Fig, Almond and Chocolate Tea Cake

Makes 1 x loaf


5 eggs

170g golden caster sugar

80g wholemeal flour

100g plain flour, sifted

50g ground almonds

4 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

70ml cold camomile tea

4 tbsp 70% chopped chocolate or chocolate drops

5 dried figs, pre-soaked in brandy, then finely chopped

For the topping

120g sifted icing sugar

2 tbsp cold camomile tea (you may need a little more) 

Zest of 2 lemons

4 fresh figs, sliced into thirds

Edible flowers (eg pansies or borage), to decorate


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line a 900g loaf pan with parchment.

Add the eggs into the bowl of a mixer, begin to whisk, adding the sugar slowly until pale and mixture holds its shape. Fold in the plain and wholemeal flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder and baking powder to form a thick batter.

Stir in the chocolate and the chopped figs together with the camomile tea. Transfer to the lined loaf tin and bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer is inserted and it comes out clear.

Transfer to a cooling rack.

For the topping, mix the icing sugar, lemon zest and camomile tea to form a thick smooth paste.

When the cake is cold, place it on a cooling rack with parchment under (to catch the drips) and spoon the icing over the top, leave to set slightly. Transfer to a serving platter and arrange the fig wedges and edible flowers on top.

Enjoy with a glass of port or of course, a cup of tea!

Download a printer friendly version here

Serves 6

1.4kg lean stewing beef, trimmed
Flour with salt & pepper added
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 small butternut squash (200g), peeled and cubed (2cm)

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried oregano
A bouquet garni (4 parsley sprigs, 2 fresh thyme sprigs and 1 bay leaf, tied together) 1 pint Stout
1 can chopped tomatoes (400g)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Irish rapeseed oil (or local)

for the cheese & leek scones (cobbler)

1 medium leek, sliced thinly Knob butter plus oil for frying 250g self-raising flour
pinch salt

1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 tbsp. rosemary; 1 3⁄4 tbsp. chives, chopped 150g grated cheddar cheese
160ml milk
1 egg, beaten
Extra flour for dusting
Egg wash, to glaze

Parsley for garnish


To make the stew, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4
Cut the meat into 1 1⁄2 inch cubes and toss in the seasoned flour. Heat some of the oil and fry the beef until browned on all sides. Place the meat into a heavy based casserole dish – a 28 – 30 cm diameter dish is perfect. Add some more oil to the frying pan and gently sauté the onions until softened.
Deglaze the pan with some of the stout and add along with the fried onions, butternut squash, stout and juices from the pan, the honey, mustard, chopped tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and bouquet garni to the casserole dish. Stir well and bring to the boil, cover, and place in the oven for about 1 1⁄2 hours or until the meat is tender

To make the scones, cook the leeks in the butter and oil until fully softened and a little caramelised on the edges, Remove from the heat and drain well.
Then add all the dry ingredients to a bowl, followed by 100g of the cheese and all the leek. Beat the egg into the milk and stir sufficient into the flour mix to form a dough, blending carefully, taking care not to over mix.
Dust the table with a little flour and place the cobbler mix on work surface. Flatten to about 11⁄2 cm and cut into 6cm circles approx. Increase the temperature of the oven to 210C/410F/gas 6/7 Remove the beef stew from the oven, at this point it’s important to check for seasoning and re- move the bouquet garni. And, if the liquid is brimming to the surface of the casserole dish, re- move a few tablespoons (this will be dependent on the depth of your casserole dish), in order to lay the cobbler scones on top.
Then and carefully place the scones around the edge, just very slightly overlapping and start fill- ing towards the centre, ensuring a gap in the centre for the steam to escape. Brush the top with the beaten egg and sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over. Return the dish to the oven (without the lid) and bake in the oven for about 17 minutes depending on the size.
Garnish with chopped parsley when serving.

Download a printer friendly recipe here.

Lucky Catch Cruises

Come join us for an unforgettable excursion on the waters of Casco Bay while we guide you through the daily routines of a Maine Lobsterman. Participate in the excitement of hauling up the traps or sit back and relax as we cruise near picturesque lighthouses, historic civil war forts, and the “Seal Rocks”.  You’ll see how these tasty treats get from the bottom of the ocean to your dinner plate and learn about lobster habits, conservation efforts and the difference between hard shells, shedders, shorts, culls, and keepers. Any lobsters we catch can be purchased after the cruise for wholesale “boat” price, and if you don’t have a pot at home, take them across the pier to the Portland Lobster Company restaurant for the freshest lobster dinner anywhere.

Maine foodie tour

Our beloved Portland, Kennebunkport, the Mid-Coast and Bar Harbor are steeped in rich local and maritime history and an abundance of organic produce, dairy products from our farms, fresh fish and seafood from our harbours. It is our pleasure to introduce the many imaginative and flavorful local dishes and confections – each often with an intriguing history of its own – created by resourceful Maine chefs and purveyors, brewmasters, bakers, distillers, chocolatiers and more! Join Maine Foodie Tours as we uncover the storied past and current culinary scene of these vibrant towns with our highly entertaining guides. On all of our tours, you’ll enjoy tasty samplings of local fare created by talented artisans who continue to   create and inspire!  “I have so much respect for the resourcefulness of Mainers,” Pam says. “Whether it’s an old family recipe handed down from generation to generation, or a new way of presenting and serving one of our state’s staple crops, I’m just constantly amazed at the creativity and ingenuity of Maine        artisans, cooks, brewers, distillers, bakers and chefs.”

Catherine’s food tour consisted of :

  • Maine’s Pantry  ( Holy Potato Donuts ) 
  • 3$ Dewey’s  ( Seafood Chowder ) 
  • Gritty’s  ( Lobster rolls & Blueberry Beer )

Vena’s Fizz House

Vena’s Fizz House is a cocktail/mocktail bar and mixology shop located in Portland, Maine.   Founded by Steve and Johanna Corman, the business began in 2013 specializing in old fashioned, all natural fizz sodas, and “mocktails”. Circa 1920s, an era gone by, a young Portland woman named after her father, Irvine, took the Maine Women’s Christian Temperance movement by the horns. Dedicated and self-assured, she was committed to curtailing the liquid sins of the day. This was the way it was for Irvina, or “Vena,” for short.

Eighty years later – yes 80 years – another strong-minded, free-spirited Portland native (Vena’s great-granddaughter Johanna) came up with an idea: A Fizz House. And, with libations free of spirits, what could be more fitting than naming the (then non-alcoholic bar) after her great-grandmother: Vena.

Over the years Vena’s liquid concoctions have grown, adding liquor to the menu most recently (sorry Vena). Now no longer considered a toddler of mixology, they have become a trusted source for liquid alchemists looking for new flavor profiles that satiate the palate.

In 2015, Vena’s obtained a liquor license and created a custom cocktail menu.  The use of bitters and hard-to-find nostalgic ingredients, like shrubs and switchels, are now the shop’s claim to fame. In addition to the bar, the venue houses a brick + mortar shop offering an array of items for beverage enthusiasts to dabble in the art of mixed drinks (with or without spirits).  

We sell bitters, syrups, shakers, muddlers, vintage glassware, coasters, and more.  We create and produce our own line of specialty cocktail and mocktail ingredients. Using simple, clean, and organic ingredients, we offer DIY spirits Infusions, DIY simple syrups, bitter’s infused sugar cubes and our own line of old-fashioned bitters.

So sit back and be prepared to taste a drink from an era gone by. A time when one “sat a spell” and “sipped a drink” that was crafted to be enjoyed.

Maine Inflatable Pubs

Owner James McClay has been an  active member of the local Irish Community from his arrival where he serves as President of the AOH, Vice President of the Irish American Club and volunteers with the Maine Irish Heritage Centre. James is passionate about sharing his Irish culture and heritage and looks forward to bringing a taste of Ireland to you with Maine Inflatable Pubs.  Make your event one to remember with your very own pub, personalized signage and all, yours to keep.  Our Pubs are perfect for any event backyard bbq’s, bachelor/bachelorette parties, weddings or corporate events. The pub requires an open space of 40 ft x 20 ft to be set up.

America’s Stonehenge

Built by a Native American Culture or a migrant European population? No one knows for sure. A maze of man-made chambers, walls and ceremonial meeting places, at over 4,000 years old America’s Stonehenge is most likely the oldest man-made construction in the United States. 

Like Stonehenge in England, America’s Stonehenge was built by ancient people well versed in astronomy and stone construction. It has been determined that the site is an accurate astronomical calendar. It was, and still can be, used to determine specific solar and lunar events of the year. Various inscriptions have been found throughout the site including Ogham, Phoenician and Iberian Punic Script. Dr. Barry Fell of Harvard University did extensive work on the inscriptions found at the site. They are detailed in his book America B.C

Dennis Stone is the president of America’s Stonehenge. He graduated from Daniel Webster College in 1977 with a degree in Aviation Management, and was a full-time commercial pilot for over 35 years before his retirement in 2016. America’s Stonehenge was opened to the public in 1958 by Dennis’s father, Robert Stone. Dennis has been involved with America’s Stonehenge for most of his life and has always had a fascination with archaeology and archaeoastronomy. He has taken numerous courses and traveled extensively to ancient sites both in the U.S. and internationally. His family includes his wife Pat, his son Kelsey, and his daughter-in-law Katherine. His hobbies include traveling, boating, and classic cars.

Moonlight Meadery

Michael Fairbrother started Moonlight Meadery in 2010 with a mission to bring ultra premium meads to the market. It’s more than just a product and a process, it’s our obsession. With over 1 million bottles sold and over 20 international awards, Moonlight Meadery is one of the best meaderies in the world. We are bringing mead to the masses by making a range of flavors so diverse that anyone can find one they enjoy.

“Mead to me is passion, it’s about living and love, it’s about enjoyment, family and friends, and sharing.” Michael Fairbrother, Founder and Mead Maker.

It all started back in 1995 when Michael tried a cyser (apple and honey mead) for the first time at a BFD homebrew party. Since that first sip Michael has developed a passion and masterful skill at making international award winning meads. After being recognized as New England’s best mead maker for three consecutive years, Michael quit his full time day job in 2010 and progressed from moonlighting as a mead maker to full time production – he has not looked back.

Mead and Ciders are only as good as the quality of their ingredients and the passion of the maker. This is why we use only True Source Certified or Certified Organic honey, which is traceable back to the hives and follows ethical sourcing guidelines. We never pasteurize the honey we use, ensuring that the volatile aromatics of the honey are preserved in our meads. We work hard to source ingredients as locally as possible. Our cider is fresh pressed virtually out our back door. Our blueberries grow wild on the tops of mountains here in New England. We are committed to use the best quality ingredients. We don’t add sulfites, sorbates, or manufactured flavorings to our meads or ciders.

Our meads have earned medals every year we entered the Mazer Cup International as well as the San Diego International Beer Competition. The Mazer Cup is the largest mead competition in the world, it’s the GABF of the mead world. Our ciders have also been deemed excellent to outstanding by the highest ranked judges in the country, also won ‘Best of Show Mead & Cider’ at the  2019 San Diego International Beer Fest.

Parlee Farms

Parlee Farms is a Pick-Your-Own Fruit, Flower & Vegetable Farm with Farmstand, Mary’s Country Kitchen & Bakery offering fresh fruit desserts & ice cream, Annie’s Animal Barns with over 60 friendly   animals to feed & pet, and more family fun activites!  The family owned farm was started in 1987 by Ellen& Mark Parlee, the farm grows and allows the public to pick Strawberries, Sweet Cherries, Blueberries, Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Apples, Pumpkins and Flowers.  Sweet Corn is grown for resale in the Farmstand as well as fresh picked fruit and other local vegetables, Donuts – we make our own donuts from a local cider and a mix and they are made in their farm stand right before your eyes, we also        sell jams, jellies, and honey from our beekeeper.  Annie’s Animal Barns have farm animals to feed. Mary’s Country Kitchen has fresh fruit desserts and ice cream. Our large pumpkin patch covers about 10 acres and we show you how we harvest them, the pumpkins are all sizes/color/shapes, we do not use the  pumpkins for eating; they are grown for decoration.

Berthillon (Ice Cream Shop) 

Berthillon is a French manufacturer and retailer of luxury ice cream and sorbet, with its primary store on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris, France. The company is owned and operated by the Chauvin family, descendants of the eponymous Monsieur Berthillon, who from 1954 operated a restaurant on the premises called “Le Bourgogne”. The ice cream shop became famous in 1961 when a French restaurant guide Gault Millau wrote about “this astonishing ice cream shop hidden in a bistro on the Ile Saint-Louis.


For the flavours: chocolate sorbet, Pistachio, Wild  Strawberries, mandarine, chocolate ice-cream

The chocolat sorbet is on the left side of the photo It’s the darkest one  – dairy free.

Folie Gourmande Verrières-Le-Buisson

Folie Gourmande is a traditional pastry bakery located about ten kilometers south of Paris. There are 6 employees. All products are homemade with passion and love of the trade. Anxious to use quality products to satisfy its customers

Le Fromager de Sceaux (Cheese Shop)

For 3 generations, the Verdot family has been selecting and refining a wide variety of cheeses in its cellars. From the most traditional to the most sought after, with raw milk, quality and traditional farmhouse tradition, she puts her know-how at your service to help you discover the best cheeses, from our French terroirs.

For you, the shop selects the best products, with the probe, according to the appearance and the taste, and of course the season. They will then be more or less refined depending on the climate and your palates. There is something for everyone, whether you like dry or fresh cheeses, sweet or strong, our products will satisfy you.


cheese shop

Les Saveurs de L’ocean (Fish Shop) 

Address: 17 rue Houdan, 92330 SCEAUX, France 

Marché Gourmand

An annual village event that takes place in Verrieres-le-Buisson called ‘Marché Gourmand’. It’s like a food market with lots of artisan foods from all over France. Hams, honey, cheese, cakes, olives, nougat, different savors of France. Event starts at 10am + finishes at 8pm.  

Address: 91370 Verrieres-le-Buisson

Secret Food Tours 

Founded in 2014 by friends Nico Jacquart and Oli Mernick-Levene, Secret Food Tours has been helping travellers discover the best bites in destinations all over the globe. Since then, we’ve grown rapidly from our first tour in Paris to today, receiving over 150,000 customers annually with more than 8,000 five-star reviews in over 60 cities worldwide. Led by passionate guides, our tours highlight our famous Secret Dishes as well as foods loved by locals and overlooked by tourists, creating an authentic experience.

Our Food Tour consisted of the following – 

  • Tasting a super light meringue cake – Meringues are on the menu of French Pastries since 1691 and they are very popular.
  • Falafel on the Rue des Rosier (the original Jewish district of Paris and “Falafels Street”)  
  • Chocolates and Macaroons tasting at Edwart Chocolatier Marais.


Aux Merveilleux de Fred (Meringues)

Amazing meringues cakes called Merveilleux, surrounded by whipped cream and dusted with chocolates shavings, meringue bits or nuts pieces.


Chez Hanna (Falafels)

Falafel balls, secret dish of the tour in the Jewish area, made with coriander, mashed chick peas and spices topped with sesame sauce.

Edwart (Chocolates & Macarons)

Edwin Yansané is the co-founder of Edwart Chocolatier, Paris. His career so far includes two successful stores in the hip areas of Le Marais and Concorde.  We opened our own chocolate shop to try to make new things, to move away from classical combinations and try and offer chocolate not already available. Paris is a very cosmopolitan city and it inspires a lot of our chocolate. Not everything is super innovative; there were some chefs already working with spices for example, but we wanted to make it more available to Parisians. Also I chose chocolate because there is no limit to the creativity. Edwin tells Catherine “Chocolate is like wine, and it can have many different notes which appeal to different people, for example chocolate from Vietnam is very earthy, but from the Dominican Republic it is more fruity, it is not the percentage of the chocolate that affects its taste but the trees, the earth, the sun, even the moment that the farmer cuts the pod, that will all affect the flavour of chocolate”.


Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck

The Montparnasse Tower Panoramic Observation Deck offers a 360° view of all of Paris

In 38 seconds, Europe’s fastest elevator will take you to the 56th floor. The city’s architecture is showcased from a modern and comfortable space that is completely surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, with 

displays that help visitors better understand its history and its dynamism. Discover the capital from a different perspective!

The Montparnasse Tower outdoor terrace was designed to maximise the astonishing view of Paris. Airy, with a modern sheltered walking area, the panoramic terrace has areas designed for taking the loveliest photos of Paris. Each hour of the day has its own charm and quality of light: romantic morning shots facing the Eiffel Tower, the magnificent Parisian sunset, and the stunning lights of “Paris by Night”. 

During the summer you can enjoy the unforgettable view from the Champagne bar while sipping bubbly.


Canal St-Martin

The Canal Saint-Martin is a 4.6 km long canal in Paris, connecting the Canal de l’Ourcq to the river Seine. Over nearly half its length, between the Rue du Faubourg du Temple and the Place de la Bastille, it was covered, in the mid-19th century, to create wide boulevards and public spaces on the surface.

Today, the canal is a popular destination for Parisians and tourists. Some take cruises on the canal in passenger boats. Others watch the barges and other boats navigate the series of locks and pass under the attractive cast-iron footbridges. There are many popular restaurants and bars along the open part of the canal, which is also popular with students.

Drimnagh is a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, situated on the Southside of the county between Walkinstown, Crumlin and Inchicore, bordering the Grand Canal to the north & east. Drimnagh Castle was, until 1954 one of the oldest continually inhabited Castles in Ireland, and is an outstanding example of an old feudal stronghold. It is the only Irish castle still to be surrounded by a flooded moat, a very picturesque feature, described in 1780 as a “very deep ditch of water supplied from the Green Hills”. It is now stocked with fish. The castle, built of local grey limestone, consists of a restored Great Hall and medieval undercroft, a tall battlement tower with lookout posts, and other separate buildings including stables, old coach, dairy and folly tower. One of the most attractive aspects of Drimnagh is the garden – a formal 17th Century layout with box hedges, yews, mop head laurels and an allee of hornbeam. 

Paris is the capital city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometers (41 square miles) and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019.  Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe’s major centers of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

The City of Paris has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France.The city has a major railway, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle (the second busiest airport in Europe) and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city’s subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily and is the 2nd busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. 

Clondalkin is a suburban town situated 10 km west of Dublin city centre, Ireland, under the administrative jurisdiction of South Dublin. The name is also used in relation to the area’s religious parishes. It features an eighth-century round tower that acts as a focal point for the area. 

The Round Tower 

The Round Tower, Clondalkin was founded in the 7th century by St Mochua and is one of only four remaining round towers in Co. Dublin. Thought to have been built around 790 AD, the tower stands at 27.5 metres high, still has its original cap and is thought to be the most slender of all the round towers in Ireland. The Round Tower experience incorporates an interactive visitor centre, public gardens, café, terraced dining area, exhibition and gallery spaces and shop.

The exhibition can be enjoyed through eight distinctive themed spaces of the refurbished 19th century Mill Cottages and brings to life the monastic setting, the Viking legacy, the 19th and early 20th-century setting of Clondalkin, a busy Dublin village, as well as exploring the role that round towers performed both socially and politically in Ireland.

The visitor centre is located close to Corkagh Park, the Grand Canal Greenway and Áras Chrónáin Irish Cultural Centre, which combined together add a different heritage experience beyond the city centre and close to the natural outdoors of Dublin in South Dublin County.

Osijek is the fourth largest city in Croatia with a population of 108,048 in 2011. It is the largest city and the economic and cultural center of the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia, as well as the administrative centre of Osijek-Baranja County. Osijek is located on the right bank of the river Drava, 25 kilometres (16 mi) upstream of its confluence with the Danube, at an elevation of 94 meters (308 ft).Osijek remains a popular domestic tourist destination for its Baroque style, open spaces and ample recreational opportunities. 

The most important sights in the city include the main square, Trg Ante Starčevića, Tvrđa the 18th century Baroque citadel, the promenade along the Drava (“promenada”), and the suspension pedestrian bridge towards Baranja.

The Municipal Park of King Petar Krešimir IV and the Tomislav Park date from the beginning of the 20th century, and are protected national landmarks. Osijek is also home to one of the few Croatian zoological gardens, along the Drava river. The city is home to a monument to Ante Starčević. 

The Co-cathedral of St. Peter and Paul (Sv. Petar i Pavao) is a Neo-Gothic structure with the 

second highest tower in Croatia after the Zagreb Cathedral. The tower measures 90 m (295.28 ft) and can be seen from throughout Osijek. Because of its size most locals refer to it as the cathedral but it is only a parish church. 

Fethard-on-Sea or Fethard is a village in southwest County Wexford in Ireland. It lies on the R734 road on the eastern side of the Hook peninsula, between Waterford Harbour and Bannow Bay. 

The village has a population of 311. It lies in the Fethard electoral district in the Wexford constituency. Its main industries are fishing and tourism. 

Hook Lighthouse 

Explore the oldest operational lighthouse in the world. Voted one of Ireland’s favourite attractions, Hook Lighthouse in Wexford is truly one of a kind.

Purpose built 800 years ago by Knight William Marshal, take a step back in time and enjoy a guided tour hearing tales of medieval times and life as a light keeper.

Take in the spectacular view from the balcony with miles of sea rolling out before you. Enjoy the visitor centre with gift shop, artwork shop, exhibits and café. Guided tours are on offer 7 days a week sharing with visitors one of the greatest experiences on Ireland’s Ancient East.

Newfoundland is a large Canadian island off the east coast of the North American mainland, and the most populous part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has 29 percent of the province’s land area. The island is separated from the Labrador Peninsula by the Strait of Belle Isle and from Cape Breton Island by the Cabot Strait. It blocks the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River, creating the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the world’s largest estuary. Newfoundland’s nearest neighbour is the French overseas community of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

With an area of 108,860 square kilometres (42,031 sq mi), Newfoundland is the world’s 16th-largest island, Canada’s fourth-largest island, and the largest Canadian island outside the North. 

The provincial capital, St. John’s, is located on the southeastern coast of the island; Cape Spear, just south of the capital, is the easternmost point of North America, excluding Greenland. It is common to consider all directly neighboring islands such as New World, Twillingate, Fogo and Bell Island to be ‘part of Newfoundland’ (i.e., distinct from Labrador). By that classification, Newfoundland and its associated small islands have a total area of 111,390 square kilometres (43,008 sq mi).

jelly bean row