007This is a postcard photo taken by P. O’Toole of the John Hinde Studios.    That’s the round Martello Tower which is now the James Joyce Museum (he lived there for about four days at one time).  To the right is the famous bathing place, the Forty Foot.  Below is a photo taken from the other side of the Tower and cove.  As you can see, my photo isn’t nearly as good as the one on the postcard even though it was a bright day with some blue sky.


Posted by: marthabernie | March 4, 2015

Buttery Lemon Shortbread With White Chocolate Chunks

Buttery Lemon Shortbread With White Chocolate Chunks.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 4, 2015


002bI went to Ireland the day after Christmas, 1999 and spent a couple of weeks there.  There was actually a large group of us who went for the Millenium, spending New Year’s Eve at Round Wood House near Mountrath, County Laois.  After New Year’s, I took the train one day to Belfast–just for the day.  I had lunch and then took the 4 pm train back to Dublin.   For whatever reason, I did not take a lot of photos while I was there, and I don’t remember why this was so.  Here is one of the main shopping streets.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 4, 2015

PHILLIPSBURG MISSOURI – 1918 – McMenus Cousins

008cBy 1918, the eldest McMenus son, Elmer, had left Missouri and had lived in both Montana and Colorado.  On a trip back to Phillipsburg in 1918, the family gathered and several snapshots were taken.  That is Elmer on the left end holding nephew Virgil Shank.  Additional nephews are from left, Billy McMenus, Press Shank, standing at rear, Warren McMenus, in front of him Leslie McMenus, and Leo McMenus on the right end seated.  NOTE:  Check out the ink bleeding through (upper sky portion of the image).  My mother unknowingly wrote identifying information on the reverse side of the photo with an ink pen.  In all cases, use a photo pen or pencil or the photo may eventually become damaged.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 4, 2015

Traditional Irish Potato Farls …

I’ve made these on many occasions, using up left over mashed potatoes.  I sometimes put some sliced green onions in mine.

Traditional Irish Potato Farls ….

Posted by: marthabernie | March 4, 2015


My grandson Conor turned 16 last October, and for years now, this is his favorite chicken recipe.  It’s a variation of the recipe that is widely published on the label of French’s French Fried Onions.  I have changed it up a little, omitting the egg and substituting low fat or fat free Ranch Dressing.


1 can French Fried Onion Rings

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

salt and pepper

white pepper

garlic powder

Low Fat or Fat Free Ranch Salad Dressing

Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, white pepper and garlic powder on the bottom side of each piece.  Then spoon Ranch dressing and spread across the bottom side of each breast.  Pick each one up and dip into fried onions, pressing down to adhere the onions to bottom side.  Sprinkle more salt, pepepr, white pepper and garlic powder on top side, spread more Ranch dressing on top and then press top side into onions.  Place each piece on a cookie sheet lined with foil.  If you lose some of the onions in moving them to the cookie sheet, sprinkle more onions on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour with a piece of foil loosely spread over the top.  After 30 minutes, remove foil and continue to bake until done, about 15 minutes more.

NOTES:  I sometimes substitute Honey Mustrad Dressing for the Ranch.  Also, there will be lots of toasted onion bits left in the pan which can be used to make onion gravy for mashed potatoes if you choose.


Posted by: marthabernie | March 3, 2015

Donna Hay salted caramel brownies

Donna Hay salted caramel brownies.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 3, 2015

Move Over, Please! County Mayo, Ireland – May, 2005

008aThe car had to come to a stop to wait for the sheep to move out of the road.  More photos below.



Posted by: marthabernie | March 3, 2015

Unknown Lady – Circa 1930’s

008bI have no idea about the identity of the woman in the photo.  This is one that was among the belongings of my mother’s cousin, Ednah Lewis, when she died.  We always thought it was one of Ednah’s daughter’s friends, as the age is about right.  I think that’s a biplane behind her, so between the plane and the coat and shoes, we placed the photo sometime in the late 30’s or eary 40’s.  Probably taken in California.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 3, 2015

IRISH SODA BREAD – American Style

I subscribe to a magazine called King Arthur Flour Baking Sheet.  As a result, they send me their catalog of flours, baking mixes, extracts, etc, and there are always a few recipes included.  The latest catalog has a recipe for “Irish Soda Bread” which is typical of an American variation on the original.  I have never had raisins in soda bread in Ireland, you would have to look hard to find it, I think.  There are raisins in scones and other types of bread, but real Irish soda bread does not contain sugar and it has no raisins.

When I try this recipe, I will use California golden raisins, but I think I will also try it without the dried fruit and no sugar, just to see what happens!  You can get the Irish style wholemeal flour from King Arthur at:   kingarthurflour.com/shop.


2-1/2 cups Irish style wholemeal flour

1-1/4 cups unbleached bread flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup currants or raisins, loosely packed

1/4 cup cold butter, diced

1-1/3 cups buttermilk

1 large egg

Whisk together flours, sugar, baking soda, salt and fruit.  Work in the butter until it’s evenly distributed and no large chunks remain.  Whisk together buttermilk and egg.  Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to combine.  The dough will be stiff; if it’s too crumbly to squeeze together, add another tablespoon or two or buttermilk.

Knead the dough a couple of times, then shape it into a ball.  Flatten the ball slightly, and place the loaf in a lightly greased 8 or 9 inch round cake pan, or pie pan; it won’t spread much so the pan doesn’t have to be large.  Use a sharp knife to cut a 1/2 inch deep cross, extending all the way to the edges, atop the loaf.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, and brush the top with melted butter, if desired.  Transfer to a rack to cool.

PS  You can also buy the Irish Soda Bread Mix at the King Arthur website shop.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 3, 2015

Irish Whiskey Cake

Another “Irish” recipe in keeping with upcoming St. Patrick’s Day:

Irish Whiskey Cake.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 2, 2015

Cheddar and Jalapeño Scones

A savory scone recipe:

Cheddar and Jalapeño Scones.

002These terrace houses were built in the 1830’s and are located in the small little village of Sandycove (Glasthule) in South County Dublin (and just north of the village of Dalkey).  Behind these houses is a long block of mews, which were originally used to house the carriages and horses.  The mews also share connecting walls and most of them have been converted into apartments.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 2, 2015

Atlantic Coast – County Mayo, Ireland – May, 2005

007cClick on image for a larger view.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 2, 2015

Irish Desserts

IN keeping with the Irish, St. Patrick’s Day theme for the next two weeks….

Irish Desserts.

001eThis is my second cousin, Laurel Lee (Blake) McMenus, taken about 1937 or 1938 in Phillipsburg, Missouri.  Blake’s grandfather, William G. McMenus, was my grandmother’s older brother.  Blake looks like he is holding a coin in his left hand.  We were also third cousins on the Massie side of the family as our great grandmothers were sisters.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 2, 2015


I am packing to move house and came across my mother’s and grandmother’s angel food cake pans…round, deep pans with slanted sides and removable bottoms.  Made me think about Millie’s recipe, so here it is again….


I got the following recipe from my mother’s first cousin, Millie Frances McMenus Ikerd a few years before she died.  She told me that she had made literally hundreds of these cakes for her family’s birthday celebrations and church gatherings.


1 cup plus 2 heaping tablespoons cake flour

3/4 cup sugar

Sift together and set aside

12 or 13 egss at room temperature

1-2/3 cups egg whites from the above eggs

1-2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

healthy dash of vanilla

1 cup sugar

Combine egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla

Beat until “real stiff”.

Add the cup of sugar a little at a time, still beating, then fold in flour and sugar mixture in four parts, folding in gently.

Bake in a tube pan for 35 minutes at 350.

Cool upside down.


1 egg white, unbeaten at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

dash of vanilla

1/2 cup boiling water

Beat five ingredients until stiff.  Millie’s note says, “Don’t give up, it takes a while.”

Frost cooled angel food cake.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 2, 2015

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

Another one of my favorite things…

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 1, 2015

Caramel Turtle Bundt Cake

This sounds devine!

Caramel Turtle Bundt Cake.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 1, 2015

The Quays, Westport, County Mayo, Ireland – May 2005

007aIf you look at other photos I have posted of the quays at Westport, you will note that there are other views of this particular part of the quays but always when the tide is in.  This was the only time I have ever seen the tide out so far so that the boat is sitting in mud and there is practically no water here.  This is where the river runs into the  Atlantic Ocean.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 1, 2015

Learning to make Scones

Here is a link about making scones.  I have read that scones were invented in Ireland, but I have also read that they could be Scandinavian or Scottish.  At any rate, scones are very popular in Ireland in the present day, and they are not nearly as sweet as the ones we have in the U.S.

Learning to make Scones.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 1, 2015


001dThis is another one of those photos where we have no idea who is in the image.  It came from my great aunt’s belongings, and I would date it about 1920, but other than that, I haven’t a clue.  I don’t think he is a family member, but again, it’s anybody’s guess.

Posted by: marthabernie | March 1, 2015


Lemon chicken is something I just started making in the last couple of years.  Not sure why it took me so long to add it to my culinary repertoire, but here is a version that is low in fat and easy to make.


4 bonesless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup fat free egg product or one egg

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup Bisquick low fat mix

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil


1/2 cup chicken broth

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

2 medium green onions, sliced (2 tablespoons)

Between pieces of plastic wrap, place each chicken breast smooth side down and gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick.

IN small bowl, beat egg product and 2 tablespoons lemon juice with fork or wire whisk.  In one gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix Bisquick, paprika and sesame seeds.  Dip chicken in egg mixture, then place in bag.  Shake until chicken breasts are well coated.  In 12 inch skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add chicken and cook 6 to 8 minutes, turning once, until chicken is no longer pink in center.

Meanwhile in saucepan, heat all sauce ingredients except onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and bubbly.  Spoon sauce over chicken before serving, sprinkle with onions.


Posted by: marthabernie | March 1, 2015

Chocolate Brown Butter Apricot Cake

Chocolate Brown Butter Apricot Cake.

Posted by: marthabernie | February 28, 2015

The Netherlands: Caramel Apple Waffle Cake

Another way to make apple cake:

The Netherlands: Caramel Apple Waffle Cake.

Posted by: marthabernie | February 28, 2015


007bThis is the Atlantic Ocean along the Mayo coast, taken May, 2005.

Posted by: marthabernie | February 28, 2015


This is a recipe that was given to me about 40 years ago without any measurements, so all I can do is tell you how I make it!  It is really a “comfort food” recipe and easy to make since the oven does all the work, no messy frying!

Wash 5 or 6 chicken parts thoroughly (skin on). I usually use 2 half breasts and the rest legs and thighs.  Sprinkle liberally with salt, black and white pepper, garlic powder and a little paprika (though some people I know use a lot of paprika!).  Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F and then melt half a stick of butter in a glass baking dish large enough to hold the chicken pieces.  Roll the chicken pieces in Bisquick, both sides, and then place on butter in the pan, skin side up.  You can put a little more Bisquick on top of the pieces at this point, if you like.  Bake about one hour until tender and browned on top.  If the breasts are much larger than the other parts, watch the small pieces carefully so they don’t over bake.  Baste once or twice with the butter and drippings in the pan and DO NOT TURN THE CHICKEN!  Once done, I usually turn the oven up to broil and leave th pan in the oven for about 20 seconds just to be sure all the pieces are browned on top.

Remove the chicken from the pan and you will have lots of crispy pieces to make pan gravy, if you like.  I always skim off as much of the butter and fat as possible before adding to the gravy.  Gravy can be served over accompanying mashed potatoes.


001cThis photo was taken in the early to mid – 1920’s, but I do not know where.  There is a series of snapshots taken on an outing where they were outdoors amongst a lot of rocks and rubble (see photo above).  This is my mother’s first cousin, Ednah Lewis.  Ednah married in Stevensville, Montana in 1908.  She married Frank Lewis.  They had one child, Ruthanna Lewis.  They divorced after a few years, and Ednah married at least twice more, first a Mr. Smith, and then a Mr. Schick.  I have the divorce papers from three marriages.  She remained unmarried for more than 40 years after divorcing Mr. Schick, supporting herself as a hairdresser and owning her own salon when she moved to Los Angeles in the 1940’s to be with her mother.  Ednah was a small woman and was always very stylish in her dress.  Aside from being my mother’s first cousin on the McMenus side of the family, Ednah and her siblings were also second or third cousins of my father’s mother on the Forkner side of the family.  So I am double related to Ednah, who passed away in 1968.

Posted by: marthabernie | February 28, 2015

Irish Mythology | Saint Patrick

Just 17 days until St. Patrick’s Day.  Here is a link to some history of St. Patrick, and I will be featuring Irish oriented recipes and other stuff during March (more than usual!):

Irish Mythology | Saint Patrick.

Posted by: marthabernie | February 28, 2015

Golden Glory Cake with Brown Sugar Boiled Frosting

I don’t think I’ve made boiled frosting in decades….something to try again soon:

Golden Glory Cake with Brown Sugar Boiled Frosting.

Posted by: marthabernie | February 27, 2015

Les Chaussons aux Pommes, French Apple Turnovers

A very interesting apple recipe:

Les Chaussons aux Pommes, French Apple Turnovers.

Posted by: marthabernie | February 27, 2015

delicious banana muffins

more banana muffins!

delicious banana muffins.

Posted by: marthabernie | February 27, 2015

1918 KINGSTOWN (Dun Laoghaire), County Dublin – Davy Stephens

001This is a postcard photo of Davy Stephens, a well known newspaper seller in Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) County Dublin, Ireland.  Look at the sailboats in the harbour behind him.

Posted by: marthabernie | February 27, 2015


The nice thing about this salad is that you can mix and match ingedients, depending on what you have on hand.  For example, I have used garbonzo beans instead of kidney beans; replaced the thousand island dressing with red or spicey green salsa (the runny type, not pico de gallo type); and for those who need to be gluten free, use 100% corn chips instead of Doritos.

Chop one onion, 4 tomatoes and one head of lettuce.  Toss with 4 oz grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese and 8 oz of Thousand Island or other salad dressing. Break into small pieces 3/4 bag of Dorito or other chips, any flavor.

Brown one pound ground beef along with one package of taco seasoning, then add one small can of drained and rinsed kidney beans, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, white and black pepper to taste, and simmer ten minutes.  Drain.

Mix the meat and bean mixture with the salad ingredients and toss.  Garnish with sliced avocado and more shredded cheese, if desired.  You can also garnish with sour cream and the last of the bag of Doritos or corn chips.


Posted by: marthabernie | February 27, 2015


001aIt’s too bad that we don’t generally develop an interest in family history until all the elderly relatives are gone.  I was only four years old when my Great Aunt Annie died, my mother was 38.  If she had only asked more questions about the ancestors, I am sure Aunt Annie would have been a fountain of knowledge.  Aunt Annie’s daughter, Ednah Lewis, died in 1968, and even at that point, neither I nor my mother had much of an interest in learning more about the family roots.  A lot of information was lost when Aunt Annie and her daughter died.  What my mother eventually pieced together came from letters and other information she found down in trunks and in drawers.

This is another “unknown” tintype that came out of Aunt Annie’s trunks.  I have estimated the date from the dress the girl is wearing.  Also, I assume it is someone on the Smith/McMenus side of the family as the girl’s round face and nose are so similar to those of my mother and a couple of her sisters.  She might even be a Selvidge or Tucker cousin.  However, unless someone recognizes this woman, we will never know…only that Aunt Annie kept her tintpe image with those of other family members.

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