Diary of An Irish Woman

musings of an irish lady now living in America.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Banoffee Pie

So Banoffee is a pie that I'm asked to make often

Its a pie common in Ireland and we even had a special one for our wedding !

So heres the recipe

- very simple to make - put a can of sweetened condensed milk unopened in very very very large pot of water making sure can is very well covered and boil for an hour and half (leave can in unopened) making sure water always stays over the can. (story about exploding cans of caramel in our kitchen some other time)

Carefully open can face down directing the now very hot squirting caramel onto a pie crust with sliced bananas already in it and then top with fresh cream

Banoffee = Banana and Toffee = Banoffee

So figure show people how to make it :-)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

anyone need any vases...

Jan Sinead D 056
Originally uploaded by SineadBorg.
So on our wedding invitation and on site www.mcviking.com - we let people know - please dont give us any gifts - we have everything we need - and dont need any more vases...

I should have known to expect this.

So my girlfriends in Ireland at the wedding said - we saw you needed vases and they ALL came up one at a time with vases for us.. The most garish vases you ever saw, all wrapped up.

That'll teach us not to say that again

Happy ending to story, well at least for us. I gave them all to my sisters kids and although Fiona tried in vain to give them back - I put money in the vases and insisted to her wee girls my nieces that they keep them - much to the cries of dismay from my sister.

Last I heard she fobbed one off on her mother in law by tricking her brother in law to bring it home saying she left it by mistake at her house. I heard from Fionas Mother in Law she plans to give it to Fiona for her birthday. I can see these vases coming back in a circle one day...


castle_bb_view, originally uploaded by jazzbird.

So this is a view from our BnB in Connemara.

the joys of calling AAA - or AA(as it is in Ireland) when you're in middle of nowhere

A wee story on trying to get roadside assistance when in the 'back of beyond'

Bit of background...

So when in Ireland we were in Connemara - amazing beautiful place where my Granny bless her is from. The gang of yanks had come over with us for a whirlwind tour for two days while we were in Ireland to get married. There were 11 of us there and Arv's sister Anu was coming over that day from America with her friend and driving from Dublin straight to Connemara to meet us. I had advised against it since its a tough 5 hour drive from Dublin, and jetlagged doesn't help. Also the word for road in Irish is bothar - coming from the two words - bo meaning cow and thar meaning way of - and no where is it more apparent than Connemara that wherever the cow wandered there's the road. Don't get me wrong its beautiful but its the middle of nowhere and not much help around

So we get a call on our mobile while in Cliften - a very nice Irish lady telling us she picked up Anu and her friend as their tire was flat and they were at the recess road at a pub - nearest to civilization . Seems they made it all the way over and got a flat just 30 miles from us after driving for 4 and half hours. So off we went in rescued the van we rented with the five of us.. imagine rescue music here..

So when we got there Anu had been on a payphone for an hour - she had no luck in getting rental company to help her, also AA said that make of car not covered.. She had AAA gold coverage in states so we tried calling them to get their help in Ireland. They said no problem. Irish AA was telling her they couldn't and needed proof of her membership from America.

Note that in Ireland AAA is called AA - alcoholics anonymous not as being bandied about in Ireland - with the thought process of the country that sure its ok to be drunk...) Anyway she was getting nowhere so I decided to have a try

Now there was a wee issue with this

Anu's full name is a long Indian one - and I have a heavy Irish Accent
Which of course leads to I was pretending to be her and couldn't pronounce my own name

So the call went something like this

to Irish AA - Yes - look I need help and American AAA cant fax over confirmation as they are not allowed to fax international. I'm a woman on my own in middle of nowhere (6 people behind me in van trying not to giggle) and I need help now

Guy on phone says - ok - we'll send out help - What's your name

My name... pause while I look at Anu's long name on her membership card - and well. well it came out like this

Its Annnhummmannhhaaamm murhhammmannahhham

silence from other end of phone...

Laughter and giggles from behind me in van..

Yes you see said I (thinking I am covering for this beautifully) - I married an Indian guy and I took his name.. yes - I even took his first name. Indian names can be so difficult.

Now there's 7 people in van trying to hold in belly laughing while I still pretend I'm on my own in the middle of nowhere, an Irish lady married an Indian guy and who cant pronounce her new last name, or her new first one....

So taking pity on me - Irish AA agreed to send someone out. An hour later - five of the guys were trying to take the wheel off the car in the pissing rain off a bog road and having no luck - finally Pete came out from a local garage - Pete had no joy either - the rim was so bent. So I told Pete to get his garage to come get the car next day and we'd all head back to the BnB, drop the now well past exhausted jetlagged girls off and go to pub.

So we were late in meeting my cousins in the pub with the running around but funny bit was telling them about the guy Pete who came to help - I described him , they didn't seem to know him, and they know everyone. Finally I said cross-eyed and they all went - ahhh - sure why didn't you say it was cross eyed Pete. And for the next day even getting directions to garage to get the car - we had to say cross eyed Pete for anyone to know who we were talking about...

Only in Ireland....

Monday, April 03, 2006

New Zealand domestic flight crazy rules

Now I live in America so I'm used to strange rules at the airport.

When going through security now best thing is to
1. take off all jackets, coats, vests, shirts with pockets, tops with ties, hell anything thats not seethru
2. take off your shoes, boots, sandals, clogs, runners, slippers
3. take everything out of your bag, computer, ipod, video camera, dvd player, walkman (remember those?)
4. take off your belt and underwire bra... I wont tell you how many times I've tripped their alarms with my super mega underwired can it keep them up and out bra...
5. to be safe take out all batteries of electronic equipment (they just had us do this at SFO)
6. To be extra safe just strip naked, probably easier and carry on of a pencil that needs sharpened.

Even with all of that when we flew to New Zealand Jan had an extra step and had to go through a machine that looked like a seethrough telephone booth or tardis (joys of Dr Who being back will be followed up later) and it poofed at him. I asked to go through - just because it looked geeky kind of cool. They said no.... No sense of fun these people

Anyway as you can see from above - well used to the joys of strange rules... Well New Zealand domestic air beats them all.

We got into Auckland at 5am - firstly let me say their staff are wonderful and friendly at airport - they have free tea (good tea - not the stuff they pretend is tea here - but thats a whole other post on tea...) and they were super nice as they sent our hiking boots to a lab to be cleaned and tested to make sure we hadnt brought anything in, since I hadnt hiked in mine but wear them from a van to a pub trying to look fit no danger but better safe then sorry.

Anyway - we walk over to domestic terminal with our bags to get a flight to south Island to being our honeymoon and adventure. Lady tells us that hand luggage can only be 7Kilos on the plane - now for Americans and some other countries who decided that they would stay with old system about 14 pounds. Not a lot. They even weight it at gate when you are going through. Problem was , nothing and I mean nothing else could fit into my checked luggage - miracle it was closed as was. My hand luggage weighed 19 kgs - so major problem...

So there we are - and I suspect my bag weights about 5 kgs (kilos) and lady says to me - no worries (which is their phrase for everything - same as Irish saying its grand when your leg is hanging off...) What we will do miss is have you carry everything... So get this - you can only bring on 7kgs but you can put everything in your pockets and even carry stuff and look like the mitchlen man or johnny fortycoats and weigh now 300 pounds or 25 stone... I had a makeup bag in my pocket to give you an idea, 3 books, a pillow, blankets in my hand - I looked like I was planning on camping in the airport - I waddled onto plane and dumped it all in overhead. My handluggage - the now empty bag holding i think a pen in it was 6 half pounds. Now theres a silly rule...

Going back we bought another bag.. and avoided weighing hand luggage.

And I thought America was only one with silly rules...

sinead and Jans - mcviking wedding

Jan Sinead C 047, originally uploaded by SineadBorg.

pic of me and Jan leaving church. We walked out to the end title theme in throne room of star wars... I told my brother - dont hit play until the ink on the wedding registry is signed and dry.. fantastic day - we even had sun in Glendalough that day for wedding - I was shocked as well !

getting fit

So booked myself for pilates again. The Saturday class is booked up but I put myself in for Mon and Wed classes at 6pm - I havent done it in months.. so I know this will kick my arse in two for sure.. I really liked the Sat lady Julie, as much as I didnt like getting up Sat Morning early - we'll see I'm on waiting list for that one as well - be funny if I end up at all three .. well funny in a wow I'm so feckin sore kind of way.

And tomorrow me and sister chick Shelia go back walking again - we both need it and I miss it - we walked tons in New Zealand but still - regular walking - only way I can get fit and lose some of my arse.. I felt great for my wedding but still like to lose another bit of weight and more importantly get fit - There was one section in NZ at a thermal park (gysers, boiling pools of mud and sulpher - very very cool) and it said it was physically strenous - so we walked it and it wasnt bad at all so I thought Yeah ! I'm fit - but also going in back of my head - that wasnt really hard so maybe they wanted to scare folks off. Then we went back on the regular trail and there was a section with stairs, or should I say cliff. OMG - my lungs wanted to jump out and get a new body. It was killer. Which of course retiterates several key points

- I am not that fit
- I dont like stairs
- I dont like heights - see story re skiing for that one
- I need to do more stairs

So I'll have to work in going up when walking - I've got the flat bits mastered ! Small baby steps right? thats the key to getting fit

And me, Jan and Shelia are off to learn how to play Golf. We were driving back from the Irish Network Brunch Sunday at Michaels restaurant at shoreline and passed golf course, we mused playing golf and none of us know how to - so we decided to take some lessons to see if we suck, if we want to continue, and a general sense of well we havent done that lets try. So campbell recreation group has golf lessons - how cool is that - so we start mid May - Tiger Woods look out ! Since I take 78 gos on video golf and have no eye to hand coordination at all...

I dont think he needs to worry. When I played tennis as a teenager with Monica my mate in Donaghmede - we played for about two weeks a year after Wimbeldon was on, our interest suddenly in tennis - we didnt play tennis - we played a game I like to call sorry. Yep sorry. It was named that as we considered ourselves Gods if we got a volley in at all. Normally I hit the ball no where near Monica (not on purpose) and yell sorry, she'd do the same. If we managed to hit it back - we stopped and cheered. I dont think the venus twins had anything to worry about..

Still I want to get reasonably fit - and the pilates helps my back which is always a good thing.

Nice thing about this year was I actually met my New Years Resolutions for last year ! Lose weight, get a job that doesnt overwhelm me but I love, make good money and have a life with and be good at, spend more time with my love and friends, get fitter and healthier. Yep shock to me too folks. Life is excellent and only starting....

Theme from star wars playing here.. Those at wedding will get it... :-)

home again

well more posts coming later but just back in US after going to Ireland, getting married March 10th yeah ! to the wonderful Jan whos my soulmate reconnected and honeymoon in New Zealand - it was fantastic - we were away 26 days which is the longest I've ever had off from any job since I came to America.. All of it was fantastic and will post more soon

pics from wedding here


Yeah !!