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Author: Conor Bofin

This recipe is a celebration of being involved in a great organisation, the ISVA. For me, it’s a huge honour to be included in the Champions of Sous Vide cookbook published by Mike and Jason of the International Sous Vide Association. I decided to celebrate by cooking some delicious Spiced Wicklow Lamb Shanks (in the sous vide, naturally enough). Wicklow lamb really is some of the very best in the world. If you get a chance to try it, do so. This recipe is simplicity itself. I have included a full instructional video for your convenience.

Here’s a little adventure into the worlds of Thai flavours and video. I will be smoking some salmon over the coming couple of weeks and while I was thinking about doing something “different”, I thought doing something with a bit of Thai flavour might be fun. I took the trouble to shoot a bit of footage to show the process. I have been utilising video in my business over the past few months and thought that I might apply it here on the blog too.

While thinking about this recipe, I got to consider my storyline. It should be an easy one to write. Halibut is my favourite fish and right now, I am having a great time with many of the Thai flavours that bring out the very best in fish. With very little thinking done, I hit upon “curry favour”. I could easily bend that around to “favourite curry” and have a play on words. This would be easy.

During our summer holidays, we got to stay on a plum farm in Agen, in the south of France. While we were there, we got to enjoy lots of the truly fine local produce. Our hosts gave me a supply of delicious prunes (dried plums) which I enjoyed so much, I had to get more to try the classic dish of the region Agen Prunes in Armagnac. It would have been rude to not try it given that Agen sits beside Armagnac and it really is a delight. Have mine been successful? Like I say in the headline, I’ll tell you at Christmas. I made them last week (October) and they are now hidden away in a dark press in preserving jars. They are out of sight so they have a good chance of making it to December 25th, by which time, they should be perfect.

These little tasties are a great example of international cooperation. The finest Irish lamb is combined with some delicious spices to give us Indian Style Lamb Chops. They were perfect with the Spinach Dahl I posted last week. They are delightful and I prepared plenty. There were three of us sitting down to eat. Three chops is plenty for one person. There are eight chops in a rack. You know what I did. 

Are you wearing a fitness tracker? You know your step count, your blood pressure, heart rate, how long and how well you sleep and even your calorie consumption. Admit it, you obsess. You sweat the small stuff. You don’t get that sleep you can measure because you are stressing over missing your daily step count. This messes with the BP and the HR too. It gets worse, you use the app to track your friends. You stress because they are doing more than you. This raises your BP and HR even higher. It is definitely time to take your pulse.

I love crumble. A decent crumble is a series of contrasts. Texture, taste, tone – all three are complemented by the addition of a bit of creme fraiche which brings temperature and luxury to the party. My grumble with crumble is that so many of them skimp on the crumble and don’t do contrast. If you make a crumble with rhubarb and ginger, you can afford to leave the base mixture pretty tart. To contrast that, the crumble can be nice and sweet. The crumble has to crumble too. That could be another grumble.

Did I tell you? I’m a vegetarian. I plan to move on to full vegan next. After that, I will live only on pulses until my last pulse.  There is only one little bit of weaseling in this. It’s all just “not yet”. Are you a little disappointed in me? Have I lied to you? Or, is it OK to really pump up one (good) aspect of what you do while you weasel the more important (bad) stuff you do?

Let’s face it. If you want to make anything sound that bit special, say it in French. A shrimp might be worth scoffing down. But a langoustine is something that has to be eaten with the reverence its embellished title deserves. Pommes Anna evokes crisp cotton tablecloths, silverware, crystal glasses and fine wines. With due deference to my eldest sister, “Anna’s potatoes” really doesn’t do much for the imagination. So when I cogitated preparing some sweetened duck legs in a plastic bag, it really had to be Duck a l’Orange Sous Vide. It may seem like déjà vu as I have done Duck a l’Orange here before.

“Boiled Chicken! You must be joking.” I hear you muse. But, this is no joke. Not only is this Chinese style boiled chicken delicious but it has a real bonus in store for you. But more of that later. This recipe uses a cooking method favoured by Chinese peasants. It is known as cooking on  reducing heat. In a country where firewood was in really short supply, this method had a lot to commend it.

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