Chef’s Tip

Janine Kennedy

When you’re making a sauce, flour and cornflour can be great last-minute thickening agents, but the best way to thicken a sauce is to take your time. If you can, let the sauce cook down and intensify in flavour instead of adding a thickener to it (which can make it gloopy).

If you have let your sauce reduce and you still want it to be thicker, make a beurre manier - a combination of flour and butter. Throw some in the sauce and whisk until it dissolves. Then you have the added benefit of the flavour of butter and a thicker sauce.

Remember, don’t add salt to a sauce until it is finished, because it will get saltier as it reduces.

Growing wild

with Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc countryside management specialist


Look out for later flowering yarrow, sometimes through to new year. It can be identified all year round by its soft feathery leaves with a distinctive smell, which also distinguish it from other small white umbels when flowering.

An umbel is an inflorescence that consists of a number of short flower stalks that spread from a common point, somewhat like umbrella ribs.

The flat flower heads are accessible and useful for many invertebrates including bees, butterflies and moths. It is also an indicator species of old grassland part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Rural rhymes

The Chimney Sweep

Paddy Egan

A man on the roads who earned his keep

Known to his clients as a chimney sweep

He walked the roads with rods and brush

He cleared the chimneys of soot and mush

A member of the travelling folk

His limbs were black from soot and smoke

From house to house, from job to job

He would clean a chimney for a couple of bob

But times have changed for the chimney sweep

Now he drives to work in a van or jeep

The old fashioned sweep we see no more

Now they drive in style from door to door

Today the sweep plys a skilful trade

As tradesmen go, he has made the grade

With electric gadgets and suction hose

All spick and span before he goes

For odd jobs too he will take a call

He’ll clean the gutters or wash down a wall

Clean out the shed and remove the waste

He’ll apply his talents with skill and taste

It was lucky for a sweep to attend a marriage

He would arrive at church in his pony and carriage

He hugged the bride with a sooty kiss

Which assured her of many years of wedded bliss.

Picture of the week

Autumn days: Aoife Byrne collecting leaves with her chickens in Co Meath.

Quote of the week

Seeing the animals you worked with for many years, maybe three generations, being loaded on to a truck is heart-breaking.

Silent grief

Tweet of the week

Number of the week: 29

the number of years Damien O’Reilly has been working in radio. As he departs RTÉ for Brussels. We wish him the very best in this next phase of his career.