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Beef in Stout


In preparation for our “Anticipating Ireland” evening, I spent a wonderful, snowy afternoon in the kitchen.  When we entertain, I really appreciate recipes that can be prepared and held.  Beef in Stout fits that bill perfectly. The beef cubes are tossed in flour and sauteed in small quantities so as not to be crowded in the pan.  Once the veggies are added and the stout is poured in, you put on a lid, put it into the oven and simply remove it from the oven to serve.  Brother #1 said  that he could have just sat and lapped up the savoury gravy with the potato buns that I was lucky enough to find at Harvest Bakery the moment they came out of the oven.

Parsnips were peeled and quartered lengthwise and simply required a toss with some oil and honey and they too only required to be baked off.

Apples needed to be peeled and sliced for the traditional apple cake.  This too was baked in the afternoon and at serving time, I just had to add vanilla ice cream to a slice.

Even though the soup course could not be cooked ahead of time, the recipe is such a breeze.  Shallots, leeks and garlic are sauteed with olive oil and thyme.  Beer and clam nectar are brought to a boil and the mussels are tossed in and securely covered.  Once the mussels are all open, the cream is added and then fresh parsley and the soup is ready to serve.

I boiled the potatoes and shredded cabbage separately in the afternoon.  At serving time I brought both back up to temperature in the microwave while I heated cream in a saucepan.  Once everything was piping hot, I mashed everything together with sliced green onions.

The star of the evening-Beef in Stout.

In our conversations we strategized about all of the things we wanted to see and experience when we travel to Ireland together.  Of course, much of our chatter was about where and what we hoped to taste and eat while we are there including the Galway Food Festival which we are very much looking forward to.

Kath’s quote: “Talk of joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread — there may be.”-David Grayson, ‘Adventures in Contentment’

Superbowl Fixings: All Beef Sliders


I’ve been aware of the term slider for the past ten years or so but was interested in knowing where the term came from.  According to the earliest citations, the name originated aboard U.S. Navy ships, due of the way greasy burgers slid across the galley grill while the ship pitched and rolled.  Other versions claim the term “slider” originated from the hamburgers served by flight line galleys at military airfields, which were so greasy they slid right through you; or because their small size allows them to “slide” right down your throat in one or two bites.

The “Frenchman” as he is affectionately called around our house is an excellent cook.  He was taught by his Momma as I believe all exceptional male cooks were.  When the Superbowl cry went out “please bring something to share” he too was ready for the task. Sliders were the answer.

When I asked him to share his recipe, he did so in a fashion familiar to me:  Mix ground beef with some eggs, breadcrumbs and sauteed onion and then add garlic, chili, paprika and curry to taste!

He pre-broiled the sliders before he left for the game and took some sharp cheddar to melt on top once he reheated them.  I was told that they were a big hit.  And they were not “so greasy that they slid right through you”.

I coupled mine with the Teriyaki Beef Skewer that D left me for supper and enjoyed both in front of the TV with a glass of Merlot with which to toast Madonna’s half time show.  Pretty amazing for a woman in the over 50 club! 

For more slider inspiration see  I am still dreaming of a food bloggers scholarship to Eat, Write, Retreat as I write this…

Kath’s quote:  “I would gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today”.-Wimpy


Isla Doorways, etc.


Islanders love paint and I am enthralled byt the vibrancing of the colours that they choose.

Beauty in symmetry.

Purchasing advertising for a career, I was enchanted by this simple and yet effective manner to get their sales message across.

People who know me and love me-call me Kath.  I thought that Isla was speaking to me here, with a silent “k”.

Doesn’t this colour combination look like something out of the 50s?  Love it.


I am also fascinated by what seaspray and humidity does to wood and paint.

And even how the sea air shapes concrete.


I imagine if Ernest Hemingway ever came to Isla to fish, he would have stayed here.

I could live the rest of my days, in this simple place.

The additional touches of the palm trees are gorgeous.

You can see why I have a particular fondness for the doors of Isla because they are painted various hues from the sea (my favourite colour).

I also get a kick of focusing in really tight on something obscure-in this case the top ledge of the seawall.  I saw the image of a bird in the paint.

This chair could have been in Van Gogh’s bedroom masterpiece.

This one reminds me of our travels through Italy.

“Let’s go up the ladder to the roof, where we can see heaven much better….”

This door is coupled with my second favourite colour-lavender.


Hearts (=love in my language) are everywhere on Isla, even in their graffiti.

Setting a Special Table


For those of you who faithfully read my blog on a daily basis, I apologize that this is not a typical day for me.  I do have a post half written that I could have spent my time touching up and publishing but I needed to spend this morning differently.

You see, I must leave shortly for a “Celebration of Life” service which is a name that I like far better than funeral.  She was a “lake” friend of mine.  One of the many special friends that I spend time with in the summer-mostly in snatches when we great each other on the path to the beach or sometimes for impromptu coffees or dinners.  The last time I dined with Barb was when she hosted us after we planted a memorial tree for my brother. 

I have to leave shortly but spent my time instead setting the table for a dinner party that I am hosting tommorrow.  We are saying good by to a dear friend of ours who is “retiring” to England.  We will be joined by other special friends including our dear ones who live in Castle del mare del Golfo in Sicily.  All the people assembled will have visited them there at one time or another.

And so I have put out special lace place mats, a gift from Sister #3’s friend from China.  I have set out my best (relatively unstained) linen, huge goblets and my very best china.  Iwas gifted this a year ago by Sister #2 and have only used them once.  As I set the table, I asked myself, why?  Why did Barb have to die but also, why don’t we always celebrate our life by putting out our best china?  Every day is sweet and every day may be our last.  Barb did not know this as she got into her car after babysitting her grandchildren.

Make it a good day.  I really mean this.  Hug a stranger, tell someone dear that you love them.  Laugh for no real reason.


How to Build Community


I suppose it is no surprize to my readers that I describe myself as a hippie (both physically and philosophically).  I am a peace, love and groovy, kind of person.  Recently, we purchased a big old house where 5 people will live communally.  I purchased a card for them to have in the house and as I reread it today, I realize that the wisdom is applicable to life itself.

How to Build Community

  • turn off your TV
  • leave your house
  • know your neighbours
  • look up when you are walking
  • greet people

  • sit on your front steps
  • plant flowers

  • play together
  • use your library
  • buy from local merchants
  • share what you have

  • help a dog
  • take children to the park
  • garden together
  • support neighbourhood schools
  • fix it even if you didn’t break it
  • have pot lucks
  • honour your elders
  • pick up litter
  • read stories aloud
  • dance in the street
  • talk to the letter carrier
  • listen to the birds

  • put up a swing
  • help carry something heavy
  • barter for your goods
  • start a tradition
  • ask a question
  • hire young people for odd jobs
  • organize a block party
  • bake extra and share
  • ask for help when you need it
  • open your curtains
  • sing together
  • share your skills
  • take back the night
  • turn up the music
  • turn down the music
  • listen before you react in anger
  • mediate a conflict
  • seek to understand
  • learn from new and uncomfortable angles
  • know that no one is silent though many are not heard-work to change this

Kath’s quote: “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”-James Beard

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