Tagged with "Irish Writers Archives - Wise Words"
Nov 15 2015

Galway Hooker Beer Cheese Soup

Posted by     8 Comments    in Kitchen

It’s one of those days.

The weather, no, storm Abigail, has clenched her teeth on the West of Ireland and seems unwilling to release; even if we play nice.

I have received several requests from friends an family to met up for a cup of tea today, but I have insisted on doing nothing that requires me to get dressed. We declared today a pyjama day –  and so it is.

Early this morning, I started Googling for some comfort food inspiration. Himself was in the throes of making a loaf of bread and we were undecided as to what our Sunday supper would consist of; neither of us felt like cooking.

Thankfully, himself had cooked a whole shank of veal yesterday, pot roast style, so that’s supper sorted then, but what about lunch?

Late last week, we had stopped in to visit our friends at Galway Hooker Brewery. They have another beer added to their repertoire, which we had yet to try.

The brewery was established in 2006, in Roscommon by two first cousins, Aidan Murphy (below) and Ronan Brennan. A couple of years ago, they decided to return the brewing operation back home to Galway, and they have been brewing and blossoming ever since.

This new (since earlier this year) India Pale Ale is excellent. Himself will probably never stray from their flagship beer (Galway Hooker Pale Ale) but I am always interested in finding a new beer, and I get especially excited when I find one that is homegrown.

galway_hooker_60_knots IPA Beer Cheese Soup

The Galway Hooker India Pale Ale  comes loaded with that hop filled flavour we love (and fun at 6.5% alcohol content!) and it was begging to be incorporated into our lunch plans. Hey, what else is a girl going to do on a dream wet wintry day in the west? Having a beer with lunch never sounds like a bad idea!

The soup is a bit tricky to make. Not in the sense that a novice cook can’t take it on as a challenge, just in the sense that it is easy burn it (as there is milk in it), and there is always the likelihood that the cheese will break and you will end up with lumpy soup. The key to your success, should you attempt to make this, is to keep the temp low on the stove when you add the cheese.

Galway Hooker India Pale Ale Beer Cheese Soup

5.0 from 3 reviews

Galway Hooker Beer Cheese Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

A delicious soup to warm you from the inside out on a cold wintry wet day.
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 60 g flour
  • 950 ml chicken stock
  • 1 bottle Galway Hooker India Pale Ale or any beer you like to drink
  • 115 g cream cheese
  • 450 g grated sharp cheese (we used Mossfield Organic hard cheese)
  • 250 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon Colemans English mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and White Pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. In a large pot sauté the onions, carrots, and celery and garlic in the butter. Put the lid on the pot, reduce the heat, and cook until soft.
  2. Stir in the flour, like you are making a roux and cook until thick and it browns just a little bit. Whisk in the chicken stock and simmer or a few minutes. Reduce heat leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, for a half an hour, then using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables to produce a nice thick stock.
  3. Add the beer, followed by the cream cheese and handfuls of grated hard cheese of your choice, whisking all the time ensuring the cream cheese is smooth and the cheddar has melted. Do not let it come to a boil, as it will burn easily and boiling can cause the cheese to separate.
  4. Slowly pour in the milk, then add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce, then bring the heat up just a touch to allow the soup to gently simmer. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Serve with a slice of toasted bread or your favourite crackers.

Galway Hooker India Pale Ale Beer Cheese Soup

Now, I am not saying you should be drinking a beer on your lunch break tomorrow at work, but this is definitely one to tote with you to work in your Thermos.

Absolutely smooth and silky and the chicken stock keeps it light enough ensuring the texture is not gloopy when you get ready to serve it. I would refrain from using any kind of Mozzarella cheese, even if you just happen to have it in the fridge, as it is really annoying to end up eating a soup that just strings along on your spoon and won’t let go!

Right – tis almost supper time here at Chez Wise and time for someone to open a bottle of wine! I hope your weekend was nice and relaxing and you managed to squeeze in a bit of rest and relaxation before heading back to the grind tomorrow morning!

WiseMóna

 

May 4 2015

The Gaiety Antique and Vintage Store in Galway – showcasing Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Posted by     12 Comments    in Reviews

Winner selected – please scroll to the bottom to see who won!

Ordinarily, I get invited to one or two events per week. Sometimes the events are food related; sometimes they are to an art showing, or a theatre production. I know….I know… I am a lucky gal.

MOST of the time, 80% of said events are in Dublin. Because, you know, everything cool happens in Dublin.

NOT.

Living in Galway, it is clear that there is no end to the creativity displayed by the folks living in our beautiful little city by the sea. I am always tickled pink to get an invite to an evening of messy fun in my hometown and this one was just the best craic!

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The Gaiety (Westport) Islandeady, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland, E: info@thegaiety.ie, T: +353 (098) 56799                                                                                  The Gaiety (Galway) 3 St Frances St, Galway, Ireland, E: info@thegaiety.ie T: +353 91564966

A few weeks ago, I got a quirky little invite from a lady named Laura over at The Gaiety Antique and Vintage Shop. She asked if we might be interested in popping in to their Galway shop on a Thursday evening for an Annie Sloan chalk paint workshop. Himself, who is the handiest of handymen when it comes to doing stuff around the house, was intrigued because he is a devout ‘strip it, sand it, paint it’ kinda guy and any paint that claims you don’t need to do all that work (in his humble opinion) is just a waste of money.

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I on the other hand, am much more of a ‘it needs painting so just paint the fecking thing’ kinda gal. See, this is why they say opposites attract. I usually just wait for him to be at work, then go ahead and pretend I stripped the paint, sanded it and painted it … all while he was at work … only for my lies to be revealed a few weeks later when the new paint all starts a-peeling and a-chipping off.

The look of disdain, him glowering in my general direction, it’s, well, telling.

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Yep – I was all over that.

We arrived a wee bit late, and Clodagh O’Conner (who co-owns The Gaiety with her husband), had already started the class! The traffic heading in to town on a Thursday night of a Bank holiday weekend – pure and utter mayhem and we only live 4 miles out the road!

On a side note, it is entirely worth your while signing up to their mailing list at info@thegaiety.ie because they have the loveliest stuff in their shop and loads of fun workshops planned for this summer!

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Aprons on and paintbrushes ready to go we sat around a table with a few other local Annie Sloan chalk paint artists-in-the-making and dove right in to an evening of creativity and craic.

Things were about to get messy.

Once we got the hang of it though, we caught on fast. The paint, which dries to the touch in 45 minutes, goes on thick; like mayonnaise.

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What’s really important with this chalk paint, is texture.

So ‘stippling’ and ‘layering’ were two techniques we were taught how to do right off the bat.

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All the attendees got to choose their own colours and little by little, ended up getting the paint all over the table (which was cool) and all over our hands, and our jeans. Yep, made a holy show of myself.

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Once you get the hang of it, you realise that because of its chalky nature, this paint is unlike anything else you have ever worked with. First of all, it is like, eh, chalk. If you get it on your hands, it just feels like a nice dry powder. It kinda rubs away after a bit and you don’t have the urge to run and wash your hands or the need to use mineral spirits to get rid of it.

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Once we had our colours on the boards, we had to help the drying process along, or there would not be any time for a tea break!

So we shared our hairdryers and got that done then tooled about the upper level of the shop for a while, and then downstairs for a slice of carrot cake and lashings and lashings of lovely tea. I’m going to stop back in there next week just for the tea!

I know you think I’m crazy, but really and truly guys n’ dolls, the art of serving tea and really excellent cakes is dying out in Ireland. It is symbolic of times gone by, like my grannies day, and I treasure the moments when someone goes the extra mile to present the table in a beautiful manner for a quick tea break.

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Anyway, back to work! Clodagh cracked the whip and marched us right back up the stairs to educate us on finishing techniques like distressing (ha, all the tea was gone!), dark waxing, colour washing and high gloss wax finishing (my favourite).

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Although I was ever the attentive student, my mind kept wandering back around the corner to another side of the shop where I had left a gorgeous kitchen sideboard behind. I am still pining for it and have not yet figured out where it would fit in my kitchen ….

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Clodagh snapped me back to reality when she started to chat about staining fabric in this paint. She passed around a few pieces of material to show us, that yes indeed, the paint will stain fabric beautifully, just make sure to hang it outdoors to dry (and not in your tumble dryer!) and only do it during the summer months when we are not really guaranteed a bit of fine weather. Curtains she did this with. Honestly, her talent knows no end.

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It was this beautiful tin (above) of clear finishing wax I fell in love with. It was kind like coconut oil. So soft and beautiful to work with. I dabbed my rag in the tin and buffed my Duck Egg Blue painted patch to a brilliant shine. I’m a-gonna have a can of this on hand for all my Annie Sloan chalk paint projects henceforth.

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As if she had not shown and shared enough of her talent, Clodagh wrapped up her workshop by showing us how to paint wrapping paper using a roller. She did this last year for all her Christmas presents using brown wrapping paper and tied gorgeous red ribbons on them. Now, I feel horribly inadequate ….. and I must prepare for next Christmas!

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As we slipped away into the night, Clodagh said she hoped we had enjoyed the evening and that we would stop back in for a cup of tea soon.

Laura Lydon, her trusty side-kick, expert tea-maker and paint brush washer, insisted we do pop back in for a cuppa … well you don’t have to ask me twice!

So …. anyone want to go to the next Annie Sloan chalk paint workshop? If you do, then I wanna know the answers to two questions (in the comment section below)

1. What it is you need to paint? Is it a chair, a wardrobe, a wall?

2. Why you would like to be chosen for this worksop?

I’ll be picking a winner on Sunday evening May 10th, 2015. As is customary on my WiseWords blog, you must be a registered reader and you can sign up via email for that right here.

The dates of the next few workshops at The Gaiety in Galway are as follows:

Saturday, May 9th, 2015. 10:30am     –     Chalk paint essentials     –     €65 pp

(This is what every young couple should sign up for. It would make an excellent wedding gift, or be something fun to do with your bridesmaids. I have also asked them to consider doing a summer workshop for the kids. Watch this space).

Saturday, May 16th, 2015. 10:30am   –     Lampshade workshop     –     €45 pp

Saturday, May 16th, 2015 – 2:30pm-  Annie Sloan chalk paint demo –   FREE

This is open to the public and I cannot recommend it enough. And shur if nothing else, pop in for the tea!

So – what are you waiting for? Hop on over to their Facebook page  and keep an eye on the events at their shop. I missed their Christmas Tea last December because I was having surgery at the time … and my friends are still raving on about it.

Comments are free but you gotta be a regular reader and all subscribed via email to WiseWords (right here) to be a winner!

Best of luck to you.

WiseMóna

AND The Winner is:

Congrats Margaret! See you in Galway soon.

Margaret Fleming - winner Annie Sloan workshop at Gaiety

Mar 27 2015

Choose to be ‘Gay for a Day’ …. on May 22nd, 2015.

Posted by     2 Comments    in The Snug

Marriage Equality Bill 2015

The Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015 (bill no.5 of 2015) is a proposed amendment to the constitution of Ireland to mandate provision for same-sex marriage. The bill was introduced to the Oireachtas in January 2015 by the Fine Gael–Labour government, which expects both houses of the Oireachtas to pass the bill in time for a referendum to be held on 22 May 2015; all constitutional amendments must be put to referendum.

Voters will be asked whether to add to the Constitution that “marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”.

A YES vote is supported by the Government as well as all major political parties.

According to polls, provision for same-sex marriage is supported by about 76% of the voters.

The above statistic is fecking AWESOME but only if said voters get out and actually vote!

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I.LOVE.THIS.COMMERCIAL.

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Have you added your YES Equality 2015 to your profile photos yet? If not, why not? Maybe you can’t find the easy peasy template?

It is RIGHT HERE! Get it done and Tweet me or share with me on Instagram.

YES WiseMona

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Best response evah …..

JKTweet Gay ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I am not going to get up on my soap box on this one guys and dolls … well, maybe just a wee bit … I have A LOT of gay friends and family members. I love them all because they are beautiful, funny, creative, smart and talented humans.

I believe we, as humans, ALL deserve to be treated equally, no matter the colour of our skin or the bedfellows we fall hopelessly in love with.

This is a human rights issue; Stop trying to convince yourself it is anything else.

On that note, and if you dare listen to our national broadcasting radio station these days, a few fecking eejits  folks are feeling the need to phone in and voice their opinions.

The one opinion shared that has had the most impact on me, and my kids because we were listening to the radio on the way to school, was the notion that you just wake up one day and ‘choose to be gay’.

So….I am directing this at anyone who feels that being your – fabulous – gay self, is a choice.

Of all bloody days to wake up and choose to be gay – please do so on Friday May 22nd, 2015 and vote for your (human) right to be treated as an equal.

You can click here for voting information.

I feel it is only right to finish up with a few words from the fabulous Lady Gaga herself and stick this ear worm in your head for the day …. or maybe for the next 7 weeks ….

My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir

There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin’ who you are
She said, ’cause He made you perfect, babe
So hold your head up,
girl and you’ll go far

 

 

Remember guys and dolls … It’s ok to be GAY!

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today.

Have a wonderful weekend! The Chef and I are off to visit our friends at OldFarm in County Tipperary where a weekend of #midireland and #magicalmidlands tourist fun awaits us!

WiseMóna

Mar 2 2015

Crushed Cauliflower Sauté

Posted by     4 Comments    in Kitchen

The humble head of Cauliflower.

Mostly roasted with coconut oil, turmeric and a bit of sea salt is how we snack on this vegetable or sometimes just raw to dip in a bowl of blue cheese or ranch dip; it’s a favourite here at Chez Wise.

Recently, we have been enjoying this beautiful brassica in an entirely new way and this recipe is here to stay. 

Cauliflower duo

 

The beauty of this recipe is that you don’t really ‘need’ a recipe. If you have ever made a stirfry, then you already know how to make this.

 

Cflower ingredients

 

Crushed Cauliflower Sauté

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of cauliflower, leaves and stalk too
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 green onions
  • 2 hot chilis
  • 4 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 2 tsp butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper (white)

Instructions

  1. Trim the leaves of the cauliflower and set aside.
  2. Cut the cauliflower up into florets and slice the stalk into large dice.
  3. Place it all in the flood processor and pule until it looks like rice.
  4. If you don’t have a food processor, grate the cauliflower on a large box grater.
  5. (This can be kept wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for a few days and it freezes well too).
  6. Slice the green onions an fresh chilis.
  7. Using a wok (or a large pan) add the butter and 4 eggs. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper and scramble roughly for 3 mins on high. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  8. Wipe out the pan, then pour in 1 Tbsp sesame oil.
  9. Start adding the cauliflower and stir it as it sautés.
  10. As you add in more cauliflower, add in a little more sesame oil.
  11. The cauliflower needs the oil to cook.
  12. It will not harden or crisp up – it just cooks into a delicious bowl of something that resembles rice.
  13. When the cauliflower is piping hot, add in the green onions and chilis.
  14. Then add the egg into the mix, one spoonful at a time.
  15. Optional
  16. If you want to add a bit more protein to this meal, you can add it at this point (already cooked) and just allow the cauliflower to re-heat it. We tend to eat it asa veggie dish – because no one notices the meat or fish missing, but have had it with sesame crusted prawns and chicken too.

http://www.wisewords.ie/index.php/2015/03/crushed-cauliflower-saute/

 

Cflower ingredients egg

 

No one has noticed that there is ‘no rice’ in this stir fry. The kids all go back for seconds.

The nutritional value in cauliflower is high and it is very low in carbs. All in all, this is a humdinger of a dish, not to mention quite inexpensive too.

 

Cflower finito

 

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Basic nutrition details for this brassica:

A 1/2 cup of cooked cauliflower has 14 calories, 1.1 gram of protein, 2.6 grams of carbohydrate, 0.3 gram of fat and 1.4 grams of fiber. The low calorie and carbohydrate content of cauliflower makes it a suitable food for helping your lose weight as well as control your blood sugar, if you have diabetes.

More nutritional information right here

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Ok – it’s Monday morning and there is a light blanket of snow on the ground in Galway. The mornings are getting brighter (around 6:45am this morning no lights were needed to find my way to the coffee pot!).

The kids are rambling around the house readying themselves for school and I have a long list of ‘crap to do’ this week – so Monday – let’s be having you!

Have a great week y’all.

WiseMóna

Feb 26 2015

When you wish upon a star

Posted by     8 Comments    in Kitchen

Hello!

Remember me? I know … it has been ages since I dragged you into a long winded story. Life had runneth away with me there for the last few months and I’ve been spending way too much time with these guys ….

 

Kids January 2015

They are getting so big

 

We have had a few crazy fun-filled, and much quieter-than-expected, months. Christmas stole in right after my graduation in late November and before we knew it the kids were back to school in January and back out again only last week on mid-term break.

This is the first time in five years where I have had such a nice long break. The kids are happy. The Chef is delighted to have his partner-in-crime more readily available to cater to his whims and fancies … and I am finally able to relax. After five years of studying in college, it has taken me months to just sit down with a nice book and read it without feeling guilty … sheer bliss.

So how is it, with no TV in the house, I have not had more time for writing? Shouldn’t I have loaded up the blog with tons of recipes and stories to keep you up to date on the latest food trends in Ireland and alerted you to the new eateries in the West?

Well, truth be told guys and dolls … I needed the break. I have been blogging since 2007. That is (more than) seven years on the trot. They say a break is as good as a holiday and in this particular case … I have to agree.

The thing that most surprises me about not being a slave to the TV anymore is that we are still bombarded with news. Sometimes it comes wafting in over the airwaves, and if I turn that off its a timely notification on Facebook, or a Tweet that has taken on a life of its own making sure the world knows something is happening RIGHT NOW. And even with all notifications killed and the volume turned off on the phone, I still get updates from the Chef when he gets home or the kids tell me what they read on the ‘school internet’ bless their little hearts.

So switching off, not just getting rid of the telly, is actually vital. The stack of board games has grown and some family members have even been caught reading this at bedtime the day before a big game – especially if Granny is calling over for tea.

A few weeks ago, coinciding with his bedtime, Jack insisted we drag our weary butts outside to just sit and stargaze. The sky was heaving with stars … the cobalt backdrop smothering the countryside and a blanket of stars as far as the eye could see.

If you have ever tried to take photos of the stars (or the moon for that matter) on your iPhone …. you will know that the photos come out like crap … so I asked a buddy of mine, who is clearly very talented, to share a few of his with me for this blog post. Thanks Aidan!

Starry Night Aidan Coughlan Graveyard Galway

© Aidan Coughlan – under the Galway skies

 

I used to think that to buy a star would all be a bit hokey, to be honest. I was all grown up in my thought process and applied logic to the concept like ‘how can you sell a star’? ….I found this website wwwBuyAStar.ie  which is laid out nicely. They have a few different options – like for a kids birthday present, or a wedding gift, a new baby present or, seeing as it is right around the corner, how about a present for your Mum – because all Mums are stars already, right?? (Mother’s Day in Ireland is Sunday March 15th 2015 – mark your calendar now!).

I was explaining it to Jack (who will be TEN on Saturday) when the chef butted in and told him ‘there is no need to buy a star buddy, they are right there for you to see anytime there is a clear night’.

‘Yeah but guys’, and his little hand guiding my face to look at his while he commanded his father’s attention with his other hand, ‘say when you die, and then us kids buy a star for you…….and then when we all die, we can get stars too and then we can use the map to find each other in heaven’.

‘Alright Jack – let’s buy all the stars then darling’.

No logic needed here folks … anyone else want to buy a star?

Map of the Stars

Map of the stars

 

So, I think I’m going to invest in a nice telescope for him. I am also taking him to the next open night at the Imbush Observatory at NUI Galway (March 11th or 25th 2015).

The School of Physics at NUI Galway and the Imbusch Observatory in Dangan host open nights a few times a year.  The open nights will start at 7pm, and there will be an informative hour-long lecture and 3D tour of the universe which will be followed by a hands-on viewing of the sky by night, weather permitting.

Admission is limited to two per person and is strictly by tickets only, on a first come first served basis. All bookings are by email and those interested should send requests to tara.shanahan@nuigalway.ie

If you have never been, you are in for a real treat!

Starry Night Aidan Coughlan River

© Aidan Coughlan

 

Tuning out from the (mostly) bad news on the TV, in the newspapers and online is not easy. But I have to say, if the alternative is spending a few evenings in late Winter, bundled up outside with my hubby and kids watching the world go by, star-by-star … it’s a no-brainer for me.

Thanks for all the Facebook birthday love earlier this week guys n’ dolls – another year old and (hopefully) another year wiser folks!

How y’all doing? Anything strange or exciting going on in your life?

WiseMóna

 

Oct 25 2014

Making choices …. taking chances ….

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You gotta love the innocence of kids … always number one in her eyes even if I had failed my exams.

Seven years ago, this week, the Chef and I, with two toddlers by our side, packed our bags, left our friends and (restaurant) life and family in Cincinnati, Ohio, behind us for greener pastures in Europe.

We spent a year living and working in Zurich, Switzerland.  We lived a block from my brother and the beautiful lake and less than an hour from my sister in the Alsace wine country, France. This was the plan. This was the life. It was going to be fabulous. We would all raise our kids within close proximity of each other … at the time there was only 6 of them and that number has since risen to 12 (eleven in Europe and another one in Canada).

But as luck, or even fate, would have it, we did not love Switzerland and Switzerland did not love us. We were grieving for our friends back in the US and both began to worry that we had made a huge mistake. The eldest, RoriBelle, was nearing school-going age and we began to feel ‘homeless’. We had to face the facts; We had made a bad decision. Was it time to ‘go back home’ to the US?

My Mum finally managed to convince me to move back ‘home’ to Ireland – even if it was just for a few weeks visit. She knew we were heartbroken that things had not gone according to plan. She knew we needed time to heal. She also wanted those grandchildren within her grasp – because at the time (2008) she had no grandchildren living in Ireland and she’s needy like that. Since then, a lot of her prayers have been answered because she now has eight grandchildren living within a ten minute drive of her house. Careful what you wish for Granny .. your kitchen floor will never be clean with this bunch of beautiful brats we have all been blessed with.

Somehow, and under the threat of my Mum’s wooden spoon no doubt, I ended up in college. I never wanted to go. I was certain college was not for me. I have always had a creative mind. Exams, test taking, etc. whilst I did grand in secondary school, was not something I ‘loved’.

But an evening poetry workshop with (Belfast native) local poet Fred Johnston led to me finding a ‘dream course‘ at my local university, NUI Galway, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I remember, when still in Switzerland, talking to my boss, a lovely tall German lady, and she asked me what my ‘new’ plan was and I told her I was lost. I had no ‘plan B’ and I was just stuck. It’s true.

She said “Móna, self-made people like you always land on your feet”.

She did not mean any harm by that statement, but she, the rocket scientist who was highly educated, reminded me that I wasan employee without a college education. I did not know it then, but it was probably that punch in the gut she delivered, with grace, which propelled me into the university and made me buckle down .. I had to prove to myself and to my family, that I could do this.

 

FB 1st class

The outpour of love and support from friends on Facebook has overwhelmed me. Feeling very loved indeed.

 

Since then, I have achieved lots … the list is not long, but it is interesting and includes writing and publishing a book, winning multiple blog awards (which I have you readers to thank for) a lovely long contract with the Sunday Times, and just yesterday finishing up my Masters in Journalism with first class honours.

For the Americans reading this ….. I know you are thinking 72% seems low … that is because our grading system here is different to yours in the US. So really, a grade higher than 70% is damn near impossible to achieve. Throw in two kids, then add two more (foster) kids into the mix and a job on top of it all .. well, you get the picture.

 

Grading UNI

Grading at Irish Universities

 

College is not for everyone. Continuing eduction for a mature student, a parent, is impossibly hard.

It is a life I would not encourage you covet. Not unless you have 100% support from your spouse and your extended family and friends. You will need all of them. At exam time you will need a friends (quiet) spare room to hide in; during visiting lecture series time you will need your so-not-a-morning-person mother to drag her weary butt out of bed to take your kids to school because you have to get in two hours early to just get parking. You will need your partner to cook, do laundry, and entertain the kids by themselves for years and it will almost kill your relationship if you let it …. but it can be done.

 

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There is no place like home … there is no place, like home.

 

The support is there. From your friends, from your family, from your lecturers.

All you have to do is ask for help.

So there you go … what is life if we don’t take risks? There is no guarantees that any of my decisions and risk-taking will pay off. I know this and the chef knows this. But allowing oneself to pursue things that make us happy in life is hugely rewarding – and that in itself makes this journey so much fun.

No sense in putting things on hold guys n’ dolls. …. there will never be a good time to ‘have a baby’, ‘go to college’, ‘look for a new job’, ’emigrate’, ‘move home’.

The time is now.

Now …. about that ‘look for a new job’ bit … any ideas?

WiseMóna

Sep 23 2014

Driving an eCar….money…money….money….

Posted by     4 Comments    in Kitchen

Wow .. where to start. This journey we are on with the Electric Car from Renault Ireland and GIY Ireland has taken several twists and turns over the course of the summer.

Local gardener goes for a spin

Local farmer/vegetable grower, Oisín Kenny, from Claregalway, stopped by to check out the eCar.

The first thing worth mentioning is … it is still summer here in Galway. Although the air has cooled a wee bit, and the leaves are starting to turn and tumble, the sun is shining, the kids are not wearing coats to school and there is beer n’ BBQing happening in the backyard every evening.

Himself has never experienced anything like it and has been wearing shorts since April. He said it ‘feels like an American summer’. He still refuses to swim alongside us in the sea though … that would be admitting he has now, finally after 6 long years of fighting it, acclimated to his new home.

GIY Nation Jack gardening lesson Dad 2

Jack has started to follow in his father’s footsteps .. showing the most interest, of all the kids, for the gardening projects.

A few weeks ago, while I was wrapping up my Thesis for college, he was banished from the house two weekends in a row. I had to get my work finished, so he planned a few excursions with the kids and decided to do a little driving experiment to go along with it.

I asked him to document the details because he took the eCar on one excursion and the diesel guzzler van on another outing.

eCar at Claregalway Castle - July 2014

Enjoy the unedited version of my husbands detailing of his little jaunts through the Irish countryside on a quest.  Best if you read it with a half Alabama/half Galway accent. And read it slowly … because that is the way he talks … real slow …. like ….

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It ain’t about the money…Well, actually, it is.

by Ron Wise

A few weeks ago I started my journey from Galway to Claremorris with a two-fold purpose. The first, was to do a little experiment with the eCar v’s the family ICE vehicle (Internal Combustion Engine) otherwise known as the 3 litre diesel van that sucks the life out of my wallet every time I turn the key in the ignition (which I ran on the same trip the week later).

The second purpose was to find our gander, Pippin, a lady friend. Pippin has become an integral part of our flock management system here at Chez Wise, and lends his watchdog services to ward of stray dogs and greedy foxes, and he also, alongside Pearl the terrier, keeps a watchful eye over all the babies that hatch over the course of the summer.

See short 6 second video here.

The trip from our home in Galway to Claremorris was about 60km so I had to plan accordingly, as we don’t have a fast charge capability with the Renault Fluence. A few phone calls later, we had received the OK from the lovely folks at the McWilliam Hotel to allow me to park the car and charge-for-free in their parking lot, while I spent the day at the Claremorris Country Fair with the four kids, and without my wife … because she was still writing her damn thesis.

Although we had a wonderful experience at the fair, and the kids were well behaved, we did not find a mate for Pippin.

Pippin the Gander ...photo bomb expert

Pippin the Gander …photo bomb expert

We made our way back to the hotel, loaded up all our purchases of the day and did a quick headcount because Móna gets mad if I misplace a kid …. and we headed home. The cost of the trip, there are back with the eCar was €2.00 – as we charged at home before we left Galway and the McWilliam Hotel, as with all public chargers are all still free.

Under the hood

No oil .. so no extra maintenance costs …clean engine ..

The following week, still determined to find a mate for my gander, we headed back that same way in the Diesel van. The same trip to Claremorris and back cost just under €15.00

You can see why I love the eCar. It is about the money, well more like the savings.

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My very pretty niece, Keira, who comes to visit us every summer all the way from Switzerland. She is quite the gardener.

 

Having to figure out a way to encourage all the kids to become more involved in the gardening projects this year was a challenge we were ready for. There is a lot of finger-pointing going on and ‘it’s her turn’ etc. but the unexpected side effect of it all, is they have now started to fight over who gets to harvest and eat the goods. The cucumbers are chopped in salads, we have a few late strawberries popping out this week thanks to the Indian summer we are experiencing, and the most recent project assigned to us by the folks at GIY Ireland is to plant a winter crop of spuds for Christmas day.

Rumour has it they will not grow to produce ‘Spuds for Santa’ as the kids have nicknamed it, but all we can do is wait and see.

Tomato harvest August 2014

For now, and especially with regard to driving the eCar for a few months …… we are really  enjoying the ride  ….

That’s all for this week,

WiseMóna

Aug 26 2014

Blog Awards

Posted by     7 Comments    in Kitchen

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I’ve had a little time on my hands these last few days and have put pen to paper – with the help of three terrific Irish Food Bloggers – to give you a little insight as to what kind of work is out there for food bloggers in Ireland today. I know it is a .pdf and this might not be suitable for a lot of you on your mobiles … but it is pages and pages long – a very interesting Q&A with the three bloggers I interviewed. Maybe table it for later … with a glasheen of wine or a lovely craft beer?

Totally worth your time if you are a blogger or especially if you want to hire a blogger to do a bit of writing for you.

The kids are back to school this week on Thursday. I will cherish the silence in my house and I will think of you all, fondly of course, as I resume life as a stay-at-home Mum eating bon bons and drinking excessive amounts of Nespresso.

I’ll be back to blogging on a more regular schedule too I reckon … so brace yourself.

Ok – clicky down below the image for a bit of a read … and feel free to leave lovely comments in the box when you have finished digesting it all. All the nasty comments will be printed out and sent off to be laid to rest on the men’s room floor in the local pub – where they belong.

That’s all I got for now,

WiseMóna

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Click link below for a read …oh and if it brings you to another screen where you have to click the .pdf again…just click it!

Go figure..pain in the ass, I know.

Bloggers and Awards 

Jul 19 2014

How green are you? Renault Ireland Electric vehicle test drive.

Posted by     No Comments    in Reviews


Summer is in full swing here in Galway. Our little city is heaving and groaning under the weight of holidaymakers as they fill and fuel our city for the annual Galway International Arts festival.

imageThis week, we were the lucky recipients of an electric vehicle! It’s only for a three-month test drive period and there is a small competition attached to it. Renault Ireland has teamed up with GIY Ireland and they are working together to help promote the notion of cleaner greener living. Renault has provided electric vehicles to four recipients dotted about the island and GIY Ireland has handed out several growing projects to us drivers and we have all agreed to share our experiences to the best of our ability online and in person.

At the end of the 90 days, one lucky driver will get to keep their car. Can you say ‘in it to win it’?

Needless to say the competition is fierce.

If you want to keep track of it, so you can enter for next year, then link up with them here on their Facebook pages – GIY Ireland and Renault Ireland – and follow them on Twitter @RenaultIreland and @GIYIreland

It is not everyday you get the chance to win a shiny new car!

 

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The first thing we noticed when slinking off into the sunset on day one, and it as just myself and himself, is how deliciously quiet this car is.

No sound at all from the ignition when it starts up…just a little green light indicating it is time to click into drive and ‘Go’.

The range is 80km – 110km depending on:

a. how fast you are going,
b. how much weight you have in the car,
c. if the windows are rolled down,
d. whether or not you are charging your iToys…sheesh…

I was starting to panic after the first 5km thinking we would not make it home across town on a busy mid-week afternoon.

But we did, and then some.

ESB came out to the house a few weeks ago and installed a charging point for us, and we have already seen a massive savings to our weekly spend on diesel as the Renault Fluence costs only €2 per full charge/80km and if you are charging it away from your home…it is free. Yes. No charge at all public access points.

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Our first real jaunt in the car the next day took us from Galway to Rossaveal (80k round trip) as we headed to the Aran Islands (Inismór) for the day on an EcoTour.

The day was lovely and the desire for a cleaner-greener lifestyle is slowly being churned out on the Islands. I’m looking forward to following their progress over the next few months…but that story will have to be a separate blog post.

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As we headed back home we decided to stop at The Twelve Hotel in Barna and met up with a friend of ours for a drink and a chat while the car charged.

Two points to note here:

1. It takes ages for the car to charge. This is not like pouring petrol at the pump guys and dolls. At least an hour for a 1/2 charge. Don’t be in any hurry.

2. The charging points were very easy to find (and easy to use) but guess what? There was another non-electric vehicle parked in one of the charging spots. I did not take a photo of the car/licence plate this time …but I reckon if I come across another one of these I’ll be naming and shaming…..

Once we made our way back to the house, and to be fair we trucked along at speeds of no more than 100k as that is the speed limit on the road, we both felt that this first little jaunt was a ‘safe’ one and we will be a little more adventurous next time….there are several apps to guide us to all the charging stations around the country and I’m on the look out for ‘fast charge’ charging points in Galway. Do you know of any?

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We spent the evening grinding up a bit of Turkey meat now stored in the freezer and I’ll be posting a recipe for Turkey Jambalaya in the coming weeks. With all the birds we raise for the table around here (Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Guinea Fowl) I have to say Turkey has the best flavour and the volume of meat produced from one bird makes raising them very worthwhile.

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Righto….that’s all the news I have for now. We are headed out for the evening to see our friend over at Bía Oisin … He has a few seeds and seedlings to give us for a few of our growing projects. Wish us luck….The kids are already complaining about all the weeding they will have to do!

WiseMóna

Jul 4 2014

‘SOMM’ at Galway Film Fleadh. Oenophiles take note – two tickets up for grabs!

Posted by     10 Comments    in Kitchen

I am not even going to try to hide the fact that this is a press release down below.

If you are wondering which movie you should go see during the Galway Film Fleadh .. this one is right up your alley if you are working in the service industry or just happen to enjoy your wine. Read all about it … then as long as you abide by the rules down below you can enter a drawing to win TWO TICKETS to see the movie AND thanks to our good friend Peter Boland at Cases Wine Warehouse over on the Tuam Road in Galway, you also will get to drink the wines. Perfect way to spend a Wednesday evening methinks!

I know … I know … I know …. another giveaway … Galway peeps … we love ya …

Galway Film Fleadh

‘Somm Night’: Wine tasting with Master Sommeliers at Galway Film Fleadh

 

The 26th Galway Film Fleadh, in association with wine merchants Cases Wine Warehouse, are delighted to present an innovative sensory screening of Somm, a unique documentary which takes the viewer on a humorous, emotional and illuminating look into a mysterious world—the Court of Master Sommeliers and the massively intimidating Master Sommelier Exam. This will be the first festival screening of Somm in Ireland.

SOMM_Brian_McClintic

On Wednesday 9th July at 8pm, ticket-holders will sample wines as they are discussed on the screen, in the Veranda Lounge of the Radisson Blu Hotel. The screening will be preceded by a brief introduction to the wines from Peter Boland of Cases. Somm has won multiple film festival awards and all the wines set for tasting are top-end examples of their style so the night should prove a thrilling experience for wine lovers and film buffs alike.

SOMM_Dustin_Wilson 1

Somm is the story of four friends attempting to conquer an exam with a failure rate of 90% – the prestigious Master Sommelier Exam. This is a test that can cover literally anything to do with the entire world of wine and that’s only the beginning of the challenge! In over fifty years, fewer than two hundred people have ever earned the title of Master and the ones who succeed have risked their personal lives, their wellbeing, and often their sanity to achieve this feat. Known for its secrecy, access to the Court Of Master Sommeliers has always been strictly regulated and cameras have never been allowed anywhere near the exam until now.

Tickets are €30 including wines. Spaces are limited so early booking is recommended. Further information and ticket booking is available at www.galwayfilmfleadh.com.

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AND – the very (very) generous Peter Boland from Cases Wine Warehouse has just given me TWO TICKETS to offer our readers for this event next Wednesday, July 9th, 2014.

Throw your name in the hat by leaving a comment below … the usual rules apply:

1.    You must be a registered reader of our blog – signup here for that and

2.    Tell me why you want to come see this movie

3.   AND also tell me … where is Cases Wine Warehouse?

I will pick the winner at random on Sunday evening (July 6th) … and that will give you enough time to get your ducks in a row.

Thats it for now folks … may the 4th be with you … sorry … could not resist …’tis the 4th of July after all!

WiseMóna

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
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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.

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