Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Great atmosphere, wine, coffee and food, and of course, a good book! Visit me at Cool Beanz and make a Monday night a little more special.
What is Cool Beanz?
Located in a strip mall that also houses a fitness club and salon, Cool Beanz is a warm space with a decor of mismatched leather couches, tasseled pillows, chandeliers and local artwork.
Menu: Traditional coffees, seasonal drinks and cocktails made with liquor. Soup, biscotti, pound cake and other pastries are all prepared in-house.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Recently, I came across a website which has a number of Irish sayings translated into Gaelic, along with audio samples so you can really hear how they should be spoken, an invaluable tool. The site is very comprehensive, interesting and informative.
This site offers you a chance to hear Irish natives speak over 400 words and phrases in the main dialects of the Irish language ("Irish Gaelic").
Thursday, July 17, 2008
For those of you who may be interested in fantasy fiction that incorporates Irish and Celtic folklore, specifically that of faeries, the fey, brownies, sprites and others, then feel free to visit the official Tales of Tanglewood website to download the first three chapters for free, or visit Amazon.com or your local book store to purchase the book.
More information about The Tales of Tanglewood can be found here and at the website, and who knows, maybe while your walking around the The 2008 Long Island Irish Festival this weekend, that guy standing next to you might be me. If you happen to have your Tales of Tanglewood book in hand, I'll happily sign it!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Irish Sayings, Blessings, Toasts and Prayers are part of an old tradition, and are basically meant to convey feelings of warmth and happiness, amongst both friends and strangers.
Whereas traditional Irish Blessings and Prayers are deeply meaningful and quite heartfelt, and often beautifully poetic, Irish toasts are more jovial and full of mirth.
Many Irish Blessings and Toasts are usually straightforward and can be applied for any occasion, but there are also Irish Blessings meant for specific occasions, such as weddings or before embarking on a journey.
This small sampling of Irish Blessings are some of the oldest and perhaps the most well known of all the blessings:
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
Another very old Irish Blessing:
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!
There are of course literally hundreds more Irish blessings and toasts.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
In the Second Tale, tentatively titled The Secret of Satyr Stump, there are more feasts to be enjoyed, and I've decided to include a few recipes for some of the sweet treats Colin might find at these feasts. As the Second Tale takes place during Samhain, at around the time the chestnuts in Chestnut Grove are being harvested by Cox and the brownies, there will of course be treats made from the chestnuts as well, but I'll write about those sometime in the future.
These recipes were found at the website Irish Culture & Customs. Be sure to pay the site a visit for lots more info about Irish Culture, Customes, and many more Irish Recipes. Also check out the books at the bottom of the post for great Irish & Celtic Recipes, both old and new.
Crunchy Apple & Blackberry Crumble
Contributed by Hartson Dowd
"In autumn the hedgerows are bursting with juicy, plump blackberries. Apples are the perfect flavor partner to blackberries, and now is the time when local varieties are in season. Crumbles are a classic and so easy to make. Here is one to welcome in the autumn!"
For the filling:
2lb Bramley or Granny Smith cooking apples
6oz brown sugar
For the topping
8oz plain flour
2oz brown sugar
4oz muesli or a mixture of oats, seeds and chopped nuts
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
2. Peel, core and chop the apples into small chunks. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice over the apple and mix well. This not only adds flavour but prevents the freshly peeled apples from discoloring.
3. Layer the apples, blackberries, and sugar in a large pie dish
4. Place the flour in a large bowl and then rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs - leave a few lumps of butter so that the topping is not too fine. Add the muesli or oat/seed/nut mixture and the sugar and mix through.
5. Use a spoon to sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the fruit. Bake for 45 minutes or until the fruit is cooked and bubbling juices seep through the topping.
6. Cool for a few minutes and then serve with custard or fresh cream.
Serves 6 to 8
Irish Fraughan Sunday Cake with Fraughan Cream
Contributed by Hartson Dowd
Fraughans, herts or bilberries are the names used in different parts of Ireland for the intensely flavored wild blueberries that grow on the acid hilltop soil. The 'Huckleberry' of North America is the equivalent of the European bilberry - the name being a corruption of 'Whortleberry.'
If you live in North America, there are about 40 native species of huckleberries, but in some parts of the United States the name "huckleberry" is improperly used for both blueberries and true huckleberries. Other people mistakenly believe that blueberries always have blue or bluish fruit, and that all huckleberries are black or purplish black. However, there are dark-colored blueberries, and huckleberries that are distinctly blue, but there is a sure way to tell one from the other: blueberries have a large number of tiny soft seeds, whereas the huckleberries have 10 rather large, bony seeds. Huckleberries would be an appropriate substitute in the following recipes; however, in the absence of bilberries or huckleberries, tart, fresh blueberries should work just as well.
8-oz self-rising flour
6-oz granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp milk
6fl-oz whipping cream
1 tbsp granulated sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350°F
Butter a 7-inch round cake tin. Cream together the butter, sugar, until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding 1 tablespoon of flour with the last of the eggs. Sift the remaining flour and fold in, adding enough milk to produce a stiff mixture. Gently stir in the fraughans, ensuring they are evenly distributed through the mixture. In a bowl, cream the sugar and butter and beat the eggs in one at a time. Transfer to the prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour.
Remove from the tin. Allow to cool on a rack for 1-2 hours before serving.
Place the fraughans in a bowl and mash into a juicy pulp. In a separate bowl whip the cream and sugar until stiff; fold in the fraughan pulp.
Chill before serving.
Serve a slice of cake accompanied with a portion of the cream.
Connemara Apple Tart
Edited and adapted from a a recipe published by George Steeler in the Irish Heritage newsletter. If you would like to subscribe, send George an email: Steeler059@aol.com
In the old days, after the crops had been built into stacks, dried out and then brought into the haggard, it was time for the threshing. Entire communities would come together to help each other out and farmer's wives would vie with each other to produce the best feed for the menfolk. Topping off the main course would be apple or rhubarb tart served with big mugs of hot sweet tea.
1 cup self rising flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 large apples - Granny Smith, Bramley or other green cooking apple
1 beaten Egg
2 ounces butter
1/4 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
Sift flour, ginger, salt and sugar. Rub in the fat. Add milk and eggs to bake a soft dough. Roll out on a floured board. Cover the base of a greased pie dish with the pastry. Grate the apples onto the pastry. Dot with butter. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over top. Bake in a moderate oven for 1/2 hour. Serve hot with custard.*
Check out these books for great Irish & Celtic Recipes, both old and new!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
No doubt as children, many of us searched for evidence of fairies, sprites, brownies, leprechauns, and other fey, in dark corners of our attics, rings of toadstools in our backyards, and secluded areas of woods, all magical places unto themselves.
Whilst writing my own book, I cam across a few tomes that are exceptionally entertaining and instrumental for anyone wanting to learn more about the many fairies of Ireland, and the myths and legends that go along with them. Aside from the more well-known fairy types, these books also introduce you to other fey that are no less intriguing, such as the banshee and the pooka.
Friday, June 13, 2008
10 years in business, delivering nothing but the best, authentic Irish food & groceries
As neighborhoods become more culturally diverse, supermarkets have adjusted, allocating more shelf space to international and ethnic foods. Whereas several years ago, the international section consisted mainly of Asian and Mexican foods, you can now find Polish, Irish, and other cultural groceries, depending upon where you might shop.
Unfortunately, selection is still rather limited, but thanks to the internet, you can easily order any type of ethic or international food you desire, including authentic Irish food. It is very hard to find any stores, on the internet or in your hometown, where you can purchase authentic Irish sausages, bacon, bread, and fish, among other Irish products. Luckily, internet store Food Ireland can easily meet your needs for fresh Irish food, along with a bevy of additional Irish and European products.
Visit the FoodIreland website
will be held July 18th, 19th and 20th, 2008
I originally intended to have a booth at this great event to promote my book, but alas, I will only be a visitor this year. Still, it is a great way to spend the weekend.
There will be 3 large stages, featuring over a dozen great Irish bands, including Black 47, Mythica, Stone Cross, and more.
The marketplace features over 40 vendors selling everything from clothing, music, decor, crystal, and many unique items.
Additionally, you'll find a lot of great food vendors, Irish step-dancing performances, various workshops, and much more.
Visit the website for more information and to purchase advance tickets.