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North African Meatballs (12 of 12)There is something pretty exotic sounding in ‘Tajine Virgin’. Visions of fleeting glances at the desired mysterious, shrouded in veils, on the edge of a Souk, conjure up that feeling of raw animal anticipation. The allure tends to fade a bit as one realises that the virgin is in fact a baldy, past middle-aged man, with a penchant for flinging himself in at the culinary deep end at every opportunity. Having said that, I suspect there are few better ways to consummate your culinary coming of age than to cook this version of North African Meatballs in Spicy Sauce.

Chicken Kiev (11 of 12)

The chicken kiev is of Russian origin. I’m sure the Ukrainian people are not too happy about that. However, I wanted to do an original and I thought the Russian vodka in the shot was appropriate. Sorry, Kiev, if I cause any offence. I could have used a glass of Horilka, a traditional Ukrainian spirit? Matching a dish named for the Ukrainian capital with a Russian vodka is not politically correct in this day and age. But, the kiev has a Russian heritage and that is that.

Pheasant sous vide (5 of 5)If you are one of those people who believe meat comes from the supermarket, I suggest you find something else to read. Unless you happen to be a fan of the Walking Dead and such programming where the content leaves the viewer as zombified as the actors. If you are one such, you might revel in the gore to follow. But, I digress. We are gathered here today to show you how to prepare pheasant for cooking. 

Sous vide beef shins (1 of 3)“57º for 48 Hours. They will be delicious.” Or, so came the casual (too casual as it turned out), throw-away remark. I gave a good bit of thought to what would go nicely with the Beef Shins Sous Vide, over the two days and nights the dinner was cooking. They were going to be epic. I would serve them with a parsnip purée. Beef and parsnip is a match made in heaven. I would make a delicious thick gravy from the bag juices. This would tie everything together perfectly. 

Haddock in breadcrumbs (1 of 1)When I go out to buy the ingredients for our meals, I tend to not have a hard and fast list for the meats and fish. I like to see what looks good and choose the best available ingredients (subject to affordability and availability). When it comes to the fish, haddock tends to get overlooked. It is not a particularly fashionable fish. Fashion plays a role in all these things. 

Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger (4 of 6)A Christmas Miracle, I hear you say. To answer your unasked, and possibly even unthought, question. No, I haven’t found religion. Though, there seems to be more of it about at this time of year. I will enter into the festive spirit and avoid going off on a rant about the damage organised religion seems to do to our world. Instead, I will get back in the kitchen and prepare a true miracle of flavour, texture and colour. That miracle is Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger.

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. 

Ham Wellington (10 of 11)Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and the man who famously led the British force that defeated Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo, was an Irishman. As an aside, the poor chap had nothing to do with the Beef Wellington that many believe has been named after him. He, being an Irishman, enjoyed (afforded) pork rather than beef. Being a wealthy Irishman, he was able to afford pork fillet rather than crubeens (pigs feet) and regularly dined on same. The problem with all pork meat back then was that it didn’t keep particularly well. It certainly was no good to bring on a long trip into enemy territory. 

Chicken noodle soup (9 of 11)“Ahhh, what you need is some chicken noodle soup.”. “Chicken noodle soup will sort you out.”. “Chicken broth is what you need.”. So went the advice from various ‘clucking hens’ (well meaning people) while I spent a week in bed, festering with a chest infection. Unfortunately, when one is bed-bound and feeling rotten, the desire to make this elixir of life tends to be absent. So, given that I’m feeling better and am in no need of it, here’s a straightforward recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup.

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