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Meat

Garlic Pork (10 of 15)We were out of chorizo sausage and the Wife was cogitating a Jambalaya. That’s why eldest daughter and I ended up in the Saturday Market in Kilruddery House just outside Bray in County Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland. As we made our way past the various stalls heading towards the chorizo man, I was halted by “Well hello young man, would you like to taste our chutneys?”. Given that the inviter was a good decade my junior, I smiled, stopped and tasted. I’m a sucker for the self-delusion.

Char Sui Roast PorkI’m not a big fan of pork fillet. Traditionally, here in Ireland, it would be prepared by slicing it open and pounding it flat with a mallet or rolling-pin. Then it would be filled with a breadcrumb based stuffing, wrapped up and roasted for about an hour longer than needed. The result was always dry, flavourless and, strangely, prized at dinner parties. 

Steak FritesFor a while now, I have been planning to cook the simple French classic of Steak Frites (steak and chips to you and me). As chance would have it, I was out and about and called to see the new James Whelan Butcher shop in the Avoca store just off the Naas Road outside Dublin. I was lucky enough to bump into Pat Whelan, son of James and the driving force behind the growth of the business. We had a good chat and Pat’s passion for Irish beef and all Irish farmed food really drove the conversation.

Lion's Head Meatballs (12 of 13)The inspiration for this post in my mini series came when I overheard a conversation last week between two chaps in a Dun Laoghaire bar. Some snippets of their collective Chinese cookery wisdom; “They make it tasty by adding MSG. That stuff is really bad for you, full of lard.” “It makes you real hungry”. “There’s always loads of salt in the curry.” “The one in XXXX got closed down for serving seagull.” So went the assassination of the centuries old culinary traditions of one point four billion people. 

Lamb CurryWe had a good night on Saturday at the Blog Awards Ireland 2013. For me, it was more than just a chicken dinner. It was the culmination of a year of slaving over a hot stove, slaving over a hot camera and slaving over a hot computer. I was nominated for the Best Food Blog (after a subtle campaign) and I entered one of my recipes for the Glenisk competition. Given that I haven’t won anything since accepting a carton of 200 Benson and Hedges in a rugby club raffle over 30 years ago, I was not anticipating a lot. 

Osso Buco“So, what’s your blog all about Conor?” 

“It’s a food blog”

“Oh! You write about cooking. What’s it called?”

“One man’s meat.”

“I see. So you focus only on meat dishes. Is that right?”

“No. I do a range of stuff. I do a fair bit of fish and some desserts and so on and meat, of course.”

“Why’d you call it One Man’s Meat then?”

So wandered a recent conversation. I stoutly defended my right to call it what I like and I went on (at some length, no doubt) to labour the point of the “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” analogue. Meaning the blog was not for everyone and perhaps it was not for him. I reckoned I put the guy in his place. He was being pretty pedantic and, I suspect, winding me up a little. 

Pork Loin with Onion and Apricot (1 of 1)I was in our butcher’s shop recently, chatting to Billy. We were talking about pork, as you do. This got to Billy suggesting that I should try a pork loin, on the bone. He even offered to dress it for me. How could I say no. He had ‘broken a pig’ that day and the loin looked pretty spectacular. I was hooked. And, with nine people arriving for Sunday dinner, this looked like the joint to serve. I was excited.

Pulled pork and chili plum sauce (5 of 15)Here in Dublin, after a night on the town, us young lads, boasting of our nocturnal conquests might ask each other “Did ya’ pull?”. No matter what private mortification occurred the evening before, the answer was always in the affirmative. “Course I did. Wasn’t I beating them off?” “I would have landed both but they were fighting over me.” and other such testosterone-fuelled nonsense was, of course, obligatory. However, that was all back in the day.

Beef chiliNothing is likely to upset a Texan more than telling him you can cook a better chili than he can. No doubt, his recipe will have been passed down through generations of trail hardened cow-pokes. The exact mix of chili, the cuts of meat to use and the number of cans of beer are all closely guarded family secrets. They demonstrate their culinary prowess by boiling up great pots of the stuff on the back of pick-up trucks while downing slabs of beer, tipping back their ten gallon hats and belching to each other. Or so I hear…

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