Bretonised Aubergines, Roasted Butternut and Red Lentils Stack

Choice 1
Buckwheat and aubergine stack, with roasted butternut squash and red lentils…

I am not very fond of summer in Ireland, not very fond of summer in general, that is just the way I am, don’t judge me or call me a miserable bastard. Since I have been leaving here, we’ve had two great summers; 1995 and 2006. The legend says that as the heat waves hugged and cuddled the land of Hibernia, someone, somewhere, on the Island said:” no, the summer is great, but it’s almost too hot”. A divine intervention then punished that poor soul by ruining  it for everybody else… How dare he or she said that?!? For the record your honor, it wasn’t me; I know too well how not to aggravate the natives, refraining from expressing my dislike for July and August. Last week, I decided to be more positive, tackling my cabin fever with long walks, five, nine kilometers, enjoying the wonderful nature of the midlands, butterfly hunting with my camera and rediscovering long lost smells from childhood summers. No saline breeze, no redshanks piping, just a dead dry heat with clear blue skies, thousands of flies and a few remaining chiffchaffs and swallows already thinking of heading back to the African continent…

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Butternut Squash Ravioli with Young Buck Cheese Sauce

DSC00186
Butternut Squash Ravioli with fennel pistou

It was July 1996, I had moved a couple of months earlier in Galway, over staying my welcome from my West Belfast friends I had met the previous summer. The company and the craíc were good which didn’t entice me to find my own place. I didn’t take up too much space, a sleeping bag behind the sofa and a few boxes in the corner, a safe little space, peaceful… But the peace got broken that night in July; a stand off over the annual orange order parade in Drumcree, outside Portadown in County Armagh, escalating in riots that spread across the North, resulting in two deaths and hundreds injured. The North was on lock down and the house turned into a refugee centre, friends literally fleeing violence, others, holidaying in the south, unable to go home. The TV was on all the time, the radio and the huge anxiety was palpable when the phone rang in the middle of the night, fearing for the safety of a loved one as most of them had experienced at some stage. I was going to throw a bit of humour on the whole thing, calling this post “Orange is the old Black”, but instead this story inspired me to do a little recipe, with butternut squash, a cheese from Newtownards in the North, called Young Buck  Buckwheat from Brittany, and fresh fennel from the garden, to more peaceful times, may long it continues!

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Conchiglioni Butternut Squash “Al Forno”

Conchiglioni "Al forno"

I went for a walk last Sunday; “a walk?” says my alter-ego ” more like a freaking pilgrimage!”. Ok, ok, a pilgrimage so… I like to sleep with the window open, no matter what the season, how cold or windy the weather is, I listen to the sound – or rather the consequences- of our blue home rotating… I woke up and all was calm, the sky was blue and I found myself inextricably drawn outside, I wanted to feel it, be a part of it… I put my walking shoes on, and like “Travis” in “Paris, Texas”, I started to walk…

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Loin of Lamb with Red wine sauce and Sloe jelly

Choice 22

It goes to show, a simple Sunday dinner can become personal… Oh well. Here is the step by step of this tasty recipe, I didn’t plan it, it just happened… It all started at the market, on Saturday morning, when I stumbled upon a fine looking butternut squash…

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Dominical Recall

I am in two minds about Sundays; in one hand, I love the ascension of the day until about 1pm, but then I dread that long afternoon, where I only seem to cheer up after 6pm. I think this mild trauma might have come from my younger years. “Ha! What doesn’t?” says you… What doesn’t is right. I have tried a few things to keep my mind from spiralling out of control right into the siphon of dark boredom and empty space where time enters a different dimension, at least for the next five hours or so.

Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash

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Butter Beans Burger

Butter Beans burger with bue cheese sauce
Butter Beans burger with bue cheese sauce

When I was 12, my grandmother sent me a birthday card saying that I had finally reached the age of wisdom and reason… Yeah, about that, sorry to break it to you Gran, but I think it took a couple of decades before I got the message. Or did I? Immature with knowledge and experience it is then!

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