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Lamb piecesDuring the week, I got a call in the office from the Wicklow Hunter. He enjoys winding people up and one never knows the real truth behind many of his activities. I forgive him a lot as he does his thing with good humour and a twinkle in his eye.

WH: Are you in?

Me: I am, sure did you not just ring?

WH: I did. I have some lamb for you. 

Me: Lamb? You don’t keep sheep, do you?

WH: No, this is the best tasting lamb there is. Trespass Lamb.

They say that God removed a spare rib of Adam’s to make Eve. I find this very difficult to believe. Not because I want to start a fight with the Creationists. That argument is for another time and a different place. Perhaps at Easter on the Galapagos Islands?

I can think of far better things to do with spare ribs. I am not starting to show cannibal tendencies either. For this fine rib recipe, I use pork ribs. I also use this fantastic smoked paprika emblazoned with the Lord’s picture. Perhaps my sub-conscious treats it as a kind of insurance?

Got Ya! My fashion headline did the trick and has roped you into the first paragraph. We had family over recently and I decided to barbecue. The forecast was for rain. This meant that it probably wouldn’t. In Ireland, the weather likes to do its own thing. Like the weather, I like to do my own thing too. Back in the day when I was a youth and interested in my appearance, I did some pretty funky fashion stuff, believing myself to be the coolest thing on the catwalk.

Hermione – One of the many frog adornments in my Mum’s house.

“No” replied the waiter. “It’s these pants, they are a little too tight.”

Now, let’s dispel the myth. The French are not great lovers of frogs legs. Just in the same way as true Italians look down their nose at Spaghetti Bolognese and the British don’t enjoy getting Toad in the Hole when out in restaurants (One needs to be careful how one puts that.).  All stereotypical ‘National’ dishes.

Our European leaders can’t agree on the future of the Euro. Here in Ireland, we were lucky enough to be the first bailout boy of the current financial shambles. The God-like Greeks stepped in and took on the mantle of shame for a while. The poor chaps over in Cyprus were hardly noticed when they asked for a couple of billion to keep the dole queues queueing and civil servants civil. As I write, Spain is attracting the interest and Italy is only a few bond auctions away from the fun.

I have carried the weight of this around for more than a decade and now I have to clear my conscience. We had been holidaying in the Poitou‑Charentes region of France. We had made the short trip into Saintes for the weekly market. I was feeling ambitious and wanted to prepare a butterflied leg of lamb. I circled the market and located the lamb butcher, having previously tried to buy beef from a boucherie chevaline (horse butcher), causing much mirth for the butcher and embarrassment for me. In my dire French, I conveyed that I wanted the joint boned. With much smiling and what I thought was comprehension, the master craftsman set to work.

When my youngest was a lot younger, she would rarely be direct about anything. If she wanted something out of the ordinary like some new clothes, or something ‘girly’ of which I probably would not approve, she would do something daft like write out a request (along with a smiley face) and slip it under the sitting room door. While she was a little thing and cute, those notes always got the desired result. As she has aged and the ravages of time have started to take their toll (she is 20 now), she trys more subtle methods of influencing me. 

Why does Anthony Worrell Thompson stick celery in his and sprinkles it with parsley?

Why does Julia Child crumble bay leaf into hers?

Why does Jamie Oliver needs two bottles of wine?

Why does Nigel Slater use one bottle in his?

Why does the Belfast Telegraph shove a chicken stock cube into theirs?

Why does Gordon F***** Ramsey recommend Irish Soda Bread with it?

Why does James Martin say to have it with mash?

Why does AWT above say to have it with new potatoes?

Why do ‘all recipes dot com’ not use carrots in theirs?

We were sitting looking at the view of Scotsman’s Bay in Dun Laoghaire. “Provenance old man.” said L as we enjoyed one of those barely warm, sunny spring mornings.  “Take those apple and sage sausages you enjoy so much. What’s their provenance? You haven’t got a clue, have you?” I had to admit that I had no idea who, how or where they were made. I have faith in my butcher. L is less trusting than I and he chastised me for my naivety. I don’t like having my shortcomings, real or imaginary, exposed. So I resolved to redress the situation by preparing my own range of sausages from scratch. 

Yes, I do have a son. This my come as a surprise to some of you. It would be a surprise for the Wife if I had not come clean on the matter with her. Before I get into that, I’ll bet you know the parable of the prodigal son. I’ll also bet you that you have never referred to somebody as being “prodigal”. You have never rolled down the car window and shouted; “Ohi, You. You Prodigal. Move that heap.” Or perhaps, you ladies, behind a gloved hand, over a double frappachino laté, whispered to a friend; “She is sooooo prodigal. I don’t know how her parents put up with her.” Admit it to yourself. You probably don’t even know the exact meaning of the word.

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