The Blacknight SME Awards Design

SME Awards Design

You know when you can only say for so long that you don’t do print design? :)

I guess I can’t say that anymore.

This weekend saw my 4m x 3m baby unrolled at the Blacknight SME Awards in Cork. I have to say WOW it’s a nice feeling to see your work at that size. Mental note … check check and quadruple check your work zoomed at max. That awkward moment when you see a small issue after everything has gone to print = ARGH

Oh well you can see the stage design (Though it’s rather dark) as well as a few of the popups / swords and other props I put together. All in all it was pretty great to work with Gianni Ponzi on this. Good feedback / Great ideas (could we do cutouts) and even if he was screaming for Blood … we left that out.

Personally I think with the launch of the recent season of Game of Thrones my Game of Domains concept was rather fun. It’s always tough to make domains “sexy” and to make people think outside of the .com or ccTLD ( .ie / .fr )

Game Of Domains

PS: In case some people ended up with some bizarre heat sensitive mugs, they weren’t meant to be given away at the awards. They were concepts / experiments I was running. ( le sigh )

Redesigning the Kitchen …

Slowly .. slowly we’ve been getting things done around our flat.

Today I got rid of the hidious corner.

Truth be told Val can take credit for it all. I just did the cutting / building.

First up we’ve got 1 icky corner. Yes it needs a lick of paint but the main issue is with the pipes which well we can’t move ( not without some major remodeling no doubt ) They are connected to the gas boiler which sits just on the wall above.

Take 1 icky space

Of course Val knows exactly what she wanted (Hint: check the price)

La Redoute Meuble

That’s €529 before the dicount. EEK!I’m not sure about you but I could never spend that amount of money on that.

So of course it’s some MDF and some counter top to the rescue :)

Build one set of shelves

Val added the final touches / painted it and we’ve now got a great space for water / drinks bottles / cans and so on :)

Get Val to put in all the final touches

I just pray the cats don’t get at the curtains :)

Quick and simple Turkey Fajitas

I ended up buying a few Tortilla wraps the other day … I didn’t however plan on using them tonight. Still quick and simple meals are the name of the game at times. Especially when you’ve got two little people to take care of.

A very  simple mix. Chop some turkey strips / courgette strips / tomato and add a splash of tomato sauce. Very simple … very quick and just add in some smokey paprika.

The Veg Mix

Of course certain little people aren’t too big on pepper. So those get cooked on the side again with a splash of tomato sauce and some smokey paprika so they keep a consistent enough flavour.

Peppers

Left over rice can get nuked in the microwave and makes a lovely filler.

Left Over Rice

The Tortillas are quick and easy only needing 40 seconds in the microwave.

Tortillas

and hey presto … just add some cream and grated cheese.

The Final Product

It’s a really quick and simple Turkey Fajitas meal and you could spice it up more with some red onion … cumin … or anything really.

15 years …

It’s strange you want to mark the occasion in some way but you don’t really want to come across being related to “oh god he’s posting that again” type comments. Still it’s something that deeply affected me. I lost my mom 15 years ago today and to this day I still miss her like crazy. In previous years I’ve felt very down in the month or so leading up to this time. This year … maybe it’s a little bit different I’ve not felt so down. I have a beautiful wife I love to bits and 2 amazing little people who I really wish could have gotten to meet my mom. I see them and I just have to smile.

Mom I miss you always

Teriyaki steak stir fry

I’m not 100% sure when I started making my own Teriyaki sauce but there have been some great meals since I did. Today’s meal was another that goes into the that was yum category.

You can do a search online for Teriyaki sauce and you’ll find that everyone has their own method. Some add garlic some don’t. For mine it’s a good thumb sized chunk of ginger (chopped as fine as you can)… about 50% soya .. 25% Mirin .. and then I’ll vary the rest of the ingredients a bit.

Teriyaki beef Stir Fry ingredients

I believe it was in an Asian place in town called Yum Yums that I got the idea to cut the steak up as thinly as possible (probably a beef Lok Lak . I marinade the meat in the teriyaki sauce for an hour or so before hand. Flash fry it and it’s ready in a minute or so … I’ll also add in a peeled / grated carrot and a courgette. Maybe a shallot as well. You don’t really get spring onions here unfortunately :( or I’d add in a few to the mix. All in all very quick, very tasty. Not a huge favourite with little people though she loves the meat just not the veg. She loves the sauce as well.

And here we have the end result on a bed of rice.

Teriyaki Beef stir fry on a bed of rice

A great thing about making your own teriyaki sauce is it’s always different. Add some rice vinegar … add some sugar .. add some garlic it’s fun to experiment.

Sausage Pasta Bake

Sausage Fest

So I’ve been living a bit outside my comfort zone where it comes to food in recent weeks. Last week I decided to do a pasta bake for the first time. Following on from the success of that one, I opted to do another last night.

The sausage pasta bake.

For the ingredients: 5 decent sausages ( mine were with onion to begin with ), 1 onion, 1 large carrot, 1 tin of tomatoes, 1 stock cube, 200grammes of spinnach, pasta and 1 glass of wine (and 1 for yourself). Cheese (emmental) grated . For the white sauce 30g of butter, 300ml of milk and 50g of flour. All ingredients are approximate.

Chop your onion rather fine and get it browning nicely on the pan. Take the sausage meat out of the skin of the sausages. You could just buy sausage meat as well from your local butcher if you want I guess. There’s generally a pack of sausages in the fridge here though so you make do.

Chop up the sausage meat into small thumb size or smaller pieces and get it browning on the pan as well.

Around about now throw some spinach into a boil to cook. I will nearly always use frozen as it’s one of the things we’ll always have in our freezer.

Get your penne pasta on ( The tube ones )

Go back to your onion / sausage mix and grate a carrot into it. Add the stock cube and mix in some water and throw in your tomatoes. Add in a glass of wine if you have one handy. Let it bubble away for a bit and season. I mixed in some parsley and a herb de province mix.

Now you’ll want to start on your white sauce. Quantities are really going to vary and I tend to wing it by ear these days. 300ml of milk give or take … a lump of butter …and get that almost bubbling away … throw in some flour, whisk to remove and lumps and start to thicken it up slightly.

Once your spinach and your pasta are cooked … drain and mix together. Place half the mixture into an oven dish. Layer in your tomato sauce and flatten it out. Sprinkle in some grated cheese of your choice. My choice is emmental.  I proceeded to mix the remaining pasta / spinach mix and the white sauce and layer this in on top. Did I mention you’ll probably want a deep enough oven dish.

Finally sprinkle some more cheese on top. It’s around this stage that I thought to myself, hang on this is almost a lasagne. Place in the oven for 20 or so minutes at 200C until it looks golden brown on top. Take it out and leave for 5 minutes to cook down a bit before eating. Serve.

Hopefully you’ll have the same reaction as there was in our house, with little people saying “C’est tres bon papa!” and second and third helpings being asked for.

Lack of photos due to the camera batteries dying!

Enter the SME Awards today!

SME Awards Minifigs

In case you didn’t know we’re the headline sponsor for the SMEAwards.ie . I fixed up this image yesterday. If you’re in the know well Blacknight .. a “dragon” with a heart? a business man and what the hell a unicorn for good measure :) It makes sense right? :)

I also worked on the advert in the Sunday Business Post last weekend which came out rather nicely even if I do say so myself. It’s always a relief when things print out ok and especially when there are last minute changes.

SBP Awards Advert in the Sunday Business Post

If you’re running a business in Ireland you might like to enter. It’s free to enter and potentially a great PR event for you and networking event and who knows where it goes. You might even win!

Enter before Valentines day over on www.smeawards.ie

I grew up with home cooked meals…

I’m not sure if it was just me but a lot of my friends growing up had stay at home moms. It was a different time. My mom who had had a government job wasn’t allowed to continue to work once she got married as she’d have been taking the job away from someone else who’d have needed it ( This law changed a year or two later but mine stayed a stay at home mom with the arrival of my brother and sister and I arrived a few years later ). One thing we rarely had was processed food, though as we got older a few things were added to the cupboards / freezer.

This weekend saw us cooking food from scratch as we usually do and I took out my camera which I’ve not done in a while. While if left to my own devices I’d happily throw on a frozen pizza or probably grab some form of ready meal it’s not something I ever find myself willing to do for my daughter. It’ll hopefully be mostly home cooked meals for her growing up so long as we’ve got the time. Truth be told you can put together many meals in a very short time frame. The fact that they generally end up doubling as lunch the next day is a major added bonus.

Marketing Spin on your Lunch

Maybe I’m working in marketing a bit too much … I’m putting spin on what I’m having for lunch!

Lunch is a surprise today … I’m so excited

Translation?

The translation of this however is we’re defrosting something from the back of the freezer that isn’t labeled. In truth we don’t actually label any of the containers in there.

End result … it was a nice blended pepper / tomato / courgette / onion tomato sauce a bit heavy on the pepper maybe but happily eaten.