“Who’s the ‘hard-nosed negotiator’?” I can hear you think.
“Who is the guy who will squeeze blood out of a turnip?”
“Who will walk away from something he loves, if the price is not right?”
“It’s me.” I try to say that in a tough, sleeves rolled up, cigar at the corner of my mouth kind of way. I want you to have the right picture. I’m no sap. I don’t walk into negotiations and accept the opening bid. Every price can and should be negotiated. Screw the bastards before they screw you! That’s how to play the game. Continue reading
I was tempted to dedicate this post to Frank Sinatra, he of the “I did it my way”. But given everything I have heard and read about the man, I think we should say that he was a good singer and leave it (and all reference to the little man with the oversized ego) right here.
Over the years and decades, I have eaten Kung Po Chicken dozens of times. It is (as is “My Way”) a standard. There should be only one true recipe for Kung Po. But, you have guessed it, there are as many ways of cooking it as there are Chins in the Peking phone book. Continue reading
Sorry about the headline. But there is a bit of a back story. About seven months ago, following on from some home smoking success, I decided to try smoking some tuna. I got my brine ingredients together and also got my hands on some delicious tuna steaks. The photo above is testament to this. “So, what’s the problem?”, I hear you muse.
I had a great post organised. What could be easier to write about? Indian style lamb shanks made from delicious Irish lamb. Also, we had decided to make our own coconut milk from scratch. That had to be something most of you haven’t tried. This was going to be easy. So I concocted the recipe, organised the ingredients, cooked the meal and photographed the proceedings. Why then, did I find myself writing, scrapping and re-writing this post four times? That was until I saw Karen’s recipe for Lamb Shanks with Gremolata Crumbs. That fired and inspired me. Continue reading
I was 19 years of age and we (the Lads) were on our first Spanish apartment holiday. We were the height of Irish male sophistication, looking like six milk bottles for the first couple of days and like a breed of strange glowing lobsters for the balance of the fortnight. We proudly displayed and contrasted our tans beside the pool. Me a golden bronze (in my head) and the others a more swarthy mahogany (in their heads). Time by the pool would be spent recovering from the previous night’s excess and preparing ourselves for that yet to come. This would involve lying in the Feungirola sun, feeling like death warmed up before being brave enough to have the first bottle of San Miguel. Continue reading
America is a great place. There are 49 states and one independent country (Texas). We Europeans often sneer at the gastronomic endeavours of “them over there”. I don’t really subscribe to the “They all eat nothing but burgers and tacos” school of thought. However, of the 49 states, the one with that has some culinary questions to answer is Kentucky. I have done my research. Kentucky has more elk, deer and wild turkeys than you could shake a bottle of bourbon at. But, they are not famed for cooking any of them. Those good old bluegrass lovin’ Louisville folk are famed for sending buckets, yes buckets, of spiced, fried chicken to all points of the globe.
Baccala. It seems that the entire Iberian peninsula lives on the stuff. Every Spaniard or Portuguese that I know holds it in very high regard. Graham and Lisa from the fish shop sing its praises too. It looks pretty dire. Dried out salted cod, what could be less inspiring? The truth is that I found myself looking blankly at the array of fresh fish in Georges Fish Shop, without a thought as to what I could prepare from the bounty of the sea. Lisa suggested “Have you ever tried salt cod?” This brought me back to reality. The thought of the cod did nothing for me but, I had to give it a go, if only to be one ahead of most Irish people and able to say that I had cooked the noxious stuff. Continue reading
There are many ‘versions’ of the story of St. Patrick. Given the time of year, I thought I should clarify the situation and give you the cold hard facts about the man. The first thing we know is that he was Welsh. This we know by the type of crosier he carried. There are rumours that he might have been a Scotsman but any sheep farmer knows that the Scottish crozier has a very different head to the Welsh. Scottish sheep have a thicker necks than Welsh and as a result, the Scottish crozier has a more open crook, making it useless for snake scooping. St. Patrick hunted snakes with the aid of a dalmatian hound. In fact, the great Irish patron saint named one of the three (for there are only three) traditional Irish foods after the dog. Continue reading
“Only a fool would mess with such a beautiful piece of beef.”
“Pepper it, salt it, fry it.”
“Are you sure you want to experiment with that? It must have cost more than the national debt!”
My expected guests were all of similar minds “Don’t mess with the beef.” seemed to be the unanimous theme. Like the late Margaret Thatcher, I was not for turning. Unlike the late MT, I was not wearing a blue dress. I was cogitating a new recipe for beef fillet.
Let me set out my stall nice and early here. I subscribe to the ‘Craft’ school of cookery. Please don’t confuse this with the similarly named conglomerate, I don’t subscribe to them. My ‘subscription’ to craft rather than science is based on my own laziness rather than any dark art that I have evolved or inherited over the years. As any regular reader will know, I tend to throw things together based on what I think should work. The results are not always perfect. In fact, the results are often pretty disappointing. My supportive family sits around the table lying to me. “No, it really is pretty good.” “I love the chewy texture of the meat.” “Actually, I like my vegetables nice and watery.” Continue reading