our hero

Sunday, 20 January 2013


After working hard to clear the drive & footpath outside the house I rewarded myself by building a 


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

All Things Orange

Another wonderful morning with Dermot & Mary Hughes, better known as Forage Ireland, at the Mossley Mill Museum at a Marmalade Workshop. Chuck said that every time I mentioned this over the past week or so he was imagining Tangerine Trees & Marmalade Skies over Newtownabbey, we do like a bit of The Beatles here.

 In addition to marmalade, homemade Citrus Peel was also created and in true Blue Peter fashion some had been prepared earlier - so different to the stuff you buy at the supermarket, full of flavour, juicy and not so sweet. I'm just imagining what homemade mincemeat made with your own citrus peel would be like - I imagine it would transform most of your Christmas baking. And just as with marmalade any citrus fruit peel can be used.

The aroma was amazing! 
I have bought my Seville Oranges & will be making 2 batches - Dark Thick Cut and a Golden Fine Shred.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

At last.....

...I started to type this on Christmas eve whilst waiting to be able to do the next bit of prep for the big dinner, but didn't get it finished. So have updated it a little to reflect the entire holiday.

The Saturday evening before Christmas saw 19 of us tuck into chilli con carne and honey mustard chicken, as all bar 1 of the Rainey siblings and associated entourage gathered round at #68 for the (now traditional) pre-Christmas tempting of the Fermanagh flock to the bright lights of Dalewood.

There is a reason soup kitchens are like that - it works!!!

A big thanks to Cooking Catherine for yet another great idea which will be firmly embedded into the traditions for Christmas - Wassail. The husband, that would very rarely take a drink downed 4 cups! Which is possibly why the game of Trivial Pursuit was so close.

The 3 brothers (2 undergraduate degrees, 3 masters and a professional qualification) versus Maria & myself (1 undergraduate degree & nursing diploma and Banking exams) - All cheeses/wedges owned; if only we hadn't talked ourselves out of an answer, we would have won!

On Christmas eve we went Danish to honour brother in law Richard's heritage. This gave me the excuse to pinch an idea - thank you Angela - home made Danish Pastries. A few tweaks -  we had maple pecan plaits instead of the apricot squares and I used a home made plum jam I had been given instead of the cherries. Yummy Plummy Pinwheels sounds so good!

Aunty Margaret was able to join us again this year - perhaps another tradition in the making? Apparently the meal I produced, whilst traditionally Danish, according to most of the blogo-sphere, was not the traditional one according to his family; having said that we enjoyed the food. The Caramelised potatoes were different, not sure I would make them again but the cold  rice pudding with hot cherry sauce has been requested to be made again - before next Christmas eve.

Christmas Day started with Champagne and smoked salmon bagels - thanks to Richard & Maria - and the usual turkey dinner followed. Anne and I have this down to such a fine art now that (with the use of a spreadsheet to keep everything on track) Christmas Day is really enjoyable for everyone.

I think seeing so many of the family over this Christmas season has helped to make it feel more special this year.

My reading list

  • One Shot by Lee Childs
  • The Girl who kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson
  • The Children's Book by AS Byatt
  • The Girl who played with Fire by Steig Larsson
  • Nation by Terry Pratchett
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
  • No!I Don't want to join a Book Club by Victoria Ironside
  • The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin