Monday, March 30, 2015

A Creative International Wedding Invitation

Invitation to Thomas and Rebecca's Wedding in Northern Ireland
Rebecca my first cousin, twice removed (her grandmother is my first cousin), is marrying Thomas in Northern Ireland, and their wedding invitation is the most creative I've ever received.  Rebecca is the talented blogger,The Clothes Horse , and Thomas is a documentary film producer so I'm not surprised that they designed this clever invitation.  I am so looking forward to the wedding in June.

Front of the "passport" invitation. (Designed by Rebecca and Thomas.)
Inside of "passport".  Notice every little detail on this. (Designed by Rebecca and Thomas.)

Our "boarding pass" and stub for RSVP. (Designed by Rebecca and Thomas.)
The wedding will be outdoors at the Parkanaur Manor House in Northern Ireland (inside if weather dictates) with reception to follow.
Parkanaur Manor wedding and reception venue. (Photo from Parkanaur Manor Website.)
Reception area at Parkanaur Manor. (Photo from Parkanaur Manor Website.)
Rebecca and Thomas (Photo by Epic Love Photography).

I know this is going to be one beautiful wedding. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Irish Lamb Stew

Irish Lamb Stew

Wednesday was my son Patrick's birthday, and he requested Irish Lamb Stew for his birthday dinner.  I was planning on making something Irish Tuesday for St. Patrick's Day, so this will be a belated St. Pat's Dinner too. 

Here's the recipe:

Irish Lamb Stew

2 lbs. lamb stew meat
2 cups peeled rough chopped carrots
2 cups halved baby potatoes
1 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes
3 cups unsalted beef stock
1 tbs of finely minced fresh rosemary
one 12-ounce Irish Ale (I used Smithwick's Premium Irish Ale)
Smithwick's Irish Ale
vegetable oil
all-purpose flour
Generously season the stew meat with salt and pepper on a baking tray and then toss that with all-purpose flour to coat.
Even though we're using a slow cooker, we still need to brown the meat up, in batches, in a large wide heavy bottomed pan on medium to medium high heat in a little vegetable oil and, once it has browned, add it to the slow cooker.
As soon as the meat is out of the pan, add one large rough chopped onion and 1 tbs of finely minced fresh rosemary and, at this point, add one 12-ounce Irish Ale to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to help scrape up the flour that's stuck to the bottom of the pan and let that cook along for a minute to soften the onion.
At that point, add one 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes and 3 cups of unsalted beef stock and bring that up to a simmer.
Meanwhile, add 2 cups of peeled rough chopped carrots and 2 cups of halved baby potatoes to the slow cooker and, once the beef broth is warm, carefully add that to the slow cooker.
Then put the lid on top and cook it on high heat for 4 - 5 hours or low heat for 8 - 10 hours.

Flour the meat.
Brown the meat.
Add ale, onions and tomatoes.
Add browned lamb to crock pot. 

Put veggies on top of meat in crock pot.
Add the broth mixture (onions, tomatoes, Irish ale, beef broth)
Ready to eat.

This was perfect for Patrick's birthday celebration!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Memories Awakened By Old Photos

My first visit to Paris.

Dan and I have been going through old photos and we discovered these from the summer of 1976. We were heading to Africa for a summer of research on Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana with a stop in Paris on the way.  This would be my first trip to Paris.  While in Paris we visited with Hugues and Liliane Faure.  Hugues was the Director of the Laboratory of Quaternary Geology in France, and Dan had known him for a long time through their common research interests.    During our long weekend visit Hugues and Liliane took us to many lovely Parisian sites and to many restaurants where we had delicious French cuisine.  It was a lovely visit and for me a memorable introduction to this lovely couple and to Paris, a city I came to love.
Dan, and wth Hugues holding his son Olivier at Montmartre in Paris. (Photo by Liliane Faure.) 1976

Dan and I with Hugues at the Eiffel Tower. (Photo br Liliane Faure). 1976.
It is so nostalgic to reminisce.

Several years later Dan and I spent a summer of research at The Laboratory of Quaternary Geology in Luminy on the Mediterranean with the Faures.  More about that in another blog.

Monday, March 2, 2015

I Had My First Pomelo on Saturday. Have you had one?

A Pomelo.  

My friend Ava brought us some livermush the other day, and in the bag with the livermush was the biggest grapefruit I ever saw.  I declared, "What a big grapefruit!"  She then explained that it was not a grapefruit but a Pomelo.  I had never heard of it.  I learned that Citrus maxima (or Citrus grandis), with the common name Pamelo is a citrus fruit, with the look of a big grapefruit, native to South and Southeast Asia.

Pamelos are the largest of the citrus fruits and are closely related to grapefruits.  The Grapefruit is considered to be a natural occurring hybrid between the Pomelo and the Mandarin orange.
Left to right:  Mandarin , Orange, and Pomelo.  

The Pomelos are quite heavy. (I should have weighed this one.)  The pith (white layer under the outer skin) is very thick and the pulp can be cream colored or pink.  This one was pink, the rarer color, and the sweeter.  Pamelos taste like a very sweet grapefruit without any of the bitterness.  
Very thick white pith of the Polemo.

It is difficult to peel this fruit, especially removing the pith from the pulp.  It is hard to get a whole section of pulp out intact.  
Sections of the pulp, some intact.  
Section of Pomelo and section of Mandarin orange.  

Thanks Ava for introducing me to the Pamelo a new to me citrus fruit.