Another Ice Cream Cat?

 My brother lives in Ballymore, which is between Dingle and Ventry and quite isolated, and we used to share the house before he married. One day, a utterly malnourished and distressed ginger kitten turned up in the driveway, and we managed to keep him alive and nurse him to health.

I have him now, and he’s Gatsby, the ice cream cat. Ivan, the ice cream dog, adored him, and they used to share a bed much to the amazement of visitors (Ivan is a massive beast) until I moved into a separate house.

A couple years passed, and a second malnourished ginger kitten arrived. My aunt has that one. Now, there’s a third. Una, my little niece, wants to call him “Chi Chi.”

One really has to wonder what’s going on. Is Ballymore the place to dispose of ginger kittens?

In any case, Ivan is absolutely delighted to have a new feline companion. The poor kitten, although doing well, is seriously in danger of being licked to death. I think the poor thing needs some ice cream…

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Sweet and Scary

 Christophe, our ice cream maker, was playing around with meringues the other day, and he came up with these little ghosts for Halloween. I think they are very cute. They could be used for decoration, if you don’t eat them straight away.

I’ve been giving them out now and then over the weekend to select customers in our shops, and they have gotten a great reception.

If you want to make them, use the meringue recipe here. Christophe used a piping bag with a large, plain tip to form the ghosts. You could also use two spoons. He then used some cocoa to darken the meringue for the decoration, piping it with the smallest tip.

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Up the Walls

 If you’re coming down to Kerry this October holiday, here’s a hot tip: Play at Height, Dingle’s climbing wall, is getting rave reviews from locals and visitors alike.

It’s attracting climbers from Kerry and beyond who want to do a bit of training, as well as adrenaline junkies and families looking for ways to entertain the little ones, especially when the weather is grim.

Helmets, harnesses, and instruction are all included in the price of entry, and there’s even an outside playground as well as a play area for the really little ones.

In case you’re wondering, that’s Murphys Ice Cream alumnus Cian above, and he’ll take good care of you.

Here are the details:

Play at Height, Baile na Buaile, Daingean Uí Chúis, Co Chiarraí.   Tel: 066 9152822

Nothing Like a Good Waffle

 Here’s what I’ve been working on – waffles and ice cream. It is, we think, a great option for the winter in our shops, especially this winter with all the gloomy recession talk and abounding worries. Hopefully a warm waffle with ice cream will be pure luxurious comfort for our customers. Somehow, I think, it’s also quite appropriate in terms of all the recent news and government climbdowns :-).

I still haven’t the recipe quite right, but I’ll post it when I do!

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Model Citizen

 The ice cream man had to turn model yesterday, as I had a visit from top photographer Catherine Karnow, who has done excellent work for National Geographic, among others. She was sent by my alma mater, who are writing up something on the book for the alumna magazine. It was an interesting morning, but I hardly think I’ll be stepping out on the Milan catwalks any time soon…

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Under the Rainbow

 Like many people, I suppose, I’ve always wondered what’s at the end of the rainbow.

Well, I think I might have an answer.

After snapping the above photo at the back of the house, I came out the front, and saw the rainbow again, seeming to end right on the ice cream van.

We’ve had our second consecutive rainy summer, and it does have some effect on business. However, If Murphys is indeed at the end of the rainbow, this winter might be easier than expected!

Unfortunately, there was no pot of gold on the front seat, so it seems there’s still going to be some digging involved…

Candied Chilli Peppers

Sometimes I ask myself some odd questions, and one of them, when thinking about our recent Mexican ice cream flavours, was whether one could candy chilli peppers in the same way one candies orange peels. They are a fruit, after all. The answer to this is of course you can, and they are strangely addictive. We put them into ice cream as an inclusion for the food festival, but we also snacked on them over the course of the week.

If you want to make something different, and like spicy things, give them a go! (They also look quite dramatic as a decoration – especially if you combine red and green chillis).

Please note: you would be wise to use plastic gloves when chopping the chillis, or at the very least make sure you wash your hands carefully afterwards. If you absentmindedly rub your eye before doing so (as I have done), you will have a very unpleasant reaction.

Candied Chilli Peppers


150g fresh, mild chilli peppers
150g sugar
300g water

What to do:

1. Cut the stems off the chillis, then cut them lengthwise. Scrape out seeds, and chop them into narrow, half-round strips.

2. Combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Add the chopped chillis and cook over medium heat for about an hour, topping up with water as needed to keep from burning.

4. Remove from the heat and pass through a sieve, catching the chilli peppers. (The syrup is quite tasty too if you want to keep it – great over mango sorbet or fruit…)

5. Using a spoon or spatula, spread the chillis on a baking tray, and bake at 200C for about 5-10 minutes to dry them out. They should darken slightly but not turn brown.

6. Remove from oven, cool, and enjoy!

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 Anyone who’s been reading these pages for long enough knows that ourselves and other Killarney traders had to survive nine horrific months of construction on Main Street (ending in May 2007). What’s amazing is that they are at it again. Needless to say we’re not pleased about re-living the disruption to business, the sound of jackhammers, and fences outside our shop. I don’t know how long it’s going to go on or what’s the reason for it. One would like to think they would have gotten it right the first time and didn’t forget anything when they had the street open for such a long period, so I have a few alternate theories:

  1. The head engineer lost his keys “somewhere under there.”
  2. Given the government’s talk of redundancies and cutbacks, everyone at the council is trying to look very, very busy.
  3.  Grey paving stones are “like, so 2007.”
  4. In these straightened times, councils are now responsible for finding their own sources of oil and are digging frantically. 
  5. It’s all an excuse to put up a peace wall between Main Street and New Street. 

Not sure. I am open to other theories…

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