This 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.
I 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.
I’ve made these on many occasions, using up left over mashed potatoes. I sometimes put some sliced green onions in mine.
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.
FRENCH FRIED ONION CHICKEN
1 can French Fried Onion Rings
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
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.
I 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.
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.
IRISH SODA BREAD
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.
These 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.
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.
ANGEL FOOD CAKE
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.
ICING FOR ANGEL FOOD CAKE
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.
If 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.
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.
This 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.
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.
LIGHT LEMON-SESAME CHICKEN
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.
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.
This 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.
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!):
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.