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Artists who paints in oil en plein aire. Member of the three member Plein Aire Cottage Artists. Members: Mary Rose Holmes, Violetta Chandler and Helen Tilston

Sunday, November 25, 2012

From The House of Edward & Ballymaloe House Recipe

Book "From the House of Edward, sits on top of handpainted chest by Josianne, "A Mother's Love Oil Painting Helen Tilston
Friends from Ireland are arriving any moment now.  Been 'n Guinness is in the oven, slowly simmering.  Darina Allen from Ballymaloe House created this version.

Ballymaloe Beef with Guinness

Beef with Guinness is ultra-easy to prepare, should be made several hours ahead (allowing you to spend time with your guests while you’re reheating the stew), and it makes the house smell wonderful while it is cooking. The Guinness stout beer not only helps tenderize the beef, it also gives a rich malty flavor to this chunky stew. It is fairly inexpensive, improves greatly overnight as stews are meant to.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
2 pounds lean stewing beef
3 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper and a pinch of cayenne
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed (optional)
2 Tablespoons tomato puree (paste), dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
1-1/4 cups Guinness stout beer
2 cups carrots, cut into chunks
Sprig of thyme
Trim the beef of any fat or gristle, cut into cubes of 2 inches (5cm) and toss them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon oil. Season the flour with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch or two of cayenne. Toss the meat in the mixture.
Heat the remaining oil in a wide frying pan over a high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Add the onions, crushed garlic, and tomato puree to the pan, cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a casserole, and pour some of the Guinness beer into the frying pan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices on the pan.
Pour onto the meat with the remaining Guinness; add the carrots and the thyme. Stir, taste, and add a little more salt if necessary.
Cover with the lid of the casserole and simmer very gently until the meat is tender — 2 to 3 hours. The stew may be cooked on top of the stove or in a low oven at 300 degrees F. Taste and correct the seasoning. Scatter with lots of chopped parsley.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

PS  I took artistic licence and used short ribs instread of cubed beef.  I have used sirloin and premium cuts of meat in the past, with success.

I baked an apple tart. When in America, "apple pie" is a must

The Salvador Dali Museum, Tarpon Springs and Ringling Museum are on the itinerary.
Ballymaloe House - where we visited this Fall

The house is primped and aired for them.   This week my autographed  copy of From The House of Edward" Essays by Pamela Terry arrived.  I have been savouring the essays and like a precious and rare wine I feel it must be rationed and savoured.   It is a treasure and I strongly recommend it.

I have been following Pamela's blog for a couple of years and, like all whom I follow, my heart delights with each new posting.

Pamela has no idea that I am mentioning her book here today.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Art Show Judges

Ninety Nine Steps to the Beach, a triptych by Mary Rose Holmes, Violetta Chandles and Helen Tilston

My art partners Mary Rose Holmes, Violetta Chandler and I were asked by Leepa Rattner Museum and Artists' Faire Fine Art Gallery  to be the Judges of The Plein Air Paint Out in Tarpon Springs Florida.   Over four days, artists painted en plein air.  The Award Presentation was Sunday past.    This "Event" attracts many of North America's finest plein air painters.

Tarpon Springs, Florida
Tarpon Springs, is on the Gulf Coast of Florida, fifteen miles north of Clearwater Beach.
Settled by Greeks, where the language is still widely spoken.  This seaside town provides delicious Greek cuisine, OPA echoes through the narrow streets, as steaming plates are taken to tables by enthusiastic waiters.  Daily specials of the freshest, local  seafood are offered. 
 Bakeries offer baklava and sumptuous deserts. 

Sponge is harvested from the waters and is available for sale

Artist Mary Rose Holmes viewing art in progress

Easels occupied the dock area, bayou, streets and bi-ways of Tarpon Springs.

Between judging and the presentation of ribbons and party, we took time to practice our trade

Artists Mary Rose, Helen and Violetta painting at Tarpon Springs

Artist Helen Tilston views  pastel paintings

The work submitted was superb and selecting winners was a time consuming and careful task
Violetta and Mary Rose planning presentation speech

Best of Show ribbon pinned by Heather Risley Owner of Gallery

Best of show:  Carole Loiacono
Second Place:  Kathy Detrano
Third Place:     Cathy Morgan

We kept our presentation speech short and Violetta added this beautiful line:

"Shostakovich said artists just need three things:  "Praise, Praise and more Praise"

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Towers on Foot or by horseback

The Gatehouse at the Towers - Helen Tilston

Arriving at Ballysaggartmore Towers, Co. Waterford, Ireland felt like entering a story book or the setting for Lord of The Rings.   They were built in 1850 by Arthur Kiely-Ussher for his wife who wanted to live in a large house. The plan was to build a large castle but having built the bridge, its towers and the gate lodge, the money ran out so work on the castle never began. Instead they had to settle for a much more modest house which was demolished in the 1930s.

The beginning of our walk at the Towers, the sun was shining, Photo Helen Tilston

If the towers are anything to go by, the castle would have been spectacular.

The watchtower at the Towers, photo Helen Tilston
 Between the Lodge and the Towers is a distance of 2 miles.  Walking is the only way, unless one has their own horse.  I can imagine the joy of riding through this forest on horse-back or even better on horse-back, riding side-saddle, as my niece Evelyn Glynn so chooses.

My niece, Evelyn Glynn riding side-saddle and jumping too, photo M. Glynn

The moss encrused tree seemed to dance, photo: Helen Tilston
About one mile into our walk we spot this tree.  Trees of this rare  beauty need rain and as we stood admiring  her the heavens opened and we got drenched.

Tower, Helen Tilston
We had no option but to continue our walk

Tower, tunnel - Helen Tilston
Through this tunnel and another half mile and we shall be at our car.  I look up and spot a Falcon

This song comes to mind and my brother Thomas, who has a beautiful singing voice  and I sing loudly, Mike joins in the chorus.  As we sang the lyrics, Mike wondered if the composer wrote this when visiting "The Towers"

Luke Kelly and the Dubliners. "Song for Ireland"

I am very inspired and shall be painting my memories of this special day.