Category Archives: Food

Official Swiper

In the last couple of weeks I had a letter from my bank. It was not to discuss my tuppence of assets in their grip.

No it was to insure I had easy access to reduce and spend it.

A spanking brand new piece of plastic was attached to the letter, a month before the old one expired. At least this new plastic did not necessitate a page of questions about my financial health and a tour of the land!!!!

This spanking brand new piece of plastic brought me up to date with the world of swiping. Making small purchases up to the value of £30, I can swipe my card on the card reader without the effort of inserting my pin number.

Just like the new shoes or sandals bought for me as a child, I loved to walk out of the shop wearing them. I was anxious to try this spanking brand new piece of plastic.

On my next visit to the local branch of Asda, I discovered they do not have the facility for the use of Swipe cards. I discovered it was the same story in other Supermarkets – Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Lidl does have the facility, so when I have run out of almonds for baking, or feel like a crusty roll for my lunch, I know where I’ll be swiping!

Now on the mention of food and lunch, I discovered this video recently and thought it was perfect for anyone wanting to lose those winter pounds:

 Life has been busy

In Never neglect a Fall, I wrote about my friend breaking the neck of her right femur on 20th January. Since she lives alone, I have been shopping, doing little tasks and spending time with her to break up the long days indoors.

It means my own routine has had to change about a little for the moment. I have been busy in the background.

I played with…

  • Emulsion brushes and a roller.
  • Washing wall tiles.
  • Reinstated a piece of needle art.
  • My sewing machine and some fabric.
  • Began a project in crochet.
  • Did some hand sewing repairs.
  • Made some bows.
  • Baked Guinness wheaten bread. Yummy.
  • Guinness Pizza bases. Double Yummy.
  • Made a batch of pancakes/crêpes for the freezer.
  • Bought more paint.
  • Bought more heat logs for my fire. The evenings still get cold and with the fire lighting, I am more inclined to sit and knit or crochet. I have a feeling in my gut that with Easter being early, it might be a cold one.
  • Planned the menus for meals when Elly brings some of her friends to visit next month. It will mean, I can sit and talk to my visitors and not spend the time in the kitchen while they are here.
  • Planned for future social events.
  • Bought an evening dress.
  • Sorted items to go to a charity shop.
  • Cleared two cupboards


The list is more to prove to myself that I have actually been productive and that life is just not slipping by.

Now where do I start next?

Sex Education

Over at The Other Side of Sixty  Wisewebwoman has an interesting piece about Sex and Irish Girls.

“Girl people in my time were sent out into the world with absolutely no knowledge of sex. None.”

We are the same generation, but I grew up in Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. WWW, was reared in rural Cork, down on the south coast of Ireland. My experience was slightly different to hers.

In fifth year (16-17 years of age), we had a new teacher for RE & Irish, she was a nun. A total contrast to all the other nuns. She forgot all about:

Miracles, parables and prophets.
Daily prayers for purity.
‘Impure’ thoughts.
Keeping our knees covered. 😆 a couple of years before The mid-1960s – when Mary Quant created the micro-mini.
The occasions of sin – There were more of them than beads on a rosary!
Being able to slide a sheet of paper between our dancing partner and ourselves.
Not leading young men on!!!! Holy Mother of Merciful Maisie. I grew up in a houseful of men and the only thing you could lead any of them on with, was a table full of hot food!

I could go on…… and on…….!

Our 30 minute RE class for five mornings a week and the Irish classes for the week, became sex education classes. She had a BOOK.

One copy of a so called sex education book, covered in a double layer of heavy brown paper and each student in turn, was given THE BOOK to take home for a few days to read. I do not recall the title, a double layer of heavy brown paper made more of an impression on me!

Yes. There were diagrams, but so do books on car maintenance. It could have been our ‘All in the Cooking’ with lists of ingredients, or Home Economics Hygiene book (which had a chapter with pixtures that the Home Economics teacher (another nun) blushed at and skipped over every time!).

When my turn came, I brought the book home and handed it to mammy. What did she say?

“You read it first, love, then give it to me to read.”

I did.

When she gave it back to me, mammy asked if I had any questions. I didn’t.

Books like the one covered in a double layer of heavy brown paper, and ‘All in the Cooking’, talk the mechanics of the topic, not a mention of touch, feel, smell, taste or emotion. I learned all that at my mother’s side about cooking AND relationships. I learned from my four brothers: I saw them go through puberty,  from pimply chins and knobbly knees to hogging the bathroom even longer than I did! I learned what they thought about girls: the traits they liked, respected, and the dreaded ‘man eaters’ who would do anything for a free meal. I saw women like them in my working years too. At one stage I thought I understood more about how male minds worked, than my female ‘sisters’ of the world.

My brothers and their friends showed great respect for me. Yes, they teased me endlessly, but they never over stepped the mark or put me in danger. When we were out, if any of them saw me in danger or if a stranger was misbehaving towards me, they would step in and get them to back off. I treated them all like brothers and that is how I treated all the men I met and worked with, over the years.

A new leaf

I was so pleased to turn over a new leaf on Thursday and step up to the plate of 2015. I feel like I have been in a trance for most of December.

  1. The blog was hacked.
  2. An eye infection took hold and prevented me from reading for more than a few minutes at a time.
  3. My washing machine ran out of spin on Christmas eve morning.

I was encouraged to go south and spend the few festive days with my sister. The final decision was not made until late on the evening of 23rd, when there was an improvement with my eye. Driving with blurred vision on a day that forgot to dawn or as it turned out: blindingly strong low sunshine took extra concentration.

I spend several days in the kitchen making meals to bring and share..

  • Pork Portofino
  • Venison pie
  • Roasted Chestnut soup
  • Onion marmalade
  • Cranberry, apricot, pecan & apple cake. A new one to me, but I loved it and so did my sister and her friends who tried it. .

All but the onion marmalade were new to my sister. She was cooking a turkey breast with a piece of smoked ham and all the trimmings for the big day.

Good job I brought so much food, instead of three days I ended up staying a week. I had a ‘pain’ day and my sister refused to let me drive home the next day, then the weather turned the temperatures down to icy and I was not allowed to travel for another few days. All the while my washer was sitting with a drum full of drained but soggy clothes. Never before in my life have I turned my back and walked away leaving a problem behind me.

Yesterday I sourced, found and paid for a new washing machine, had it delivered and a young neighbour installed it for me. I now have the new one in place and ready to go with the old one in the middle of the floor waiting to be collected.

Apart from putting the washer through its paces a couple of times tomorrow, I’ll be lying low. Today was another pain filled day.

Monday I see my optician to have my eyes checked.

After that? Who knows what direction my life will take… but it has to be better than last year.

At least I can drive my car!

Busy, busy, busy, me.

One week in Dublin, and I am only half way through my promised curtain making project for my sister. Six finished and another six to make. It is not all work, we intersperse the work with food from the garden, knitting, crochet, incoming visitors, lunches out with friends and girlie shopping trips!

There are plenty of:-

“Do you remember when…….?”
“Did I ever tell you about…….?”
“What ever happened to………?”
“What was it mammy said about……?”

Not to mention her new baby or the skeleton in the cupboard!

But you will have to wait until I have more time.. I want to sort out another window before we go out for lunch with a friend today.

Blog visiting and commenting has been light, please forgive me. As I often say: I may have two hands, but alas only one head!

Catch up with you soon.

Mind that skeleton!

I’m very busy.

I think I told you that I might be busy this week. Well, that is a bit of an understatement. My little car and I had a long drive on Saturday, only arriving at my first lodgings in the early afternoon. The landlady was at the door to meet me with a very welcoming smile. Out she comes to the car, taking a wee nosey into the back seat, and asks: “Do you want to unpack now, or lock up and have a cup of coffee first?”


I had two bags on the back seat of the car, so I said I would bring them in with me and leave the rest for later, safely locked in my boot/trunk. One of the bags on the back seat had been driving me crazy for the past couple of hours of my journey, so much so, that I nearly pulled off the road to devour a fresh loaf of Veda bread, a malted bread sold in Northern Ireland. In another cake box was a still warm experiment (cake)* that I had made that morning. I needed to open the box and allow it to cool properly for an hour.


So, I was welcomed indoors. Before I had reached the kitchen with the goodies, yer wan, the landlady, says to me: “I have a job for you”.




There was I thinking I was on my holidays. I’m telling you, I nearly took my three loves of Veda bread and one hot cake back to the car to find another guest house for the duration. But the other residents pleaded with me to stay. They danced rings round me and told me not to go. So I took pity on them and stayed. Over the very welcome cup of coffee, which came with Danish pastries, I was told about the job in store for me.


On one side of the kitchen was the greatest collection of saucepans/pots lined up in a row. On the opposite side were eight bowls standing like soldiers on parade, lined up from the largest to smallest. It almost looked like a factory production line. The largest bowl was covered and I realised it had a wooden spoon under that cover, my beady eye saw the handle sticking out. I also noted the new box of greaseproof paper, a scissors and a large ball of string and a bottle of Guinness! Now, being the month of June and not yet the longest day of the year, I was a little confused. Had my long drive brought me forward in time as well as miles? It could not be October already – The sun was shining! A mighty army of pots, boiling kettles, bowls and the other paraphernalia could mean one thing: Puddings. Christmas puddings.


Yes! I got it in one. My landlady, I discover, had never actually made Christmas puddings from scratch before in her life. Why would she, since she was the baby in the family and she had a mother & big sister who chopped the peel and grated the breadcrumbs and half their knuckles with it, every winter in order to feed the hoards on the big day, New year’s day and don’t forget the pudding for St Patrick’s day as well. So here was my landlady, read sister, attempting the puddings for the very first time. She had mammy’s no suet pudding recipe, and had it almost ready.,


“The whiskey is in.” says she, “But I was not sure about the Guinness, I have no idea what consistency the mixture should be.”


I gave the mix a stir and said: A pudding mixture should be much softer than a cake, so pour in about a third of that bottle of Guinness and we will see how it feels. Remember, any remaining stout is for the cook! She poured and I mixed, I let her have a go so she would get the feel of it. We added a little more, not as much as last time and it was right for our quantities. Eileen was using double the ingredients of mine in the link above.


We filled the seven greased bowls (she worked, I supervised) leaving space for expansion. I showed her how to prepare the greaseproof covers with pleats in, and how to tie them well before adding a handle. Fair dues to the sister, making puddings on a warm sunny day was not so daft after all. The windows and doors were all open and the extractor fan did the rest. It was possible to put them on to boil, set a timer and go off to enjoy the garden. By dinnertime, four of the pots were ready to come off.

puddings boiling

puddings boiling

The baby one, read tester, was ready to eat for dessert – part of mammy’s tradition.


Minding dessert

The other three would be cooked early the next morning. And all would be given another boiling closer to the day they were needed.


* The cake experiment was a variation on my Lemon drizzle cake.  You can find that recipe under cakes in the Recipe page up in the Header Bar. This time, I made the mix as normal and when putting it into the baking tin, I dotted small spoonfuls of lemon curd randomly between the cake mixture.

Planning & Scheming


Has wheels will travel:


Betty Rubble

Betty Rubble

Betty Rubble image credit to:

One event booked I know the ‘when and where’.

A ‘Phone me when you are free, and we will meet for coffee’, I know the where. Last time we met at 11:30 and several coffees later we parted at 16:30…. not quite hoarse!

Lunch engagement – know the ‘who & where’ but not yet the ‘when’.

It all depends on the main reason for my visit…

A total new experience, but I have yet to find out the ‘where and when’.

Blogging might be light next week, so please forgive me.


The Rules of Chocolate

If you have melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly.

Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices & strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.

The problem: How to get 2 pounds of chocolate home from the store in a hot car. The solution: Eat it in the parking lot.

Diet tip: Eat a chocolate bar before each meal. It’ll take the edge off your appetite and you’ll eat less.

A nice box of chocolates can provide your total daily intake of calories in one place. Isn’t that handy?

If you can’t eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer. But if you can’t eat all your chocolate, what’s wrong with you? If calories are an issue, store your chocolate on top of the fridge. Calories are afraid of heights, and they will jump out of the chocolate to protect themselves.

If I eat equal amounts of dark chocolate and white chocolate, is that a balanced diet? Don’t they actually counteract each other?

Money talks. Chocolate sings.

Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger.

Q. Why is there no such organization as Chocoholics Anonymous?
A. Because no one wants to quit.

If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top hose. An entire garment industry would be devastated.

Put “eat chocolate” at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you’ll get one thing done

This came in an email a couple of weeks ago and I could not resist sharing it. Thank you Noreen. Now I better go hide my stash before Elly comes…..

💡 A cake might be a good way to camouflage it! 😀