HomeArticles Posted by Conor Bofin (Page 6)

Author: Conor Bofin

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. 

sweet-and-sour-cucumber-6-of-7

House prices are doing it. The political system is having a run at it. Crime is always at it. Inflation hasn’t had a go for a while. Anybody over the age of 40 will remember when it too was “spiralling out of control”. But, it’s not something I’m going to allow to happen to me. When I spiral, I’m totally in control. But, there’s no headline in that. Imagine “HOUSE PRICES SPIRAL IN CONTROL” or “CRIME SPIRAL IN CONTROL”. The poor tabloids wouldn’t sell a paper. Thankfully, I’m not touting newsprint. I’m in control because those very nice people at Morphy Richards gave me a Spiralizer to try out. They gave me a nice set of recipes too. But, where’s the fun in copying a recipe when you can prepare Sweet and Sour Cucumber Spirals – An original recipe and very definitely spiralling ‘in control’.

pate-de-campagne-4-of-4

We Irish look proudly at great cities like New York or Chicago and boast that our forbears built them. Our little island has sent its sons and daughters to all points on the compass to start new lives and to put down roots. Our influence spans the globe in science, engineering, literature and politics. When one looks to France, one sees so many of the great wine dynasties founded by the Irish ‘Wild Geese’. Names like Barton, Phelan and Lynch are all Irish and are now intertwined in the multi-generational success of the French wine trade. We have a lot of which we should be proud. 

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