Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Carry On Christmas.

Image result for carry on cowboyHave you recovered?  We spent Christmas day afternoon watching Carry On Camping and Carry On Cowboy on ITV3or what is 4?  Our two sons had never seen them before and they laughed.  It was predictable, joke led and full of double entendre's  and good old laughter.  It was sheer escapism and a great way to pass Christmas day.





We watched the Carry On Up Th Sexual Harassment Tribunal sketch on the Walliams  & Friends last week.  It's a parody of the Carry On films and brings them right up today.  The wonderful Sheridan Smith appears in the sketch.  I think it's very clever and very funny.  You can watch it on good old You Tube.  It sends up todays political correctness and it's well worth watching.   2016 wasn't the best of years and we all need a laugh.





Thursday, 22 December 2016

What If The Star Of Bethlehem Was A Space Ship?

I heard some good news this week.  Kansas are playing Europe and in England next summer ("Ramblin Man" Festival) and Chris De Burgh is playing Killarney in April.  Guess who is going to be buying some tickets in the New Year?

Seeing it's nearly Christmas.  I thought I would feature one of Chris De Burgh's songs: "A Space Man Came Travelling."  He read the book Chariots of the Gods?  Erich Von Daiken wrote it.  It inspired  Chris to think "what if the star of Bethlehem was a space ship?"  Could you imagine what the shepherds thought when they saw the UFO in the Sky.  They would react like we did a few months/blogs ago when we saw the light in the bay.  See August posts if you're interested?
  
Chris De Burgh also read "The Second Coming" by  William Butler Yeats.  Which avers that every two thousand years a major cataclysmic event happens, like the birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem.  I love the last verse.  We are all waiting for his return.  

Merry Christmas and peace on Earth. 




Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Outside Of A West Cork Wedding Reception.


We took this photograph outside the West Lodge Hotel in Bantry on Saturday.


It seems to be the latest craze to dress up tyres or big round bales straw for the bride and groom.  You can't tell we live in a farming area can you?  What's the latest wedding craze near you?

Saturday, 17 December 2016

A Full Irish Or An English Breakfast.


We made ourselves an 'all day' breakfast the other day.   We cooked it in the range.  It didn't curl up and wither like it does in a frying pan.


Ours is a combination of an English and Irish breakfast.  This breakfast is said to have originated on farms and in houses where the inhabitants did physical work.

A Full Irish consists of: "The Rashers" (bacon), Irish sausages, Black and white pudding, baked beans ("bachelors")eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes (halved) potato farls/cakes or traditional boxty, soda bread, butter jam, Barrys or Lyons tea, orange juice...

I found this video about what Americans think of the "Full" English breakfast.  Please let me know your thoughts.



Thursday, 15 December 2016

Staring At Lakes Or Even The Bay.



Last week I featured a book by Mike Harding.  This week I read (ate) a book called: Staring at Lakes.  It's an award winning memoir by an Irish writer called Michael Harding.


 The book was very funny and so so emotional.  He writes a myriad of thoughts down; Does God exist? Mid life crisis, depression, sadness, lying in a coffin, melancholy,failing health, love, Christianity, Buddhism,the loneliness of being an artist or even a writer, even a human being...?

I read the book in two days and found it profoundly poetic and very moving.  I found emotions inside me that I thought I had locked up and thrown away the key.  Especially when my mother died in 2012.   For me the book was like opening a ribbon containing old letters from a loved one.  I cried inside when I read this book.  It's beautiful and I am going to buy his other 2 memoirs.

I won't spoil the book for you, but...  One evening his wife suggest they drive to the lake.  So they get into the car and drive there and park up and just stare.  They don't talk they just stare and think.  I do it myself looking at Bantry Bay, every day.  Thinking thoughts like: is life futile, does God exist, why are we here, will we ever see our loved one's again..?  I am sure the same thoughts my ancestors thought years, a go staring at the bay.

Sun going down on Bantry Bay.  A view from our garden.  

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Irish Soda Bread And Home Made Vegetable Soup.


I made some vegetable soup today; onion, celery, garlic and carrot and an OXO vegetable stock cube.  Then when it boiled and the veg felt soft with a fork.  I put it in the Smoothie maker for about 30 seconds.

The missus made a loaf of Soda bread with Odlums BROWN Soda Bread mix.  It's less than 3 Euros.  Odlums is an Irish company.  We get 4 loaves out of it.


Hey presto.  Soda bread and soup for two for less than 2 Euros.  Why do we buy soup when we can make it?

Talking of Bread.  Here's a song of theirs from way back when I love the lyrics.  

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

"I Was Just Thinking What A Champion Crop Of Onions You Could Grow In That Soil."

Back to my occasional series on some of my favourite writer's, especially from up North.  Today I would like to talk about Peter Tinniswood.  I have half a dozen of his books.  He was born in Liverpool and lived over a dry cleaners in Sale in Cheshire.  He was mad on cricket and wrote many books plays and the brilliant television series: "I Didn't Know You Cared."

It's set in Sheffield and features the Carter family.  Uncle Mort is my hero.  I have featured him on this blog before.  He tends his allotment and has an old railway carriage for his shed.  One day he finds out he's got the big C and blames it on drinking the water at his allotment.  This is my favourite comedy series of all time.
Here's a clip to remind you of Uncle Mort and his gang.  I think Peter Tinniswood was a comic genius.  Thanks to the people who post these clips on You Tube.  They are brilliant!

Why doesn't BBC 4 repeat all these amazing programmes?



Saturday, 10 December 2016

Bake Potatoes The Grow And Cook Way.

That's the torn and Sellotape (patented in 1933) cover of our Grow and Cook by Violet Stephenson.  It came out  in 1976.  It's one of my favourite gardening/cook books. Violet Stephenson tells the reader how to grow them and how to cook them.  I found the book on a car boot sale in Cheshire about twenty years a go.  Think I paid 20 Pence for it.  I know,  but you have got to splash out sometimes.



Baked potatoes in their jackets the Violet Stephenson way. 

We used Wilson's Country Navan potatoes for the above.  Scrub them and slit around the centre to break the skin.  Rub them all over with a little olive oil or dripping (beef dripping butties!) and then lightly sprinkle them with SEA salt.  Place them on the oven shelf all allow about an hour at a moderate heat.  Or just so you can put a fork through them and they are brown on the outside and cooked.  We have a solid fuel range so the heat is never constant.  

They are delicious.  Some times we have Chili with ours.  My mum use to call them "David's potatoes."   I think it's because I found the recipe and she loved them.  The credit should go to my other half though.  She watches them while they are cooking and she took the photograph.  

Have you a favourite gardening or cook book?  

Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Passing Of A Rock Hero.

It is a sign that you are getting old when your rock heroes are passing away.  Today I read that Greg Lake From Emerson Lake And Palmer has gone.  I once saw them in Manchester in the late nineteen eighties.  I honestly think they are the greatest band to have come from England.  Rest in peace Greg and thanks for the great rock memories!

Did you ever see Emerson Lake and Palmer?  Please tell us about them.  Thanks.  Here's an appropiate song by Greg Lake.


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Kitchen Sink Dramas.

I talked the other week about great English working class authors.  One of my favourite films and books is Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse.  It was made in 1963, the year I was born.  If only they made films like that today.  Sheer escapism.  Billy Liar England's Walter Mitty.

I think my father based himself (I am joking) on Billy Liar's father.  Especially on a Saturday morning when he decide to hoover the whole of the house, banging into the skirting boards and shouting:

"I am up.  So we are all up."

One doesn't think he appreciated me coming in the early hours of the morning probably quite the worse for  wear.  I am sure we put our parents through Hell when we were growing up.  

Any way.  This is one of my favourite British films.  A classic kitchen sink drama/comedy.  It also introduced the world to Julie Christie.  I just love the way she struts her stuff without a care in the world.  If you have never seen the film.  You don't know what your missing.  You can watch it on You Tube.  

Here's a clip for your enjoyment.  Do you like this film?



Tuesday, 6 December 2016

My Birthday And Christmas 1914

It was my birthday yesterday.  Number one son bought me a bottle of malt and number 2 son bought me a notebook for my scribblings..  Psst.. If you want an idea for a blokes Christmas present.  A bottle from the top shelf of the Scottish Malt  variety always goes down well.  My favourite is Dalwhinnie.  My rock hero Neil Peart (Rush drummer and song lyricist) drinks MaCallan.




 The wife bought me a book by one of my favourite comedian's, bus conductor's, folk singer, poet , rambler and author:  Mike Harding.  Check out his website for some great folk music and his books...

The book is called: Yorkshire Transvestite Found Dead On Everest.  If you type Winston Churchill and the sticky bomb in You Tube you will find Mike reading an extract from the book.  Have you met any loons like the sticky bomb creator?  I found the book very funny and if you want a good read about his ramblings, I recommend it very highly.  I am now the proud owner of three of his books.

So how old am I?  Well Princess Elizabeth became queen this year and the FA Cup Final was called the Matthews final that year.  Even though Stan Mortenson scored an hat-trick for Blackpool.  No I wasn't born in the fifties.  Can you guess how old I am?

I was talking to Rachel on her blog this morning about how I wish there was footity ball on Christmas Day.  In 1914 there was a truce and the Germans (no Stan Boardman jokes please!) and English exchanged cigarettes and sweets and had a game of football in No Man's Land.   Here's Mike Harding singing about it.

Monday, 5 December 2016

A Statue For The Gaelic Poets.

Part 2 of our Christmas shopping trip to Killarney.  We spotted this statue on Saturday.  It was erected in 1940 and the sculptor was Seamus Murphy.




I think it's the mark of a great country when it's poets are commemorated.

Do you think poetry is important?  I do.

I read a on a poem publishers website  the other day stating  that it doesn't buy poems.  They pay poets for the number of books they sell.  What ever happened to the advance?

Who is your favourite poet?  Do you write poems?  I do some times.  Culture on a Monday afternoon.

PS. Are you watching the Turner film on Channel Four tonight?  It's on for nearly three hours - yawn!  It stars Timothy Spall.  I can only picture him in Auf Wiedersehen Pet Playing the Midlands character Barry bragging about the time he won the the West Bromwich Second Division Table Tennis League.  Seriously.  It's supposed to be excellent.  Will try and post tomorrow!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Art Discovery On A Killarney Christmas Shopping Trip.


Yay an Nay. And (never start a sentence with And) it did come to pass that we did venture over the Cork and Kerry mountains to go shopping  of the Christmas kind in Killarney.  We went in The Works In Killarney Outlet Centre and I bought a book (for myself) and we bought a lot of other stuff for presents.  Then we walked along Old Market Lane and spotted this Muriel (Hilda Ogden's phrase) and we think it is superb, don't you?  Wish I knew who painted the images.  Anybody know?






 Any body tell me what the Gaelic writing above the two women says?  Thanks.  

Anybody out there paint or write?  Tell us about your work.  I wrote another one of my tales last week.  The collection is growing.  Keep up the good work!

An employer once asked me if my teacher wrote on my school reports:

David is a like-able pupil but is very easy distracted.  Must do better."  

I was amazed and said:  "Yes.  How did you know that?"

He smiled and said:

"They wrote that on every-bodies school report."

See you tomorrow.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Hungry Hill With A Literary Connection.




That's a mobile phone photo took from our kitchen door over looking Bantry Bay.  It's Hungry Hill over on Beara Peninsula.  The hill inspired Daphne Du Maurier to write: Hungry Hill.  Margaret Lockwood starred in the 1947 film or "filum" if you say it that way.  The novel  was her seventh book and there have been 33 editions printed.  The film and novel are based on the the history  and family saga of Daphne Du Maurier's friend Christopher Puxley who owned Copper mines in the area.  I have never read it have you?

It's often said locally that when there is a cap of cloud on top of Hungry Hill, it's going to rain.  The transparent like cap on the top in our picture.  Made no difference and the weather is glorious at the moment. There has been a lot of frosts lately and this is always followed by the rain.  I think it comes next Tuesday.  

My grandfather could look at the tide and tell you what time it was without looking at a clock or watch.  Another sign of rain is Beara Peninsula looking really close, dogs eating grass and rocks shining in the distant hill sides.  What ways do you know for predicting the weather?  I don't mean watching the news!


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Dreams...

Did you see the match at the Theatre Of Dreams (Old Trafford) last night?  The lads in red put on a great show and Henrikh (Mickey) Mkhitaryan is quickly taking on the role of the new king.  I haven't been so excited about a United player since Ronaldo, Cantona, George Best (he was called Best and was the best) Kanchelsis, Bryan Robson... Shall I go on?  

Apparently Sir Bobby Charlton nicknamed Old Trafford the "Theatre Of Dreams" because it was/is the place where you followed your dreams, glory and happiness.  Isn't football amazing?

Talking of dreams.  I had a dream the other night that my son won FIFTY Miillion on the Lotto.  I was over the moon and in my dream, I woke up and was going:

"Yes, yes.  All our money worries are over.  We are going to be rich."

Then my wife turned to me and said:

"I don't know what you are so happy about.  He wouldn't give us any of it.

"Ahhh.."  

I screamed and pulled the pillow over my head.

What would you do if you won the lottery?  I would start my own publishing press, invest in a football team and have lots of holidays in some very nice places.  What about you?

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Temerity Tuesday.

Do you have the temerity to write a book, poems, song or even paint a picture?  Could you press the send button or post that letter and wait and wait longer than even that?  For ever in God's waiting room.  Why don't you get that file up on the screen and start writing your book again?  Or have you got more sense?  

  


There is even the argument that there are very few markets for working class writer's today.  I can't think of many male working class authors being interviewed on television recently can you?  Perhaps that's what I have been doing wrong all these years.  I have been aiming my working class books at a middle class audience? 

Do you write?  Please tell me what you think.   We have had Black Friday.  Today I am calling it: Temerity Tuesday.  Get writing that book or painting that picture!  

I feel like the next song this week.  Good old Thin Lizzy.  My favourite Irish band.  I once saw them in Manchester in 1981.  Showing my age.  


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Ghosting It.

Thanks for the comments and all the views for my Kansas post.  Did you see Henrikh Mkhitaryan (we call him Mickey) play for United the other night?  He reminded me of a cross between Ronaldo and Cantona.  That lad is going places.  He was sensational I loved the way he ghosted past the opposition.  

Talking of ghosts.  I am currently reading a superb novella called A Christmas Carol.  It's the chosen December reading on a blog I follow: Be Sol Be.  Yes it's the one we all know that we see on the television every  year a long with the Wizard of OZ.  

I have seen the Scrooge films many times but never read the book. Charles Dickens seems to have been almost obsessed with ghosts.  Victorian society loved ghost stories and many attended seances or went to spiritualist meetings.  

Do you believe in ghosts?  I saw one a few years a go.  I just noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  Then I looked again.  There looking in our kitchen window was an old lady wearing a long hooded cloak and she had a very pointed nose.  The image was grey and transparent.  I shouted to my wife and the ghost sped past  the other window.  My wife just saw the back of her.  It was very strange.  

Have you any ghost stories?  

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Day I Saw The Band I Had Waited Over Thirty Years To See.

People who follow this blog will know that from time to time I feature some of the rock bands I like and maybe even been lucky enough to see live.  

Two years a go my friend invited me over to Warsaw to see a band I might be interested in seeing.  Who would this band be me thinks?  It was no other than the great American band: Kansas.  The band who I had always wanted to see but I never got the chance.  I had only waited about thirty years to see them. Well not really waited.  I didn't ever think I would see them.  


Sure enough I emailed my friend back and a few months later (August 2014) and I was flying from Shannon to Modlin airport near Warsaw, Poland.  The great day duly arrived and my friend and myself walked up to the Progresja rock club. 


It was a gorgeous summer evening and the Kansas bus was parked outside the concert hall.  My friend noticed the Kansas lead singer sat outside the tour bus on a chair.  He wondered if we should go over and meet the band.  I of course said nay and we just walked passed Steve Walsh.  Wish I had walked up to him now and said:

"I have flown from  Ireland to Poland to see you and it's only took me thirty years."  


Not the flight time.  That was three hours.  I am talking of the time it took until I was lucky enough to see them play live.  I wasn't disappointed either.  They were fantastic!


Is there any band or singer who you would love to see live?  Would you fly three hours or more to see them.


Kansas have a new record out this year.  It's like listening to them in the nineteen eighties.  Here's a sample track for you to enjoy:



Tuesday, 22 November 2016

No- One Asked Me To Paint So Why Should I Expect People To Buy My Works?

That's a quote from a very famous painter who painted match-stick men and cats and dogs.

Yes it's LS Lowry.

So you painters, musicians, writers, basket weavers....  What do you think?  

Do you waste your time sending off your manuscripts to book publishers, record producers (I am showing my age I know)  art galleries... For ever hoping one day you will be the best thing since sliced bread, a mega star, celebrity, Somebody will say:

 "I love your work."

Must check my email inbox to see if the Irish book publisher wants to publish my book.  Why do we spend so much of our life in God's waiting room?  

I said to my wife the other day, we had been talking about favourite author's like Peter Tinniswood and Pete McCarthy, Mike Harding, John Seymour) (my favourites) and Margaret Dickinson, Ruth Hamilton and Lynne Andrews (her favourites)  that I actually enjoy writing and creating my own books the most.  Think I have finally grasped the writing nettle.  Introversion and self indulgence is the answer.  What do you think?

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Potato And Bacon Cakes With Baked Beans.

I said we would make some more traditional Irish food on my next post.  Here you are.  Potato cakes filled with bacon.  I got this recipe from our Darina Allen Irish cook book.  You make the potatoes in the traditional way (see video below ) and add cooked small pieces of bacon to the mash.

They are great for a breakfast or any time of the day.  Don't make more than 2 per person though, they are very filling.  Serve them with Baked Beans.  Heinz are my favourite.  I think they are really American foods.  The potato comes from the Andes in South America and Baked Beans originated in North America.  They were originally called Navy Beans and they are actually made from Haricot beans which are white in colour.  They are also stewed beans not baked.  



Regular readers will have seen this Beaked Beans On Toast menu before.  I took it when we visited Faro in The Algarve in April 2015.

Here's a gem of a Keith Floyd video I remember watching.  I found it on You Tube yesterday.  Mr Floyd was one of my culinary heroes.  Such a character and he loved the Stranglers.  One of my favourite bands too.

Enjoy the video and the meal.



Friday, 18 November 2016

Lamb Koftas Made On The Farm.


We watched the Food Network Channel the other night on one of the free channels.  They made lamb Koftas.  So we thought we would have a go at making them.



If you want to make them you will need:

500 G of lamb and beef minced mixed together.  Place a big dessert spoon each of Chilli, Mint , Coriander, Cumin and chopped Almonds.  You can use fresh spices if you can get them.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix together and make into sausage shapes and leave in the fridge for an hour or so.  Then cook in the oven until the juices run clear.  

The sauce is made from natural yogurt, Coriander and Mint.  We served them with red onion, lettuce, tomato and a Vintage Irish cheese.   

Again they weren't really spicy enough for me.  I think in future we would use fresh Chilies.  

Next time I will blog about some traditional Irish food.  Variety is the spice of life, don't they say?

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Forest, Field & Sky.

We watched the Forest, Field and Sky: Art Out Of Nature on BBC 4 last night.  It was about artists whose work explores the human relationship with the natural world.  Well that's what my tv magazine said.  Did you see it?  

It showed a man building a dry stone wall in the trunk of a dead tree, an artist who made a walk by treading the grass down in a line.  It reminded me of a white line on a football pitch.  He also made a 10 mile walk. Here was a lady artist who made a stone structure in the sea and set a bonfire in it.  Then they filmed the ever encroaching sea rising over the structure.  A fascinating programme and confirmed what I have thought for a long time.  Everything can be art.  It doesn't have to be that which is useless.  

Take a meal, a vase of flowers, a blog picture, a blog post, a poem, a painting, a book, a garden, a well dug allotment.  You know what?  I think it's all art?  Mother nature is the greatest artist of them all.  She doesn't draw in straight lines either. Like trees planted like soldiers on golf courses.  Do you agree?

Here's a poem I wrote the other year.  It came to me when I walking.  The 10 mile walk on the programme made me think of my poem: Walking Right Through Time.

WALKING RIGHT THROUGH TIME.

I am not walking on the earth,

I am not walking on the stars,

I just keep walking, walking through time.


There's no cobwebs on my finger tips, 

No Ivy growing around my heart,

I am just a Poet looking for a rhyme,

Walking, walking, walking,

Right through time.


Sunday, 13 November 2016

Home Made Hungarian Goulash.

Thanks for the comments on my last post and also for reading it.  Following on from last post.  We decided to have a go at making Hungarian Goulash  yesterday.  Here you are:


This is is said to be a traditional meal that can be either a soup or stew.  It's said to have it's origins from the Hungarian cattle and sheep herder's who lived in the Hungarian countryside.  So it can be made with mutton or beef.  I believe in Germany they make it from sausages.  I love Paprika and I think it gives a bit of thump instead of plain beef stew.  I found the recipe on the BBC Hairy Biker's Recipe page.

I would love to visit Hungary one day.  One of my favourite (seen them 4 times) English rock bands is Jethro Tull.  One of the songs from the Crest Of A Knave album is called Budapest.  Thanks to You Tube and the kind folk who put these videos on there.    Anybody else like Jethro Tull?






Thursday, 10 November 2016

Watching Television The Other Night.

We watched the Ben Fogle New Lives In The Wild on Channel 5 on Wednesday night.  It featured an English couple who looked up houses on Right Move for 3 grand and they found an old rural house with land in Hungary.  Did you see it?

The programme started with Ben walking down a street asking people if they knew where the English couple lived?  We must have all done something similar in a foreign country.  It reminded me of the time myself and the missus went to Folkestone in the middle of the snow one February, like you do! We stayed in a B & B and they served our breakfast in our bedroom?  Seriously.  

Any road.  We decided to go on a ferry to Boulogne for the day.  When we got there we went in a cafe/bar and had a couple of drinks and the best omelette and French fries we have ever tasted.  Then we went into an "Oirish (Irish) pub.  It had all the traditional fittings and they even made a shamrock in the froth of your Guinness.  Only trouble was none of the bar staff spoke English.  No problem thinks me.  All I did was gesticulate and make hand signals for a large glass, small glass and two fingers for: two drinks.  Who needs translation books of even French lessons?

Any road again.  The couple in Hungary said they had a budget of six Pounds a day to live on. I bet six Pounds goes a lot further than it does in Britain or Ireland?  I say fair play to them for having the get up and go for making a new life in the countryside.  Don't fancy killing rabbits though.  Think I would buy them oven ready from the rabbit owner up the road.  

I decided long a go the only way to get away from the rat race is to live on a smallholding or even get yourself an allotment.  I just hope Brexit doesn't stop people from living their rural dream in other countries.   

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Chicken Skewers And Super Bock. (What Do You Want For Your Tea?)


This is turning into a food blog.  Thanks for all the comments and I have been getting a lot more views every day.  I suppose we have all got to eat haven't we?  The usual early morning conversation in our house is:

"What do you want for your tea?"

ME:  "Dunno."



We some times go to the Chinese Restaurant and Take Away in Bantry.  We never eat in and I usually order Beef in Black Bean sauce.  The missus will order her: Chips and Curry sauce.  The lads usually order Chicken Skewers with Rice.  Our house is full of cook books and we are always scouring the T'web and T'internet for new recipes to try.  So yesterday we had a go at making chicken skewers.  They only cost 10 Euros to make and they went down really well.  Here's how you make them:

Get 4 chicken breasts (one for each person) and we cut them into one inch chunks and we covered them in honey and pushed them onto skewers.  Then they where placed in the cooker (range) and cooked for about half an hour, turning once until the juices run clear. Serve with rice or chips.

We enjoyed them.  Let me know if you like them.  

On Saturday. The local supermarket and off licence in town had run out of Newcastle Brown on Saturday.  I have been able to get this wonderful English beverage since 2012.  So I searched through the shelves of stout, lager and bitters...  When I set my eyes on my old friend: Super Bock.

If you have ever been to Portugal.  You will have seen this beer for sale.  I think it was two Euros fifty a pint (big glass) when we last went to the Algarve.   I hope to go there next year.  This time we will probably explore the Silver Coast and higher up.  Places like Lisbon, Porto and the Douro wine region... 

I chilled the beers in the fridge.  They brought sunny Portugal all back to me.  Cheers!   Where are you going next year on your holidays?






Saturday, 5 November 2016

Bolognese Pizza.

I believe this is another one of those meals that have never seen their supposed country of origin.  Apparently Bolognese pizza was not invented in Italy and Chicken Tikka Masala was created in a London restaurant.  It's like one of my old sayings:

"They advertise Persil washing powder on the side of a bus.  But it doesn't mean they sell it."

Any way we first sampled this dish in the Algarve a few years a go.  A young lad stood outside this Italian Restaraunt inviting tourists to dine and he recommended the Sangria and home made Bolognese pizza. He was a cheerful lad and we had a laugh and a joke with him and when in Rome or even Praia Da Rocha, we sampled his recommendations.    We weren't disappointed.  Hopefully one day we will live in Portugal.  

Any way (again) the missus made 4 Bolognese pizza's for thirteen Euros yesterday.  She was in a hurry though and bought the bases. Then she put the mixture on top of the bases and put them in the range and I offer you Bolognese pizza made in the farm house.  

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Moroccan Meatballs. Catering For An Army!

We are always looking for new recipes to cook.  The missus came home with a SuperValu (Irish supermarket) leaflet yesterday.  So we decided to give it a whirl on top of the range.  



Moroccan Meatballs With Couscous.

It only takes ten minutes preparation and 30 mins to cook.  You make 24 meatballs from 454g of minced beef.  Season it with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 15 mins.  We cooked it on a baking tray on top of our range.  

Meanwhile (back at the ranch or smallholding) I warmed the olive oil (where's Popeye?)  and a chopped onion in our skillet on top of the range.  Then we added a teaspoon each of garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger and added 2 tins of chopped toms.  Let it simmer for 10 mins and seasoned with salt and pepper.   Then we cooked the meatballs in the sauce for another ten minutes.  

To serve we made couscous from a packet and just added boiling water.  The meal was different but nowhere spicy enough for me.  I think it's with using dried spices.  We could do with some ethnic food shops moving to West Cork.  

We also made too much.  It was supposed to be enough for 6 people after all.  Hence the catering for an army title.  Do you make too much food?  I am also told that I use every pot and pan when I attempt to cook.  I have lived in this house for thirteen years and I still don't know where any cooking utensils live!

Did I tell you about the time when I asked my wife once to order me a kebab?  In England you can get mild, medium or hot.   I told her to tell them tell to make it 'super hot'. 

Inside the kebab house. 

"Are you sure?"

"Yes that's what he wants."

Half an hour later.  I takes a bite of my Doner kebab.  I think I had just swallowed some volcanic lava.  I was like a mad bull.  But the steam was coming out of my head not my nostrils.  I honestly thought I was going to die.  Oh and drinking pints of water, beer, flower vase water..., does not work.  I never asked for a 'super hot' Doner kebab again!


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A Long And Winding Road. One Of My Walks!

One thing I really love about living in rural Ireland is walking the hills.  Where else can you walk for miles and not see a soul?  The other day I did my six mile walk on the Sheep's Head Peninsula.  It's so incredibly beautiful and peaceful.  I have started putting my earphones on my mobile phone and listening to classical music on the radio while I walk.  It's like being in the opening or closing of a film.

Walking always clears my mind and makes me so grateful for nature and where I live.  Here are some photographs I took with my mobile phone:

 A deserted road on the Sheep's Head Peninsula.

The mental juke box in my head started playing the following:






 The grass is autumn brown now on the hillsides.
Found this stone circle on my travels.  What could it be?  A witches meeting place?  Perhaps ancient chieftains met here?  Or did somebody just felt artistic and made a circle of stones?  I think it's rather beautiful.
Looking down over Bantry Bay out of the mist.  You can see the outline of the Beara Peninsula across the bay.

I have a manuscript about the Sheep's Head Peninsula that needs finishing this winter.  So that's two books to finish this winter.  Anybody else writing any books?  What are they about?