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Lamb shoulderI’m a rugby fan. Irish rugby is united. United way ahead of the politics of our little island. So when Ireland plays internationals, there are two Irish ‘anthems’ played. One is the Irish national anthem “Amhrán na bhFiann” or “A Soldier’s Song”, representing the 26 county state of the Republic of Ireland. The second is “Ireland’s Call”. This is played as a unifying anthem, given that Ireland’s rugby team is drawn from all 32 counties on the island.

Beef Ribs with Ancho Chili Rub (8 of 9)For those of you that don’t know the story of Richard McGary’s combination of extreme fun and generosity, you need to read about the McGary Chili Challenge. For those of you who do know the story, you will appreciate that there was plenty in that food parcel. Given the continuing downbeat economy in Europe, I need to let you all know that we are very happy to receive such gifts in Ireland. Particularly, if they are as well thought out as Richard’s.

Lamb with yoghurt, mint and cumin (1 of 8)I entered the Irish Blog Awards, as most of you darling people know by now. While perusing the Blog Awards Ireland site and dreaming of the personal gratification and glory that could (might, may, may not, probably won’t, no chance sucker…) be bestowed on my humble blog, I noticed a Glenisk competition. Those who have read my rant on the subject of blog sponsorships / advertising might be forgiven for assuming (ass of u and me) that I did not approve of such things. Let’s get the record straight….

Roast leg of lambI like a nice bit of leg. Lamb leg that is. Not that I don’t admire a nicely turned ankle. But, this is not the place to discuss such things. And, as a small aside, I had my own pins described recently as “I’ve seen better legs on a snooker table”. I will save you the need to pass comment here on all matters leg related except for the spring lamb.

Italian-meatballsPretty aggressive headline, don’t you think? There are a couple of reasons for this. Reason number one is because that’s what the people around the table told me. Reason number two is that I want some reaction. I am fed up reading recipes for meatballs (and all sorts of other stuff) that just can’t be any good. In my research for this post, I came across one recipe that recommended boiling the meatballs in the sauce for three hours. Fine if you want to fire them out of a canon to sink a ship but not much use if you want to eat them. Get real. 

Spiced leg of lambSeven years ago, I made a wrong decision. I set my relationship with the Wife back. So often, one does these things and the marriage never recovers. I take responsibility for my actions back then. I feel it’s time to make it up now. She deserves having things put right. My children deserve my putting the record straight. I deserve a future with a clearer conscience.

Mystery listI have a conundrum. My problem is literary rather than culinary. I caused today’s difficulty when I wrote about The Man Who Wasn’t There. It was pretty straightforward writing about something that didn’t happen and somebody who wasn’t there to see it not occur.  All that was easy enough. My issues started when I was handed this note by my friend who may, or may not, have made his second trip home from Australia since Christmas.

IMG_8146Over a year ago, I posted about my home-made burger. On reflection, I have to admit that there was little to make it stand out from the crowd. Time for a big rethink. Time for a reheat and while I’m at it, time for a challenge. There are over 300 million of you out there who believe that you make the best burgers in the world. Yes, Americans, I’m talking about you. You certainly make and eat the most burgers, consuming over 40,000,000,000 of them each year. Yes, forty billion burgers. But the best? I doubt it. Not withstanding the growing horse meat scandal across Europe, that will run for donkey’s years, we have the better ingredients here in Ireland. 

Part of the haul that he did not bring.

Part of the haul that he did not bring.

I am a big fan of the Coen Brothers. To my mind, they have never (hardly ever) made a poor movie. One of my absolute favourites is The Man Who Wasn’t There.  Billy Bob Thornton plays a barber who manages to be ‘not there’ in most of the events in the lives surrounding him. It is a wonderful production, beautifully constructed. I tell you this to set up a very strange happening (or non happening depending on how you look at it.) that took place, or didn’t take place, recently.

As is our habit, we had a family dinner here a couple of Sunday’s ago. A good friend from Australia did not arrive. He did not bring a freezer bag full of smuggled exotic fruit and vegetables with a prized pair of kangaroo fillets secreted in the bottom. That would have been something I would frown upon. He did not use his experience as a chef and all round creative genius to construct a delicious tasting starter for the assemblage. They are not used to that sort of thing and would have been spoiled by it, if it had happened. 

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