Meat

These little tasties are a great example of international cooperation. The finest Irish lamb is combined with some delicious spices to give us Indian Style Lamb Chops. They were perfect with the Spinach Dahl I posted last week. They are delightful and I prepared plenty. There were three of us sitting down to eat. Three chops is plenty for one person. There are eight chops in a rack. You know what I did. 

Did I tell you? I’m a vegetarian. I plan to move on to full vegan next. After that, I will live only on pulses until my last pulse.  There is only one little bit of weaseling in this. It’s all just “not yet”. Are you a little disappointed in me? Have I lied to you? Or, is it OK to really pump up one (good) aspect of what you do while you weasel the more important (bad) stuff you do?

Let’s face it. If you want to make anything sound that bit special, say it in French. A shrimp might be worth scoffing down. But a langoustine is something that has to be eaten with the reverence its embellished title deserves. Pommes Anna evokes crisp cotton tablecloths, silverware, crystal glasses and fine wines. With due deference to my eldest sister, “Anna’s potatoes” really doesn’t do much for the imagination. So when I cogitated preparing some sweetened duck legs in a plastic bag, it really had to be Duck a l’Orange Sous Vide. It may seem like déjà vu as I have done Duck a l’Orange here before.

Sorry in advance, but this one is a bit of a rant. “Go Back Where You Came From” This seems to be the underlying sentiment and backbone of some philosophies trumped at and by us today. I am offended on a number of levels. Firstly, the correct English is “Go back to from whence you came.” So, if you don’t understand your own language, don’t shout it at strangers.  My second level of offence is at the intolerance we show for each other at state level, and at every stratum of society, all the way to the most vulnerable. Thirdly, I am offended by the appropriation of the best culinary delights of numerous nations by those who believe the originators of those same recipes should “Go back where they came from.”  I don’t go with this line of reasoning. I welcome diversity and I believe that we need to welcome the people as well as their recipes. So, when my Indian friend Prateek started a conversation about Indian cooking, I took the conversation to a logical conclusion and cooked these Indian Style Lamb Shanks.

This happens to me every summer. Torpor gets the better of me. It’s not that I stop cooking. I just seem to get into a fug of incapacity. I find I can cook and I can photograph. But, I just can’t write. It takes a really special dish to give me that mental kick in the apricots to force a bit of writing. This combination of free range pork belly and apricots is such a dish.

Don’t make a mistake about it, I’m a real hard-man. I walk tough, I talk tough. I can see out most of the bad-assed things that life throws my way. Though, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule of tough. I’m a sucker for a sob story. I can’t stand the sight of blood (particularly my own) and I am a fear-ridden jelly when it comes to the dentist.

 

Tomatoes are messy things. Purists tell you to drop them into boiling water until the skin splits. Then remove them and cool them, peel them, remove and discard everything except the outer flesh then use this in whatever dish you have planned.

That is far too much trouble for a midweek night dinner. But, I have found a solution. While on a recent trip to the north of Italy (To cycle the awesome Stelvio Pass. It is one of the world’s most beautiful and iconic climbs).

The barbecue season is just about on top of us here in Ireland. It is that brief window where Gender Neutral Adult Figure Nature (Mother Nature to the less sensitive amongst you) strings three or four days together like pearls on a necklace of summer sunshine. Not that I have any issues with Father Nature wearing pearls. But, I digress. When we get the few days of tepid sunshine leaking through the damaged ozone layer above the Emerald Isle, we immediately strip to the waist and fire up the barbecue.

I find myself at a loss for words. That is a pretty unusual state in which to be. This is an excellent dish that I hope you get to try. But, I find that when I go in search of appropriate adjectives to assist in the description, I am at a loss for words. So, I am spreading the load and asking you to fill in your own adjectives as appropriate. To help, I have compiled a list from which you can choose.

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