Blackberry Jam

by Kristin on September 6, 2013

It was a verb that stopped me in my tracks last Friday: was. ‘The best Irish poet since Yeats, Heaney was 74.’ And then the sinking realisitation of exactly what that past tense was meant — the death of Seamus Heaney, Ireland’s most beloved poet. One week on, the nation is still reeling from the loss. […]


Elderflower Fritters

by Kristin on July 16, 2013

With the hot, sunny weather we’ve been having these past two weeks, the musky scent of elderflower hangs heavy in the still air, perfuming the countryside and drifting in the open windows at night as we fall off to sleep. The elderflower was late to bloom this year, but the trees have made up for the […]


Wild Garlic Pesto

by Kristin on April 10, 2013

I was under deadline pressure, so my husband threw the wellies into the car and took the kids out of the house on a recent Saturday so I could get some work done. They came back a few hours later, running in to where I sat at my computer, saying, “We got you a surprise. […]


Elderflower Gin

by Kristin on June 29, 2012

My elder trees were slow to bloom this year, and when they finally did, I think they were wise to me. I’d been eying up the flowers impatiently for weeks, yet the only decent ones were way up high, out of my reach even with a ladder. I had plans for them — elderflower gin. […]


Irish Nettle Soup

by Kristin on March 29, 2012

If stinging nettles grow in the Midwest, I guess I was lucky never to have had a run-in with them. The first I ever heard of stinging nettles was the summer I lived in Washington state, when I watched a girl roll up a leaf and eat it raw. I’d already had my first painful […]


Before last month, I hadn’t been to West Cork in 10 years. We’d fallen in love with the place back then and had even briefly talked about moving there; it has that kind of effect on you. Driving along the narrow causeway that runs along the side of the inlet out to Inchydoney, it all […]


Mushroom Foraging at Kinnitty Castle

by Kristin on November 3, 2011

“There are old mushroom hunters, there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters,” our expert guide for the day, Bill O’Dea, half-jokingly told us. I was part of a group gathered at Kinnitty Castle in County Offaly for an afternoon of mushroom foraging, but not before a few facts* were […]


Spiced Wild Elderberry Syrup

by Kristin on September 26, 2011

An elder tree isn’t much to look at most of the year, but it comes into its own at the start and then again at the end of summer. Using its delicate white flowers to make a cordial (or even better, an elderflower Bellini) in June is like bottling the taste of an Irish summer. […]


Blackberry Whiskey

by Kristin on September 15, 2011

They say good things come to those who wait — I’m hoping this will be the case with the blackberry whiskey I made this week. The whiskey in the jar has already turned a vivid pink after just one day, but after a few more weeks of dutifully shaking the jar, it will get put […]


Apple and Blackberry Crumble

by Kristin on September 13, 2011

In the US, the white picket fence is part of the American Dream. In Ireland, it’s not a picket fence, it’s a hedge. Almost every house has a hedge, stone wall or, yes, a fence bordering its property. When we moved to our house in the countryside six years ago, we inherited the dreaded leylandii […]