HomeArticles Posted by Conor Bofin (Page 4)

Author: Conor Bofin

Holy Lord! It’s cold around here. Temperatures had dropped below freezing and I had got myself into a real deep winter gloom. This was driven by a number of factors. Firstly, it’s winter. Secondly, we seem to be living in very pessimistic times. Thirdly, the media have been whipping up a storm about the cold weather. One newspaper here in Ireland was telling us to expect “Thundersnow”. They also reported on roads grinding to a halt and flights being cancelled. Thankfully, I’m not completely gullible to this shock tactic journalism. I read elsewhere that “Thundersnow” is not a meteorological term. I also found out that the only flights that were cancelled from Dublin were because of snow in London. Pathetic standards. But the sort of journalism we must expect in a clickbait, post truth world. Now, back to the chicken…

I get a lot of fun out of the blog. It keeps me in touch with friends old and new from all parts of the globe. I learn lots and hopefully I give a little back. One of the ‘friends’ I have gathered to my metaphorical bosom (being male and of “a certain age” my bosom is most definitely metaphorical) is Adam J. Holland, the oddball Texan and author of the excellent RV Chronicles on his Unorthodox Epicure blog. I have cooked numerous chillies over the last couple of years, having been introduced to “real” chilli by the late and great Richard E. McGary our much missed Dallas blogger. Having received a gift of some chillies, I was delighted to tell Adam that I planned to cook a lamb chilli. His reaction surprised me somewhat….

I’ve been doing a bit of cooking with amarena cherries of late. A special offer in the supermarket sent me over the edge of reason and I bought more jars than I will need this side of a catastrophic meteor strike. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and I needed to find some additional recipes for these delicious biter-sweet balls of shininess. A small amount of thinking brought the thought of Sous Vide Duck Breast with amarena cherry Sauce. A conversation amongst friends led to the idea of cooking the skin separately and a delicious dish was born. 

roast-leg-of-goat-8-of-10“Is it not a bit tough?”, “I wouldn’t like the taste”, “The flavour might be a bit strong for me.” So were the comments when I announced I was planning to roast a leg of goat. I hate to have my cooking prejudged. It’s difficult enough to bear the postmortems. However, I am not impervious to the general mood, particularly when it tends towards the doom laden. I needed to make this goat tasty. I needed to demonstrate that I knew what I was at. I needed some inspiration. I settled on Roast Spiced Leg of Goat with Winter Vegetables. That would get them back on my side.

pork-and-chestnut-stuffing-balls-18-of-19Let’s get to the rules first. Stuffing is just that – Stuffing. It should be carefully crafted, blended, seasoned and finally stuffed. It should be rammed into the opening in the unfortunate creature you intend eating. It needs to be shoved in so far that there is no space left for doubt. There is no arguing about it. 

christmas-cake-1-of-3Those who know me know I am not a great fan of the ‘season’. I react badly to being told what to do. I detest enforced jollity. I can’t stand the festive messaging that is driven to fever pitch with recycled TV programmes, regurgitated as nostalgia, while the ‘civilised’ world prepares itself for the outrageous excess that is Christmas. Though, there are a few things I do enjoy during the weeks of ‘traditional’ build up to overcooked turkey and drunken arguing with the relatives.

meatloaf-10-of-12I hope I won’t offend you. But really, meatloaf? How dull and dreary can a slab of mince meat be? It’s so often overcooked, grey, crumbly and tasteless. Yet, so many of you go all dreamy and wistful at the mention of the hateful lump of meat. This is a bit of nostalgia that needs to updated. I need to improve your meatloaf for you. Many ‘traditional’ recipes require no more than some beef, some lamb, some sawdust, a chopped onion, salt and pepper (OK, the chopped onion is optional. You need the sawdust to get the traditional gritty texture.). 

goat-rendang-16-of-16

I’d like to be a totally trusting sort of guy. I wish, when you promise to be here at 7:30, I could believe you, even if the last time you showed up at 8:15. I wish I could believe the Nigerian prince who emails me offering me 40% of his family fortune.  Sadly, life has made me a little wary. I don’t take much on faith. This Goat Rendang is a case in point. I have no faith that it “tastes better the next day”.  There is no proof and I doubt there ever will be. 

sichuan-prawns-13-of-13Try saying that with a few drinks on board. “Tongue Numbingly Wonderful Sichuan Pepper Prawns” is a bit of a mouthful, in more ways than one. This is a really easy dish to prepare. There are very few ingredients and it is an absolute delight. I can only encourage you to try it. But, be warned, those Sichuan peppercorns will literally numb your tongue. 

veison-fillet-sous-vide-7-of-8

In part 1 of this two parter, I had a go at some of the French living here in Ireland. I need to spread my net wider. A good bit of racism goes a long way and we have plenty of it here in Ireland. My problem isn’t with the dumb-assed outrage at women wearing burkinis or even with the Brits for Brexiting. No, my issue is with the wily way so many of the ‘Bloody Foreigners’ are making it difficult for me to hate them. Let me tell you how the Breton and the Mexicans conspired to confound my natural distaste for anybody from anywhere else. 

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