Monthly Archives: August 2009

Food Monday ~ Elly’s-It looks like Yeuk-Dip

Elly’s ‘It looks like Yeuk’! – Dip.

Preheat oven to 180 °C

  • 1 bushbok sweet potato
  • 1 decent-sized aubergine
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt

Peel as much of the papery skin off a garlic bulb as possible while keeping it in one piece, and trim the top so that you open up the top of each clove.
Remove the top off a decent-sized aubergine, and cut in 2 lengthwise.
Peel the sweet potato and cut into roughly 1-inch cubes.
Peel a red onion, top and tail it and cut into 8 chunks.

Place everything in a roasting tray lined with foil and drizzle with olive oil and season well. You can put some balsamic vinegar on the sweet potato and the onion if you like.

Roast for 35-40 minutes, until everything is tender.

Place the sweet potato and onion in a blender, scoop the aubergine flesh out of the skin and push the soft centre from the roasted garlic out of it’s skin and add to the potato and onion. Add a good glug of olive oil and some lemon juice to everything in the blender, then pulverise it – dependant on the consistency you may want to add some water. Keep adding salt, lemon and olive oil to taste.

Best served hot, but can be frozen and defrosted and eaten cold or microwaved.

I have eaten it hot, cold and microwaved from frozen.It still looks like Yeuk, but tastes delicious!

What is 180°C in gas?

When my Elly was a young lady I tried to teach her how to cook.

Alas the subject was only of interest if there was something in it for her.

In the final few weeks before heading for freedom University I tried encouraging her to assist or at least watch me prepare meals. No mother wants her nestling’s to starve when they leave the safety of the coop. Elly would have none of it, she was far happier with her nose stuck in a book.

Naturally I worried; but then two quotes came to mind. The first was grumbled from the head of our dining table when we were all small.“Hunger is good sauce! was a favourite of my fathers if any of us dared to turn up our noses at anything that mammy cooked. It was often followed by “If you don’t eat it for your dinner, you will have it for your tea!” Dinner in those days was our mid-day meal. The other quote certainly never came from daddy, since he never set foot in the kitchen. It was from the young lady that married my youngest uncle. When asked if she liked or was able to cook, she chirped in quickly with “Anyone who can read can cook!”

With these thoughts fighting with each other in my brain I dumped packed my daughter off to College. Within a couple of weeks the calls started…

  • “Mammy, how do you make…?”
  • “What oven temperature do I need to use for…?”
  • “What is 180°C in gas?”

Hunger was certainly good sauce, she soon learned to cook and occasionally the recipes were coming back across the Irish Sea from Scotland to me.

Now she is a very good adventurous and experimental cook. I shared her Tomato,  & Peanut soups, as well as her Banana Loaf with you already.

During a recent visit, I made the most of Elly & George’s healthy strong arms to stock up on dry goods to keep me going while running in the new ‘shock absorber’ and the associated ban on driving. I also wanted some fresh fruit and veg. In the vegetable aisle, Elly did her usual, “We will have one of these each and one of those” and so it went until we had a very colourful collection. She had a new recipe for me to try and would cook it before she went home.

Do you know what I discovered… She doesn’t cook like me, she cooks like her Nana. HER NANA! My mother, never used a weighing scales and the recipes were in her head, ELLY IS NOW DOING THAT!

I did ask her for the proper recipe and if you are curious come back in the morning for the surprise.


Remember to visit Conrad, Ashok, Ramana, Magpie 11 and Marianna for their take on the topic that I have chosen ~


My uncle did not like a curfew. Well, when a young man’s heart turns to romance….

My Granny grew weary sitting up waiting and listening to the slowly ticking clock until all her brood had returned to the nest.  Go easy on my Granny if you don’t mind, this was long before the days of mobile phones, Twitter & Television; and the radio in Ireland was in its infancy.

Granny had a shop to run and needed to rise early and open up with everything ready for her first customers before 7am each morning. So Granny gave in and handed my uncle a house key. He was warned not to abuse the privilege, and with that Granny went back to her normal bed time routine & sleep pattern.

One night my uncle returned very late and silently slipped the key into the keyhole and gingerly opened the front door….


was the roar that greeted his ears and he froze with one foot over the threshold. It was his mother’s voice. With the return of her normal sleeping pattern, came her usual vivid dreams. I don’t think my uncle stayed out late after that.

Confession is good for the soul, or so my father told me.   I can get away with my secret no more.

It is time to come clean.


I have been burdened down with this secret for a long time now.  I was behind the wheel of the car when it happened.  It all seemed so quick, that I had no time to take evasive action.  I heard the bump and felt the wheel go over the body.

I didn’t stop!

I made no attempt to stop.

I just kept on going until I reached home where I checked the car for damage, but there were no tell-tale signs.  Sighing softly I went indoors.

It was a late April morning and I was returning home alone from completing a task that required my signature.  The envelope of officially Certified papers slipped from the passenger seat beside me on to the foot-well of the car as I braked.  I was travelling downhill and slowing from 40 MPH as I was about to enter a 30MPH zone.  There was a car on my tail, the driver paying no heed to his surroundings, if I had opened the boot/trunk he might have driven right into it.  He was a known ‘dog lover’ yet he had several animals loose on the back seat of his car?  I was aware of them from my rear view mirror.

I had a split second to make my decision… take a hit at the front or have a car with a driver and several dogs dig right into me.  Technically he would have been at fault and no doubt the Insurance companies would have sorted it out… EVENTUALLY.

I had enough to contend with as it was.

I was returning from doing something that was down to me as next of kin, I had just Registered Jack’s death and now had funeral details to finalise.

I had killed a cat!

So in this instance it was I, and not curiosity, that killed the cat!

Am I forgiven?

I missed the boat

I heard on the radio this morning about a book for SALE at John Lewis.

It is actually a booklet of wartime handy hints updated for these days of Recession!

I missed the boat.  The invoices are on their way… You all owe me money 😉  Yipee!  I can now look forward to my final days in the glorious comfort of  ‘Acorn House’, ‘The Hollies’, ‘The Pines’,or ‘TLC’!   Yes, there is a home in Dublin called TLC (Tender Loving Care), if I went there my sister might come to visit.

Now if the book is not enough John Lewis are holding classes

Classes now available

All of these skills, and more, will be taught or honed in our Make Do And Mend classes happening at selected John Lewis shops throughout late September and October.

Those wishing to join are asked to bring along old clothes they’d like revamped, favourite jumpers that need a little bit of TLC and bags or accessories that simply need updating. Classes will be based around “fashion fixes” to help rescue, repair or reinvent well worn favourites. Advice will include sewing on buttons, darning cashmere and using patches and motifs to revive clothes.

Classes are free to attend* and will last 2 hours.

*Attendees will be charged for materials used

Anyone know of a Cruise Line looking for someone to give a couple of classes a week? 🙄

Thursday Special ~ SIPPING VODKA

Why do people think I am obsessed with Vodka, I wonder?

A new priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak.

After mass he asked the Monsignor how he had done.

The Monsignor replied, ‘When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. If I start to get nervous, I take a sip.’

So next Sunday he took the Monsignors advice.  At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink.  He proceeded to talk up a storm.

Upon his return to his office after the mass, he found the following note on the door:

  1. Sip the vodka, don’t gulp.
  2. There are 10 commandments, not 12.
  3. There are 12 disciples, not 10.
  4. Jesus was consecrated, not constipated..
  5. Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass.
  6. We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J.C.
  7. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy,
    Junior and the spook.
  8. David slew Goliath; he did not kick the shit out of him.
  9. When David was hit by a rock and was knocked off his donkey, don’t say he was stoned off his ass.
  10. We do not refer to the cross as the ‘Big T.’
  11. When Jesus broke the bread at the last supper he said, ‘Take this and eat it for it is my body.’ He did not say ‘Eat me’.
  12. The Virgin Mary is not called ‘Mary with the Cherry’.
  13. The recommended grace before a meal is not: Rub-A-Dub-Dub thanks for the grub, Yeah God.
  14. Next Sunday there will be a taffy pulling contest at St. Peter’s not a peter pulling contest at St. Taffy’s.

Thank you Maynard for sharing! hic!

Art with my Needle ~ Week 1

Last week in A Collection I promised to move inside the leaves of the book.

Remember it was a first project.  Looking back now it seems very basic.  I was learning a number of new skills.  These included the use of fabrics, stitches, pattern, printing, painting and design. We used fabric paints & pens and natural dyes.  Part of the course for the first year was a module in Design.  It was a new course and the tutors were learning just as we were.

With the inspiration coming from a child’s Rag Book, I wanted it simple and really a container for the items inside.

Today I will turn the pages and then if you are interested give more detail of the contents.  Click on the photos to enlarge for more detail.  Most people when giving a book as a gift, add an inscription inside the cover.  Mine was done with Fabric Pen, this had to be heat sealed.*

At this stage I am sure you realise that the items in the collection are Bookmarks.  I needed a way to hold them in place and the photo above shows two diagonal bars which were made with about five rows of elastic thread which I over-stitched with Blanket stitch.

Book Mark No.1 is made from Sequin waste also called Punchinella.

What is it?  Simple – it is the waste product from making sequins!  It usually comes 90mm wide and sold by the meter or roll. It is lightweight flexible shiny plastic, full of holes.  It is easy to shape and cut. Ribbons look great woven through the holes. It is a perfect medium for crafting. For the bookmark I used it as a base for my interpretation of Hardanger embroidery using satin stitch.

On these pages we see on the left a Tie-dyed bookmark decorated with Suffolk Puffs and added stitching.  On the right is a simple Cross Stitch Letter E on even weave.  Cross stitch was the very first attempt I ever made in embroidery long before this class.  I still to this day find it relaxing.

These are two of my favourites. and worth showing out of the book.

The tree trunk and branches are in a mock leather.  The greenery representing leaves is worked on dissolving fabric and free machine embroidery.  For this the work is put into a taut embroidery hoop, used upside down, like you were working on the back of the fabric.  The teeth of the sewing machine lowered and the work moved freely about being careful to connect each line of thread, otherwise it all falls apart.  The buds were added later using French Knots.

On the right is a bookmark made of Felt.  Yes we made the felt, nothing to the standard of Nicola Brown, I fear, but still it was experimental felt.  In the making we trapped strips of leather, threads, lace and beads.  When we had it completed we added further decoration with stitches and surface beading.

We are half way and the bell has gone for the end of class.  The remainder of the bookmarks will have to wait until next week.  Book your seat now. 😉


When I was young I had a good head of hair. I know because people always admired it. My father called it ‘my crowning glory’. It was thick, lustrous and auburn in colour. There were more natural hi-lights in it than in a New England autumn landscape. The hair colour had skipped a generation; my parents and siblings ranged from dark mousy to almost black. Mind you when the boys had an eye to fashion and grew sideburns or a beard, the hair below mid ear level appeared as Ginger! My colour came from my paternal grandmother and my maternal grandfather.

A good haircut once every five or six weeks made the job of grooming very easy. I managed it well over the years. Because of the weight I never had it longer than shoulder length. As I grew older I changed the style to a shorter look. It suited my face.

In my young working life before we had showers, I washed my hair every second day, usually in the evening and once towelled dry I put in rollers to control my curly mop. It was often still damp when I went to bed with the rollers still in place. Pride feels no pain! In those days despite the torture I managed to sleep. I wonder if I tried the rollers now, would I sleep any better. 🙄 Sure it might distract me from my other aches and pains.

The rollers remind me of a family wedding. One of my brothers was getting married to a friend of mine down the country. We, the groom’s family completely booked the local hotel. We arrived the evening before the big day. I was sharing a room with my Aunt Mo. Like at most weddings, we were reunited with relations that we had not seen since the last wedding or funeral, you know how it goes.

Now when our gang get together the craic is mighty. The boys were on pints or shorts. I at that time drank Vodka. The groom had asked his best friend to be best man, but the friend was not due to leave Dublin until the morning of the wedding. Youngest brother, a grooms-man, was lined up to step in if the best man was delayed for any reason. As the evening went on the stories flowed like the drink. It was a typical Irish wedding.

My Aunt had settled herself beside me and she was enjoying the fun no end. I was keeping an eye on youngest brother. If he was needed in the morning to take on the role of best man, a clear head was important. He was on the Vodka. The rounds were coming fast and furious at this stage. I began a game of chess with the glasses. As I finished a drink I set the empty glass in the centre of the table and pulled a full one closer to me. I also played a ‘sneaky’ when everyone was talking. I pulled one of my brother’s glasses my direction as well.

At one stage there were about 4 or 5 glasses of Vodka in front of me. My aunt was getting worried about me and asked where I got all the drink. “Say nothing and watch!” I whispered. Not content, she asked again. I pleaded with her to say no more. It took her some time to realise what I was at. I sank a fair amount of booze that night and it was a long evening. Being residents in the hotel the bar stayed open as long as we wanted it to. My Uncles were telling stories to beat the band and nobody wanted to break up the party.

Finally bedtime was reached and my aunt and I went to our room. She slept and so did I. When she awoke, she looked across the room to find that I was sitting up in bed, bright as a button, putting in my rollers for the hour before we were due to go down to breakfast.

“How can you do that.” she asked.

“Do what?” I said.

“Put those rollers in your hair while your head is pounding.” she said in a whisper.

“My head is not pounding.” I announced cheerfully.

“But you had all that drink last night, WHY? She questioned.

“Remember the best man was not travelling until today and little brother is on standby to step up to the plate if needed.”

“I remember.” she nodded.

“Well it was important that he should have a clear head in case he is needed” I said.

“But what about you?” she asked all concerned.

“I am not part of the wedding party and it would not matter anyway if I had a sore head. Nobody except you saw what I did last night. It was better than causing a fuss.”

My head was fine, I enjoyed a full Irish breakfast and then we prepared for the day ahead.

The best man arrived, the wedding went to plan and I was complimented on my beautiful hair all day.

The autumn glory has almost gone now and my tresses are turning to winter snow. With age I have a new problem. When I waken these days I have somehow adopted a Mohican hairstyle. Why?  I wonder. You get to see right to the scalp with the surrounding hair spread like sun rays all around it.  Brushing doesn’t fix it, I have to wash my hair before it will sit properly.

Does anyone know if our heads get heavier on the pillow as we age? Does it only happen to women?

Food Monday ~ Mango Soufflé A la Ramana

On Friday Morning I playfully reproduced a photo of a ‘Loose’ Mango.  I am a little devious at times you know! 👿  It was in fact a tease for two reasons: a reminder of the Bloggers Consortium at 5pm that day, and a trap to see how well ‘yer man‘ can cook!  He fell for it hook line and sinker with the following comment:

Loose, tight, soft, hard, raw, ripe, dried, pickled or whatever, in whatever form, give me mangoes.

Naturally, I couldn’t let that one pass so I demanded he put his money where his mouth was, and share a recipe for Mangoes.  I reproduce the email in full, because it is sure to introduce discussion, I know I had to avail of ‘Google Images’ for one of the fruits mentioned.

This is the best that I could come up with using ripe mangoes. You can call it a Mango soufflé.  A la Ramana if you insist!  You can use any pulpy fruit in season for this sweet dish. Guavas, Sapotas and Custard Apples, particularly come out well.  You can add powdered cardamom to give it a tangy flavour.

I have eaten Guavas, tasted Custard Apples once, but never heard of Sapotas.  So without further ado I give you…

Mango Soufflé A la Ramana

You will require:
½ cup mango – sliced
½ cup mango –  blended in a blender
sugar to taste
3 eggs – (I prefer free range)
2 tsp gelatin – soak for some time in a little water.
¾ cup cream

What to do:

Separate the egg whites and yolks
Add the puree and separated yolk to the sugar, whisk and cook over a pan of boiling water till the sugar completely gets absorbed.
To some hot water, add the gelatin and add it to the yolk puree mix and let it cool
Whip the cream and add it to the mixture and place the sliced mango into it
Whip the egg whites and mix it with the above mixture
Freeze for a couple of hours.

When serving, decorate with cream lines and sultanas/ sliced almonds.  (If I have some fresh mint leaves, I just place a few on top as well. Mint leaves assist in digesting the meal which would have preceded this!)


Thank you Ramana.  Alas, I will be unable to try it because of the cream, but I am sure the many followers of this spot will indulge and enjoy.

Ramana, not satisfied with providing one recipe, he pestered requested his sister Padmini, an Editor/Co-author for some prize/award winning cookery books to sent three recipes for raw mango using dishes that are very popular with South Indians during the mango season, which is during their summer months of April to June.  So watch this space; there will be more mango recipes in the future.

NOTE: For any pregnant ladies out there, the egg whites are uncooked.  I never know whether it is the egg yolk or the whites that you have to watch out for!