Irish Bloggers Beware – Horseradish can make more than your eyes water.

Beef Rib Sous Vide (11 of 11)Take pity on the poor Irish blogger. We are a simple lot. We are not used to being regulated. Many of us have been happy to purloin images from around the Internet for our own use, not knowing nor bothered that those images, and the revenue rights appended, are owned by others. The Irish Bloggers group on Facebook has been doing a deal to educate us of late. However, our situation has been made much worse with the news that The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland has brought us within their compass. Now we have to be upfront when we post for profit. No more can we secretly trouser a few quid and say that we love those gravy granules. We have to say clearly and unequivocally that we are in receipt of funds for saying the glorious things about those hateful globs of granulated gunge. 

But, what do we do when we get free stuff? Lots of us are happy to blog for the free stuff alone. How else would the family eat? I found myself tossed into this particular arena of controversy when my cycling buddy and butcher extraordinaire James Lawlor gifted me a sample jar of Graham’s Horseradish Sauce. 

Side note on getting paid for the nonsense I write here: It’s difficult enough to get James to buy a round of drinks after a long day riding our bikes around the Wicklow Mountains. Any thought of him paying me for this dirge is bordering on the laughable. Having said that, he is one of the best butchers left in Dublin and I highly recommend his shop, Lawlor’s of Rathmines. 

“So, where’s the problem with the free jar of Horseradish?” I hear you say. I didn’t get paid for including it. So I can say it was wonderful and tasty and all that (which it was) without the overlords of communications etiquette coming down on my case. However, I have derived some Benefit in Kind from the jar and the Revenue Commissioners may have something to say on that. Given that I am a top rate taxpayer (not difficult to achieve that accolade here in Ireland), I could be liable to give half of any benefit in kind over to the government. They are not likely to be happy to receive a half jar of Horseradish in the post. No, they will want the value of a jar of horse in tax (The jar being 50%, the price of it being the tax on it). Things don’t get any better. If I did get paid for including it in my post, I would owe the Revenue half that money. It’s just not worth the trouble.

With all that said, here’s a recipe for Sous Vide Beef Rib with Red Wine Reduction. As you can see I served it with free(ish) Graham’s horseradish sauce. 

Beef Rib Sous Vide (1 of 11)

Not a lot of ingredients. I promise I paid for them all except the horseradish.


  • One two kilo beef rib joint (without the ribs)
  • Half a tablespoon or so of each of the following:
    • Sea salt
    • Black peppercorns
    • Mustard seed
    • Dried thyme
  • A glass of good red wine
  • A jar of horseradish sauce (tax and duty paid, of course)

The first thing to do is to grind the salt, pepper and mustard seed until cracked and coarse (somewhat like myself).

Beef Rib Sous Vide (2 of 11)

If I’d been paid, I could have charged extra for the subliminal (out of focus) branding.

Rub the beef all over with the mixture. Most of it will stick.

Beef Rib Sous Vide (1 of 1)-3

There’s a lot of flavour in those seeds and stuff.

Side note on the beef: This is quality Irish ‘grass fed’ beef. The factory bred nonsense sold elsewhere in the world will probably take longer to cook at a higher temperature. It won’t taste as good as this. It just can’t because the meat is second-rate. 

Vacuum seal the beef and put it in your sous vide bath for ten hours or so at 55ºC. Time depends on the size of the cut and temperature determines the degree of doneness.

Beef Rib Sous Vide (3 of 11)

Seal in the flavours of those spices.

When the beef is cooked, remove it from the bag and pat it dry. Brown it on a hot pan. You could do this with a blowtorch (I know a former chef who delights in doing this with a welding gun) or on the barbecue.

Beef Rib Sous Vide (6 of 11)

I nearly needed a bigger frying pan. If only somebody would ‘gift’ me one….

While this is doing, pour the bag juices into a separate pan.

Beef Rib Sous Vide (4 of 11)

The bag juices look nice and clear. Just as clear as our tax and honesty rules….

Heat the juices up and they will go all murky and opaque.

Beef Rib Sous Vide (5 of 11)

Murky and opaque, just like how some bloggers like to keep the rules.

Strain this through muslin. Wash the pan. Add the wine. Add back the strained juices.

Beef Rib Sous Vide (7 of 11)

Clarified juices being poured. Admit it, you depend on me to clarify things.

Reduce the sauce by 50%. Think of it as the 50% you owe to the Revenue Commissioners. Then add a knob of butter and stir it in, it makes the sauce and the thought a bit more palatable.

Beef Rib Sous Vide (8 of 11)

The butter makes the sauce thicker and tastier.

Slice the beef.

Beef Rib Sous Vide (9 of 11)

Edge to edge medium rare beef rib. Very palatable.

Serve the beef with in nice slices with the sauce, some vegetables and a nice dollop of the horseradish sauce.

Beef Rib Sous Vide (10 of 11)

There’s nothing taxing about this particular meal.

I usually do my tax return in or about October. I must remember to include a jar of Graham’s in the envelope.

Footnote on Irish blogger regulation: The rules around blogging are pretty straightforward. If you get paid, you have to be up-front about it. You also have to pay tax on the income. If you get ‘free stuff’ you don’t. But, you are in danger of having to pay tax on the benefit in kind. No matter what, you should be honest, open and clear. Everybody involved, including the client should be happy about that. If they are not, they probably have something to hide and you shouldn’t be putting your reputation on the line for them. If you use somebody else’s images , video or copy for your blog, they are entitled to charge you. If you use my images, I’ll hunt you down and sell your carcass to pay my taxes. You have been warned.

Happy blogging!

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Latest comments
  • That’s a lovely piece of beef 🙂

    • Thanks MD. It still is. We are having it cold again this evening. Glorious way to cook it.

  • Ooh that looks mouthwatering… My steaks and roast beef are never without a side of horseradish!

    • Hi Angelica,
      The Graham’s does cause one eyelid to close and tears to flow. Delicious!

  • As far as I know, most of our beef is grass fed, but it’s a different beast, living in a different climate, on a lot less feed and water than Euro-beef. That said, we can’t sell enough of it to Indonesia and the like, so it must be OK. Yours does look fabulous, and I shall pinch your rub for next time I do a big lump of beef.

    • Do pinch away Kate. You are right on the climate, beast, food and water front. We are very lucky here in the Emerald Isle.

  • We’re big horseradish fans here, but there are very few local ready-to-eat products. Luckily it”s easy to procure the fresh stuff at this time of the year. Rib eye is my favourite cut of beef, yum!

    • Hi Sandra,
      We are at different ends of the weather / seasons spectrum. Only occasionally do our menus get into balance. I’ll have to wait until the summer there / winter here to give my own a go. By then, the Revenue Commissioners will have had me locked up. Hopefully, there is some growing in the prison garden.

  • That beef looks perfect!
    Maybe you could adapt a policy similar to Dublin Bus? No change but a receipt/voucher for the amount owed. I’m sure Revenue have noted your jar of horseradish in their jotters:-)

  • This looks incredible delicious! I like the simplicity about this meal!

    • No point in complicating it when the ingredients are so good. We are very lucky here in Ireland.

      • Point taken. And I think, I can call myself lucky, too, because where I am living in Maine the easiest buys are the ones directly at a farm and locally grown. Kind of nice actually! It is great to know where your food comes from!

        • An off topic question as you are in Maine. Do you know Bennetts Sandwiches, by any chance?

          • I know where it is but did not eat there … actually choose to eat at The Clam Shack in Kennebunk. Have been there? I am only there a couple of times in the year since I need to get out of the mountains to get there 😉 I am located by Bethel in the White Mountains!

          • A friend is involved in the business. I am keen to learn as much about it as I can.

  • Looks delicious. If you nip over to Suffolk you can dig your own horseradish from our garden, Not sure it wouldn’t be cheaper to pay the taxman than Ryanair though.

    • Is it ready now? In fairness to Graham’s, they do a great job. Eye watering, for sure.

      • It’s re-shooting now but still dig-able, if that’s even a word. It just sits in the ground getting bigger and bigger!

  • Oh Conor – you made a husband very happy (for being able to see those pictures) but very very envyes (cheesed off is a better word) 🙂 🙂 for not being able to have it tonight or any other night unless we fly over to Dublin (we wish!!) As you quite rightly said, why spoil things when the ingredients are so good. And we miss our horseradish, too!

    • If you do plan a trip over this way, I’d be more than happy to cook this for you. As you can see, I have a ready supply of horseradish (taxed or otherwise).

  • Well Conor, I have to say, that beef looks incredible. Even the top photo, where the piece is still raw, I can tell that’s great quality beef. And you have convinced me to try sous-vide.

    • Excellent. We had some of the beef cold this evening. We debated whether it is nicer today, cold than on Sunday hot. I can’t recommend the sous vide highly enough. Let me know if and how you get on.

  • You should give me a crush course on “How to food-blog”. Your write-up, inherent humor, thoughtful hidden message, carefully composed recipe and passionately shot images … you are one EXCELLENT and mighty fine food-blogger.
    Your posts are inviting, charismatic, magnetic and hypnotizing.
    Love YOU, dear Boss-man <3

    • Nusrat,
      I always love to read your wonderful, positive comments. You make blogging worthwhile with your enthusiasm.
      Best as ever,

  • Love your side note on grass fed beef. I could not agree with you more about the factory farmed, second rate nonsense that is the norm in the US. Grass fed beef is available in the US, but you have to seek it out and pay quite a bit more for it, but it’s worth it.

    • Even the grass fed US beef is not up to what we manage to eat here. We get so much rain that we have beautiful lush pastures all year around. The cattle get to spend minimal time indoors. Happy beasts = great meat.

      • So true… the animals should eat what they’re supposed to eat; cattle grazing on grass, chickens pecking and scratching for insects, pigs rooting around, and fish should be allowed to eat, well, whatever fish eat- algae, worms, other fish, etc. It’s better for man and beast alike! 🙂

        • It’s funny, the factory system leads to very cheap food. That cheap food makes the poor both fat and unhealthy (a bit of a generalisation but largely true). In the century before last, the rich were fat and the poor were thin. This is not progress.

          • The system appears cheaper in the short term, but clearly not for the long term as we look at rising health care costs due to chronic illness and years of poor land management in the form of mono cropping which results in the loss of plant/crop/food diversity and stripping of nutrients from the soil, which means more chemical intervention to remedy (hello, Monsanto). Ugh. Sorry to be such a downer in your comments section!

          • We need a dose of reality if not a dose of chemical intervention every now and then!

      • “Happy beasts = great meat”
        Why not let the ‘Happy beasts’ LIVE and remain happy!
        why kill them to make food.

        • Always the anonymous commenter hiding like a troll under a bridge. Step out of the shadow of anonymity and have the debate in the light of reason, if you like.

        • Well said, Conor – well said!!!!

        • Ah I don’t have a blogger profile to link to but you have my email id. Sorry I missed my name but now you have it.
          That was a simple question to which you could have simply replied, “Because I like meat”
          On a civilized blog like this, which to be honest I like reading frequently – if only for the quality of writing and photography – you don’t have to resort to name calling.

          • Hi Paul,
            My apologies for causing offence. I get a bit red-necked when commenters (who express a negative view) don’t leave a name. I am delighted to have you reading here and I hope my bluntness will not prevent you from returning and commenting some more, of course.
            Thanks for reverting,

  • I bought a finger sized sprig of horseradish on 3 or 4 years ago and planted it. Although I give bits away to anyone who shows the slightest interest in it, and dig up half of the roots every year for making delish sauce, the damn stuff is taking over that bit of the garden like a triffid. Anyone wants a bit to plant, I’m yer man. If only I could get the decent beef to go with it.

    • I love the triffid description. I might call in and collect some as we will be back in the region in August. We will be staying in Castillion. It’s not too far from your riverside abode and I could bring a garden spade!
      Hope you are both well,

  • I’d like to come to the attention of the Revenue Commissioners, Conor. How do I go about getting free stuff? Should I start by being a nicer person? I tried that once and I didn’t like it. I’d like that beef though.

    • Don’t I say nice things about you? I have never charged for being nice to you. That qualifies as free stuff. Does that mean that I have to be 50% nice to the Revenue Comms and proportionately less pleasant to you? Be careful what you wish for!
      I’ll cook the beef for you and that chap you live with at some stage when life settles down. That’s another conversation….

      • I was going to say ‘that’s all very well, but I can’t eat nice’ – and then I realised I can, if it’s beef. So, okay then. But it’s still not going to get me a handbag.

        • I think you are reading the wrong blog for that sort of ‘free stuff’. We both know what we are discussing….

  • What a gorgeous hunk of meat! The cow we eat from was raised up the road from us, and was grass fed and occasionally got a treat of spent hops. I wonder if our cow ever got drunk from that? The cow owner also owns a microbrewery. I think it’s a wonderful way to reuse/recycle spent hops. As usual, a delightful post to read Conor!

    • Thanks Kathryn. The hop fed cow obviously has a happy life

  • Great post, Conor, and a great hunk of perfectly cooked beef. Our tax department is (trying to be) efficient, and leaves you alone as long as your benefits in kind or other blog earnings are below a threshold. I’d have to blog about horseradish every day to breach it. Speaking of which, the combination of beef and horseradish appears to be very popular in the anglosaxon world, but I’m not a fan.

    • On reading the Graham’s website, they suggest it is good with smoked salmon. I must try that. I like it in small quantities. I suspect I’m safe from the taxman with what I do.

      • I do love its cousin wasabi with sashimi and sushi. If I’ll have some smoked salmon left from this Saturday’s fish & wine fest (not very likely as everyone will want second and third helpings), I’ll have to see if the stuff is even sold here to try it with.

        • Can’t wait to see what you prepare.
          I’m thinking of us going out to an Indian restaurant when you are over. Does that suit your tastes? I will need to book pretty soon as it is hugely popular.

          • It does, as long as the spiciness isn’t hugely exaggerated (we are okay with spicy). I’ve never been to an Indian restaurant, so it will be a nice experience to go to a good one.

  • There’s every chance that people might pay me not to mention their products in my diatribes/blogs:)

    • They may lose breadth but they would gain great depth of engagement. A sort of reverse of the 1960s tv “Never mind the width, feel the quality”. Though, it all seems to be about width. Sad but true.

  • I’ve recently gotten into horseradish with beef. This looks amazing!

    • Hi Debbie,
      A little goes a long way, if you don’t want to end up in tears.
      Hope all goes well in the Mountain Kitchen.

      • Believe me I know. Had some cocktail sauce with shrimp one time that attacked me so bad I didn’t think i would ever breath…. yikes!

  • Your beef looks perfect!

    • Thanks Rosemary,
      The sous vide makes it incredibly controllable. at 55º, I got perfect edge to edge medium rare. I would have preferred it a little less done but my guests are less adventurous than I.
      I hope all is good with you.

  • It’s too bad about the government maybe wanting half your horseradish. I do agree with you that everyone ought to be honest regardless.

    • Thanks Jeff. They have’t taken me up on the offer just yet. However, I live in hope….

  • Beautifully cooked. Delicious I’m sure, especially with good horseradish…taxable or not. 🙂

    • Thanks Karen, Lovely to hear from you as always. I have other things taxing me at present. Such as what to cook for tonight’s dinner!

  • Conor, this is gorgeous! I love horseradish and craved it so much when I was pregnant with my second child that I’d stand in front of the fridge and eat it (and this was pure horseradish that’s sold here in the states in narrow little jars, not the sauce) with butter knife…needless to say, my son loves horseradish, too. And he’d go crazy over this roast.

    • Lovely story Frau. Mother Nature is a strange creature.

  • That’s a beautiful piece of meat!

    On the tax thing, I’m wondering whether you shouldn’t treat your blog as a business, with “income” such as a free jar of horseradish (more than) offset by all the expenses involved in maintaining a website? Just a thought, something worth looking into!

    • Great thought Frank. I could run it as a loss leader (there is no other way with a blog like mine) and end up with tax credits for the rest of my life.

  • i willbe happey to do it but the problem how to explain what kind of meat to the

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