It might snow

On Christmas Eve our neighbour said he thought it might snow . It was late. We had all been visiting neighbourhood friends.  A teetotaler, he was giving us a lift home. The kids were drowsy in the back seats of his car, their excitement sated by good food and the effort of good behaviour. He said, “I think it will snow.” in his soft, roundy, cheery voice. “Really?” I said brightly.

Later I realised he had said it for their benefit, to squeeze another smidge of excitement out of the day. But it was I who believed him, eyes wide, mind tingling with thoughts of a world writ new and fresh and crystal clear with his idea of snow.

Synecdochal snow.

Chickpeas with Black Pudding in garlic and parsley

As mentioned previously we are not long back from a 2 week break in Casteldeffels near Barcelona. I was in Barcelona for the first time last Sepetember and was absolutely entranced by this fabulous city that really has something for everyone. I arrived on my own last September and met friends there, the first of whom introduced me to Pimientos del Padron which are delicious, wee green peppers, roasted and sprinkled liberally with salt. The perfect accompaniment to a few glasses of beer. If anyone has a line on where I can buy weenchy green peppers in Dublin please share.

The same friend was recently on a trip that included two nights with us in Dublin. Ever the perfect guest, KS presented me with a lovely book entitled Real Tapas by Fiona Dunlop which while it includes some traditional enough recipes is self-confessedly beholden to the nueva cocina movement. So with guests arriving for lunch we decided to try out this recipe with its intriguing use of that Irish breakfast staple, black pudding.

Himself rustled this up so hopefully he might add any comments below about changes he made. It was delicious but definitely not an everyday dish!

  • Olive Oil
  • Half a large onion, thinly slice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 25g sultanas, soaked in hot water for 15 mins, drained.
  • 10g pine nuts
  • 150g black pudding, fried and coarsely chopped
  • 1 x 400g cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Put sultanas in a heatproof bowl and cover in hot water and soak for 15 minutes.
Slice black pudding, fry til cooked and crumble.

Heat olive oil in a solid frying pan over a low heat. Sauté onion until it is tender then add garlic, parsley, sultanas and pine nuts.

Finally add cooked and crumbled black pudding and chickpeas to heat through, stirring all the time.

Serve in a warm dish with a dash of olive oil.


Croc na gCearc

In the forest on the way to the top of Carrigmaclear, Co. TipperaryEnglish below

Bhí deireadh seachtaine den chéad scoth agam i measc mo dhlúthchairde le déanaí. Bhí grúpa de haonar déag taghtha le chéile chun seanchara linn a seoladh i dtreo a pósadh a bheidh ar siúl i mí Lúnasa. D’eagraigh a péire bridesmaids agus na mná ar fad craic, ceoil, bia agus deoch do chách agus bhain na circ ar fad an-taitneamh go deo as an deireadh seachtaine ar fad. Bhí bia úr, blasta agus galánta againn déanta don chuid is mó ag Bittersweet Food Company: Seafood Bouillabaisse followed by Cress, Pear and Pecan salad and finished off with Karen’s signature chocolate fondant with creme fraiche and mixed berries. I hate to admit it but her chocolate fondant is better than my chocolate fudge cake. Agus neart cocktails déanta ag na Cocktail Queens!

Tá gach seans ann go mbeadh muid tar éis taitnimh a bhaint as an deireadh seachtaine cuma cá háit a rabhamar ach níl aon ceist faoin rud gur chuir an teach a roghnaigh na bridesmaids go mór mór leis an deireadh seachtaine. Croc an Óir i Mullinahone, Tiobráid Árainn a bhí ann agus má tá slua ban ann a bhfuil taithí acu ar “self-catering accomodation” (Bear with me I’ve an Irish Language spell checker that i not as bilingual as I am) is muidinne iad. Is dócha go bhfuil saoire caite againn in iostais féinfhreastail ar a laghad i ngach cúige in Éireann agus gach seans i ngach contae chósta in iarthair na tíre agus níl ann amhras go b’é seo an áit is deise. B’fhéidir nach bhfuil sé díreach chomh pictiúrtha ach cinnte tá siad níos saoire ná títhe Landmark ach leis an áiseanna céanna. Miasniteoir (great word!), meaisín níocháin agus triomadóir. Bhí sciana géara ann (annamh go leor in iostais féinfhreastail), bhí seomra codlata le en suite a bhí oiriúnach do chathaoir rotha agus dhá seomra folctha eile. Bhí spás a dhóthain do aonar déag agus bhí a teaichín beag féin ag bean amháin. Agus do na ceoltóirí atá ag léamh: tá seomra ceoil ann freisin. Chuamar ar siúlóid álainn ar an Sathairn agus lean roinnt dúinn ar aghaidh chomh fada le barr Carraig mo chliar. Bhí an radharc anseo gleoite ar fad.

Is léir go ndeachaigh muidinne i bhfeidhm ar úinéir an tí freisin mar dúirt sé an méad seo i r-phost le ceann de na bridesmaids:

“Many thanks for your kind words in the guest book. My Mother met the bus driver’s wife yesterday and she told her how impressed he was by you all. His previous experiences with hen parties had not been so positive. Tell the girls they left a good impression in Tipperary.”

Makes us sound kinda boring… he did call us girls though. Hooya! And I didn’t need his invitation to know I’ll be going back to Croc an Óir.

The view from CarrigmaclearHad the best weekend last weekend when 11 of my friends got together to send off one of our best friends before she gets married in August. Her two bridesmaids organised with a little help from her friends a great weekend of music, fun, food and cocktails. Amazing, tasty, fresh and elegant food from the Bittersweet Food Company: Seafood Bouillabaisse followed by Cress, Pear and Pecan salad and finished off with Karen’s signature chocolate fondant with creme fraiche and mixed berries. I hate to admit it but her chocolate fondant is better than my chocolate fudge cake. And plentiful cocktails from the Cocktail Queens!

Chances are we would have enjoyed ourselves no matter where we were but there’s no question that the accommodation that the bridesmaids chose definitely added to the weekend. We stayed in Croc an Óir in Mullinahone, Tipperary and if there was ever a group of women who know their self-catering accommodation we are them. We must have stayed in holiday homes in certainly every province of Ireland and quite probably every coastal county in the West. Maybe not as picturesque as Landmark houses but definitely cheaper and with all the same facilities: a dishwasher, a washing machine AND tumble dryer. One bedroom had an ensuite that was wheelchair accessible. (Actually the only negative thing I’d say is that this room also had an unneccesary skylight with no shade so we were woken at the crack of dawn. Definitely not good after all those cocktails.) There were two other bathrooms and one of the ladies had a little house all to herself. And for the musicians reading this: there’s even a music room. We went for a fun walk on Saturday and some of us carried on right to the very top of Carrigmaclear where we were awarded with stunning views and history.

As the quote above testifies we obviously made an impression on the owner as well!

MacHappy or MacSad

Just received this from a friend and having suffered a comatose laptop exactly a year ago I’m feeling her pain. Backup, backup, backup! And always remember it’s just 0s and 1s.

X’s Macbook drive failed last week and she lost everything, the disk
was so damaged that nothing could be recovered. Apparently this is very common as there was a manufacturing problem with the some of the Seagate Drives that shipped in the Macbooks and Macbook Pros.

If you have a Macbook or Macbook Pro read the instructions from the links below to check whether you have one of these drives. It will only take a minute but it is worth it.

If you know of anyone who has a macbook please forward this to them. Despite that it was reported three months ago it is not common knowledge.

Information and more help.


Now I’m not so jealous of my MacHappy Family. I must take a photo of my
parent’s dining room table to show you. All of them sitting there like
drones staring at these little white plastic things in this grand old
Edwardian house. It’s hilarious.

And I SWEAR I’m not just posting the information above out of begrudgery. I’ve got a rubbish computer too. It does the job but I don’t whip it out in public. In fact I try to avoid moving it even from one room to another because it is so damn heavy. Even my dad is cooler than I. He is so cool he would probably say “cooler than me.”