ANZAC, The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps commemorate , along with most Australians and New Zealanders, Anzac Day on April 25th each year. This is a sober reminder of the horrors of war and the day marks the contribution made to peace by the members of ANZAC. The story goes that Anzac biscuits were made out of store cupboard ingredients and sent to the soldiers, by the wives and girlfriends of those ANZAC soldiers embedded in the trenches of Gallipoli in Turkey during the First World War. As a result, the Anzac biscuit holds a special place in the hearts of our southern hemisphere friends.
To most of us, “cut and paste” implies taking shortcuts and not doing things the right way. This particular bit of “cut and paste” is the logical, easy end result of really doing the right thing. My last post on this blog was for a delicious Thai style red curry paste prepared in bulk. Doing that facilitates the cut and paste approach to making a really beautiful Thai Red Beef Curry. All you need to do is cut the ingredients and add the paste before a rudimentary bit of cooking.
If you want to get something approaching authentic Thai flavour in your home-cooked curry, you face a bit of a dilemma. Let’s face it, making up a curry paste from fresh ingredients for one curry is a pain in the seating area. So, most of you don’t bother. Instead, you buy a jar of some bright red sludge from the supermarket, fry up an onion and some meat, add the sludge (sauce, if you must), sprinkle on some coriander leaves and you think you have made a curry. You haven’t. You have added some gloop to a saucepan and you don’t know what you are missing. Here’s how to deal with this particular culinary dilemma.
I’ve been cooking a fair deal of Thai style dishes over the past while. I love the combination of creamy coconut, chilli heat, lemongrass freshness, fish sauce saltiness and the bite of a nice bit of lime. Add to that the delight (or disgust) of a handful of coriander and whatever meat or fish is going to act as the carrier and one has the perfect Thai delight. Or do you? I have wondered for a long time about cooking in banana leaf. What would it add? It looks the business. But will it make my dish any better? Let’s find out.
There are eleven other lamb shank recipes here on the blog. Some are better than others. Some would qualify as really excellent in any cook book. However, this one is the best. It excels in flavour, texture, simplicity and most importantly, the Wife says it’s the best I have ever cooked. And we all know, what she says goes. With not a little pride, I present Soy Braised Lamb Shanks with Creamed Parsnip and Garlic Purée.
I have a love-hate relationship with venison. Good venison is expensive and hard to come by. The standard of lots of the venison sold in Irish butcher shops is, in my experience, variable at best. Buying from a good, reputable butcher is important, if one want’s to avoid some of the pitfalls. Having said that, I have no issue with the lovely venison meat in this post. I got it specifically to make a chilli with layers of flavour built by using a range of chillis. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the different types of dried Mexican chillis. They can offer great variety of flavour and a warming depth to any stew.
This is a “non commercial” post. I was in with my friend, James Lawlor, the butcher over in Rathmines. James recommended Harry’s Nut Butter to me and gifted me the jar you see in this post. He also suggested I do a post about it as the producer is a start-up who is doing great stuff in the local marketplace. That’s reason enough for me. (The free jar of product had no influence. I’m cheap, but not that cheap).
I try my very best to not screw up. I don’t like that sinking feeling of making mistakes. I spent the early part (the first 40 years) of my working life on the service side of business. Having spent my time always trying (and occasionally failing) to meet the needs, wants and even whims of my customers, I have been left with a Pavlovian reaction to my mistakes. I own up, I apologise and I ask what I can do to make it right. So, picture me in the butcher’s wearing my mask, talking through the small gap in the perspex screen and intending to ask for a generous half kilo of venison mince. What arrived was a generous half kilo of veal mince.
Somewhere buried in the cookery books that I rarely open these days lies a recipe for Vietnamese Roast Chicken. Somewhere on the blog, I cooked it. That was a few years ago. It is a worthy dish packed with delightful authentic Vietnamese ingredients that give a real flavour punch to the delicious chicken. I thought that I might try to get the same level of flavour and all round deliciousness cooking some free range chicken thighs in the sous vide. You can cook it in a traditional oven, under a grill or on a barbecue too and the instructions are below for that too. This is how I got on and I can only recommend to to you.
I have cooked hundreds of lamb shanks in my time. There is a bevy of recipes here on the blog for all sorts of lamb shank delights. This one is a revelation. In some ways it is very simple, in others it is the result of planning and a bit of work that many of you are not going to do. You can, of course, cut some corners. If you do, you are on your own as I will have cut you loose and want no part of your second rate cookery. If you do follow along, you will enjoy an Oriental lamb shank treat.