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!

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.

Déanta ag Rosie: Taking pride in making


A bilingual blog post so skim on through if you have no Irish as there is more for the Anglophile below. There will be a touch more Irish on this site in future as my gig with Beo.ie has fallen by the wayside due to the loss of their funding. I need somewhere to keep it going! In this post I muse on the burgeoning pride in making and on how the Internet allows us to take pride and share the creative process.

Bhí mé ag súil nach mbeadh anseo ach blagmhír scioptha faoi rudaí a chríochnaigh mé le déanaí. Ach tá mé díreach tagtha ar ais ó pháirt a ghlacadh ar an gclár cainte Róisín ar TG4 agus cuir an ábhar cainte ag smaoineamh mé. Ní bhíonn am a dhóthain ar teilifís nó ar raidió ceisteanna móra an lae a phlé in iomlán. Nílim ag cur an milleán ar an dteilifís ach sin mar atá an foirmeád. Is iomaí uair a shéan mé ábhar dom’ phíosa ar Splanc Newstalk toisc go raibh sé ró-chasta nó fealsúnach in ionad ceann le níos mó siamsaíocht ag baint leis.

Mar sin is ar éigean go raibh an triúir againn ar an gclár abalta leath den mhéad a bhí againn le rá a chlúdach ar an gcéad clár den tsraith úr. I ndáiríre is dócha go raibh an triúir againn ar an leathanach céanna faoi síneadh scileanna tís ó ghlúin go glúin. Tá ghá leis agus gheobhaidh roinnt páistí na scileanna sa bhaile, roinnt ar scoil agus roinnt ó leabhair agus ar ndóigh ón Idirlíon mar a dúirt mé ar an gclár. I ndáiríre is meascán de na foinsí a mbeidh i gceist: d’fhoghlaim mise conas crochet ó leabhar agus ansin thug aintín liom nodanna breise dom. D’fhoghlaim mé conas fúáil ó mo mháthair agus anois faighim nodanna breise ó leabhair nó blaganna pearsanta.

“A woman’s work is never done.

Maybe that’s why they are paid less.”

– Seán Lock, comedian.

I laughed when I heard Lock throwing out this one-liner in a repeat of an ancient Live at the Apollo that he was hosting. Yes, I know some might take offence at this but I see it more along the lines of so-funny-because-it’s-true. I got to thinking about finding worth in the unpaid work of making a home, be it for yourself, your and a partner or for a family whatever shape that might take. If this work is unpaid how else can it be given value? Kudos, appreciation, applause, feedback can go a long way to making a person feel like they have acheived something. This doesn’t even have to come from outside: I’ve noticed online a few folk talking about journals where they plan what they hope to achieve each week, month, year and then review accordingly. Patting yourself on the back isn’t only physically difficult, yoga babes excepted.

Ach an rud a rith liom is mé ag teacht abhaile ná gur tháinig meath ar luach na scileanna seo mar ní raibh aon stádas ag baint leo i sochaí caiptlíoch. Ní raibh aon brabus i mbacáil cáca nó dearnáil poll i ngeansaí. Fiú ba chur amú ama a leithéid nuair a bhítear inann cáca i measc na ceadta a cheannach sa siopa nó nuair a bhí sé níos saoire geansaí nua a cheannach.

Ach píosa ar píosa, le leathnú an Idirlíne, tá athrú ag tarlúint. Dar liom is athrú tábhachtach é i sochaí. Tá borradh mór tagtha ar an mbród a léiríonn déantóirí as an obair atá á dhéanamh acu. Don chuid is mó is obair gan phá atá i gceist: caitheamh aimsire nó obair tí. Tugann lucht na fógraíochta “mummy bloggers” ar roinnt dóibh, i mbealach dímheasúil, “makers” ar chuid eile dóibh. Aithnítear, i réimse na fógraíochta, go bhfuil cumhacht ar leith ag baint leis na mummy bloggers: nuair a mholann na blagadóirí is ráthúla ina measc tairge ar leith, bíonn tóir air. Ach rud a rith liom ná go bhfuil níos mó i gceist anseo ná mioneolas don earnáil fógraíochta. Tá neart de na blagadóirí seo atá ag séanadh fógraíocht nó formhuiniú tairge. Cinnte, b’fhéidir go bhfuil siad ag iarraidh a dtairgí féin a chur chun cinn ach táthar ann nach bhfuil “agenda” ar bith acu seachas eolas a roinnt.

Ach sé mo thuairim féin ná go bhfuil snáithe amháin fite fuaite tríd na suíomhanna seo ar fad. Is é sin an bród. Nílim ag caint ar mórtas ná ar mórchúiseacht ach an píosín beag bród a bhraitheann tú ionat féin nuair atá rud curtha i gcrích agat agus jab maith déanta agat. Bhraithim sin óna blagadóirí seo mar tá siad sásta, don chuid is mó, a sprioc, a gníomh agus an toradh a roinnt linn. Muna roinneoidh ach an toradh ní bheadh deas againne, na léitheoirí, an saibhreas céanna a chur lenár saol féin.

Lena chois sin seo cúpla rud a chur mé féin i gcrích thar an tsamhraidh. Gheobhaidh sibh naisc chuig na hoideas is na patrún fite tríd, ó blagadóirí is gnólachtaí beaga a bhí bródúil as a gcuid oibre agus sásta ligint dúinn ar fad cuid den bród céanna a bhraith.


Nuair a bhí mé níos óige ba mhinic a rinne mé éadaí dom féin, go háirithe fá choinne ócáidí speisialta. Táim beag agus cé go glacaim leis le gnáth éadaí laethúla b’fhearr i bhfad liom go luífeadh gúna liom d’ocáid speisialta. Mar sin rinne mé (le cabhair agus treoir mo mháthair foighdeach) mo ghúna féin do mo “Debs”, don Trinity Ball ach faraor ní raibh an muinín agam mo ghúna bainise féin a dhéanamh. Is dócha go ndéarfadh mo mháthair go dtagann ciall le haois! An uair dheireanach a rinne mé iarracht gúna a dhéanamh fá choinne ócáid speisialta rinne mé praiseach iomlán de (agus b’éigean dom mo ghúna bainise a chaitheamh ina áit – an-aisteach ar fad). Ó shin i leith ba bheag ní a fúáil mé.

But after lining a few crochet bags and purses earlier this year and rustling up a few small things on the machine my confidence began to return and I decided to make Nipper 3.0 a dress. That was in July. I finished it early September. I used the Sally Dress Pattern from VeryShannon.com, a cute Russian Doll Cotton Print by Rose & Hubble that I picked up in Murphy Sheehy in town one day.

I can’t begin to describe the little sparkles of joy I get in seeing Nipper 3.0 wearing the finished dress. There were 2 false starts, mainly down to Americans’ ridiculous use of non-standard paper sizes (shakes fist) but I have requested some Letter sized paper to be brought home from Yankland to avoid this problem in future.

I finished this little blanket below for my latest grandniece. If I have rabbited on before that I am great aunt to five, forgive me. But also believe me: it deserves this level of rabbiting on as it is a perennial shock to me.

This is my own pattern and I hope to post it soon. I can’t say that it was quick to hook but it required that extra time to ensure it was safe for a baby. It is soft and light but tight enough to avoid entangling tiny baby fingers.

Tomato Salsa from Smitten Kitchen

As to food we have tried some new and interesting things. I love this tomato salsa recipe from Smitten Kitchen and I far prefer her photos. I’m going for the photo-realism look here. A great recipe to use up your glut of tomatoes and I would definitely recommend adding the lime juice that she wavers on in her blog post. Fingers crossed next year I will be using my own tomatoes in this recipe!

Campfire Cones. mmmmmmm

Another big hit at home and at a few other family events this summer were campfire cones. Here you can see Himself looking very summery, enjoying one hot off the barbeque at home. As I synthesised a few recipes to make the most of Irish ingredients I will shortly post this recipe here so keep your eyes peeled. I can’t believe it’s still warm enough on the eve of October to think that some of you might be able to try these still! Otherwise file (Pin it!) for next summer.


Grilled Salmon Skewers
Grilled Salmon Skewers

A new BBQ favourite that I have made successfully under the grill are these delicious salmon skewers which I found on Epicurious.com. In this pic they are on our barbeque with just the marinade and thinly slice lemon wedges. However the second time I made them I added courgette and red pepper and mixed these three ingredients in the marinade, rather then trying to coat skewers once, eh, skewered. Consider adding chunks of feta because Feta and Salmon are just fabulous together.

I’ve also designed a new pair of crochet baby booties after much trial and error. I think they are a really cute and unique present to give on the arrival of a newborn but I was not happy with all of any of the patterns that I tried so I decided to design my own. I will post this pattern soon. It will get cold soon and you will be glad of it! I am also working on a pair of fingerless mittens which I hope to share soon too, once I’ve gotten over my bootie obsession.

Lastly I finally made myself a crochet jumper that actually fits. I have yet to collect photographic evidence. This is a lovely pattern, easy and quick to hook up.

I also gussied up MacdaraSmith.com, RosemaryMacCabe.com and this site of course. The latter is the latest to go live: I’m not 100% happy with some aspects of it but would love your feedback on it too.

End of year school fundraiser with Maria Doyle Kennedy

The first time I saw Maria Doyle Kennedy in clós na scoile I gave her a big “Hellloooo!” which is nice as she was a new parent in the school. Very welcoming of me eh? Nice for her: I was mortified of course because I obviously couldn’t separate fiction from reality and was in the middle of watching Dexter on Netflix… Cringe.

Maria Doyle Kennedy in Dexter Season 5
Maria Doyle Kennedy in Dexter Season 5

So yep we have a star of stage and screen in pobal na scoile but we’re way cool about it…. Ahem. I’m not just telling you this because I’m more than a little starstruck. Maria is playing a fundraiser gig for the school* on Thursday 26th June in the Odessa Club, Dame Court, Dublin. It’s the second last day of term so expect high spirits and even if you aren’t associated with the school what a great way to round off the school term even if terms are a distant memory for you. Come along – it’s €20 on the door for a great cause and a great gig. Bargain!

*Excuse me not mentioning the name of the school. It’s one of my online rules in order to protect the nippers. I know it’s not rocket science to work it out but I prefer not to make it easy. I feel crazy paranoid but I decided early on never to mention their regular haunts online.

Elvis cakes

ElvisMy cousin Aoife got in touch last week asking me for my rice crispie cake recipe. You can’t have an kid’s birthday party in Ireland without rice crispie cakes. We call these Elvis cakes in our house because they remind me of  the diabolical sandwiches that Elvis was purported to eat. Not flavour-wise, calorie-wise. They are delicious although not terrifically sweet which I think is down to the fact that butter in Ireland is salted. If you find they are not sweet enough for your liking use unsalted butter but we never have any complaints or crispie cakes left. The original recipe is from the Avoca Cafe Cookbook, Book 2
but mine goes something like this:

  • 150g butter
  • one packet of the funsize faux mars bars from Lidl
  • 150g Rice Crispies or puffed rice equivalent
  • 165g milk chocolate
  1. Melt butter and mars bars together in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. The mars bars never fully melt – I find the nougat stays lumpy-ish.
  2. Take the bowl off the heat and mix in the Rice Cripsies.
  3. Now at this point you can either put the mixture in a lined square tin, pressing down firmly or serve in traditional rice crispie bun style. Either way stick them in the fridge for a couple of hours to harden (like your arteries after eating them.)
  4. If you are making the bar version, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of boiling water and then spread evenly over your chilled bars. Return to the fridge until set, then turn out and cut into squares or bars.
  5. ENJOY!