All the trimmings chicken curry (weekly menu)


Lunch: Soup carrot and thyme – this got sidelined until the next week as hungry folk arrived home from their morning music classes demanding any kind of bread with melted cheese. This drives me mad as I feel they have sandwich based lunches at school during the week and I want them to learn how to think beyond sandwiches for lunch. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big sandwich fan. A perfect delivery method. I try to ring the changes during the week with the kids by using pita, wraps, muffins, crackers but it always comes back to ham, chicken or cheese. Well I suppose it’s a darn site better than fussy younger me with my butter sandwiches. My secondary school friends will remember my penchant for cheese and branston pickle. In fact my mother dropped in a lunchbox of these into Holles St for me while I was labouring with Nipper 2.0! This is also the reason I don’t always include lunch in the menus because usually it’s not worth writing about. However

Chicken curry with all the trimmings
Chicken curry with all the trimmings

Dinner: Chicken curry with all the trimmings. This is Himself’s speciality to which my middle brother will avow. Middle brother, his wife, and his kids came home from Paris and we invited them to join us for dinner. Somewhere amidst the mayhem everyone ate. Some kids just ate rice, some just naan, some just curry, some just banana but everyone ate something and we all caught up. A year later or so they were back again and we invited them over for the afternoon and dinner. Somewhere during the meal I got a very strong sense of deja vu and suddenly realised we were serving them chicken curry with all the trimmings again. No-one minded as it is truly delicious. You can get the recipe on Himself’s blog. In fact that is all he has on his blog….


Lunch: We had a big breakfast and an early dinner so lunch was whatever was going. There were no leftovers from the Chicken curry.

Dinner: Macaroni cheese – I was home alone with the kids so made sure to make something simple that I knew they would eat. Plenty of carbs meant they would sleep soundly too.



Casserole Amandine - potatoes, carrots, peas, ground almonds, turmeric and egg.
Casserole Amandine – potatoes, carrots, peas, ground almonds, turmeric and egg.

Dinner: Casserole amandine – this is an old recipe from my vegetarian teenage years. It’s the ultimate comfort food but to be fair it isn’t the most appealing looking. Occasionally I do a clear out of our recipe books, discarding the really useless ones. However if there’s one or two recipes in them that I have made I will cut out and keep that recipe. This was the fate of Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Cooking from which Casserole Amandine was the only recipe kept.


Salmon Alfredo getting shnarfed by Nipper 2.0
Salmon Alfredo getting shnarfed by Nipper 2.0


Dinner: Pasta salmon Alfredo – the kids love this. I like it for it’s speed but I’m not so keen on the cream. Tuesdays are nearly always a quick pasta dish as Himself is out and eats when he gets in. There was smoked salmon on special offer the previous Friday so I bought three. I ended up giving one away, using one for this and one of my favourite salads and one is in the freezer.



Dinner: Fish pie: mostly a big hit. I think there was some grimacing from Nipper 1.0. I made the Express Fish Pie from The ICA Cookbook (actually from the freebie leaflet that came with the Irish Times a while back but when I get a bigger recipe bookshelf, it might go on it. Maybe I should start loading them onto my Kindle app on the iPad…)


Dinner: Bolognese with rice: Thursday has become freezer dinner night because we usually don’t get home until after 5 due to after school activities. Don’t expect any exciting innovation on Thursdays. About once a month I will cook something another day of the week with the sole intention of making 3 dinners from it. Bolognese is particularly good as it freezes well and can be used for pasta, rice or baked potatoes and at a push it could be used for cottage not shepherds pie.

 Friday Pizza

Back to school and breathe menu

Six hour spiced lamb with 40 cloves of garlic
It’s been a hectic week with kids going back to school, stacks of work and a huge family do to wrap up the week. This blog has never been my life but about my life so it always comes second.
Baguette with choice of fillings. Saturday is nearly always an easy sandwich option, sometimes soup, sometimes pasta or gnocchi. Once music lessons kick off for the boys again we’ll likely picnic,  eat out  or scrounge from my parents on Saturday lunchtime.

Jamie Oliver’s Satay chicken with noodles – this gets an outing every once in a while and I know I’m not the first to say it takes way more than thirty minutes to prepare. Even if by some miracle you manage to make the meal in 30 minutes it’s going to take you twice as long as normal to do the washing up. I should write a real 30 minute meal book… Anyway this is a delicious and tasty meal with meat on a stick which scores highly with the nippers and noodles – double points from them!

Six hour spiced lamb with 40 cloves of garlic
Six hour spiced lamb with 40 cloves of garlic

Six hour spiced lamb with couscous. Yep six hours. Himself saw the recipe in the Guardian the previous week and with lamb at a good price in Superquinn we would have been mad not to try it. Mad. While the lamb was pull apart tender the flavour was not as awesome as you would expect. But once it was on we were able to go out to the cinema and come back and still have time to chill out before dinner.

I also made Spinach & Thyme pasties today thinking they would make perfect lunchbox fodder. I was wrong as I would discover during the week.
Spinach & thyme pasties in lunchboxes were not appreciated. I got very cross and refused to make the children super noodles which they will demand for lunch everyday and which I never make. I complained bitterly about the fact that there was no way that super noodles tasted nicer and only mad people could think these delicious little triangles filled with yummy spinach, feta and flavourings were anything except mouthwateringly gorgeous. They didn’t agree and nibbled the corners from them.
Chili with rice. Unearthed from the freezer, loved by all.
Beetroot soup for me and Himself. Also unearthed from the freezer. I regularly make soup, maybe once a week and freeze it for midweek lunches.
Pasta with Sage and Rosemary Sauce. This sounds far more exotic than it is but it is absolutely delicious and a firm family favourite. Here’s a Vine of me making it:

Meatloaf with tomato and basil sauce. Another recipe from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking, a book I came across by chance but have found invaluable, not least because most of the recipes are designed for six diners. This was my very first time making meatloaf. We decided to make it because my brother  told me it was a favourite in his family. A deciding factor for the nippers as well is that this is Johnny Test’s dad’s go to dish. Anyway, Rachel’s version was eaten and appreciated by all but I felt it was a bit bland. Coincidentally we weren’t the only family eating Meatloaf on Wednesday as I divined from Bibliocook’s Instagram and she pointed me at this recipe which sounds much more lipsmacking. I love her tip about pitta bread for breadcrumbs because I never have whitebread but will always have pitta. I know, I know, far from pitta you were raised etc.
Needless to say we sang this throughout dinner because I remember how much I enjoyed my parents’ singing as a child myself… Hah!

I had intended to give the nippers Meatloaf in their luncboxes but they weren’t going for it. However they did demand it for their afterschool snack.
Dinner was supposed to be Sole á la meunière but my local friendly fishmonger had known so I opted for whiting. I subjected it to this Steamed Minted Whiting with Soured Cream which was yet again another unsuccessful fish dish. My big problem with fish is that I don’t like the taste or texture of it generally so when I’m planning a fish meal I can’t visualise how the meal will fare. I had plenty of mint and creme fraiche so this recipe seemed like a good option for dinner. It wasn’t. So I have passed the task for next week’s fish dinner to Himself and removed my bad taste in fish dishes from the aquation. Heh!
Packed lunches
Pizza for nippers as we are away out to a family do!

Wednesday WIP (Crochet & Garden)

It’s Wednesday which means it’s work in progress day. Since my last WIP I have been quite productive relatively speaking. For a change too the work I’ve done has been for me: I don’t want to fall into that trap of never making anything for myself. Lately I’m going to the other extreme.

When you crochet or knit or make things do you find you’re always giving them away too? It seems selfish or vain to make something for yourself but egotistical in equal parts to give it away. It’s like when someone says, “I’m in a band: here, listen to my demo.” But you can’t because your ears are bleeding from the pain of their music and you don’t know what to say. I wonder to people receive my gifts and think “Sweet lord, what am I going to do with this thing!” I think I’m lucky enough to have polite enough friends who will tactfully place the lovingly crafted object in a less-trafficked corner of the house. That said I recall the sting, after spending a few hours creating something that I think the recipient didn’t realise was handmade, when it was just flung to one side without so much as a thank you. But isn’t that rude regardless of the effort put into the gift!

I know I mentioned on the Rosie View when we were talking about The Great British Bake Off that I could completely understand why the contestants got so upset: sure I was at home sniffling for them because I know the pain of putting your heart and soul into something only to have it flop.

However there was a lesson to be learned from the winners of that series: persistence. Malcolm Gladwell would have us believe that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert or a genius at a skill.

But the difficulty is that by the time we realise this or at the very least realise the truth in this we no longer have 10,000 hours to spare. Not in one block anyway. That’s why a hobby that you can try, try again in short snatches allows you to build up those 10,000 hours. So maybe by the time I’m actually a total granny I’ll be amazing at crochet.

So on to the WIP. Below you can see the business card holder I whipped up not last Wednesday but the Wednesday before to match my iPad holder so it would be easy for me to find while I was networking at dotconf the following day. It’s a bit of a joke but I do love the cheerful colours. It and the iPad cover go with nothing at all though!

I also started the top I described in my last WIP post. It’s going well although the tension isn’t quite right probably because I’m not using the specified wool but it’s just too expensive. I’m worried therefore that this central panel will be too wide thus making the whole top too wide. It is pretty though and I love the colour. You’ll see below that there’s a lot of green in my life at the moment!

And Himself has been busy too and we’ve finally been enjoying the fruits of his incremental 10,000 hours. I wonder if we’ll ever have enough strawberries ripe at the same time for a bowlful each? Nipper 2.0 keeps sneaking out into the garden by himself and finding the ripe ones and shnarfing them before anybody else gets a chance. I beat him to this one here and it was delicious. In the second picture you can see Himself planting some cauliflower and turnip seedlings given to us by our neighbour. In the foreground carrot, onions and beetroot can be seen. Our first batch of potatoes should be ready soon as well.I’m really looking forward to more beetroot brownies: my favourite way to make my pee a funny colour!

I”ve already made loads of the rocket into pesto with parmesan, olive oil and pine nuts.

A self-fulfilling state

I watch a lot of television (really? whyever for? Well…) and therefore spend as much time as possible trying to avoid watching ads.

I’m not some sort of moron who thinks ads are pure evil (well I’m not too keen on children’s ads but that’s a whole other blog post) and I like to hear about new products and services. I think some ads are genuinely clever and entertaining. I think other ads are pure lazy and boring. Many ads are for products that I will never engage with, some are for products that may have been of interest or will be of interest in a particular period of my life.

But advertising execs of the world I am putting you on your first warning. Well apart from all the unheard shouting in my living room. I will no longer accept your made up nonsense about women and men and which of them does the shopping. I don’t care if that’s what the stats say; this doesn’t mean that it’s right. I challenge you to surprise me with an ad that tries to guilt men into buying products with dubious health benefits for their children. Y’see I just don’t think you will do it.

Two men in kitchen amazingI also think it’s dubious and downright offensive to run ads that imply that only women are intelligent enough or organised enough to run a household. If running a household requires that much intelligence (and i think it does require mental, physical and emotional resources not required by some other jobs) why is it so poorly rewarded in western society? You don’t meet many millionaire nannies.* I would buy the product of any manufacturer who convinced a government to also recognise that contribution to society by properly rewarding anyone who takes on these tasks. Work life balance needs a champion. It needs highlighting the way Jamie Oliver highlighted good food in Britain. Should we expect advertisers to spot this trend and act on it? Especially in a recession?

I just worry that using these lazy cultural shortcuts (women are put upon; men are stupid & lazy) that they will become self-fulfilling. People say to me and I hear myself saying how lucky I am to have a husband who pitches in. Every time I hear myself saying it I mentally kick myself. How insulting to both of us. In fact I sometimes think, as he puts on another load of washing, how unlucky he is to be lumped with me!

As I grow older I realise more and more as I see my friends hitching up in all manner of unexpected combinations that it is practically impossible to understand what makes couples tick. They will be as we say in Irish “thuas seal, thíos seal” and stereotypes and assumptions about roles in society just box us all in and remove opportunities.

*As a total aside I wonder are any of the creches built in the boom on government money now in NAMA?


Here’s a little piece I wrote for a project as part of my MBA. It’s on the concept of groupthink, whereby bad decisions are made by a group in order to avoid conflict and maintain group cohesion. The concept was described by Irving Janis in 1971*. Janis originally wrote about Groupthink in relation to The Bay of Pigs invasion, Vietnam, and the bombing of Pearl Harbour. My two-cents is on the current financial crisis. How’s that for an ambitious first blog post? For my next post I’ll put up something about how to avoid groupthink. I’m kinda obsessed with groupthink at the moment, me being a member of a cult ‘n all.

In the interests of altermodernism, any further additions to the list or corrections would be greatly appreciated, ideally before next Monday when I have my exam! (I’m supposed to be studying not blogging)

Groupthink: The Global Financial crisis

The current financial crisis is a clear example of the dangers of groupthink. The crisis is the result of the bursting of asset bubbles across the world, be they property, bank loans, stocks etc. Asset bubbles are not new. How they occur is not known exactly, but their effect on an economy can be detrimental as we can now see.

Who was “the group”? At the moment the “greedy” bankers are in the spotlight. Throw in the politicians, economists, builders and businesses and while you’re at it anyone who bought a house, invested in equities, or even put their money in a pension with the belief that prices will always rise and they will continue to make money on them.

But surely someone should have stopped all of this? Well some did shout but groupthink got in the way of sensible thinking. Here’s how:

Illusions of invulnerability

The financial markets believed they were in a new paradigm of economics where the business cycle was managed once and for all. Complex financial instruments such as securitisations or collateralised debt obligations meant risk was moved off. This led to more risks been taken.

Ignoring warnings/collective rationalisation

During the time the bubble was inflating (2002 – 2007) many economists across the world warned of a serious asset bubble but their warnings were ignored. Nouriel Roubini, an economist, warned the IMF of the bubble in 2006 but people thought he was delusional.

Illusion of morality

The smartest and brightest economists and bankers were convinced their “rational” economic decisions were for the best and could not see the ethical consequences.


Robert Shiller, an economist who was also on the board of the New York Federal reserve bank explains how he felt he would be ostracized, would not be taken seriously or would have his professional stature questioned if he deviated from the consensus opinion of the rest of the board. Other economists knew what was happening but they would not talk about it professionally. (Shiller has a great article about this and because this is not an academic blog I don’t have to reference it..nice)

Illusion of unanimity

Because people didn’t talk about the problem collectively they all believed there was no problem

Mind guarding

Did any one individual protect the group from adverse information? Well, anyone with an interest in keeping the bubble growing which is almost everyone.

Why did groupthink occur?

Most people involved in finance or economics come from similar backgrounds, wherever they are in the world, and they certainly have similar ideologies. The mainstream media, from which there should have been greater insight or criticism, were almost complicit in the illusion.

*I can’t be bothered doing any of that tagging/linking lark. Find stuff yourself