Fish

Monkfish with red peppercorn sauce (1 of 8)

This is one for the men only. Ladies, while I like having you here and enjoy your company, this is an all male zone today. Now, before you start chaining yourselves to the oven door, this is for your benefit. I’m giving the lads a bit of advice about how to redeem themselves after they forget to do something important. So, girls, be off with you. Lads, read on…..

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. 

Fish and chips (10 of 10)

Ahhh….. How the passage of time alters our perception of reality. We look backwards through grease splattered glasses and see ourselves biting through crunchy, crispy batter into flavoursome, chunky, freshly caught cod. This fishy delight accompanied by the most delicious ‘crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside’ potato chips. This wonderful serving enjoyed every Friday in Holy Catholic Ireland by God fearing, clean living, cap doffing, hopeful people, who paid only one and sixpence to feed the entire family.

Was it ever thus? Or, has the ticking of the clock shifted the focus on the lens of reality? Why are so many chippers today serving such poor food? Like defrosted, grey fish, of dubious origin, encased in stodgy batter ,served with a ‘smaller than I remember’ bag of greasy chips. The average family needing appropriate paperwork and bank approval to afford a serving. Where has it all gone wrong? Why do we put up with these standards?

Fish cakes (10 of 11)I look at lots of blogs where the photography is taken using either iPhone or Android. There is no difference, I hear, between a well, considered, correctly composed, nicely lit photo and something “…that the phone can do.” This depresses me. It depresses me on two fronts. Firstly, I have spent a few years now, working hard, in my spare time, to improve my photography skills. It would appear that I have been wasting my time. The phone can do it. Secondly, I have been using my blog as an outlet for my creative side. This is supposed to help keep me calm and to allow me be nice to everybody. I’m failing on that front too. While I’m at it, there is a third niggle and I must get it out there. 

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.

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. 

Haddock in breadcrumbs (1 of 1)When I go out to buy the ingredients for our meals, I tend to not have a hard and fast list for the meats and fish. I like to see what looks good and choose the best available ingredients (subject to affordability and availability). When it comes to the fish, haddock tends to get overlooked. It is not a particularly fashionable fish. Fashion plays a role in all these things. 

Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger (4 of 6)A Christmas Miracle, I hear you say. To answer your unasked, and possibly even unthought, question. No, I haven’t found religion. Though, there seems to be more of it about at this time of year. I will enter into the festive spirit and avoid going off on a rant about the damage organised religion seems to do to our world. Instead, I will get back in the kitchen and prepare a true miracle of flavour, texture and colour. That miracle is Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger.

Thai Green Curry (13 of 13)I get mad when I see recipes that include “ingredients” that really should be made up, from scratch, by the cook, to get a half decent result. When researching Thai Green Curry, I got depressed to see the BBC (UK state broadcaster), RTE (Irish state broadcaster), Bord Bia (Irish Food Board) and a raft of other popular (more popular than this) websites promoting recipes that call for a measure or two of ‘Green Curry Paste’ as part of authentic Thai curry recipes. Without a recipe for the paste, we have to assume they mean from a jar. This is not cooking. This is culinary laziness and will lead to ineptitude in your kitchen if you swing with it. If you are happy to slop some manufactured sludge from a jar into your home cooking, go for it. But, if you want to prepare a delicious, tasty, easy, Thai Green Curry, read on my friends, read on…..

Cold smoked salmon (6 of 6)What a mouthful of a headline. But, what a mouthful of delicious home smoked, Irish whiskey flavoured, Irish salmon. The words are carefully chosen to avoid ambiguity. I could go on a rant here about authenticity of food origins. But, there is little point. Food companies spend a lot of money to fool the unsuspecting consumer that their products are something other than as presented. In Ireland, one can buy ‘Irish’ salmon that has been reared in Scotland. The practice is totally legal. The food retailers and producers are just that bit smarter than the legislators. The average consumer doesn’t seem to care as long as the price is right. Anyway, I promised to not rant so, let me tell you about my salmon smoking experiment instead. 

%d bloggers like this: