BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Does It Have To Be So Cold In Ireland?

Snow, snow everywhere. My two homes (Vancouver and Maynooth) are both suffering under the weight of unseasonably snowy winters. And I feel absolutely exhausted from explaining that "I am not used to this weather... Vancouver is mild" simply because I AM CANADIAN. Besides, Brad and I both exhibit much more "snow sense" than our Irish peers, having both grown up in snowy climes.

However, there is one thing that marks us apart in our struggle with the weather... the Irish continue to be cold when outside, whereas we continue to be cold when inside. I was complaining of the cold at Nikolai's music class yesterday and everyone else was surprised, as they found the room to be quite warm! Whereas I was quite fine trudging through the snow to get there... and most of the others' were barely able to make it.

I have my theories...

1. In Canada people would heat to 21 C indoors, or maybe 20 C if you're "environmentally friendly". So the room heated to 18C was cold... to me!

2. The Irish wear layers... all the time (not just when camping, or skiing). This keeps them comfortably warm all the time. We have been wearing vests (undershirts) since the summer (how else can you wear a t-shirt in the summer?), and just today I invested in long-sleeve shirts to be worn under my sweaters. (Aisling showed up yesterday in a short-sleeved sweater, perfectly warm... with 3 layers underneath). They're even selling those footed polar fleece sleepsuits for adults now... big display rack right at the front of Dunnes... I looked at them with interest... but then couldn't bring myself to buy a pair, and went for a heated blanket instead (still a Canadian at heart!)

3. Winter gear in Ireland is non-existent. No snow tires (or even all-seasons for that fact), no snow shovels, no really warm coats, mitts, hats (just poly)... which is why everyone is cold outside. We're wearing warm wool coats, purchased in Canada, with those Olympic red mitts and wool hats. So we're quite toasty when outside! Of note, the news today actually told people to clean off their windshields with a kettle of boiling water... so the Zamboni practice is being advertised by the press.

Now a delicious pudding for a cold day... Spotted Dick Pudding (very British, not so Irish):

Mix together:
300g self-rising flour
pinch of salt
150 g of grated vegetable suet, or butter
150 g granulated sweetener
300 g dried fruit (mixed currents and citrus peel are traditional)
zest of 1 orange

Add and mix to a smooth consistency:
3 eggs (or egg replacer)
3/4 cup milk

If you have a pudding basin, and know how to make a steamed pudding, then ignore the following instructions. Otherwise:

Grease a 3 L mixing bowl (glass, ceramic or metal).
Cover with foil or parchment paper.
Place in a large stock pot on top of a tea towel (prevents the bowl from resting on the bottom of the pot). Fill stock pot with water 3/4 of the way up the bowl. Bring to a boil and steam for 1.5 hours.

Turn out onto a plate, and serve immediately with custard, cream, yogurt, etc.

SOOO delicious. Something to warm you up on a cold day! Didn't get around to taking the picture until we'd eaten most of it....

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