Tag Archives: family

All I need is the Air that I breathe and to love you..

I was listening to Albert Hammond singing All I need is the Air that I breathe this week as I travelled into the kids school.  And I was already in a fairly emotional state.  You see my eldest had started his last year of school.  The last day of 14 years of school. The end of an era.  I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs as he drove off down the lane.  And the tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened to the song.

Last "first" day in Primary school for eldest

Last “first” day in Primary school for eldest

I had taken a picture of my two little darlings together outside the house since he started Junior Infants in Dunhill.  And we had taken the picture in the same place every year.  Incidentally we had to take it in a different place this year due to the bath being outside after a little post bathroom renovation.

First Day 2011

And then we moved onto secondary…

They grow up so quickly. And these pictures every year make it so apparent. But it’s so lovely to look back on them- even if I’m amazed at how tall they both are getting. And grown up looking.
First Day 2014

To all the parents of young children out there who are starting their adventures in school.  Enjoy it.  Enjoy it with them, also enjoy for a little bit without them. It’s a necessary part of growing up, and so challenging at times.  But as they gradually bring home poems and pictures to stick on the fridge- you’ll realise how much they are learning. And then confuse you with maths and Irish….

There's an air of cheek in this one....

There’s an air of cheek in this one….

You just have to let them go. But it’s hard.  And it gets a little easier as the days goes on.  I’ll be a little inconsolable next year with the whole going-away-to-college.  But we won’t worry about that yet.  And I’ll still have the youngest to fawn over- But wherever they go, they’ll hopefully remember me always quoting them this from the eminently knowledgeable Winnie the Pooh.
You-are-braver-than-you-think_daily-inspiration-2

And so to the final one. Well, from this chapter anyway.

First Day

What gives you life??

Thankfully I am (most of the time) a glass full kinda gal in life. It’s though sometimes, especially when I’m a bit tired.  But when I went to list what gives me life there were so many to mention I thought I’d have to do more than one blog post.

I am attending a wedding of a long time friend and work colleague, and am really looking forward to spending some time with my friends celebrating their marriage, the start of their long life together.  I’m also making the cake- which adds a *little bit of pressure! But I love the feeling of adding to their special day.

I went for a run yesterday in the Anne Valley Walk, near Dunhill.  The day was lovely, with a just perfect cool breeze.  As I am only getting back to proper running after nearly a year of a break due to injury, I am thankful that I can run- and exercise.

Looking out across the Anne Valley Walk

Looking out across the Anne Valley Walk

Family plays a very important part of my life.  Nigel is my soul mate and still now, an uncountable number of years later, he is the one who gets me.  My humours- good and bad, my quirks and habits.  He shares my passion for horses and cooking, and is an amazing father for our two kids.

Nigel feeding the "babies"

Nigel feeding the “babies”

Raising children is a responsibility that grows more with each passing year.  You give them life and try to bring them up respecting others and themselves.  I have two of the most wonderful caring and talented children, though sometimes I want to wring their necks.

Robert at the JHI's

Robert at the JHI’s

Jordan enjoying life!

Jordan enjoying life!

With so many relations living so close I love seeing my nieces and nephews grow up, with their grandparents in tow, I think it’s been so good for my kids to have so many other adults in their lives who bring so many different factors to our lives.

Family!

Family!

I realised while looking nostalgically through gazillions of photos that I don’t have a pic of all my friends together, or at least groups of them.  But photos don’t do our friendship justice.  Suffice to say I love you all!!!  More importantly they are great at helping me eat all the cakes I make!!

Strawberry cake with cheesecake filling

Strawberry cake with cheesecake filling

 

The ongoing Birthday cake sagas

We are onto the final stretch of birthday cakes for my youngest.  And, to be fair, 13 is a big achievement.

The “official” birthday cake choice was oreo.  Oreo’s in the sponge, oreo’s in the icing, oreo’s in the decoration.  I hope everyone likes oreos.

The second birthday “surprise” cake was chocolate, covered in ganache, with fresh cream and raspberries.  But the birthday surprise was a photo of her and her beloved pony on top!

By the time I’d made them both, I really wasn’t hungry-

Oreo Cake

Oreo Cake

But of course there was the matter of the main course also, we went with the kids favourite Roast Chicken, with a whole roasted salmon for the adults.  Roast chicken is always popular on birthday party days, and it helps that it can be cooked a little while in advance and then carved and kept warm.  We had to remove the head and tail of the salmon, although we did cook them separately for the cats!  I also made the traditionally requested “butter” sauce, which is a cheats hollandaise that I make in the Kenwood.

Salmon ready for the oven

Salmon ready for the oven

My sister in laws were both bringing something to accompany the mains, so I did a large dish of gratin potatoes, a green salad, and some lovely tomatoes.

Home grown Green Salad (except for the cucumbers)

Home grown Green Salad (except for the cucumbers)

My Cheat’s Hollandaise:

Take 225g of butter and melt it slowly, in a liquidiser (or a bowl if you’ve a hand held mixer) put two egg yolks, a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of cold water, and a couple of good grinds of black pepper. Whisk these until combined well, then VERY VERY SLOWLY add the melted butter, whisking constantly (or with the liquidiser on slow).  Once all the butter has been added it should be a little thicker than the consistency of homemade mayonnaise. Store in a warmed travel mug until needed, but not for longer than 1 hour before use.

A melody of tomatoes

A melody of tomatoes

The buffet table

The buffet table

 

I haven’t been everywhere- but it’s on my list

We often play- where would you go if you won the lotto- and it’s amazing what different people look for in a holiday. The eldest often talks about Iceland, which is my fault really as I made the family watch Walter Mitty.

And while at a family party, we borrowed a copy of their Lonely Planet  1000 Ultimate Experiences.  And as we sat flicking through the different sections- from food markets to thrill seekers, we wondered where we’d go.  I’m not really into sun, but don’t necessarily want it to rain either, and probably the best way to decide where to go, would be to decide where you wouldn’t want to go first!

For various reasons India, Thailand and China would be out for me.  And I think at my age I’m definite about that!  A tour of South America might be an idea, but I’m not 100% gone on the idea of altitude with my asthma. Coumshingaun is often a challenge even on a good day.

Then you look at those typical pictures of deserted beaches…

The Maldives

The Maldives

But there’s only so many sandcastles one can make.  I’m also not a fan of sea swimming. ( You’re never sure what’s under there!)  And at the risk of sounding like a complete moan, I don’t want to spend all day flying- so Oz is most probably out.

I watched a tourist programme once on the TV about visiting the Galapagos Islands, being a Darwin enthusiast, but I’m thinking there’s quite a lot of travel involved there too!  Advertising definitely works on me, who doesn’t want to visit the Rockies after seeing this advert?  And if you don’t go somewhere by train- then why not be car- the whole Route 66 is not to be missed I’d say!

Route 66

Mind you, it just goes to show exactly how bad my geography is, when I was looking up images of Route 66 for this post I realised that the road trip itself is not all on the coast!

America does have lots of options, and not only for the New Yorkites.  I have been a fan of some American TV, Greys, Bones, Alcatraz- and the lure of those cities appeal to me.  And those I’ve seen in Films- Seattle, Washington etc.  And Florida has been on the most wanted for quite some time as we rather enjoy ye old theme parks!  not cool I know, but that’s the truth!

Then there’s Europe.  We once had the privilege of sitting out in Frascati, drinking copious amounts of wine, while eating pork belly, and felt it couldn’t get any better.  And it might be best to remember it like it was.  The same could be said of our trips to France, I’d love to go back to so many of the wonderful places we’ve visited, not least for the food…

And food travel is a whole other post….

So where would you like to go?  For me the essentials are

1. Family

2. Good Food

3. Mountains

4. Water

And without going anywhere, I have three out of four.  I’ll wait for the rest, but still planning and dreaming is half the fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Parties- and Cakes

We love having all of the family over for dinner when it’s a birthday occasion.  We hadn’t managed to do it for my 40th, so last Sunday we had a family get together for Nigel’s birthday.

Nigel is a big fan of pork, so after he managed to source two beautiful pork shoulders, we marinaded them in mustard, maple syrup and brown sugar on the Saturday night.

7 hr cooked maple marinaded shoulder

7 hr cooked maple marinaded shoulder

For starter I wanted to do something with the gorgeous venison that Ni’s brother provides, so I decided on trying my hand at a hot crust pastry, and filled it with slow cooked venison flank, cooked with wild mushrooms and chestnuts (and the obligatory red wine)

Flank of Venison, wild mushrooms, chestnuts and red wine

Flank of Venison, wild mushrooms, chestnuts and red wine

The finished product was very tasty indeed, I had made enough for everyone, not thinking the children would partake, but they ate every morsel, no leftover pies for Monday night!

Dessert was birthday cake of course, with a side offering of cake pops, with various toppings, the most popular of which were the popping candy.  I really enjoyed my first foray into cake pops, and will blog separately about this “journey”.  The birthday cake consisted of vanilla sponge filled with raspberries, blueberries and fresh cream.  And decorated with rosewater meringues.

Vanilla Sponge

Vanilla Sponge