Support Small Business

Introduction

One note we have taken away from this pandemic has been to appreciate what we have right on our doorsteps and support small business all over the country.

The wanderlust to travel far and see all corners of the globe has and will never change but there is something that has been really therapeutic about getting to know our own surroundings.

Personally we have all suffered but as we enter a stage where maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We say it’s time to get things rolling again.

Support Small Business Drive

Local, small independent businesses have suffered massively and the recovery is not an overnight fix its going to be a hard slog to get back to normal. We have taken it upon ourselves to step out and lend a hand with our very own new section Support Small Business. We aim to highlight the best of all small businesses and bring them to the forefront.

It’s become evermore important to look for local and support small business in all local communities. It could be buying gift, an outfit, a tour of some sort – it doesn’t matter, your local business needs that boost.

Our Vision For Support Small Business

In this series with interview small businesses, find out what they are about, what they do and what they offer. We will try and get in depth and find out not only about the the businesses, but the people behind them and how it’s been like and how they go forward.

We are going back over past trips and look at local businesses we have used and reconnecting to bring this series.

So stay tuned for new announcements our first business is coming soon and we cant wait to share these with you.

Inform Us

Have a small business or want to recommend somewhere contact us on richard@chalkandcheesetravels.com, Our Contact Page or through our socials below

That’s it for now episode one coming soon!!!!!

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We have already had success with our sections on local small indpendant Restaurants and Cafe on the Gold Coast in Australia. And these are sections we are starting to explore now in Ireland and the UK as well. Again contact us for more info.

2021 Travel Roundup

A year of limited travel

Our 2021 travel roundup, a year after the pandemic started we were hopeful of some travel after a disruptive 2020 and a lot of cancellations. But just as the year started the waves of the virus kept coming and with a young family and new born we were staying put.

Staying Local

Not to be disheartened and a desire for adventure 2021 become the second year of local travel. To be honest, and being relatively new to Ireland thèse opportunities to travel our own locality have actually been most enjoyable.

Staying in our own county

The first 6 months was a full lockdown here in Ireland so movement was limited but we took to Google and found some local sites within this beautiful country.

Slibth Bawn wind farm

After moving house late 2020 our location brought us to just outside Roscommon. Surrounded by hillside the only negative of the move was the dozen or so wind turbines in the background.

Although a bit of a eyesore we proceeded with the move.

Embracing the wind farm

Call it an eye sore or what you like the wind turbines were part of life now, so with that in mind embracing was our best move. So one morning we headed up as we had heard there was a walking track and stunning views up there.

Slibth Bawn wind farm

The turbines as big as they look on the hills are even bigger close up. And to be quite honest I was fascinated by the engineering involved in these.

Slibth Bawn walks

Walking tracks through the hills and wind farm are very well maintained and actually very pleasant, with great views, enchanting forest and even some religious sites to be seen.

Slibth Bawn walking tracks

Portrunny Bay

Anither visit of ours was Poŕtrunny Bay located on the South West corer of Lough Ree. Another local site less than 20 minutes from us.

Great walks and views and seems a ever popular spot for fishing and people taking sails on boats.

Portrunny Bay

Australia Catch Up

With the lockdown in place it did allow to get in front in our writing and catching up and finishing with our Australia content.

We looked T the ultimate Gold Coast guide with the Top 40 Things To Do. Continuing the Gold Coast we looked at the best restaurants, cafes and the great area of Mountain Tamborine

Restaurant Guides

Another lockdown idea was to launch a restaurant and cafe guide section reviewing some of recommendations and choices from around the world. A topic we hope to really get going in 2022 and look to open up to other people to add reviews to build a large database.

Here are a few examples below of our restaurant reviews

And some of our cafes.

Navan Back on The Road

Early summer saw us head east for a family getaway.  Navan was the base we a few local points we wanted to visit and close to Dublin.

Causey Farm

Starting off at the farm for the kids to enjoy was a necessity after the drive. Lots of the usual irish farm animals, hoats  cows,pigs and donkeys, petting and feeding for the kids.

Causey Farm

Walks around the grounds with mazes a and kids activities around every corner. A huge plot of land which has been so well executed into a fun and interactive day for the kids.

Causey Farm adventure walk

Bective Stud

We chose a stay in a active stud farm, if not by chance we got lucky as Bective Stud was amazing. The stud farm itself is new in the last few yes and even for someone who knows nothing about horses the money and facilities gone into it were impressive.

Bective Stud

The apartments were unreal the decor, cleanliness and comfort were all first class. The grounds around which are available to roam around in are so well kept and perfect to get out in the fresh air.

Bective Stud accommodation

Make a booking at Bective Stud

Hill of Tara

A late afternoon drive took us to the Hill of Tara, renowned for its ancient ceremonial and burial site and not to mention the stunning views out over the Navan countryside and beyond.

Hill of Tara view

Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo was next on the agenda. With the ongoing pandemic, restrictions were in place and all indoor shows and animals were a no go.

Dublin Zoo adventure

A one way system was in place which was fine, we did find a lot of empty areas not sure if this is because of the pandemic or just areas which haven’t been field. Nonetheless we had fun and the kids loved it.

Maybe check ahead before booking and see what’s available.

Make a booking via Dublin Zoo.

Westport weekend

A weekend kid free, this was more of a reconasnce mission to find out about this town we had heard so much about, restrictions were still in place but nonetheless walking, exploring, eating and drinking were on the agenda.

Knockranny House

We chose Knockranny House, close to town and a 4 star rating we thought we would treat ourselves. If truth be told although certainly not a bad hotel the Knockranny certainly needs bringing up to the 21st century. Very outdated rooms and food that is in real need of modernising.

Knockranny House Hotel

It didn’t ruin the weekend but at $300 a night there is certainly better value.

We walked the streets and impressive back streets of Westport and visited the grounds of Westport House and this was all rather picturesque place to visit.

Westport streets

This whole trip quick trip gave us some great insight for a longer trip planned for 2022, so stay tuned.

Road trip

Late October we set of on a little road trip from home in Roscommon via Galway and the off down part of Wild Atlantic way to Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher.

Doolin

We stayed in the little town of Doolin, a colourful little town, full of great traditional pubs and eateries. With access to the Cliffs of Moher walk, the Doolin pier with ferries to the Aran Islands and the Great Doolin Caves.

Doolin village

We hit the jackpot in a excellent Airbnb with beautiful views of the rugged wild west coastline. Brilliantlyexecuted and equipped stay and well worth recommending to anyone.

Airbnb Doolin

Make sure you book your Stay.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

We got to see one of Irelands most famous features the legendary Cliffs of Moher. Albeit a challenge with two small children we found this great hack in Guerins Path a little unknown car park metres from the top of the Cliffs and half the price of the main car park.

Guerins Path

It meant we avoided the walk, although the walk itself is far better and one we wanted to do with a young family it was a perfect option.

Castles

If there is one thing Ireland has an abundance of is castles. They say around 30,000 in total. There are do many striking with many restored, but many in ruins we want to tick some off. Here is the ones we did.

Only 29,994 to go !!!

Moving into 2022

We had said an early trip to Lisbon was on the cards but due to the surge of Omicron wave and and PCR testing and quarantine we opted to delay and save for a later date.

A long awaited trip back to the UK is certainly on the cards and we keep the fingers crossed for some potential European this summer.

And then there is Ireland with the success of the family road trip, possibly trips to Donegal and down to the Ring of Kerry are high up on the list.

And that’s it for now

So that’s it for our 2021 travel roundup, hopefully this time next year we will bring you more adventures from our year. Come by and keep up to date with our Instagram and Twitter so you don’t miss a thing

Stay safe and happy travels

Richard and Michelle

Banh Xeo ( Vietnamese Rice Cake) Recipe

Bánh Xèo

We have decided to start posting a few recipes from local dishes around the world I have picked up over my travels. Being a chef myself I love picking up new and fresh ideas and first up we will go with the Vietnamese pancake bánh xèo recipe.

Food from Vietnam is divine here is one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes to try. Bánh xèo or crispy Vietnamese pancakes dish does not disappoint and your be wanting more and a bit more. The use of fresh herbs and bean sprouts in the dish really give it a great texture and flavour.

Meaning

Bánh xèo  is a crispy, stuffed rice pancake popular in Vietnam. Bánh mean cake while xèo means sizzle. The name refers to the loud sound the rice batter makes when it is poured into the hot skillet. It is a savoury fried pancake made of rice flour, water, and turmeric powder.

Where To Eat

I remember my first experience of bánh xèo, in the Ben Tahn Markets in Ho Chi Minh City. Such great texture, flavour and freshness. Other popular spots to find these where on the street food scene of Ho Chi Minh City, a very popular street food item for the city.

We also tried them at a favourite Vietnamese spot of ours on the Gold Coast a restaurant called Can Tho Kitchen. It was just like being transported back to Vietnam itself

Ingredients For Bánh Xèo

Serves: 4 

Crepe

  • 160g rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
  • 240ml coconut milk
  • 120ml water

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil,
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or more to taste
  • 350g fresh prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, or more to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Picked coriander bunch
  • 50g diced spring onion
  • 450g bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch thai basil
  • 1/2 bunch mint
  • 4 lettuce leaves, or as needed

Method

  1. Mix rice flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and turmeric together in a large bowl. Beat in coconut milk to make a thick batter. Slowly beat in water until batter is the consistency of a thin crepe batter.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until soften but not browning, 1 to 2 minutes. Add prawns; saute until cooked through and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with fish sauce, lime juice and salt. Transfer filling to a bowl.
  3. Preheat oven to 110 C / Gas ¼.
  4. Wipe the pan and reheat over medium heat. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon oil. Stir crepe batter and pour 1/2 mug into the hot pan, swirling to coat the bottom. Lay 3 or 4 of the cooked prawns on the bottom half of the crepe. Top with a small handful of beansprouts, coriander, thai basil, mint and spring onions. Cook until batter looks set and edges start to brown, about 1 minute. Fold crepe over and slide onto an oven-safe plate.
  5. Place crepe in the preheated oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter and filling.
  6. Serve lettuce leaves alongside filled crepes. Break off pieces of crepe and roll up in lettuce leaves to eat.

Enjoy let us know how it goes

Thanks for stopping by, its a pleasure to share

We love Vietnamese food so much and it was also one of our favourite trips check out our Vietnam food story below

Our Vietnam Food journey Enjoy! Also recipes and dishes like this Vietnamese pancake go live on our Instagram page.

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