HomeArticles Posted by Conor Bofin (Page 8)

Author: Conor Bofin

Beef Wellington (11 of 13)When it comes to the United Kingdom, we Irish have “history”.  Many of us spend our time looking backwards into the mists of time to support our own inferiority complexes. Others of us have raw, recent pain with which to live. We have a long and complex relationship with our nearest neighbour (if you don’t count the Isle of Man) and one would expect many of us to be pretty happy about the prospect of Great Britain exiting the European Union. Or, in more tabloid terms “BREXIT”. 

Oriental Pork Belly Sous Vide (11 of 13)

I have a dark secret. I lock myself in a darkened room. I make sure there is nobody around to catch me. Then I do it – I watch TV cooking competitions. Yes, I have even seen a couple of episodes of The Great British Bake Off, where Mary Berry with the help of a comedian (and the girl in the heavy specs), separate the competent from the inept. I’ve sat aghast at some of the efforts on Irish Masterchef. I’ve suffered foul-mouthed tirades of Gordon Ramsey on Hell’s Kitchen from the safety of my couch. Greg Wallace and John Torode regularly put in an appearance, criticising the pathetic efforts of people who obviously can’t cook and should not be asked to try. Why do I do this? 

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (11 of 12) I was going to title this piece “Curse you Canada and the moose you rode into town on”. But, that would be churlish of me. No, why should I damn an entire country because of my distress?  I just have to accept that youngest daughter has flown the parental nest and is making one for herself in a maple tree. 

Ants climbing a tree (11 of 13)We westerners have an ongoing love affair with Chinese food. Dishes such as Sweet and Sour Pork, Beef and Broccoli and Kung Pao Chicken have become firm favourites across the western world. The difficulty with this popularity is that the dishes tend to become westernised. The process of westernisation invariably takes the edge off the dish. Over time and repeated modification, to suit a jaded and flaccid western palate, it becomes a pale imitation of the original. Happily, we have not got around to ruining the delicious Sichuan dish called Ants Climbing a Tree. This is probably because we are put off by the name and have never taken it far enough to mess it up with bad cooking, fructose and preservatives. 

Pork belly stuffed with prunes (7 of 10)

I don’t often do this. But, I’m not recommending that you cook this recipe. Don’t misconstrue me. It’s not a bad recipe. It’s a pretty tasty way to prepare pork. But, having sourced some prunes (I’m not at the stage of life where prunes are part of my regular diet) and after laying my hands on a slab of free range pork belly, I can’t really recommend it. But, where did it all go wrong?

Salmon with teriyaki sauceThe Wife and I are pretty ordinary people. That is the wife is pretty and I am ordinary. We don’t go crazy with fine dining in multi-starred restaurants and I usually restrict my wine budget to less than the price of a tank of petrol. It’s not that I object to great food and fine wines. I did a lot of fine dining in my younger days as an advertising account director. Not quite the stuff of Mad Men, but close enough. Nowadays, I get a bit miffed when my partaking in a meal is like a bit-part actor in a Broadway show, where the chef is the star with a chorus line of waiters in support. My role is only to eat the food, not complain and then pay the exorbitant bill when the culinary curtain falls. No, This is not for me. I prefer simpler things.

Rabbit and olive stew (15 of 16)I really am lucky in many aspects of my life. As an occasional lotto ticket buyer, I have a know that all I buy is the period of anticipation in advance of the reality of not winning. Sometimes, even that can represent good value. For clarity, I have not won the lotto. No, my luck is a bit different. It reveals itself in the love and support of my family and occasionally, through my bunch of great buddies with whom I go cycling. “How does any of this have anything to do with Rabbit Stew with Olives?” I hear you think loud. Let me explain…

Smoked haddock, goats cheese and spinach ravioli (13 of 15) I want you to think of this ravioli as the culinary equivalent of a Facebook post. Not because I went to the trouble of digging out the fancy plate with the blue edge, the matching napkin and the table cloth in a colour almost exactly that of the Facebook logo. These all give some subtle brand support but, they are not the point. In reality it’s all a bit more psychological. 

Chicken and bean stewI was going to title this ‘An Idiots Guide to Cooking a Stew‘. But, I reckon the folk over at Dorling Kindersley would sue my idiot carcass all the way to illiteracy and back. They are the rightful owners to the Idiot’s Guides. So, I can’t use the title. Instead, I’m being a bit more general in my descriptor. I’m also being inclusive. Inclusive is good in this day and age. I don’t want to offend any particular minority grouping so I am making the statement that “Any Idiot Can Cook This Italian Chicken and Bean Stew”. Yes, that includes you. 

Venison (19 of 21)I arrived home from work last Friday evening to find a strange man in our kitchen. Actually, it was my hunting friend Brendan. It’s not that he’s strange per se. It’s just that I wasn’t expecting him and I certainly wasn’t expecting him to have two beautiful cuts of venison as a gift for the Wife and I. He reminded me that he had promised to drop some in at some stage after a shoot. The promise to “drop some in” is one made often by hunters as a way of ending conversation with greedy non shooters. It leaves everybody’s dignity intact and is not a promise that anybody expects to be kept. I understand this and, recognising myself in the latter description accepted the promise for what I believed it to be worth. 

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