Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Irish Food with Recipes

When you think of Irish food the first thing that comes to mind is potatoes. Certainly the history of Ireland has one of its most tragic times during the Great Famine of 1845 to 1850 that saw the death of millions and millions more emigrating many to the United States. Irelands history is one of extreme poverty while landlords became rich and ate well.

Traditional Irish cooking is of the meat and potatoes variety. Cattle, sheep and pigs were all used for meat. Fishing provides a good portion of the Irish diet. Grains were mainly grown for cash crops. Green vegetables like cabbage and kale are frequently part of the Irish diet. While many continue to think of Irish cooking as bland there are now chefs that are showing a new side of Irish cooking to the world.

Irish stew is traditionally little more then mutton or lamb, potatoes, carrots and water. Potatoes are often paired with cabbage, kale or green onions. There are many recipes that use Guinness. Irish like to fry their meats and sausages and go for a hearty breakfast.

I am making an Irish meal for my brother tonight.  Here are some of recipes that go well with an Irish dinner.

Corned Beef with Orange-Honey Glaze

Serving Size: 6

Amount     Measure             Ingredient — Preparation Method

——–    ————       ——————————–

3           pounds                corned beef brisket — lean

½          cup                     honey

¼          cup                     orange juice

4           tablespoons          Dijon mustard

¼          teaspoon              ground cloves

2           whole                  bay leaves

1           teaspoon             peppercorns

1           medium               onion

30         whole                  cloves

1           teaspoon              mustard seed

Stud the onion with cloves. In a large pot place corned beef brisket, onion, bay leaves, mustard seeds and peppercorns. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook around 2½ hours or until tender

Heat oven to 350°F.

In a bowl combine honey, Dijon mustard, orange juice and ground cloves.

Put meat in an oven proof dish and spread with honey mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until glaze is just brown and crisp. Halfway through brush meat with glaze.

Irish American Shepherd’s Pie

Serving Size: 8

Amount     Measure     Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

1¼      pounds     ground beef, extra lean

1     tablespoon     olive oil

3     ounces     carrots — diced

8     ounces     mushrooms — sliced

1     cup     celery — diced

1     cup     frozen green peas

1     cup     frozen corn

1     small     onion — diced

2     cloves     garlic — minced

1     tablespoon     Dijon mustard

1     tablespoon     Worcestershire sauce

¼     cup     red wine or beef broth

½     teaspoon     seasoned salt

¼     teaspoon     seasoned pepper

½     teaspoon     allspice

1     tablespoon     cornstarch

1½     pounds     potatoes — peeled and cubed

½     cup     low-fat sour cream

1     cup     low sodium cheddar cheese — shredded

½     teaspoon     salt

¼     teaspoon     white pepper

Add potatoes to boiling water. Cook 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.  In a separate pan cook carrots in boiling water. Drain.

Mash potatoes with sour cream, cheddar cheese, salt and white pepper.

Add olive oil to large frying pan and heat. Cook beef, onions, mushrooms and garlic until no pink remains in beef and vegetables are softened.

Add carrots, peas, celery and corn. Cook until vegetables are softened.

Mix cornstarch and wine. Add to beef and vegetables. Add Dijon mustard, seasoned salt, seasoned pepper and allspice. Mix well and cooked until gravy has thickened.

Put meat and vegetable mixture in a 2 quart casserole. Cover with mashed potatoes.

Bake uncovered at 325°F for 35 to 40 minutes.

Vegetarian Irish American Shepherd’s Pie

Serving Size: 8    

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

1¼ pounds vegetarian burger mix — Morning Star Crumbles

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 ounces baby carrots — diced

8 ounces mushrooms — sliced

1 cup celery — diced

1 cup frozen green peas

1 cup frozen corn

1 small onion — diced

2 cloves garlic — minced

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon A-1® Steak Sauce

¼ cup red wine

½ teaspoon seasoned salt

¼ teaspoon seasoned pepper

½ teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1½ pounds potatoes — peeled and cubed

½ cup low-fat sour cream

1 cup low sodium cheddar cheese — shredded

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper

Add potatoes to boiling water. Cook 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.  In a separate pan cook carrots in boiling water. Drain.

Mash potatoes with sour cream, cheddar cheese, salt and white pepper.

Add olive oil to large frying pan and heat. Cook crumbles, onions, mushrooms and garlic until no pink remains in beef and vegetables are softened.

Add carrots, peas, celery and corn. Cook until vegetables are softened.

Mix cornstarch and wine. Add to crumbles and vegetables. Add dijon mustard, A-1 Sauce, seasoned salt, seasoned pepper and allspice. Mix well and cooked until gravy has thickened.

Put crumble and vegetable mixture in a 2 quart casserole. Cover with mashed potatoes.

Bake uncovered at 325°F for 35 to 40 minutes.

Sour Cream Potatoes

Serving Size: 6

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

1½ pounds potatoes — golden, cubed

1 medium shallot — minced

1 cup sour cream, light

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon butter

Put potatoes in boiling water to cover. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Melt butter in small saucepan. Add minced shallots and cook until tender. Add sour cream, salt and pepper. Mix until heated through but not boiling.

Toss potatoes with sour cream sauce.

Sweet Onions and Potatoes

Serving Size: 6    

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon freeze-dried chives

1 medium Vidalia onion — sliced

4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes — sliced

½ cup water

Melt butter in large frying pan. Layer onions and potatoes and sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil and chives.  

Pour water over onions and potatoes. Cover and cook on medium for 30 minutes.

Irish Champ

Serving Size: 4    

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

8 large russet potatoes — peeled and cubed

8 whole green onions — finely chopped

⅔ cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper

¼ cup butter

Place potatoes in boiling water and cook 18 to 20 minutes or until tender.

Heat milk and butter until warm and butter melts. Add green onions.

Drain potatoes and mash.

Add milk and onion mixture with salt and pepper and mix until combined.

Irish Soda Bread

Serving Size: 8    

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

2 whole eggs

3 tablespoons buttermilk, dried

¾ cup water

⅓ cup golden raisins

Heat oven to 375°F.

Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl.

Cut in butter until crumbly.

Combine 1 egg and water and stir into dry mixture just until moistened.

Fold in raisins.

Knead on floured surface for abut a minute.

Shape into a round loaf and place on greased cookie sheet.

With sharp knife or razor blade cut a ¼ inch cross on top of loaf.

Beat remaining egg and brush over bread.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: You can substitute ¾ cup of buttermilk for the water and buttermilk powder.

Guinness Cake

Serving Size: 8    

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

1 cup butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

1¼ cups Guinness

1½ cups raisins

1½ cups golden raisins

1 cup candied fruit

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon baking soda

3 whole eggs — beaten

Heat oven to 325°F.

Grease and line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

Place butter, sugar and Guinness in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil stirring constantly until the sugar and butter have melted. Mix in the raisins and dried fruit and bring mixture back up to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool completely.

Sift the flour, spices and baking soda into a large bowl.

Stir in the cooled fruit mixture and beaten eggs.

Put into prepared pan and bake for 2 hours.

Cool in pan before removing cake.

Michele’s Irish Scones

Serving Size: 8    

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

2 cups all-purpose flour — sifted

1 tablespoon baking powder — sifted

2 teaspoons light brown sugar — sifted

¼ teaspoon salt — sifted

3 tablespoons Kerrygold Irish Butter — at room temperature

¾ cup heavy cream

½ cup golden raisins

Heat oven to 350°F.

Sift dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl.

Add butter and work in with hands until the consistency of fine sand.

Add cream and raisins and work just into dough comes together.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Pat into a circle one inch thick and cut into eight wedges.

Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes.

NOTES : If you can find Irish butter use it. If you can’t use unsalted butter and increase the salt to one teaspoon.

You can also bake on a lightly greased baking sheet if you don’t have parchment paper.

Potato Scones

Makes 12 farls

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

1 pound boiled — mashed potatoes

3 ounces flour

3 tablespoons melted butter or bacon fat

½ teaspoon salt

Mash potatoes well, add melted fat and salt. Add as much flour as potatoes will take without becoming too dry.* Turn out onto a floured board, roll until ¼ inch in thickness. Cut into circles, then into farls (quarters). Prick all over with a fork. Cook on a griddle or heavy pan dusted with a little flour. When they brown with small darker spots appearing, they are cooked.

They can be refrigerated, wrapped in grease-proof paper like crepes. They can be eaten immediately, hot, with butter, honey or syrup. They are delicious reheated in bacon fat until crisp with bacon and eggs.

* Flour amount varies with potato used; the floury kind needs less than others.

Notes : This treat is eaten for breakfast from the Shetland Islands to the North of Ireland and is simple yet tasty. It is sometimes called Potato Farls or Potato Farrs (quarters).

Barm Brack (Traditional Irish Bread)

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

2½ cup mixed dry fruit-currants, dark and golden raisins.

1 cup boiling black tea

1 egg

1 teaspoon mixed spice (see note*)

4 teaspoon marmalade

1 cup (heaping) superfine sugar

2½ cups self rising flour

Place dried fruit in a bowl, cover with the hot tea and let soak overnight. The next day, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Preheat oven to 375° F. Pour batten into greased 7 inch square pan and bake in the center of oven for 1½ hours. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Slice and serve buttered with tea.

Note* (Mixed spices: equal parts of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice, and mace.

1. In Northern Ireland and in the Republic, Brack is the Celtic word for salt and is used to mean “bread”. Barm brack is leavened bread, the word Barm meaning yeast.

2. The term “barmbrack” for an Irish fruit loaf or cake does not derive from barm or leaven. It is a corruption of the Irish word “aran breac” (Speckled Bread).

Irish Whiskey Cake

Servings: 8

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–


8 ounces raisins

grated rind of 1 lemon

⅓ cup whiskey

6 ounces softened butter

3 eggs

6 ounces soft brown sugar

6 ounces plain flour

1 pinch salt

1 pinch ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking powder


juice of 1 lemon

8 ounces confectioners’ sugar

warm water as needed

crystallized lemon slices, as garnish, if desired

Put the raisins and grated lemon rind into a bowl with the whiskey, and leave overnight to soak.

Grease a 7 inch cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment; preheat oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Separate the eggs and sift the flour, salt, cloves and baking powder into a bowl. Beat the yolks into the butter and sugar one by one, including a spoonful of flour and beating well after each addition. Gradually add the whiskey and raisin mixture, alternating with the remaining flour. Do not over beat at this stage. Finally, whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the mixture with a metal spoon. Turn into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 1½ hours, or until well risen and springy to the touch or test with a skewer: when it comes out clean, the cake’s ready. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the icing by mixing the lemon juice with the sieved confectioners’ sugar and just enough water to make a pouring consistency. Put a dinner plate under the cake rack to catch the drips, and pour the icing over the cake a tablespoonful at a time, letting it dribble naturally down the sides. Don’t worry if a lot of it ends up on the plate underneath — just scoop it up and put it on top again. When the icing has set, it can be decorated with crystallized lemon slices if you like.

“Irish Coffee” Cake

Servings: 4

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–


4 ounces butter, at room temperature

4 ounces granulated sugar

2 eggs

4 ounces self raising flour

2 tablespoon coffee essence*

Irish Coffee Syrup

⅓ cup strong black coffee

4 ounces sugar (for coffee syrup)

4 tablespoons Irish whiskey


⅓ cup heavy whipping cream

confectioners’ sugar to taste

1 tablespoon whiskey, or to taste

chopped nuts or grated chocolate

*This is a concentrated, liquid coffee easily found in Ireland, but probably not in the States. I would dissolve 2 tablespoon of a good instant coffee (Taster’s Choice or something similar) in an equivalent amount of water, and use that.

Grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan (preferably a springform cheesecake pan). Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, adding a little flour and beating well after each addition. Stir in the coffee essence, and mix thoroughly. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until springy topped with strawberries.**

**As garnish, if desired. — In saucepan, sprinkle unflavored gelatin over milk. Let stand about 1 minute. Stir over low heat until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add chocolate and continue cooking, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted: stir in vanilla. Remove from heat and stir occasionally, adding Bailey’s about five minutes after removal from heat. When mixture forms mounds when dropped from spoon, fold in whipped topping. Turn into crust. Garnish with more whipped topping (or real whipped cream, later, by preference) and strawberries (if desired). Chill at least 4 hours before serving.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake

Recipe By: SOAR

Serving Size: 12

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–


1½ packages graham crackers — crushed

6 tablespoons butter — melted

⅓ cup sugar


24 ounces cream cheese

5 jumbo eggs — separated

1½ cups sugar

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

3 tablespoons cocoa

½ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream

1 pint whipping cream

For crust mix graham crackers, butter and sugar together. Pat into the bottom of a springform pan. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.

Soften the cream cheese in microwave. Soften gelatin in small saucepan with ¾ cup water.

Stir egg yolks into 1 cup sugar. Add to gelatin mixture and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles. Cool. Beat cheese in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add cocoa and beat again. Add Bailey’s and beat some more. Slowly add gelatin mixture an blend well. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining ½ cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into cheese mixture. Whip cream and fold into cheese mixture. Pour into crust and refrigerated several hours or overnight.

Sticky Toffee Pudding (Irish Style)

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

unsalted butter for baking dish

1 cup and 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ cup pitted dates (Medjool would be fine)

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1¼ cups boiling water

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

4 tablespoons heavy cream

whipped cream for topping or ice cream

Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8×6 inch baking dish or 8 inch round cake tin. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper or into a bowl; set aside.

Chop the dates fine; toss with 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl. Beat 4 tablespoons of butter and ¾ cup sugar in large bowl until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg along with a little of the flour mixture; beat for 1 minute. Beat in remaining flour mixture. Add dates, baking soda and vanilla to the 1¼ cups boiling water, stirring to combine; add to batter, beating until well blended. Pour batter into a greased and floured baking dish; bake until set and well browned on top, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven to wire rack.

Heat broiler. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons butter, the brown sugar and the 2 tablespoons heavy cream in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat to simmering; simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; pour topping over pudding. Place pudding in broiler, about 4 inches from source of heat; broil until top is bubbly, about one minute. Serve warm. You can use enough sauce to cover the pudding for bubbling” and reserve the rest for pouring! These can also be baked in individual small pudding tins for about 20 minutes. Everyone gets their very own little toffee pudding.

Dublin Coddle

Yields 4 servings

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

8 ounces thick bacon slices

1 pound pork sausages

1½ pounds potatoes

1 pound onions

salt and pepper

Place the bacon and the sausages in a saucepan. Cover with boiling water. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain off the liquid into a bowl and reserve.

Peel and slice the potatoes and onions, and place them, with the meat, in a heavy saucepan or greased casserole dish. Cover with the reserved stock, season with salt and pepper before putting on the lid. Simmer on top of the stove in a moderate oven, 350°F, for about one hour.

Spiced Beef

Serves: 8

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–


6 pounds beef brisket

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole cloves

¼ teaspoon mace

1 teaspoon peppercorns

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon allspice

2 tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed

⅓ cup coarse salt


1 celery stalk, coarse chopped

1 medium onion, quartered

2 medium carrots, sliced

3 whole cloves

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground allspice

½ pint stout

Blend the spicing ingredients together in a small bowl, making sure to break up the bay leaves and garlic. Stand the beef brisket in a large dish, and rub the spice mixture all over the meat. Wrap the beef, and refrigerate for one week. Turn the brisket each day, rubbing the spice mixture at the bottom of the brisket back up to the top.

At the end of the week, rinse the beef brisket with water and tie it for roasting. Place the celery, onion, and carrots on the bottom of a pot large enough to accommodate the brisket. Add the whole cloves, ground cloves, and allspice to the vegetables. To cook the brisket, place the beef on top of the bed of vegetables and add enough water to the pot to cover the brisket. Bring the kettle to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4 to 5 hours, or until the brisket is cooked through and tender. Add the half pint of stout to the kettle during the last hour of cooking. Place the brisket on a meat platter and carve to serve warm.

Irish Lamb Stew

Serves: 4

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

2 small onions, cut into rings

3 medium carrots, diced

2 turnips, diced

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 small cabbage, cut into pieces

2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 3 inch pieces

salt and pepper, to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 small potatoes, diced

2 teaspoons marjoram

Put lamb into large stock pot and cover with water. Season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add the vegetables, garlic and potatoes and simmer another 25 to 30 minutes covered. Season with marjoram and additional salt and pepper and serve.

Irish Rover’s Unicorn Pub Shepherd’s Pie

Recipe By: Vincent Lee of the Irish Rover’s Unicorn Pub

Serving Size: 6

The Irish Rovers, of “Puff the Magic Dragon” and “The Unicorn” fame, own a very successful “Old Country Pub” in Calgary, Alberta. Their Shepherd’s Pie is justly famous. Vincent Lee, kitchen manager at the Unicorn says the recipe came directly from Ireland via the Irish Rovers more than 10 years ago.

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

2 pounds ground beef, lean

1 cup onion — diced

1 cup carrots — diced

1 cup celery — diced

1½ cups corn — fresh or frozen

2 cloves garlic — minced

salt — to taste

pepper — to taste

½ teaspoon nutmeg

⅞ cup beef broth

2 tablespoons butter — mixed with 2 tablespoons flour

2 pounds potatoes — cooked and mashed


Cook ground beef in frying pan until brown. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Lower heat and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add beef broth, bring to a boil. Stir in enough of the butter/flour roux to make a thick gravy to bind the filling. Pour into large shallow baking pan and cool. The filling should be about 1½ inches deep.

Cover the meat mixture in the pan with the corn and then top with the hot mashed potatoes. Smooth potatoes evenly, brush surface with butter. Bake at 325°F for 35 to 40 minutes.

Dublin Lawyer (Irish)

Yield: 2 servings

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

2½ pounds fresh lobster

3 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons Irish whiskey

⅝ cup cream

salt and pepper

The lobster should be cut in two down the center. Remove all the meat from the lobster, including the claws: retain the shell for serving. Cut the meat into chunks. Heat the butter until foaming and quickly sauté the lobster chunks in it, until just cooked but not colored. Warm the whiskey slightly, then pour it over the lobster and set fire to it. Add the cream, mix with the pan juices, and taste for seasoning. Put back into the half shells and serve hot.

Beef Braised in Guinness

Makes 4 servings.

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

1½ pounds chuck or round roast

2 medium onions

½ pound carrots

2 tablespoons all purpose flour, heaping

salt and pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons cooking oil

½ teaspoon fresh basil, minced

⅔ cup Guinness

1 teaspoon honey

⅔ cup stock or water

Preheat oven to 325°F. The roast should be about 1 inch thick and cut into 12 pieces. Peel the onions and chop them fairly small. Peel the carrots and slice them into pieces about the size of your little finger. Place the flour in a flat dish and mix in a teaspoon of salt and a sprinkling of pepper. Heat the oil in the pan, add onions and cook until soft. Transfer then with a slotted spoon to a large, shallow, greased, oven proof dish. Dip the pieces of meat in the seasoned flour and brown them in the fat in the pan. Remove these as they are cooked and place in the dish on top of the onions, in a single layer. Arrange the carrots around them. If necessary, add a little more oil to the pan and stir in the remainder of the seasoned flour. Cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly, then add the basil and the Guinness. Allow to boil for a minute or two and then add the honey and the stock. Return to a boil and pour over the meat. Cover and cook in a 325°F oven for 1½ hours.

Potato Soup (Anrith pra’tai’)

Serving Size: 6

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

2 pounds potatoes — peeled and diced

6⅛ tablespoons butter

5 cups water

2 large onions — diced

3 tablespoons mixed herbs — i.e. parsley, thyme, and sage

2 tablespoons chives or green onions chopped

salt — to taste

pepper — to taste

1¼ cups milk

2 tablespoons cream

Melt butter in a pan and slowly simmer the potatoes and onions. Do not brown. Add the water and herbs, salt, and pepper and continue on a low heat until the vegetables are tender, about ½ hour. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. To make it really creamy and smooth put through a blender before adding the cream and chives. If you do not blend the soup which is the traditional method, then serve hot with the cream and chives garnishing the soup.

Saint Patrick’s Soup

Serves: 4

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

4 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup diced raw potatoes

½ cup sliced onions

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 pound spinach

4 cups chicken stock

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ cup Irish oatmeal

salt and pepper to season

whipped cream

Melt the butter over a low heat in a skillet or pan. Add diced potatoes, mushrooms and sliced onions and fry until soft.

Wash spinach. Remove stalks and tough stems and chop finely.

Transfer carrots and onions, mushrooms and spinach to a saucepan and add the stock, salt and pepper (to taste), cloves and diced potatoes. Stir in a ½ cup of Irish oatmeal and simmer for 20 minutes.

Puree in blender or food processor.

Serve into open soup dishes with a teaspoon of whipped cream floating in center.


Yields 6 servings

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

1¼ pounds kale, washed, with stems removed (can also use cabbage)

2 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1¼ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

1 cup cleaned and chopped leeks (white part only)

1 cup milk

1 pinch ground mace

salt and pepper

½ cup butter, melted

In a large pot, simmer the kale along with oil and 2 cups water for 10 minutes. Drain kale and let cool a bit before chopping it finely, then set aside and cover to keep it warm.

In a small pot, bring potatoes and water to a boil and simmer until tender.

In another small pot, simmer leeks in milk for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and cover to keep warm.

Drain the potatoes and puree them into the large pot. Add leeks with the milk, and cooked kale. Beat with a spoon or whisk until fluffy, then season with mace, salt and pepper. Top with melted butter and garnish with parsley if desired.

Beacan Bruithe (Baked Mushrooms)

Serving Size: 4

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

16 large field mushrooms

4 ounces chopped onions

4 ounces whole wheat breadcrumbs

4 ounces sausage meat

1 teaspoon chopped sage

salt and pepper

Wash and peel mushrooms. Remove stalks and discard. Brush mushrooms with melted butter. Fry onions in remaining butter. When tender, mix onion and butter with breadcrumbs, sausage meat, herbs and seasonings. Divide among the mushrooms. Place mushrooms in a shallow ovenproof dish, pour 4 tablespoons of water into the bottom of the dish, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a moderate oven.

Boxty (Potato Griddle Cakes)

Serving Size: 8

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

½ pound raw potato

½ pound mashed potato

½ pound plain flour


1 each egg

salt and pepper

Grate raw potatoes and mix with the cooked mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper and flour. Beat egg and add to mixture with just enough milk to make a batter that will drop from a spoon. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a hot griddle or frying pan. Cook over a moderate heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.  

And Now It Begins (A Coming Out Diary)

My brother Reid, the man I am caregiver for, told me the other day that he was gay. I have known it for a long, long time. He tried coming out once before but experienced so much pressure from the family that he decided he was mistaken. It was especially hard for the youngest brother to accept. They were very close. Jerry is a hard core right wing born again Christian. He and I have clashed many, many times over the years. We may be clashing again over this.

Reid sent a message to Jerry this morning telling him. He tried to call but couldn’t get a clear connection. He hasn’t heard one word back. I can tell he is hurting and trying to hide it. That in turns hurts me.

Reid and I don’t always see eye to eye and we were estranged for many years. It took the sudden death of our brother Mike to bring us back together. Mike’s death reconnected Jerry and I but not as closely as it did Reid and I.

In the late 90s I was in a marriage from hell. My therapist told me to get out of the abusive marriage but be careful because my husband might try to kill me if I left him. Having experienced his driving when he was mad at me I can well believe that my life was in danger. I know California law required a therapist to warn someone if they feel that person is in danger from someone they are counseling.

A gay couple moved me across the country into their home until I could get on my feet. If I had stayed in California I would be forever looking over my shoulder. I am alive because of them.

That move to the Midwest gave me the opportunity to be caregiver to my Mom for six years. I tried to help my brother Mike and moved down to North Carolina to be near his daughter and grandchildren. He was supposed to join me. Instead the demons of Vietnam finally destroyed him. I cleaned up his financial mess and cleaned and sold my parent’s house.

I moved Reid out here when I realized how sick he had become. I was shocked when I saw him for the first time in years. He looks 20 years older than me and I’m seven and a half years older than he is. He is in a wheelchair now. We are constantly seeing doctors and therapists and nurses trying desperately to get him some more control over his wasted body. He was in the hospital for a week after collapsing. He is in constant pain. If he is rejected by family and friends he will be in even more pain.

I can cope with giving him sponge baths, cleaning him after he uses the portable commode, cleaning out urinals, picking him up literally when he falls, feeding him, checking his blood sugars, helping him take his insulin, getting him in and out of the car, all that is doable. What is going to be rough is if he is cut off by someone he loves.

I have hugged him and told him I love him and I think he is very brave. I am here to be his caregiver because two gay men rescued me when my life was in danger. I owe it to them to help others and especially those in the LGBT community who have so much hate thrown at them.

Reid says he thinks Jerry is going to blame this all on me. Let him. I’m a caregiver. I can handle anything.


The Train Trip

A lot of you asked if I would do a diary about the train trip my brother and I took from California to North Carolina. It was an adventure all right. We had to detour around up through Wyoming because of all the flooding in Colorado. Then we got stuck for five hours when an 18 inch section of the train broke beneath the train. We had to wait until it was fixed and we were in the middle of nowhere. All in all we were ten hours late making Chicago and missed connections. They put us up in a hotel and we travelled on the next day.

One of the things I did was bring my Fl’obble Captain Jack (C.J.) along. I decided to use the trip as an excuse to bring the news to people about the great work of RACPA-UK who makes L’arpies and Fl’obbles. They are fighting hard against child peornography and abuse. I did a web page dedicated to the trip from C.J.’s point of view and to promote their good work.

So grab a seat and enjoy C.J.’s Great Adventure.…

Caregiver’s Diary: Care Giving Redux

I was my Mom’s caregiver for six years before she died. It was one of the most rewarding and the most difficult jobs I have ever done. She was a very stubborn woman and trying to get her to do what she should was almost impossible. She was angry that her body was wearing out and she didn’t have the strength to do everything she could do when she was younger. Her heart was in terrible shape and she lived longer than anyone thought she would. She had Congestive Heart Failure. Eventually she died in her own bed in her own home. Her cat Pixie stayed with the body for twelve hours until my brother came home from work and found her.

I tried to care for my older brother but this time I was not successful. The horror of Vietnam finally destroyed him. I came down to North Carolina to help his only child and three grandchildren. He was supposed to follow me down but turned to drink instead. You can’t be a caregiver to someone in denial and from a long distance away. I cleaned up his messes and sold the parent’s house. The money enabled one of my younger brothers to move to North Carolina.

It is déjà vu time as I take up the mantle of caregiver one more time. Reid is 5’6″ and 108 pounds. He suffers from severe diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis. He is in constant pain. He didn’t take care of himself and now we cannot get him well. I can only care for him the best I can.

This caregiving job is going to be physically much tougher than taking care of Mom. Mom remained mobile until the end of her life. Reid cannot get around without a walker and we are looking into a portable wheelchair for him. He is at my apartment for the time being until I can get his set up. He will literally be 80 steps away from me. He needs some independence but he will also need a great deal of care.

Because my place is crowded with furniture he has trouble getting to the bathroom. After having to clean up after him and do loads of washing we got him a urinal. I keep it emptied. He has trouble getting up and down from the toilet seat and I have had to clean him up after bowel movements. The hard part is trying to convince him he doesn’t need to be embarrassed. As I remind him I was the big sister and helped to change his diapers. I’m not seeing anything I haven’t seen before.

I am trying to get him to stop eating junk food and eat healthy. Fortunately he loves my cooking and getting healthy meals down isn’t a problem. The problem is making sure he drinks enough fluids to keep from being dehydrated. The problem is getting him to remember to check his blood sugar level and take his insulin. The problem is trying to keep a cheerful look on my face when he is suffering so much pain.

This is going to be a difficult caregiving assignment. I moved him out here so I can look after him. He will deteriorate with the M.S. I am battling a crooked moving company and still need to see what all was destroyed in the move. I have to set up a disabled apartment for him. The bathroom needs to have a shower chair and I need to install a wand showerhead for him. I need to make sure the furniture is set up in a way that he can get around in a wheel chair.

The problem is going to be trying to do this with my own health not being that good. I have severe arthritis and C.O.P.D. I still have to stay strong enough to get him up off the ground when he falls. It isn’t easy.

Reid is seven years younger than me and looks 20 years older. With Mom I knew she was getting up there in years and I wouldn’t have her for a long time. Reid is a younger brother. This wasn’t supposed to happen to him. Somehow I will have to find the strength both literally and emotionally to help him. I’m all he has to take care of him. Pixie has already gone back into care giving kitty mode. She will check on Reid to make sure he is all right. So it is once more into the breach or care giving redux. I will do this one more time because I’m the big sister and I owe it to him.

I’m Home

Just a quick note since it is going on 3:00 AM. Reid and I made it back to North Carolina. I have him tucked in bed. It is going to be a challenge to care for him. He is in worse shape than I knew. He is entirely dependent on the walker to move around. His M.S. was acting up for the last couple of days and I’ve had to help him stand. I’m strong but still that is a lot of weight to try and lift. I’ll write up the trip and my observations on caregiving for someone who is as seriously disabled as he is later. Right now I’m crashing along with Pixie who has been pining for me and is so glad Mommy is home.

Here and Back Again

In spite of what my little brothers claim I am taller than a Hobbit. However like Bilbo Baggins I am going on an adventure. I am leaving tomorrow for San Francisco. I will be in California for a week and than head back by train to North Carolina. I will spend at least one day in San Francisco a city I love and miss.

As many of you know we lost my oldest brother last year. I had the horrifying duty of burying him, cleaning up his financial mess, and cleaning and putting our parent’s home up for sale. With the sale of the house one of my younger brothers has decided to move out here to North Carolina to be close to me. Reid has severe diabetes and M.S. I want him closer so I can keep an eye on him. I ended up doing all of the work to get movers etc. to get him out here. He does not have Internet access and I unfortunately am more than familiar with moving.

So I am taking off on my adventure tomorrow and hopefully I won’t encounter any trolls or dragons. Now if Vigo Morthensen’s Aragon wants to show up that is a different story. He is more than welcome.

I should be able to log on for Sunday All Day Brunch over at Street Prophets. I have diaries up for next week but probably won’t have Internet access on the train for next Thursday or the following Sunday.

I have an early flight tomorrow and will be in San Francisco early afternoon. A BART ride will take me to Concord where I’ll rent a car and go to my hotel. I’m not sure what day I’ll be in San Francisco but if anyone wants to meet up let me know. I’ll take BART into the city.

I’m looking forward to seeing my favorite city again and getting this hopefully last major project done of getting my brother moved. After that the only thing I want to look forward to is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I want no more crises. I want to spend the rest of my life geeking out.  

Move It

Thanks to everybody for their great advice on moving my brother. After talking everything over he has decided not to bring the Pathfinder. He is going to sign it over to the youngest brother so he can donate it to a worthy cause. He has also decided to keep his furniture. He will be doing all his own packing.

What I am looking for now is feedback from people who have made long moves with professional movers. We are going from Concord in the San Francisco Bay Area to Winston Salem in North Carolina.

Any suggestions of movers either to try or to avoid. Any moving disasters that can be averted? Problems? Helpful hints?

Reid is disabled with severe diabetes and the onset of MS so I need this to be as stress free as possible.


Help with Moving

We are going to be moving one of my little brothers from Concord, California out here to Winston Salem, North Carolina. He is disabled and driving out would be much too rough on him. We are planning on coming out by train. I wonder if anyone can help answer some questions for me?

1. He has a 1990 Nissan Pathfinder that we want to ship out. Have you ever shipped a car? Can you recommend someone reliable and one that won’t charge an arm and a leg? Can he ship some boxes with the car or do boxes have to go separate?

2. He isn’t bringing furniture. He will just have personal things like clothes, books, models, etc. Would it be cheaper to ship those separately or find someone that would let him pack what he can in the car and the rest packed next to the car?

3. He has diabetes and MS and uses a walker. Would the train be the easiest way for him to go? I’m planning on going out there and making the trip with him.

Any experience and advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

Good News

I just got a message from the Heart Center. I was asleep and couldn’t get to the phone in time but according to the message the results today were normal. I am so relieved. Thank you all for your good wishes. They helped.

Mom She’s a Cat

(This is a reprint of an earlier diary. Today is my Mom and Pixie’s birthday. It is in honor of Mom that I wrote this.)

Sometimes as a caregiver you have to learn things. Sometimes you have to be the teacher. My Mom was a dog person. She was use to her old dog Ruffles who did the doggy things like coming when called. She had never really had the experience of being a cat owner or to be more accurate being owned by a cat. Then the unexpected happened and she let a little black cat into the house and Pixie took over her life. As a person who owned cats all her adult life I had the task of trying to teach Mom the fine points of cat behavior. One of the most frequently heard sentences during that time was “Mom she’s a cat.”