Tuesday, March 31, 2009


As some of you already know I was born and raised in Cork City. Then you will understand why I am feeling a little melancholic today. Ireland's oldest Stout Brewery located in the heart of Cork City is to close. Now in the hands of HEINEKEN,it will close its doors by the end of May.

I remember this place well. This 4 acre site is to be sold once it is decommissioned in a year or so. BEAMISH & CRAWFORD was founded in 1792 by William Beamish and William Crawford.
It was an existing brewery when they bought it and had been there since 1650,although whilst growing up in Cork, many historians there say it dates as far back as possibly 1500 !!

It is said to be the most ancient porter brewery in Ireland. Irish or Dry stout is a dark ale. The word stout also meaning strong,refered to the strength of the ale. 'Leann Dubh',is the Irish for 'Black Ale'

Located near the South Gate Bridge,in the medieval part of Cork City,I sincerely hope that this place will be preserved. The National Conservation & Heritage Group,has in the past had success in persuading GUINNESS to develop the GUINNESS STOREHOUSE in Dublin. I pray they have the same success in Cork with BEAMISH & CRAWFORD. They want the owners...HEINEKEN to develop a micro-brewery style tourist attraction there. Perhaps by passing this information along, the viral marketing magic of the web may help. This Cork woman is also concerned and would love to see this preserved and hold on to the historic Tudor Counting House.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Blogging,writing is somehow cathartic for me. Its a way of starting or ending my day with some form of clarity. Clarity can sometimes be somewhat of an oxymoron for this Irish woman running her own business ! In a world filled with business plans , these can,literally suck the life from me !! funny but oh so true. Since starting my business I have taken the NIKE approach to it..."Just do it".... For me it works but not for all.

I trust my instincts . I wish more people would. I have trusted my own moral compass and let it guide me. I still have not paid myself and have even refused a few investors ....Some might think I'm crazy but there are reasons behind my decisions. I believe there is such a thing as THE RIGHT INVESTOR. Still looking for the right one. Although an investor would offer a safe haven by providing money,what happens after that? Are we on the same page? Does he/ she work with the same integrity? How does he/she treat other people? These are very real topics for me. They are equally as important , if not more important than Cost Of Goods, Sales, Budgets etc

Along the way,I have met people in business who are very good at what they do,without being rude. I say that without writing the words I really want to write !!! Such people are still successful. You DO NOT need to be on an almighty power trip. For me,I experience this regularly when I meet buyers. I understand they are buyers and ultimately DO have power but we can benefit each other. This should be viewed as a symbiotic relationship that can be built upon. Those that want instant gratification ultimately fail.

I feel it only right to point to some GREAT experiences. Once such client is in Minnesota. Lunds & Byerly's grocery chain in the Twin Cities. What a wonderful experience for me as a vendor. The experience ALL ROUND reflects the type of management that a company such as Lunds Food Holdings has. I knew this from the very first meeting I had with them. Now we all benefit from our relationship. I say RELATIONSHIP because I mean it. For me,working with them is such a pleasure. They have treated me well and with respect.

Lately I discovered "The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur" by Mike Michalowicz. Yes,I know I'm a little late to the party !!! However lately he writes about women being the latest wave of Entrepreneurs being the next wave of leaders. Mike talks about women INCLUDING whilst still competing (it is afterall business!) but growing at the same time. Check it out.
http://www.thetoiletpaperentrepreneur.com/ Again, apologies for being so late !!!

Today I am menu planning for an Irish cooking class in Byerly's St Louis Park in April.
I also have to pay bills, negotiate with a distributor for Southern California, research new packaging for a large client around the U.S, send samples to a potential client in Upstate New York,filling out bio terrorism forms to accompany it,open a new bank account,have 1 appointment , then pick the kids up from school at 3.30,followed by Lacrosse practise and dinner and homework !!!! THATS THE REALITY OF RUNNING A BUSINESS...whilst all the time owning the worry and the debt,the sleepless nights and the countless stepping stones you have to cross to get to the other side, but somehow ploughing forward..............KNOWING & BELIEVING in why YOU started this business.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I was born in the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork in 1969. This magnificent building opened its doors in 1915. By the age of 5, I was attending school in another magnificent building. Ursuline Convent,Blackrock,Cork. I remember the walk up the sycamore tree lined avenue every morning,often collecting "conkers" (chestnuts ) to play with at lunch time.

Things have changed since then. The Bon Secours is still operating as one of the largest Catholic hospitals in Europe but the Ursuline school I attended is now a listed building with a new school built on site. People and traditions however have not changed.

Irish people are a passionate people. Consistently passionate ! So of course it can be good and it can be not so good !! We love ,fight, argue, write and feel passionately........Giving it our all. To some this is difficult to understand. Perhaps it has something to do with our history of national struggle. I still remember the street vendors and shop owners in Cork to this day. The ENGLISH MARKET is an everlasting memory and is among the many influences that formed my passion for food. Located off Princess Street,this pedestrian market opened its doors in 1786. In 1980 it was destroyed by fire but was rebuilt. Walking through there , is a delight for the senses. Butchers, Fishmongers, bakers and Cheesemakers all sampling and selling their wares. Fresh eggs were a staple in our house. Every Friday I remember my father getting fresh Cod or Plaice from the English Market. My mother would bread and fry it and serve with a bechamel sauce. Floury white potatoes and fresh garden peas accompanying the fish. Mmmmm

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Last night I met a lady from California. She was telling me that she and her family were applying for citizenship for her mother. They hail from Sligo and Cork. Its funny that to be in a country this size with a population of over 250million people, almost everyone I speak to has an Irish connection ! I wonder will my youngest,the only one of us born in the United States,be as excited as the people I meet want to connect to his Irish roots? Why?
My youngest couldnt be prouder of being American and frequently likes to point that out !!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I'm sure its because its been that time of the year (St Patricks Day) that the demand for Irish Soda Bread has been pretty high. However,there are many different versions of this bread.
Some people use currants or white flour and/or caraway seeds to enhance the flavor,but the original Soda bread contained flour,buttermilk salt and soda. In the early 1800's ,yeast bread making was not that popular,so Baking Soda was used as a leavening agent.

Here is a recipe for my mums soda bread.

3 1/3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoons Wheat Germ
3 Teaspoons Rolled Oats
1/2 Quart Buttermilk
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Egg
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Form into a round loaf on a baking sheet. Cut a cross on the top of the loaf and bake for approx 40 mins... Enjoy

Friday, March 20, 2009


Last Monday I spent the morning at the WFAA studios. I prepared an Irish Cheesecake,using Brady's Irish Cream. First I ........well,why don't you just watch the clip above ! It explains all.
This weekend I am attempting to build a web site with ecommerce so that people can buy RACHEL GAFFNEY'S TRADITIONAL IRISH BUTTER SHORTBREADS....

This should be an interesting challenge,as I prefer to work with food...!!watch this space..I wonder how long it will take this Irish woman?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


LA FHEILE PHADRAIG.........HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY .... in Irish (as gaeilge)

Lovely sunny day here in Dallas. A little different to the weather I remember growing up in CORK ! However, although generally wet and cold,we still had a day off from school and for that we were always grateful . Lent was strictly adhered to in our house but on this day it was a day of feasting, special dispensation from the church.

As I mentioned before,the name GAFFNEY goes back to the King of Ireland in the 400's,known as NIALL OF THE NINE HOSTAGES. Niall was a pagan king,and invaded England. During this time he kept a young man named Sucrat and his two sisters hostage. Sucrat was a christian boy. Later he became known as Patricus. He would introduce chrsitianity to Ireland and become our patron saint. Although never really proved the myth about the shamrock still lives on. It is thought that St Patrick used the three leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. The stem representing God,and each leaf representing God the Father,God the son and God the Holy Spirit.

Today,I spent with my kids. No bacon ,cabbage or green beer! We did however cook and I made traditional Irish butter shortbread with a GREEN icing !! We ate Shepherds pie with creamy mashed potatoes,along with real Irish soda bread and KERRYGOLD IRISH butter.......mmmmmm.

All in all a perfect day. My days of wild parties seem to be replaced by a very satisfying feeling of watching my boys run and laugh......

Monday, March 16, 2009


The sun is shining here in Dallas. The Day before St Patricks Day. This morning I did a cooking segment with WFAA channel 8. Gary Cogill, the host and I , showed people how to make "Irish Cream Cheesecake" with a Rachel Gaffney Shortbread base.


Just click on the above link to watch..............

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What a game !!! Yes , Ireland beat Scotland yesterday at Murrayfield. The pitch looked like a herd of cattle had run through it before the game began !! Talk about mud.

Slow first half,but in typical Irish fashion the heart took over and it was evident to those of us who were watching via big screen tv in Dallas. Sorry Scotland. We love them really,after all they are our family. Edinburgh had to be a fun place last night.

Next week we take on the mighty Welsh. Now that promises to be quite the game.........

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The air seems to be thick with tired,angry,frustrated people. These are indeed tough times.
Haven't we been here before? In some shape or form?

Remember the famous exhortation of America "give me your tired,your poor,your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" What other nation offered this kind of sanctuary....
Over 35million people came.

Now,it is time to give back. Whether you are Irish like me (after all, 7 million of them were Irish) Polish,Italian,French,German,Sweedish...the list goes on. We can do this again.

With a strong worth ethic and integrity,it can and will be great again. So lets move on, so much talk. Lets work. Its what our ancestors did.

"I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best"
This has to be my all time favourite quote ! The great OSCAR WILDE.............

And on that note ...being satisfied with the best....Today IRELAND V SCOTLAND at MURRAYFIELD. I will be watching my brothers friends play their hearts out for Ireland. Namely ,Peter Stringer and Ronan O'Gara. Lets beat the scots,then the Welsh and bingo...Grand Slam..........I'm off to TRINITY HALL for some Irish Breakfast and to watch the match with my English husband and some other Irish friends.........GO IRELAND GO..... I see my name sake Alan Gaffney is the assistant coach for the Irish Rugby team ! It just had to be a GAFFNEY !

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What a day. I suppose you could call this my SUPERBOWL !! St Patricks Day....
My childrens school host faculty lunches once a month for the staff. Today they had an Irish theme and me being the resident cailin was aked to help !

I baked fresh Irish soda bread and served it with Kerrygold Butter. For dessert I baked Brady's Irish Cream Cheesecake with a RACHEL GAFFNEY SHORTBREAD base.
Main course,I hear you ask? Well they served Shepherds Pie and Rueben Casserole !!!
Shepherds Pie hails from the U.K. For those of you who are unfamiliar with geography,England and Ireland are in fact separated by a body of water known as the IRISH SEA !!

Tonight I am chatting live with KATE DELANEY,who tells me she hails from Cork. Kate is the host of AMERICA TONIGHT. 1160am Talk Radio. We will be discussing Irish Food & Drink. I am really looking forward to this. This show is syndicated around the country,so the American public are just going to have to endure me.............Tune in tomorrow for more........

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In my spare time I try to look after my family ! and in doing so I have to feed them also !! So today I have been to multiple grocery stores and I am now more motivated than ever about my mission......I don't think I can handle seeing any more green sprinkles on cupcakes, or groupings of wasabi peas with green bottles of water !!

Today,I chatted with a lady by the name of Kate Delaney who is host of the syndicated talk radio show "America Tonight". Originally from New York,living in Dallas,Kate's family hails from Cork,Ireland. So tomorrow night she and I will be chatting live on her radio show at 11.15pm,
1160am. Tune in...and dont forget to join the blog !

Sunday, March 8, 2009

St Patricks Day is almost upon us. I am already in the mood. I have been cooking Irish food for the last 3 days ! What fun. On friday Morning March 6th,I appeared on "Showcase Minnesota" preparing Celtic Crossing Ice Cream Cake. I spent Friday & Saturday cooking in the culinary school in Byerly's,St Louis Park. Its official .....I have groupies !!!!!!
One in particular stands out, Mary O'Shea. She sits at the front of the class. Good student! Interestingly enough, Mary told me during class that she had the dilema as a child to decide to be a nun or a Vegas Dancing girl....she decided on neither !!!!

My intent was to dispel the myth about Irish Food. I wanted to bring the Ireland I know to people. Before the class begun,I made my mums Irish Soda Bread. On arrival,it was piping hot and ready to be served with some KERRYGOLD butter. As I have already mentioned,I have spent quite some time perfecting the RACHEL GAFFNEY SHORTBREAD recipe. Its flavor is so unique that we made an Ice Cream Cake from it.
I took 4 cups of RACHEL GAFFNEYS SHORTBREAD crumbs and added 2 tablespoons of melted butter. This was packed tightly into a 9" springform pan. The oven was preheated at 325 degrees and baked for approx 7 mins. Meanwhile I took 1 gallon of Vanilla Ice Cream and mixed 3/4 pint of raspberries,and 3 tablespoons of CELTIC CROSSING LIQUEUR adn mixed together. Next,this mixture was poured in to the springform pan and placed in the freezer until ready to serve.

The rich buttery taste of the RACHEL GAFFNEY shortbread combined with the tart of the raspberries and the sweet of the ice cream and liqueur was something to be savored............

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Well,today I am preparing for my trip to Lunds & Byerlys in Minneapolis,Minnesota.
Thursday evening I will be prepping for my cooking segment on SHOWCASE MINNESOTA, Friday March 6th. In this segment I will be showing people how to make "Celtic Crossing" Ice Cream cake with my traditional Irish Butter shortbreads as the base.

Following the TV segment I will be hosting culinary classes in the Byerlys,St louis Park.

The Menu is as follows:

-Smoked Salmon and Crab Roulades with Walnut Vinaigrette


-Turnip Gratin


My good friend Margaret Johnson is the Author of "The Irish Spirit" Cookbook. "Recipes Inspired by the legendary drinks of Ireland" The photographs are fresh,the history accurate,the recipes depict the Ireland I know to be true. Thank you Margaret for yet another lovely book.

The classes are always fun...we cook and banter .....eat and relax...slowing down just a little to sample a bit of Ireland.....RACHEL GAFFNEYS REAL IRELAND.........