Friday Photo

It was kind of a black and white morning here … or perhaps more a grey morning

Black and White Morning

Black and White Morning


What’s your schedule like on Christmas morning?  Since moving from the city to the country, our Christmas morning routine has changed quite a bit.

We now like to get all the animals and fowl fed early (meaning we can have a shower and stay in clean clothes for the rest of the day!).  Sometimes we might make it to church – more for social than a religious reasons – and then, it is time to call into the neighbours for an hour or so.

This all means that we may not have breakfast until we get back from the neighbours… and by then it has turned into brunch. :)

These days brunch would consist of our homegrown produce.  Even when we lived a less hectic city life, we would generally have gone for the brunch option on Christmas day.  Back in those days, before we were pig farmers, kedgeree would often have been on the menu.

Kedgeree seemingly was very popular in the days of the Raj with the British living in India.  I guess that makes it a kind of ‘posh’ brunch.  It was traditionally made with smoked haddock, but, hey, if we’re going ‘posh’ let’s go all the way and use smoked salmon!

I was asked by the folks at Quinlan’s Fish if I’d share a recipe using their Organic Irish Smoked Salmon.  I was delighted to… and had all sorts of plans involving sushi and homegrown horseradish, but then came back to this old favourite.  Time is very precious in this house in this week just before Christmas!  Last year, I remember saying I wanted a live-in chef for the week of ham shipments.

That didn’t happen…. but seriously this just took 20 minutes to prepare.

Give it a try…. you’re probably going to have smoked salmon in the house over Christmas, and this is so tasty and easy.  Serve it either as a brunch or supper, it works either way.

I made it for dinner this evening – just for two of us – but it’s easy to multiply the ingredients for more.




  • 2 organic eggs – hard-boiled and quartered.
  • 6 oz. Organic Basmati (or long-grain) rice
  • large knob of butter
  • 1/2 organic onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 (large) clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 100 ml cream
  • 125 g. Quinlan’s Organic Smoked Irish Salmon
  • Large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Coriander leaves
  • A couple of slices of lemon


Hard boil your eggs…. 5 minutes is usually enough…. draining the hot water off the eggs, and running cold water over them to stop the cooking process.  Leave them in the cold water until you are ready to peel them.

Cook your rice for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry gently until translucent.

Add the cream to the onion, garlic and ginger and heat slowly.

By now your rice should be cooked and drained.

When the cream has heated through, add the cooked rice to this saucepan and mix well to combine all ingredients.

Pull your Smoked Salmon apart into slivers and add most of it to the rice.  Mix gently… you will notice it changes colour as it ‘cooks’ when it hits the warm rice.

Put the rice mixture onto a serving plate and top with a few reserved slivers of the smoked salmon, together with some coriander leaves and a generous dash of cayenne pepper.

Serve with slices of lemon.

Enjoy! :)


Disclaimer:  Quinlan’s Fish sent me the Irish Organic Smoked Salmon and asked me to post a recipe.  No money exchanged hands.  Their salmon is delicious and we enjoyed the resultant dish using their  organic salmon.

Friday Photo

Last Friday I came home to a surprise birthday dinner party :)

Family and friends gave me a surprise dinner party

Family and friends gave me a surprise dinner party

And yes, there is ‘trouble’ with labels.

There are the ‘labels’ we attach to certain people, and there are the labels on our food. Here comes my rant about the food labels.

Do you read your food labels?

There are so many terms that are abused here in Ireland.  What’s it like where you are?

We use the word ‘artisan’ for so many things, and I’m sure most people have never even looked the word up in a dictionary.  Here’s the definition from the Oxford dictionary : Artisan (n) – skilled manual worker or craftsman.  So can a large factory-type set up, employing 100 people plus, running production lines, be producing an ‘artisan’ food product?  I guess you could say that the machines are being run by skilled workers, but is it not an abuse of the word?

Freerange hens, pigs and dog :)

Freerange hens, pigs and dog :)

Then there is ‘organic’.   Now this is much clearer – or is it?

I’ve often asked people what their perception of ‘organic’ is, and often times they are just so wrong.  While there are strict guidelines with regard to feeding and caring of the animals…. organic does not necessarily mean ‘free-range’.  Depending on the breed of animal, they can be raised indoors, but must spend some part of their life outdoors.  However, not necessarily all of their lives.

Some will say, that in winter it is better for the animal to be indoors.  Let me tell you, in the case of pigs, they are damned clever, and will not go outside if it is freezing, wet and cold.  Would you?  Especially if you’ve got a silly human who will bring you food!

Anyone who has read my post about the process and procedures we had to go through to receive the QMark for our free-range pork will be aware of the hoops that were jumped.  You will also be aware that we are completely and utterly anti-gmo’s in this house.

And here’s a very scary fact ….. if you go to the co-op to buy your animal feed, it is labelled as containing gmo.  However, although that feed has been fed to an animal whose meat will end up in the food chain, there is no legislative requirement to label the human food as containing gmo.

After months of negotiations for the Q Mark, here’s what was agreed as the free-range definition:

Free range farmed:  a type of animal husbandry where pigs have free access to fields/woodland with defined boundaries for all or most of their natural life.  They receive their nutritional needs from prepared natural feed or from pasture or forage depending on the season.

And, again, while there are producers out there that are termed ‘free-range’ and then spoil it all by feeding gmo contaminated feed.  You need to check what they are feeding their animals.  Well, if you care you will.

Another thing, some producers say their animals are free-range.  They perhaps allow some of their animals access to the outdoors – just to portray the right picture.  However, the majority are locked up in sheds.

And the biggest offender of all????

The word ‘natural‘.  You’ve got to watch this video…. it may be a little exaggerated, but then again maybe it is not.

So my warning to you all folks?   If you really care what you feed yourself and your family, check what the animals are being fed.

Do you know how your Christmas turkey has been raised?

Do you know what the pig that died to provide you with that Christmas ham was fed?

Do you care about how these animals lived their lives?

Ask the questions, folks.  Ask can you come see where they live, what they are fed?

Go shake the hand of the farmer and find the answers to the questions.


Friday Photo

We’ve had the most amazing sunrises this week :)

Sunrise at Oldfarm

Sunrise at Oldfarm

Friday Photo

Well folks I’ve only gone and done it……………   yes, we’ve had a calendar printed of some of our photos….  some you may have seen on here before but not all of them.

It’s all a bit surreal and exciting at the same time.

We’ve only had a limited number printed.  They are available to purchase and we will ship worldwide.  Hope you like it :)

2015 Oldfarm Calendar

2015 Oldfarm Calendar

Friday Photo

Not the best photo… but the video was even worse…. there were thousands of birds in this particular murmuration, right over the house.