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Duck with mango sauce (8 of 9)I’m a sucker for fruit. I love the taste that makes me feel so alive and that feeling of fresh fruit juice, dribbling through my unkempt beard. One of my absolute favourites is mango. Living here in Ireland, I don’t get that feeling too often as we tend to get a pretty poor substitute for the real thing. The supermarkets conspire with international fruit companies to supply what is oft referred to as ‘market appropriate produce’ to different countries. They also charge ‘what the market will bear’ when setting prices. Hence, we in Ireland end up with mangos that would be more use in a civil disturbance than they are as a fresh fruit. I believe that we overpay for the privilege too. 

goat-rendang-16-of-16

I’d like to be a totally trusting sort of guy. I wish, when you promise to be here at 7:30, I could believe you, even if the last time you showed up at 8:15. I wish I could believe the Nigerian prince who emails me offering me 40% of his family fortune.  Sadly, life has made me a little wary. I don’t take much on faith. This Goat Rendang is a case in point. I have no faith that it “tastes better the next day”.  There is no proof and I doubt there ever will be. 

sichuan-prawns-13-of-13Try saying that with a few drinks on board. “Tongue Numbingly Wonderful Sichuan Pepper Prawns” is a bit of a mouthful, in more ways than one. This is a really easy dish to prepare. There are very few ingredients and it is an absolute delight. I can only encourage you to try it. But, be warned, those Sichuan peppercorns will literally numb your tongue. 

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.

Stir fried beef with chinese spice and chilli (1 of 10)

…but, not quite. No, I thought I had done all I needed to do but, I have a bit to learn just yet.  Let me give you a little back story. I had been glued to the computer for a long morning’s work. When I looked up, it was nearly 2:00 PM and I had a growing headache. Hunger had come, been ignored and gone away. I decided that a walk around the Sandyford business district was needed to clear my head. 

fillet-steak-with-orange-and-chili-1-of-11Did I mention that I won Best Food and Drink Blog in the 2016 Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards? If I didn’t then, my bad. I should keep you better informed as to what’s gong on. If I did, then my bad too. I should be more humble about this stuff and not go celebrating and getting excited about what I do here. Speaking of the stuff I do here, I have been wrestling with doing something with beef and orange for a while now. Whenever I mentioned it to friends or family, I got a pretty frosty reception. So, I decided to use the period while my star is in the ascendency to prepare Beef Fillet with Orange, Chilli, Sichuan Pepper and Ginger.

Beef Rendang (16 of 16)The poor Irish weather is responsible for this recipe. In the same way as one is guaranteed to have a return of rain here on the Emerald Isle, you will return to this recipe. You will do so again, and again and again.  “Wow”, you muse. “Can this recipe be all that good?” It is but, that’s not exactly what I mean.

Smoked duck with orange ginger sauce (14 of 14)Most middle aged (be kind to me, late 50s is middle age) men have some unusual stuff in their garden sheds. More than half a lifetime collecting tools and labour saving implements and lots of redundant technology means that we have little space for that what really matters. When I say “we” I don’t mean me. No. I threw out all that gardening and domestic repair nonsense to make space for the Bradley Digital Six Rack Smoker. Just what every every self respecting old fart needs in his life.

There’s little point in having the latest and greatest six rack smoker if you aren’t going to smoke something. So this weekend, I smoked a brace of duck. For ye who think duck grow in a foil container in the supermarket, a brace is two. I got these in the butcher so using the old world description is good. What better way to serve duck than with some bittersweet sauce. Hence, I concocted Smoked Duck with Orange Sauce.

Ants climbing a tree (11 of 13)We westerners have an ongoing love affair with Chinese food. Dishes such as Sweet and Sour Pork, Beef and Broccoli and Kung Pao Chicken have become firm favourites across the western world. The difficulty with this popularity is that the dishes tend to become westernised. The process of westernisation invariably takes the edge off the dish. Over time and repeated modification, to suit a jaded and flaccid western palate, it becomes a pale imitation of the original. Happily, we have not got around to ruining the delicious Sichuan dish called Ants Climbing a Tree. This is probably because we are put off by the name and have never taken it far enough to mess it up with bad cooking, fructose and preservatives. 

5 spice pork with mango (15 of 15)Despite the evidence, even scientists can’t agree on the shocking truth of this dish.  I devised this Five Spice Pork with Mango Sauce. I thought it was going to be a straightforward recipe. But, some stunning things happened, possibly making this into a superfood. You would think that a dish using so few ingredients might be a little light on flavour but, you will be amazed and even stunned by I am about to tell you. 

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