Sunday dinner makes those dark winter Sundays a bit more bearable. Add in a delicious Navarra Tempranillo, fun people, and a silly dog, and Sunday becomes positively joyful. It’s a tradition I highly recommend starting.

principe de viana reserva tempranillo

 

 

mashed butternut squash

 

roasted vegetables

 

red wine gravy

 

Sunday dinner    

The menu:

Slow roasted pot roast, seared first with garlic and onions, then popped into the slow cooker with a 1/4 cup of red wine, two shots of espresso, black pepper, sea salt on low for six hours

Red wine gravy, made with liquid from the slow cooker and a nice brown roux

Roasted veggies – parsnips, potatoes, and carrots, slow roasted in olive oil, salt, and pepper

Mashed butternut squash

Crusty baguette

Chocolate cake from South End Buttery

Príncipe de Viana Reserva 2011- One of the wines generously sent to me by Navarra Wine, this 100% Tempranillo was one I was waiting to share with some serious wine-loving friends. I knew a roast would pair really well with it, and Sunday dinner in itself is enough of an occasion to bring out the special wine, if you ask me!

Aged in oak barrels, with a deep garnet red color, this lovely wine had notes of cherry and smoky dark chocolate, full of flavor but balanced enough to not overpower our dinner. The menu went perfectly with it, from the umami flavors in the slow cooked roast to the earthiness and bit of spice in the roasted vegetables. The last few sips went to wash down dark chocolate cake, which only brought out the cherry characteristics of the wine. Really lovely.

In this fast-paced world we live in, there’s something so soothing about taking the day to prepare a meal and to share good wine with fun people. Slowing down on a Sunday is definitely one way of dealing with the Sunday scaries if, like me, they tend to dominate the day!

 

Thank you to Navarra Wines for sharing some of their delicious wines with me to pair with food and share reviews with all of you.

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Tags: Navarra, roast, slow cooker, Spanish wine, Sunday dinner, Tempranillo, wine, wine of navarra, Wine Wednesday

We are embracing winter this year! If you’ve been reading/following me on social media, you might know that summer is far and away my favorite time of year, and I have a really hard time dealing with dark and cold.

Last winter and recently I have read articles on the Danish concept of hygge, the idea of coziness and a positive state of mind and mental well being. Hygge is about the feelings that come from creating a cozy space and positivity, and I am trying my best to keep this concept in mind.

After a very busy work week, we had a quiet Friday night in by the fire. Friday happened to be Nollaig na mBan, or Women’s Christmas in Irish. This is celebrated as a day for women, who tend to do much of the Christmas shopping and cooking, to relax. And relax I did! My husband waited on me with our favorite Indian takeout as I sat with sparkling wine by the fire. We watched The Missing (so good!) and went to bed early.

sparkling wine by the fire  

With hours of cozy sleep under our belts, Saturday morning was full of energy, and we walked to our favorite Irish bakery, Greenhills Bakery in Adams Village for giant cups of tea and a shared chocolate croissant. Hearing Irish spoken in Boston is always a delight, and we soaked up the homey atmosphere before walking a bit more in the snow and deciding a proper brunch at Lucy’s, also in Adams Village, was necessary!

Greenhills Bakery

Look at that biscuit!

The food at Lucy’s is delicious, and with snow falling outside, there was such  cozy vibe inside. We lingered over our meals, not checking phones, just talking and watching the snow fall before venturing out for our beautiful winter wonderland walk home.

 Lucy's Dorchester

snow day

  After another quiet night in, we decided that Sunday should be for hiking at World’s End. We should have brought our snowshoes, but instead laughed and trudged through the drifts to get to high points, where we enjoyed amazing coastal views. It was SO fun.

World's End Hingham 

World's End Hingham 

World's End Hingham

Hiking always works up an appetite, and especially when it’s snow hiking, so we headed to nearby Hingham Shipyard to try Trident Galley & Raw Bar. They had live music, an incredible brunch menu, and excellent service.

Trying to be a little healthy, we shared a beet salad and the short rib hash, which was a spot-on recommendation. It was amazing.

short rib hash

I love splitting plates like this; we were full but didn’t feel awful, and we got a taste of a couple of great dishes. The live music was a nice touch as well. Covers of old favorites, not-too-loud, and uplifting, it was a lovely addition to brunch.

 

Trident Hingham

 

Hingham Shipyard

After even MORE outdoor wandering at the Shipyard, we decided we needed a little bit more time outside, and stopped at the Milton Yacht Club on the way home to capture the setting sun and beautiful late afternoon winter light.

Milton Yacht Club 

I thawed out with a hot Epsom salt bath before pouring a glass of Navarra wine and whipping up Chicken, Bacon, and Potato Soup (with kale).

chicken bacon stew

It was the perfect weekend. I realize I can either hate this time of year or spend more time being grateful for all I have to get through it – food, shelter, warmth, love. I think if I can keep that focus, I can make it to spring!

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Tags: brunch, cooking, Dorchester, hiking, Hingham, Nature, New England, outdoors, recipes, snow, winter

Ireland is always one of my travel highlights for the year. If you missed my 2016 travel recap, you can read it here.

When we visit Ireland, it’s always to see family and friends and favorite places in Galway; it’s a city you just can’t miss, and surround Connemara and the Wild Atlantic Way are dear to our hearts for many reasons. We also usually try to take a side trip, either in Ireland or somewhere else in Europe. In the past, we’ve done Prague, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Brussels, and others, in addition to stays in Connemara and Sligo in Ireland. On our November trip to Galway, we headed north to Achill Island in County Mayo, and it was just the little getaway we needed.

Our home on Achill was the absolutely lovely Achill Island Hotel (Óstán Oileán Acla in Irish), situated in a place with 360 degree mountain and sea views. It was a simply stunning, quiet, peaceful location.

Achill Island Rooms were cozy and comfortable, country-style decoration with all of the modern conveniences you could want, including WiFi and a great big soaking tub, which I took advantage of after our drive from Galway through Connemara. 

Achill Island Hotel We visited Achill in November, which is sort of off-season, so one of the attractive features of the Achill Island Hotel was a restaurant on-property. It meant we didn’t have to search for what might be open when we arrived hungry in the evening!

seafood casserole

Not only was it convenient, but it turned out to be incredible. Compliments to the chef for some really delicious meals that utilized Irish ingredients like famed local seafood in my seafood medley dish. It was chock full of flavorful seafood atop mashed potatoes, maybe the best I have had.

Even in my stuffed state, I had to have an Irish coffee to finish the meal. It’s kind of an unwritten rule when we visit Ireland.

Irish Coffee

With full bellies, we decided to head out into the cool night for a walk along the main drag in Achill, which was quiet, with only a few people out and about. The most noise we heard was from sea birds in the sea next to the hotel, feeding at low tide. A few locals were putting Christmas lights on the stores, and it was just a very peaceful and good feeling all around. It also helped immensely to get some fresh air.

Before we retired to our rooms for a couple hours of chatting, we headed back to the hotel pub to try their local beer.

Achill Island Hotel

Brewed with seaweed, this Achill beer had a nice richness to it, and of course that hint of sea salt on the finish. It was really good, and it’s always fun to see what local products are being made around Ireland. Craft beer has really picked up, as has craft gin. 

Achill Irish Beer

After our cozy night in, we woke up to a stunning, calm day on Achill, with the below views out our bedroom window and the windows of the hotel’s breakfast room.

 Achill Island IMG_0276

Clew Bay

We stopped and admired the views for some time before checking out and taking off to explore Achill and more of the breathtaking Wild Atlantic Way for the day.

Achill Island is less than two hours from Galway and very near to Westport, another favorite town in the West of Ireland.  It will make you feel like you are a million miles from everything.

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Tags: Achill Island, coastal living, County Mayo, food blogger, Ireland, Mayo, Travel, travel blog, wild atlantic way

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