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Friday Photo

You may be fed up of my photos of crocuses…. but I do love them :)

Crocus in sunshine

Crocus in sunshine

Friday Photo

This week’s photo was taken by Daili Perez who was on a visit.

There is, of course, a story behind the photo.  Harry took off from solid ground, jumping over the bog pool, completely mis-judged the height of the log and whacked himself straight into it….. you can see the pain in his face!

Then he slid most ungraciously down into the muddy bog pool.  He was definitely having a bad day :(

Whoops..... as dog crashes full body into giant log

Whoops….. as dog crashes full body into giant log

And yes the humans watching did laugh :)

Baking Mad

Anyone who follows this blog will know we love to bake our own bread.  There was a time when I used to make bread, but my role has been reduced to being occasionally allowed to do the kneading!  Alfie has completely taken over the bread-making role in this house.

We were both hugely excited when I received an email last week asking if we’d be interested in trying out some flour from Allinsons who have just launched their Dough Tree campaign.  Basically the challenge was to try one of their recipes.

We were given a choice of three recipes, and asked to choose one to try.

We were thrilled to accept the challenge.

Allinsons Hamper

Allinsons Hamper

The lovely hamper arrived on Monday – containing bags of flour, yeast, a loaf tin and a scraper (Alfie’s favourite piece – he’s been wanting one for ages). Immediately Alfie was eager to get stuck in.

Wholemeal Wreath

Wholemeal Wreath

In fact he made two of the above….. the Herb Focaccia and the Wholemeal wreath.

Herb Focaccia

Herb Focaccia

The only think that stopped him from making the Tiger Bread was the fact that we had no rice flour.  Rice flour is on the shopping list for the weekend so that Tiger Bread can be made.

And the resulting taste?

Delicious.

We had the focaccia with dinner that evening, and the wholemeal wreath for breakfast…. and shared some with neighbours who loved both as well!

Thank you to the folks at Performics and Allinsons for the opportunity to partake. We enjoyed the fun!

There are further plans to try making sourdough and other recipes from the site!

Disclaimer:  No money exchanged hands, we treated the hamper as a gift and were delighted to accept the baking challenge.

 

Animal Cruelty

This past week our papers were full of such horrific animal cruelty stories.  There was the story of 116 puppies found in a container and about to be shipped off to the UK market, there was the farmer in Wicklow who got away with mis-treating his animals, and then there was this case of incredible atrocities to pigs.

Happy pigs, grazing pigs

Happy pigs, grazing pigs

I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked…. ‘oh, how could you eat the pigs? They are so cute.’

One poor lady over on Facebook, got abused from a height recently because she put up a photo of her pigs at their feeding trough.  It was a rearview photo of the pigs, and her caption was ‘nice hams’.  Now I could see exactly what she meant – they were nice hams.  However, others thought her cruel and were quite abusive about her looking at the pigs in such a way.  For heavens sake, folks!

We, as humans, need protein in our diet.

Yes, I can see all those vegetarians and vegans jumping up and down right now saying that doesn’t mean we have to eat animals.  Well settle down.  You may have chosen not to eat animal flesh and that is your right.

I, however, will never ever give up meat.  I enjoy it too much.  I will have ‘meat-free’ days, but that’s about the limit of it.

And in answer to that other question ‘are you not sad to see the pigs go off to the abattoir?’.  No.

There are two things we know.

One – the animal has had a good life here.  It has eaten well, run around the field, played with its companions and slept in a nice warm bed.  It has stayed in bed all day if the weather isn’t nice.  It has had time to lie out in the sun, and get sunburn, if it is a nice day.  Why should we feel bad about this?

Secondly – we know that the abattoir that we take the animals too, makes their death a good one.

And to all those vegetarians who get high and mighty on social media telling me that cruelty to animals is why they don’t eat meat, I would say this.

You are bowing out.  You are just opting out.

Why not take up the challenge and fight for animal welfare.  Instead of not eating meat, why not consider sourcing your meat from a humane farm.  Ensure that these unique rare breeds don’t vanish.  Help fight the battle against such cruelty.

And to those who nip into the supermarket and pick up the latest ‘good value’ cheap meat product…. think about how the animal was reared and treated and more importantly what it was fed. What has been fed to the animals is what you are feeding yourself and your family.

You can make a difference.

You just need to want to make that difference.

 

 

Friday Photo

The crocuses have come out this week!!!!

Crocus in bloom

Crocus in bloom

Friday Photo

We’ve discovered their new playground!  A field of cattle fodder…. great for chasing rats through, especially in snow and mud.  Which one looks more guilty at being caught red-handed?

Guilty dog?

Guilty dog?

Winnie

Guilty dog?

 

Our week in dinners

I’ve been fascinated watching the challenge set by Sinead over at Bumbles of Rice, asking folks to put up photos of their dinners during the week.  The real life ones…. not the photoshopped, styled photos…. the dinners that people are actually sitting down to eat each day.

I know Sinead is talking about family dinners, i.e. families with kids.  ladies, how you cook separate meals for kids and adults amazes me… tis bad enough cooking dinner for 2 people!!!

However cooking for two can be just as stressful, you know, we can be pulling our hair out trying to decide what to have for dinner!!!

We cook every single night.  The odd night, it might be something reheated out of the freezer, but other than that it is freshly cooked.  When you live 6 miles away from a (not so great) take-away that’s what you have to do.

I’m trying to be a bit organised at the moment, with my 7 dinners listed at the start of the week…. just to take the pressure off, but then sometimes the old s*** hits the fan and plans have to be abandoned.

So here goes folks in the spirit of sharing is caring….. here’s how our dinners worked out last week.

Sunday:

We’d had a busy weekend, so Sunday night became our ‘kind of’ take-away night…. in that Alfie made pizza.  He makes a pile of pizza bases in one go and freezes them individually for the night when no-one really feels like cooking. I make a stack of tomato sauces with different flavours when we have our own tomatoes and freeze those too!  Pizzas in this house tend to be vegetarian…. Alfie makes a damn fine potato and leek pizza… and as for his aubergine and red cabbage one – to die for!

Monday:

It was my turn to cook.  Alfie’s daughter had made Chicken Laksa for us when she visited in October and I was dying to try it for myself :)  Gosh, is this tasty!

Chicken Laksa

Chicken Laksa

Tuesday:

We had B&B guests who were eating with us so it was a traditional Irish dinner….. Bacon and Cabbage.

Bacon and Cabbage

Bacon and Cabbage

Wednesday:

Having had an incredibly early check-out : 3 am…. we were both exhausted so it was something from the freezer…. Alfie’s pork burgers with home-made chips and salad.

Pork Burger

Alfie’s pork burger

 

Thursday:

Was another meatless day…. again a new recipe that I tried.  Black Bean Chilli…. very nice.

Black Bean Chilli

Black Bean Chilli

Friday:

Beef Malay.  I love this dish and in fact, would be happy to have it every week… but that would be silly wouldn’t it??

Beef Malah

Beef Malah

Saturday:

I was in Dublin all day, so Alfie was in charge of dinner…… if you know Alfie at all, you’ll have guessed, yes…. it was steak with patatas bravas :)  As you can see from photo, I was almost done before I remembered to take photo!!!

Steak with patatas braves

Steak with patatas braves

As you can see there was a bit of lack of variety and/or balance….. chips and patatas bravas and rice on 2 nights…. but what the heck… this week will be better (not)!!!

How do you do on your dinners?