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Off to Edinburgh for the weekend to catch up with friends, potter about, eat good things and gossip.
In the meantime…
1. Check out Homepages – brought to you by Catherine Brodigan, it’s a unique collection of stories and photographs, the first of its kind in Ireland. The nation’s best bloggers hold forth on the theme of “home”, covering everything from pets and expat life to parenting and the Kellogg’s Variety Pack. By turns hilarious, heartbreaking and thought-provoking, it promises a captivating read and showcases some of Ireland’s best undiscovered writing talent.
All proceeds from the sale of this book, compiled on an entirely voluntary basis from submissions made via this website, go directly to Focus Ireland, who provide services and support for people who are homeless across Ireland.
My copy is winging its way to me in the post as I type and I can’t wait to check it out! Congratulations to Catherine on this brilliant project 🙂
3. And last, but certainly by no means least, Ireland’s favourite Swearing Lady is back! Huzzah!
Well, I fell off the NaBlaPoMo wagon in spectacular style. Apart from a general tendency towards laziness on my part, I think part of the problem was that posting articles every day on the internet was a lot like my old job… which was posting articles every day on the internet. So, unsuprisingly, blogging became much less fun than usual.
And then I scarpered off to Edinburgh for a long weekend to catch up with all the people I haven’t seen since I moved to Ireland in June. Hurray! It was good to see all the familiar faces, catch up on all the gossip and visit old haunts – but I’m glad to be back home as, pathetically, I missed Mr B soooooooooooo much.
All this means that I’m feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back in the kitchen. Normal food-related blogging will resume shortly!
PS That’s a picture of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh on a grey and cloudy day (roll on winter). All very moody and atmospheric. Love it.
You’ve mentioned that you’re moving to Ireland. Are you finding that a move to a whole new land mass is more challenging than a normal house move? Are you apprehensive? Excited?
It’s all very exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. Perhaps this is a good point to provide some background to the big change – something I should have done in my first post, perhaps but I couldn’t get my thoughts straight at the time.
Many moons ago, I met my Irish husband-to-be in Edinburgh. And we decided to set up home here, get married, all that kind of boring domestic stuff.
Then work came up for him back in Ireland – about six months before our wedding in Edinburgh last July. So off he went. The idea was that I would join him as soon after the big day as possible, because the work was, er, working out for him. And I can do what I do just about anywhere (fingers crossed), so it made sense for me to move.
Now, it’s pretty clear that I’m a little late with the whole moving shebang. This is because I was offered a really good career move job for 10 months… in Edinburgh.
After talking it over with Mr B., I decided to go for it with his full support (he’s so fab). It could only help me with finding a job when I finally made the move, I reasoned (we’ll find out soon, I guess).
So we got married in July 2006, went on honeymoon to Italy and then came back to our respective countries to get on with work.
What it’s meant since then is a lot of pinging back and forth between Dublin and Edinburgh (I know the Ryan Air and Aer Lingus flight times off by heart) and enormous phone bills.
I like to tell people that I keep my husband in a separate country. That may be all very well and good if you’ve been married for 20 years and can’t stand each other. But we’re at the beginning of it all and we’d quite like to, you know, see each other every day. It’s not an unreasonable expectation, methinks.
Back to the main question… I’m being optimistic (naive?) about the logistics of moving to a different land mass. And I’m hoping that it will be relatively straightforward as the house is ready at the other end, so there’s no issue with waiting for people to move out etc that you get with a normal house move. It’s probably one of those things where I could tell you afterwards where it went wrong!
So far there haven’t been any problems – although that also worries me as it makes me suspect that there’s a big spanner just waiting to clog up the works. Like the ferry with all our possessions might sink on the way over. All fingers and toes crossed for a safe passage.
I’m sad to be leaving behind such all my friends and a fantastic city. That’s what upsets me most. And I’m not happy about having to look for a new job and all that entails. (‘Basically, I’m a people person but I can work on my own… My greatest fault? Oh, that would be my perfectionist streak…blah blah blah.’)
But the flip side is that it’s a whole new adventure – lots to find out, lots to explore – and I’m really looking forward to that. Did I say something about wanting to spend time with my wonderful husband? That’s quite a plus as well.
I’m also unreasonably excited about living in a country where you don’t have to hunt down 284ml cartons of buttermilk – you can get it in big tetrapaks and it’s right next to the milk on the shop shelf. Hurray!
A rare opportunity to curl up on the sofa on a hazy spring morning and eat breakfast while watching what’s going on in the park across the road.
Kids setting up the posts for their Saturday football practice, some hanging around on the sidelines and not looking quite so keen (I can sympathise). Joggers cracking a fair pace across the square in ones and twos. A toddler running at full pelt across the grass, his arms bouncing up and down, his smile broad – he hasn’t quite worked out how to stop without falling over. And it looks like a bit of a shock when he does (but dad comes to the rescue). Cherry and apple blossom slowly falling off the trees dotted around the park – white and pink petals drifting gently in the breeze to land across the street in the tiny scruffy strip of garden around our flat. People wandering past with the papers and a pint of milk from the corner shop – off to do the same thing as me and watch the world go by.
It’s a beautiful place and I’m going to miss it so much.
Yes, I was starting to fall into my own navel with introspection. So I scarfed down the rest of my breakfast and retreated to the boxroom kitchen (no window = no chance of depressing thoughts) to make muffins for Veggie Kate and D, who were coming round for a cuppa.
Veggie Kate is a slight misnomer as she’s actually vegan. I looked at what was lurking in the fridge and what Isa Chandra recommended in her fantastic book Vegan with a Vengance. Recently published in a UK edition, it’s a sign of the times that you can find it readily available in any good bookshop near you. (And it’s doing quite nicely on the veggie page at Amazon.)
The fridge rummage turned up some carrots, so…
Carrot and raisin muffins
From Vegan with a Vengance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
75g raisins – soaked in hot water to plump them up
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground/freshly grated nutmeg
4 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
250ml of rice or soy milk
4 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 medium carrots, grated.
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 4. Spray a 12-hole muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or lightly grease with oil.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour. baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and salt.
3. Create a well in the centre and add the milk, oil and vanilla. Mix until just combined. Fold in the grated carrots and raisins.
4. Fill the muffin tins three quarters full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes until a cocktail stick/knife inserted in the centre of one comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack.
Of all the things I was expecting a vegan muffin to taste like, it wasn’t eggy. I think it was the brand of soya milk I used, so I’m going to experiment with some others to see. But it wasn’t overpowering-ly eggy – just a background taste. Mainly just lots of lovely cinnamon and carrots. Mmmmm.
Also, it only made enough batter to fill six large muffins holes in my tins (mini carrot cakes really) – the alternative was 12 small wide pancakes. So I need to get some cupcake tins or double the recipe. Either way it’s a winner.
Well, that’s it – I’ve handed in my notice and everything’s about to change. In just under six weeks’ time, I’ll be upping sticks, leaving family and friends behind, and lugging all my worldly goods from Edinburgh to Ireland.
My oversized cookbook collection forms a sizeable part of those goods. I’m going to start taking bets on how many boxes I’ll fill with them. Given that there is one bookcase full and several other overflowing shelves/piles around the flat, what do you reckon?
As the big move approaches, I’ll have to suck it up and try to pare down the stacks but I’m a hoader by nature and find it difficult to part with anything, let alone books (blasphemy!), food-related or otherwise. If anything, the collection is going to grow over the next few weeks as I trawl the second-hand shops and visit book fairs… Oh dear.
Book transport logistics aside, I thought it would be good to start blogging about my new life in Ireland and all the cooking, eating and sharing of food I’m hoping lies ahead. It’s also probably a good way for my mum to see that I’m eating properly – she worries a lot.