Saturday, July 21, 2018

Friday Night Pizza

A while back, we designated Friday as pizza night, so every Friday I know that I will be making pizza for supper. I always make a wholemeal crust in the bread machine, using strong wholemeal flour and oats, but the toppings are rarely exactly the same. I sometimes use pesto, either red or green. Sometimes I use fresh tomatoes. Last night, I used plain tomato puree with basil, oregano, and garlic. On top of this base, and before I added the cheese (so they don't burn), I put a bit of spicy pepperoni and some chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Then came some mozzarella and some cheddar. On top of that went chopped green bell pepper, sliced onion, broccoli, and jalapenos. We sprinkled on the Parmesan after it was cooked. It was a really great pizza, even if I do say so myself! And we had leftovers for lunch today. Yay!
This afternoon, I made some wholemeal jalapeno cheese bread in the bread maker. I had a partial block of cheddar that is crumbly anyway and had been frozen, which made it even more crumbly. Perfect for the bread. Speaking of which, it's cooled enough now for me to hack off the end, spread on some butter, and enjoy it while it's still warm.

May you enjoy some simple pleasures during this day, too.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Vintage Tea and Tourists

There are three cruise ships docking here this month and on each of those days, including today, volunteers are putting on a Vintage Tea Day fundraiser, with proceeds going to various community groups and projects. We went this morning.
The first thing we saw when we were leaving was a couple of tourists. He walked partway up the drive to take a picture of the building and she stayed down at the bottom, taking a picture of the plaque.

Music was playing in the town centre. The Bayview Hotel had the usual art/craft fair (some beautiful work there!) and had traditional Irish music scheduled to begin at 11:30. A bit further on, we came to our destination. As in various other locations around town, there was a painted bike with flowers--this time a child's bike.
Here's the sign:
Inside is a nice set-up. There was a bucket on the bar and they just asked for a donation. The volunteers asked if we wanted coffee or tea and as we all wanted tea, they brought us a pot. Later they asked if we wanted more, but it was a big pot, so we declined. The home baked goods were lined up on the bar with little plates and we were told to just help ourselves to whatever we wanted and to go back as often as we liked. We all exhibited some willpower and just had a couple of bites--a snackeen as a friend would say--but it wasn't easy, because what we did have was delicious.

We'd gotten there at about 10:30, which is early in rural Ireland, so it wasn't surprising to be among just a few other people, most of whom were volunteers. Shortly after I snapped this picture, though, the place filled up and all the tables had people around them enjoying their tea, goodies, and conversation. We thought we might blend in with the tourists, but the woman who greeted us commented to Bill that we must be from here, because she's seen us out walking.

This is what was on the other side of our table:

I suppose this side looks like this all the time--how much is genuine and how much is set up to make it look like what the tourists want to see, I don't know. Probably some mix of both.

And there are plenty of tourists today, even in the grey, drizzly, misty weather.
Queen Elizabeth--photo taken from bedroom window
dwarfing the other boats
This ship is like a floating village, carrying over 2000 passengers and over 1000 crew members. The population of Killybegs is about 1200. I guess these people are cruising around the UK and Ireland. That kind of thing wouldn't be my cup of tea, but if they're having a good time, more power to them.

I hope they're enjoying their time in this beautiful bit of the world and I hope you're enjoying the day in your neck of the woods.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Few Bits

I wanted a cord for a pendant I have, so the other day I grabbed a scrap ball of size 10 crochet thread in a variegated purple colour and a 1.5 mm steel crochet hook and started on a Romanian cord, which I finished off yesterday.
 I am quite smitten with these cords, whether done in thicker yarn or thinner thread.

The other day, I was scrolling through a knitting e-magazine that I got through the library website. This particular publication has a regular yarn review feature. As part of that, they always have a page that has pictures of a small motif made with each of the yarns under review, as well as instructions for making the motif. In this issue, it was a butterfly, which I quite liked, so I got a small scrap ball of cotton yarn and some 4.5 mm knitting needles and made one.
It's cute and simple and can be done with any yarn. I'll probably make some more--maybe try with thread and some really small needles one day when I'm feeling particularly nimble in the fingers.

Today on our walk, I spotted a patch of fireweed I'd not noticed before. I love fireweed. We used to have lots of it in our yard in the woods when we lived in Fairbanks. I was told to watch it blooming from the bottom up and when it gets to the top, summer is over. I eagerly look to see where the blossoms are whenever I see some. This vacant lot was so striking with the stone wall, the fireweed, and the yellow flowers in front, all against the dark green backdrop.

I hope that you come across some bright, beautiful surprises as you go through this day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bean Burgers and Mixed Veg Salad

Today I decided to see how the new indoor grill would work for bean burgers. I've had a recipe bookmarked for two or three years now, I think, and it seemed like a good day to try it. Of course, me being me, the only thing the recipe and the actual bean burgers have in common is two cans of mashed kidney beans.
The recipe does sound good--it's got stuff like fresh coriander (cilantro), a cup of salsa, an egg, bread crumbs, and includes a yoghurt-lime dressing. I have no fresh coriander and no bread crumbs. I have a small jar of salsa that I did not want to use for this. I was prepared to use the egg, but I didn't need it.

I mashed the two cans of kidney beans. I added half a can of chopped tomatoes in the juice. I had a couple of tablespoonfuls of red pesto left from our supper last night, so I put that in. I whizzed up a bit of yellow bell pepper, a small onion, some fresh oregano and fresh basil leaves in my chopper and added that, mixing it in well. I added some garlic granules, a bit of chilli powder, and dried parsley. Instead of bread crumbs I used small porridge oats. Then I formed this mixture into patties that I cooked on the grill. We had them on wholemeal wraps with lettuce and tomato jalapeno relish.
They're so good! The recipe said the shaped burgers could be frozen and cooked directly from the freezer, but I cooked them all and stuck the extra ones in the fridge. That's lunch sorted. I can see that they would be good with various sorts of herbs and spices. Next time maybe I'll add some chipotles, more chilli powder, and some dried coriander.

Earlier today, I made a salad with thinly sliced cucumber, sweetcorn, diced yellow bell pepper, chopped scallions, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh oregano tossed with some balsamic vinaigrette I made--we had that with our burgers. It was a great summer supper.
Here's hoping your day is pleasant and peaceful.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Tourists Have Docked

This week, we'll have two cruise ships docking in town. On Friday, the Queen Elizabeth will arrive--that is apparently a massive ship. Today is the MS Oriana, a ship that has been coming here for a few years, I think. It carries 1800 passengers (more than the population of the town) and 760 crew members.
The passengers have various options when they disembark. They can take a bus to Donegal Town or the one to Slieve League and Glencolmcille. They can also choose to stay in town. We saw a lot of them today. Some were studying the walking tour map, some were taking pictures on the pier, some were enjoy coffee/tea and baked goods at a local cafe, some were having fish and chips at The Seafood Shack by the pier. The Bayview Hotel always has an arts and crafts fair. The town seems to be doing a good job of promoting itself, because the number of cruise ships docking here has been increasing year on year.
We walked down on one of the piers and I was struck by the lines on this ship--they make a nice abstract design.
As we were walking towards the pier, I noticed this commemorative stone. I must've passed it many times since we've been back and had not noticed it until today.
Last year was the centenary of the Easter Rising--an important step towards Ireland gaining independence and there were a lot of commemorations of various kinds around the country. 

By now the passengers will be getting back on the boat if they haven't already done so, since it'll be setting sail soon. Looks like it was a good day for all the little businesses in town and tomorrow everyone can start to prepare for the huge ship on Friday. I hope the passengers enjoyed their visit to Killybegs and this part of Co Donegal.

I hope this day brings you some new experiences, too.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Simple Summer Supper

I put the ingredients for raisin bread in the bread maker early this afternoon and it was done just a while before suppertime. I mixed some homemade ricotta with some thawed frozen raspberries and blueberries and spread that on some bread. We had a bowl of watermelon chunks on the side. It was so tasty and very refreshing.
On our walk today, we came across this beautiful hydrangea bush, although the flowers looked darker in person--a gorgeous deep purple.
A couple of years ago when we were in Clifden, we saw deep burgundy hydrangeas. It was the only time I have ever seen that colour. I was bummed because even though I took about a gazillion pictures of those flowers, none captured the deep richness of the colour. It's the same with the picture above. They really are breathtaking in person!

Today, I hope you come across something so beautiful that it takes your breath away, too. Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Spectacular on a Sunday

One of the little things that makes me happy here is just walking around the grounds to look at all the plants and flowers. They are quite spectacular.

taken a week before the photo above it, which is of the same plant

I hope your day is filled with beauty, too.