Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Molly Malone's Statue

*****   As you can see below, some familiar refrains and song titles have been used in the telling of my tale.

The Wild Rover, Danny Boy and I’ll be off to Tipperary in the morning.  We’ve got a gallon of Whiskey in the Jar to help us on our way. 

We’re going via Ragland Road, The Rocky Road to Dublin, The Town I Loved So Well.  
Following in Finnegan’s Wake ,we’ll stroll through the Foggy Foggy Dew.  By the way, we had a grand time at Finnegan’s Ball.

After we cross The Fields of Athenry Molly Malone, The Star of County Down, will be joining us. 

It’s clear Molly has stolen The Irish Rover Danny’s heart. 

They first met one pleasant evening in the month of May in Oranmore, in the County of Galway.   She wore no jewels, nor costly diamonds; no paint or powder... no, none at all.  But she wore a bonnet with a ribbon on it, and around her shoulder was a Galway Shawl. 

Having The Luck of the Irish, over a bowl of Cockles and Mussels, the pretty colleen caught Danny’s eye.

Danny and Molly planned to meet the following day at a carnival in Galway Bay, but as She Moved Through the Fair he lost sight of her amongst the madding crowd.   

The lyrics of the Bard of Armagh flooded his mind as he searched high and low. He thought he’d never see her again.  At that moment he believed Ireland was simultaneously an Isle of Hope...An Isle of Tears. 

Knowing he had to leave for Dear Old Donegal in the evening, heartbroken, Danny Boy couldn’t linger long.   Aware Molly was headed for Tipperary early the next morning it felt like the Final Curtain was being drawn across his heart. 

As he stood on Fiddler’s Green, the sound of The Galway Piper playing in the background brought tears to his eyes. 

From Donegal It’s a Long Way to Tipperary down Where the River Shannon Flows. 

However, fate, with the help of the Boys from County Armagh, had taken a turn for the better.

The lads had organised a conference to be held in the south. Danny knew Limerick Is Beautiful (But Galway Is Better).  

En route, while standing on the Cliffs of Dooneen, thinking of his sweet Molly, The Rose of Tralee, he heard someone approaching him from behind...

“How Are Things In Glocca Morra?” 

His heart leapt when he recognised the voice of his Brown-Eyed Girl. 

Donegal Danny was overcome with joy.

Taking her in his arms, Danny said, “My Wild Irish Rose!  We’ll be Sweethearts in the Spring – and forever thereafter.”

Magically, a rainbow suddenly appeared in the sky.  A golden glow hovered on the horizon. 

Danny spotted a little bearded man, dressed in green and wearing a top hat mischievously dancing in the field of four-leaf clover. 

“Three wishes!  Three wishes! I’ll grant you three wishes!”  The leprechaun joyously sang.

“Thank you! Thank you very much, but I don’t need them!” Danny replied, his heart brimming with happiness and love.

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral .Too-ra-loo-ra-li, my friends. That’s an Irish Lullaby for St. Patrick’s Day, which is this Saturday.

Hold on there a moment! As promised... I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen.

Shamrock Eggs: Slice a large green capsicum into thick slices; remove core. Melt butter/olive oil in pan; add slices; crack an egg into centres; cook approx 1min. Flip; cook to desired consistency. Sprinkle Parmesan on top.

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts: In pan, heat 1tbs bacon fat or butter over med-high heat; add 4 diced, thick-cut bacon strips; cook 5mins. Add 1 diced onion. When bacon starts to get crispy and onion, deep golden, remove to paper towel-lined plate, leaving fat in skillet. Trim and halve 700g Brussels sprouts; lay sprouts cut side down in pan; reduce heat to medium; cover. Cook 5-8mins before stirring. Add bacon-onions to pan; stir; cook until sprouts are fork-tender, but not too soft; season. Drizzle over 2tbs balsamic glaze; serve hot.

Green Meatballs & Pasta: Combine 2c finely chopped basil, 1/2c finely chopped parsley and 1/2c finely chopped chives. Soak 1 bread slice with 1/3-4c milk, 5 mins; remove; lightly squeeze out milk. Break bread up into a bowl; combine with 240g beef, pork or lamb mince, 1 cup of the herbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Work mixture with your hands until well-combined; add a little milk, if necessary, to help bind ingredients into a slightly sticky consistency. Shape into 1-inch meatballs. Cook 450g spaghetti (or pasta of choice) until al dente; drain; reserve 1c of pasta cooking water.  Heat 2tbs olive oil in pan over med-heat; cook meatballs until brown on all sides; remove to plate; reserve pan drippings. In small processor, puree the rest of the herbs with 4tbs olive oil, 1 garlic clove and 1/4c water; season.  Put pasta into meatballs’ pan along with a splash of the pasta water; add herb sauce; toss well over low heat; add more pasta water if needed. Divide among bowls; top with meatballs and grated Parmesan.

Nutty Irishman: Pour hot, strong coffee into 2 mugs; add 30ml each Baileys Irish Cream and Frangelico liqueurs to mugs; put dollop of whipped cream on top; sprinkle with nutmeg.  

The Rising of the Moon - Irish folk song

Thursday, March 08, 2018


Some do the darnedest things. 

Not much darning goes on nowadays.  I’m darned if I do any.  Eons ago I did, but no longer.  It began to needle me, so I ceased.  Holey underwear is tossed out, even on Sundays.  We all know the tale about holey underwear and being run over by a bus.

I’m darned sure you were given the warning throughout your childhood, the same as I was.  I’m equally sure you continue to heed the good advice - either that or, dodge buses.

Please don’t assume otherwise - I do include me in the title declaration.  I have been known to say and do the darnedest of things.  No doubt I will do similar again more than once.  I’m darned if I can stop myself.  My foot often has a mind of its own. Try as I might, I just can’t stop if from landing in my mouth.  It suffers from MJBS...Mexican Jumping Bean Syndrome.

I never cease to be amazed by the utterances some people utter, though. 

One of the darnedest verbal which really surprises me (and annoys me, to be honest) when I say I’d love to be the recipient of a major Lotto win. 

Nine times out of ten, the rapid retort I receive is:

 “Oh!  That’s too much money for one person!” 

To me, those words are probably up high, near the top of the list of the darnedest words I’ve ever heard.  They leave me gobsmacked every time I hear them. The words make no sense. I’m darned if I understand the logic behind the remark; maybe I’m dense.

To my way of thinking the statement lacks thought and reason.  (I suppose my way of thinking may be questionable to others, but I’m darned if I care!) 

I don’t need a huge mansion on a hill, or on the flat, with a fleet of expensive cars stored in a garage as big as a house, or a sleek yacht moored at the marina growing barnacles on its bottom. (I can get those sitting at my computer).
I’m happy with my little two-door, unassuming vehicle, and I’ve no desire to travel the world, or go on cruises at the drop of an anchor.

It’s just who I am and the way I am - we’re all different, desiring different things, of course.  

“Thank goodness!” You exclaim in unison.  

The reaction is understandable. Who would want to be like me?  There are times even I don’t want to be like me.  

To dine on Beluga caviar and truffles every day, or even for one day, is not a yearning.  There was a day, years ago, I dined on both.  One should never overdo a good thing.  

My needs and longings are simple; perhaps broaching boring.  I don’t envy what others have... I don’t covet the property of others.  

However, I’d love to take out a major Lotto win...not a million dollars, not two million dollars (don’t misunderstand me, to win either amount would be wonderful, and I’d willing except either with both hands).  
My reasons for wishing to win a major pay-out in the Lottery over just a million or two dollars are:-

There are worthwhile causes winning a major Lotto pay-out would assist; there are genuine people in need it would help.  So much good could be many people could be assisted through their particular battle.

So when I see the Lotto jackpot to $30m, $40m, $50 million etc., I’ll be darned if I think it’s too much money for me, one person, to win.  I’ll be darned if I’d say, out loud, it’s too much money for me, one, person to win.

Darn it!  I’m being selfish – but I’m darned if I care!   I would have so much much fun....being an anonymous philanthropist! 

Yesterday I read the darnedest article.  The article was the result of another of those darned researches conducted by folk of a higher education.  Those darned academics struck again!

The research’s conclusion was if you write your supermarket shopping list in the running order of the shop’s aisles you suffer OCD. 

In the case of my supermarket shopping list I’m definitely OCD.  I’m darned if I was previously aware of my idiosyncrasy. 

Phtt! Being an OCD-in-aisle-order-shopping-list-writer makes shopping far simpler.  If necessary, because I know in which aisle everything is, I could conduct my grocery shopping blindfolded.   

Please accept my apologies ahead of time if I bump into you.

My two cats are OCD sufferers in the darnedest ways. 

For example – Overcautious Cat Dilemma...Outstanding Cats Decidedly...Omnipotent Creatures Definitely...Outrageously Cuddly Darlings...Opinionated Curious Divas. 

Oh! See! Darn!  I do say the darnedest things.

Caviar Potato Wedges: Cut potatoes or kumara into ¼-1/3-inch thick wedges. Place on baking sheet; season; bake until golden, about 15mins. Turn wedges; bake further 15mins. Transfer to plate; cool; top with sour cream; spoon small amount of caviar onto sour cream; sprinkle with very finely chopped white onion or chives.
Caviar Crab Tower: Carefully combine 155g fresh crab meat, 1/2tsp finely minced shallot, dash of paprika, 1/4tsp lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Cut 1 large avocado in half; spoon flesh into a bowl; mash; add 1/2tsp lemon juice; season to taste. Begin with a 3-inch flattened mound of smashed avocado on each of 4 plates; divide crab into 4 servings; form layer on top of avocado; gently flatten; then spoon 30g black caviar on top of each tower.
Pasta de Truffle Caviar Pasta: Cook some Angel Hair aka Capellini pasta in pot of unsalted, boiling water; drain; run under cold water; drain again, Put pasta in bowl; do not add regular salt to pasta. Season pasta with truffle salt and a generous amount of truffle oil. Add finely cut chives, dried Porcini mushrooms (soaked in water, then diced very finely) and black caviar; drizzle a little x-virgin olive oil over pasta; toss gently.  Allow pasta to marinate in fridge about an hour. Serve topped with a little caviar.
Cowboy Caviar: In a small bowl, combine 1/4c olive oil, 1/4c red wine vinegar, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper and 1tsp cumin; set aside. Combine 1 drained can each of black beans, pinto beans and corn kernels, 1 sliced avocado, 3 diced Roma tomatoes, 1 diced red onion, 1/2c each diced red and green capsicum, chilli powder, to taste, and roughly chopped coriander, if desired. Pour dressing and a little fresh lime juice over corn-bean mixture; carefully toss to combine. Serve with corn chips or fried chicken.