Thursday, September 30, 2021


We've had such a beautiful few months in Ireland, but it is time to return to America. I have a couple more Irish taste treats I want to share with you before we travel next week. First...Blackberries. Blackberry vines grow everywhere in Ireland and this year was a bumper crop. 


I've been on a pork schnitzel kick. This time I coated the pork with Dijon mustard, Panko bread crumbs, Salt/Pepper and lots of caraway seeds. The Blackberry Chutney was the perfect accompaniment.


2 cups blackberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 small shallot

1 clove garlic

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. water



Put all ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer over low heat until shallot and berries have softened. Taste and adjust seasoning. This chutney was excellent with the Caraway Pork Schnitzel and local, organic Rainbow Chard. 

I also recently made BLACKBERRY SYRUP and served with Irish bangers and home made pancakes. 

To make the syrup, place 2 cups of blackberries, 1 Tbsp. water, pinch of salt, and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes until blackberries are softened.  If the syrup is too thick add more water, 1 Tbsp. at a time until you have the right consistency. Taste for sweetness. Depending on how sweet your berries are you may need to add a bit more sugar. Cool. Push through a fine mesh sieve to make a completely smooth syrup. 

My friend Brenna Reilly made me a big batch of beautiful plain yogurt; so smooth and creamy. I want to start making this yogurt myself as it was infinitely better than store-bought. I added about 1/2 cup Blackberry Syrup to 1 1/2 cups yogurt and made some very tasty parfaits with home made granola.

For contrast I used blueberries for the fruit.

Here is one more idea using Black Pudding, aka Blood Pudding, and sometimes referred to as Blood or Black Sausage. Blood Pudding is made throughout the world and each region has their own spicing, but one ingredient they all use is blood, either dried or fresh. I made Blood Pudding this year with dried blood. Here is the stuffing recipe...

Served with peas and butternut squash seasoned heavily with cinnamon and nutmeg.

3/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced celery
1 clove garlic, diced
2 sage leaves, about 1 tsp. finely chopped
1 tsp. fresh marjoram
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
Small piece, about 1 inch of chicken fat
2 Tsp. salt
3 blood pudding patties
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Splash of red wine

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Saute onion and celery for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Do not brown. Add garlic and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Add herbs and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add the chicken fat and increase the heat and cook 3 blood pudding paddies until very crisp on both sides. Blood pudding has a fair amount of fat, which is why 2 Tbsp. of butter is enough to keep the stuffing very moist. Crumble the blood pudding and return veg to the pan. Add 1 cup fresh bread crumbs and a splash of red wine. Stir to mix thoroughly.

Clean the chicken breasts. I used boneless, skin-on breasts.  Remove some of the fat; a small piece to fry the blood pudding and a few small pieces to top the chicken breast with before cooking. 
Place about 2/3 cup stuffing on a lightly oiled pan. Lay the chicken breast on top of the stuffing. Dot the top with some chicken fat. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken.
Preheat oven to 350F and roast chicken for about 25 minutes until skin is nicely browned and internal temp is 165 degrees. 

And, lastly, we eat a lot of lamb when we're in Ireland; Roasted Leg of Lamb, Lamb Chops, especially the thick-cut Loin Chops, and also Lamb Mince. This is a simple LAMB BURGER, but instead of placing the burger in a bun, I sliced thick pieces of eggplant, dipped into an egg-bath and then coated with Panko bread crumbs. I sauted the eggplant until nice and crispy and used as the burger bun. Of course you could not pick this Lamb burger up and eat with your hands. A knife and fork was necessary. They were very yummy!






Tuesday, September 21, 2021



Padraic O'Griallais having a 'taste' of Poitin. Padraic is a
6th generation distiller. The Distillery is named
after his great, great, great grandfather, who started
 distilling in Ireland's west--Connemara--in 1848.

POITIN is a clear, white spirit, distilled from malted grain and other local ingredients. It is truly Ireland's drink, and has now received Geographical Indicative Protection, meaning Poitin can only be produced on the island of Ireland, if it's to be called Poitin. The word Poitin comes from the Irish word 'pot' or 'pota', which refers to the small pot-still generally used by Poitin distillers. For many years it was illegal to make Poitin, although it was commonly made throughout the country in remote, rural back fields and bogs. In 1997 it became legal to produce, but with lots of red tape and licensing requirements. The Micil Distillery is the first distillery to open in Galway in over 100 years. 

The old family still.

The recipe is the original from the family and all ingredients are local, including 'bogbean', which adds a certain something. This Poitin is smooth with deep rich flavors, similar to Italian Grappa; almost smoky, it lingers beautifully on your palate. I love it and this is the best Poitin I have tasted. Although, the others I have tasted have been produced in those back fields so may not have the distinction of Micil. Not to insinuate that local family distillers of Poitin for home consumption would make any lesser of a product, as I'm sure they have also been distilling for generations. Micil also makes a very fine, award-winning gin, also their own recipe, with complex flavors of hand-picked Connemara botanicals including heather, bog myrtle and bogbean. 

And here is the still used today.

To learn more about this interesting Irish tradition and the fabulous story of Micil Distillery, go to:

My husband,  Jerry and I had the pleasure to spend 2 wonderful hours with Padraic at the Distillery. I had the opportunity to taste not only the two types of Poitin (one is peated), but also taste the gin, and a taste of a 6 week old whiskey that the Distillery will be offering in the future. If his whiskey at only 6 weeks is as good as it was, I can only imagine the flavors after aging. 

I wanted to try to pair the Poitin with tasty bites that are also uniquely Irish. Here are two hors d'oeuvres I came up with to start. It will be necessary to have many more Poitin tastes to continue developing recipes!


First, the Blood Pudding...I am not going to get into the whole recipe, but if any of you would like it, I am more than happy to email it to you. I made Blood Pudding a few years ago here in Ireland with fresh blood, but this time I used dried blood. Here's the link to the first batch...

I got this dried blood online.

I got the fresh blood from a local butcher (not in Spiddal),
but have been sworn to secrecy as it is illegal to sell blood
in Ireland. The butcher did not charge me, so
I don't believe we broke any laws, but my lips are sealed!

I prefer using the fresh blood, rather than the dried. Both the flavor and texture were better, but the dried blood made a fairly good pudding. This little canape would also be just fine made with blood pudding from the store. The combination of flavors and textures worked and the blue cheese held up nicely to the Poitin.

I've had fun trying to come up with the perfect name for this canape. Which is better..."Blood and Blue" or "Blue Blood"; probably neither!

Toast rounds of bread. Crisp the blood pudding in a heavy bottomed skillet with a little oil over medium high heat until outer crust is very crisp. One of the things I like about blood pudding is that very crunchy exterior, which contrasts nicely with the creamy interior. Put a piece of blood pudding on each toast round, top with Cashel blue cheese and 1/2 walnut. Put under broiler on low heat until the cheese melts.
I also made an hors d'oeuvres using semi-sun dried tomatoes soaked in herbs and olive oil. Simply throw a few into a food processor with some of the oil and process until blended, but not completely smooth. Top with some fresh basil. These strong flavors also worked very well with the Poitin.





Sunday, September 12, 2021


Well, sort of healthy. Everything is relative. My friend, Brenna Reilly's husband is vegan and I wanted to make him a treat. I found this recipe for vegan ice cream online. They called it Vanilla Vegan Ice Cream. The coconut flavor is so pronounced that you really don't taste much vanilla. I have re-named it Creamy Coconut Vegan Ice Cream. This is a no-churn recipe, which works for me since I don't have an ice cream maker here in Ireland (yet!). The health aspect of this recipe is that it includes a whole zucchini plus 1 cup of raw, organic unsalted cashews. Those ingredients sound so unlikely, but they work. You sweeten the ice cream with Maple Syrup. 

My Dad used to give my husband, Jerry, a gallon of Maple Syrup every year for Christmas from Putnam's farm in Charlestown, NH. It is the best Maple Syrup I've ever tasted! The coconut milk and coconut oil make the ice cream rich, creamy, and delicious.


1 (13.5 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk; white solid coconut cream only.
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in advance, drained and rinsed
1 large zucchini, ends removed, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

The night before you plan to make the ice cream, put the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator. This will harden the solid white coconut cream, which is all you are using. Do not add the liquid milk. Next day, using a slotted spoon remove the coconut solids from the can. You should have about 1 cup of solids. Soaking the cashews in advance gives the ice cream a smoother, less gritty texture. Either soak overnight or do a quick soak by pouring boiling water over the cashews for a couple hours. 

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor. Slowly begin to blend and when it looks like the ingredients are coming together, blend on high speed for 60 seconds. I knew I was going to be close with the amount of ice cream in my high-speed blender and should not have put them all in at once, but I did. When I moved into high speed mode, the contents starting spewing out both the top and bottom. Quite a mess! Coconut ice cream everywhere! I then cleaned up the mess; cleaned out the blender (only lost about 1 inch of the ice cream) and blended in smaller batches until the right consistency was formed. 

Pour the ice cream into a container. Cover and freeze for 8 hours or overnight. Before serving, remove from the freezer for about 20 minutes so the ice cream becomes scoopable. 

Our dinner with Brenna and John unfortunately got postponed so I will make it again when we get together! Jerry and I had to eat it ourselves. 
Jerry enjoying his ice cream with JoJo fast alseep.



I found this recipe in my new Nigella Lawson cookbook-Simply Nigella. I don't know if she came up with this recipe, as there are tons of the same recipe online, but these cookies were simply delicious, very peanut-y and the chocolate turned the entire concoction into a Reeses peanut butter cup taste and texture. The cookies are delicate. I had planned on freezing them to eat them frozen from the freezer, but they never made it to the freezer! Why are they healthy? Peanut butter, in the right amount, is good for you. Tons of protein. Dark chocolate is also good for you. I am not one who is concerned about consuming flour, but for those who are, there is none in this recipe. And, finally, very little sugar. 


3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter, such as Skippy*

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

1 extra large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or break up 1/2 of a good quality chocolate bar.

*Skippy is not available here in Ireland so I used Kelkin, which has no sugar added. I am sure any smooth peanut butter would work.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, beat together the peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, but not too vigorously. Just mix them. Stir or fold in the chocolate chips or pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place heaped tablespoons  of the cookie dough onto the lined sheet, placing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes until they are slightly darker around the edges. They will look undercooked, but will be the perfect texture once cooled. Leave on the baking sheet for 10 minutes as they are quite fragile when first coming out of the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. This takes another 10 minutes. Nigella says, "I tend to cave in after 5"; we did, as well!

Our son, Justin and his new wife, Alison were just here for a lovely visit. We stayed pretty close to home, but did take some nice long, drives. Here they are in front of a very cool pub, just west of us in Beal an Daingean. In Ireland a hooker may not be what you think.

In this case it is a pub. Galway Hooker is also the third oldest brewery in Ireland making a variety of great quality craft beers, ales, and stouts. An artisan brewery nestled in the stunning surrounds of the Wild Atlantic Way, which is where our house is located. 

The original Galway Hooker is a traditional fishing boat, designed for its sturdiness in rugged seas. 

We have only a few weeks left in Ireland 
and it's with tears in our eyes 
that we are getting ready to leave 
this beautiful country!

But lots more food, fun, and cooking ahead!

Until next time...
Justin, Jerry, and me overlooking the back 40 and Galway Bay.

Sunday, August 29, 2021


Pork is a great meat. It is inexpensive, easy to prepare, makes great leftovers, and best of all, tastes delicious! I love both Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloin. A Pork Tenderloin is a boneless, narrow round cut of meat from the muscle that runs along the backbone of the pig. It is extremely tender and cooks in minutes. A Pork Loin is a cut from the back of the pig, either boneless or with bone. It is larger and flatter than the tenderloin, but still cooks very quickly. Pork can dry out quickly if overcooked. I came up with this apple stuffing, which also helps to keep your Pork Loin very moist. It is starting to feel like fall here in Ireland so this meal was perfect.


First, the stuffing, which can be made in the morning, and then assembled just before roasting.


2 Gala apples (You can use any apples you have, but I like the texture and flavor of Gala's.), peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 Green Granny Smith Apple, peeled and roughly chopped; plus more of both cut into thick slices for bottom of roasting pan. You don't need to peel these slices.
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced leeks--more leeks thickly sliced for the bottom of the roasting pan. Use white part only.
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/4 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. fresh parsley, sage, chives, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh marjoram, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread, cut into small 1" cubes
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp. Olive oil, plus more for rubbing on the pork loin
2 Tbsp. butter
Salt/Pepper to taste, but don't skimp on the salt

To save on washing up I made the stuffing in the pan that I roasted the Pork in. Heat oil and butter in a roasting pan. When the oil and butter are bubbling, add celery, leeks, apple. Mix together and cook down for about 10 minutes, until just soft. Add garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and cook another couple of minutes. Add bread cubes, panko bread crumbs and apple juice and cook another 10 minutes stirring well to incorporate all ingredients. Taste for seasoning.


Lay the pork on a cutting board and carefully slice down the middle to open the pork like a book, or a butterfly, hence the term, butterflying. Do not cut all the way through the loin. Generously salt and pepper the inside of the pork. Oil the bottom of your roasting pan and toss in the sliced leek and apple slices. Generously salt and pepper that, as well. 
Lay the butterflied pork on the bed of apple and veg, drizzle with olive oil, and evenly distribute all of the stuffing over the pork. Close the pork around the stuffing. Some of the stuffing may fall out, but that is ok. 

Using kitchen string, tie the pork to keep the stuffing in. Start by bringing the string all the way around one end of the pork. Tie a knot. With the long, loose end of string continue down the length of the pork about an inch, and then loop the string around the pork again, catching the string you have brought up the middle. Continue this until you are at the end of the pork. This is not a classic tying job, but does the trick! If the pork has just come out of the fridge keep it on the counter until it warms up. In the meantime, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

I like to start roasting the pork at high heat and then reduce heat to finish. This helps to brown the pork and seal in flavors and moisture. The cooking time will depend on the size of your roast, but usually is about 20 minutes per pound. I now always use a meat thermometer to test doneness. 145 degrees is considered 'safe' and I like pork on the slightly pink, juicy, tender side, not overdone and dry. 160 degrees will cook the pork to a whiteness and very well doneness (aka dryness). 

After 15 minutes reduce oven temp to 325 degrees and cook the pork for another 30-45 minutes until you have reached the desired internal temperature.

I served the pork with steamed and buttered peas, carrots and leeks, very roasted baby new potatoes and the additional stuffing that fell out of the pork. Next day we had it with steamed broccoli, and a big garden salad. 
And finally I sliced it very thinly, cut some of the new Artisan Bread I have been making, topped the bread with Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, slathered butter (Kerrygold, of course!) on both sides of the bread, and grilled the pork and cheese sandwich. No pic as we ate it too quickly!

Our first course went beautifully with this Pork Tenderloin with Apple Stuffing. We started with...


I make butternut soup often as I like the rich creaminess and fact that you don't even need to add cream or butter to make it perfectly creamy and delicious! Adding the potato also helps to thicken the soup.

4 cups butternut squash, peeled and roughly chopped
2 green Granny Smith Apples, peeled and roughly chopped
1 potato, peeled and roughly chopped; about 1 cup
1 shallot, chopped; about 1/4 cup (You can also use leek or onion, but I love shallots!)
1 clove garlic, chopped
About 1 inch of ginger root, peeled and diced; at heaping 2 large Tablespoons
1 fresh sage leaf
2 Tbsp. olive oil 
2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. ground dried ginger
4 cups (preferably) homemade chicken stock. Store bought works, too.

Garnish: Finely sliced green apples with peel; fried sage leaves; sour cream or Green style yogurt.

Heat a large, heavy bottomed soup pan over medium high heat. Add oil and heat until nearly smoking. Add squash, apple, potato, shallot, garlic and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned. Add ginger root, sage leaf, salt, pepper and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until butternut squash is fork tender. Allow to cool and blend thoroughly until you have a very smooth consistency. The soup will be quite thick so you may add water, 1/4 cup at a time, until desired consistency. I like it thick, but not the consistency of baby food. 

This soup is good hot or cold. The ginger makes it quite spicy.




After 3 wedding dates canceled due to COVID,
Justin and Alison finally got married
this past January privately on the beach
at Key West. Here they are this summer
enjoying a concert at Boston's Fenway Park


Sunday, August 15, 2021


My plan this summer was to keep dinner creative. It is so easy for me to get in a rut and keep cooking the same things (chicken, chicken, more chicken!) so for the last couple of months I have been trying to branch out.


To make the schnitzel, pound boneless pork cutlets to just under a half inch. Liberally salt and pepper both sides. Coat each side of the cutlet with Dijon mustard. Cover with caraway seeds and finally pat on a generous amount of Panko bread crumbs. I let these chops marinate for a few hours in the fridge. Bring them back to room temp for about 30 minutes on the counter. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet with 2 Tbsp. olive oil until almost smoking. Cook cutlets for about 3 minutes per side. I served this dish with Potatoes Anna, but forgot to turn the Anna over before taking the photo. They looked much better seared side up! Beautiful crisp and pretty design. I also made an Apple Chutney to pair with the pork.


Peel and chop 2 apples. I used two Pink Ladies. Finely dice 1 small shallot and 1 clove of garlic. Add 1 Tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, dash of cinnamon, clove and white pepper. Put all ingredients in a small saucepan with about 1/2 cup apple juice. Heat to boil and then reduce heat to simmer and cook until apples are just tender; about 15 minutes. This Chutney is good on just about anything!


There is nothing really unique about this dish, but the salmon here in Ireland, both wild and farm-raised is of the highest quality. The trick with making the skin crisp is to dry the skin thoroughly before putting in a very hot pan with a little butter and olive oil. Depending on the thickness of your salmon you don't even need to cook on both sides, just keep it skin side down. Once the flesh becomes translucent and the fish flakes slightly you know it is done. To ensure the skin stays crispy, always serve skin side up.

My good friend, Bonnie Ungerecht gave me a beautiful bread cookbook for my birthday.

This is a completely different method for baking bread and literally takes only minutes to put together. I have made bread for years the old fashioned way...mixing, kneading, rising, punching down, kneading again and rising again. It's pretty much an all-day event. Buy this book-The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day-and try it!

Here's my first loaf. I look goofy because I was very excited!
This loaf was a little misshapen, but tasted GREAT!
It made an excellent Grilled Gruyere and Red Onion
sandwich that I served to my new friend, Brenna Reilly.

With the Grilled Gruyere sandwiches I made a thick and rich tomato soup.

Here's my second loaf, which is better shaped, but I forgot to cut
the slices in the top so the crumb (inside part) was a bit dense. 

I invited Brenna for lunch a couple weeks ago and these are the gifts she showed up with! The cake is a Victoria Sponge, which is her Bubbie's recipe on her Mom's French side, and the Irish Soda Bread is from her Nanna on her Irish Dad's side of the family.  Coming to a blog near you...soon! And she also brought me a Mary Berry cookbook as she learned I am addicted to the Great British Bake Off program. How thoughtful! Thank you, Brenna! 

The Tomato Soup is basically the same recipe I have made in the past, but with a few twists. Here is the original recipe:

Scroll down until you find the Roasted Tomato Dill Soup with Boursin cream. What did I do differently...

Before roasting the tomatoes I sprinkled about 1 tsp. of sugar over them, along with the salt. This time I also roasted the garlic and onion with the tomatoes.  The sugar brings out the sweetness in both onion and tomatoes.

I didn't have any sun dried tomato oil, but did add 2 Tbsp. of sun dried paste and 5 Tbsp. of tomato paste. I also was missing dried dill, but instead used 1/3 cup fresh dill. I intended to garnish with fresh dill and the Boursin cream when I served it to Brenna, but forgot the garnish. Next day, I served to my husband, Jerry, and did remember! This soup is excellent either cold or hot. 
I truly do believe that food IS love!

This is also a different and fast way to make rolls. I had some beautiful lamb mince and decided to make burgers to go with these homemade buns. Go to:

With some of the dough I also made Cinnamon Sticky Buns. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Generously dot with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough along the long side and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Very tasty with a strong cup of coffee!

I love to cook...even something as simple as a lamb burger. Although I did smother these burgers with caramelized leeks and mushrooms.

My birthday dinner...Filet Mignon with baby crab claws warmed in butter, garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms in red wine and garlic and shallots.
Irish free-range chicken. OK, so occasionally we still eat chicken! This 2 kg (about 4 1/2 lbs.) chicken made many meals. With some of the leftovers I made 1950's style chicken croquettes with a thick white sauce. Comfort food! Go to your Fanny Farmer Cookbook for the recipe.
I didn't make these croquettes in the traditional cone shape, but simply formed patties. The potatoes are twice-cooked. First, baked and then smashed and pan-fried in a little butter and olive oil.

Why have I waited so long to make Gnocchi? They are fast, easy to put together, especially if you have leftover mashed potato in the fridge, and delightful little puffs of potato. So delicate! When Brenna was here for lunch the other day we were talking food, of course, and she brought up Gnocchi. She is a fabulous cook herself and I have much to learn from her. I served the Gnocchi in brown butter, garlic and sage along with some butcher-made garlic sausages.

To make the Gnocchi, place about 2 cups creamy mashed potato in a bowl. Make a well and crack a large egg into the center. Briefly whisk the egg and then using your hands, mix the egg into the mash. Pour about 1 cup of flour on a board and drop the egg/potato mixture. Knead the flour and potato together until you have a smooth ball of dough. Cut the dough into quarters and then roll each piece into a 1 inch log. Cut the log into 1 inch pieces. If you want the traditional Gnocchi 'look' use a fork to score each little piece of potato. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, and in batches drop in the Gnocchi. They are done when they rise to the surface; only takes a few seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and finish in a hot pan of butter, garlic and sage. I can't wait to start trying variations...parmesan, spinach, or other veg. In Ireland there is an old-time dish called Colcannon. It's basically mashed potato mixed with boiled cabbage and then baked. How about IRELAND meets ITALY and make a Colcannon Gnocchi?!?


My Spiddal butcher, Mr. Feeney's Pork and Apple
Sausage in those quick buns with potato salad,
roasted baby peppers and more of that apple chutney!