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Baking

This is a “non commercial” post. I was in with my friend, James Lawlor, the butcher over in Rathmines. James recommended Harry’s Nut Butter to me and gifted me the jar you see in this post. He also suggested I do a post about it as the producer is a start-up who is doing great stuff in the local marketplace. That’s reason enough for me. (The free jar of product had no influence. I’m cheap, but not that cheap).

I like to post my cooking victories here. I love that people see me as a cut above when it comes to home cooking. Having sous vide in the armoury really helps in that perception. This was a delicious crumble. It was elegant, flavoursome and had the perfect balance of softness to crunchiness. The addition of the Grand Marnier added a layer of sophistication that I could use to elevate my reputation. But, I have to be at peace with myself when I go to bed at night.

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.

“Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man” – what a laugh.

My British friends, for I have a few, are more against than in favour of Brexit. I also hold an anti Brexit viewpoint. Looking on from the other side of the Irish sea I am aghast at the collapse of the already low standards held by so many UK politicians who seem to be scrabbling for party or personal power, caught up in a perfect storm of self interest. Apart, that is, from the leader of the opposition who takes up position sitting on his hands. Pathetic stuff. Perhaps the olde English phrase of “Opportunity makes the man”, from the original  “Opportunity Makes the Thief” is more appropriate to the sad behaviour we see. I am also astounded at seeing so many of my generation steal the opportunity that they squandered from the next generation. History will judge and not kindly.

Spotted DogThere are many ‘versions’ of the story of St. Patrick. Given the time of year, I thought I should clarify the situation and give you the cold hard facts about the man. The first thing we know is that he was Welsh. This we know by the type of crosier he carried. There are rumours that he might have been a Scotsman but any sheep farmer knows that the Scottish crozier has a very different head to the Welsh. Scottish sheep have a thicker necks than Welsh and as a result, the Scottish crozier has a more open crook, making it useless for snake scooping. St. Patrick hunted snakes with the aid of a dalmatian hound. In fact, the great Irish patron saint named one of the three (for there are only three) traditional Irish foods after the dog.

Euro cake (4 of 4)

Great Britain is pondering leaving the European Union. The British currency is the Pound. I was thinking of making a pound cake. To hell with that. I refuse to promote the currency of a nation that may leave Ireland swinging in the cold wind of European island isolation. No, I will modify the traditional pound cake recipe and make instead a Euro Cake

Salmon en croute (8 of 9)Salmon en Croute“, such an urbaine sounding title for a very tasty dish. But, let’s just forget the ‘Francification’ and call it ‘salmon in a crust’.  Without the fancy title, the elegant dish becomes pretty ordinary sounding. When it’s sounding ordinary and ‘of the people’, I find I can write about it. Let’s face it, I’m an ordinary guy and I just can’t handle fancy. Though, I hope you can because this is one sophisticated tasting treat.

Marmalade puddingI believe it’s important to face up to one’s shortcomings. If you can get into the way of doing this, it is very good for the soul. It also allows you negate the scornful snickering and finger-pointing of those with less emotional intelligence than you. I am lucky enough to live in a bliss-filled house where the Wife never alludes to my failings and daughters have only praise for my efforts in the kitchen. My beloved mother does as she has done for over 50 years. She doles out gentle encouragement for my culinary adventures. That’s all true up to a point. We passed that particular marker when I tried to cook Whiskey Marmalade Steamed Pudding

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