A menu that should have been on holidays :(

Camping was fun.

I haven’t written up a weekly menu in ages. I got bored doing it and wondered if you all got bored reading them? (Comments below!) However I also started using a new app to write my weekly menus which made it difficult to copy and paste as I previously did. I am totally in love with this app, AnyList, and it has saved time and trouble a-plenty in our gaff. I have tried numerous grocery/ meal planning apps and this is the only one that has worked well for this household. The app is called AnyList and I’m sorry to report Androids that it is only available for iOS.

These are the reasons I love it:

  1. Both of the adults in our household can see shared lists, add to them and striking things off. Fingers crossed they will bring out an Android app soon so we can include younger family members in the listmaking fun.
  2. Also works beautifully on the iPad. And importantly for my battered old iPad, works really well without Wifi.
  3. In a recent-ish update the ability to import or add recipes and organise them into a weekly calendar was added. This has made this app indispensable to me.
  4. You can then scroll through the ingredients, marking which ones you want to add to your grocery list.
  5. It then goes out and does the shopping for you.

Guess which of those reasons is total wishful thinking? Sigh.

Camping was fun.

So just over a week ago I posted my recipe for Campfire Cones. They didn’t get much of a look in on our holiday which we should still be enjoying. Thanks to the torrential rain in the North West of Ireland, we gave up and came home last Friday. We have one nice day on Keem Beach in Achill which is truly one of the most lovely beaches in Ireland. There are many lovely beaches in Ireland; it’s only a pity there aren’t as many lovely days…

So we are home and trying to maintain the holiday vibe. We’ve had family staying with us for the last couple of days which helped keep up the pretence and the fun factor. A trip to the market in Bushy Park on a fine sunny afternoon helped a lot. I would recommend a wander up there some Saturday: I had a most excellent coffee from the Saltpeter Coffee Truck, I shared a pizza with Nipper 2.0 and 3.0 and Nipper 1.0 and cousins had delicious burgers. There was also a Twink sighting but we were all too shy to talk to her. My sister in law also bought some Brie from the Little Milk Company which I am looking forward to trying out.

One meal taken care of, then I shopped for the following with the much appreciated help of my sister in law – I wish I could have a sister in law along to relieve the boredom of every shop.

I suppose one advantage to being at home is that we could go all out on recipes for holidays, no more one-pot wonders on the Trangia! However we knew we were going to get out and about so we needed some dishes that would be easy to put together. The only new one on the menu is the Chipotle Bean Chilli and it went down a treat with all.

  • Baked Sausages in a Spicy Tomato Sauce from Nessa’s Family Kitchen by Nessa Robbins. This is a great recipe when having a family  with small kids to visit: there is something for everyone in it. Keep your eyes peeled for Nessa’s book – it’s a good family all rounder with some added home nurse tips.
  • Chicken Tikka from VinnieMeyler.com, spices by Green Saffron (highly recommended). Chicken curry when our French family are visiting has become a bit of a running joke. We accidentally served it to them two visits in a row, only realising when we got a strong sense of deja vu when someone objected to a particular aspect of the meal. As we had them for two meals this time we served this up for old time’s sake.
  • Chipotle Bean Chilli with Baked Eggs. This was added to the menu so I could have a go of my new chipotle paste which I picked up from Picado Mexican on South Richmond St. here in Dublin. I’ve been eyeing this shop up for some time, but always from the bus or car so I snatched a moment to pop in (when I was buying Tilda Basmati rice in bulk in a nearby Asian market!) I have since been adding the paste to lots of different sauces – it is delicious. I also picked up a pack of these corn tortillas which had a great flavour and the novelty of their smallness was appreciated by the kids.
  • 25 Minute Cod with Lentils This looks a little disconcerting but tastes AMAZING because, well, bacon.
  • Spaghetti Bolognese by Rachel Allen. I have started making this half and half beef and pork mince as per an option in her recipe. Not only is it more cost effective it adds an extra dimension to the flavour.
  • Pizza Friday!

Run, Rosie, Run!

This is what me + 5 miles looks like.

I’m running in the Dublin Mini Marathon on Monday 1st June. It’s a 10 kilometre race. I hope you will be able to sponsor me and support Arc Cancer Support Services.

I wouldn’t quite say I’ve got the running bug. Unlike a friend of mine I don’t look forward to my run every (second) day. I’m always glad when I’ve done it and building up to 10 kilometres (again!) over the last three months have given me a real sense of achievement. And a waist!

When I started running again (about a week before a significant birthday – analyse that!) I decided I was aiming for the mini-marathon. It’s finally nearly here and it will actually be my second race! To get in the mood (!) I took part in the Terenure 5 Mile. I would highly recommend this race to anyone starting or improving. It’s a nice flat race with a dedicated lane. There were very few walkers who were instructed to walk on the pavement as the runners passed them by. It kicked off at 11am, far enough from breakfast but not after lunch (hello Mini-marathon organisers: 2pm?)

This is what me + 5 miles looks like.
This is what me + 5 miles looks like.

Doing this race gave me a real sense of achievement and a strong idea of how I might hope to do over 10km. It was my first time running with other people and also with an audience. I didn’t really notice much except for a few incidences. There was a couple of folk rooting for us at the top of the (very slight) hill and they really spurred me on. I overheard a pedestrian saying to her companion, “God it’d really make you want to head to the pub for a pint.” Then a young kid near the end, standing outside his house, shouting, “I’ve got a Wispa for you!” cracked me up.

The only slight disappointment was that I wasn’t able to use my time (ahem 47min39sec) for the mini-marathon because it was 3 days after their closing date for qualifying times. I wonder will I manage it in under 75 minutes and make the fast joggers category…?

It’s amazing the hooks that keep you going when you are pushing yourself like this. I’m running the mini-marathon in aid of Arc Cancer Support Centre. You can sponsor me via MyCharity.ie. I know that thinking about all those donations and the work that Arc do is going to give me a massive push on the day. Thinking about the people it will benefit, two friends in particular, will keep my feet flying. Thinking about their positivity in the face of uncertainty will get me over that finish line.

I used the Run10k App to get me this far and highly recommend if you are starting from scratch.

Next plan is to start going to the Tymon Park Run and improving my speed. I will use a training programme from RunKeeper to help me do this. Nipper 1.0 says he is going to start training with me over the summer. This would be great!

Tuesday Tune: Somewhere to Go by Sue Rynhart

I’m posting this like Tuesday Tune is going to become a thing on my blog. It might but I make no promises.

Sue Rynhart released this video at the end of 2014. Perfect timing (as you would expect from a musician) for her album Crossings to be among the Ticket Awards 2014 nominations as jazz album of the year. I hadn’t even considered the album as jazz until that moment. Featuring only Rynhart’s enthralling voice accompanied by Dan Bodwell on double bass the music on her debut album is, as Bernard CLarke of Lyric FM describes it, “unclassifiable.” Rynhart and Bodwell can be heard live as part of Kaleidoscope Night on 4th February, details to be announced.

Yes, yes I know I should have posted this at the time to help with the popular vote but pre-Christmas was crackers busy. I know Sue for a number of years as she has worked with my sister Abigail on a number of projects.

The whole album is worth a listen and don’t let The Ticket’s genre-pushing put you off!

Sierra Leonean Art: A talk in Collins Barracks Museum, 15 November

Bill Hart plays a ceremonial horn

I got the following email below from my mother recently:

I am a member of the Sierra Leone Ireland Partnership which advocates for justice and civil and economic rights there. Like others in the group I worked in Sierra Leone for some years in the 1960s. The news from Sierra Leone is not good at the moment and we all hope that with help from all their supporters they will overcome this crisis as they have others in recent times.

Bill Hart plays a ceremonial horn
Bill Hart plays a ceremonial horn

Earlier this year before the Ebola outbreak the Irish Government opened an embassy in Freetown and we decided to celebrate by arranging a talk about the Sierra Leone collections in the National Museum of Ireland. It will be given by Dr Bill Hart, an academic with a lifelong interest in West African traditional art particularly Sierra Leone. He has published many articles on this subject. In the course of his research he discovered that there were a number of items from Sierra Leone in our National Museum which had been presented to the museum over the past 200 years mainly by Irish people working in the colonial service.

You are invited to attend this talk at 11.00am next Saturday Nov 15th in the National Museum Collins Barracks. Admission is free but booking is essential at bookingscb@museum.ie

Please tell any of your friends who might be interested about this talk.

Sounds like a fascinating morning sharing a positive side of life in Sierra Leone and Irish involvement there. If you’re curious to know more about Sierra Leonean Art you should book now before places fill up.

Butaisí: a crochet booties pattern

Butaisí

If the long-awaited arrival of a pair of twins to two good friends isn’t an occasion for celebration, I don’t know what is. I choose to celebrate by publishing my first ever crochet pattern; a crochet booties pattern. I have made many booties over the years but was never 100% happy with any one pattern. So, with a nod of thanks to Suzanne Lesaul for the wonderful sole, I present Butaisí, booties for a newborn, or two. 

A super cute pair of booties to fit a newborn baby. Perfect to keep their little toes warm in the winter. Or more likely to give them something to chew on.

Can be made with 4 ply acrylic or cotton double knit although the lighter the latter the better. The picture here shows the booties in a lovely sunny yellow which I rustled up from Crelando Spring which I picked up in Lidl last Easter.

Also available in mobile device magazine format here. Lots more pictures and snazzy layout – sure where would you be going? For anyone on Ravelry I have added it to their pattern database so add it to your favourites and let me know of your progress.

You can also purchase a PDF of this pattern for €3.00 via Ravelry and keep it forevereverever.

Butaisí
Butaisí

US crochet terminology throughout.

MATERIALS:

SPECIAL STITCHES:

BLO Back Loop Only. Do the stitch in the back part of the stitch. Looking at the top of the stitch, it looks like a sideways V. Hook the stitch into the part of the V farthest from you.

FPSC Front Post Single Crochet. Look at your crochet stitch. We have our sideways V on top. Below this V is the POST of the stitch. Hook around this post to create your stitch. It gives a great effect!

FPDC Front Post Double Crochet. Same as above but DOUBLE crochet.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Foundation chain: With 3.5mm hook, chain 12, leaving slip knot loose. Slip stitch in 2nd chain from hook.

This first section, sole and shoe sides, crochet in the round.

Row 1. Sl st 6 stitches. 5 sc. 3 sc in loose slip knot. Tighten slip knot. Working on opposite side of initial chain 5 sc, 6 sl st. Sl st to join. Ch 2

Row 2. Sc in base of 2ch. 2 sc in next stitch 10 sc. 2 sc in each of next 3 sc. 10 sc. 2 sc in next st. Sl st to join. (31 st)

Row 3. Ch 2. Sc in base of 2ch. 2 sc in next 2 stitches. 8 sc 2 hdc. 2 hdc in each of next 2 st. 2 sc. 2 hdc in each of next 2 sc. 2 hdc. 8 sc. 2 sc in each of next 2sc. Sl st to join.

Row 4. Ch 2. 1 sc. 2 sc in each of next 3 stitches. 12 sc. 2 sc in each of 3 st. 2 sc. 2 sc in each of next 3 st. 12 sc. 2 sc in each of next 3st. ss to join. (52 st) Sole of bootie complete.

Switch to 2.5mm hook. Crochet in the round. You are now creating the sides of the booties.

Row 5. FPSC around.

Row 6. FPSC around.

Row 7. Sc BLO around

Row 8. Sc BLO around.

Fasten off.

Switch to 3.5 mm hook.

With toe facing you place a marker at centre stitch then count 7 stitches to left. Place marker. Count seven stitches to right. Place marker.

Row 9. Starting at marker at left of toe attach yarn and, working FPDC for both row 9 and 10, Ch 2, DC, 2(DC 2 TOG), DC3TOG, 3(DC2TOG)

Row 10. Ch 2. DC7TOG. Fasten off.

Switch to 2.5mm hook for 1 row only.

Row 11. Join yarn to stitch on side closest to toe cap and sl st to side of shoe i.e. into one of the BLOs made in row 8. 9 sc across cap. 2 sl st along side of shoe  i.e. into two of the BLOs made in row 8 on opposite side of shoe. This would be a turning chain in a flat piece of crochet.

Switch to 3.5mm hook again.

Row 12. Ch 1 SC Repeat 3 times across toe cap. 1 sc. 2 sl st to join to side of shoe  i.e. into one of the BLOs made in row 8. Turn.

Row 13 Sc Ch 1 Repeat 3 times across toe cap. 1 sc. 2 sl st to join to side of shoe  i.e. into one of the BLOs made in row 8. Turn.

Row 14 – 19 Repeat rows 12 & 13 3 times. However on row 19 continue ch1 SC onto shoe side and continue around. Row 20: 14(Ch1 SC) Row 21 Continue (Sc Ch1) until row 31.

Row 32 Crab stitch all around to finish i.e. insert hook to RIGHT and sc to right all around. Sl st to join.

Fasten off.

Repeat for 2nd bootie.

Weave in ends. Pop on the nearest tiny wee foot. Be chuffed and try not to faint with cuteness overload.