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Meat

I used to think it was pretty straightforward. “Build it and they will come” was my approach. A pork stew was a pork stew. If I announced it and cooked it, they would be there, happy to be fed in the family kitchen.  In more recent times, I have noticed a worrying trend. The casual conversation is no longer “Whatyacooking Pops?”. No, it has shifted slightly towards “Oh, Pork Casserole. How are you cooking it? What are you adding? What will make it really special this time?”.

Let’s face facts. Norway is not at the centre of gastronomic excellence. Many believe that all they know about is salting, sugaring and burying various kinds of fish and meat before digging it up again and eating it. Not the best calling card for a premium cooking reputation. However, there is another side to these weather hardened northerners. 

Toulouse SausageThis is part 3 in my ‘Meat Reheat’ series where I take older posts and try to improve my efforts. In this case, it is not hard to do better than I did on my first sausage making fiasco.

I have been experimenting with slow cooking. There are many benefits. I get time on my own in the kitchen and if I’m in the kitchen, I am working, right? If things go wrong, I can always do something quick to fill a gap in the menu and bluff my way out of it. If I get it right, the food can taste delicious. Really delicious. The big bonus for us slow cookers has to be financial. Cheaper cuts of meat and things like sausages produce the very best slow cooking results. As the economic devastation continues here in Ireland, such slow cooking must be gathering a following…

Pork steak with mango I was having a bad day. I started with no plan for the evening meal. I trawled the fridge, the fruit bowl and the vegetable basket. I had a pork steak. I had a big ripe mango. I had some chilis and I had some flat leaf parsley. The inventive side of me decided that I would cook Pork Steak with Mango, Chili and Parsley. Now all I had to do was to get something nice to go with it. That’s simple enough, surely?

Rump of lambThere is a tendency in many social circles to ‘name-drop’. I hate it. Only the other day, I was saying this to the Queen of England and she told me that neither she nor Michelle Obama approve of it. Bad enough at dinner parties and gatherings where people hob-knob but this ugly behaviour has now spread to food blogging.

Lamb ShanksOne of the excellent things about writing this blog is that I can do what I like, unbound by convention. One standard would state that posting the same stuff twice is a no-no. To hell with that. If anyone can extract a second serving from one dish, I’m your man. One of my earliest posts was lamb shanks under the banner of How slow can you go? I now realise that I can go slower and lower, a lot slower and plenty lower. Hence, part one in my Meat Reheat series.

Pork in CiderThey say that keeping pigs in the orchard is good both for pig and orchard. The pigs get to eat any fallen fruit while keeping the soil in good condition and keeping pests at bay. One side benefit of this practice is that the pork meat from the orchard kept pig takes on a subtle apple flavour (or so they say). 

Be very afraid of the Wicklow Hunter’s Gun, gun, gun…

Wicklow Hunter

An image, supposedly of the Wicklow Hunter supplied to me recently.

Sorry Bunnies, when the Wicklow Hunter is out and about with his trusty .22, you can be sure that there’s going to be a date with destiny. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Dates! Their lovely sweetness could go nicely with the slightly dry, gamey flavour of rabbit. Let’s prepare a Date with Destiny and Wild Wicklow Rabbit Casserole.

Venison

Not the sort of thing one expects to have delivered. Particularly as I’m not a butcher.

Question 1 “This early in the season, is this a piece of legally shot doe?”

Answer 1 “I’m told it is. The now infamous Wicklow Hunter tells me that they were out on a night shoot on the 31st October and ‘…just after midnight’ he downed a young doe. That brings it into the November season where that sort of thing is OK in Wicklow.”
In short: Doe.

Question 2 “What recipe are you going to use?”

Answer 2 (Here’s where the Homer like d’oh! could come into its own.) “I am going to try something totally original. I am going to cook Venison and Plum Stew.” Given that I had no real idea what to do with the venison, this was a brave outburst on my part. An outburst, fuelled by a glass or three of Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.
In short: D’oh!

A couple of months ago, my good friend P put himself on a gourmet cookery course. This was a major step for him, he being a ‘can’t boil an egg’ kind of guy. P is also what the female of the species would call “A typical man.” He is not big on chit-chat. He hides a veritable candelabra of lights under his bushel. So, while we were supping a pint or three of Guinness in our local, the Galloping Green, it surprised me, in fact it shocked me, when he said that he had cooked a Lamb Tagine as part of his course. The shock was three-fold. Fold one was that he had been on a cookery course. Fold two was that he had admitted to being there. Fold three was that he actually cooked something excellent (his wife told me). My reaction was not what it should have been. I let myself down.

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