My mother always had that thing for Russia; or rather Russian, the language. As a young student, when she was preparing her exams to become a teacher, she decided to take it on after English. This was a rare move at the time, but the curriculum offered it. She told me one day, that most of her classmates got to visit St Petersburg and Moscow, a one in a lifetime travel, and came back with fantastic tales that she cherished all her life; being from a very humble upbringing, she didn’t make the journey… She sure loved whatever came from Russia, the music, the literature, the language and to be honest, while if I have never been, I can say that there is an amazing charm to this nation. I was more interested in the rock band “Center” or “Центр” with their hit song of the 80’s called Привет тебе (Hello to you). I also liked to read a bit of Dostoyevsky and fell in love with one of François Cavanna’s autobiography called “Les Russkoffs”, friendly French slang for Russians. The guy was one of the main founders of the notorious magazine “Charlie Hebdo”. Yes indeed, she had a certain affection for this country; I remember that anecdote, when Sting released his controversial song “Russians” in 1985; the catchy tune finished each verse by saying: “[…] if the Russians love their children too”, to which my mother replied to herself and for all to hear:” Ppfff… Well of course they love their children…”.
Ok, this is just a short visual one. Ideal for a Sunday roast’ side order, you will need the following:
- 1 celeriac, peeled, washed and chopped
- 1 tsp of mustard (pick one with a kick, Dijon or English)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 10cl of fresh cream
- Salt and pepper
Boil the cubes of celeriac ( ideal size for blending later) with the cloves of garlic ( it will tame them down a bit). From cold, bring to the boil and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Check after that until soft…
This as to be one of the top 5 of comfort food. Here is the way I make my mashed potatoes. Nearly almost always…
That was it. I finally got there, woken up from an uncomfortable sleep. The nasal call screech from the bus ‘speakerphones announced my arrival to the antechamber of the “Big North West”; after reading all the books, attended conferences and Dervish like audiovisual slide shows. My Bus Eireann ride was laboriously one point turning and reversing into its terminus allocated space; A skilled job well done. While the warning lights and the monotonic Morse code like reverse gear of my ride were still on, I took my green and yellow rucksack as well as a couple of unmatched travelling bags from the hold. It was late and pitch black; no amazing landscape I got drawn to a few months back, just the warning orange beacons of a 45 sitter on wheels, and the olfactory welcome of a turf and coal shandy, spewing from chimneys of the neighbouring terraces. I was only three hundred yards from my friends’ home, a safe house, a warm bed and a line in the proverbial sand that was going to be a brand new life. We all have to begin somewhere; Sligo Town was to be my Starting Blocks and I never looked back.
I often make that bread; focaccia like, it works really well with a full Irish or a healthier breakfast like this one. I also serve it when I make a curry or even Couscous, you know, for the sauce. So Hungry “B”’s bread? Here we go.
Here goes the recipe:
This is based on a stew Story
If I was to be asked about Irish Optimism, my left eyebrow would probably rise ½ an inch higher than it would normally sit. While my – normally placid – face would stare at my interlocutor, I would find very hard to swallow the fact that February 2nd is, to some, the beginning of springtime. I have, to my advantage, a strong case to present. Exhibit 1./ A giant poster of the Moon that saw me growing up. Exhibit2./ A light globe that has been at my bedside table for the best part of my youth… Exhibit3/. The fact that there is still a lot of snow on my townland and that the lovely lady from RTE TV Irish weather forecast, warned us that our area could reach a possible- 8c tonight; With a potential risk of snow. Call me weird, but when it comes to Spring, I am more of a March 20th kinda guy.
We’ve all been there, midweek is coming and Sunday’s roast chicken left overs need using. Curry, stir fry? This time I went for quiche, with a bit of sheep’s cheese from the West of Ireland. Not strong but full of wholesomeness. Ok, from scratch, here it goes!
Before being catapulted into adult life, we were taught a couple of life saving skills. After lunch, wait at least two hours before you go swimming in the sea, never EVER drink white after red, it takes ten minutes to get a hardboiled egg from the boiling point, spaghettis are cooked when they stick to the wall, how to make a vinaigrette, and, what was going to separate the men from the boys, the sheep from the goats; how to make your own mayonnaise. In a region almost surrounded by water, it was only going to be a matter of time before a friend or a family member would ask nonchalantly while preparing the crab claws and meat: “You do the mayonnaise, yeah?” You knew then that the last task of your right of passage had come before you.
As long as I can remember, there was a chipper, Citroën van, parked on the main harbour. We used to call in, as a family, for a drive and a small “barquette” of chips, strolling along the quiet sleepy harbour. My mother, like a lot of other vagabonds, bohemian chip buffs, asked for a dollop of mustard; so was the way most of the crepuscular dreamers enjoyed them.