Lamb

Asian Lamb Riblets (1 of 3)It’s a very long time since I studied economics. One of its cornerstones is the law of supply and demand. Simply put, it states that as demand increases the price does likewise. This then encourages new market entrants which increase supply, bringing the price back to where it started. In macroeconomic terms, this works pretty well. In the tiny world of retail that I occupy, this law doesn’t apply. So often, I have my enquiries rebuffed by slovenly sales staff with “No, there’s no demand for them.” or the one that really boils my ageing blood “No, there’s no demand for them any more.”. If I were looking for something like a set of E-180 cassettes or a pair of long johns with a trapdoor, I might not find this so upsetting. But, when I’m looking for lamb ribs in a butcher’s shop, I get pretty irate. “We used to sell them but it’s only the Chinese who eat them now.” was what the spotty youth in fancy dress said to me. 

Rack of Lamb

It really needs little fecking about.

Sorry for the blunt headline. But, I need your attention. If you are lucky enough to be able to get your hands on a delicious rack of genuine Irish spring lamb, don’t go messing around with it. Cook it simply and serve it with other nice simple fare. Don’t go overboard, spicing, adding heat or generally fecking around with it. The flavour is delicious, delicate and doesn’t need much else. 

I get a lot of fun out of the blog. It keeps me in touch with friends old and new from all parts of the globe. I learn lots and hopefully I give a little back. One of the ‘friends’ I have gathered to my metaphorical bosom (being male and of “a certain age” my bosom is most definitely metaphorical) is Adam J. Holland, the oddball Texan and author of the excellent RV Chronicles on his Unorthodox Epicure blog. I have cooked numerous chillies over the last couple of years, having been introduced to “real” chilli by the late and great Richard E. McGary our much missed Dallas blogger. Having received a gift of some chillies, I was delighted to tell Adam that I planned to cook a lamb chilli. His reaction surprised me somewhat….

lamb-and-aubergene-curry-16-of-16“I’m a mild-mannered man.” Or so said one of my Holy Ghost Father teachers before knocking seven levels of hell out of us with a stiff black leather.  Primary school education back in 1960’s Ireland was not what it is today. I well remember a dozen of us being punished for cycling in the yard after school. The punishment was “six of  the best”, with the leather, on each hand. I was moved for my secondary education to the Christian Brothers in Monkstown. That is another oxymoronic story altogether and probably has no place here, not today anyway. So, with mild manners in mind, here’s a delicious recipe for Mild Lamb and Aubergine Curry. Just like that Holy Ghost father, it too has the appearance of mildness yet packs a bit of a punch.

Spiced shoulder of lamb (19 of 21)Spring is a bit of a cures. It certainly is a bane if you happen to be a lamb. Easter, that very Christian celebration loomed very early this year and the vast bulk of the youthful sheep population trembled in fear. They were in fear because every God-fearing family in Christendom must have a leg of lamb on the table on Easter Sunday. The little darlings went to meet their maker leaving the butchers of Christendom scratching their heads, wondering how they were going to offload the rest of the beast. Easter is now a distant memory but the butchers of Ireland still have to do something with the spring lambs that have been arriving as nature intended, even if that’s too late for a very early Easter celebration. Their arrival made even later by a very late start to spring weather.

Spiced lamb shank (1 of 1)-2As I was struggling for an original dinner idea, I decided to ask a couple of foodie friends for suggestions. Given that I have cooked lamb shanks every which-way in the last while, when the best idea that emerged from their deliberations was “Why not do a lamb shank?” I wasn’t impressed. However, I hadn’t cooked them sous vide. So the thought arose and it didn’t really inspire me.

Simple lamb shanks (9 of 10)“Five hours. Wow. How come that takes soooo long?” “How do you have the patience for that sort of cooking?” Such are the questions asked of the slow-cooking cook. “You have great patience.” Now, it is probably true that I am more patient than the average schmuck. A couple of decades living in our house has contributed to that state of affairs. However, I am aware that family occasionally read this stuff, so I had better leave that aspect alone. Now back to the point of this tale….

Lamb Shoulder Casserole (7 of 7)I was recently cycling through the Wicklow countryside with a couple of friends. As happens, conversations get started on the flat, dropped on the ascent, ignored in the excitement of a downhill and restarted when we all have our breath back. Often, we get strung out (not in a doping sort of way, we aren’t that type of cyclists). Conversations, started between three, can carry on for a time between two as the laggard joins up with the group. This can lead to some confusion as two will complete a conversation started by three. The third will join back up with the group and carry on from where things had been left off. 

Spring Lamb ShoulderWe are social animals. Some more social than others. Some more animal. Communication between us can be very complicated. We misunderstand each other and often end up not talking. We take offence. We get petulant and complicate our relationships through our always-on communication that for the best part really does not communicate at all. Look at the things we use to keep our friends close – text, Viber, Snapchat, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and, for some of us, LinkedIn. Despite all the ‘communication’ many of us have never felt more alone, more isolated and out of touch. Not me though. I KNOW how to stay in touch. All I have to do is prepare some very simple Spring Lamb Shoulder and they will arrive at the table, ready to talk. Ready to share stories. Ready to really communicate. 

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