Beef

Last October, a bunch of us MIDRA (men in denial of the reality of ageing) went on a seven day cycling trip to the mountains of Southern Spain, taking in exotic, historic towns including Seville, Ronda and Granada. We also cycled up and down some huge mountains, some of our group conquering the Pico de Veleta, one of the greatest cycling challenges in Europe. The mountain is the third highest peak in Spain, and the highest paved road in Europe. Spain is a beautiful country and well worth the trip if you have the inclination. As in any group of men, there are leaders and followers. On the Spanish food front, our buddy Seamus is a leader. He has spent more time in that part of Spain, than the rest of us. Using his experience of the region, he took charge of some of our restaurant bookings. His thought, to give us some insight into local food traditions. One of the highs of the trip for me was the night we had the Spanish Oxtail Stew.

If you are planning a ‘quick dinner’, this is not the one for you. If you are thinking of buying a vineyard and making a quick killing, then look elsewhere. If you are buying beef shin and expecting it to be tender in anything under a working day, you are in the wrong place. However, if you are after an unbelievably tasty, flavour packed meal to please a crowd on a winter’s evening, read on my friend, read on. I’ll even tell you a bit about two of Bordeaux’s next generation of winemakers, from Kazakhstan, of all places.

I was in one of my favourite butcher shops recently. I was in my usual state of having no clue what to cook for the Sunday family dinner (a 25 year tradition in our gaff). My eye was drawn to some outstanding beef short ribs. Temperatures in Ireland hadn’t hit the “Oh I need comfort food” level and I was wrestling with my desire to get the ribs and cook them low and slow. I bought them anyway and took them home. Weather was pretty warm (or as “pretty warm” as it ever gets in Ireland in September). I needed an alternative plan. My store cupboard of Oriental ingredients came to the rescue and I concocted Oriental Beef Short Ribs. This is not an ‘authentic’ Oriental recipe in that it was devised by an Irishman in a bit of a flap about getting a dinner prepared. However, I defy you to find a tastier way of preparing beef short ribs in an Oriental style.

 The V by Very Blog Awards Ireland ’17 have been underway for a while now. The format involves being nominated, agreeing to participate and then hopefully making it to the long list. After the long (very long)  list, the great and the good of the blogging world get culled and only the worthy (lucky) get to the Short List (See the links at the end of this post).  This year, I am delighted to say, One Man’s Meat has made it to this list in the Personal Food Blog category. To celebrate, I thought I would cook a meal using as short a list of ingredients as I could find. With this in mind, I give you a real winner, Berbere Beef.

If he didn’t, he ought to have. Back in the 1980s, when he and Philip Michael Thomas were speeding along the Miami coast, in an offshore racing boat, I was a callow youth, trying my best to impress the girls at house parties around Dun Laoghaire in County Dublin. No self-respecting house party would be thrown without large pots of goulash and chicken a la king. I remember the chicken gunk as being particularly clawing and disgusting. The goulash was often watery and pretty pathetic too. Both were usually served with undercooked rice and, if at a fancy do, garlic bread. But, none of this mattered as we pushed the sleeves of our sky blue Armani style jackets up our skinny arms, hoisted our high waist baggies and got down to the thumping music of Jan Hammer. 

Summerhill Farm (4 of 41)

When we Irish say “grass fed” we mean “grass fed”.

Competition is the life blood of commerce. However, many Irish retail businesses have suffered a perfect storm over the past few years. None more so than the independent butchers. While there are huge problems, it’s not all bad. And for those of us interested in real food, there might just be a nice fatty lining to the meaty retail cloud.

Fillet steak with bone marrow butter (2 of 6)

Let’s face facts. Not everybody who looks in the mirror likes what they see. Some of us are just sub-standard, below average and generally crappy. That’s the way of the world. If the advertising slogan of l’Oreal was true of us all, it would fail in it’s prime objective, to make the user feel special. If we are all ‘worth it’ then what we are worth is not worth much. But, I didn’t start writing this to have a go at the haircare market. No, I want to show you some real luxury, some delightful, upmarket beef with some very special and rare bone marrow butter. Be honest with yourself. Look yourself square in the mirror. Put away the hair products and decide if you are really “Worth it.”

Black Bean Beef (1 of 3)Back in 2011, I posted a 30 minute recipe for Beef in Black Bean Sauce. Back in 2011, not many of ye paid any attention to anything I cooked or posted about. Shame on you. But, now that you are older and, obviously, wiser (You are reading this are you not?), I am very happy to present you with a simpler, even faster to prepare, Beef in Black Bean Sauce.

%d bloggers like this: