Sheila O'Kelly's Blog

Freelance journalist, sub-editor, and e-novelist

Archive for September 2009

Dodder diary: Monday 28 September 2009

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Ducks on the river Dodder.

Male and female duck - together but apart.

Ducks gather for the morning news.

"A woman told me that a woman told her..."

Ducks blend in with the autumn colours.

Ducks blend in with the autumn colours.

Written by SOKNH

September 28, 2009 at 11:57

Posted in Dodder Diary

Dodder diary, Tuesday September 22, 2009

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Up close and personal

Today I focused on the common or garden plants, whose beauty is easily missed.

Blackberries in their autumn glory.

Blackberries in their autumn glory. © Sheila O'Kelly

Blackberry flower.

Blackberry flower. © Sheila O'Kelly

Plant along the banks of the river Dodder in Dublin.

Plant along the banks of the river Dodder in Dublin. © Sheila O'Kelly

The gardener's nightmare, Convolvulous, otherwise known as bindweed.

The gardener's nightmare, Convolvulous, otherwise known as bindweed. © Sheila O'Kelly

Grass and nettles.

Grass and nettles. © Sheila O'Kelly

A dandelion.

A dandelion. © Sheila O'Kelly

Not many birds on view today, but one of them left this behind.

Not many birds on view today, but one of them left this behind. © Sheila O'Kelly

© Almost home, a last view from the path before crossing back across the road.

Almost home, a last view from the path before crossing back across the road. © Sheila O'Kelly

Written by SOKNH

September 22, 2009 at 12:46

Posted in Dodder Diary

Cormorant dries off

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Occasionally, you can see the cormorant in Dodder Park and one was there today drying his wings. He must have been there for at least 25 minutes with his wings stretched out before he took off. The ducks were not bothered by him and he completely ignored them.

2 Cormorant Sep 17

Cormorant giving me a good hard look.

Cormorant air drying his wings.

Cormorant air drying his wings.

Ducks and cormorant tolerate each other.

Ducks and cormorant tolerate each other.

You know the cormorant is nearly finished blow drying his wings when he folds them back in.

You know the cormorant is nearly finished blow drying his wings when he folds them back in.

Written by SOKNH

September 17, 2009 at 13:46

Posted in 1, Dodder Diary

Budget, tasty, vegetarian burgers and pilaff

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Spicy lentil burgers and Brown rice pilaff

Just replace butter with oil for vegans.

While this might sound a bit sandals and puritanism it’s actually a family favourite. The burgers are very well flavoured and the rice is cooked with a little butter, stock and thyme and is a nice moist accompaniment to the burgers. If you like, you could also serve steamed vegetables. If I have any veg suitable in I do, but otherwise I don’t bother.

Linda Carucci has successfully convinced me that it is worth removing the green germ you find inside garlic from this time of the year on. There's something quite satsifying about it anyway.

Linda Carucci has successfully convinced me that it is worth removing the green germ you find inside garlic from this time of the year on. There's something quite satsifying about it anyway.

The burgers are adapted from ‘Spicy and delicious’ by Priya Wickramasinghe; and the Brown rice pilaff from, ‘Cooking school secrets for real world cooks’ a rather bossy, but extremely useful, cookbook by Linda Carucci.

This meal is also extremely cheap. Again the ingredients list might look a bit lengthy, but most of them are spices.
Before you start, you need to know that the lentils must be soaked in an equal volume of cold water for at least four hours (or overnight).
Start the rice pilaff first and while it is cooking you can make the burgers.

Brown rice pilaff

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter (or 2tbsp for vegans)
  • 1 standard sized onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs (I have often used dried thyme instead)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock made from good powder or cube (I like Marigold boullion or Kallo organic)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp salt crystals (I like Maldon)
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dried raisins or currants

How I do it

  1. Chop the onion very finely in a food processor or with a knife
  2. Cook it gently in butter until it is getting soft
  3. Add the pine nuts and cook slowly for another few minutes
  4. Turn up the heat to high and stir in the brown rice. Toast the rice for about 60 seconds stirring all the time.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.
  6. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 40 minutes until rice is tender.

Spicy lentil burgers (makes about 12)

Ingredients

Spices

  • 1tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamoms

Other ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp tomato puree
  • salt and pepper

How I do it

  1. Soak lentils in water for at least 4 hours (but not more than 24)
  2. Drain lentils in sieve or colander
  3. Grind lentils about 3 tablespoons at a time in a liquidiser, or all in one go in a food processor
  4. Add chopped onion and rest of ingredients (including spices) to mixture and grind again
  5. Heat ½ inch of flavourless oil (like sunflower) in a frying pan
  6. Drop tablespoonfuls of lentil mixture into a hot frying pan, flattening them into a burger shape. Cook on one side for about two minutes and then turn and cook other side. They should be golden brown. You will need to cook them in two or three batches.
  7. Drain on kitchen paper. You can keep them in a low oven for up to an hour before serving.

Written by SOKNH

September 16, 2009 at 18:51

Posted in 1, Main courses, Recipes

Heron hides his true colours

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The bird I see most often on the Dodder is the heron and here he is again today. The pebbles act as a perfect cover while he looks for breakfast.

Short Dodder Diary today because I want to post some more recipes!

Heron on the river Dodder September 16 2009
Heron on the river Dodder September 16 2009

Heron on the river Dodder September 16 2009

Heron on the river Dodder September 16 2009

Heron on the river Dodder September 16 2009

Heron on the river Dodder September 16 2009

Heron on the river Dodder September 16 2009

Written by SOKNH

September 16, 2009 at 18:29

Posted in Dodder Diary

Dodder wildlife survey

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Mary Tubridy and Associates are carrying out a wildlife survey of the river Dodder for South Dublin County Council. Contact Mary Tubridy (087 250 6311) before the end of October if you have any information about Dodder wildlife (plant, birds, butterfiles, otters badgers) or would like to know more.

Meeting of the regulars.

Meeting of the regulars.

Contact Mary Tubridy at 087 250 6311 if you would like to contribute.

Contact Mary Tubridy at 087 250 6311 if you would like to contribute.

Written by SOKNH

September 14, 2009 at 18:10

Posted in 1, Dodder Diary

Geeky organisation tip that really works

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This has saved me hours.

You know those tall shallow drawers where you throw everything and then can’t find it? Number each drawer on the outside. On a sheet of paper write in the numbers and then list everything in each drawer on the paper beside the corresponding numbers. Slip the sheet of paper into the top drawer and you’re done. Now everytime you want to find something just scan down the sheet of paper and it will tell you which drawer it is in. Only catch is, you need to put things back in the correct drawer.
You will quickly get used to which drawer which object is in and will never more be stuck for stamps, batteries, sticky stuff, pens, erasers, camera charger. light bulbs, dication machine, post its, staples etc

These drawers make it easy to find all those small items.

These drawers make it easy to find all those small items.

IMG_0002

List of items in top drawer makes it easy to find everything.

Written by SOKNH

September 12, 2009 at 15:58

Posted in 1, Organising, Other stuff