Tag 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:

Food Monday – Grannymar’s Onion Jam/Marmalade.

As I have told you, I had a busy few weeks cooking and preparing food for my freezer prior to my eye surgery. This recipe is a variation of my original one and prepared in typical mammy fashion: Have an idea of what you want to cook, select ingredients you have in the fridge or pantry and go for it!

Grannymar’s Onion Jam/Marmalade.

1 kilo peeled, quartered and finely sliced onions*
3 tablespoons olive oil.
4 tablespoons runny honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons Vermouth or white wine

* I had three red (Spanish) onions, one brown and a bag of shallots. Next time, I will bung the peeled onions in a blender a pulse a few times – it will save time slicing & chopping!

Heat oil in a deep pan over moderate heat, add onions and stir well. I also place a disc of greaseproof paper over the onions in the saucepan lightly pressed down as it helps them sweat and soften. Replace lid and cook gently for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and greaseproof paper, if the onions are not all soft, give them a stir and replace the greaseproof and the lid and cook for another few minutes. DO Not allow to burn.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for another 30 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent sticking.

Remove the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes, stirring regularly.

While the onions are working their magic, wash the jars and lids and place them on their sides in a preheated oven 150°C for at least 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the jars and fill with the warm onions, cover & seal. Allow to cool before storing.

Elly loved it and a jar was almost emptied before she went home. Now don’t eat all of it before next week, as we need some for my next Food Monday recipe!

Life is good

Maybe I should up that statement: Life right now is a wonderful high!

Yesterday, my friend Emily brought me out for the day and treated me to lunch at Il Pirata. No. We did not fly to Italy for lunch, we travelled to Ballyhackamore, in East Belfast. We eat slowly and talked plenty.

Back in the car, our mystery tour continued.

Some months ago, Emily mentioned a sculpture that whetted my appetite and I was anxious to see it for myself. Yesterday was the perfect occasion and I was introduced to the work of two wonderful creative souls.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I will introduce you to a wonderful sculpture, if I manage to sort my photos.  The second piece should be ready for Wednesday. The latter was right up my street and I fell deeply in love with the work.

I suddenly realised about mid morning today that the air bubble in my eye had disappeared. I was like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. Yes. I can see clearly, but I am limiting my time at the laptop for a few more day.

Slowly, very slowly I will get back to my routine of blog reading. Again I plead for your patience.

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!

Planning & Scheming


Has wheels will travel:


Betty Rubble

Betty Rubble

Betty Rubble image credit to: images.cryhavok.org

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.

Food Monday ~ Over to you

It is a holiday weekend in the South of Ireland, so I have declared the same for the land of Grannymar.

That means I do no work today. So what will I have for a tasty simple dinner tonight?

I have potatoes, eggs, tomatoes, bacon & green beans waiting to be used up.

How would you combine them to tempt my tastebuds?

Shopping/Shopping online

Findlater's delivery bicycle - courtesy of The Little Museum of Dublin

Findlater’s delivery bicycle – courtesy of The Little Museum of Dublin

Not alone do I remember Finlater’s large grocery shop on the corner of O’Connell Street with Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin, I also remember buying items of groceries to carry home with me on the bus from town! We are talking way back when I was barley into double figures.

Remove the sign and I am dipping into the memory box of another similar bike.

Eddie’s bicycle. Eddie brought an order of groceries to our house on six days of every week. That is a story for another day.

We have come a long way from small grocery shops with the grocer standing behind the counter in a brown shop coat or apron on which to wipe his hands. A pocket for a notebook and the obligatory pencil sitting on his ear.

The cooked ham and the bacon (raw) were both cut on the same hand operated slicer and cheese was cut to the size of the piece you wanted. The fact that the soil covered potatoes were added to the scales in the back store and a bail of briquettes was carried to a car with those very same hands, only added extra flavour to the bacon! Health and Safety were never heard of, and sure we were only building up our immunity. My granny would have called it clean dirt!

We paid for our shopping with REAL money, not bits of paper or plastic.

We have come a lonnnnnng way since then.

In the ‘olden days’ when I was a knee spit high, you could find small shops that claimed to sell everything from a needle to an anchor. Today we have Supermarkets and stores trying to sell us a LIFESTYLE.

Pre-packaged, shrink-wrapped, plastic bags, Big Supermarkets and BRAND NAMES.

We have gone full circle. The Eddie’s of this world may have gone to their reward, but you do not have to leave the house to have the groceries or indeed any shopping delivered to you kitchen counter, never mind front door.

A few days ago, I was returning from my adventures in Dublin, when my mobile began to chirp.

“Mum where are you, now”?

“On the bus back to the house, we are as far as the halfpenny bridge.”

“Do you fancy coming to this talk/presentation with me? I am feeding Buffy and about to head into town, if so, I’ll call and see if I can get you a ticket.”

“It might be interesting, go ahead and try.”

I stayed on the bus in case the answer was no. Elly called back with the instruction to get off at the next stop, cross the road and jump on the next bus back into town!

I did. We met,and I went along.

On entering the building I was greeted and welcomed by
Piaras Kelly, Associate Director of Edelman, although we had not actually met before, he was aware of my online presence.

The presentation was on behalf of Musgraves, SuperValu & Centra  – who are all under the same umbrella. An evening of information, discussion and suggestion gathering from foodie bloggers and users of social media, to see how they can improve their online presence.

The above group is Southern based and not available to me in Northern Ireland where my online foodie needs can be catered for with Sainsburys, Tesco or Asda

It was interesting to see things from the other side. But what struck me was the fact that I was the oldest person in the room, old enough to be the mother of everyone else there.

I was greeted with hugs and kisses by several signed up and badge holder ‘Grannymar Toyboys’!

If I was to sum up the evening in words they would be

Online presence
Value for customers
Tablets and mobile phones
A bottle of wine
Meals for two
Family deals
Young Mums
Providing recipes and ideas for quick and tasty meals
Coeliacs – a long discussion on their needs

I did have the opportunity to request that recipes be included for those with other health issues such as Dairy allergies.
A request was made from the floor to remove the rolling flashy bit from the top of the site, something I was pleased to hear and they can be such a distraction.

For me the evening was geared for people already living the world of technology and actually more familiar with it than some of those presenting. This is not a complaint, only my impression.

There was no mention of the older generation, many of whom are being pushed into this world of clicks and likes. Young people forget that we oldies were brought up in a world of “DON’T Touch, you might break it!”

Many people in their seventies & eighties are using technology theses days to keep in touch with family and friends scattered across the globe. As they become more familiar they brave the waters to other areas and home shopping is one way.

The sites need to be simple with easy straightforward instructions.


Flashing lights are for Christmas trees and street decorations. Let us find the food and necessary items First. Let the ‘flifferty gibbet fashionatas’ dig deeper for their ‘apps’ and wide screens!

Make text large and clear enough for aging eyes. Text over jumping or moving screens can be gone before we find it.

Three for two or buy one get one free offers may be fine for family shopping, but do have offers for pensioners. A bag of fruit with different varieties in it – not a bag of apples that will have gone off before they reach the end of it.

A local butcher to me at home does an offer one day a week, it will have a piece of steak for frying, a pork chop, sausages , bacon, and maybe a couple of chicken breasts all for a very reasonable price. That would keep a pensioner in meat for a week.

You want to support the family, we seniors are very much part of that family. Not alone are we struggling with ageing ailing eyes and bodies, we have to battle with a very fast changing world. Do not push us into the ditch of life to linger and fade away.

We need to eat too!

Padmini the wonderful cook and author of many cookbooks, and hails from Chennai, in India, brought the topic Shopping/Shopping online to our LBC table for dissecting today. Why not pour a drink and join me on a trip round the other members all listed in the sidebar for the next course in this banquet.