Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Warm Spicy Chorizo Sausage and Chickpea Salad - Serves 4-5


5 tbsps Olive Oil
200g Chorizo or Spicy Sausage, thinly sliced
225g Red Onion, peeled and chopped
1 Large Red Pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
2x 400g Cans of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp Coriander/Cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt & Pepper

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the chorizo or spicy sausage over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove chorizo with a slotted spoon and put to one side.  Fry the onion in the chorizo oil for 10 minutes or until browned.

Add the red pepper, garlic, cumin seeds and chickpeas to the onion and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.  Remove the pan from the heat and add back the chorizo.

Add the coriander (cilantro), lemon juice and the remaining olive oil.  Season well and serve immediately.

Our children love this recipe, although when serving to other children they may find it too spicy depending on their tastes.  When serving this at a congregation I double or triple batch this recipe and it goes down a treat.

This recipe was taken from my copy of 'Good Housekeeping Cooks Collection'

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Each to their own?

I'm sure that like me you may have heard the above phrase uttered once or twice before, either about another or perhaps even spoken to you.  'Each to their own' often implies that although not everone is in agreement in reference to a particular topic, it will be viewed by them as an area in which they agree to disagree.  Or is it?

Perhaps when dealing with strangers and acquaintences this phrase politely bridges gaps in conversation where there is a disagreement until you shortly part company.  But what about when family members are involved?  What are the social rules then?

For our family during the last year we have encountered looks and comments of shock, sarcasm and mockery.  Most often it is directly related to our faith and the choices we have made, that have arisen in accordance with that and it may surprise some of you that very often these reactions come from our nearest and dearest.  Does 'each to their own' apply to family?

These reactions from our loved ones are obviously extremely hurtful, and make one seriously question why another would choose to hurt us in this way?  We could not understand how our life choices were attracting so many negative responses.  I have consulted with, cried on and been comforted by my Husband many times on this subject and have prayed alot!  The answer is that many of our choices lead others to feel judged and inferior.  So they mock and scorn us for making them feel like this.  While this certainly does answer my questions it still does not take the sting out of their words.  Only Gods Word can do that. If you are in the midst of these hurtful comments from loved ones or strangers I emplore you to seek guidance in Gods Word, and also from your Husband.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What? No flushing!

As horrified as some of you may be at the title of this post, for us this past two days has been a reality as we head into another winter-time with our 'work in-progress' water system! Essentially that means that all year I frequently run out of water and now as we are experiencing a 'coldsnap', our water supply freezes overnight and does not thaw out again till between 1-3pm in the afternoon! We usually then get enough water back into our system, to have someone take a shower and run about two loads of laundry, before it freezes again!

Last year I'll admit that I was none too happy about having to boil water collected in 20 litre barrels and carry pots upon pots upstairs to the bath room so our son could bathe in 2 inches of water every night! Also not flushing the toilet was in my opinion a ghastly experience, one which I did not want to have to repeat!

But alas! here we are again. This year however I have been blessed with a change of heart toward this situation. I noticed toward the end of our 'big freeze' last year that for me being without water for most of the day, made me more diligent with the household chores (for some strange reason when I have no water I get an overwhelming urge to mop all my floors!), more economising when we did have it and also the children thought it was great playing 'pioneers'!

So this year I am using our current 'crisis' to teach myself: gratefulness, contentness, diligence and enthusiasm! I have been told by my Beloved that this change in heart is apparent to even him and for that he is grateful, as my complaining last year was likened to a dripping tap!

So I challenge you dear reader to see what 'difficulties and 'inconveniences' you have in your life, that can be embraced as a chance to learn and grow in the Christlike 'character qualities' we try to teach to our children!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Naturally Smoked Haddock Chowder - Serves 4-5


2 Medium Onions, peeled and diced
4 Medium Potatoes, diced with the skins on
1 Stick of Celery, trimmed and diced (you may omit this)
1 Green Pepper/Capsicum, deseeded and diced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Litre Vegetable Stock
2 Fillets of undyed Naturally Smoked Haddock
1 x 400g Can of Sweetcorn, drained
2 Large Tomatoes, chopped
400mls Full Fat Milk
Fresh chopped Flat Leaf Parsley, (keep back few sprigs to garnish)
Freshly ground Black Pepper

Put the onion, potato, celery (if using) and green pepper into a large saucepan with the olive oil, along with about 6 tbsp of water.  Heat until sizzling, stir, cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes,  Stir in the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the potato has softened and has begun to thicken the stock.

Skin the fish by running your knife between the flesh and the skin, then check for any bones.  Break up the flesh into small piece and drop into the simmering stock along with the can of sweetcorn and tomatoes.  Stir in the milk then return to a simmer and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the fish is just cooked.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper as required and throw in a handful of fresh chopped parsley.  A final stirring is all that is needed.  Spoon into warm bowls, sprinkle with remaining parsley and some ground black pepper.  We all enjoy this chowder with a wedge of whole-wheat bread.

If you live South East Ireland and you are having difficulty locating good quality 'naturally smoked haddock', please contact me via email and I would happily provide you with the contact details of our supplier. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Introducing the O'Neill Family

Today is our official first 'blog' entry and I have to admit I'm quite excited. I do love to keep in touch with far flung friends and family alike and blogging seems like a great way to keep in touch with everyone. I'll try my best to keep you all as up to date as I can with all the goings on in our home!

Today was has been a lovely day and even though not a single ray on sunlight can be seen, the views from our home are quite breathtaking. How blessed we all feel to be able to see nothing from our windows but a wide variety of trees and foliage in the most striking of Autumn colours. Thanks be to God!

Not too many weeks ago we were all busy in preparing for the autumn/winter by reaping our harvest of; apples, pears, courgettes, raspberries, tomatoes and many more! What an amazing opportunity to be able to provide food for our family and also to be able to teach our children about planting, growing and harvesting! Our animals can now also rest comfortably knowing that on his days 'off' my Husband has cleared out our cattle shed and stacked it high with straw and hay to last the whole winter. As my eyes fill with happy tears I am reminded to give thanks to the Lord for our abundant life, as I watch my family work the land or our toddler reaching to pick a small apple from a low branch. We are truly blessed indeed!

Mmmm! Homemade, Homegrown Apple Pie