The Dreaded Sausage Roll – Another reason to hate Christmas.

Sausage rolls (13 of 14)Any of you of ‘a certain age’ who have a navy blazer and a pair of sensible grey slacks hanging in the wardrobe, look away now. You are not going to like this one. I will admit that there are many things to like about Christmas. I suggest that you make a ‘nice’ list for yourself and refer to it on those occasions when you lose your temper queueing for the turkey and ham, or when the family presents don’t arrive from the magical Internet.

There are also a few pretty strident arguments as to why Christmas is a hateful time of the year. There is the guilt salving commercials on TV pleading for just €10 a month to fund the administration of some burgeoning charity. There is that feeling of self-loathing we get as we deftly ignore the carol singers’ outstretched bucket on our way to yet another Christmas boozing session. And there is the Dreaded Sausage Roll. Continue reading

Spiced Beef and the Spoiled Brat.

Spiced Beef (2 of 3) I have to caution you. I have conspired with others to break the law in bringing you this tale. I had decided I should tell you the story of Spiced Beef and the Spoiled Brat. It would be relevant and would allow me to post something festive without having to deck the kitchen with holly. All I had to do was cook the spiced beef. That’s where my descent into the murky underworld of international criminal activity began.

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“Nice trousers. Are they new?” “No.” I say, “They’re Freshly Pressed.”

Time to get the shirt monogramed. Freshly pressed or what!

Time to get the shirt monogrammed. Freshly pressed or what!

Many years ago, to maintain my razor-sharp weekday appearance and to keep the dry-cleaning bills to a minimum, I invested in a trouser press. The device keeps a nice sharp crease on the suit pants and I only need to think about dry-cleaning when my lunch spills out of it’s glass. To set up a bit of contrast and to keep a good self-image during the working week, I sloth my way around in old jeans or tracksuits at the weekend. Continue reading

Conflicted Tightwad Cooks Beef Cheeks in Red Wine.

Beef Cheeks (1 of 1)

Yes, the picture really does tell the story. Beef Cheeks in Red Wine. A good friend of mine was suggesting recipes to me. He talked me into cooking beef cheeks (a first for me). He got to my penny wise side by extolling their value. They really are a cheap cut. That appealed, as anybody who knows me knows, I have a Scrooge side. The skinflint in me was happy until I decided to follow a recipe recommended by a more extravagant friend.  Continue reading

The best breakfast on these islands – Wild smoked salmon, poached eggs and potato cakes.

poached eggs and potato cakes (1 of 10)Around these parts, one hears tell of “The Full Irish” when describing the perfect breakfast. For those of you not in the know, the Full Irish consists of two rashers of bacon, two sausages, two eggs, two pieces of black pudding and two of white pudding, tomato, mushroom, baked beans and a couple of slices of toast. Everything bar the beans and toast gets fried in oil. It really is a case of heart clogging quantity over quality. Nothing better after a night on the beer. The perfect hangover cure, they say.

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Cod and Oriental(ish) Sauce

Cod in oriental sauce (10 of 10)

I wanted to cook something Oriental. I had a yearning for something hot and spicy. My issue was I had two pieces of cod to cook.  So I decided to try a little experiment and to cook something Oriental(ish). That is something using Oriental and Western ingredients cooked in a Western(ish) way. If the dish were a person, we would refer to it as being of mixed race. That is if it is currently politically correct (fashionable) to use such terms. Continue reading

Beef Short Ribs and Bad Acting by the Futcher

Beef short ribs (1 of 1)When I had my recent poor experience of trying to buy some lamb shanks, I thought it was an isolated incident. However, I was wrong. There is an oft used expression in marketing circles. That phrase is ‘Retail Theatre’. You know the sort of stuff; a rotund, jolly looking chap carrying freshly baked bread on a tray above his head or the vegetable aisles that look similar to a Shakespearian street scene. I am all in favour of a bit of the theatrical when I’m out and about buying the staples. But, when style pushes a knife through the arras and kills substance as effectively as Hamlet saw off Polonius, It’s time for me to take to the stage.

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Chocolate Fondant, scoff it if you can!

Chocolate fondant (11 of 13)“You never do desserts.” came the criticism. This was not friendly, constructive comment. It was said through sneering lips. As much as to say “Any fool can roast a leg of lamb or fry a pork chop. But, it takes real talent to cook a dessert.” That got me thinking. No, I don’t do a lot of desserts. That doesn’t mean I can’t. It just means I don’t. But, I could not let the scoffing criticism go. I started looking at puddings and confections.  Continue reading

Lamb Shank and Bean Casserole – Failing to Impress the Diners.

Lamb Shank CasseroleI’m a positive person who looks on the bright side whenever there is an opportunity.  I don’t often set out to write about failure. I do take a bit of pride in what I do. Even though my inclination is to hide my light under a bushel, I really hate to leave you unimpressed.

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The cure for Meat Anxiety – Perfect Pork Chops and Plums.

Pork and plums (6 of 7)I have been in a bit of a tizzy of late. I have found myself wandering the aisles of the supermarket, looking at the meat. Wandering with desire but little intent. The Wife has warned me off any random acts of meat buying. So, no matter how attractive the deal or how delicious the cut, I have been abstemious. My lunchtime walks around the Sandyford Business District have been a torture. “Look, but don’t buy.” has been the watchword. Home in the evening for ‘a nice bit of fish’ or ‘some healthy chicken’. I have had an unpleasant form of meat anxiety. I have been fretful and perspiring, in need of a good meat fix. That was until tonight.

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