Go West for Steamed Trout with Fennel

Steamed trout with fennel (1 of 13)“Go West” – a gay pride anthem, an Ulster Rugby chant and advice dispensed by the then editor of the New-York Tribune, Horace Greeley in 1851 as “Go west young man, and grow up with the country.” The pride anthem was originally released by the Village People in the late seventies and brought up to date by the Pet Shop Boys in 1993. I have that version on my iPod.  I sang the Ulster Rugby version, with tears in my eyes, along with 18,000 others at my hallowed Leinster Rugby ground, the RDS, to honour Nevin Spence, a very talented Ulster Rugby player who died in a tragic accident on the Spence family farm in 2012. I can claim no association with Horace Greeley.

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‘Dragon’s Back’ Beef Brisket Sous Vide.

Beef Brisket Sous Vide My cycling buddy James Lawlor, of the Rathmines butchery of the same name, was wondering if I could come up with any half interesting recipes for brisket (We tend to talk of little else except food when we are out in the mountains). It tends to be a tough enough cut so, it tends to be inexpensive. The dual attraction of tough beef and low price made it an ideal candidate for an experiment in the sous vide bath.  Continue reading

Cedar Planked Salmon – The Cider Decider.

Cedar Plank Salmon (1 of 1)-4I get conflicted. Various people tell me that I should be earning a decent few quid from the blog. The reality is that is not possible. I write what I like, post to my own schedule and if something gets up my nose, I am happy to share my spleen contents with the world. If one is writing for commercial gain, the spleen venting, nose contents descriptions and haphazard scheduling are all no-nos. Continue reading

Of Hard Chairs and Barbecues – Ancho Chilli and Honey Pork Ribs.

Ancho honey ribs I’m a considerate sort of person. If I’m having a vegetarian over for dinner, I will restrict the number of animals that we slaughter and serve. If there are a group of ‘lads’ I will throw lots of chilli heat into everything and serve gallons of beer, by the neck, so we can behave like teenagers and pretend that our middle-aged stomachs are not in turmoil. If my beloved Mum is coming to our regular Sunday dinner, I tend to respect her desire for moderate heat in everything. Like I say, I’m a considerate kind of guy. I employed such deference last weekend when preparing Ancho Chilli and Honey Pork Ribs. But, it seems, I can’t get everything right.

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Keeping in touch with Shoulder of Spring Lamb.

Spring Lamb ShoulderWe are social animals. Some more social than others. Some more animal. Communication between us can be very complicated. We misunderstand each other and often end up not talking. We take offence. We get petulant and complicate our relationships through our always-on communication that for the best part really does not communicate at all. Look at the things we use to keep our friends close – text, Viber, Snapchat, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and, for some of us, LinkedIn. Despite all the ‘communication’ many of us have never felt more alone, more isolated and out of touch. Not me though. I KNOW how to stay in touch. All I have to do is prepare some very simple Spring Lamb Shoulder and they will arrive at the table, ready to talk. Ready to share stories. Ready to really communicate.  Continue reading

Chicken Breast Sous Vide – Praying for Summer Sun.

Chicken Breast Sous Vide (8 of 8)We are being threatened by summer here in Ireland. As with most Irish summers, there is a lot more threat than delivery. Yet, we live in hope. Each year, praying (those of us that still believe in our direct line to God) that the summer will live up to the imagined heights of the dull, uninspiring summers gone before.

You won’t find me on bended knee, praying for some decent weather. No, I am a man of action. If the Powers That Be (Me capitalising that bit is me hedging my bets) refuse to deliver on summer sun, I’m going to do what I can to make things around here as sunny as possible. What better way than with Chicken Breast Sous Vide with Ciabatta and Salad?

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Salmon en Croute – Simple sophistication.

Salmon en croute (8 of 9)Salmon en Croute“, such an urbaine sounding title for a very tasty dish. But, let’s just forget the ‘Francification’ and call it ‘salmon in a crust’.  Without the fancy title, the elegant dish becomes pretty ordinary sounding. When it’s sounding ordinary and ‘of the people’, I find I can write about it. Let’s face it, I’m an ordinary guy and I just can’t handle fancy. Though, I hope you can because this is one sophisticated tasting treat. Continue reading

Leg of spring lamb – Sous vide or not sous vide? That is the question.

Leg of Lamb Sous Vide (14 of 15)Spring has well and truly sprung in these parts. The daffodils have shown their smiling yellow faces to the world and retreated into their subterranean bulbs to see out the next three seasons. The weeds have bloomed again in every flowerbed and paving crack they can find and the horrendously expensive spring lamb has reared its bleating head (metaphorically, if not physically) in the better butcher shops around Dublin.  So I knew I was going to have to do something with a leg thereof. Continue reading

It takes brawn to get a head in cycling.

Pigs head terrineThis year, I plan to cycle on the Paris 2 Nice trip to raise funds for Console, Ireland’s national suicide charity. The people who sign up for 700+ kilometres of cycling over 6 days do so for a range of reasons and raise money for a number of worthy causes. At this stage, in an effort to build a bit of brawn, I have been out on training spins and have met a number of very interesting and entertaining people. One of those is James Lawlor. James is a butcher. On a recent outing, we cycled together for some distance. We talked about all sorts of things including, naturally enough, food. In fact, anybody who does any sort of long distance cycling talks about little else. I regaled James with tales of my recent pigs trotter adventures. He asked me if I had ever cooked a pig’s head.

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“Nice Belly My Dear!”

Ethical pork belly (1 of 1)What’s a guy to do? When you are buying a big piece of pork from a nice woman, you really can’t come out with stuff like “That’s a very nice belly you have there, my dear.” In fact, you need to be very careful how you refer to the big, attractive, fat laden hunk of meat. So, when Ety from Ethical Pork sold me the fattiest, tastiest, porkiest piece of pork I have ever seen, I really had to be on my best behaviour.  Continue reading