes that we’ve always been aching to do but never had quite the right space to achieve.

·      We will be able to offer a substantial catering menu – again, our small space has limited our ability to provide a catering menu for you to enjoy off-site. But not for much longer!

·      We will be able to host groups, parties and events more easily – for all your special occasions.

·      We will be able to significantly expand our evening menu with a wider variety of food and drinks available.

So there is lots in store over the next while!

 

All of this would was unimaginable when we opened 5 years ago. We were a food business opening at the worst moment of the recession and facing lots of challenges. But here we are still, so honoured and delighted to be surrounded by such a wonderful group of people – our lovely customers who make it all so worthwhile and our amazing team who work hard so that Brother Hubbard can be its best.  Thank you one and all; we would be lost with you.

 

We look forward to welcoming you to our bigger, greener space soon enough. In the meantime, we will keep you updated with plenty of photos of the work in progress.

…Plus we are still open for business as usual, 7 days a week – and now 5 nights a week (we’ve just added Tuesday evenings)! 

 


Once we’ve made you a delicious coffee, we are left with the coffee grounds. As a busy café, you can imagine that we have a lot of grounds accumulated at the end of the day.

The thing about coffee grinds is that they are wonderfully pure organic waste that can be easily used to enhance your home (or office garden)!

Coffee Grounds are source of organic matter right at your fingertips. In compost jargon, coffee grounds are a "green," meaning an item that is rich in nitrogen. Coffee grounds are approximately 1.45% nitrogen. They also contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, and other trace minerals.

There are several ways you can put used coffee grounds to work in your garden:

  • Put coffee grounds in your compost bin: As noted above, they are a valuable source of nitrogen.

  • Add grounds directly to the soil in your garden: You can scratch it into the top couple inches of soil, or just sprinkle the grounds on top and leave it alone
  • Create a slug and snail barrier: Coffee grounds are both abrasive and acidic, so a barrier of grounds placed near slug-prone plants may just save them from these garden pests

  • Make coffee ground "tea" for your garden: Add two cups of used coffee grounds to a five-gallon bucket of water. Let the "tea" steep for a few hours or overnight. You can use this concoction as a liquid fertilizer for garden and container plants. It also makes a great foliar feed.

  • Add coffee grounds to your worm bin: Worms love coffee grounds! Add some to your worm bin every week or so. Just don't add too many at once, because the acidity could bother your worms. A cup or so of grounds per week for a small worm bin is perfect.

  • Grow Mushrooms: you will find lots of information online to learn how to very easily grow some delicious mushrooms for yourself!

Many of you will look to coffee to give you a boost during the day – particularly in the morning. So, why not also boost the performance of your garden by giving it some coffee!

We’ve bags of our coffee grinds available for you in the cafes. Just pop in and ask the guys at the counter and they will look after you (perhaps avoid asking if it seems very busy please!). You can also just ring us or email us and we can have some ready for you to collect – in particular, if you want a larger quantity, give us some notice and we will do our best for you.

We also have a lot of plastic tubs that we currently recycle, as well as egg cartons – if you would like any for your garden, please do let us know!

SOLD OUT - Another Vegan Supper Club? YES VEGAN! | 13.06.17 - 19:00

We are delighted to announce the details of our June Supper Club! We are returning to a menu that shall be all things vegan once more. Having had so much fun, and such a fantastic reaction to our vegan supper club in April, we’ve couldn’t wait to do it again!

We love rules. They compel us to be more creative and adventurous. So we relish the challenge and fun in developing a vegan menu, full of colour, texture and flavour, offering the best of the summer season produce!

We will be hosting the dinner at 7pm on Tuesday 13th June. We will be doing long tables again, with a very special shared experience for one and all. We will start off the evening with a delicious prosecco cocktail and will have some wonderful vegan wines available on the evening as well as our homemade juices.

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A Middle Eastern Street Food Feast | Pop-Up 16.05 - 19:00

It’s no secret that one of the best ways of sampling the food of a region is to eat with the locals on the streets (always making sure to go to the busy stalls as they have that queue for a good reason!). In our experience, nowhere is this more the case than the streets, souks and bazaars of the Middle East. Full of colour, flavour and vitality, the street food of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and surrounding areas is simply a feast for all of the senses!

With wonderful memories of travels there, our chefs have put together a very special menu for Brother Hubbard North’s next supper club on Tuesday 16th May; a celebration of Middle Eastern Street Food. It won’t be constructed as a normal menu might be, with clearly-defined courses. Rather the food will flow from the kitchen as it is made with everyone passing the food along to each other at our shared tables. The evening will kick off with a welcome prosecco cocktail from 7pm.

Please note that the menu will involve several dishes involving meat, dairy, nuts and wheat. We will be able to accommodate vegetarians on the evening (but please advise us if you are vegetarian when booking your tickets). Given the nature of the evening and the menu, we will, unfortunately, not be able to accommodate people sensitive to gluten, dairy, nut or other allergens (please email us reservations@brotherhubbard.ie with any queries in this regard). We are unable to accept cancellations within 5 days of the event.

Tickets available here

Brother Hubbard North | 153 Capel Street


Vegan Be Heroes, just for one…evening!

After our last sold-out supper club, we are thrilled to announce our next long table supper, taking place on Tuesday 11th April. This time around we are going for a menu that will be all things veggie!

We’ve always tried to pour an awful lot of our love into vegetarian food in Brother Hubbard. We are doing a plant-based/vegan menu, because we feel being at least a “multi-tarian” means we achieve a more balanced, varied and more interesting diet and also benefits the environment in so many ways.

We’ve compiled a 5-course vegan menu, aiming to be a shared celebration of nature’s bounty, compiled by two of our most passionate and creative chefs, Rachel Lynch and Roisin McDonald.

The evening will kick off at 7.30pm on Tuesday, 11th April with a welcome drink, followed by a wonderful array of food, full of flavour, texture and colour. Tickets are €34.95 (wine and our homemade drinks will be available to buy on the night).

For tickets, please see Eventbrite or email reservations@brotherhubbard.ie (as this is a limited seating and once-off event, please note that to secure your spot, we will require full payment upon booking).

So folks, today marks 5 wonderful years since we made our first coffee for you and baked our first scroll.

Dublin was so, so, so different then. It felt like madness – opening a café at the height of the recession – and opening it on the Northside!  A lot of people thought we were crazy (and they were probably right in certain respects!). But, somehow, it worked. And, here we are, 5 years later, with a wonderful community around us: our lovely customers giving us such valuable support – and our amazing team, working so hard and caring so much about what matters to us and to our customers.

We cannot thank you all enough for all the support we’ve received. We’ve achieved so much more than we could have imagined 5 years ago. And it was all built by that wonderful community of our customers and our staff. We could not be prouder or more grateful.

We’ve some very exciting plans for the next while – more than enough to hopefully spur us on for another 5 years.

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. And, hopefully, see you soon.

 

Garret & James

A number of years ago, prior to opening the café, I was fortunate enough to spend a few months in the Middle East. The reason for this was to soak up the culture and experience the cuisine unqiue to that part of the world. I had fallen in love with Middle Eastern food years previously and was determined that this was the key influence that I wanted for our menu in the café that we would one day hope to open.

I travelled through Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Syria. As much as I loved all of the countries, Syria was actually my favourite. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot in life and Syria remains my all-time favourite experience. So much so that, during my time in the Middle East, I returned there again – so infatuated was I with its culture, its cuisine, its history and, especially, its people.

I’ve never before felt so welcome in any country as I did in Syria. Walking down the sometimes dusty streets of Damascus, it wasn’t unusual for someone to come up to me, stop and just say “Welcome to Syria” with a big smile across their face. That’s it. This happened time and time again – it was just a sincere welcome. They weren’t after anything else, trying to lure me to their cousin’s restaurant or their uncle’s stall. They just wanted to wish me a meaningful welcome to their wonderful country.

I was overwhelmed with the generosity I experienced over there. One evening, I stood nearby a baklava stall – just interested to see what people bought. I was standing a distance away, watching and noticed a family go up to the stall and buy a selection of the wonderful delights on offer. They obviously spotted me as within a few moments, their young boy was dispatched over to me to present me with some baklava. I laughed and accepted it graciously and waved over to them. They smiled back and then moved on with their evening. These simple gestures of kindness, generosity and welcome became a daily experience for me.

I will treasure the memories of my time in Syria forever more. Nothing before or since has ever come close to what I experienced there.

So, when we think of new dishes in the café, I often return to my time in Syria to see what dishes I had there inspire me to develop something new for our menu. The recipe below is one such recipe. It is an idea based on a wonderful experience I had one evening in a small café down some dusty side street in Aleppo. Below is the extract from “The Brother Hubbard Cookbook” on that experience. I even outline at the end of the recipe to replicate exactly the dish I encountered that evening. So simple, so delicious.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy making Aleppine Potatoes – they remain on of the most popular dishes on our menus to this day. If you are interested in more, we’ve a few other Syria-inspired recipes on our menu currently and in the cookbook.

ALEPPINE POTATOES

This dish is based ever so loosely on a bite to eat I had one sunny evening in Aleppo, Syria, the most wonderful of cities as it was then, before all the upheaval of the past few years. The dish was essentially potatoes dipped in various spices and eaten alongside some fresh greens and wonderful olive oil. I set out the original version for you to try in the tips and tricks section below, but the version I’ve included in the main recipe is our own twist on things, tying together those wonderful spices with the Irish love of roast potatoes!

Serves 4

olive oil

500g baby potatoes, cut into bite-sized dice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp sweet or smoked paprika

1 tsp hot paprika or cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

50g mixed soft herbs (parsley, lovage, coriander and/or dill), stalks very finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped
1 bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced at an angle

zest of 1 lemon

2 garlic cloves, crushed

lemon cumin dressing (page 000)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place a large roasting tin in the oven with a good glug of oil to heat up. Dry the potatoes quickly with a clean tea towel and season well with salt and pepper. Toss the seasoned potatoes in the hot oil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Give the potatoes a good shake and return them to the oven for another 10–15 minutes, until completely tender.

Meanwhile, mix together the smoked paprika, hot paprika, dried thyme, ground cumin and ground coriander with some seasoning in a bowl. Mix the herbs, spring onions and lemon zest together in a separate bowl.

After the potatoes have cooked fully, remove them from the oven and sprinkle on the spice mix and a spoonful of the crushed garlic paste and mix very well. Return to the oven for a final 10 minutes.

When serving, toss the potatoes in the lemon-cumin dressing and top with the chopped herbs and spring onion mix. Delicious served piping hot or warm.

Tips and tricks

  • We also serve a rendition of these with a rich tomato and red pepper sauce (page 000) and a zesty smoked aubergine yogurt (page 000), which we call our Middle Eastern bravas.

  • The original version of this that I encountered in Aleppo involved boiled baby potatoes, served warm on a plate alongside a tiny bowl of olive oil and the spices put in little mounds or separate bowls. You would dip the potato in the oil and then into one or several of the spices, season and eat with some leaves or herbs. So wonderfully simple and worth trying for a very easy nibble alongside some smoked fish or grilled meat, perhaps adding some steamed tenderstem broccoli and a glass of wine for an easy supper.

 

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