Monday, 8 October 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly...

Home from home...Barbados
Coming down from a 'break away' (sounds like a prison break :)) can always be painful. We had almost three sunshine filled weeks in Barbados - days filled with new meetings, new foods, new places - and now we are back on the short stretch to Christmas in the crisp, clear air of an Irish autumn. It'll be lovely.. 

Getting off the plane, the first thing you sense is the moisture in the air (the vulgar expression for this being the damp). Then a cooling of the bones. Then goosebumps rising. You suddenly realise why flip flops in October is not an Irish tradition. But once you walk through to the airport building, it's the friendly nod of the Irish passport control man that really makes you feel at home. I always say howrya at this this point, in the full knowledge that it's only one of your own that can interpret this very culchie yet urban Irish shorthand version of how are you :) 

Driving home's sunset...Irish home
We had a great time in Barbados - more to follow of course. But for now, it's the sharp shock of the pleasures of home that are occupying my mind. We got back on a Friday night to a cold house - un-packing always therapeutic, but couple it with a Mick Flannery sound track and re-discovering the corners of your pre-holiday mind in the corners of your own sweet home, well - it's sweet. Finding a home for the the six bottles of Bajan hot pepper sauce, the over-sized tub of Bajan seasoning and the bottle of rum for the folks in Cappaduff was a joy, but the washing and drying of several bikinis, shorts and sun tops was challenging :) 

Flash forward 36 hours and we are well settled back in the comfort and cosy of Holly Cottage. So too is Holly the canine baby of course, well tired after three weeks in a strange home with two adoring devotees in Cork. If she could tell her tales - if only! It did take a twelve hour sleeping session and three cups of coffee, but the Irish sunshine led us back into the Holly Cottage garden. And here brought to mind the good, the bad and the ugly!

Hot chilli - meet cool tomato and basil

The good - nay - the beautiful, is the bounty of sweet cherry tomatoes, red chillies, intact celery plants and the one pumpkin that squeezed through the six failed pumpkin plants! Oh the excitement of one where there might be none ;) The bad is that we haven't planted anything new that we can follow through the winter - must correct this as soon as possible! The ugly is the toll taken on the Brussels sprouts by our insatiable plot sharers, the caterpillars. Let's not dwell on the negative however, for the bounty of tomatoes and chillis is awaiting a destination...what led us to tomato-chilli jam is anyone's guess, but here goes..

Where's the cheese!
Take a pound of sweet cherry tomatoes, lovingly picked by a hungry Cork man - add 10oz of sugar (we only had castor but brown would be sweet), two red chillis (I'd add four after tasting the final product - be sure to add the seeds if you're a heat freak), vinegar, fish sauce (we used worcesterhire), ginger and garlic.....stir over a steady simmer for half an hour.....and yes, you guessed it - wow ;) Take a piece of blue cheese, some apple and an oatcake and this stuff will take your tastebuds to far away places...

Maybe even Barbados ;) Virgin Atlantic eat your heart out!

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