Beekeeping Course

Started something really interesting last Thursday night in Athy and that was a beginners course on beekeeping with the south Kildare association. The course is going to last 5 or 6 weeks and promises by the end to have me fully trained as a beekeeper and able to go and get my first hive this summer. I will keep you all posted as to how I get on and how often I get stung!!

Damson Dessert

I was out collecting damson a few weeks ago and was wondering what I should do with them other than making the usual damson vodka to go with the sloe gin!

I cam across this recpie in a book I have called the Poachers Cookbook. Its an old desert called a cobbler. It was great but my God they are tart little fellas those damsons!

You will need:

750g Damsons

sugar to sweeten (plenty of this needed!)

Cobbler topping:

125g self raising

pinch salt

25g butter

45ml milk

First make the cobbler topping, sieve the flour salt and sugar into a bowl. Rub in the butter and mix in milk to make a soft dough. Roll out to 1cm thick and cut into 5cm rounds.

Cook the fruit with 1 tablespoon of water until the juice begins to run and the fruit is cooked. Spoon the fruit in a dish and cover with over lapping layers of the rounds of cobbler topping.

Bake in a pre heated oven at 220C for 20 minutes.

Dublin Bay Prawns

I love these guys and when I can get my hands on them I do them this way with garlic.
All you need is :
Uncooked Dublin Bay Prawns
1 clove of garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley

Start off by splitting them down the centre. Lay them out on a wire grill rack. Cut the garlic in half and rub the cut end along the flesh of the prawns. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Stick them under a very hot grill until cooked. Arrange in a big bowel and sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

We had it outside over looking the bay!


While we were away in Kerry we went and had a picnic one day with the gravlax featured in the last post as the star attraction. We went to Lough currane and I caught a few fish which was a bonus!

We ate the gravlax with a mustard dressing on crackers which was only beautiful. The trusty Kelly kettle had an outing as well to keep us supplied with tea!

Irish Gravlax

Following on from the last post about catching a salmon here is my recipe for gravlax. We don't have a freezer down in Kerry so we needed some way to make the salmon keep as we couldn't eat it all fresh. It is quite easy to make, although not commonly seen in Ireland is very popular in Sweden.

Here are the ingredients:

2 fillets of salmon

100g coarse salt
75g sugar
some crushed pepper

a bunch of dill chopped ( I didn't have fresh dill so used 2 table spoons of dried dill and it made no difference)

Just mix the salt, sugar, dill and pepper together. You need some cling film too.

Lay out some cling film and then lay the salmon skin side down on it, cover it with the salty mixture. Make a sandwich with the salmon fillets with the flesh side facing each other and the skin side facing out.

Wrap up well in clingfilm and put in a container of some sort. Doesn't matter what kind as long as it is not metal. Stick a weight on top and it should take about 3 days. Turn it every day so the brine penetrates the whole lot. It should keep about a fortnight in the fridge


I was in Kerry for a few weeks holidays and on my first day caught my first and only salmon of the trip. I was surprised to catch him as there had been very little rain which is usually needed in order to catch them. The fish fought like a tiger and I ended up with the fish in the river ready to be netted and a drop of about 10 feet from where I was standing on the bank. Nothing for it except to jump into the water which was waist high. I wasnt wearing chest waders, instead my wellies so I got a good soaking. I finally netted the fish which made it all worthwhile and then turned around to climb out. Now while it was easy enough to get into the river it proved a different task to climb the bloody bank back out. I had my rod in one hand and a net with an angry salmon the other. After about ten minutes I was back on dry land. It was one instance when I was glad there was no video, I was quite an undignified picture crawling up the riverbank!

Anyway I got the fish home and decided to eat one half of it fresh and make gravlax with the other half. I will post on the gravlax next time. When I am lucky enough to catch a wild salmon I always do the same thing with it. That is poach it in the fish kettle with some veggies and wine. I then serve it with homemade mayonaise and a cucumber salad. Here are a few pics of dinner that first night with my wife Sandra tucking in!

Pigs go wild

The pigs went outside today for the first time. I have to say I have done easier things in my time!! In the end we got them out and as you can see in the videos they are loving their new home.