In the Woods

Borrowed from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

So every 17th I try to make an Irish recipe in honor of the day. Usually I make some Irish Soda Bread and something else to go with it. But this year the holiday falls on a Tuesday and I have an Irish mystery to post:

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French

This book came out twelve years ago and it is funny but I remember exactly when it came out because the title makes me think of Into the Woods and I just love the cover.

So I had tried to read it before, but every time something got in the way and I had to return the book. I finally got a chance to read it, and actually wished I hadn’t. Why? You’ll see.

In 1984 Ireland, three kids went in the woods to have a picnic. 12-year olds Peter, Jamie, and Adam spend all their free time in the woods-no one knows that area better than them. Jamie is very upset that day as it was her last before being sent away to boarding school so her single mother could go back to school.

That’s not what I wrote!

They three are furious to be separated and run off into the woods. When they don’t come back at tea time, Jamie’s mother starts to get upset but just thinks the kids are protesting again. When they don’t come back at suppertime, the parents are extremely worried and a search party is taken up. All they find is Adam Roy, no trace of the other children anywhere.

Adam is in shock, up a tree, and his shoes and socks soaked in blood not his own. Apparently, the socks were soaked in the blood and the blood bled through to the shoes. Search parties continued, the police detectives were called in, but no hide or hair was ever found of the other children.

Adam and his family moved away, the parents sending him to boarding school in England. Adam changes his name from Adam to his middle name, Rob, and destroys all evidence that “Adam” existed.

He’s gone.

He went on to become a police detective, getting on the murder squad like he always wished. A woman, Cassie Maddox, gets transferred on to murder squad and none of the guys trust her or like her. Rob thinks about getting it on with Cassie, but after she completely roasts him the two become best friends and partners.

One day they are wasting time when a case comes up and Cassie grabs it. The two get sent to the crime scene of a murdered child in the woods of Knocknaree, the very place that Adam’s friends disappeared.

They get to the Woods and talk to those that found the 12-year old. An archeological dig is going on before the area is destroyed for a new freeway. The girl was discovered on an old Druid ceremonial rock. She was hit in the head twice, asphyxiated by a plastic bag over the head, and raped post-mortem with a wooden handle.

Everything about it seems off. Why showcase the dead body instead of burying it or throwing it in the river? Why was it planned to bring a rock to hit her, but her being barely knocked on the head having to finish her off with asphyxiation?

Things get stranger when they look at the family. The girl turns out to be Katy Devlin, daughter of Jonathan Devlin–the same Jonathan that Rob remembers from his childhood. He was a bad guy-smoking cigarettes, doing nothing, raping a woman. This colors Rib’s view of him as he immediately dislikes him.

Bleh…

The family is odd though. Jonathan loved and idolized his daughter Katy and is heartbroken that she is dead, his favorite daughter.

Hmm…

Margaret Devlin, the wife, is really out of it, it seems as if she is on drugs. Aunt Vera, her sister, acts like the creepy grandma in Flowers in the Attic, skulking around.

This is not good

The other two daughters are strange as well. Katy’s twin Jessica is so out of it-doesn’t talk, hardly moves, just stares blankly into space…

Rosalind the eldest, seems upset, but also like she isn’t really that upset. She’s dramatic, treats Rob like a lover and is just odd. Like she is pretending to be older than her years.

The archeologists are just as strange. The absent-minded archeologist leader is scatter-brained, out of touch, and doesn’t know which way is up-but manages to put on a well oiled plan of excavation.

Mark, one of the other archeologists-angry, sharp, mean, an atheist, and yet performs druid libations on the stones.

Hmm…

Damian, another archeologist, and a quiet little boy who could be knocked over by a leaf.

Hmm…

Then there are the people who are pushing the freeway, they threatened the Devlins as Jonathan is the leader of the freeway protest.

Hmm…

And of course, her body was found on a Druid sacrificial stone-so is it cult related?

Roy, Cassie, and Detective Sam O’Neil are searching for the truth but find it opening up all kinds of wounds and secrets. Not only is the murder of a child extremely hard, but Sam loses his innocence as he discovers the people he trusted were not on the straight and narrow as he thought; Cassie has to deal with the domestic abuse and manipulations she faced on the past and things in the present are bringing up flashbacks; and Rob-well he has gone back to the place he never wanted to again-Knocknaree.

Will they discover the truth or will it stay unsolved as Jamie and Peter’s murder was?

Hmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

So I didn’t like this book. Adam/Rob is our narrator and admits in the beginning of the book that he is liar so it is hard to trust him. He reminds me a lot of Holden in Catcher in the Rye, so annoying.

Seriously!

It reminded me a bit of Moby-Dick, the summary is more interesting than the actual novel as the main character is annoying and constantly waxing on about his philosophy or random thoughts. It is even more annoying as he is a detective that does very little detecting.

It is like really dude? Get to work!

He is such a man child as he describes the best two years of his life was when he was living in a room doing nothing while Charlie was going to university and Charlie was disgusted with his lifestyle and the mess of a house? Plus he complains he has to rent a room from Heather (who mothers him in a lot of ways) as there is no place for him to afford and he is saving to move out when Cassie has her own apartment and moved there after him and presumably makes the same amount of money.

So annoying!

He’s also a complete narcissist, only caring about himself. He hates visiting his parents and seeing them, only cares about how they relate to him, thinks everything has to do with him, everyone is talking about him, etc.

We all know how they think highly of themselves, and only themselves, but Rob also exhibits this:

  • Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment
  • Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted
  • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
  • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior
  • Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change
  • Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection
  • Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation

This guy!

Plus I hated the ending. The death of Katy had a great twist bit but they never tell you what happened to Jamie and Peter. Ugh, so infuriating!!!

Let me know!!!

For more mysteries with child disappearances, go to The Key to Midnight

For more Saint Patrick’s Day recipes, go to Irish Potato Pie

For more mysteries, go to The Thumb Mark of St. Peter

Irish Potato Pie

It is Pi[e] Day!

But not only that, with Saint Patrick’s Day being on Tuesday, I thought what better pie to make then an Irish pie.

I searched throughout Pinterest, and found this recipe which comes from A Spicy Perspective.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Sheet of Frozen Puff Pastry Thawed or Pie Crust
  • 4 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 7 Slices of Bacon, Chopped (I omitted this)
  • 5 Potatoes-Peeled and Sliced Thin (I used only three)
  • 1 Onion, Peeled and Sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Dill
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chives

Directions:

  1. Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the thawed puff pastry or pie crust in a 8-9 in pan and crimp the edges.
  3. Remove the excess dough and piece it along the rim if needed to make the rim in some places.
  4. Refrigerate until it is ready to fill.
  5. Place butter and bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté until bacon is crispy and toss in the onions.
  6. Follow with potatoes and dill.
  7. Season with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper.
  8. Gently stir 3-5 mins.
  9. Spoon mixture into crust and drizzle with heavy cream.
  10. Bake on low rack for 35-45 mins-or until the potatoes are fork-tender and crust golden.
  11. Rest for 10 mins and then sprinkle with fresh chives.

Thoughts After Baking:

I omitted the bacon as I don’t like the way that bacon grease smells after cooking. Then after last year’s potato dish didn’t cook all the way through, I decided to use less potatoes this year. And I added all the chives as I didn’t want them to go bad.

This turned out really delicious, although it was missing one thing: cheese! I added a bit later and this made a great slice of pie-a slice that I will be eating on Saint Patrick’s Day too!

For more Pi[e] Day recipes, go to Creamy Sour Cream Lemon Pie

For more pie recipes, go to Hillshire Farm Crustless Quiche

For more Saint Patrick’s Day recipes, go to Easy Northumberland Pan Haggerty

For more potato recipes, go to Baked Garlic Parmesan Fries

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Heart Shaped Pizza with Homemade Pizza Dough

For more holiday recipes, go to Dao’s Egg Rolls

Easy Northumberland Pan Haggerty

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Thoughts Before Baking:

So every 17th I try to make an Irish recipe in honor of the day. Usually I make some Irish Soda Bread and something else to go with it. The last two years I have done sweeter recipes, so this year I decided to go with something savory and made out of an Irish staple: Potatoes.

I was planning on doing one recipe, but discovered I purchased the wrong potatoes. I scoured the internet and found this one on The Spruce Eats.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz of Butter, divided
  • 9 oz of Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4-6 Potatoes, Peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces of Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice the onion.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes.
  3. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Over medium heat, melt 1 oz of butter in a large, oven safe, frying pan.
  5. Gently cook the onions until soft, but not browned.
  6. Melt half of the remaining butter.
  7. Remove pan from heat.
  8. In the pan, arrange a layer of potatoes.
  9. Add a layer of onion.
  10. Sprinkle on a layer of cheese.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Repeat steps 8-11, until all ingredients are used and the top is layered with potatoes.
  13. Place the pan over medium heat and cook on stovetop for a few minutes, or until the bottom layer of the potatoes are brown.
  14. Dot the surface with the rest of the butter and place in the heated oven, baking for 30 mins.
  15. Remove from oven and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
  16. When the oven’s temperature has risen, return the pan to the oven and cook for 15 more minutes.
  17. To serve, loosen the edges of the potato cake from the frying pan with a spatula.
  18. Flip the pan over onto a  plate or breadboard.
  19. Cut into wedges and enjoy.

Thoughts After Cooking:

So I didn’t have an oven safe pan, after cooking on the stove I flipped it into my pie pan. So I had mixed feelings about this. The potatoes on top and bottom cooked very well, and were delicious. However, the ones in the middle didn’t all cook through.

I sliced my potatoes extremely thin, so I don’t think that was the problem. If I were to do this again, I would do less potatoes; maybe 2 or 3. Or try it with the yukon gold or red potatoes.

But the parts that were cooked, were so good. Yummy:

For more Saint Patrick’s Day posts, go to Irish Blueberry Scones

For more potato recipes, go to Grilled Sausages, Potatoes, & Carrots with Salsa Verde

For more holiday posts, go to Creamy Sour Cream Lemon Pie

Irish Blueberry Scones

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Thoughts Before Baking:

So every 17th I try to make an Irish recipe in honor of the day. Usually I make some Irish Soda Bread and something else to go with it. I needed a recipe and I love scones, so when I found this recipe on pinterest, I had to make it.

This recipe comes from Kathy Strahs of  Sunny Days, Good Food: Living the Tasty Life in California, who was inspired by her Irish friend Una O’Connor

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, sliced into pats
  • 1/2 Cup of Dried Blueberries
  • 5 Tablespoons of Milk
  • 2 Eggs, one for the batter and one to brush the tops
  • Sugar to sprinkle (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  4. Rub in the butter with your fingers until it’s all worked in.
  5. Mix in the dried blueberries.
  6. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the milk and one egg together.
  7. Pour the milk mixture in with the dry and gently mix until the liquid is fully incorporated.
  8. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times and pat it into a disc about 3/4″ thick.
  9. Slice the dough into 8 equal wedges, and transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet, leaving spaces between each scone.
  10. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar (if you so desire).
  11. Bake the scones for 15-20 mins or until the tops are lightly browned.
  12. Serve warm with butter or clotted cream.

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved these! They were absolutely wonderful and great breakfast, snack, or dessert!

For more Saint Patrick’s Day posts, go to Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

For more scones, go to Harlem Tea Room Cheddar-Thyme Scones

For more holiday posts, go to Pão de Queijo

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage & Spinach

For more blueberry recipes, go to Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

 

Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Thoughts Before Baking:

So I had thought I was making a pie for Saint Patrick’s Day as I posted Tuesday, but I realized that I had it wrong, I had a cake recipe, not a pie.

Oh well. Here we go. I got this recipe from The Kitchen McCabe.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 3 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg
  • 12 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 3/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 4 Large Granny Smith Apples
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup of Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar (For sprinkling on top of the cake.)

Custard:

  • 6 Large Egg Yolks
  • 6 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1.5 Cups of Whole Milk
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of Vanilla

Directions:

Cake:

  1. Grease and flour an 8″ or 9″ springform pan. If you do not have a springform pan then cover a pan with foil and grease it.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves, and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl. (Make sure the bowl is very large as everything will later be combined into it.)
  4. Cut the butter into the flour using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  5. Add the 3/4 cup of sugar to the flour mixture and mix in.
  6. Peel the apples and slice them into uniform pieces (about 1/4″ wide and then cut into three pieces.)
  7. Toss the apples into the flour mixture and combine thoroughly.
  8. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Add this to the flour mixture and mix. The batter should be thick and dough-like.
  9. Transfer the dough to the pan and fatten the top with the back of a spatula.
  10. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the cake.
  11. Bake for 45-50 mins. Test the center for doneness. The top of the cake should be a golden brown.
  12. Serve slices with the custard sauce.

Custard Sauce:

  1. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale yellow, 2-3 mins.
  2. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg/sugar mixture.
  4. Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the custard thickens, about 4 minutes. Custard should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
  5. Mix in the vanilla and then transfer to a bowl or serving saucer.
  6. Serve warm or cold over the apple cake.

 

Thoughts After Baking:

So I tried making the custard, but the eggs cooked too fast and this is what they ended up being:

So I instead went with the glaze from A is for Applesauce Cake.

Otherwise, the cake was good. It wasn’t really sweet, but I enjoyed it. Good with tea or coffee.

For more Saint Patrick’s Day recipes, go to Irish Soda Bread

For more cake, go to Pumpkin Spice Cake

For more desserts, go to Rice Krispies Cookies

For more holiday recipes, go to Chicken Cashew Wrap

For more pinterest recipes, go to Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

Irish Soda Bread

St.Patrick

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Even though I already celebrated a holiday earlier this week, I just couldn’t resist doing something for Saint Patrick’s day.

eatinghobbyilovelucy

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Thoughts Before Baking:

I received this Betty Crocker Celebrate! cookbook several years ago for Christmas. Since then I have made a few different recipes from it, this being the first I have done for Saint Patrick’s Day.

Now I LOVE soda bread. This was my first time baking it myself.

So I’m not Irish, but I did take an Irish history class and was declared an honorary Irishwoman. So here I go.

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Ingredients:

  • Shortening
  • 2.5 Cups of All-Purpose Flour, plus extra for later
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons of Butter
  • About 1 Cup of Buttermilk
  • Additional Butter, Softened

Directions:

  1. Heat Oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Grease cookie sheet with shortening.
  3. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Cut in 3 tablespoons of butter, using a pastry blender or crisscrossing two knives, until mixture looks like fine crumbs.
  5. Stir in just enough buttermilk so dough leaves the side of the bowl.
  6. Place dough on a lightly floured surface, gently roll the dough to coat.
  7. Knead 1 to 2 mins, or until smooth.
  8. Shape into a round loaf, about 6.5 inches in diameter.
  9. Place on the cookie sheet. Cut an X shape about 1/2 inch deep through loaf with floured knife.
  10. ***Holiday History*** The traditional X on top represents a cross, which is supposed to keep the devil away.
  11. Bake 35-45 mins or until golden brown.
  12. Remove from cookie sheet.
  13. Brush with additional softened butter.
  14. Cool completely, about 30 mins, before cutting.

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irishsodabread

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Thoughts After Baking:

It was sooooooo good!

joker-yum

I wanted to eat the whole thing. 🙂

bread

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For more bread recipes, go to Cheesy Pesto Pull Apart Bread

For more Betty Crocker recipes, go to Lemon Meringue Chiffon Cake

For more holiday posts, go to Sour Cream Lemon Pie

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