HomeArticles Posted by Conor Bofin (Page 11)

Author: Conor Bofin

Mushroom ravioliAnybody who reads this blog regularly will know that vegetarian stuff is a bit of a rarity (usually an accident, in fact). Given that I like to discommode myself occasionally, and to try different things, it seemed reasonable to go veg for a change.  So I got to thinking of salting some cabbage or frying some carrots, or whatever it is you vegetarians get up to when you are working up an appetite. Nothing inspiring came to mind. Eventually, I had a notion that I should try some ravioli. I hadn’t prepared it in a while. I could easily make it a vegetarian dish.

Steamed Monkfish Oriental Style (9 of 9)It’s a while since I have posted something from further east than Howth (A fishing port on the far side of Dublin Bay). This is a slight variation on a classic, served in some of the best Oriental restaurants around. It is not dished up in the average Chinese where the height of culinary ambition matches the diners’ desire for a gooey sauce and a slice of pineapple with their sweet and sour chicken balls. This dish has finesse. It has class and refinement. It does not go well with beer and it will never become a post-pub favourite in the way that chicken chow mein or prawn curry with fried rice have. This is a good thing.

Mussels (5 of 6)Vanity. It has the potential to be the undoing of the best of us. I work hard to be both selfless and self-aware. However, I was wearing a skimpy tee-shirt (it was a hot day) in the middle of a French market. I heard a clear (too clear for my finely tuned Irish ear) English accent. “Ooooohhh. Look at those muscles. They are wonderful.” I blushed, as one of a fine physique and a self-deprecating attitude should. However, the owner of the sharp voice pushed by us and went to the seafood stall. I followed, somewhat crestfallen, joined the queue and bought a kilo for myself.

Squid in Tomato Sauce (4 of 18)Sorry for the long-winded headline. But, there is an undeniable truth appended to the oversized introduction. That is “If you want a magnificent tomato sauce, you have to use fantastic tomatoes. “Snicker, snicker, snicker.”, you may reply. That’s because you wouldn’t recognise a magnificent tomato if you met it in the street. On our recent French holiday, while attending the Saturday market in St. Foy Le Grande, I met plenty of fine tomato specimens right there on the thoroughfare. Rather than tell you, let me show you.

Roast chicken with walnut stuffing (12 of 14)In just 0.24 of a second, Google found me thirteen million, six hundred thousand roast chicken recipes. Surely, that’s enough for you to be getting on with? So, I should just leave things here. I shouldn’t bother buying a top quality, free range, Irish chicken. With that many recipes out there, there is little purpose. It would be a waste of time. There is no point in selecting some fine olive oil to bind the stuffing ingredients. It’s a fool’s errand getting my hands on some delicious and nutritious walnuts. No matter what I do, somebody has done it before. Those Google lads have all those recipes in their rows and rows of filing cabinets. Why should I waste my time, lovingly slicing onions, zesting a lemon and delicately plucking sage leaves from their woody branches? It would be very silly of me to lay my hands on some very finely sliced streaky bacon to drape across the decollage of the plump naked bird. All that so I can give those chaps over in Google another recipe and some more photos to add to the prodigious filing pile. It’s no wonder their office in Dublin is so big. 

Lamb Shoulder Casserole (7 of 7)I was recently cycling through the Wicklow countryside with a couple of friends. As happens, conversations get started on the flat, dropped on the ascent, ignored in the excitement of a downhill and restarted when we all have our breath back. Often, we get strung out (not in a doping sort of way, we aren’t that type of cyclists). Conversations, started between three, can carry on for a time between two as the laggard joins up with the group. This can lead to some confusion as two will complete a conversation started by three. The third will join back up with the group and carry on from where things had been left off. 

Ray with oven chips and tartar sauce (12 of 12)“How..”, I hear you ruminate, “…can the baldy little man consider himself to be lucky?” It’s true, I do face as many challenges in my life as the next guy (or gal). But, this time, the ball broke the right way and my ship came in (if you will pardon me mixing my metaphors so blatantly). I had taken a weekend off. I really was just not in the mood to plan and cook a meal. I hadn’t the enthusiasm to get the camera out and really didn’t fancy writing anything new. I was on the couch and I was staying there. 

Spanish rabbit and bean stew (12 of 13)Most of the time, I don’t really care if you try what I prepare or not. Would be unreasonable of me to think that the majority of my readers are actually reading with some purpose? Yes, it probably would. Though, there are a small cohort who do try my stuff occasionally and most of the time they enjoy it. However, this one is different. It’s very easy. It’s very healthy. And, last but not least, it is incredibly tasty. You just have to try it. 

Steamed trout with fennel (1 of 13)“Go West” – a gay pride anthem, an Ulster Rugby chant and advice dispensed by the then editor of the New-York Tribune, Horace Greeley in 1851 as “Go west young man, and grow up with the country.” The pride anthem was originally released by the Village People in the late seventies and brought up to date by the Pet Shop Boys in 1993. I have that version on my iPod.  I sang the Ulster Rugby version, with tears in my eyes, along with 18,000 others at my hallowed Leinster Rugby ground, the RDS, to honour Nevin Spence, a very talented Ulster Rugby player who died in a tragic accident on the Spence family farm in 2012. I can claim no association with Horace Greeley.

Beef Brisket Sous Vide My cycling buddy James Lawlor, of the Rathmines butchery of the same name, was wondering if I could come up with any half interesting recipes for brisket (We tend to talk of little else except food when we are out in the mountains). It tends to be a tough enough cut so, it tends to be inexpensive. The dual attraction of tough beef and low price made it an ideal candidate for an experiment in the sous vide bath. 

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