On April 8th, I posted this blog about the colour green in a way of feeling closer to a Spring that was lazying somewhere but definitely not here ! Guess what ? One week later a friend of mine, Karen at

http://karmardav.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/colors-of-your-world/

proposed one of her photo hunts : “Colors of your world”. The deadline is on Sunday, April 28th, please have a look at her blog if you feel like participating. I chose to send this post as my contribution to Karma’s challenge.

St Patrick’s Day has come and gone as well as the green wave that is associated with its celebration all over the world. Originally though it seemed to have been the blue colour. Green is the shade many of us long for at this Season in the Northern hemisphere. Winter is not in a hurry to give way to Spring this year. Personally I cannot dissociate green from Ireland. For having lived there years ago, I remember marveling at  the infinite array  of greens in the Emerald Isle.quilt JOK, trefle

It is  a colour I use a lot when sewing. I find it relaxing.  Like in this small scrappy quilt where I put together some Irish memories. Edna O’Brien’s “Mother Ireland” is the first non fiction and most  personal book of the famous novelist. Her memoir (1976)  includes seven essays  written in her lyrical and sensuous voice. E. O’Brien wrote many other works (she is a playwright, poet and author of short stories) and had to see some of her work banned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edna_O%27Brien

“Irish ? In truth I would not want to be anything else. It is a state of mind as well as an actual  country. Perhaps it is that, the unmitigated challenge of landscape, of rock, of meadow, of woodland, of rain and of sheer desolating emptiness that makes people hurry there and hurry from it”.

E. O'Brien, Mother Ireland

There are magnificent black/white pictures in this book. They were taken specially to illustrate “Mother Ireland” by the acclaimed Irish photographer Fergus Bourke.

Another Irish writer and philosopher John O’Donohue, born in the West of Ireland,  expressed so beautifully  what the colour green meant for him in a book: “The Invisible Embrace of Beauty”. Here are some excerpts of a particular chapter  entitled : “Green : The Colour of Growth”.

“One of my favourite images from childhood is of meadows. Often the sheep would be let in to graze there. When you opened the gate, you could almost feel the meadow breathing. It was absolutely carpeted with grass. The colour of this grass was so rich as to seem blue-green. The sheep needed neither introduction nor persuasion; they simply gave in and became instant addicts !”

moutons 1

“Green is the colour of youthfulness; it is full of Spring energy and direction of growth, urgent on its journey towards the light”.Verrey. grange, bisse

“Gravity cannot keep it down; the call of light is always stronger”

green lantern

“Green is the colour of relentless desire. Even under earth smothered over with concrete, tarmacadam (or if I may add, pebbles), the green blade will rise”.paved street 2

“Nothing can keep grass down, its desire endures. You can find it anywhere, on top of ancient ruins way above the ground or growing in little indentations on top of massive rocks”.green on stone

“It rests the eye, and still remains the colour of the day’s desire”.paysage, C. Breton

St Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2010

A special  ancient edition of James Joyce’s “Dubliners”, smooth cloth cover, as green as the  island of the “Forty shades of green”. Joyce’s famous book is translated in French “Gens de Dublin” and contains some lovely lithographies by Charles Bardet. I thought it would be an opportunity to wish a ” Happy St Patrick’s Day to all Irish people and  to those Irish at heart.

Irish bread

December 5, 2009

Recently I found on a blog a  recipe for the traditional Irish brown bread. My mouth started watering as I remembered how delicious it tasted. Its  texture was very special, both rough and soft. When I lived in Dublin I mostly bought brown bread. I ate it either at breakfast with home made marmelade or local honey; I liked it at lunch too  with cheese, cold meats, salads or smoked salmon. Always so tasty. And healthy ! As I read the recipe, I was reminded of the many happy moments  on Fridays  after work.  I would meet friends for an hour or two in a particular pub of Ballsbridge in Dublin.

The working week was over, everyone was planning something different for the weekend, we felt like having a break and  enjoying a simple and tasty meal. Usually we would order brown bread sandwiches, ham, cheese or salmon. Some drank tea but most of us chose a glass/pint of Guinness. The famous and great Irish Stout. Was it the perspective of being free for two days or the pleasure of sharing this Friday evening meal with friends that made this simple dinner taste so good ? Probably both.

In any case, when I read  this recipe about  the Irish brown bread I decided to bake one myself. I tried to get all the similar ingredients and started travelling back in time. Below you see the two loaves of brown bread I baked with approximatively 800gr of flour (I had to convert the measures).

Here is the recipe :

12 ozs unbleached flour

1 lb stone ground wholemeal

3 ozs bran

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons of bread soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

about 4 1/2 dl of water

1 nob of butter

Don’t they look good ? Their smell was delicious, I tell you ! I could hardly wait to cut one of the breads and taste it ! And I when I did, I was happily surprised to find again its somewhat rough texture although my “Irish bread” was definitely  different. Of course. The flour was not the same, neither was the water used to mix the various ingredients, nor the “nob of butter”. Even the kind of heat in my oven must have been different. But the bread still tasted good and I thank the friendly baker near Tralee  and The Sand Papers  – http://sandpapers.wordpress.com/ –  who shared his recipe.

Enjoying the sun on a Sunday morning somewhere in Dublin.