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One Man's Meat

sichuan-prawns-13-of-13Try saying that with a few drinks on board. “Tongue Numbingly Wonderful Sichuan Pepper Prawns” is a bit of a mouthful, in more ways than one. This is a really easy dish to prepare. There are very few ingredients and it is an absolute delight. I can only encourage you to try it. But, be warned, those Sichuan peppercorns will literally numb your tongue. 

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In part 1 of this two parter, I had a go at some of the French living here in Ireland. I need to spread my net wider. A good bit of racism goes a long way and we have plenty of it here in Ireland. My problem isn’t with the dumb-assed outrage at women wearing burkinis or even with the Brits for Brexiting. No, my issue is with the wily way so many of the ‘Bloody Foreigners’ are making it difficult for me to hate them. Let me tell you how the Breton and the Mexicans conspired to confound my natural distaste for anybody from anywhere else. 

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House prices are doing it. The political system is having a run at it. Crime is always at it. Inflation hasn’t had a go for a while. Anybody over the age of 40 will remember when it too was “spiralling out of control”. But, it’s not something I’m going to allow to happen to me. When I spiral, I’m totally in control. But, there’s no headline in that. Imagine “HOUSE PRICES SPIRAL IN CONTROL” or “CRIME SPIRAL IN CONTROL”. The poor tabloids wouldn’t sell a paper. Thankfully, I’m not touting newsprint. I’m in control because those very nice people at Morphy Richards gave me a Spiralizer to try out. They gave me a nice set of recipes too. But, where’s the fun in copying a recipe when you can prepare Sweet and Sour Cucumber Spirals – An original recipe and very definitely spiralling ‘in control’.

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We Irish look proudly at great cities like New York or Chicago and boast that our forbears built them. Our little island has sent its sons and daughters to all points on the compass to start new lives and to put down roots. Our influence spans the globe in science, engineering, literature and politics. When one looks to France, one sees so many of the great wine dynasties founded by the Irish ‘Wild Geese’. Names like Barton, Phelan and Lynch are all Irish and are now intertwined in the multi-generational success of the French wine trade. We have a lot of which we should be proud. 

pigs-cheeks-sous-vide-3-of-5Do you see what I did in the headline? That subtle little play on words. A sort of culinary double entendre. The pig’s cheeks, cooked sous vide are cooked rare. Pig’s cheeks are not very easy to come by. Both play to add a bit of wit to the headline. You will just have to take my word for it, this is a rare treat. It is not very difficult to prepare any element of this dish but, you will need to have your timing chain well adjusted. 

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Back in the early 1960’s, there was a TV programme called The School Around the Corner, on RTÉ (Ireland’s then sole broadcaster). It was presented by the affable Paddy Crosby. On the show, he would interview schoolchildren. He had a way with him and managed to extract stories from the young ‘uns. Stories that were charming in their innocence. One infamous interview had a young lad telling a story about a horse that fell into a hole in the road. The horse was beyond saving. A vet was called and  he decided to shoot the horse. Paddy asked the innocent child “Did he shoot him in the hole?”. “No” replied the youngster, “he shot him in the head”.

lamb-and-aubergene-curry-16-of-16“I’m a mild-mannered man.” Or so said one of my Holy Ghost Father teachers before knocking seven levels of hell out of us with a stiff black leather.  Primary school education back in 1960’s Ireland was not what it is today. I well remember a dozen of us being punished for cycling in the yard after school. The punishment was “six of  the best”, with the leather, on each hand. I was moved for my secondary education to the Christian Brothers in Monkstown. That is another oxymoronic story altogether and probably has no place here, not today anyway. So, with mild manners in mind, here’s a delicious recipe for Mild Lamb and Aubergine Curry. Just like that Holy Ghost father, it too has the appearance of mildness yet packs a bit of a punch.

poached-peaches-1-of-8I tend to do our weekly shopping. The Wife likes to have a kiwi fruit with her morning muesli. I like to deliver a week’s supply of perfect kiwis to preserve her good humour and to avoid waste. While in the supermarket, I behave like an old woman with a wheeled shopping basket, squeezing the fruit to find what I want and what I don’t. If my thumb goes through the skin, leave it behind. If it’s like rubbing my chin with three day old stubble, I leave it there too. Getting fruit at the correct ripeness is not easy. So, I get upset with the retail fruit marketing baloney I read. There is a stand out phrase “ripen at home’. What this means is the fruit is at the three day stubble stage and you can take a flyer on it. It may ripen or it may just go mouldy. So, when I inadvertently picked up a pack of ‘ripen at home’ peaches, I needed a plan.

Stir fried beef with chinese spice and chilli (1 of 10)

…but, not quite. No, I thought I had done all I needed to do but, I have a bit to learn just yet.  Let me give you a little back story. I had been glued to the computer for a long morning’s work. When I looked up, it was nearly 2:00 PM and I had a growing headache. Hunger had come, been ignored and gone away. I decided that a walk around the Sandyford business district was needed to clear my head. 

Rabbit and apricot stew (1 of 12)

It’s time I gave the lot of you a good tongue lashing. I can’t abide conservatism (that’s with a little ‘c’, not an accusation of a political nature). I particularly can’t abide the general unwillingness to mix meat and fruit. I know there are the few exceptions to your reluctance, such as duck and orange, pork and apple and such like. These tend to be bittersweet fruits and don’t really qualify as sweet, sweet. I’m here to tell you to get over yourself. Try having a sweet stew. You probably won’t regret doing so. If you are willing to liberate your taste buds, this Rabbit and Apricot Stew is a great starting point.

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