“What on earth is Lardo?”, I hear you ask. Only because I was in the “What is Lardo?” camp myself until my friend Katia brought me a piece back from a trip to Rome. Lardo is the cured back-fat of a pig. This may cause some of you to recoil in horror. Get over yourselves if you do. If you use butter, oil or margarine, you are using fat in your cooking. Lardo is fat. Lardo is not the sort of thing you should eat by the block. But, Lardo is a true delight when used correctly.
If you think I’m being witty with the headline, don’t. I have a beef. My beef beef is with rib of beef or prime rib. That doesn’t change any of the issues at hand. A great cut of beef needs to be treated with due deference and respect. Making a great meal from a great piece of Irish beef is not difficult.
I am a very lucky guy in lots of ways. Both professionally and socially, I know more than my fair (or should that be fare) share of chefs and restauranteurs. Over the last few years, they have all, in various ways, been inspirational for me in developing my blog and the food that I prepare here. Kevin Hui, the affable and talented owner of China Sichuan here in Dublin is one such person. Recently, I told him that I planned to prepare Bao, the delicious steamed Chinese buns. I was surprised by Kevin’s reaction; “Don’t prepare the buns yourself. They are a pain to make. I’ll give you some.” This, of course had the opposite effect to that intended by Kevin. I had to make them.
The clue is in the name of the blog; One man’s Meat. The women who tried to get me off the case are my eldest daughter and Linda Booth. Eldest got me a wonderful present of an Indian cookery course at Linda’s excellent Dublin Cookery School. I had a great day at the school, learning lots of new things and cooking some truly delicious Indian meals. For me, the absolute stand-out dish of the day was this recipe for stuffed aubergine (eggplant). It might just get me away from meat for a while. If every vegetarian dish was as flavourful as this, I might just give up the meat altogether. The only thing stopping me is the blog. I just couldn’t bear to be the author of “One Man’s Cabbage” or anything like it. Nice try ladies but no.