In Cooking, Ireland on December 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm
Yesterday we awoke to see the mountain tops covered in snow. Not enough to cause the disruption of last Winter when we had temperatures of -17 at this time…very unusual for Ireland. Although the mild Spring like conditions of November have gone the days are still pleasant enough. Walking or working outside in the cold and then retreating to the cosy warmth of the house gives one an appreciation for the comfort within. Seems more right somehow to have snow and cold at this time of year. I like the seasonal differences in the weather.
The Sedum looks very Christmassy with it’s dusting of snow. Speaking of Christmas it seems to have taken a back seat this year…so many people are worried about the economy and the possibility of the Euro being abandoned. The recent Budget once again hit the poorest in our society…unemployed, people on community employment schemes and single parents…and all the while the rich fat cats pay very little. Alas…it seems to be the same story the world over…no coincidence methinks. There seems to be a global conspiracy to make the rich richer and keep the poor impoverished and downtrodden. We are lucky as we own our own house and property…mortgage free. By the way, do you know the meaning of mortgage? It comes from 2 French words: mort meaning death and gage meaning grip. So many people in Ireland are now held in this death grip with properties often only worth one third of what people have signed up to pay for them.
Meanwhile here in Arigna I have been working for the last few days making items for the Winter Fair in Carrick-on-Shannon. The Fair runs over 2 days…Saturday and Sunday. Andy is manning the stall today and I will do tomorrow. The one in Manorhamilton last Sunday was excellent. About 40 stalls and a great crowd turned out.
Pictured above are Melting Moments…one of my best sellers. They look very pretty when finished with a dusting of icng sugar. They melt in the mouth and are lovely with tea or coffee.
To make them you need: 150g butter, diced. 75g icing sugar, sifted. 25g cornflour, sifted. 150g self-raising flour, sifted. Raspberry jam. Icing sugar for dusting.
Heat the oven to Gas 4 or 190 celsius. Cream the butter and icing sugar together. Then add the flour and cornflour. You will have a soft squidgy dough. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and place in baking cases placed in fairy cake tins. using a teaspoon dipped in hot water make a small indentation in the top of each one. Bake for 15-17 minutes. While still hot drop a little jam into the centre of each cake filling the hole. When cool dust with icing sugar. These keep well in a tin for several days.
I also made Millionaire’s Shortbread…a delicious if calorie laden treat of shortbread covered with a layer of fudge and finally a topping of good quality chocolate.
For the more health conscious there is the option of Cranberry and Walnut Muffins! I wonder which will sell out first?
In Animals, arigna, Gardening, Off the beaten track. on August 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm
Two of the four wind harps by the waterfront in Carrick-on-Shannon. They make an eerie, haunting yet beautiful sound.
Craft stall at the Plant Fair in Farmleigh, Pheonix Park, Dublin on Sunday 21st August.
Stone fountain in the Famine Memorial Graveyard, Carrick-on-Shannon.
Daphne enjoying some Willow cuttings.
Red Banana leaf. A bit too tender for Arigna I fear!
Freddie watches and waits for a door to open.
Any more Willow branches?
In Off the beaten track. on August 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm
This little limestone chapel is on the main street in the town of Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. It was built by Edward Costello as a tribute and a final resting place for his wife who died at the age of 46.
Mary Josephine Costello died in 1877. After her death she was embalmed, put to rest in an oak coffin lined with metal and left in the care of a local convent. Her widower set about building the church which was dedicated in April 1879.
After the consecration ceremony Mrs. Costello’s coffin was placed in a sunken space to the left of the entrance. It was covered with a specially made sheet of very thick glass which is still there, undamaged, and through which the plaque on the coffin lid and the aged wooden coffin are still visible.
Edward Costello died in 1891, his body was placed in a coffin similar to his beloved and placed to the right of the entrance.
Over the years more buildings have gone up around the little church. The natural light that would once have shone through this beautiful stained glass window is no more.
The recently cleaned tiles commerate the Stations of the Cross on the floor of this church which is the smallest in Europe. It is 16ft long, 12ft wide and 30ft high. The building is known as The Costello Memorial Chapel. A little gem in the heart of lovely Leitrim.
In Gardening, Off the beaten track. on June 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm
The Herb Garden is a new venture opening tomorrow in the Bush Craft Yard in Carrick-on-Shannon. Owner John Gaffey already has a small gift shop called The Crafty Cave in this lovely little courtyard. He is now extending beyond the paved area to open this new enterprise.
The main emphasis will be on herbs but John also does hanging baskets, window boxes, trees, flowers and vegetable transplants. Many of the plants are grown in his greenhouse in Mohill. In these days of trying to reduce air miles this has to be an added bonus for this venture.
John’s ingenuity is aptly demonstrated by this mini polytunnel which he made from some discarded piping and plastic plus some wood for the base. Is’nt it fab!
Love this arrangement of Oats growing around a Birch tree.
Less talking lads, work to be done!
So there it is, local person, local business, locally grown plants, very reasonable prices too. Go along and check it out if you are in Carrick-on-Shannon. Beside the Bush Hotel, which was the first hotel in Ireland to be awarded the EU Flower Eco-Label in recognition of its commitment to sustainable tourism and protection of the local environment.
In Gardening, sustainable living on May 2, 2011 at 11:37 am
We went to the local car boot sale in Carrick-on-Shannon yesterday morning, as we often do. It is on every Sunday morning with a good range of stalls. Lots of bric-a-brac, books, plants and even furniture can be found. I bought 3 plants, Solomon’s Seal, a Polygonum with pink flower and a Lysmachia with a variegated leaf which I had’nt seen previously, all for 10 euros. Bargain! My guess these would be 6.99 each at any garden centre. The sellers were all locals who had propogated these plants themselves so the plants are already acclimatised to the local area, no hothouse specimens from foreign lands. By evening they were planted in the new mulched bed we have just made in the fruit garden. The area was grass, it was first mulched with newspaper and cardboard, then planted and given a good thick mulch with rushes.
Also at the car boot we got this small table, I was looking for a table for this little sitting area and this one was ideal. It is a nice heavy one and at a tenner was a good deal. I like the colour so it does’nt even need painting. The seat in the pic I am proud to say I made myself at a woodwork class about 5 years ago. The Willow plant holder was locally made and Andy did the decking. A completely local production!
In the polytunnel growth is phenomenal at the moment. It seems like overnight that full heads of Lettuce have grown from tiny plants, Spinach planted only a few weeks ago is ready for picking. These Strawberries will soon be giving fruit. The pots were outdoors until now. By bringing them into the heat of the polytunnel they will fruit quicker. Strawberries are also planted in the beds in the polytunnels.