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While thinking over coffee and casting on Limor [Flickr]

Bernie Goldbach - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 16:59

Bernie Goldbach posted a photo:

In Starbucks, Westmoreland Street, Dublin, Ireland.

Bernie Goldbach and Michelle Gallen [Flickr]

Bernie Goldbach - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 16:54

Bernie Goldbach posted a photo:

In the Third Space 1784

Christmas Fruit Parcels

Caitriona Redmond - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 15:42

These Christmas Fruit Parcels are a lighter alternative to cakes and puddings and have no suet and very little fat, no eggs and can be prepared quickly. They can easily be adapted for vegans too.The beauty of the recipe is that it is great if you have a vegan/vegetarian/lactose intolerant guest.

With no eggs in the recipe either, the only thing you need to worry about is the wheat in the filo pastry but always check the labels for the exact ingredients.

Did I mention the recipe is refined sugar free as well? The only sugars in this dessert are those from the fruit.  It really doesn’t get much better than that.

On Christmas Eve buy some fresh filo pastry from your local supermarket.  You should find it in the chiller section. If you’re worried you won’t get some at the last minute then buy some now and freeze the packet of pastry until next week. In a pinch, some wonton wrappers will do either.

Christmas Fruit Parcels

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 20 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 100g Dried Fruit
  • 1/2 Cup of Orange Juice
  • 2 Cooking Apples (Bramleys are good or Granny Smith apples will do if you’re stuck)
  • 1 Packet of Fresh Filo Pastry
  • 30g Melted Butter (coconut oil for lactose intolerant/vegan guests)


The night before, make sure your filo is out of the freezer  (if you put it there) and defrost in the fridge overnight. Pour the orange juice and dried fruit into a bowl then mix well and cover. Leave overnight and forget about it.

On Christmas Day, peel the apples then grate them into the dried fruit mix and stir well. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Spread out the filo pastry and cut the sheets into 4 equal (square) pieces. Most filo packets come with 6 sheets so this will give you 24 squares or 12 parcels. In the middle of 12 of the squares put a teaspoon of the mixture. Brush the outside of the squares with melted butter then bring the edges together to make the parcel. You will now have 12 parcels and 12 empty squares. Put the parcels into the middle of the empty squares, brush the edges again and bring those together so that each parcel has 2 layers of pastry. Put the parcels onto a tray lined with greaseproof baking paper then bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Once golden and crispy at the edges, remove and let cool for 10 minutes before serving with a dusting of icing sugar, maybe a splash of cream/brandy butter/custard/ice-cream on the side?

  • If making this dessert for a vegan or lactose intolerant guest then substitute the regular (dairy) butter for coconut oil instead.
  • If your guests don’t like dried fruit then don’t put it in at all but I’d suggest that along with the grated apple you could add some chopped crystallised ginger which will sweeten and spice the mix slightly.
  • For a bit of punch add some whiskey or brandy when soaking the fruit with orange juice the night before if you wish.

The post Christmas Fruit Parcels appeared first on Caitriona Redmond - Wholesome Ireland.

Sewing a Felt Bear Ornament for a Toddler-proof Christmas Tree

Evin O’Keeffe - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 14:09

I wanted to make some felt ornaments this year to fill our Christmas tree nicely. With a two-year-old on the prowl, I’m sticking with unbreakable ornaments for a little while, so wood, metal, and felt.   Materials I saw a...

The post Sewing a Felt Bear Ornament for a Toddler-proof Christmas Tree appeared first on EvinOK.

My Kindle Farts [Flickr]

Bernie Goldbach - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 09:22

Bernie Goldbach posted a photo:

It's always interesting to see what Amazon recommends to me.

Starting Congversations

Bernie Goldbach - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 17:36

I HAVE STARTED a series of 100 podcasts called Congversations. They revolve around conversations that start in Cong, County Mayo, Ireland, and continue all the way around the calendar to the annual Congregation in that small town.

Listen to "Announcing Congversations 1801" on Spreaker.

Offering 100 episodes (approximately 2000 minutes of content) is no simple matter. I'm depending on the handiwork of some junior members of the Youth Media Team as well as studio sessions donated by the creative media students in the Limerick Institute of Technology on the Clonmel Digital Campus.

If you're interested in being part of the audio mix, please let me know via a comment or submit your blog post for #cong19 before the end of September 2019.

You can subscribe to the audio flow of Congversations with your podcatcher by copying the RSS feed: https://www.spreaker.com/show/3263384/episodes/feed.

Introducing My Next Book: Aurora Ultraviolet Knits

Evin O’Keeffe - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 15:37

I am working on a new book and have been plotting, planning, and designing for it to become a reality for almost two years. Seriously, you knew I could keep a secret after I didn’t reveal my last pregnancy online...

The post Introducing My Next Book: Aurora Ultraviolet Knits appeared first on EvinOK.

Dishwasher Vodka

Caitriona Redmond - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 14:37

Normally when infusing alcohol with spices or fruit you have to wait a number of months for the best flavour. This is a cheat’s version, called dishwasher vodka, which if made today will be ready for drinking or gifting tomorrow!

When I first heard about this particular infusion trick I was a bit doubtful but hey I’m always the type of person to give something a go once. The original link I saw infused vodka with chocolate bars. That’s a shocking waste of chocolate if you ask me and as Christmas is on the way I’ve an alternative option which adds seasonal tones to your vodka. However, don’t let my Winter spices be the only way to infuse your vodka in the dishwasher. This is perfect with skittles but make sure you use just one colour skittles so that you don’t have a muddy brown colour vodka. Red or green colours work particularly well here.

The instructions are simple but follow them closely!

Dishwasher Vodka

  • Servings: 30
  • Time: 10 mins
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print


  • 500ml Vodka
  • 3 tablespoons demerara sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 stick of cinnamon


Half fill a glass bottle with a rubber stopper with vodka. As the vodka is going to be spiced and we are all on a budget I would suggest a bargain tipple from your local superstore such as Lidl (disclosure as you may already know I’m a Brand Ambassador for Lidl but they’ve not asked me to mention in this post).

Add 3 tablespoons of demerara sugar, 1 vanilla pod and 1 stick of cinnamon (or cassia bark) to the bottle. Note, in my pictures I used 2 sticks and I found this a little bit overpowering but if you like cinnamon go right ahead.

Make sure the bottle is closed & sealed tightly then shake well for 2 mins. Put some welly into it!

Place the bottle on its side on the top shelf of the dishwasher. Fill the rest of the dishwasher as normal and run it on a full “dirty” setting. For me that is 130 mins at approximately 60 degrees Celcius.

When the dishwasher is finished, leave the bottle to completely cool on the top rack.

DO NOT open the bottle until it is stone cold.

Once cold, shake the bottle one more time and leave standing upright for 3 hours. Serve on plenty of ice if you’re going to drink it neat. Decant into mini bottles or jars for presents and decorate the bottles with bows.

Mix with soda water or decent ginger ale for a bit of sparkle. Just to add the yellow/orange cubes are recyclable ice cubes; if you don’t like your drinks watered down they are the bizzo.

The post Dishwasher Vodka appeared first on Caitriona Redmond - Wholesome Ireland.

I knew several boys of '67 [Flickr]

Bernie Goldbach - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 17:02

Bernie Goldbach posted a photo:

Not in the book but their doppelgangers.

Using Flickr to pass notes to Santa [Flickr]

Bernie Goldbach - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 07:36

Bernie Goldbach posted a photo:

From Dylan (7).

Snapping Shadow the Cat [Flickr]

Bernie Goldbach - Sun, 12/02/2018 - 19:15

Bernie Goldbach posted a photo:

Using a Lykos Litepanel

Wiped out [Flickr]

Bernie Goldbach - Sun, 12/02/2018 - 19:15

Bernie Goldbach posted a photo:

Resting on the first Sunday of Advent 2018.

Caitriona Redmond’s Christmas Cake Recipe

Caitriona Redmond - Sun, 12/02/2018 - 15:06

It’s not too late to make my Christmas Cake Recipe! Simply because it’s designed to be frosted or iced traditionally. It’s not quite as heavy as old-style cakes, nor as sweet, because the shot of espresso adds balance to the flavours. This is a firm family favourite in my house. Since I iced our cake last week the kids have been begging me to slice it early because they love fruit cake so much!

Some of you may have spotted this Christmas Cake Recipe in Lidl Ireland stores last year. I’ve had many requests to put the recipe on the blog and here you go!


Christmas Cake Recipe

  • Servings: 20
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


  • 165g Butter (unsalted)
  • 110g Light Brown Demerara Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Black Treacle
  • 3 Medium Free Range Eggs
  • 165g Plain Flour
  • 1 shot good quality Espresso
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 400g mixed fruit presoaked (at least overnight) in whiskey (100ml) & juice and rind from 1 orange
  • 50g finely chopped crystallised ginger
  • 50ml whiskey to sprinkle on the cakes while warm


  • Mixing Bowl or Stand Mixer
  • Wooden Spoon
  • 1 lined circular 25cm baking tin


  1. Preheat your (fan) oven to 150 degrees Celcius and line your circular baking tin.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together then add the treacle and mix in well.
  3. Beat the eggs into the mixture one by one until the batter is smooth and not lumpy. If it is lumpy then add a small spoon of the flour.
  4. Slowly beat in the flour, espresso, baking powder, cinnamon and ground ginger. The batter will become thick.
  5. Stir in the soaked mixed fruit and crystallised ginger along with the juices from soaking.
  6. Pour the mixture into a lined baking tin and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 1 hour 40 minutes (100 minutes) total.
  7. After 100 minutes, using a cocktail stick test the cake by poking right into the centre, if it is baked then the cocktail stick will come away clean. If the stick does not come away clean then bake for a further 10 minutes and test again.
  8. Once cooked remove the cake from the oven and sprinkle the top with whiskey and leave to cool covered with a clean tea towel.
  9. If you’re going to freeze the cake, then once completely cool wrap well with baking parchment before putting it into the freezer to protect it from burn.
  10. You can ice traditionally with marzipan then fondant icing, or you can frost it if you’re making this cake at the last minute. Here I’ve iced the cake traditionally using 1 roll of marzipan and 1 roll of icing from Dr Oetker Baking Ireland.
  11. To ice/frost beat together 150g unsalted butter, 50ml full fat milk and 400g icing sugar. Flavour as you wish although perhaps a little whiskey in the icing might add a bit of zing!

Disclosure: I received the roll out icing and marzipan in a sample package from Dr Oetker. I was under no obligation to mention or blog about their products. I just like using them.

The post Caitriona Redmond’s Christmas Cake Recipe appeared first on Caitriona Redmond - Wholesome Ireland.

Find our cat [Flickr]

Bernie Goldbach - Sun, 12/02/2018 - 14:31

Bernie Goldbach posted a photo:

Her first year inside the family tree.

December 2018

Caitriona Redmond - Sat, 12/01/2018 - 17:40

With the Toy Show being on last night Christmas season has officially kicked off in Ireland; in fact I have a Christmas party to go to tonight. The kids are obsessed with Christmas and their pure joy and delight in decorations in the shops and music playing on the radio is brilliant. As usual for the start of December though I don’t have the decorations up and I’ve no Christmas Tree in the sitting room quite yet.

I know I’m not the only one. I suppose it’s a hangover from the days of being so stressed out about money that we tried not to put the decorations up early or the presents under the tree until we had them bought. It felt like we were making promises to the kids (and to ourselves) that we just couldn’t keep.

The memories of tossing in turning in bed at night wondering how to borrow from Peter and pay Paul will never go away. I hope that they never do because I understand now that they have (a) brought me to where I am today and (b) know exactly what it’s like for those who are struggling at the moment.

Over the next month I’ll have something new each day for you to read or watch. I’ll share my tips on how to prepare for Christmas on a budget; how to not to be a Mammy-martyr in the lead up to the big day, how to ask for help gracefully, and some budget present ideas for all ages.

For today, the first day of December, I’d like to ask you to add 1 small extra item to your grocery shopping this week to donate to your local food appeal. It needn’t be something expensive, even if it’s an extra tin of beans or a bag of rice. If you’d rather not add an extra item in, why not see if you have something in your cupboards already that you’d like to share. Here’s the list from the St Vincent de Paul for their food appeal (this is also suitable for the Lions Club food appeals). Click here for the St Vincent de Paul list.

I’ve got some bags of pasta and some tins of beans which will be brought to our local collection point this week.

Chat tomorrow. Cxxx

The post December 2018 appeared first on Caitriona Redmond - Wholesome Ireland.