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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.

Murmuration

Murmuration

Friday Photo

Yesterday afternoon’s autumn sky

Autumn Sky

Autumn Sky

Pear & Blue Cheese

We’ve just had another rather busy week here in Redwood with more family visitors.  On Wednesday night last we had an extra seven guests for dinner!

It was time for some quick thinking….  main course was fine… I trotted out a couple of my quick and easy sausage recipes…. both went down a treat by the way.

I had no time to go baking, or conjure up a dessert, so I opted for a starter.  This particular starter has had a couple of different permutations in the past few weeks, as we’ve had tons of pears, but we’ve decided this is our favourite combination.

It is so so so very nice we might even have it again this evening.

Pear and Blue Cheese

Pear and Blue Cheese

Recipe (for 2)

  • 2 pears – peeled and sliced
  • 1 or 2 oz. of Gorgonzola cheese
  • A couple of walnuts chopped/broken into pieces
  • A drizzle of Balsamic vinegar.

Arrange first three ingredients on plate, and at last minute, just before serving, drizzle on your Balsamic vinegar.

Variations:

  1. Omit the walnuts and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves instead.
  2. Subsitute goat’s cheese for the Gorgonzola – with this combination I lightly grilled the cheese (partially, as it was too cold, straight from the fridge).

Let us know if you try any of the combinations…. or even invent your own!

PS:  sorry the photograph isn’t great…. we’re back to winter indoor lighting :(

Enjoy :)

 

Friday Photo

Isn’t he a devilishly handsome chap?

This is Mossie – our Muscovy Drake.  He’s exceedingly happy all the competition for Molly’s attention is gone :)

Mossie - the Muscovy Drake

Mossie – the Muscovy Drake

If you follow our Twitter or Facebook pages, you’ll have seen some obscure references to a ‘secret’ earlier in the summer.  Well here is the big reveal!

Earlier this year Lidl (a German supermarket) and RTE (our national TV station) launched Taste of Success.  They sent out the call across the country for budding entrepreneurs to come up with a product that would fit into the mix of products already available in Lidl stores.

There was a magnificent prize available – €100,000, which includes marketing support, product royalties, a cash prize and the chance to see your product featured and sold on the shelves of 141 Lidl stores across Ireland.

Without any hesitation Alfie decided to enter his free-range pork burger into the competition.  There were hundreds of entries, and Alfie’s pork burger was chosen to go through to the Munster finals.

Alfie travelled to Cork in June to be interviewed by the Munster Regional Mentor, Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy.  He was only given 24 hours notice of the interview, so there was no time to prep some burgers and bring them as requested to ‘taste’.  Despite not being able to bring a sample of his product to the interview Alfie got through to the next stage.

Two days later on a scorching hot day at the Cork Summer Fair, the 8 finalists from Munster cooked and presented their products to the professional judges – Paul Flynn, Lidl Ambassador and of The Tannery, Dungarvan

; and Martin Shanahan, Fishy Fishy, Kinsale.  Then it was time for a select group of the public to vote, and make their judgements as to which four products they thought were good enough to go through to the next round.

The tension while waiting for the announcement for the four finalists was palpable.  The products were diverse and interesting, and all finalists had put their heart and soul into the competition.

RTE Interview

RTE Interview

As this was all being filmed for a TV series there were many, many takes…. and lots and lots of hanging around.  A couple of minutes of TV takes a horrendous amount of time to film!

The good news for North Tipperary is that Alfie’s free-range pork burger was one of the four finalists to go through to the next round.

We had the TV crew here for a morning during the summer too…. filming Alfie in his ‘natural’ environment.  I was perfectly happy to be the behind the camera person/catering manager that day.

The show is aired on RTE1 at 8.30 pm on Tuesday evenings, so far we’ve had the Leinster and Connacht finals.  We’ve been amazed at how many people we’ve actually known who entered.  Tonight it is the turn of the Dublin’s finalists.   Alfie’s first show will be on Tuesday 11th November.  If you’re quick-eyed you might spot Alfie on the promotional advert.

Did he get through the next round?  Sure, that would spoil the surprise… you’ll just have to watch and see.

Friday Photo

Autumn colour in Birr Castle

Autumn in Birr Castle

Autumn in Birr Castle

We’ve had an absolutely hectic time here in Redwood for the past 10 days.  I’ve been away to Dublin to do some minding of nieces and nephews, and then we’ve had some of my family and some of Alfie’s family come to stay.  All good fun.

In honour of such visitors we actually managed to take a day off on Wednesday, and went to Limerick to visit King John’s Castle.

I grew up in Limerick.  Spent the first 16 years of my life there.  I have many memories of those years, but one, in particular, which relates to King John’s Castle, was walking (always walking) over to my Nana’s every single Sunday afternoon. My Nana lived just down the road from the Castle.

In those days the Castle was completely off limits.  It was locked up and no-one was allowed inside.

Thomond Bridge

Thomond Bridge

Despite crossing over Thomond Bridge and seeing the Castle every Sunday, I really didn’t know much about the history.

Let me tell you if you get the opportunity to visit…. you simply must go.  Millions of euro have been spent on the restoration, creating a wonderful interactive experience, and every penny has been well spent.  800 years of history is told in such an interesting and creative way… needless to say I was particularly interested in the ‘food history’.

The Normans brought us a varied diet

The Normans brought us a varied diet

This would certainly encourage obeisance :)

This would certainly encourage obedience :)

The Menu

We liked that pork and bacon featured on the menu!

However, there is so much to the exhibition…. the lives of the people through the ages, the battles…. something to enthral everyone of every age.

Isn't this model amazing?

Isn’t this model amazing?

You can go right up to the top of the towers, which gave amazing views in every direction.  Those folks back in the 13th century must have already known the phrase ‘location, location, location’!  Look at that view.

View

There is another story to go with this photo.  See those houses on the left…. when I was a little girl I swear I saw Santa and his reindeer land on the roofs of those houses (Nana’s house was on the other side of the river)…. we had to rush home immediately!!!

However, back to King John’s Castle…  as an Irish person visiting the Castle we really were proud of how it has been developed.  Despite it being a dreary October afternoon, there were quite a few tourists about, all of whom seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the experience.  There were four adults in our group.  We each came away with different aspects having impressed us, and had a lively discussion in the car on the way home, on the lives of the folks who used to live in the Castle.

Be sure to get there :)