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One Man's Meat

(Barbecued Lemon Balm Chicken)

Barbecue Chichen with fresh herbs (1 of 10)I’ve been reading up about click baiting. Facebook are having another go at putting the kibosh on the practice. I have some issues with the approach. I understand that they will not allow headlines that don’t directly relate to the  content following. I do accept that there is a need to prevent the “Ten things that rich people do that you don’t.” and “At last, a simple cure for your flatulence.” headlines. But, this line of reasoning will, ultimately, lead to writing with no creative content. Where the headline needs to relate directly to the following content and subject needs to be SEOed into the text, the ability to write around a subject, as I am doing now, becomes very difficult. 

Sous vide chicken with herb polenta (8 of 9)The Americans are gas. They have the biggest democracy on the planet and they end up with the Donald as one of the two contenders for the most powerful position known to man (or to woman, if Hillary gets the gig). ‘The Donald’ has tried to attract specific groups by playing to their fears. This will prove to be a mistake. If I were to take a similar approach, we would build a wall in the Irish sea and I would call out some lovely Irish blogs (like Donna Hennessy’s A Cookbook Collection or Katia Valadeau’s Proper Food and say that you shouldn’t vote for them because they are run by women. Worse than that, Hennessy is the name of a drink and that Valadeau one is not even Irish. How can we let these people into an awards competition, let alone into the country? But, I’m not ‘The Donald’. Have a look at their blogs (if you must) and then vote for whoever you think is worthy. 

Cherries (1 of 1)Wandering the fruit and vegetable markets in southern France can be inspiring. This year, we have spent some time in the big Sunday market in Libourne, about 40k outside Bordeaux on the Bergerac road. There was the usual range of wonderful stallholders, selling delicious produce at fantastic prices. I was attracted by some magnificent looking cherries. I wanted to buy them. The Wife advised, as she often does, caution. What were they for? Had I a plan? Did I know what I wanted to cook with them?

Pork chops and mango salsa (16 of 16)

This dish of pork chops with mango salsa probably has as many variations as there are dance styles at a country Irish wedding. Not that I get to attend too many weddings these days. My stage of life falls well after the ‘best friends wedding’ stage, the ‘christening the baby’ stage and even the “Is that your third wife?” stage. Thankfully, I haven’t arrived at the ‘funeral a week’ stage either. I am in that happy place of caring less and less what people think of me. This is a period in one’s degeneration where one also admits stuff to oneself and those around them. My admission here is that I hate to dance. I don’t waltz. Nor do I rhumba. If you see me doing a quickstep, I’m probably avoiding a creditor. However, one can’t think about eating a huge, 4cm (1.5 inch) thick, free range, organic, rare breed pork chop without feeling the need to take a quick turn around the island unit. 

Fish and chips (10 of 10)

Ahhh….. How the passage of time alters our perception of reality. We look backwards through grease splattered glasses and see ourselves biting through crunchy, crispy batter into flavoursome, chunky, freshly caught cod. This fishy delight accompanied by the most delicious ‘crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside’ potato chips. This wonderful serving enjoyed every Friday in Holy Catholic Ireland by God fearing, clean living, cap doffing, hopeful people, who paid only one and sixpence to feed the entire family.

Was it ever thus? Or, has the ticking of the clock shifted the focus on the lens of reality? Why are so many chippers today serving such poor food? Like defrosted, grey fish, of dubious origin, encased in stodgy batter ,served with a ‘smaller than I remember’ bag of greasy chips. The average family needing appropriate paperwork and bank approval to afford a serving. Where has it all gone wrong? Why do we put up with these standards?

Cap of the rib (2 of 12) I had the particular pleasure of dining out at a fundraiser hosted by a friend of mine Aidan Sheeran, who is cycling from Paris to Nice (in France). He is doing this to raise funds for Pieta House, a very worthy cause and one dear to his heart. I would encourage you to hop over to his fundraising page and be generous. In a fit of selfishness and malevolence, I am putting the link at the bottom of this post in the vain hope that it might get you to read all the way through. 

Smoked duck with orange ginger sauce (14 of 14)Most middle aged (be kind to me, late 50s is middle age) men have some unusual stuff in their garden sheds. More than half a lifetime collecting tools and labour saving implements and lots of redundant technology means that we have little space for that what really matters. When I say “we” I don’t mean me. No. I threw out all that gardening and domestic repair nonsense to make space for the Bradley Digital Six Rack Smoker. Just what every every self respecting old fart needs in his life.

There’s little point in having the latest and greatest six rack smoker if you aren’t going to smoke something. So this weekend, I smoked a brace of duck. For ye who think duck grow in a foil container in the supermarket, a brace is two. I got these in the butcher so using the old world description is good. What better way to serve duck than with some bittersweet sauce. Hence, I concocted Smoked Duck with Orange Sauce.

Butterflied leg of lamb (2 of 3)DIY. Now there’s a subject that we men like to treat as our own. If there is a shelf to be put up or a picture to be hung, I’m your man. Your man, as long as you aren’t a perfectionist. So what if the shelf slopes slightly to the right and the picture hangs just a little down on the left? Perfection is boring. When I was a bit younger, I managed to saw through the corner of our kitchen table while preparing a plank for the garden shed. That self-build garden shed was another story altogether. To my credit, I have never driven a nail into a water pipe. Though to balance that I have managed to screw straight into a live wire while hanging a picture hook. In short, with most DIY, you should really do it yourself. Don’t let me near it.  But, when it comes to DIYing a Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Lemon, Thyme and Garlic, look no further – I really am your man.