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A letter to my granddaughter

A letter to my granddaughter

[When I travelled to China a little over two years ago to meet my grandson Dermot Gao O’Neill for the first time, I wrote him a letter before I met him in person. Now I am making a similar journey via Dubai to Sydney to meet my first grand daughter Caitlyn who was born to my daughter Claire and her husband Mike on 7th April. It feels really important to say these things to her before I am overwhelmed by the scent of her and the feel of her...

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Comfort Food for a New Mama – Granary Baps

Comfort Food for a New Mama – Granary Baps

It’s a girl! No not the gorgeous little princess born this weekend on the other side of the Irish sea but our very own Caitlyn Alice Bloor, our Katy, who arrived in a hurry four weeks ago today making an unexpected entrance into our world. Her early arrival in the suburbs of Sydney deprived her Mum, my daughter Claire, of pre-natal maternity leave and some much needed sleep but spared me three weeks of fretting, jumping at every phone call...

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Playing the Waiting (and Cooking) Game – Vietnamese Beef Curry

Playing the Waiting (and Cooking) Game – Vietnamese Beef Curry

It’s a waiting game now, waiting for grandchild number two to arrive in Australia as Claire spends her last few days in the office and prepares for what she hopes will be a few weeks of rest and calm before the onslaught of her baby’s arrival. We don’t know if its a boy child or a girl child, nor do we care. I just long for her to hold this much longed for baby safely in her arms. I’ve never felt the distance between us...

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Pulled Pork Spring Rolls

Pulled Pork Spring Rolls

My daughter in law Gao Shan and I have a good thing going on now that she’s my neighbour down the road in Bray. At least once a week she cooks a meal for us in her house and at least once a week I cook for her, Shane and Dermot. While I experiment with Chinese variations on western recipes, she cooks wonderful Chinese meals for us and increasingly tries her hand at preparing western dishes. Meanwhile Dermot wanders around under all our...

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Shan’s Yunnan Barbecued Lemongrass Fish – 云南香茅烤鱼

Shan’s Yunnan Barbecued Lemongrass Fish – 云南香茅烤鱼

My daughter Claire sent me a random morning thought from Sydney earlier this week. It read “Most people’s first word of the year is ‘happy'” – a cheerful notion evoking images of clinking glasses and reminding me of our celebration of the arrival of 2015 in Australia and, more recently, of Shane, Shan and Dermot’s first Chinese New Year in Ireland. On those rare occasions when I’m in Australia at the...

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What’s bred in the bone – Shan’s Tingling Fragrant Chicken – 麻香鸡

What’s bred in the bone – Shan’s Tingling Fragrant Chicken – 麻香鸡

When I was young one of our favourite Sunday drives was from our home in Wexford town to Hook Head. My three brothers and I would pile into the back of the car, all elbows and knees and arguments about who would have to sit “in the middle”. Released from the car we would race around the headland and clamber over the rocks as the fierce water surged, going as close to the edge as we...

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Visiting Sydney with a Small Boy – it’s all happening at Taronga Zoo

Visiting Sydney with a Small Boy – it’s all happening at Taronga Zoo

I love the way little people define their world. It reminds me of how we used to say our night prayers when we were small, listing off like a mantra all those we loved. I was listening to Dermot tonight as he chatted away happily to himself in a sing-song voice in the next room, reciting “MaMa, DaDa, Claire, Mikey, NaiNai, YeYe, NaiNai… and then, after a pause,  huati (slide), che (car), huo che (train), haishui (the sea),...

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