This picture was taken at Interlaken in Switzerland. Despite the sun it was a little chilly and we were the only people to be seen. My husband was just getting ready to jump into the water when we noticed an abandoned pair of shoes beside him on the jetty. Read more
Pancake Tuesday was day of mixed emotions for an Irish child in the 80s. On the one hand we got to devour seemingly endless quantities of scrumptious pancakes. On the other hand it marked the beginning of a period drudgery and abstinence – being dragged out of bed for early mass and being presented with porridge for breakfast instead of the usual corn flakes. The masses did me no harm, but I was left with a very lasting dislike of porridge, which I viewed as a tasteless commodity associated with discipline and deprivation. It took me until my early twenties, when I started working at the 5-star Ashford Castle Hotel, where porridge was made with whole milk (no water) and served with double-cream and brown sugar, to rekindle my liking for porridge. Read more
Yesterday, for the first time in about 25 years, I made chocolate éclairs. My love for éclairs began with my paternal grandmother, a rotund and (mostly) jolly woman who loved her cakes. Whenever we’d visit her house she’d always provide a large spread. Usually the main course would be a simple but satisfying salad – a rolled slice of home-baked ham, a few leaves of butterhead lettuce (from her city garden), some sliced beetroot and onion, half a tomato and half a hard-boiled egg topped with a dollop of mayonnaise. This would be accompanied by copious quantities of thickly sliced batch loaf, country butter and more mayonnaise. But the pièce de résistance, and the part of the meal (and probably the visit) that my sister and I most looked forward to, was the plate of cream cakes that awaited for dessert. Read more
Us girls like to be spoiled. And the good news is, it’s really easy to do. Small gestures, especially if unexpected, can make us feel so spoiled and wonderful. Like breakfast in bed. We don’t need fancy Eggs Benedict with a perfectly made hollandaise sauce. Bring us a bowl of cereal and a hot cup of coffee, maybe with the morning paper on the side, and we’re in heaven. It’s not the food itself – it’s that we’re still in bed. We’re surrounded by a mountain of fluffed-up pillows (we’ve stolen yours because you’re no longer here), are tucked tightly under the duvet and know that we get to stay here for at least as long as it takes to consume the food. Read more
I don’t take many selfies. Mostly because I don’t really like how I look on camera. I have an asymmetrical face – my eyebrows are not aligned. My father once told me I had a chin you could use as a start-up handle for a Volkswagen. While said in jest (apparently), it has managed to stay with me. When I smile in photos all I can see is chin. In an attempt to debiggen the chin I have developed a “camera smile”, which simply manages to look fake. So, I tend to shy away from the front end of a camera completely. Read more
I like to keep things simple. The sheer volume of newness in my life right now demands it – other wise I would sink under and drown. When you ditch your regular life for one that is completely new, everyday tasks become complicated. I live in the country now so I can’t just pop to a shop when I run out of something. Ingredients that I would have used regularly in Ireland have become impossible to source. The supermarkets have 20 different sour cream options but no fresh cream whatsoever. Certain ethnic ingredients are unheard of and I can’t use Google to source them as my Lithuanian is just not good enough yet. Brands and packaging are unfamiliar and so I must spend longer deliberating over options rather than just doing a grab-and-go as I would have done back home. Grocery shopping has become a chore. Read more
Fair warning: This post contains descriptions and images of animal butchery that some readers may find offensive. Reader discretion is advised.
Meat. It’s delicious. I love it. I don’t, however, love how much of the world’s meat is managed. Anyone who has seen such programmes as “Food Inc.” will understand the impact that intensive farming of animals for meat has on the lives of the animals, the quality of the meat produced and on the environment. This is not the kind of meat I want to eat. Read more
I don’t do Januarys. Christmas lights have come down and with that a sense of greyness has descended. The coldest, dreariest and seemingly longest month of the year is not the time for the self-inflicted misery of restricted diets and sobriety. The summer months are prefect for salads and smoothies. January calls for hearty, comforting foods that wrap themselves around you like a warm blanket. Read more
Whether or not you believe in global warming or climate change, something strange is definitely happening to our weather. Wild storms are wreaking havoc across Ireland. All 50 US states have recently experienced temperatures below freezing, a rarity for the southern states in particular. The pyramids in Egypt have seen their first snow in 100 years. Read more
At this time of the year many of us are busy making New Year’s resolutions. After the indulgences of the holiday season, these often include promises to cleanse the body by eating wholesome food and consuming less alcohol, or to get fit by going to the gym every single day. (We’ll see how long that lasts!)
My own resolutions revolve around a number of projects, the most sizeable of which is “Project: House”. Read more
What are you doing for Christmas? It’s a question that most people in the western world can answer from about mid September, perhaps even earlier if you have family living overseas. By this stage, December 21st, you will have ordered the turkey, made the cake or pudding, put up the decorations, done most of your gift shopping, sent cards, scoured cookbooks for alternatives to the dreaded mushy sprouts and are wondering how you ever allowed yourself to buy such a small fridge – will the smoked salmon survive in the cold of the pantry? Read more
As regular readers of this blog and the associated Facebook page will know, the content of the blog has changed slightly in recent months to reflect our decision to buy a home in Lithuania. The blog is still, ultimately, a blog about my journeys with food – now focused on growing and producing it myself. As this is something I haven’t done before I am liable to hit some bumps along the way! Read more
During one of our summer barbeques one of the neighbours’ kids walked into the kitchen where I was preparing food. “Can I have some ass?”, he asked. Excuse me?! I could tell by the sincere look on his face that he wasn’t saying what I thought he was.
“Sorry?”, I replied. “Can I have some ass?”, he repeated earnestly. Hmm. Something was clearly getting lost in translation here. Read more