We had some great clear skies recently allowing fabulous views of the Milky Way. Lots more details on Kerry's Dark Skies reserve
Staigue Fort Cottage is the perfect base for all these activities!
South West Kerry has received an international dark sky reserve status! Kerry is one of the best places in the Northern Hemisphere to view the night skies.http://ow.ly/t1LQN
Staigue Fort noted on map too!
Nice little video on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way. Lots of adventure in Kerry!
On the subject of skies, the very next day we had glorious blue sunshine. You could feel the grass and plants growing with the blast of heat.
The skies on Kerry are continually changing. We had some unusual UFO shaped clouds on Friday - I think they're called lenticular clouds. Very surreal
These salty pretzel-like nibbles tasted great with guacamole and the combination looked pleasingly disgusting.
Ingredients ( makes 48) : Flaked almonds, food colouring, .750g flour, 1 pkt dried yeast, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp salt, warm water. 2 tbsps baking soda. 1 egg and 1 tbsp water.
What colour nail varnish would a witch wear? Red, I think, others think green. Using a paint brush colour one side of each flaked almond in whatever food colouring you think appropriate. To stop your fingers staining get a child to do this job. Feel free to borrow mine. Leave to dry.
If you have a recipe you like for pizza dough this would work well for these. If not mix 750g flour, 1 packet of dried yeast, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp salt with enough warm water to make a dough. Knead for as long as you can manage – ten minutes supposedly. I have not evolved enough to find kneading therapeutic, there seems like so many other things I should be doing instead of pounding dough.
Once the dough is smooth (add more flour if it is too sticky), divide dough into quarters, rub a little oil on each and wrap them in cling film. Leave to rise for about an hour, they should double in size.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Bring a large pot of water to boil and reduce to a simmer. Add 2 tbsps of baking soda to the water.
Grease two baking trays.
Divide one of the dough quarters into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long finger shape. Go longer and thinner than you think necessary as they do suffer from oedema and tend to swell up.
When all 12 pieces are formed transfer to the simmering water and poach for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon to baking tray. I tweaked their shapes a little at this stage.
Brush each finger with the egg wash ( 1 beaten egg mixed with 1 tbsp water).
Using a sharp knife score lines on each finger.
Sprinkle with sea salt.
Position almond nails, push into dough to attach.
Bake until golden brown – about 10 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.
Once the first set of fingers are in the oven start shaping and poaching the next 12.
They are best eaten on the same day but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
It was a disappointing year for blackberries, too much rain and too little sunshine. The votes for blackberry crumble far outnumber the votes for blackberry whiskey in our house (with five minors, questions would need to be asked if it was any other way). However there are enough sloes and damsons to capture some of the season’s flavours in fruit liqueurs.
The damson liqueurs have a wonderful rich ruby red colour and make lovely Christmas gifts as do the slightly paler sloe liquers.
Use 2 litre Kilner jars as this leaves room to shake the contents of the jar. Sloes, damsons, blackberries And raspberries can all be used and any alcohol – vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, brandy. Our favourites last year were blackberry whiskey and damson vodka( the damsons give a beautiful almond flavour).
Wash and dry the fruits before pricking them all over (no need to prick the soft fruits like blackberries and raspberries).
For blackberry whiskey put 2kg blackberries, 225g sugar ( less if you like, you can always add more at the bottling stage depending on taste) and a bottle of whiskey into a sterilised Kilner jar ( sterilise in dishwasher).
Shake the jar every couple of days until the sugar dissolves.
After 3 months (less if you want it for Christmas!) or you can leave it for two years and let the flavour intensify( patience is a virtue), decant it into swing top bottles if you have them or any small bottles. Use muslin as a filter over a funnel. Last year we froze the whiskey saturated blackberries and thought they could be used a dessert or with porridge and cream on Christmas morning. David nobly tried them with porridge – ugh, they really were not worth saving. I threw out the sloes but have frozen the damsons and will try them in a dessert at some stage.
For the sloe/damson liquers use 450g fruit, a bottle of whatever spirit you like, 350g sugar (less if you like it tarter) and follow the above instructions.