Over the weekend, the Wife persuaded me to take her out to Howth (a tedious drive or a glorious cycle around Dublin Bay from our house), to see what was going on at the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival. Being the obliging person that I am, I got behind the wheel. As much as I got behind the wheel, Howth has got behind this festival and there was a great atmosphere out there. The festival tent had a raft of seafood treats on offer.
“Who’s the ‘hard-nosed negotiator’?” I can hear you think.
“Who is the guy who will squeeze blood out of a turnip?”
“Who will walk away from something he loves, if the price is not right?”
“It’s me.” I try to say that in a tough, sleeves rolled up, cigar at the corner of my mouth kind of way. I want you to have the right picture. I’m no sap. I don’t walk into negotiations and accept the opening bid. Every price can and should be negotiated. Screw the bastards before they screw you! That’s how to play the game.
I was tempted to dedicate this post to Frank Sinatra, he of the “I did it my way”. But given everything I have heard and read about the man, I think we should say that he was a good singer and leave it (and all reference to the little man with the oversized ego) right here.
Over the years and decades, I have eaten Kung Po Chicken dozens of times. It is (as is “My Way”) a standard. There should be only one true recipe for Kung Po. But, you have guessed it, there are as many ways of cooking it as there are Chins in the Peking phone book.
Sorry about the headline. But there is a bit of a back story. About seven months ago, following on from some home smoking success, I decided to try smoking some tuna. I got my brine ingredients together and also got my hands on some delicious tuna steaks. The photo above is testament to this. “So, what’s the problem?”, I hear you muse.
I had a great post organised. What could be easier to write about? Indian style lamb shanks made from delicious Irish lamb. Also, we had decided to make our own coconut milk from scratch. That had to be something most of you haven’t tried. This was going to be easy. So I concocted the recipe, organised the ingredients, cooked the meal and photographed the proceedings. Why then, did I find myself writing, scrapping and re-writing this post four times? That was until I saw Karen’s recipe for Lamb Shanks with Gremolata Crumbs. That fired and inspired me.
I was 19 years of age and we (the Lads) were on our first Spanish apartment holiday. We were the height of Irish male sophistication, looking like six milk bottles for the first couple of days and like a breed of strange glowing lobsters for the balance of the fortnight. We proudly displayed and contrasted our tans beside the pool. Me a golden bronze (in my head) and the others a more swarthy mahogany (in their heads). Time by the pool would be spent recovering from the previous night’s excess and preparing ourselves for that yet to come. This would involve lying in the Feungirola sun, feeling like death warmed up before being brave enough to have the first bottle of San Miguel.