Monday, 23 May 2016

Muesli and Music

My regular breakfast

For my breakfast this morning I added the strawberries that we bought from a roadside stall of a Wexford grower yesterday and to honour this years crop I decided to listen to my old buddy Colm playing some of my favourite tunes. Afterwards I thought to share my experience.You will have to imagine the taste of the Strawberries but you can listen to his music.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Ireland's Leaning Tower

Recently we made a return trip to the Burren. On leaving the market town of Gort we took
a different road than on our last visit, though still heading  towards county Clare.
Noticing a round tower in the distance and being inquisitive,we drove down to take look.
To find ourselves at the ruined cathedral of Kilmacduagh whose founder was St. Colman who is reputedly buried within the vicinity of the tower and the mortuary chapel.
Others say he was reburied in Aughrim however, his burial slab still remains in Kilmacduagh.
This slab is known locally as having a cure for backache for any sufferer who lies on St.Colman’s grave receives a cure.

The round tower itself is believed to be the highest in Ireland, almost thirty-four metres tall with a diameter of five and a half metres.
Its’ noticeable lean towards the southwest, of about half a metre, is most likely due to having shallow foundations, making it Ireland’s equivalent to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The ruins of St. Colman's Kilmacduagh Cathedral
where people still like to be buried.

The Hynes Abbey sits in front of Ireland's Pagan past.

Map showing route in from the R460 to St. Colman's Cathedral

Saturday, 14 May 2016

River Bedrock

Our local river has for many a year caught my attention. It is twenty-five years ago that I first took over this small cottage on Monday13th May and no happier man would have been found on the whole of this island than me that day. A roof over my head belonging to no one else, mine to do with in whatever way took my fancy - a home of my very own.

On warm summer days I would take a day off and walk down to the meandering River Barrow and find for myself a cosy place on it's banks where I was able to sit out of sight from anyone. Remove from my rucksack a bottle of wine, sip away and enjoy the day, all the while listening to the sounds of nature that surrounded me.

A few days ago I went over the bank to pay my respects to Berbha, she who is known to be the Goddess of the River Barrow and perhaps it is from her that the name originates, well that is the suggestion in the Annals of the Four Masters written in AD 996. There are others who think and believe otherwise that the name has it's origins elsewhere and is an Anglicised form of a word in Old Irish for boiling that links to the goddess Morrigan.
The geology of this part of Ireland is to my
mind absolutely mind blowing

Bedrock at the side of the Barrow
 which I was taking a photo of above. You cannot but see all of the fossils
So from what part of the world is their origin?
Well according to the geologists the mud that captured 
was once a river bed in Africa .

The fossil rock is just behind this small weir.

I often tell my new African friends that the reason that they feel so at home in Ireland is because it is their bedrock that is under our feet.

Thursday, 12 May 2016


On a sunny May day we visit our friends who are Franciscans and after much talk in the kitchen, we walk in their garden and hear poetry being read amongst nature. I find myself captivated by what I see and take photos to share with you.

She meditates barefoot in sunshine

A floral mound

The path may be narrow but
never straight.

Wild garlic among the Bluebells

A lonely Dandelion

Sunlight Grass

Wallflowers among the weeds, don't look out of place.

The skirts of fairies perhaps ?

Even darkness has it's place

Thursday, 5 May 2016

My Nut Roast

I rarely bake much these days, though there have been times when I was very active practising my culinary skills by throwing together a Soda bread every two days for years on end and some nights making Salmon Mornay or a red wine laced Bolognese for supper. 

For desserts I made a rich bread and butter pudding with a teaspoonful brandy and enriched the milk with a tub of double cream. Then there were other favourites like egg custards and semolina puddings that I thoroughly enjoyed for they were so delicious even when eaten cold. 

I even discovered how to make my own clotted cream from Irish milk
that tasted exactly the same as the Cornish and all through those years I never realised that it would bring about my Waterloo and that a new eating habit would have to be introduced.

All was not lost. One recipe remained, one dish that has proved to be as viable now as it was then. The Nut Roast and I have made so many that I am able to adjust the recipe to suit myself. 

Walnut halves two handfuls roughly crushed.
Cashews two handfuls some crushed others halved.
2 large onions chopped up and sauté in Olive Oil.
Tomato puree about a tablespoon.
2 packets of Stuffing - I use Lidl’s deluxe range.
5 or 6 cloves of Garlic chopped. 
Baked Beans - 1 large tin of Heinz.
Black Pepper - lots of it.
Herbes de Provence - 1 tablespoonful.


First peel and chop the onions and try not to cry. Warm the cast iron pan, add oil and chopped onions. While they are cooking bring to life the stuffing in the mixing bowl. Crush the nuts, I use a roller on a bread board and when satisfied throw them into the stuffing. Add the baked beans and their liquid, plus tomato puree. The onions, if soft can now be added. Stir them into the stuffing, now peel and chop the garlic and add to mix along with Herbs de Provence and black pepper.
Finally I taste the mixture to determine the texture and flavour prior to cooking. Spoon mixture into a nonstick baking tin and level the top gently. Cook in a pre-heated oven Gas mark 4 for approx 40 minutes. Test the same as a cake - if the blade comes out clean it is done, if not leave for a few minutes longer.
Place finished nut roast on a wire rack and allow to cool before removing from the tin. Consume with fresh vegetables and enjoy.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016


Our first visitor on 1st of May

Bluebell Ladies

The traditional May Bush

Our local well dressed for Summer

An abundance of Cowslips

Unidentified yellow flowers - well I know what
they are not

Perhaps these are called Bird Eye's ?

The same again ?