Archive for the 'food' Category

Harvest is here… well not quite…

Off on hols to kerry for a bit. Decided to pull a few veg to bring with us for food

However when I add a scale they’re not quite as impressive

There’s some tasty eating in a carrot the size of a euro…

Eric the gardener – part 2

the garden is flourishing.

it’s kind of cool. you put something very small in the ground and after a while something cool grows out of it. And you don’t even have to do anything for that to happen.

The photos below are a few weeks old now so there’s been a bit more growth since

This is probably my coolest thing. This was originally an old water tank lying out the back of the shed when we moved in. I refashioned it with a couple of holes in the bottom and put a bit of wood across it about 10 inches from the top and filled it with compost.

The wood slipped initially and needed a few screws to hold it in place. It seems to be holding well now but drainage isn’t quite as good as I would have liked.

Spinach on the left and rocket on the right

on the left is the ever rampant mint, which even Phil with a strimmer couldn’t manage to kill when we first moved in.

the green on the right is the flat leaf parsley, though i suspect it’s done too many seasons.

the dead twiggy thing in the middle was a rosemary plant that friends had bought us but didn’t get time to get established before the snow killed it off

the little green shoots are red onions just starting.  i bought these as little tiny onion bulbs or whatever you call them.

these are peas or beans or something. I can’t quite remember which. Definitely something that will need the cane in the photo anyhow

the yellow tulips are lovely, we planted some as bulbs last year and that’s what makes up the strip largely. Left of the shed is all the compost i was trying to make from grass clippings that i forgot to use before planting this year. D’oh…

The “greenhouse” is something I found in my Dad’s workshop that Liz was kind enough to let me steal. It works pretty well considering.

In it are virtually all tomatoes. They were started indoors under the kitchen table but seem to be coping ok now that they’re outside

There’s some basil and coriander in the polystyrene at the top right. I just repotted them today and i think i left it a bit late, the rootlets were starting to dig into the polystyrene.

The tomatoes need thinned out a bit too i think.

Oh and the green thing at the bottom is mainly chives with some severely struggling oregano in there too.

Eric the gardener

When i lived up north it was in a wee terrace house (the house i rented not the one i grew up in) with tarmac out front and concrete out back.

There was a lovely shrub/ bush thing that grew over the wall from the estate of semis behind us. It would flower come summer and look lovely.

The back yard was a good spot for bbqs but that was about it. No where to grow anything

When I moved here we moved to another terrace house but this time with a narrow but fairly lengthy strip of grass out the back. And oh the trees, sweet trees and bird song.

(incidentally, mitchelinman’s daughters set me right on the difference between a crow a raven a jackdaw and a blackbird so I have a better idea which is which now.)

We moved in in the summer and managed to get (rather overpriced) some herbs in a pot from m&s to grow. The rocket lasted till the first November snows anyhow.

Inspired by an old neighbour (as in prior not aged) and canalways I’ve gone for a bit more this year.

Part hobby and part cost saving.

It’s good being outside. Or maybe I’ll make a less morally weighty statement and say I like being outside. Having a garden gives me a good excuse.

I’d kill for an outside tap. Running the hose from the kitchen tap has it’s problems.

On the cost saving – the big one is salad. I have a diet largely consiting of beer, rocket, chorizo and tomatoes. The beer i plan to make if I can steal my brother’s beer brewing kit. The chorizo and the tomatoes are fairly cheap (you can get cherry tomatoes in tesco for 5 euro a kg if you look hard enough) but the rocket is a bit extortionate to buy. 70g for 2.50 or something like that. You could get cocaine cheaper per kg (warning vastly exaggurated estimate with no basis in reality…)

Rocket grows pretty easily. You plant some seeds and then it grows, and then it keeps growing.

I have high hopes

In addition (cause I got a bit carried away when I was buying seeds) I’ve also planted some spinach, tomatoes, broad beans, onions, basil, parsely, rosemary, and coriander. In addition to the mint and aloe vera that we couldn’t quite kill off when we first moved in.

Will have photos when the time comes. I know you’re all quivering with anticipation…

Kiss The Rain

One is immensely proud of oneself

[You have to say the title more as “Keesh Le Rain” to get the joke…]

Like eating glass

I love my day off. In fact as I now work 4 days a week I have 3 days off a week. But I usually get one sneaky one to myself. When normal grown ups are earning a living and being responsible members of society.

My tendency of late has been baking. Call it a late twenties crisis.

I tried my first slightly misshapen potato bread today.


I made more my new favourite – the brownies


And my repeating frustration (like doing a poached egg) is my plain white bread. It just doesn’t seem to rise quite the way I’d like it to. This photo makes it look more risen than it is.


For tomorrow night I have a duck and some lamb on offer if you’re interested. If it’s defrosted that is.


On a non-food related note I also managed to make my computer into a flag waving nationalist

Screen shot 2009-11-09 at 22.06

Sounds of summer

Some of you come here for bitchy posts about medicine and the NHS. To be perfectly honest we’ve had a pretty decent summer. Everyone buggers off to Spain and the Balaerics for two weeks and get sick in other countries or fall over and break their arm in Portstewart and end up in other hospitals apart from mine.

People don’t come to this part of the world for their hols. They used to come in huge numbers for a bit of a riot around Drumcree but we seem to have moved on some what.

Swine flu has had a bit of an impact. We have lost our paediatric area to become a swine flu isolation area where we have to wander around dressed up like someone from the moon landings just to take a history from a very well looking patient.

Despite huge amounts of coverage telling people NOT to turn up at A&E or their GP but to ring first, people still keep turning up. We shout at them mainly when they do. Tis the caring profession.

Despite seeing a good 10-15 patients with flu and my own family getting it I’m still going strong. Be it chance or the rigorous immune system that goes with working in A&E I’m still fighting fit. I’m all for getting it to be honest. The idea of a week or two of enforced isolation with nothing but some paracetamol, some DVDs and shelf of books fills me with great enthusiasm. In my fantasy I’ve blanked out all the flu-symptoms that come with having flu. I’ll keep the fingers crossed for some fevers and arthralgias.

There have been times in the past few weeks where there haven’t been any patients in the department waiting to be seen. People have been seen promptly and thoroughly, often getting the time, dignity and grace that they deserve. Without the doubt the whole place and system runs so much more smoothly and better at times like these.

So how do you measure quality of care? How do you measure it genuinely and honestly? And do we really want to pay for it?


But it’s hardly all work. I was at U2 being blown away by the sheer scale and audacity of the thing. Feeling slightly bad that I’d prefer to be leaning on the railings at the sound desk in somewhere like Vicar St or the Empire.

I have seen U2 in Croke. That was box ticked. If I see Bruce then I’m not sure what else there is to live for so I’ll put that off for a while.

I saw Potter at a 1030am matinee. I liked it. Though it’s been about 3 or 4 years since i last read the book so I’d forgotten half of it. Despite running to three hours it felt very, very rushed. Too many disparate parts that seemed to have no discernible link.

I had a ride on the train from Sligo to Dublin and found some theses throughout the train:


I’m not sure Translink are quite with the program yet.

I’ve been working my way through Subverting Global Myths, with my black biro underlining virtually everything and scribbling little comments of approval in the margins. There’s sections with titles like “rediscovering Christian integrity” that get me all excited. There will be more quotes no doubt. If the gospel is not socially, politically and relationally radical then I want none of it.

I had some time on call in work and learned that when trying to put an IV in a child that’s fitting then it’s generally best to use the half of the child that’s not fitting.

I made a kick ass roast dinner for a stack of people and we ascended to new levels of interpersonal communication by requesting songs off spotify by texting knoker sitting by the computer in the corner.

I became intimately acquainted with the inside of a 2002 VW polo and realised that if the car stereo isn’t working then it’s cheaper to but a 15 pence fuse that a 70 quid new stereo. Every day’s a school day I suppose.

The rising

I have been getting better at this bread baking carry on. Having realised all my yeast was out of date and therefore not rising.

I left the loaf rising sitting on top of the radiator and went out for lunch and came back to find it crawling over the edges of the baking tin and ready to climb onto the sofa and put its feet up.


So this is Frolics

And yes the time has come again. When those of us who had the privilege of spending time in university together (mostly lying around drinking tea and putting the world to rights or playing mario-kart) get back together for an evening of food and light entertainment.

Festive Fun & Frolics (in fact whoever came up with the name please let me know…) has become something of an institution, progressing and evolving year by year. Gone of the days of a take-away Chinese and everyone crammed into my bedroom in Tate’s Avenue for a rendition of Temptation Dinghy. It’s all “smart casual” and restaurants and we even have an organising committee (too many presby’s you see…) even if it is just Jose with too much time on his hands.

It has also become strangely evangelistic, with more and more what could be seen as random punters being brought on board. Which is cool, cause something like this will inevitably be cliquey (!) and full of “in jokes”.  Some of the “blow ins” (I don’t mean that honestly, we love you really, apart from Skeeno…) are WAGs (wives and girlfriends) or HABs (husbands and boyfriends) but most are just guys we know who seem happy enough to be involved in such silliness.

The interesting bit – to us at least – is the entertainment, with each former student house providing an item – mainly songs. I thought I’d include some of the videos below so that all the silliness may be recorded for all eternity. Some day some of you will get married and the best man will have such good material to choose from…

First up was Pete and Fred’s Megamix danceathon. It went on for about 20 minutes. I was tired just watching them. Edited highlights below. Sorry about the lighting. Watch out for Gilpy’s 80s power grabs. Priceless.

This year provided the pleasant surprise of Windsor Avenue actually pulling out something pretty decent for once, compared with the bizzare after eight games of recent years.

Edinburgh St tend to be the industry favourites each year though the public vote let them down somewhat this year. Every one was upset Jonny’s Aunty Mary didn’t make an appearance this year.

And then there was Tates. After a brief confusion when I thought Sparky meant us to sing a Christmas Carol and then realising he meant A Christmas Carol we were off and running. Though this borrowed sightly more from the muppets than Dickens. It’s a bit long but worth it. Well not really but there is nakeness at one point and that always improves the blog stats.

All you can eat

On Sunday i roasted a chicken for the (smaller than usual) family. Tonight I roasted a joint of beef and some roasties for a few mates. I’m currently baking bread (at 11.45pm…). I can see how this cooking thing gets kind of addictive. I have no idea why this satisfies me but it does.


July 2022