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

Squid Ink Pasta with Seafood – My Dark Secret.

Seafood Squid Ink Pasta (10 of 10)OK, it’s dark. But, that doesn’t make it a dark secret, per se. In fact, it’s just dark. There really is no secret about it. I could have gone down a “My Dark Past” route with this. But, Michael Jackson cornered that particular market a while ago. I could have suggested that the squid was caught in the Dark Net but, the Dark Net is not a place in which any of us want to get caught. So, I went with Dark Secret.  Continue reading

The Lamb is in the Bath. Country Irish or Modernist Cuisine?

Lamb shoulder sous vide (6 of 7)When I was a very young lad, we holidayed on Valentia Island, just off the Kerry coast. I still have memories of seeing a sow and her numerous porky offspring resting in the kitchen of a farmhouse. At the time, I didn’t think much about it. On reflection, they were much simpler times and we kids were happy sleeping three to a bed in our holiday home. There was no internet, no television, one channel on the radio and only a small river to amuse us children.

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Easy Oriental Part 15. Sort of Authentic Kung Pao Chicken.

Kung Pao Chicken (14 of 14)I have cooked Kung Pao Chicken previously. I have even shared the results of one venture here. There seem to be more versions and variations on the Kung Pao theme than there are woks in Schezwan Provence. So, I thought it safe to post a different version for your delight. This one leans towards the rising sun (It comes up in the East around here). It favours more of the ‘authentic’ than other versions around the place and it is truly fantastic and tasty. Continue reading

Turning right and Chicken and Sobrasada Casserole.

Chicken and Sobrasada Casserole (12 of 12)Those of you who know me reasonably well know that I do a bit of cycling. Some who know me better would also be aware that I am generally bright spirited and positive in my approach to living. Only those of ye that know me very, very well would also know that I do suffer occasionally from visits by the ‘Black Dog’ of depression. Continue reading

Jacob’s Ladder Sous Vide – Very, Very Tasty. But….

Jacobs Ladder Sous Vide (5 of 6)“What’s the ‘But….’?” you ask. The beef looks delicious in the picture. It tasted delicious, particularly with a beautiful, highly tasty, beef and wine reduction. The soft stem broccoli was lovely on the side and the celeriac mash was perfect too. So, what’s the problem?  Continue reading

Pork stock and a snack for the Wife.

CrubeensI have been keen to post the photo above. It was taken, on 35mm, by my late father, in 1967 while we were at Puck Fair in Killorglin, Co. Kerry. The picture of a ’67 food truck gives a great insight into Irish life at the time. The typography tells me that Fish and Chips was the lead offer. Crubeens were a staple and Hamburgers were something pretty exotic. I had never cooked crubeens. Oh, they are pigs feet, for those of you not in the know. So, when Ety from Ethical Pork offered me a few, I knew I could redress the situation and have an excuse to show a wonderful bit of Irish social history from almost 50 years ago. Continue reading

Shrinking family leads to pheasant with leek and potato.

Pheasant with LeeksWe are a frugal enough lot. We have always tried to be practical but not at the expense of acceptable comfort. For example, we don’t buy the luxury quilted, balsam infused toilet tissues. Nor do we go with squares of old newspaper hanging from a string. We try to maintain a balance between raw practicality and the better things in life. If one overindulges in such luxuries as quilted toilet tissue, they become the norm and any change in financial circumstances can come as an uncomfortable shock to the system. Having said that, in recent times, we do find ourselves having more meals for two as family spread their wings and abandon us on weekends. The thought of cooking pheasant for six or eight brings a lump to my throat. But, when it’s just the Wife and I dining, it’s game on (pun intended).  Continue reading