Monday, January 12, 2015

Polly-vinyl's Back In Tha Kitchen! Or, Is She...?

Good gracious! It's been over two years since Vinca's-in-tha-kitchen last posted. That's a long, long time in anybodies book, let alone on a blog. Let's face it, any blog which isn't regularly updated and tended to tends to lose its readership very, very quickly...
It's time to start baking again!

Much has happened during the intervening years, Polly was the victim of a conspiracy which prevented her from publishing the intricate details of her life on the interwebs. Coincidentally Polly's interest in cooking and spending quality time in the world of her own kitchen also waned. This shouldn't come as a surprise though, given the outstandingly poor quality of said kitchen!

Last summer I; Polly managed to obtain the basis of what will become my new kitchen. Thanks to the kindness of strangers who were in the process of renovating their own kitchen I came across a perfectly servicable light oak kitchen which was going free to the first person to arrange for it to be collected. I was in Dublin at the time, some sixty or so miles away so this proved to be somewhat tricky. But, I managed to arrange it and arrived at the address just in time to intercept the courier who'd agreed to assist with the pick-up and delivery...

So, in short I am now the owner of a lovely kitchen which has yet to be installed into the room in which I cook. I hesitate to refer to this room as a kitchen, as currently the conditions are way below par with modern expectations and have the potential to drive a saint to swearing! The problem with the seasonal visitors has been dealt with, ie I purchased a combination stove which has an electric oven & grill and a gas hob. Problem solved - the little blighters can no longer nest inside the lining of the oven as it's now a sealed unit. This is infinitely preferable to the previous situation.

In Ireland winter visitors are a perennial problem for country dwellers. It seems that no matter how much effort goes into proofing an old house against them, they still succeed at breaking in. The terminology used in the above paragraph is a very polite version of how I've been known to describe them. In my mind they are simply a part of country life, which doesn't mean that I have to like them, rather I prefer to lay traps and poisoned bait for them. Just in case that approach strikes you as being somewhat neanderthal, it's not, because it works. I have used so called ultra-sonic devices in an effort to deal with the problem once and for all only to observe the dirty little f*@¦kers jumping over the damned things on their way to their latest quarry!

This is NOT my Kitchen!!!
One day I shall have my new kitchen. The units will be installed. The walls and roof insulated. The chimney blocked off and a cooker hood installed. Oh yes! My kitchen will be transformed into just that, a kitchen. And, my new sink which has lain for at least three years in the attic will at last be installed and plumbed in. I can hardly wait, except that such a statement is at the very least fool hardy and at best optimistic.

Meanwhile, I'll continue as we are in an old house which is largely uninsulated and remains draughty and/or cold until such time as it becomes the turn of the kitchen to be renovated. So far this year one room has been dry lined and insulated. The joints now need to be filled and then we can set about decorating it, installing carpet and curtains before moving my desk and stationary cabinet and moving on to the next project which is the room in which my youngest son sleeps. Then maybe I'll get my kitchen? After all, I should soon have somewhere for the dining room table which sucks the space from the room...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Hi there! To my eternal shame I've just realized that it's almost a whole year since I posted here - to be honest, I just can't believe it...

I was in two minds as to where I should post today. Vinca's-In-Tha-Kitchen is pretty much a blog about cooking, food and all sorts of inter-related things, whereas my other main blog Polly's Peri-Wrinkle's & Piercings! is pretty much about anything from food to crafting, to injustices in the work place, to perfume and God only knows what else. I decided to post here though, as in a round about way this post is about food; or should I say a lack of it?

Yesterday, Monday the glorious 4th July saw just over 40,000 women of all shapes and sizes take to the streets of our capital city; Dublin. Their purpose? To complete the 10km Flora Women's Mini-Marathon. Most do it in support of their favourite charity, some to qualify for other events and others do it just for the sheer hell of it. As for me; I split my loyalties in three this year. My first loyalty is to my new scout group up in Edenderry, Co Offaly, my second is to Offaly Dyslexia (incorporating the Offaly Dyslexia Group) down in Tullamore and my third loyalty is to not-so-little-old me!

This was my third year to complete the ten kilometer course around Dublin's fair city. For a change my 'running partner' Sandie Dunne stayed at home, having sustained unpleasant back pain and a nasty case of sciatica resulting in NO walking for a number of weeks. It was my first time out on my own, but luckily my SIL Bronagh came to the rescue; having nobody to walk/jog with she was delighted to join me at the start line and thankfully took heed of my advice to take the break if she saw one and not to bother to say goodbye either! Bronagh jogged some of the way and did take the break, which is a minor miracle in its own right as the course was overcrowded to a ridiculous and frustrating degree.

I started the day with a stinking headache, presumably fueled by the fact that I'd allowed myself to become dehydrated on scout camp on Saturday/Sunday. Despite a couple of litres of water, followed by a can or two of lager my condition became quite obvious on Monday morning, thankfully a bowl of bran flakes and full fat milk with a sprinkle of sugar did the trick! Funny enough DG had exactly the same problem, for much the same reasons and remedied it with a couple of slices of toast. I did both, cereal and toast knowing that I was going to need the carbs later in the day...

I also drank about a litre of water and a couple of mugs of tea, so was fully fueled by the time we made it into the center of the city. Of course we had to stop off for the obligatory loo break, which was justified by the purchase of a wishy-washy Americano and a Twix bar along the way. Admittedly, I had asked for a drop of cold water in the coffee, which enabled me to slug it as we raced towards the start line, but seriously folks it was like dishwater. It was wet and warm and laden with caffeine but it wasn't Starbucks!

Strangely, I've never done a 10k with music before. I've always had the facility for it but never actually got around to using it before, probably due to the fact that I've always had company. This time, however, was different and after Bronagh took off I pulled out my earphones, untangled the wires and pressed the play button on my phone. Despite the warnings about personal stereo's potentially "preventing competitors from hearing important safety announcements" I found that the constant babble of women's voices couldn't be drowned out and that I could only really hear the music, but not the vocal element of my eclectic sound-track. Ranging from The Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention to AC/DC and Korn, my music  motivated me to pound the streets at top speed (as far as the crowd would allow!)

I demolished approximately two litres of water along the way. Thankfully I'd brought most of that with me and a helpful scout filled my bottle from the hauser at one of the water points. This year the water was in paper cups and not a bottle to be seen along the way! Goodness only knows what the temperature was, but I was glad of any shade along the way. Even the Dublin Fire Brigade let us down in terms of water, last year they cheerfully hosed Sandie & I down, while other competitors screeched and shrank away from the cool spray as though vampires from the sun. This year, there was none of that.

The clock on the finish line stated 2.15 as I crossed the finish line. I've been anxiously waiting to find out my time ever since, as certainly there must have been at least a half hour shuffle to the start line, so of course I totally disregarded that info and have been plaguing the FWMM site all day! I've just discovered why I was so hungry when I finished:

2012 - 2696030867Polly PierceOffaly01:50:06
2011 - 3149930853Polly Pierce Offaly01:58:11

2010 - 7227         6156Polly Pierce Offaly 01:53:36

It's not much, but it's more than 8 full minutes faster than last year and only about 15 behind Bronagh who jogged much of the way! I'm full sure that it would have been better than that had I been rude enough to shove my way past the slow walking women who'd got in the way for much of the course...

Aside from being hungry to the point of ravenous when I met up with DG, our trusty chauffeur I was feeling slightly wobbly. I'd finished up my water supply ages back and was gasping with thirst too. All I wanted was a big feed of carbohydrates to finish up the race and all I got was a poxy pizza slice from Subway in the St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre!

One thing's for sure, I'd never have made it the whole way round the course had I known that was in store - a crispy finger roll, halved with a slathering of double concentrated tomato puree, a tiny sliver of second class pepperoni sausage and a sprinkling of cheese do not a pizza make. Thankfully the coffee and passion cake from Kylemore Café made up for the disappointment.

For some strange reason, I am absolutely STARVING today...