Friday 31 May 2024

Homemade Doner Kebab.

 We found a Colman's Doner Kebab mix in Super Valu recently:

It cost a Euro.  

You just get 500 grammes of mincemeat and mix in the Big Night IN Doner Kebab mix.

You make it into a sausage shape and wrap it in tin foil and cook it in the oven for forty minutes.  You can also cook it in a loaf tin.  The inside are on the back of the packet.

Here's what it looked like on the plate:

I like hot spicy sauce with mine.  It really tasted good and was very inexpensive to make.  It cost just five Euros to feed four of us.  I grew the Japanese onions for our tea.

Do you make your own Doner Kebabs? Ours was really tasty and a big saving on not go to the takeaway.  A Doner Kebab on it's own is 7 Euros.  If four of us had one each it would of cost 28 Euros.  Five Euros for four people is a big saving.

They don't seem to like hot and spicy food in Ireland unlike me.  There is a kebab house over in Kent and they put fresh green chillies on top of your Doner.  I always eat mine.

Thursday 30 May 2024

Some Prog On A Thursday. Victorian Brickwork.

 In August I will be heading to England on of my "roughing it" trips.  It will consist of two Rock festivals and a tour of Thomas Hardy's literary Wessex.  Hopefully I will explore old churches and see walled kitchen gardens, allotments and chocolate box thatch cottages again.

One band who I am particularly interested in seeing is English Prog band Big Big Train.

I like how they use classical instruments rather like King Crimson and the Unthanks who I saw live in Killarney several years ago.

To give you a taste of Big Big Train.  Here's Victorian Brickwork for your perusal.  Enjoy and perhaps you will go and see them on their tour this summer?

It's only a minute long but it gives you a glimpse of a great English Prog band.  

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Back On A Bottle Of Dog.

 I think I told you before about my old work mate Mick from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire.  We helped build a nine hole golf course extension back in 1993.

Mick had just left Uni and we shared a great sense of northern self deprecating humour and he was the one who said to me that everyone was a Cockney south of Sheffield.  I have told you that one before.

I always wondered what happened to him?  I would love to have a drink of Newcastle Brown Ale with him again.  He told me that in Leeds they call Newcastle Brown in Leeds: a bottle of ๐Ÿ• dog.  

He called Lancashire folk and vice versa.  We realised that Lancashire and Yorkshire people dislike each other so much because they are so similar.  It's like the law of Physics:  opposites attract.  What a character.

Last night after a two week break from alcohol.  I decided to open the Newcastle Brown Ale presents number one son and his girlfriend brought me from Sainsbury's in Belfast:

On the eighth day God made Prog Rock and Newcastle Brown Ale.

I put it in the fridge for an hour or two.  Gosh it tastes good.  It's  a pity I can't get English bitter in West Cork any more. I blame Brexit.  

There's a certain off licence in Tralee that stocks it and brings it down from the north.  I think I might be due a trip? ๐Ÿค”

Bill Wyman ex Rolling Stones said when he moved to France.  The one thing he missed was Piccalilli.  For me it's  Prog Rock, allotments, old Anglican churches and English bitter.

Are there any expats out there and what do you miss from Blighty?

I do not get a penny for my products advertising.  I just love English food and drink.  None of your UK nonsense.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

The Blossom Of The Thistle.


Meet Angus my Globe Artichoke.

He wants to play for Inverness Caledonian Thistle when he grows up.

Apparently there are 21 Scottish football teams with Thistle in their names.  Did you know that that?  No I didn't either.

Globe Artichokes are a member of the Cardoons and Thistle family.  They originate in Arab countries close to the Mediterranean.  

It is thought that the Romans introduced them into Europe. Then the French began cooking them and they spread to our kitchens and recipe books.

I sowed over twenty of them and the Irish slugs and snails ๐ŸŒ have devoured them at night in the polytunnel leaving me with just four.  Al Stewart sung about the year of the cat.  Perhaps he should change cat to slugs?

Angus in the photo is my best specimen.  Come June they will be planted in the veg plot when all danger have frost will have past.

I chose them because they are a perennial and I like their architecture shape.  Hopefully I will be dividing them later in the year.

Have you ever tasted Globe Artichokes?  I haven't.  Have you got any ideas of how to cook their flowers or florets even?

They are a posh Thistle in all but name.

Did I ever tell you about a donkey we once owned called Trotsky?  He particularly liked to feed on Thistles.  Which we thought was good.  Until next year when we noticed lots of Thistle plants.  Trotsky never digested the seeds and his ablutions started his own Thistle plant  nursery.  

I have my own perennials nursery but I don't want a Thistle one!

Monday 27 May 2024

"New To Me" Hiking Jacket.


I never showed you my " new to me" hiking jacket did I?

I have a similar one with a famous hiking brand name.  It cost about 65 Euros in the sale.

It's  been in my possession about six years.  But unfortunately one of the zip pockets doesn't function properly and it's  starting to look a bit shabby.

Like a lot of men.  I will not be throwing it away.  Instead it will be a light gardening jacket and a reserve walking jacket when my "new" one is wet after getting Saturday  just for a change.

I bought my "new" jacket from a charity shop for five Euros!  I know but you have to be extravagant sometimes.

I like supporting charity shops and they help me clothing me very cheaply.

Do you buy clothes from charity shops for hiking and your holidays?  

Sunday 26 May 2024

Another One Of My Walks Where We Live.

A walk on the Northside (thus my blog title!) looking across the bay to Beara peninsula.
Going south.  You can see Dunmanus Bay in the distance. 
A lonely looking house.

More Faeries Fingers.
Hawthorn flower.  My mother called it "Mother Death".  It was considered bad luck to take this in your house in northwest England.
Ferns or bracken.  Poisonous to livestock and ferns should never be handled by your uncovered hand .  Some people claim ferns are cancerous. 
Gorse or furze.  Often used to make stockproof hedges.  In Galway people would grow fields of it and harvest it and sell it for firewood.
Cattle nonchalant  grazing and chewing  the cud.
Poached egg plant in a rural garden.
Grandma's Bonnets or Aquilegia.  Old garden favourites that self seed and come back every year.
A log cabin holiday home.  Very tastefully painted and blended in with the scenery. 

Back over towards Bantry Bay.
Rabbit and Church islands which I use to pass on the ferry to work on Whiddy and back to Bantry Pier in the evening. 
My bottle of water having a rest on a stone table positioned there for the walkers.
Sheep on the Sheep's Head Way.
An old cairn stone now being repurposed for a fingerpost for the hikers.
Ancient stone wall.  I thought of Clannad when I took this shot.
Ancient stone ruin.  Maybe an animal shelter or an humble abode for someone?
St Patricks cabbage from the other days post.
Yellowflag iris.

Another glimpse at Dunmanus Bay.

 Now I am not drinking alcohol I have got a lot of my energy back.  Thirty one miles in a week isn't bad for a sixty your old blog writer and plant propagator fanatic is it?

Saturday 25 May 2024

A Non Alcoholic Solution And Escape To The Country Or Prog Rock Festival?

 I think I have found a cheap option to my lack of ale.  It's not non-alcoholic beer it's good old Ginger Ale.

79 Cents a bottle from you know where?

I am drinking a couple of bottles of it a night at the moment.  I think it's all the excitement watching Antiques Roadtrip and Escape To The Country?  

The programme makers still haven't took up my idea of Escape To The City.  

What about Escape To The Prog Rock Festivals? I would partake in that programme wouldn't I just?  

Kansas, Saga and Styx and Kansas would headline the Dunmanway Prog festival? Well I can dream can't I?

Did you watch Escape To The Country on Thursday night? 

They went to probably my favourite county (Dorset) in England.  None of that UK name  business which they keep saying on the news. 

The price of property is absolutely staggering.  It's like looking at Cheshire house prices.  You know that southern county up north?  You could almost buy a small farm in Ireland for what you would pay for such a " des res".  I jest not.

People pay over four hundred thousand pounds for an ex farm labourers abode.  

Outside it looks like a thatched chocolate box and inside it is what it is.  An interior built for function and not display and every light on because it's so dark with small windows and "cosy" is the euphemism word chosen for small.

The Australian lady kept calling the worktops: " benches." 

It was enough to make one drink.  Ginger Ale that is.  Not the real stuff!

Thursday 23 May 2024

The West Cork Wild Flora.

 I went for just a three mile walk in the countryside next to the sea yesterday Thursday. 

It was a nice day and I did not see a soul apart from two tractor drivers drawing newly made silage bales.  

I stood into the verge and a ditch and we gave each other the customary wave whilst they passed by. Tractor drivers wave and so do car drivers in the West of Ireland.  

Here's some photos of the wild flora and some cattle on my saunter in the countryside:

Bog cotton.  

This is traditional to Ireland ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช and it was often used to stuff pillows long ago.

Yellow Flag Iris.

Any gardener or farmer who knows the land they  walk and work.   

They will tell you the wild flowers that grow in a certain area are an indicator of what the ground is like.  Rather ike the Buttercup family which likes very damp ground. Or:

"Where nettles grow.  Anything will grow".

Iris is another plant that was used for its medicinal purposes.  The leaves were burnt in a stone hut and people would ingest the smoke and it is said to have been a cure for Rheumatism.  It was also used for tooth ache.  

I forget to say in yesterday's post.  St Patrick's Cabbage was used to treat skin and stomach conditions.

Foxglove or Faeries Fingers.

This is a wild plant and also there are garden cultivars.  I once had a white one in my garden.  But it never left any new plants or seedlings. 

It is said to be highly toxic but is used to treat heart complaints.  I like it for it's Spring colour at this time of year.

I met this Suckler herd.  They wondered who I was and why was I carrying a stick.  

"Was it to beat them with it?" 

 Enquired an inquisitive Simmental cow.

I  explained it was to help me climb the hills and to stop me falling on any slippy paths.

"We have four legs for that and a tail to flick away the flies".

"Good luck".

We all said and I carried along my way the boreens and back home.

I will take you on a longer blog walk soon.  I have the photos.  I just need to edit them and wax lyrical about the beautiful Emerald isle.

Wednesday 22 May 2024

St Patrick's Cabbage And London Pride Saxifrage.

 I have got back into my walking again since Scorchio arrived here on the Irish Riviera.  According to the steps app on my phone I have walked the equivalent of 28 miles since last Wednesday.

On my walks in the countryside next to the sea.  I noticed something that resembles a perennial that is in flower in our Northsider gardens at the moment:

There's lots of this in flower at the moment.  I believe it is called St Patrick's Cabbage. 

It is a native to Ireland, Spain and ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น.  Like the Fuchsia and Montbretia and Gunnera I would imagine it was brought here or took from here.  No there is too much of it for that.  Maybe it is a native like rushes and furze?๐Ÿ˜Š

Like Montbretia.  It looks like a garden escapee but it isn't.  They must be close cousins though and members of the Saxifrage family?

London Pride.  A Saxifrage in flower ๐ŸŒผ in our garden at the moment.

Apparently when the Blitz was going on in WW2 London.  A lot of houses and gardens were bombed and burnt too a crisp.

It's rather like when they burn the Furze or Gorse on the hills near us.  The lovely tender grass replaces the burnt embers after a few weeks.

Like wise in blitzed and war torn London.

The first perennial to come in flower was the Saxifrage and thus it got it's name: " London Pride".

It's a plant that comes back every year and it's worth adding to any perennial collection. 

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Sampling The Non Alcoholic Beers and A Bottle of Wine In The Discount Supermarkets.

 I said on the Balmoral Show blog post last week that I was having a break from alcohol.

All last week I have been replacing cans of lager for pint glasses of water and pop.  It's a bit boring but it's nice to have a few drinks at night watching the television and looking at blogs..

On Sunday we went in Aldi and we had a look at what non- alcoholic beers and wine were on offer:


99 Cents.  

This an Aldi own and it was drinkable.  A bit like a weak pint that you would buy at a Rock concert in one of those massive arenas.  But for 99 Cents.  Verdict: It was fine.

Strana.  Oats, hops and yeast.  This cost a Euro forty nine.  It reminded me of wheat like you buy in Germany ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช or their supermarkets in Ireland and Blighty.  It also reminded me of a poor Craft beer that you buy in the supermarkets.  J tried this.  She pulled her face.  We preferred the first one:  Saint Etienne. Verdict:  Not the best but if you like a wheat beer kind of taste it's OK!

Then we tried the bottle of Zerozecco Rose for 3.99:

We both had a glass of this 0.0% Zerozecco wine.  The is Rose.  Very palatable.  If you were at a party and some one gave you a glass of this nonalcoholic wine I don't think you would be disappointed.  Verdict:  Very nice for 3.29.

Rheinbacher Pilsner 6X 300ml non alcoholic beer: 4.29:
Tastes like a real good German lager.  I liked the taste.  I found it very difficult to drink it slowly.  I am more of a supper than a sipper.  I can't drink like a cat sipping milk.

Verdict:  I liked it very much.  But I would probably need to buy 12 if I was having a night drinking๐Ÿ˜Š.  I am joking.

Ireland charges a whopping 23 percent on non alcoholic beers and ๐Ÿท wines.   We paid 10.06 Cents on non alcoholic beers and a bottle of wine.

I haven't been  in a pub since I was in Tenerife last December.  

Apparently a pint of normal lager is currently 5.70 and a pint of non-alcoholic beer is 5 Euros.  It doesn't tempt to you to choose the none alcoholic beer rather than the alcoholic one does it?

Would you drink non alcoholic beer or wine?  How much is it at  a pub near you?

Brewers argue that it is expensive because its got to brewed just like real beer then the alcohol is extracted.

In conclusion:  Well we still had a drink and it cost very little.

Monday 20 May 2024

Bronte Goes To Muckross House Gardens.

Rhododendron Ponticum me thinks?  
This is the one I think that was planted for game cover and its very attractive flowers and it originated in China and Himalayas and loves the Irish acidic peaty soil.  

I talked about this to an American couple.  They asked me if we had the fire flies/worms like they have in the states that eat everything?  "Yes we do."  I said moving quickly on.

Rhodies that look like red roses.
Me and Bronte going for a canter.  Her idea not mine.
To the manor born and a lake view.
Bronte being a Golden Retriever wanted to go for a dip in the lake.  We turned in the opposite direction. 
Lawns striped like the velvet green tennis courts at Wimbledon. 
Picture postcard view and all for free.
People like us observing the oriental bridesmaid dresses we call Rhododendrons.
What a gorgeous Azalea.  Can any of you ladies describe its colour better than RED?  Men can't do colours very well.  What about salmon pink?
Those Victorian gardeners knew what they were doing planting those trees ๐ŸŒณ and shrubs.  I would imagine they are probably not far off the age of the big house?

The wonder of you. That's an Elvis song.  Or Rhododendrons and people in awe of them
Hostsas.  No snail bites like our specimens in West Cork.
Fine Gunnera specimens from South America. It looks like giant rhubarb.
This plant in the Orange House looks like a bird of paradise 

Bronte on her  trip to Muckross House Gardens in Killarney.

I have blogged about the place several times over the years.  It's free parking and the gardens and  surroundings are free to walk and explore.  I hope you enjoyed your blog visit?

What We Had For Our Smallholding Tea.

 The polytunnel and veg plot keeps on giving and we seem to be eating new spudatoes every day at the moment: Snowball onion, kale and new po...