Articles by " Móna Wise"
Jun 24 2013

What comes next …

Posted by     60 Comments    in Kitchen

Before we get started into the nuts and bolts of my latest life crises … we should take a moment to reflect on the past 400 blog posts.

Yes folks .. I have (now) written 401 blog posts.

Wayhay! Where the heck does the time go?!

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… ‘What will you do next?’ …

’tis the most asked question I get these days.

I am struggling to come up with a real bonafide answer, so have thrown together a few random suggestions for y’all to ponder on and if you have time, why not offer me up a few suggestions – because I’m plum out of ideas myself.

A friend of ours back in Cincinnati, Ohio helped us clean up our act and designed a brand spanking new logo for us. We were looking or something that was a bit girlie (for me) and a bit manly (for the chef) and this is what our good friend Tommy Sheehan of TommyInk came up with.

WiseWords Logo Black:white

I.Love.It.

What do y’all think?

I got a lot of

it reminds me of Jack Daniels

and

it looks kinda like the Coca-Cola‘ logo.

Both of those guys marry quite well together and are doing alright … so we are sticking with it.

Because Tommy is a true artist, and a gentleman to boot, he threw in a few fun designs to give us something to think about depending on what we decide to ‘do next’.

I am loving some of his ideas ….

 

WiseWords eggs

 

How easy would this be … maybe we will sell our eggs. Gawd knows we have a boat load of them and Dr. Doolittle, aka the Chef, is getting ready to hatch a few goslings so I need to come up with a way to keep the eggs moving!

WiseWords - Sausages

 

Or how about we get into product development and do a bit of Sausage making? You have no idea how good these sausages are. No promise of  lovely and lean here. Just real chicken meat and real real duck fat – which makes them exceptionally delicious.

WiseWords Beer

Perhaps we will brew some beer?

OR bottle and sell some of my Rhubarb Cordial?

Tea Towels - Aprons Personally I’d like to have a few of these made up and I could sell them online …

I’d even save a few for you, my loyal readers.

WiseWords Moleskin

This gorgeous and bespoke Moleskin notebook would be on my Christmas wish list, on my anniversary wish list, my birthday wish list, my valentines day wish list … you get the picture. I’d be wishing for this.

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So you see … we have lots of options; and we are doing a lot of thinking. Working for The Sunday Times keeps us busy so whatever we do take on, it will be secondary to that.

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I have a lot of ‘giveaways’ slotted for the summer. Just the other day I got an email wondering if our readers would like a new tea kettle or toaster? Once we get the blog post released from the drafts folder I will alert you to this one. Aren’t they gorgeous!

On a side note … regarding the giveaway posts. I have received a few emails from disgruntled readers who hate ‘giveaway’ blog posts. I am truly sorry to hear this. Ron and I get A LOT of crap to review here at Chez Wise and most of it is so bad it never makes it on to the blog.  Occasionally we get a book that is a real gem or experience a sleep over that leaves a lasting impression. So when we get these treats we like to offer them to our readers. We could keep them for ourselves, but we choose to share them with you. It is our way of saying THANKS for all your support. I am not sure if I ever told you this, but almost 70% of our blog readers have bought our book (the hard copy) and another 35% have bought the ebook.

If you want  to work with us promoting your book or hotel or food product, then feel free to contact us right here.

But it will cost you. A girls gotta eat!

Ok – so in order to answer the question I posed at the start of this blog post of mine …

What will I do next?  ……… now that my college career has come to a close and I will graduate (with honours) in the Autumn ……

My answer is this …

Nothing.

Haven’t I already done enough?

Ok … maybe not exactly nothing … we will be selling Texas Chili to the masses at The Galway Garden Festival at Claregalway Castle (in our neighbourhood) on July 6th and 7th 2013 from 11am – 6pm daily.

Stop by for a bite!

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,

WiseMóna

Jun 22 2013

{Book Review} Apron Strings by Nessa Robins

Posted by     41 Comments    in Reviews

Quick update : the winner of the book Apron Strings by Nessa Robins is Lorna Sixsmith of Write-on-Track blog!

Congrats Lorna – the book is on its way to you at Garrendenny Lane!

Móna

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Apron Strings by Nessa Robins

New Island Press. May 2013

 

Cover book

You might begin to think that the Irish cook book market is becoming a little over-saturated with ‘blog to book’ deals if you scoured through all the Irish Food Bloggers that have managed to land book deals. I’d love to say I agree with you but every one of them are churning out beautiful, personal gems, and not one of them has the same look or feel to it.

Bespoke … is how they appear.

A glimpse inside the personal lives of Irish food writers and I can’t get enough of it.

If this makes me sound nosey – it’s because I am.

A few months ago, Nessa sent me a personal email inviting the Chef and I to come to her book launch in her hometown of Moate, County Meath. At the time, I was gearing up for my exam finals at NUIG (which I passed with honours!) and I did not think we would be able to make it, but as it turned out, we were able to steal away for the evening; and I am so happy that we did.

I asked Nessa if I could interview her for our Wise Words blog because I think she is an amazing strong, funny, down-to-earth woman who’s company I love to be in.

In other words … she’s great craic!

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How Nessa managed to find the time to write and photograph this gorgeous book whilst parenting 4 gorgeous and busy children, taking care of her father (who passed away shortly after she submitted her manuscript,) keep her floors clean and chickens fed at the same time, is a credit to her life-management skills which are evident throughout the book.

Tips and tricks to save you time and money filter effortlessly through the chapters in her strong yet soft voice, making you want to keep reading to reveal the delicious recipes she sustains her family with.

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Her training as a nurse pours on to the pages too, in the gentlest way, with sections titled ‘In the family way’ or (my favourite) ‘Home Nurse’.

Anyway – enough about the details of her book. We have one author-signed copy up for grabs and I will post it anywhere in the world, so leave me a comment in the box below if you would like to be in with a chance to win, fellow food blogger, Nessa Robin’s first book, Apron Strings.

Nessa drove over to have a spot of lunch with me last week and the hours few by us so fast. We have so much in common – I was sad she had to race back home to fetch her kids from school (as did I!) and can’t wait to get together with her during the summer months.

Now on to the interview … 

Tell me about your book. How did you come up with the story?

When I was writing the proposal for Apron Strings I wanted it to seem like a natural progression from the blog. It was the personal aspect of sharing family stories which gave me my voice in blogging, so I wanted to expand on some of these stories in the book. I find it easier to write from the heart, so no matter what the recipe I could normally link it to some personal story or other.

How did you become interested in food writing?

I had been teaching children’s cookery classes and while I was pregnant with Millie, and due to illness, I found myself unable to continue with my work. I still wanted to maintain my connection with food. For my classes I would type out hand-outs which included the recipes and some nutritional info etc. The blog let me continue this, without actually conducting the weekly classes.  As the months went by I realised how much I enjoyed this form of writing.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Most of my recipes and stories are drawn from my own experiences. I have a great love for old cookbooks as most not only share a recipe but often take give the reader a detailed tutorial. Some of my old cookbooks were my mothers and grandmothers, but in recent years I have sought some out in auctions. My Dad passed away just five weeks after I submitted my manuscript. He was a wonderful help to me as I searched for ideas for recipes and introductions. I actually conducted interviews with him all about his own childhood memories. I then used some of what we chatted about in the book. Thankfully I recorded these and they mean so much to me now.

What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

Since I work from home, and to make the most of a working day, I must ensure that the children are completely sorted. Therefore most of my writing occurs on my husband’s days off. I stick to around a 9-6pm sort of day, with a few breaks dispersed throughout the day. On the days that I have a deadline and my husband is working, I generally get up quite early and write while the rest of the house is asleep.

 I have a workstation set up in the spare room where my computer, reference books and many piles of notes are located.  While I was writing the book I would have a daily and a weekly target for writing, recipe testing and the photography. I rarely met them but found them essential for keeping me on track.

What is the hardest part about writing Nessa?

A blank computer screen before all the words have come together in my head. Once I ‘m a few lines into my day’s writing I normally feel much better about the entire process.

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What’s the best thing about being an author?

I suppose the sense of accomplishment and worth. In the past every so often I would receive an email or message from someone who has enjoyed a blog post, but I’m honestly over-whelmed by the amount of positive feedback I’ve already received from the book. I also love that forever more my own book will be on my bookshelf to share with my children and family.

What are you working on now?

I’m still busy with my columns and naturally the blog. Even though I’m not working on anything definite, at the moment, I’m continuously jotting down ideas for new recipes and stories.

What advice would you give aspiring writers? 

Be true to yourself and write from the heart.

Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?

As cookbooks stand there are many that I cherish but I especially love any of Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall. I also love Nigella’s books, due to the personal introductions before each recipe.

My favourite Irish author is Roisin Meaney. She’s a wonderful story teller and her books are full of interesting characters.

If money were no object, and you could have any one piece of cooking equipment, what would it be?

Most certainly an Aga.

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What’s the best meal you’ve ever had and where?

As a family we rarely go out for meals, as often I can find it more hassle than it is worth. In the past couple of years I have eaten some great meals out and of course at home, however one meals stands out above the rest and that would be one that my husband and I enjoyed in Ballymaloe House two years ago.  The setting was beautiful and the meal, which was simply presented, tasted sensationally. Every single element of it was in season. I must also mention that this meal was the first that my husband and I had enjoyed out alone in seven years. Would that have something to do with it?

What are your favorite memoirs by food writers, chefs, or anyone else, for that matter?

I’m totally fascinated by memoirs.  I expect it comes from having an inquisitive side and finding out about how others live. I must say, and not just because you are interviewing me, that I really enjoyed The Chef & I. I found it very touching.

A couple of years ago I read Julia Child’s My Life in France. She was a lady who had such a great drive and an amazing passion for food. The story of her food journey is heart-felt and inspiring.

My husband Ron ‘never eats the same meal twice’. As a chef he believes that if you want to be knowledgeable about food, you need to experience it yourself. Do you agree with this statement?

I certainly would, however while cooking for the children familiarity is often most welcomed and less waste is guaranteed. Many of our family meals are long standing favourites, but I would often introduce different ingredients and flavours thus encouraging a more varied palate. Agreeing with Ron’s statement, whenever I’m dining out I will always order something that I wouldn’t necessarily make at home and try not to order the same dish twice.

Nessathank you so much for taking the time to come to Galway for the interview. I had so much fun chatting with you and can’t wait for a picnic with the kids and husbands during the summer. Móna x

Y’all can buy Nessa’s book right hereor here … and if you want your name in the hat for a free copy then please leave a comment below please. I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to support women like Nessa who take ‘Working in the Arts’ very seriously and her book is a true celebration of Irish recipes from the heart of her family home – the kitchen. Also, if you would like to read another review of her book you can have a peek at Georgina Campbell’s review right here.

This should go without saying but all these gorgeous photos are  styled and shot by Nessa or her husband Diarmuid.

What a team!

Those are all the Wise Words I have for today.

WiseMóna

(I am so delighted to be free from the clutches of academia and back to blogging, reading and writing for fun!)

Jun 16 2013

{Giveaway} The Clyde Court Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Posted by     195 Comments    in Kitchen

Clyde Court Hotel,

Lansdowne Road,
Ballsbridge,
Dublin 4, Ireland
t: +353 1 2382 700

 

 

Clyde Court smiles
We get A LOT of invitations to come and stay at gorgeous hotels. Many of the hoteliers (or PR companies) want us to come and enjoy an evening on them, to eat, drink and be merry, in the hopes that we will have such a great time we will take lots of photos and blog all about it when we get home. Read more »
Jun 11 2013

Dear Birthmom …. ten years later.

Posted by     64 Comments    in Children

Wednesday, June 12th 2003. 

She who made me a Mama …  who we call Rory Belle ………

 

Sibling love 2013

 

You handed her to me with care, she ………. but the size of a sugar bag.

Her teeny tinny little self, just squeaked occasionally, when something was to be had.

 

 

 

Rory Belle Wise

 

Snuggling in to me real close, she took to her Daddy too,

I never thought I could love so much … her,  …. and even you.

 

I think of you so often, and am thankful for this child I call my own.

I hope the years have been kind to you, and far from yours,  you have not roamed.

 

Terrible 2 brekkie

She has your fiesty nature, and even the same glint lights up her eyes,

and sometimes I catch streaks of red hair, and close my eyes with happy sighs.

 

RB helper

She’s Mama’s little helper, but don’t let this photo fool you so,

because, like me, she’ll instruct you see – and make sure the BOSS everyone does know!

 

Rosy cheeked Rory

Her cheeks turn rosy red when colder weather comes around,

and no matter what the climate is, she’s never far from her hoodies … always laying on the ground!

 

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Because we fed her early,

only four months old and she was eating well,

her appetite for lovely food,

will continue to grow as well.

 

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And as I scoured through my files,

looking for photos to share with you,

you’ll notice that in many of them,

she’s never alone … there’s always two.

 

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She loves her little bubby,

she is never far from his side,

and many times I have to separate them,

and the two of them I’ll chide.

 

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Her other love is animals,

especially her puppy Pearl.

I cannot ever imagine her without

animals in her world.

 

Daft notes

 

And of course it always warms my heart,

so see the crazy messages she leaves for me.

Sometimes they are on the chalkboard,

for all the world to see.

 

Window 2

 

But the thing I love about this girl,

and have done from the start,

is that you gave her willingly to Ron and I,

a huge piece of your own heart.

 

(and in our case … two large pieces!)

 

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So know this lovely lady,

that your girl is safe and well.

Know that every day of these past ten years,

with love our hearts do swell.

 

French knickers

Happy TENTH Birthday to our gorgeous funny bold brassy belligerent beautiful bossy baby girl – Rory Belle.

We have been parenting for ten years … isn’t that an accomplishment in itself!

Adoption (or fostering) is not for everyone; I get that. But if you have room in your heart and home for kids, then the funniest ones might just end up on your doorstep looking for a place to call their home. Be open to the wonderful way of building a family that is adoption (or fostering).

………………………

On a side note, we are parents of 4 kids but the HSE does not allow us to share photos of the other two. It’s a right bummer and I struggle with that particular rule – but it is a child protection law so we respect their wishes as it is in the best interest of the kids. Now you just have to use your imagination and picture two gorgeous red-headed and fair skinned freckled girlies that are as cute as buttons, growing like weeds and blissfully happy to be part of our wonderful weird Wise family here in Galway.

…………………..

Those are all the Wise Words I have for today – off to help the Chef make a cracker of a birthday cake for our baby girl  – Rory Belle.

 

 

May 28 2013

Rhubarb Tea Cake for Teachers

Posted by     35 Comments    in Kitchen

In a few weeks …. our children will all be home for eight long lazy weeks of summer.

By the third day of this deliciously long summer holiday, I will have pulled out most of my (already short) hair and will be wondering, come August, why the teachers won’t take them back a week earlier than expected .

We have the world of respect for teachers here in this house. Mostly because they help shape the minds of our offspring whilst we work or study, but also because they have our children under their watchful eye for several hours a day – five days a week. We do not, for one second, worry about our children when they are at school.

We do, however, worry about the teachers; Our four alone would drive any teacher crazy.

Before school wraps up this year we will be making a gorgeous Rhubarb tea cake to share with the teachers at our children’s school.

You should give it a whirl too.

It’s just that good.

Rhubarb growing 1

First, before the recipe … I have a small recipe for how to roast your Rhubarb. Use the roasted fruit for cakes and cheesecakes and the leftover syrup becomes the best base for one of my favourite summer cocktails or it is also excellent when poured liberally over pancakes.

Rhubarb cordial 1

Roasted Rhubarb Cordial

Cordials or syrups are an excellent way to preserve summer fruits and can make for a thoughtful house warming gift, or a welcome surprise in a student’s care package when the time comes. If you do not have a square of cheesecloth (or muslin) then best to invest in a piece as it comes in quite handy when dabbling in drinks and cordials in the kitchen. I am a dab hand at dabbling in drinks. It is what I do best.

What you will need

2 bunches of Rhubarb

200 g caster sugar

150 ml water

125 ml  orange juice

2 vanilla beans, split

3 cardamom pods, bruised (or Star Anise would work fine too)

 

How to prepare it

Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC. Cut the rhubarb at an angle -about 6 cm in length. Place on a roasting pan and sprinkle with caster sugar. Add the water, orange juice, vanilla beans and cardamom pods. Roast in pre-heated oven, turning once, for 20 minutes or until rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape. (Although, it does not matter if it loses its shape). Remove from heat. Transfer the cooked Rhubarb to a bowl and pour the syrup into a pot and cook over a medium heat until the syrup thickens. Drizzle over the roasted rhubarb and place in the fridge to cool completely. For best infused taste, leave in the fridge overnight. Remove from fridge and strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. (If your syrup has set up a little thick then you can heat it for a minute before pouring into strainer).

The cordial can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two months and is delicious poured over a stack of buttermilk pancakes or a piece of French toast and also works excellently in summertime cocktails. The left over roasted rhubarb can also be stored in an airtight container for two weeks and we love to use this as a topping for baked Rhubarb cheesecake too. (email me for the recipe at monaANDron@Sunday-Times.ie ).

A quick rhubarb whisky cocktail can be whipped up in a minute. Crush some ice and pack tightly into a medium sized glass. Mix the juice of one orange, half a lemon, 2 oz of whiskey, 2 oz of rhubarb cordial and a spring of mint and a dash of bitters in a glass. Pour over crushed ice and garnish with a slice of orange. 

Rhubarb cocktails

 Ok – now that you know how to make the roasted Rhubarb … you can move on to this recipe and make the cake!

Rhubarb roasted 1

This is what the roasted Rhubarb looks like …. but the recipe calls for it to be baked into the cake so it looses some of its hot-pinkness when baked.

Don’t we all … heh heh!

 

Rhubarb Tea Cake

Ingredients

  • For the fruit
  • 60 ml lemon or orange juice (2 lemons)
  • 120 g light brown sugar
  • 40 g cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 450 g Strawberries, hulled and cut in quarters
  • 450 g Blueberries
  • 450 g Rhubarb, roasted
  • For the streusel topping
  • 90 g flour
  • 120 g light brown sugar
  • 150 g whole almonds, crushed
  • For the cake batter
  • 275 g butter
  • 360 g flour (we like to use Spelt)
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 360 ml buttermilk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Scrapings of a whole vanilla bean pod

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175º/350F. Brush a 9 x 12 x 3-inch baking pan with butter, and set aside. Make the fruit sauce: Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the blueberries; cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until it begins to bubble. In a small bowl, mix the cornflour with 3 Tbsp cold water and then pour into the blueberries, mixing with a spoon until it is well incorporated. You will notice the liquid has thickening after a few minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the strawberries, already quartered; let cool. Use the spears of roasted rhubarb too – but leave them aside until it is almost time to put the cake in the oven.
  2. Make the crumb topping: Combine 90g sugar and 90g flour in a medium bowl. Melt 30g butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Drizzle the butter over the flour mixture; using your hands, mix until crumbly. Add in the crushed almonds and set aside.
  3. Make the cake batter: Whisk together the remaining flour and sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Grate the chilled butter into the flour mixture and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles coarse meal. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla essence and vanilla pod scrapings. Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture; stir to combine.
  4. Spread half the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan. Top with all the fruit mixture, including the roasted rhubarb too. Top with the remaining fruit sauce. If there is too much liquid, save some for pouring over the cake later after it has baked. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
  5. Bake for 1 hour at 175ºC until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched in the center. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares.

http://www.wisewords.ie/index.php/2013/05/rhubarb-tea-cake-for-teachers/

Rhubarb slice 1

Ok … a smooth enough re-emerging of sorts back in to Blogtopia. I have just finished up four years of college and one of the hardest years of my life … Thanks for all the well wishes and flowers and presents etc. I am back on my feet, taking long strides again, kicking ass and taking names.

On a side note, and because many of you have been asking me, my next blog post is going to be titled ‘What comes next’ …. so stay tuned.

That’s all folks … back on the bandwagon!

WiseMóna

Apr 9 2013

{When in Galway} Sheridan Cheesemongers

Posted by     10 Comments    in When in Galway

Sheridans Cheesemongers

14-16 Churchyard Street

Galway, Ireland
galway@sheridanscheesemongers.com

Tel:  091 564 829/564 832

 

Cheese.

What’s not to love, right?

Before we kick off here .. most of these images (except for the last one) were taken by Galway’s fabulous photographer Reg Gordon and he – being a total gent – gave us permission to use them.

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From their website : 

Sheridans Cheesemongers is run by its’ owners – Kevin Sheridan, Seamus Sheridan and Fiona Corbett. The company was founded in 1995, when brothers Seamus and Kevin started selling Irish farmhouse cheeses at the Galway market. Shortly after we opened a shop in Galway with Irish farmhouse cheeses piled from floor to ceiling. Fiona joined in 1997 and Dublin markets and a shop on South Anne Street in the city centre were established that year. The Irish cheeses were quickly joined by their European cousins as well as a huge range of other artisan foods including olive oils, cured meats, condiments and pasta sourced during  travels in Europe.

Sheridans is more than just your ordinary cheesemongers. Sheridans is where the locals go to have a glass of fizz before dinner and a snifter of Port wine before bed. A place where tables and chairs mesh together at the sound of footsteps climbing the stairs to the wine bar – right above the cheese shop. A place where you go when you are hungry and will be sated when you leave thanks to the food, but more so, thanks to the company you will keep.

Sheridans … go there … Eat cheese and drink wine … you’ll feel like a Galwegian instantly.

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Although they have been in business since 1995 (read all about how they got started) I did not get to know Seámus Sheridan until late 2008 when I moved back to Ireland after having lived abroad for almost 15 years. We had heard about the shop from my Mum (a self acclaimed cheese addict) and popped in to fill our tummies with as many Irish cheeses we could sample. We were only too delighted to find the wine bar above the cheese shop and felt like we were well and truly ‘home’.

Everyone feels like that when they visit Sheridans; Not just the locals.

Seámus was ranting on about something that night from behind the wine counter. All of it making sense and all of it serious rantings too. It was about the importance of supporting our local farmers and producers. It was about eating dinner together as a family; it was about how delicious a plate of thick cut Irish chips are (french fries) and how they were one of his favourite things to eat. This is an image that is burned in my mind … Seámus describing the heat and grease of a plate full of chips all salted and vinegared … (I know vinegared is not a real word .. but I am telling the story here).

I am still licking my fingers, almost five years later, pining for that plate of chips.

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Seámus Sheridan is a story teller like no other and his passion and ethos for food is commendable. Not only does he run a tight ship (with the help of his brother Kevin and their other business partner Fiona Corbett), Seámus has taken his ethos that little bit further and is giving back to his community. Something we should all do more of.

Several years ago, a young (and seriously talented) chef by the name of David Gumbleton, all the way  from Darlington Australia, began working at Sheridans Cheesemongers.

   ‘ … “What I learnt was that, with food, it’s not what you do to it, it’s best what you don’t do to it,” he once said. … ‘

David died of a massive brain haemorrhage in 2004 and John McKenna (of the McKenna Guides) wrote so eloquently about the amazing man that David was.

Seámus set about forming the David Gumbleton Memorial Prize, established in 2005, which from then until 2012 was awarded annually to an outstanding young chef in the Culinary Arts Degree Programme of the DIT Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin. The g Hotel and the event organisers are now very proud to announce the extension of this award to include students of the GMIT Culinary Arts Degree. This is excellent news for Galway culinary students.

The 2013 recipient will receive a travel bursary and the unique opportunity to work with some one of the world’s best restaurants including Tetsuya Wakuda and Noma – two of the best restaurants in the world and after that the young student will be aided in finding a job. An incredible opportunity for a young and budding chef. (or older mature culinary student too!)

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The g hotel, one of Ireland’s leading five star hotels, is delighted to host a gala dinner to announce this year’s recipient of the David Gumbleton memorial prize.

The event, which takes place the evening of Wednesday, 1st May, 2013, will be see a unique and rare gathering of some of David’s oldest friends and Irelands best known chefs including Kevin Thornton; Ross Lewis of Chapter One; Denis Cotter of Café Paradiso in Cork; Enda McEvoy (formerly of Aniar); and Pauline O’Reilly of the g Hotel. The chefs will all speak during the evening, along with the evening’s MC and close friend of David, Seamus Sheridan. The finale of the night will be the presentation of the David Gumbleton Award to this years and last year’s recipients.

At the gala event, guests will be treated to a drinks reception in the hotel’s Grand Salon, followed by a seven course meal, designed especially for the event by The g’s head chef, Pauline Reilly in conjunction with Enda McEvoy, all ensuring that the menu reflects the type of food and ethos that David strived to achieve.

Tickets for the event are priced at €95 per person and are available to purchase through The g Hotel www.theghotel.ie or 091 865 200.

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From Left to Right : Ross Lewis, Seámus Sheridan and Pauline O’Reilly.

If you are living in Galway and up for a delicious evening then this one’s for you. Also, if you are a culinary student, or the parent of a culinary student, this is a unique opportunity to meet, and learn from, a few of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the industry. They are coming to share their expertise with us and we are fortunate that Galway gets to host such an incredible line up of talented chefs.

We are never too old to learn.

Hope to see you there.

WiseMóna

 

Mar 26 2013

OXO Good Grips {Kitchen gadgets and more}

Posted by     56 Comments    in Reviews

 

Turn away now of you do not want the goodies OXO Good Grips has up for grabs.

This is a sponsored post.

I do love OXO kitchen gadgets.

And they love me. See evidence of that in previous blog post.

 A few weeks ago, due to a persistent back pain I have been tortured with … my doctor told me I shall never again ‘hoover’ … (that’s vacuuming for all y’all back in the US of A).

Imagine receiving a diagnosis like that!

I complained mildly about this on Twitter and a few days later I received a few helpful products in the post from our friends at OXO Good Grips UK.

Now, all I needed was the motivation to start Spring cleaning … and seeing as Spring seems like it will never arrive … I had to enlist a few helpers.

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It is safe to say that the folks at OXO know what they are doing because they have developed a line of stuff that kids (and husbands!) like to use around the house, be it kitchen gadgets or clean up kit.

Although I have been given a reprieve from hoovering … I can still manage to hobble about with the dustpan and broom – but thankfully now I have to ‘wait my turn’ because so many of my wee helpers would rather play with the new toys.

Dinners could be eaten off the floor around here these days.

 

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The lovely folks at OXO Good Grips UK have given us a goody bag of spring cleaning kitchen kit with a value of £50 (almost €60) to offer to one of our readers.

No songs or dances on this one … just finish the sentence please in the comments below ….. ” I want to win the Spring cleaning Kitchen Kit from OXO Good Grips because ….. “

and you will be in with a chance to win. You can double your chances by liking their Facebook page too!

 

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On a side note … we have four kids and all four of them have daily chores and are expected to help out around the house on a daily basis. Sweeping, mopping, laundry, mucking out hen coops etc.

You name it … they can do it. Please do not send me an email complaining that I am over exposing my children by using their images on the blog and using them as little slaves to help out around the house.

They are well fed and quite happy to live here and hope to have their own blog someday to get their own back.

Ok – get cracking on the comments folks. I will pick the winner myself on Easter Sunday.

… ” I want to win the Spring cleaning Kitchen Kit from OXO Good Grips because ….. “

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,

WiseMóna

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 23 2013

Six in the City (airing RTE 2 on Monday March 25th 2013 at 9:30pm)

Posted by     6 Comments    in The Snug

Here’s the deal lads … I am not a huge fan of the telly at all.

I am much more inclined to be curled up on the couch reading a book or will happily settle in to watch a box set of my favourite TV series (except for Downton Abbey which I watch live!) or a movie … But the constant flicking around and channel surfing that goes hand in hand with normal TV watching … it’s not for me.

The Chef on the other hand … loves telly. It is his way to unwind . . . he spends most of his telly time watching Antiques Roadshow and Auction Hunters … the occasional cooking show and even Come Dine With Me.

A few months before Christmas we were given the opportunity to get involved with Waka TV productions (owned by Comedienne Katherine Lynch and Warren Meyler) who produced a new series on TV called ‘Six in the City’ for RTÉ.

Reeee-AL-iteeee-TV. Ah – no thanks. Not on your life.

BUT the Chef wanted to do something different … and he felt that, seeing as I had dragged him from his home turf kicking and screaming back to Ireland to settle down in a cooler and damper corner of the world, … I owed him.

I stood firm in saying no .. but finally caved in.

What did we have to lose … I mean, it would be virtually impossible for these guys to make us look like total eejits. We are so bland and boring and behaved …

So.I.Said.Yes.

 

RTE Guide - Page 18

 

I almost backed out at the last minute … but am so glad I did not.

We met some very cool people along the way and several other  (work) opportunities have come our way since then.

So what happens when you take three couples …

1st couple from Belfast – raring and rocking party animals;

another cute couple from Naas who believe in the after life;

and us … weighted down with four kids, a rake of animals and smothered in our food centric family world

… and throw them together for three nights out, in three different citys .. three weeks in a row.

Did we become fast friends and bosom buddies … or are we waiting with baited breath to block every comment that comes our way on Facebook from our new ‘friends’.

Reality TV is not for everyone and when you get involved with a production company to work on a show like this … you go into it with the understanding that they are going to do what they can to sensationalise every utterance.

I can’t wait to see the end result. The Chef and I were mostly very well behaved … but I am certain y’all will see another side of us … please tune in to watch the show on Monday night – March 25th 2013 on RTE 2 at 9:30pm.

RTE Guide - Page 19

There was food … there was, eh, dancing? and there was even a bit of ‘naked singing and guitar playing’ …

Things were said … peoples feelings were hurt … there was quite a bit of drama  …. nothing out of the ordinary .. it will make for great, or possibly cringe-worthy, Monday night telly watching.

 

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From left to right : Deborah Renyolds & Sam Stone (Naas, Kildare); Aaron & Justine Watson (Bangor, County Down); Móna & Ron Wise; Galway.

 

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I think that the main thing these images show … is that we all had a lot of fun.

We did something different … had a new experience  … and hopefully have no regrets.

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You can watch a wee preview of the show right here

 

Tune in to Twitter or Facebook if you cannot watch the show live … to join in the fun!

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today.

WiseMóna

 

Mar 22 2013

{When in Galway} Galway Hooker Beer

Posted by     6 Comments    in Reviews

 

Galway Hooker Bottle, Irish Food, Galway Hooker Beer,

When we moved home to Galway almost five years ago  …. we could not find a beer that we loved. When in Rome – right?

Ah….. no.

Yes – there was Guinness and plenty of it. The best pints we have ever had – especially if you go here when you are in Galway. (I insist you go here when you are in Galway).

But sometimes, on a Friday night, a girl just wants a cold beer from the fridge. We were not finding, and definitely not falling in love with, anything …. but gawd knows we were trying.

All that water and not a drop to drink. I know … Beer snobs. Call us what we are.

We were conditioned to drinking, and pined for, good old fashioned American brews like Samuel Adams or Boont Amber Ale or any of the hefty selections from Rogue beers. Aside from the schwag American beers (Coors Lite/miller/Bud lite etc) nabbing a US microbrew beer came at a painful price; We grew thirsty.

 

Irish Food, Galway Hooker Beer,

 

Then one day … Peter came to the rescue. Try this beer sez he. You will pine for Sam Adams no more.

Sceptical …. we tried ONE bottle. Then we went back to his shop for a whole case.

Guys and dolls …. this Galway Hooker beer … is ‘da bomb’.

Summer … might be just around the corner.

Are you all stocked up?

You can buy it in a load of locations all over the island now … but especially by the case … right here.

 

Irish Food, Galway Hooker Beer,

AND … if that is not enough to convince you … this is an Irish business … two Irish lads, first cousins, who are incredibly skilled at their craft of beer making and customer service.

They deserve your business … and their beer is damn good.

The kids are on a two week Easter break … starting today — I might not come up for air for a while … so pop in and say hello if you are in the neighbourhood next weekend for the Galway Food Festival.

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,

WiseMóna

 

 

Mar 13 2013

{What is} Irish Food

Posted by     42 Comments    in The Snug

Oh. What a can of worms we open when we pose this question whether here at home in Ireland or abroad.

Are there too many chefs in the kitchen to allow our national food identity to develop into what could be a wonderful Food Island culture? And before you get too excited .. we are just talking about Irish Food here … not Irish cuisine …. that is a whole other can of worms.

Every menu we peruse these days we are confronted with global influences sneaking on to our plates. Coconut milk replaced with rich Irish cream or olive oil on the table for dipping your bread in instead of a knob of Kerrygold.

Three years ago I attended a food bloggers workshop hosted by Bord Bia at their HQ in Dublin. They were asking Irish Food Bloggers to work on our SEO and food photo ‘tagging’ to help improve the over all image of Irish food to the world. A fair request one might say, because lets face it, the image the world has of Irish food is still all cabbage and Guinness. With the exception of one of my fellow food bloggers Zack Gallagher  and a couple of American lassies (who are living/working/blogging/eating in Ireland and really know their SEO) the image of Irish food (on Google) is controlled online by Bord Bia, and a few other large corporations. I can’t say this excites me ..

When we asked the kids last night what they would like to have for dinner on Paddy’s Day (March 17th every year and it is this Sunday) we were bombarded with requests. We tried to reject several of their requests because they were not ‘Irish’, or at least what we feel ‘Irish food’ should be.

They think, and I believe they are right, that Irish food is what they eat every day because they are living in Ireland. Be it bacon and cabbage with boiled and buttered spuds or chicken curry with coconut milk. If it is (mostly) produced and made here on the island … then to them, it is all Irish. Ya gotta love kids for keeping it simple.

So I picked out a few photos of whats been gracing the table here at Chez Wise recently and whilst the Chef and I try to keep it interesting … we never consider it to be very ‘Irish’.

What do you think?

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Christmas 2012 … not very Irish. Gingerbread ice cream sandwiches .. Pumpkin muffins … Peppermint macarons and a Gingerbread house ….

 

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Ok – all Irish here. Arctic Char fished right out of a tank at a local fish farm a few miles from our home in Galway.

 

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Sushi … all fished right off the coast of Galway Bay … can’t get more Irish than that. Ok – the origin of the cucumbers and lettuce is unknown.

 

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Carrot cake …. with cream cheese – Our own carrots from the poly tunnel and cream cheese frosting from Kilbeg Dairy (best ever Mascarpone cheese). Irish enough for me ….

 

 

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Irish carrots, Irish butter and Irish honey … all local. all delicious.

 

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Irish butter … Irish egg whites for the icing … no such thing as irish sugar or Irish food colouring so  I guess these are just wishful thinking … and incase you missed it – the decorating on these beauties was done by  a local food artist (Gail Porter) and I blogged about our recent rendezvous with her right here and now, if you are in Galway, you can buy her cookies right here! Go buy some for your family. They look as good as they taste and she can customise the be-jessus out of them for you.

 

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Ah yes … Barley blinis with smoked Mackerel … the fish is Irish, so is the sour cream but the Barley flour is from the UK.

 

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Bold beautiful Beetroot (and apple) soup … all Irish. Why are we not seeing this soup in Irish restaurants?

 

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More Barley … with Irish broccoli, Irish carrots, Irish onions, Irish salad greens.

 

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Ha ha .. so we know the rice and bean sprouts and chilli paste are not Irish … but the egg, chicken, spinach, broccoli and peas are!

 

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Again … if I had my way with the setting of the Irish Food menu … this would be the national salad of Ireland. Not only does it look very inviting … it tastes fabulous all year round. All Irish.

 

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Again .. with our fish supplies on the island we are blessed … and onions grow like weeds they are so easy to cultivate and care for.

 

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Mostly air and egg whites … the kids call this white cake.

 

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Irish scallops, Irish bacon … some kind of Asian sticky sauce with onions and sesame seeds.

 

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Custardy egg quiche … all Irish except for the flour for the pastry. Can’t believe there is no Irish flour to be had.

 

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Spuds and eggs. Otherwise known as a Spanish omelette … but really just a potato and egg supper.

 

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A family favourite .. grow them almost all year round … twice baked sweet potatoes. With Irish onions, Irish bacon, Irish sour cream … Irish cheese.

Irish yum!

 

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(French) Onion soup … not very French at all…

 

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Our New Years Eve party snack … left over spuds (potato cakes) with left over ham …

 

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Brisket … one of the most beautiful pieces of Irish beef … yet no one really asks for it at the butcher shop or knows how to cook it.

 

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We can, quite easily, grow all of these onions. No basle .. virtually disease resistant. And they have huge cancer fighting qualities. Eat.more.onions.

 

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Ok  … no question its Irish right … eh, no .. wrong actually. Not even brewed here (for now) and the ingredients are not all Irish either.

 

Kiss me I'm Irish

My whole point to this picture blog is this …

Irish food is everywhere. If your mantra is, like ours, to buy local, you will see that it is not impossible to make a good 65% (if not more) of your diet .. all Irish and all delicious.

Irish cuisine is in its infancy however. We do not have a long and rich gastronomic history like the French and we do not have the familial food fanfare that the Italians celebrate daily. We had a poor and strange affiliation with ‘thick milk‘ before the potato arrived and once we started to eat and depend on the auld spud .. well we know how that ended.

If we are ever to change the image of how the rest of the world perceives Irish food … we need to love it for what it is and make sure the generations to come are growing, cooking and eating real food … and not looking for a green McShake on Paddy’s Day.

Support your local community by buying and eating local (organic when possible) foods.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all xx

WiseMona

PS – if you want your pretty Irish food photos to show up on Google you need to place the word “Irish” in the main title of the blog post. All I ask is that you please make sure it looks good!

About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
  • Contact Mona
Ron Wise About the Chef
You can't find the Chef here.
You might as well just come visit.
He prefers face to face communication.

From The Kitchen

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