With four children it really doesn't matter what the season, as day to day life is always guaranteed to be busy. This summer was no different and even-tough I was kept on my toes I felt that it was much more relaxed than previous ones. It was the first summer in many years that I either didn't have a baby on my hip or was pregnant, so heading out to the garden, even with a flock of helpers was very refreshing. I have also been kept busy with food related projects, lots of writing and photography, so we were all suitable busy for the summer months. On the last week of the summer holidays we got to take in a holiday to Tuscany. Some of you may remember that I won a holiday last year with Ireland AM so we finally got to take this trip. We stayed at a very beautiful campsite -Norcenni Girasole Club - in the heart of Tuscany, which was a real treat as we had never before been on a sun holiday with the children. The boys loved the pools and all the fabulous campsite facilities, but poor Millie found the high temperatures very over whelming. Tucking into ice-creams while dipping their toes in the pool are now just distant memories as the boys are back to school, with my little Fionn just at the very start of his academic adventures.
I hope you have all had an enjoyable summer, even if it was recorded as Ireland's wettest summer in twenty six years!
|The restaurant food at the campsite was actually very tasty.|
|The mini golf on-site was a great hit with the children.|
Here is a recent article I wrote for the Westmeath Independent, which I wanted to share with you.
For the past year one of my young men has wanted to start every afterschool activity that has come his way. From speech & drama to badminton, there is never a note brought home without profuse pleading and stories of how he has always wanted to do whichever particular activity is being advertised. I generally have a rule that unless the children genuinely love their afterschool activities and are in some way benefiting from doing it I don't send them. After all, it costs both money and time for these activities and evenings can be much better spent when not taxiing for hours on end. Last summer this little man got the notion that he would very much like to commence horse riding. We had been to Moate Show and stood for an hour watching horses being groomed and then partake in the show. They looked so magnificent and on seeing a child, similar to his age, jumping very confidently, he decided that this could be his next afterschool endeavour. He is an avid animal lover so I wasn't surprised by this suggestion. We decided to stay local to Moate and try a few lessons at Hall Farm. Never before had we been out there and it really is a beautiful, idyllic spot. A gathering of ducks and hens met us on hopping out of the car, as we parked in front of an orchard full of heavily ladened apple trees. We were instantly impressed, even before seeing the horses. The first few visit brought some early day nerves, but confidence was soon gained and almost a year down the line my little man is still heading out to his lessons, rain or shine and after the last few weeks he is now dreaming of a gold for Ireland. That’s possibly a little ambitious, but never the less he's enjoying himself while getting plenty of exercise.
Myles, who runs Hall Farm, is a true entrepreneur, when not taking care of the horses and giving lessons he's in the kitchen, using local ingredients, to create some amazing dishes for his restaurant at the farm. During one of the lessons recently he shared with me a liver dish recipe, which he makes as a starter at the restaurant. My Dad has had some difficulties with low iron levels recently, so I generally try to include iron rich foods in his diet. He is a great fan of liver, which happens to be very rich in Iron and as I'm ever keen to find new ways of serving it, I decided to try out Myles’s recipe for Liver with Cream & Mustard and it was delicious. It's certainly no great task to bring Tiarnán to his horse riding lessons as myself and the children can wander through the orchard, admire the ducks and I even get the opportunity to do a little chatting about food!
4 lambs’ livers
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Knob of butter
Knob of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
8 baby potatoes, cooked and cut in half
1 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1. Heat a frying pan, add the butter and drizzle in the olive oil. Season the livers with a little salt and pepper, on both sides.
2. Add to the hot pan and fry for 3 minutes on each side.
3. Pour in the cream and let it bubble for a couple of minutes. Turn down the heat and stir in the mustard. Add the cooked, chopped potatoes and heat through for 2 minutes.
Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and vegetable of your choice.