I am lucky enough to have a number of friends who hail from China. One of their number (who shall remain nameless for fear of my causing any embarrassment) went back to her home city to visit a sick relative. Knowing of my love for Oriental cookery, she brought me back a knife. I thought I should celebrate by starting a small series on Chinese inspired dishes.
I was in our butcher’s shop recently, chatting to Billy. We were talking about pork, as you do. This got to Billy suggesting that I should try a pork loin, on the bone. He even offered to dress it for me. How could I say no. He had ‘broken a pig’ that day and the loin looked pretty spectacular. I was hooked. And, with nine people arriving for Sunday dinner, this looked like the joint to serve. I was excited.
Yes, I am fooling around again. Earlier in the year, I gave rhubarb fool a go. I liked it but there were a couple of niggles. My previous rhubarb fool was pretty tasty, pretty good in all respects. But, perhaps it could have been lighter, Perhaps it could have been rhubarbier (new word). Perhaps I need to completely rethink the idea of the fool. So, it’s time to fool you twice, if you don’t mind.
One of my favourite foods is tempura. It is easy to do as long as one gets the batter right and the oil temperature just so. Easy IT IS NOT! It’s like saying juggling Samurai swords is simple as long as you don’t lose your concentration or your hands.
Any of you enthusiastic cooks or chefs reading this know the feeling. My eldest talked me into driving her to T K Maxx so she could get (I could buy) some clothes. I found myself willingly agreeing. That store always has an eclectic mix of cooking stuff. There are often interesting end-of-line items at a decent price. It’s a great place to find something that will make a difference to the cooking. While eldest daughter worked the rails downstairs, sucking the life out of my current account, I was upstairs, spending the princely sum of €3 on my latest culinary treasure, a ravioli cutter.
Those of you who don’t know me so well would not know that we are a reasonably far-flung family. My sister and her family live in Norway and my youngest brother (the baby, ahhh.) and his family reside in Tanzania. As you could imagine, there is high excitement in our household when youngest brother and family and eldest sister come to visit. It’s not often we have such an international get together. Part of this excitement manifests itself in my cooking for them and us. We try to do it nice and casual and allow the meal act as an excuse for enjoying each other’s company. However, I do like to experiment where I can.
Here in Dublin, after a night on the town, us young lads, boasting of our nocturnal conquests might ask each other “Did ya’ pull?”. No matter what private mortification occurred the evening before, the answer was always in the affirmative. “Course I did. Wasn’t I beating them off?” “I would have landed both but they were fighting over me.” and other such testosterone-fuelled nonsense was, of course, obligatory. However, that was all back in the day.