Artichoke Crostini


On these cold and dreary January days, I dream of Summer and sunshine.  While I can’t have this yet, I can still remind myself of warmer days to come with some tangy tomatoes.  They instantly transport me back to that little bar in Cordoba that served a simple but delicious tomato salad when we were having drinks and enjoying a warm Spanish evening, watching the world go by.

So how best to make use of some tomatoes to get some Summer flavours going, than to make some Artichoke Crostini.  Regardless of being a light lunch, or impressive finger food for your next party, you can’t go wrong with this simple and delicious recipe.

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Homemade Pizza


It’s Saturday Night and I’m home alone.  What’s a guy to do?  Given the glutton that I am, I’m making pizza.

Yes, Pizza. It can be had incredibly cheaply from my local take away, and it lines the freezer aisle at my local supermarket, so you might wonder why you would bother making your own.  That’s a question that’s easily answered by making your own, to your own liking, with your own toppings.  The perfect custom job.

So I’ll share with you my recipe for pizza dough…

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Cahermurphy Loop Walk


View over Lough Graney

View over Lough Graney

Time to head for the hills again and this time tackle the Cahermurphy Loop Walk. This takes you from the sandy shores of Lough Graney via the river banks of the Bleach River through East Clare forest and farmland via forest tracks and minor roads.

Distance is 9km and will take you about 2 hours to complete. The highest point on the loop is near Corlea Beg and has some steep inclines and declines before and after, as you come through the village of Flagmount and back to the trail head.

Parking is available at the trail head as well as a small picnic area, though as the weather on our visit was drizzling, we didn’t hang around.

Links

Carran Loop Walk


Carran Loop Walk Waymarker

Carran Loop Walk Waymarker

Having lived the good life for the Holidays it seemed only necessary to take a walk, if nothing else to assuage my guilt for my recent overindulgence. Ted (my trusty Labrador) and I headed for the Clare hills, and to the Carran Loop Walk.

Parking is available at Cassidy’s Pub in Carran village, and this is where the trail starts and finishes.  There are two loops available, a short 4k and a longer 9k loop, each taking you though the Burren’s somewhat lunar landscape of exposed limestone slab, and past historic churches and holy wells.  The terrain is undulating, but well way marked.

Though both links below estimate walking time at 3-4 hours, I found it easy to cover the ground in 2.

Further Information

Tea Brack


Tea Brack

Tea Brack

After making liqueurs I was presented the puzzle of what to do with the left-over fruit.  After sitting in alcohol for 90 days the fruit had resembled dried fruit, so I hatched a plan to try a dried fruit recipe. The results exceeded expectations, with a really moist loaf.

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Damson Liqueurs


Damson Liqueurs

Damson Liqueurs

Making your own liqueurs can be quite easy and they make great Christmas gifts for friends and family.  Seeing as I had a large crop of damsons (wild plums) last September, I thought I’d try my hand at Damson Gin and Damson Brandy.

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Blueberry Clafoutis


Blueberry Clafoutis

While I enjoy cooking, it’s fair to say that baking is a different art form and one I sometimes struggle with.  My wife can knock out cakes and pastries with great confidence, while I tend to be over ambitious, cut corners and end up making a mess (most of the time).

That said when I hosted a recent dinner party, I wanted to put a simple and seasonal pudding on the table.  Since I had blueberries to hand, a Blueberry Clafoutis seemed a good option.

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