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Mar 29

The savoury stage

Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 in Family, Humourarse, munchies, Strange and Unusual

“no milk or sugar in your coffee? ARE YOU SURE?”

I’m not really sure I like coffee any more. It’s a morning ritual, sure, and I love it when Puppychild or the Accidental Terrorist lands me a cup of clean pure diluted granules on my bedside table every morning but usually I wind up enjoying the zephyr from it, then I go back to sleep. Microwaved re-heated coffee is nice though eventually. Is that old age setting in?

Easter though. All the chocolate.

The Terrorist brought me and a few friends out last week for dinner here in our local finer establishment. I did not wear silly shoes for it was an upstairs thing and decided to be sensible in my forethought. I ordered the cheeses for dessert much to the horror of my peers but they were good cheeses and it seemed fitting because everybody seems to concentrate on chocolate at this time of year and forget about the cheeses. I had wine too, because that’s what cheeses liked apparently.

There is a lot of chocolate here now, and wonderment as to why I don’t eat it. Because I’m a girl and that’s what girls are supposed to do, so they say. I just tell them all to shut up and make me a Tayto sandwich.

We didn’t do Mass this year. I fear that we’re entirely missing the point. Sigh.


Nov 18

Canis Canem Edit

Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 in Family, munchies


is how this post might start off, but not being a fan of sensationalism, I shall lead you into the story gently:


I have a very select attire when dropping the kids off to school… or even being in public generally. I’m not a pyjama wearer, merely a grade above that. Converse runners, tracksuit bottoms or jeans if I REALLY want to impress a crowd. Hoodies, floppy tee-shirts. I never brush my hair in the morning, I don’t own a vanity station and most of my makeup products have gone-off.

Back straight, head up, shoulders back (hood up) is the way I would normally present myself in front of other parents at the school. I get my usual ‘See ya later Mom!’ from the elder, and a leg-hug and hip-kiss from the younger who has only just begun in Junior Elephants and then they’re gone. Other ‘Moms’ in their jogging attire go off to jog and invite me along in a well-meaning sort of way, but I usually go back home to bed because sleep is a right, not a privilege.

The odd time, I’ll become engaged in ‘Mom’ conversation but other ‘Moms’ know by now that I don’t do weather speeches, or talk about husband’s cars or golf lessons… I like talking about designing posters for upcoming fundraisers, logistics of marketing same, or maybe Yoga and how to breathe through your day when you’ve had sod-all sleep the night before. These are rare occasions. Fake smiles and nods are what I’m used to, before we all crumble back into our tarmacadam’d lives.

If I could post my children to and from school, I would.


This morning was different. I was chatting to aforementioned Yoga-person when I noted that most usual ‘Moms’ were acknowledging me more than usual, and unusually less towards my Yoga friend. She was getting very dirty looks indeed… in fact, she was hanging on to me for longer than she usually would. Instinct told me to keep quiet, wait for the lull, wait for the moment of confession for there are usually scandalous confessions in times like these.

There were tears in her eyes before she’d even begun her story.

She brings her 11 year old dog to school while dropping her child off as a norm… she’s been doing that for as long as I’ve known her, about six years give or take. It’s a golden Labrador named Ploppy. I know it well, it wet-noses the palm of my hand when I visit and benignly settles at my feet, all but offering a fluffy back to place my teacup while I talk to its owner. She’s an old girl set in her ways, just like me.

Last week, a small child teased the dog while on its lead. He circled her, stared her in the eyes and growled and mocked but didn’t touch her. She snapped, and bit him under the eye, he now has an impressive scar which I try not to stare at. I’m not sure how long this process took, nor what was involved.

This happened in a school playground with every other mother (apart from me as I was on my way home to bed) watching.

She received eleven phonecalls and text messages that night,

‘The sooner that dog is put down the better’

‘You shouldn’t have let your dog do that, what were you thinking?’

‘I want to be visiting that dog’s grave by next week so I can spit on it’

These were the comments she was getting about an old family dog who reacted to a stimulus. I have a dog. I warn my children about other dogs, about how they should be respected. Stray dogs should never be approached. Dogs on leads should only be petted with their owner’s permission, if a dog tries to attack you, NEVER run away… play dead, curl up. The usual stuff that EVERY parent should teach their kid.


What do you think? Have you ever been in a situation like this? If a dog bites should it automatically be put to death or should the circumstances be examined?

I feel sorry for Yoga friend. If the jury decides that her dog is to be killed, her kids would be gutted. But rules are rules, a child is scarred.

If you were the local vet and you knew this dog, what would you say?




Jul 30

Fickle Picky Ickle Friend

Posted on Saturday, July 30, 2011 in Family, munchies, Rantings

It happens occasionally that Puppychild gets to have a friend for dinner at our house (with some fava beans and a nice chianti) and from experience I’ve learned that the simplest foods go down the best where five year olds are concerned.

So, I served wholemeal spaghetti with tuna and sweetcorn flavoured with a wee blob of butter and a squitch of olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of fresh cream. Then I made a mistake. I added a sprig of well chopped parsley.

Puppychild’s friend pulled a grimace when I placed her little pink bowl of food in front of her. She poked a finger into the depths of her spaghetti and withdrew a teeny speck of green… she looked as though she were about to vomit.

“Wha is dis?” she waved her green speck at me.

“It’s parsley” I explained, “It tastes lovely and it’s very good for you, there’s only a tiny bit in there though.”

“I don’ like ih.” she folded her arms in a huff and shoved the bowl away with her elbow.

“But how do you know you don’t like it, if you’ve never tried it?” I implored.

“I just don’ like ih.” She began to tweeze bits of sweetcorn from the food, but only the sweetcorn that had in no way come within any distance or association whatsoever with the horrible, terrible parsley.

Babyled“So what’s your favourite food at home?” I asked.

“Kebabs” she replied.

“Your mummy makes kebabs?”

“No from de chipparse” she replied.

“You like kebabs from the chip shop?

“Yeh s’yummy.” She assumed a hangdog pose, lower lip thrust forward… it was that look that small children make when they’re trying to convey to you that they’re so cruelly starved they’d happily eat a leper’s arse through a hedge (as long as it didn’t have parsley on it).

“But kebabs are full of all sorts of artificial crap, spurious stuff out of cans opened by men with hairy fingers and sweaty arse cracks, you big pink freak!!”

That’s what I didn’t say to her. I just made her a ham sandwich instead which she ate happily and when the children had finished eating, they rushed gaily outside to eat grass soaked in dog pee and to dig up worms and slugs.

Children are so weird.

(img found spuriously via Public School)

Jul 26

Please don’t chew your gum near my baby

Posted on Monday, July 26, 2010 in Little known facts, munchies, Rantings, Something to think about

It’s your lunch break. You scarf down an onion bagel, a packet of crisps and a can of diet fizz, all washed down with a cigarette maybe. On your way back to the office, you pop one or two chewing-gums to dull the pungency of it all and congratulate yourself that you’re doing your teeth a favour even if your smokey lungs are shot.  Two out of three ain’t bad, sure.


It’s not your lungs you need to worry about though, it’s the other thing… the thing that was in most of what you just ate. Crisps, diet (‘zero’) drinks, chewing gum, diet yoghurts, artificial sweeteners, breakfast cereals, aspartame, aspartame, aspartame. It’s in sugar-free children’s medications, in a bid to prevent tooth-rot. It’s in 1200 of the products you consume, and it’s very slowly mucking up our genetics and making us say things like… ‘isn’t it funny how people are dropping like flies with cancer these days?’.

Diet Kak

Unstranger’s recent post reminded me of E951, the toxin that in 1980, was voted against by the FDA Public Board Of Inquiry on the grounds that the data was flawed, there were brain tumor findings in animal studies, and there was a lack of studies on humans to determine long-term effects.

Aspartame was since approved spuriously via pressure from Donald Rumsfeld, apparently. Urm… ok.

“The official story is that aspartame was discovered in 1966 by a scientist developing an ulcer drug (not a “food additive”). Supposedly he discovered, upon carelessly licking his fingers that they tasted sweet. Thus was the chemicals industry blessed with a successor to saccharine, the coal-tar derivative that foundered eight years later under the pressure of cancer concerns.”  (according to this)

Aspartame basically metabolizes into Formaldehyde from amino acids and methanol, which eats you (so to speak) slowly, causing severe health problems at exceptionally low levels of exposure. It disguises itself as illnesses such as Lyme Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Hypothyroidism, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and Attention Deficit Disorder, to name just a few.

Some of the symptoms of aspartame poisoning include:

Headaches, Dizziness, Muscle spasms, Rashes, Depression, Fatigue, Seizures, Tachycardia, Insomnia, Hearing Loss, Anxiety attacks, Loss of taste, Joint Pain, Vertigo, Tinnitus, Irritability and Breathing difficulties.

Because it metabolizes into a poison, it is believed that it can also trigger or worsen things like brain tumours, Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes, birth defects, epilepsy, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Parkinson’s Disease.

Side effects can occur gradually, can be immediate, or can be acute reactions, but!  It’s a billion dollar market, so SHHH!!! don’t tell anybody!!


Here I sit with a tobacco pouch with the words ‘Smoking can damage the sperm and decreases fertility’ emblazoned in BIG lettering on its side. I have no sperm. I have plenty of children.

I’m worried about the warning that’s absent from my bottle of 7UP Free that should state ‘This product contains a chemical which eats holes in your brain. Do not consume if pregnant.’

But there will never be, because there’s no money in that lark.

Because we could all be run over by a bus tomorrow, I guess.

Apr 21

Robbin’ Robin

Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 in Family, munchies, Strange and Unusual

A trip to the National Garden Exhibition Centre today with the mammy inevitably led to an urgent case of the munchies and a craving for cappuchino.  We sat outside by the waterfall and basked in the warmth of that rare ball of gas in the sky and picked at our sangidges contentedly until suddenly mum exclaimed loudly and made me jump the height of myself;

Look!  Brave robin – hello robin!”

Sure enough, a little red-breasted dude was perched on a nearby chair with his head cocked, watching us sharply.  I picked some crust from my sandwich and placed it at the far edge of the table. 

Turns out that robins in Wicklow have more gourmet tastes though.  Crusts bedamned… he hopped over to the edge of our plates and began to persistently rob bits of egg salad and chopped tomato until his teensy belly was full enough to merit us worthy of a quick song which he sang loudly from table centre.  He might have expected a tip, but I’m not sure what the tipping etiquette is for garden birds.


Pass the salt, luvvie?

Aug 29

Fluffy inevitability

Posted on Saturday, August 29, 2009 in munchies, Rantings

There it is… the most perfect sandwich in the world.

Thick crusty brown bread coated with a thin layer of green pesto.
Rashers grilled to the point where the rind is slightly opaque and mouth-meltingly crunchy.
A fried egg, sunny side up.
Chopped rocket lettuce for that extra zing…
… and one or two slices of fresh mozzerella.

All of this, warmed to utopian status in the George Foreman until the cheese has become one with the yumminess, and the kitchen is filled with a smell that would wake the heaviest of sleepers with its heady aroma.

Cut into triangles and sprinkled with dried basil, ready to go.

Then you see it.

You’ve taken your first bite and you see it, it’s like a cruel slap in the face.  It’s all you can taste now.

That teeny tiny spot of green mould on the bread… hairy and gross.  Something else has already started eating your sandwich and cutting just that little part off isn’t an option, because it’s probably somewhere else, hidden, laughing at you with its fluffy inevitability.

Straight into the dog’s bowl with what would have been an excellent lunch, the kettle goes on for a cup-a-soup because anything else is just too heartbreaking, dammit.


Jan 18

How to make pizza from scratch

Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2009 in Little known facts, munchies, Strange and Unusual

The inspiration for this blog post comes from Hails at Coffee Helps, and her list of 101 things to do in 1001 days.  This list is pretty inspirational, if you think about it.  It’s an excellent way to boost self esteem, to tick off all those things you’ve always wanted to do but never got around to doing.  Ticking things off is always therapeutic… that feeling of There!  I did it!  I’m not such a waster after all!… is pretty satisfying, especially if the task was particularly tough.

A sample of Hails’ list might look like this:

4. Record one thing a day that has made me happy, for thirty (not necessarily consecutive) days. (Underway at (1/30))

16. Smile at absolutely everyone I meet for a week. (0/1)

28. Climb a tree. (0/1)

49. Read at least five classic novels from this list, including one by Dickens. (0/5)

61. Learn how to say hello in 50 different languages. (Underway at (8/50))

73. Milk a cow. (0/1)

But the one that caught my eye was No. 42:

Make pizza from scratch. (0/1)

If you’re a fan of pizza (and who isn’t?), the best thing you can do for yourself is learn how to make one from scratch.  They’re better for you, and the addition of your own blood sweat and tears makes it taste nicer than anything you’ve ever tasted before.  Okay, so it’s time consuming, but after a few attempts it becomes second nature.



Preheat your oven to a medium to hot temperature.

To make the dough:

-Sift 150g flour into a bowl, and add a pinch of salt and a sachet of dried yeast (I like this stuff).

(Tip: try adding flavouring to the flour at this stage.. pinch of dried herbs, or a tsp chilli powder!)

-Stir 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the flour with a wooden spoon, blending well.

-Melt 1 teaspoon honey into a cup of warm water (sugar works just as well – yeast needs something sweet to develop doughy bubbly goodness), and gradually mix into the flour to bind it together.  If the mixture becomes too sticky, add teaspoons of flour until the dough becomes manageable again.

-Extract your ball of dough from the bowl, and turn it out onto a floured board.  Knead the dough for at least three minutes… think of it as being like chewing-gum… the longer you maul it, the more elastic it becomes.  The dough’s elastic quality is what makes it rise when it’s baked.

-Place your kneaded dough into a bowl and cover it with clingfilm, then let it rest for at least 20 minutes.

-(Start the tomato sauce now.)

-When you come back to the dough, you should find that it’s already expanded quite a lot, at which point (and this is the most satisfying part) you can punch the dough and feel the risen air escape.  Roll it out on the floured board to your required shape, and place onto a baking tray.  Curl the edges around if you like, stuffing the edges with cheese is time consuming but an interesting touch!  Pierce the dough several times with a knife, and bake the dough on its own until it starts to turn brown, then remove it to cool.  This gives you seriously delicious crustiness.

For the tomato sauce:

-Dice up a clove of garlic, and one medium onion.  Lightly fry them together in a saucepan with a little olive oil, until the onion becomes translucent.

-Throw in the contents of a can of chopped tomatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Add salt and pepper, and herbs like basil or oregano (or both) and maybe a bit of chilli to give it a kick.  Tomatoes are very  bitter by nature… if you like, add 1 tsp sugar to counteract this – the calories are worth it.

-Simmer this sauce until the liquids boil down, at which point you can blend the sauce or leave it as it is.  Happily, by the time your sauce is ready, the dough should be risen and ready for rolling.

For the topping:

This part is up to you, and whatever tickles your Nancy.  Some suggestions are:

Chopped mushrooms, lightly fried chicken pieces, diced peppers, olives, pepperoni slices, sweetcorn, cubed ham, sliced tomatoes, diced avocado… be inventive!  I once fried cubes of lamb’s liver in a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and added it to the topping and it was feckin’ lovely.

-Cheese: 100g grated cheddar does the job nicely, but the addition of fresh Mozzarella is gorgeous, as are slices of Brie.


This is a whole lot of recipe and I know it looks quite daunting, but when you get into the stride of preparation it’s very easy.  Knock the dough together and place it into a covered bowl and while it’s rising, make the tomato sauce.  When the dough has risen, roll it out, score it and bake it to form a good crust, then remove to cool.  Smother the base with tomato sauce, your toppings of choice, and a good layer of cheese, then bake the pizza until the cheese has melted and begun to brown.  (Usually 15 minutes)


Sep 19

Irish Stew with a sweet chilli kick

Posted on Friday, September 19, 2008 in munchies

I don’t like to publish recipes because more often than not, they’re pretty unhealthy and I don’t want to be held responsible for blown arteries, but this is an exception.  I made it for the aul’ pair on the day they returned home, and got a call later, turns out it was quite the hit!  They asked me for the recipe but they’ll only lose it so I’m publishing it here instead.

Irish Stew with a sweet chilli kick OR more simply, Leprechaun Stew.

Stuff you’ll need:

1lb cubed beef (cut it into smaller bits preferably… chewage of sinewy meat is not sexy)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 big-ass onion chopped into chunks
2 or 3 carrots, chopped
4 or 5 medium-ish spuds, peeled and chopped into bite sized bits
1 pint beef stock
1 knob of butter (enough to butter two slices of toast generously!)
2 cloves garlic, mashed
2 small chopped red chillies (with seeds) OR 1 tsp dried chilli seeds
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 splodge tomato ketchup
5 sun-dried tomatoes (sliced)
Salt & Pepper


This is to be prepared several hours in advance and left to simmer on a very low heat until ready for eating… this lets the chilli infuse so that there’s less sting and more taste. Overnight cooking is even better yet.

1. Heat your hob on a high setting, and heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed stewing pot. Add the meat (don’t let the oil and meat heat together, the beef will only absorb the fat) and let it cook for a few minutes. Add the onion, garlic and pepper and allow to sizzle for a few minutes while you’re chopping your veg.

2. Add the carrots, spuds and sun dried tomatoes, then empty the can of chopped tomatoes into the mix. Tomatoes by their nature are very bitter, so add the brown sugar and ketchup to balance it up a bit. Add chillies and stand away from the steam, lest you end up coughing your lungs out! Add the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, salt and butter*.

3. Mix the lot up well and turn down the heat to a low setting. Place a lid over the pot with enough room for steam to escape, and allow the contents to stew gradually for at least 4 hours.

4. Serve piping hot with crusty buttered bread to mop up the debris!

Sorry there’s no photograph to accompany this, but it was scoffed too quickly.

* An aul’ splash of red wine probably wouldn’t hurt either if you have some lying around ;)

Sep 14


Posted on Sunday, September 14, 2008 in Family, munchies, Strange and Unusual, Taboo

I blundered into the kitchen this morning in a foggy overslept haze and saw two unwelcome sights immediately.

The first was a note left by TAT who had come in from work at 7.30am.

“There’s something wrong with the SatNav.  I’ll fix it later.”  

NOOOO!!!  I shudder at the thought of having to conduct my working day using the primitive dog-eared map… the potential embarrassment of having to whip it out in front of a customer in panic when they ask to be brought to some God forsaken suburb of inner-city Dublin makes me want to go back to bed for the day.  Disaster.

Then I found the empty salt and pepper cannisters.  They stood to attention on the kitchen table and there might as well have been another note saying ‘Toddler was ‘ere’ beside them.  I broke out my CSI kit to look for evidence but found nothing… no trail of distruction, no prints or fibres.  Damn, she’s getting good.  I searched high up and low down for the contents of the cannisters… in the bin, the sink, her cereal bowl, the bath… everywhere with no joy.

Then I heard a tiny noise.


I turned to the direction of the sound and listened.

“pfft”  It was the sound of a Guinea-Pig sneezing.  Then I remembered Puppychild’s penchant for animal torture (first sign of a budding psychopath?) and dashed over to the hutch.

Yep.  Each pig was covered in a fine dust of pepper and salt granules and was grooming furiously, their tiny eyes glued shut as a result of nature’s cruel decision to deprive them of the ability to cry the salt out.  Poor wee feckers.  I went to grab a toothbrush to groom the stuff out, and let a horribly evil thought cross my mind.

Guinea-Pigs are fat and don’t excersice much, but then again neither does anyone else in the family.  This means they should be quite succulent.  Peruvians eat them like Big Macs… have done for centuries, and think it hilarious that we keep them as pets.

Puppychild has pretty much taken care of the first stage of preparation… she salted them roughly an hour ago, so they should be nice and tender by now.

The oven’s pre-heating and I’ve got my razor-blade ready… my stomach is rumbling at the thought of breakfast.  I’ll call it the ‘Full Irish Peruvian surprise’ I think.




May 21

The Quiet American

Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 in Family, munchies, Strange and Unusual

I was kind of nervous at the prospect of meeting Jefferson Davis, I’ve heard his podcasts with BrianF and Dad and by the sounds of it, he is one intelligent guy.  I tend to steer clear of intelligent people as a rule, they have a habit of showing me up.  My half of the conversation seems to fill up with potholes of confused space, making life difficult for the other person who soon gets tired of prompting and goes in search of something more titillating.

This was not so with Jefferson though.  We hooked up at Headrambles Manor and I watched as Grandad slowly emptied can after can of Guinness into his and Jefferson’s belly and banter flowed free.  We skyped BrianF to make him jealous, spoke about things that are and things that should be, and watched Dustin honour Ireland in his own special way and it was good.  Jefferson’s a quiet bloke with an accepting presence and the skill of throwing out honesty that makes you feel like an old friend.  Seriously great company to be in, innit?

I brought him to Johnny Fox’s for five minutes because circumstances were unfavourable (this pub has seriously lost it’s people skills), then to Barracuda in Bray where we got some grub and got to watch the sky turn from purple to brown by the sea-shore. 

Today I dragged him all over the place, or at least to as many aesthetically interesting places in Wicklow as I could within reason.  We went to Lough Dan at the brink of the Sally Gap to gaze down into the valley for a bit, then strolled around Victoria’s Way to meditate and admire the statues (I was worried about bringing Puppychild to this as some of Victoria’s art is disturbing to say the least, but as it turned out, the butterfly season is here which kept her busy enough!).  Jefferson and I admired the statues, books and craftwork in the shop which was empty of any other living soul. He watched as I helped myself to some jewellery and left money under the brass monkey on the counter, and appreciated how truly Zen-like this Victoria character is.

We got an Avoca take-away (Avoca Foccaccia is the yummiest Foccaccia there is) and drove home to eat and wait for Laughingboy to return home from school.  I was dissapointed that the neighbours behaved themselves and denied Jefforson any scandal, but there you go.

I thought Powerscourt deserved a bit of a mooch, but we got there just as the gardens were closing which was a crying shame, so I brought him to Powerscourt waterfall instead.  Jefferson farted about with his camera over towards the waterfall itself while I brought the kids to the playground.

I say ‘I brought the kids’, but ashamedly I got pretty excited when I saw it and almost forgot to bring the children with me…  it’s one of those highly-sophisticated jobs with lever-controlled sand diggers and climbing towers and a most excellent roundabout with central controlling.  I –  sorry – we… had a ball and Jefferson had to drag the lot of us away kicking and screaming when it was time to go home.  It was quite embarrasing in hindsight.  To give an example of it’s excellence, I noticed that the entire bus of (adult) Croatian toursits were not over by the waterfall farting about with their cameras,  instead they were clambering all over the rope-bridges and photographing each other making tits of themselves by the monkey-bars, giggling away like four-year-olds.  It was quite amazing to watch.

Today was the best tourism epic since Gwen the French student of ’03.  Thanks Jeffo :)

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