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Oriental Beef

I was in one of my favourite butcher shops recently. I was in my usual state of having no clue what to cook for the Sunday family dinner (a 25 year tradition in our gaff). My eye was drawn to some outstanding beef short ribs. Temperatures in Ireland hadn’t hit the “Oh I need comfort food” level and I was wrestling with my desire to get the ribs and cook them low and slow. I bought them anyway and took them home. Weather was pretty warm (or as “pretty warm” as it ever gets in Ireland in September). I needed an alternative plan. My store cupboard of Oriental ingredients came to the rescue and I concocted Oriental Beef Short Ribs. This is not an ‘authentic’ Oriental recipe in that it was devised by an Irishman in a bit of a flap about getting a dinner prepared. However, I defy you to find a tastier way of preparing beef short ribs in an Oriental style.

Black Bean Beef (1 of 3)Back in 2011, I posted a 30 minute recipe for Beef in Black Bean Sauce. Back in 2011, not many of ye paid any attention to anything I cooked or posted about. Shame on you. But, now that you are older and, obviously, wiser (You are reading this are you not?), I am very happy to present you with a simpler, even faster to prepare, Beef in Black Bean Sauce.

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.

Beef and BroccoliThis is probably the simplest of the easy oriental series so far. While I was doing my online research (seeing how others have photographed the dish) I came across the phrase “takeout standard” on a couple of blogs. I won’t provide links here as it probably is not fair to diss the efforts of fellow food bloggers. But, let’s get real. If the height of culinary ambition is to match the dross sold in most Chinese take-out, we are wasting each other’s time. So, either read on my friends, or reach for the phone and that menu you found in the letterbox. 

Cha Shao Beef cooked smallIn the fairytale, Beauty falls in love with the Beast, without knowing that inside the outer ugliness was the handsome prince of her dreams. It is a bit like my Cha Shao Roast Beef, crispy and crusty on the outside with lean deliciousness within.

The Beast, on the other hand, saw Beauty and immediately fell deeply in love with her and her obvious charms. It’s a bit like that with me and Bill Granger‘s wonderful Mango Pudding. It was love at first bite.

It’s my own fault. I suggested that as I was cooking for the Wife and myself, I might include my eldest and her boyfriend in the pot. They gratefully accepted my offer. Then they did what great negotiators the world over do when they have a deal over the line. They changed the terms.

My love of Oriental cooking came from a period in my working life when I ate in Chinese restaurants at least once a week. I have spent over 30 years in advertising and during the late 80s and early 90s, I would dine out, often in excellent Chinese restaurants including  the Orchid Szechuan on Dublin’s Pembroke Road or in the Imperial on Wicklow Street (great for Dim Sum). In those days, it was perfectly normal enjoy a three course meal with wine (often lots of wine) for lunch on an almost daily basis. Those habits have been diminished by time, social convention and economic change but my love of oriental fare and cooking have not been eroded.

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