Ratatouille for youie (that’s a pronunciation tip)

Grattan just skyped me to ask me for the recipe for the ratatouille he had here on Sunday. They took some home and his less than one year old son LOVED it. My pair loved it too once upon a time before they got wise to vegetables. That’s so weird.
So here’s the recipe. As I explain in the video below that I made back in March this is from one of those bog-standard kind of recipe books called “The New Classic 1000 Recipes” by Wendy Hobson which always contain a few beauts. I love the spaghetti bolognese recipe in this book. Also the hummous recipe is always a big hit and there is a fab chocolate pudding recipe in it as well. Aha another recipe that I can make in my new rammikins (sp?)

So the Ratatouille.

Don’t get too hung up on having either the exact amount of vegetables or the exact type of vegetables for this. If you are into the Weight Watchers thing I once calculated and noted in my book that this is a total of 13 points for the whole lot. Also this dish is actually better on Day 2! I usually serve with cous cous but it’s delish with potatoes too of course or simply on its own.

25g/1oz/2 tbsp butter or margarine
45ml/ 3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 aubergines (eggplants) (it’s says thinly sliced in the book but I prefer them chunky – experiment with both and decide yourself)
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
5 courgettes (zucchini)
400g/ 14oz tin of tomatoes (that’s one regular tin if you are in Ireland)
1 tsp of chopped basil (who the heck measures herbs?!)
1 tsp rosemary leaves (grow this in your garden – it loves Ireland)
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley

Melt the butter or margarine with the oil in the biggest pot you have in the gaff. I am talking the one you use for Christmas Ham – those veggies take up a LOT of space in the beginning. Sauté (fry) the onion and garlic until soft but not brown. Add the aubergines, peppers and courgettes and sauté for 5 mins., stirring frequently. Add the contents of the tin of tomatoes and the herbs and season to taste. Sprinkle with parsley, bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer very gently for about 45 minutes.

The video below was an idea I had for an Irish Language Video blog called an Cócaire Firinneach. Never had time to even plan when I would do it. I should just do it…

Now I’m off to make Macaroni Cheese with a twist from Tana Ramsey’s Family Kitchen as requested by the invalid who had his eye operation yesterday. The little trooper.

Music and social media

As you may have noticed I’ve been bigging my little sister up a lot lately on this blog but I’ve also been talking to her on and off about the ways she can use social media to market her business which is, of course, making and sharing music. I really believe canny use of new media will increase her audience and inevitably her sales. We’ve been planning a proper sit-down to discuss strategy and it occurred to me that if I got the two brothers on Skype (and other musos too – let me know if you’re interested) and talked to them about what they’re doing, what’s working, what’s not etc. it might make for a more interesting session. I also hope to record and therefore share it. I’ll keep you posted.

Abigailsong, claps and King Kong

Abigail is playing at the King Kong Club on October the 16th at 9pm with her band. Come along and support her – I’m hoping to be there too. It’s a free and fun night. Tasters of lots of great bands. 5 Acts play three songs each. Then you clap loudest for your favourite band….it better be Abigailsong!! Abigail says “Ah no, everyone who gets up and shares their music is a winner. I’m looking forward to it. Bring your Granny.” You can let her know about your imminent attendance on Facebook or listen to her on MySpace.

Check out the King Kong page for more details on http://www.myspace.com/kingkongclub

Image from Abigail’s Facebook Event

A chéad lá scoile

English below
Bheul anois. Tháinig an lá mhór faoi dheireadh. Ní raibh oiread is deor amháin idir sinne nó ár mac is sine inár dteach ag geata na scoile ag doras an seomra ranga ar a chéad lá scoile. Bhí an t-ádh linn go raibh sé ag súil go mór leis, bhí an seomra ranga feicthe aige cheana agus bhí sé tar éis buaileadh le Múinteoir M, bean óg, lách, agus cheanúil. Dúirt sé liom ar maidin agus muid ag geata na scoile agus coicís faoina chrois aige, “I like Múinteoir M!”

Bhí sé ag súil leis freisin mar tá sé de nós aige bheith i gcomhluadar pháistí eile agus táimid buíoch as gach éinne i gCranford Creche i Ráth gCearr as an tús mhaith a thabhairt dhó. Ach is buachaill sóisialta neamhspleach é freisin agus sheasann a phearsantacht stuama leis. Tá fhios ag éinne a léann an blag seo go minic (agus seachas an rud nach mbíonn mórán nua le léamh ró-mhinic) ní bean mhór maoimh mé ach bhí mé an-bhrodúil as an lá sin.

Tar éis a dhara lá scoile chualamar a chéad focal Gaeilge a tháinig gan bhrú uaimse. Bhí sé ag déanamh cur síos ar bróga cailín sa chreche. “You know those shoes that have a toy in them? [Me: blank look. Him: continues unphased] Well when she took them off there was a madra in them! A madra!” Mar a rinne Himself cur síos ar san Irish Times an tseachtain seo chaite:

Vinny, whose first child started in a Gaelscoil this week, describes the mix of emotions parents feel. “I was a little nervous. I thought he would be upset, but he was great, and I was dead proud of him when he went in,” he says. “And when he described a dog in Irish at home, he reduced his mum to tears of joy.”

Tá G ag gabháil timpeall ag canadh amhrán a bhfuair sé ar scoil freisin. Tuigeann mise céard tá á chanadh aige ó tá na hamhráin ar eolas agam ach tabharfainn duais don té a aithneodh focal cheart Ghaeilge iontu! Rud eile a dúirt sé anocht agus muid ag comhaireamh na cartanna dearga ina leabhar mór de focal Ghaeilge a chur ag gáire mé ná “God mum, your Irish is really good!” Ba léir go raibh an abairt seo chloiste aige ó duine eigín eile. Gach seans ag baistiú inné.

Agus ba lá mhór é don fear is óige freisin mar gur thosnaigh seisean sa chreche nua. Thaitníonn sé go mór leis an mbeirt acu agus tá na mná sa chreche an-tógtha leo agus go háirithe le cé chomh cainteach is atá an duine is óige. Ar ndóigh toisc gur dearthair é tá sé luath ag caint, is ag caint, is ag caint! Nós atá aige faoi láthair ná deireann sé i nguth an-cheisteach, “What’s that airplane?” agus bíonn ort rá, “Em an airplane?” agus bíonn sé sásta leis an bhfreagra sin.

Agus ba lá mhór é ar ndóigh do Himself. Mhothaigh sé uaigh iad i gceart inniu mar b’inniu an chéad lá nach raibh air G a phiocadh suas ón scoil ó gur dhéan G lá iomlán scoile agus phioc an bhean ón chreche suas é. Lá mhór fhada a bhí do Himself ach beidh a dhóthain ar a phláta féin i gceann coicíse so b’fhearr a scith a ligint a fhad is a bhfuil an seans aige.

Well now! The big day arrived at last. There wasn’t a wet eye in the house or at the school gate or at the classroom door. We were lucky as he was really looking forward to it; he had already seen his classroom and met Múinteor M, a lovely, pleasant, young woman. He said to me this morning as we arrived in school with two weeks under his belt, “I like Múinteoir M!”

He was looking forward to it as well because he is used to the company of other children and we are grateful to everyone in Cranford Creche in Rathgar for giving him such a good start. But he is an independent, sociable little chap too and his level-headed personality stood to him. Anybody who reads this blog regularly (apart from wasting their time as I don’t write regularly) I’m not a woman to boast but I was very proud that day.

After his second day of school we heard his first unprompted word of Irish. He was describing the shoes of a girls in the creche. “You know those shoes that have a toy in them? [Me: blank look. Him: continues unphased] Well when she took them off there was a madra in them! A madra!” As Himself described in the Irish Times last week:

Vinny, whose first child started in a Gaelscoil this week, describes the mix of emotions parents feel. “I was a little nervous. I thought he would be upset, but he was great, and I was dead proud of him when he went in,” he says. “And when he described a dog in Irish at home, he reduced his mum to tears of joy.”

G is going around singing songs that he got in school. I understand what he is singing because I know the songs but I would give a prize to anyone who could recognise even one proper word or Irish in them! Another thing he said to me that made me crack up this evening when we were counting red cars in his big book of Irish words was “God mum, your Irish is really good!” He must have heard someone say it, probably at the christening we were at yesterday where he was showing off to all the ladies by counting in Irish!

And it was a big day for the little fella too because he started in the new creche. Both of them really like it and the women in the creche are very taken with them especially with how chatty the little fella is. Of course because he is a little brother he was an early to talk and talk and talk! A habit he has at the moment is to say in a very questioning tone, “What’s that airplane?” and you have to say, “Em an airplane?” and he’s happy with that.

And of course it was a big day for Himself as well. He really missed them properly today because it was the first day that he didn’t have to pick G up from school because he was doing a full and the woman from the creche was picking him up. A big long day for Himself but he’ll have enough on his plate in a fortnight so he might as well take it easy while he can!

My poor bike

And there it was, as they say, gone! We arrived home from a pleasant afternoon strolling around the Curragh and the army barracks (and that’s a story for another day) and Himself says to me “Where’s your bike? Did you leave it in work? Don’t think you’ll fool me with that look. [I must have been looking just slightly more dazed than my previous “I’ve-just-woken-up-from-a-hangover-induced-car-sleep] C’mon where is it?”

I rang the local gardaí who came around straight away pretty much and took a statement. I am now known to the gardaí because the really tall local guard and I recognised each other from my last visit to the Garda Station. This is because I made himself and his colleagues search the whole station for an Irish Language version of the passport form and then when they couldn’t find it and he filled out the English version for me he did it in the wrong colour pen. We really bonded that day.

That evening the doorbell rang and there was a man who we had never seen before. He lived nearby and told us that he’d seen us coming in and out of the house with the bikes and the kids on the bikes. In the wee small hours of the previous morning he had been on his way home from his holidays and what does he see up the road but somebody chucking my bike at a street feature (a big rock) and then into the middle of the road. According to him, my local friendly guards also happened to be passing at the same time and kept on passing! He stopped, picked up the bike and put it in the back of his car. Himself (who is totally nerding it up here beside me with his new Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet PC) went to pick up the bike and it was destroyed. Poor old bike.

However, I am now the owner of a lovely shiny new Trek with a fancy saddle and a clever stand. The issue with the baby seat versus the back carrier continues and the babyseat is currently attached to the post of the seat as opposed to the frame which is a little bit dodgy but the only way to do it. Here’s a link to my new bike although mine has a motorbike style stand which makes it much easier to load a child onto the back.

Speaking of bikes we rented two bikes while on holidays in Ile d’Oleron. The bikes weren’t great but we rented a trailer for the boys (at the elder’s insistence) which they LOVED! Not so easy to cycle with though as it feels like it is constantly pulling and pushing the bike. I would never cycle one here though: cyclists are treated with tremendous care and respect on Oleron and there are plenty of bicycle ways to explore.

I will add photos soon. I dropped our camera on Saturday evening and now it won’t switch back on. I am so popular.