Monday, July 19, 2010
Donadea between the showers
The rain in Ireland can be very persistant. At the moment, it is continuing for the second week straight. I'm becoming a bit worried about my laundry, which has been hung up indoors for neigh on two days and is definitely still damp. (We do have a "dryer", but it is a combo washer/dryer and although you could ascribe washing features to it... despite the fact that all our whites are slowly turning grey, it would be best to describe the dryer as more of a fluffer. -in the laundry sense for anyone with a dirty mind.)
This weekend started out with grandiose plans to cycle to Newbridge, which were scaled back as soon as the downpours started. The rather dry Saturday, that was predicted, did eventually roll around in the afternoon. So we took the opportunity to go to explore Donadea Forest Park.
Donadea was a historical castle estate that was turned over to a forestry company to log and manage as a park. The "forest" was decidely the most trees that we have seen in one place since coming to Ireland. We felt very much that Canadian urge to sling our packs on our backs and canoe out to a campsite. But it really didn't feel very woodsy, more Stanley Park, than Algonquin Park. But I shouldn't be too much of a forest snob, since I do come from the land of the Boreal forest. And it did have the distinct benefit, in that I didn't have to worry about grizzly's (eyeing us from across a lake), black bears (eating out of Brad's parents garden), coyotes (taking my mother's cat from their house in the heart of Vancouver), wolves (my friend in grade two apparently had one as a pet...?), poisonous snakes (in our dining room at Palgrave) or cougars (another funny Serhat story... he thought the signs refering to cougar sightings posted at SFU, were refering to women, as he'd never heard of the animal before. He thought we were joking when we told him the truth.) It is a badge of a Canadian to have lost a pet to a wild animal at somepoint, we just hope not to be one of the ones having to defend our children from a cougar.
Donadea boasts of a huge castle ruin with lovely walled gardens (a castle seems a fair exchange for bears), a church, many walks and a quaint cafe. It also has a "small lake", which I would probably consider to be more of a rushy swamp that could become a pond if someone hired a muskrat for a summer. The ducks are well domesticated. Nikolai was thrilled that they would come right up to his knees to beg for food no matter how many times he chased them away. The park also has a sizeable 9/11 memorial to the Fire Department and Police, as a tribute to Sean Tallon.
Our favorite part would have to be gathering food from the hedgerows around the park. Unfortunately I was wearing shorts, and my legs ended up the worse for the wear from many encounters with Stinging Nettle. At least I knew what a Dock Leaf looked like (as a thank you Ashling, I've included the recipe that you requested below. It really only takes 20 min, but makes like 20 burgers so definitely worth the effort!) Next time I go foraging in the hedgerows I'll wear pants... and maybe gloves too!
The picture is courtesy of Deda (Brad's dad) and is taken from the balcony at their home.
Here's a recipe for "Nut Burgers" (or shape as a ball to have with pasta. I renamed it for the web, since nut burger sounds a lot more appealing than our usual nut ball) from Vegetarian Cookery by Rose Elliot with minor edits by moi:
2 onions, chopped
4 oz butter (margarine)
2 tsp mixed dried herbs
2 tsp flour (can be gluten free)
300 ml of water
2 tsp veggie stock powder
2 tblp soy sauce
2 tsp yeast extract
450g mixed nuts and seeds roughly ground (we like walnuts with sunflower seed, but I think anything would do)
225g breadcrumbs (plus more for coating -can be GF if desired)
black pepper to taste
Fry onions in butter until browning. Add dried herbs and flour, cook for 1-2 min. Stir in the remaining ingrediants, then allow to cool before shaping. Shape, then coat in breadcrumbs. I typically freeze before cooking as they tend to stay in shape better. You can either fry the burgers or bake in the oven until hot a slightly chrispy.