Monday, February 3, 2014

Food glorious food.

As my birthday was approaching I decided it was time to make carrot cake again,
A carrot with pretensions.
we had planted more carrots than usual last year especially to make this old favorite of ours.
Carrot cake with a zing.
I decided to give a bit of zing to the cake by adding a few Cardamom seeds to the mix and to use a little Cointreau in the cream topping, it was lovely, I don't normally fiddle with recipes, especially if it is one of Cranks, probably the best recipe book that we use, but as it was for my birthday I wanted something a little different. As it happened it was good that I had made a cake as we had two lots of visitors that day so had something to feed to them. The first visitors were not aware of it being my birthday, as I get older I do try to forget about such things, in fact I had to ask Simon how old I was, and then wished I hadn't.
Our second lot of visitors were a wonderful surprise. It was our friend who has had the strokes,  his partner, plus son. When we had seen them only six days beforehand,  Pat was still in his wheelchair. t The car drew up, and with a little help out came Pat, walking, OK with the help of crutches, but he is walking again, it was wonderful to see him up and on his feet. He was from the start determined that these strokes would not defeat him, and despite all the health problems they had remembered my birthday, bringing with them a lovely bottle of wine and a card. So many thanks guys, and well done Pat, you will be digging the garden again before you know it.
The weather does seem to be chilly now despite the rain and gale force winds, just the right weather for a hot bowl of steaming soup.
Freshly made soup, ideal for a winters day.
One of my favorite soups is cream of mushroom, so simple  and only takes fifteen minutes to make, served with fresh home made bread, a lovely warming lunch for cold damp weather.
I rather feel as though I go into semi hibernation in this type of weather, Simon had been asking me for over a week where I wanted to go for my birthday meal, I kept putting of any decision in case we had any frosts to contend with, however we have been more or less free of them so on Saturday I made up my mind, our usual place 'The Purple Onion' in Tarmonbarry, although it is a fifty minute drive, the food is always worthwhile, locally produced and
                                  they now have a good selection of Artisan beers.
 The Slow cooked belly of Gloucester Old Spot pork is worth the drive. We had a beautiful meal and it was worth pulling myself away from the fireside.
We have a lot of small birds around now, and at least three Robins, all keeping to their own territories, it's lovely to see such an assortment of wild life, but we can well do without the mink.
We had suffered one attack last year, this year we have lost three rabbits to them. We were appalled to see one of these horrible creatures along side the pond, outside our back door. Tess quickly gave chase but failed to catch it, we are being even more vigilant now, so far they have never gone into a hen run when the electric fence is on, but I would not trust that it wont happen. We have set a trap, and although it has been triggered the mink has evaded it. Living so close to the river I think we have been lucky so far, but the river is twice it's normal size at the moment. Maybe it will stop raining soon.
            On our trip to the coast yesterday we saw two flocks of Barnacle geese,
                                    one with over fifty birds in it and a smaller one.
On reading up on them it appears that they are on the Amber list in Ireland with only ten known sites. We feel privileged to have seen them.
I can do it as well.
Our two younger cats are now growing up fast, Felix loves to copy whatever Sparky does and was very frustrated at being unable to jump on top of the airing cupboard, at last he has made it and now can join Sparky in playing King of the Castle.
Bracket fungi.


  1. Yay! Galway Hooker beer! Nice one. Also Happy Birthday which ever day it was!

    1. Last Friday Matt. I like the Galway Hooker but prefer the Birds and Bees, they make a late edition of Elderflower to the brew, it gives a lovely flowery flavour.

  2. Happy birthday, Anne! Looks like you had a lovely celebration. Definitely want to try those two micro beers. And that 'spiked' carrot cake ... mmmm....I could do with a slice of that right now. Where's the Purple Onion, by the way? - June

  3. The Purple Onion is in Tarmonbarry, Co. Longford, it's about ten minutes on from Strokestown, I know that's a bit far for you but it's well worth the trip.

  4. Happy birthday again!!! Did send you a little email. That cake looks delicious. Carrot cake is one of my faves...though I am a person with a lot of favourite foods. Oh my gosh, that pork belly has got my stomach of the best meals I've ever had. Glad you had a good day. Great photos too...can't believe how big Sparky is now! xxx

  5. Hopefully we will have some Gloucester Old Spot in the freezer when you come, we will have to try to cook it as the restaurant does, hopefully we will still have carrots in the garden when you come I will then make a carrot cake for you both.

  6. Belated birthday wishes Anne! The cake looks yummy.

  7. Thanks Bridget, give me warning when you and Andy are next coming over and I'll bake a carrot cake for you.