Food & Drink

Tea Sandwich Update: Move Over Mayo and Mustard

By definition, chutney is relish-like sauce made with fruit, sugar, spices and vinegar. It was often made to give late summer and autumn fruits a long shelf life and was used to add contrasting flavor to meats, especially poultry and game.

It’s also a great—make that fabulous—addition to a sandwich, especially at teatime, when it’s all about impressing your guests.

For your next afternoon tea, you might want to skip mayonnaise and mustard and try two sandwich toppings the Irish love: red onion marmalade (also called red onion jam) and tomato chutney.

These sweet-salty-savory condiments are delicious with smoked salmon, roast beef, and ham and cheese.

You’ll find these and other interesting sandwich combinations in my new cookbook Teatime in Ireland. Signed copies are available on Continue Reading


“Beyond the Words: Portraits of Irish Writers” at Villanova University

The island of Ireland is known for its outsized literary tradition: Its novelists, poets, and playwrights have produced many of the world’s most significant works, across centuries, genres, and styles. As a student of that grand tradition, Philadelphia-area photographer Robin Hiteshew has made a decades-long project of capturing the images—and even the essences—of as many contemporary Irish writers as he can. Fifty-eight of his finest portraits will be presented at the Villanova Art Gallery from March 13-April 14, 2020, in his exhibit, Beyond the Words: Portraits of Irish Writers.

Visitors to Beyond the Words will encounter the likenesses of poets Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Eamon Grennan, and Michael Longley; and novelists Colm Toibin, Anne Enright, and Glenn Patterson, among many others. Some writers—like Heaney—sat for Hiteshew multiple times over the course of several years, and each portrait captures a different moment in the writer’s evolution. Always, the images represent a collaboration between the photographer and the subject. Hiteshew says, “My goal is to try and capture in a portrait something about who the person is. I hope that the viewer will come away from the photograph knowing something about who that person is in some kind of intangible way. But also, I hope that the viewer will leave wanting to know more about the writer—to read his or her work, perhaps.” Continue Reading


Center Stage at Villanova: President Rev. Peter M. Donohue

The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, never had any burning desire to become president of Villanova University. Formerly head of the university’s theater department and an award-winning director, he now says with a laugh, “I like to say they found me backstage and brought me out on stage to be president. It’s been the biggest acting job I’ve ever had.”

Father Donohue has been the university president since 2006. Since then, he has overseen a period of remarkable growth and transformation on the Lancaster Avenue campus in the heart of the Main Line, the product of two sweeping strategic plans. And he’s left his mark not just in the form of brick and mortar, but also on the curriculum, which places a solid emphasis on service learning.

Impressive for a reluctant aspirant to the topmost leadership position of one of the nation’s most prestigious Catholic universities.

Looking back on his ascent to the presidency, he recalls his initial response.

“Run. Run in the other direction,” he says, with characteristic wry, self-deprecating humor. “I was not really thinking about it at the time. I liked what I was doing. I enjoyed my work. I missed teaching a lot, and I still do, to this day. But my predecessor decided after 18 years to step out of the job, and it was advertised throughout the Augustinians that they were looking for a new president. Our superior, our provincial, was requesting names.”

Initially, Father Donohue’s was not one of those names. But one day an Augustinian friend asked him whether he had applied. The answer: No. But the friend persisted. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

We’re getting into March! You know what that means! Spring!

Well, yes, that. And enough with the exclamation points. It means St. Patrick’s Day and all the hoo-hah that surrounds our favorite holiday.

We’ll even get into it a little bit in this particular dispatch. Which means you can get an early start.

Here’s what’s up.

Friday, February 28

Mentioned last week, but worth reiterating Glenside Gaelic Club is hosting its first ever Trivia Night Fundraiser at North Penn VFW Hall, 2519 Jenkintown Road in Glenside, starting at 7 p.m.

$25 to get in. Price includes dinner, beer, wine, dessert, and a night a trivia. Contact Noreen McAleer for tickets at 215-593-5502. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Welcome back to another episode of “As the Philly Irish World Turns.”

It’s a busy week, with plenty to do, see and listen to. Of course, compared to March, it’s the calm before the storm. We’ll touch on that a bit later on.

For now, here’s what’s happening this week.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Just a reminder that one of the best and coolest events of the Irish Philly calendar is happening tonight. The Delco Gaels present season 9 of “Dancing Like a Star” at Springfield Country Club, 400 West Sproul Road, Springfield Delco. Sixteen dancers are competing. It all starts at 7:30 p.m. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Plenty of tunes and two big fund-raisers to get you into the Irish spirit this week.

Let’s get right down to it.

Saturday, February 15.

For all you Survivor fans, here’s your opportunity to meet and greet the show’s Janet Carbin at The Hearth, 1901 Darby Road in Havertown. (We’ve been to The Hearth. You must go.) Janet is a local. You can join her for breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. She’ll sign autographs and share her experiences on this long-running show. Reserve your table by calling 484-454-3176.

Sunday, February 16

Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 87 hosts its annual fundraiser at the hall at St. George, Venango and Edgemont in Port Richmond, starting at 2 p.m. The Shantys and the Natterjacks will be on hand to provide the music.

Cost of admission is $35, which includes live entertainment, kielbasa, roast beef, meatballs, salad and dessert.

BYO beer and booze.

Soft drinks will be available, and domestic can beer for $1. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Call it the calm before the St. Patrick’s Day storm. We can see from our calendar that March is shaping up to be incredibly nuts. Sooooo much going on.

In the meantime, here’s what’s on tap for this week. It doesn’t compare to March, but what’s on is still plenty fun.

Sunday, February 9

We’ll start with a tasty Chili Cookoff at Hanrahan’s Irish Pub, 690 Burmont Road in Drexel Hill. Yum. It’s Hanrahan’s first event of this sort. Want to claim bragging rights for the best chili? Signups start at 1 p.m., and the contest kicks off at 2. There’s no fee to enter. There will be a 50/50, and the prizes for the winners are pretty great. First prize is a 32-inch flat screen TV. Second gets a $50 gift card, and third place earns a $25 gift card. Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Teatime is the Best Time!

You might say that in Ireland all roads lead to tea. From breakfast and lunch breaks to weddings and wakes, cupan tea is always a welcome guest. Irish tea is far more than just a hot drink to go with a scone and jam: it’s an important custom that serves as a symbol of hospitality, friendship, and pleasure.

Some say the Irish people have a relationship with tea that “transcends the ordinary” — hyperbole, perhaps, but given that the average person in Ireland drinks four to six cups of tea a day, perhaps not!

I discovered this as soon as I enjoyed my first “official” cup at my cousin Kit’s cottage in County Kerry during my first visit there 35 years ago, and soon after at The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, where I was introduced to afternoon tea, the elegant three-course affair where tea is the main attraction and delicacies like dainty sandwiches, flaky scones, and luscious pastries act in supporting roles. Continue Reading