Hot smoked dry brined mackerel – You CAN have too much of a good thing.

Hot smoked mackerel (1 of 11)Warning to the weak of stomach: This post contains some pretty gory bits. Read on at your own risk.

Somewhere around 25 years ago, I was out having a few pints with “the lads”. We were socialising in Goggins of Monkstown, our then favoured haunt. The conversation was wide-ranging and often great ideas would be tabled for decision or debate. One such notion was to hire a boat from Bulloch Harbour so we could catch a few mackerel. Everybody agreed that this was a worthy venture and a couple of nights later, three of us took the trip to Dalkey, negotiated with Joe and took out a small open boat, complete with Seagull motor and hand lines.

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Porcini Crusted Fillet Steak with Garlic and Chive Butter – Fine dining on the building site.

Fillet steak with porcini crust (15 of 16)In a café beside our office in Sandyford, they serve the scones on little wooden boards. I think they are called shingles in the building trade. Weatherproof, very trendy and they only need a wipe with a cloth between servings. When we have our coffee there, we have fun watching patrons scrabbling around on the floor to retrieve the mini jam jars that slide off the shingles like rain off a roof. The madness of using building materials in food presentation doesn’t stop there. No, we have grown used to the ‘trend’ for serving chips in buckets. With every shovel of the cement of fashion into the mixer of dining, we seem to move further and further into the building site. Continue reading

Cod with Asparagus, Lemon and Saffron, and Bloggers Block

Cod with asparagus (6 of 6)You know the feeling. The moment after you tell your better half that yes, her bum does look big in that. There are times where you really wish that you could rewind the clock a little bit. Reversing the car into that ‘hidden’ pole. Standing up in the kitchen and catching the corner of your head on the corner of a cupboard door. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a 30 second rewind.  Continue reading

Manly, Man Size Pork Pie.

Pork pie (2 of 3)The ‘what will he cook this weekend’ debate started out innocuously enough with: “What makes for a ‘real pork pie?”. “It needs to be a hot water crust.” was my contribution. Friend A suggested “If there isn’t a boiled egg, it isn’t a real pork pie.” Friend B recoiled in horror at the suggestion. For my own part, memories of my Mum making individual pork pies (with an egg) for my Dad’s fishing forays into the western half of the country pretty well decided the issue. I found myself committed to cooking a pork pie.  Continue reading

Easy Oriental Part Thirteen. Lucky or not, it’s Dad Thai.

Pad Thai (1 of 15)One of the time-of-times in a sad superstitious old man’s life is approaching. My youngest is preparing to emigrate. She has finished the formal part of her education and wants to spread her wings. This is not a lucky time for me. So I suspect that it’s appropriate that number thirteen in this series is a meal that she has begged me to cook as one of her departure treats. It’s my take on seafood-free Pad Thai or ‘Dad Thai’ to take it for my own. The ingredients are all in the photo above. For superstition’s sake, there are fourteen. Continue reading

Extreme Prawn Risotto. Well worth the work.

Prawn Risotto (15 of 15)

Just what the world doesn’t need, another risotto recipe. Could I suggest that if you want a simple prawn risotto recipe, go back and search again. This one is not simple and needs lots of work. This extreme recipe produces an extreme result. It is worth the trouble. But, it is trouble. So if you want something nice and simple, it’s been nice knowing you. If you want something really, really delicious, get your sleeves rolled up.  Continue reading

Easy Oriental Part Twelve – Baked Centrepiece Tuna for Six.

Baked Oriental Tuna (10 of 10)This post really is a triumph of form over function. I was in the fish shop last week and they had some whole (small) tuna on sale. I’ve never cooked a whole tuna before. I planned to smoke the fish but found that it wouldn’t fit into my smoker. So, instead of cutting off the head and tail, I decided it would photograph quite well and I could bake it in an oriental style. It proved to be very simple to prepare and delicious to eat. A worthy and impressive participant in the Easy Oriental series. This makes a great centrepiece, always useful when serving Oriental.  Continue reading

French Retreat part seven. The hottest day of the holiday, so I cook Rabbit and Prune Stew.

Rabbit and prune stew (1 of 1)The headline looks a bit long-winded to me. This is the last in my mini series so you will just have to put up with me being long-winded. We were in the Libourne market and I was suffering from a dose of ‘let’s get creative’. This is not a good condition for me. I was bereft of ideas and decided I needed to do something out of left field. That part of the park can often deliver good results. Hopefully I could translate that into French. With that in mind, I set out to ‘create’… Continue reading

The French Retreat part six. Two old bags and Herb Stuffed Trout with Ratatouille.

Herbed Stuffed Trout with Ratatouille (11 of 11)I am a modest chap. I don’t like drawing attention to myself. I am also not the tallest person in the room, unless I’m in there on my own. Over the years, I have grown accustomed to having barmen serve the guy behind me and being left until last when it comes to fighting for attention in the Autumn sales. I tend to not do much of either pinting or sale shopping these days so there is no real loss, except to my dignity. But, there is a limit…. Continue reading

The Bitter Aftertaste of Blog Awards and Apricot Tart Tatin.

Apricot Tart Tatin You know the story. A beautiful girl from the slums of some south American dive wins the Miss World contest and her life is transformed. She goes from washing herself and her impoverished sisters and brothers in an abandoned oil drum to starring in Maxx Factor commercials and bathing in goat’s milk. The little darling spends days modelling top fashion and sipping Evian water. Mercedes insist on her driving around in one of their better small saloons. When she is not being gainfully employed, she is entertained by those at the apex of the social pyramid. That’s how it’s meant to be…. With this as the backdrop, I hear you muse; “Since winning two coveted prizes in 2013 Blog Awards, what has changed in your life Conor?” Continue reading