The McGary Chilli Challenge. Some of the best cooking fun possible.
On 9th of October 2015, I learned of the passing of my food blogging colleague Richard McGary, of Dallas Fort Worth, Texas. One could take the view that I shouldn’t have been very upset. I had never met Richard. However, in the four years I have been writing this blog, there are very few people who would have had more of an influence on me than that kind, sharing and convivial man.
Over many years, I have suffered the recommendation of traveling companions who insist that “If it’s got trucks outside, it must be good.” Nobody knows the roadside cafe as well as the Heroes of the Highway, talking on their CB radios and tooting their air horns as they roll 18 wheels of hunger into another greasy spoon. I don’t have any truck with truck drivers. Nor do I have any amongst my inner circle of besties. But, I do imagine (yes, imagine only) that gourmet dining is top of the list when it comes to fuelling the man as well as the 40 footer.
Great Britain is pondering leaving the European Union. The British currency is the Pound. I was thinking of making a pound cake. To hell with that. I refuse to promote the currency of a nation that may leave Ireland swinging in the cold wind of European island isolation. No, I will modify the traditional pound cake recipe and make instead a Euro Cake.
I am a pretty well organised person. Too well organised, some might say. Often, I hear the family muttering of OCD as I arrange neat rows of tins in kitchen cupboards. I must have a list when I go shopping. I like to have it in ‘Notes’ on my phone so I can delete the items as I pop them into my trolley. Nothing left in the note means everything I need has been purchased. However, I have a blind spot. A big blind spot. My weeks’ thinking starts on Sunday (my usual blog post cooking day). As a result, I have everything planned for Sunday breakfast, Sunday’s Family Dinner and for evening meals for the early part of the following week. I do the shopping on Saturday morning. I have a dreadful habit of forgetting to get anything for Saturday evening. If I lived alone, this would not be a problem. However, I live with the Wife….
If you are female, don’t even bother reading any further. If you are male and happen to be a bit effeminate, go with the girls. If you are offended by the first two sentences, don’t think about reading on. If you happen to be a hermaphrodite, it’s your call. Just be warned, this is man’s stuff.
When I was a kid, some of our country cousins used to refer to Dublin (the grand metropolis that it was and continues to be) as the Big Smoke (Pronounced more like “de big shmoke”). In our company, they would speak about it with mock reverence; “Oh, your from de big shmoke, are ye? Isn’t it well for ye after all.” Time has passed and those from outside the Pale have their own smoke while Dublin, having banned the burning of smokey fuel is now the Big No Smoke. (Say it as “noo shmoke”, if you want to sound like country Irish). This reversal of fortunes has gone on long enough. Our government is about to ban smokey coal throughout the land. So it is time to re-claim the title of Big Smoke for the capital.
A properly cooked fillet steak is a joy to enjoy. Cooking a fillet (tenderloin) is not difficult either. Simply sear it on either side and throw the pan into a hot oven for a few minutes and the job is practically done. You can complicate the process and clog your arteries by finishing it (and yourself too) with butter. I have never seen the need to do this. A good fillet is a good fillet. Right?
A deal better than my presentation. Sous vide Pork Fillet
Regular readers will know that I do a bit of cycling. The day that I post this, I will be taking part in the 2015 Paris2Nice Cycle to raise funds for an Irish national suicide charity. It involves 75 cyclists from Ireland riding over 700 kilometres, with a number of us taking on the dreaded Mont Ventoux as part of the exercise. This is the 5th year of Paris2Nice and, to date, the endeavours have raised well over two million euro for a number of worthy causes.
It’s your own fault. I didn’t write it. You didn’t see it, because it isn’t there. Yet planted in your mind is the inappropriate image. The awful picture of something that I didn’t compose and certainly didn’t intend. No. this is a food blog. I try to elevate your standards, not drag them into the gutter.
I ask the question, not because I am a racist. But, instead, in a pathetic attempt to get your attention (and your vote) for my candidature in the Blog Awards Ireland 2015. A few weeks ago, I begged you to vote for my entry in the Cono Sur Blogger competition. Many of you tried and failed (It is restricted to Irish based voters). I have forgiven you foreigners for your inadequacy and realise that there is a wider question to be answered. Should you be allowed to vote in Irish elections at all?