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Author: Conor Bofin

Sous Vide Pork with Mango (9 of 9)

Sitting in the swelteringly hot office of Fresh Mango Exports Inc. is the chief sales and distribution manager, ‘Rocky’ Albert, cooling his lined and oily visage with a hand held fan. In walks Sunny, the youthful and earnest head of picking and packing. “Albert my friend, we have a problem. Last night’s storm has caused windfall in the mango grove. The fruit is nowhere near ripe. It looks like we’ll lose our shirts on it.” Albert’s leathery face breaks into a sly grin. “Don’t worry your pretty head Sonny, even if the cricket team don’t take them for practice, I’ll sell them to the Irish. They wouldn’t know a ripe mango if it fell off the tree on their heads.”

We were on a trip to the North of Spain recently, flying into the beautiful city of Santander and travelling to the regional capital Oviedo. If your view of Spain is formed by drinking copious pints of Watneys Red Barrel and eating the all-day English breakfast down on the Costa Del Sol, then you need to broaden your horizons and travel north to Asturias.

A tandoor is a type of traditional Indian oven that generates huge heat. Using a tandoor requires a deft touch and really accurate timing. Using my barbecue in the back garden is a lot more forgiving. I really enjoy a good Tandoori chicken. But, not being armed with the right equipment could be a handicap.

One other handicap many of us in the western world face when preparing ‘authentic’ Indian dishes is the pretty awful marinades and spice blends available. This is very often the fault of the sauce manufacturer’s marketing department (SMMD).

“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.

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.

Stuffed Aubergine (1 of 3)

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. 

We aren’t having lamb for Easter this year. That puts us in a minority here in Ireland. Roast leg of lamb is a traditional favourite. I could cite the icy weather that has meant a lot of the new season lamb is not ready for an early Easter. But I won’t. It’s not because Easter falls on April Fools Day either. No, we are not having lamb because we had it last Sunday instead. I was looking forward to preparing it and having a traditional Easter Sunday dinner. But the Wife suggested that I prepare something new with a leg of lamb and put it here for you to see. So, I prepared Roast Leg of Lamb with Mustard and Honey. If the religious amongst you need an excuse to say “Praise the Lord”, this is it.

Beef and Mushroom Stew (1 of 2)

We live in a rapidly polarising and intolerant world. More and more of us have no room to share with anybody who has different views, different religion, different nationality, different colour or different sexuality to ourselves. It’s kind of easy for me to take a stand on this as I don’t have a religion, have very few views on anything of importance, am a citizen of the world, in my underwear, I am a pasty colour that is best kept covered up and you can mind your own business on the sexuality bit.

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