Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Kilkenny Arts Festival

Kilkenny Arts Festival 5-14 August 2011, now in its 38th year, was started by a group of classical musicians, now a broadened program to include visual art & craft, theatre and dance, street and literature.

This athletic foursome gave an energetic, acrobatic and comedic performance outside the Kilkenny Castle to a fascinated crowd.

There was a lot of skin, but the seamless transition was well choreographed. 

An R & B band performing in the local theatre at the end of High Street.

Dance drama with a religious theme was made even more interesting with the discussion led by the choreographer and a moderator-producer with the cast and audience, some of whom were theatre dance critics and practitioners. 

It came to light that there was some divergence in interpretation and execution of the dance as intended by the choreographer. The dancers argued that freedom of expression over precision was what they were aiming for. The dance critics and practitioners felt there was something lost in translation. Healthy critique - I like.

Street art, an Art exhibition in a Hotel. . . 

. . . and a Contemporary Photography Exhibition in the 
Rose Garden Corridor of Kilkenny Castle by Roslyn Kee. http://www.roslynkee.com/

Arts and Craft exhibition at the National Craft Gallery

Chorus singing at the Thosel Arcades

Streets and alleys of Kilkenny

Kilkenny or Cill Chainnigh in Irish means church of Chainnigh. Evidence of intermittent settlements from the Mesolithic and Bronze Age through to the 12th Century Norman invasion of Ireland, the Black Death in 1348, the Cromwellian invasion of Ireland in 1649 followed by King James II of England taking up residence in Kilkenny Castle in the winters of 1689-1690 are well documented in Kilkennys' history.

True to form, there is always 1 Malaysian roaming the streets of Kilkenny.

Kilkenny was proclaimed a city in 1609 by King James I. The narrow streets and even smaller alleyways are a throw back to days of yore and horse-drawn carriages.

The Thosel on High Street was built to collect tolls back in the day. Now it stands as the Town Hall and the arcades are a welcomed arena for buskers, carollers at Christmas and street performers during the Arts Festival.

Dusk brings the Thosel octagonal clock tower silhouette into focus with candy floss clouds floating above.  

Pedestrian walkways are artistically decorated for the Arts Festival. The whole city portrays an air of festivity and...

...summer flower arrangements take prominence.

I love doors!

Kilkenny Catherdral spires peeping though telegraph wires and alleys. 

Colourful crossroads of Kilkenny

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ring of Kerry, out of Killarney

When you are in the Kingdom of Kerry, you have to travel the Ring of Kerry, be it clockwise or anti-clockwise. Various travel guides swear by it one way or the other. It doesn't really matter, especially if the weather is grubby, as it invariably is. 

Be decisive and just jump into the car and allow 'Mak Cik' GPS lead the way as she recalculates.The vistas are worth the 4-5 hour drive. 

The rugged terrain of the Iveragh Peninsula licked by the ocean conjure up scenes reminiscent of the French Lieutenant's Woman, a contrast of beauty and agony.

Country homes with white picket fences and granite walls stand out from afar.

When the sun does reveal itself, views are enhanced ten-fold.

 Like New Zealand, one comes across more sheep than cars. 

What's left of an old Shepard's house; stone walls outlining a not-so-warm dewlling left to the elements. 

An inn with a vantage point on breezy but cloudy day on the Ring.

Inlets and outlets of the coastline seen far into the distance.

An inlet up close . . . dry despite the rain.

A view from the top . . .

Ground glass window panes. In pathology we had to imagine what ground-glass nuclei looked liked. Imagine a medical student from Tumpat figuring this out! 

A simple but hearty Irish smoked salmon treat.

Between Derrynane and Sneem, nestled in the valley, lies the remains of Staigue Fort dating back to 1000 BC. Gleaning from its dimensions they must have been small people or very few of them, or what remains is only one of the towers. In my humble opinion, probably the latter.

The wild flowers say it all...the Ring is one of the cherished places left on this earth where things remain as they are untouched by time.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cooking@THe Hilt - Lamb all the way - Part II

Shoulder of lamb seasoned generously with rosemary sprigs, unpeeled (life is too short) garlic cloves, olive oil, pepper and salt; preheated oven 250C then turned down to 170C and cook for 4 hours (with bone) or 3.5 hours (without bone. When done, meat falls off bone or can be pulled apart easily. Allow the meat to rest. 

Mix flour into lamb juice, keep stirring then add capers and simmer; add chopped mint and red wine vinegar. Blanch greens (spring onions, green sprouts and asparagus) then saute. Large chunks of potatoes, carrots, celeriac  are boiled then lightly crushed, buttered.
Roast shoulder of lamb crushed root vegetables and sauteed greens

Barbecue lamb cutlets seasoned with crushed thyme and olive oil on ridged griddled pan. Add mushrooms. Prepare special basil sauce by crushing pine nuts and basil with a mortar & pestle into a pulp, add extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Finally toss lamb, mushrooms with basil sauce. Add lemon juice. Serve with a simple watercress (or rocket) and pomegranate salad. 

Lamb cutlets with special basil sauce

Morrocan-style lamb burgers
100% minced lamb. Dry rub seasoning: sea salt, black pepper, cumin seeds, ground coriander, sweet smoked paprika + the secret weapon Malouf Spice Mezze (Australia) or garam massala.