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Lamb Shoulder Casserole (7 of 7)I was recently cycling through the Wicklow countryside with a couple of friends. As happens, conversations get started on the flat, dropped on the ascent, ignored in the excitement of a downhill and restarted when we all have our breath back. Often, we get strung out (not in a doping sort of way, we aren’t that type of cyclists). Conversations, started between three, can carry on for a time between two as the laggard joins up with the group. This can lead to some confusion as two will complete a conversation started by three. The third will join back up with the group and carry on from where things had been left off. 

Ray with oven chips and tartar sauce (12 of 12)“How..”, I hear you ruminate, “…can the baldy little man consider himself to be lucky?” It’s true, I do face as many challenges in my life as the next guy (or gal). But, this time, the ball broke the right way and my ship came in (if you will pardon me mixing my metaphors so blatantly). I had taken a weekend off. I really was just not in the mood to plan and cook a meal. I hadn’t the enthusiasm to get the camera out and really didn’t fancy writing anything new. I was on the couch and I was staying there. 

Spanish rabbit and bean stew (12 of 13)Most of the time, I don’t really care if you try what I prepare or not. Would be unreasonable of me to think that the majority of my readers are actually reading with some purpose? Yes, it probably would. Though, there are a small cohort who do try my stuff occasionally and most of the time they enjoy it. However, this one is different. It’s very easy. It’s very healthy. And, last but not least, it is incredibly tasty. You just have to try it. 

Steamed trout with fennel (1 of 13)“Go West” – a gay pride anthem, an Ulster Rugby chant and advice dispensed by the then editor of the New-York Tribune, Horace Greeley in 1851 as “Go west young man, and grow up with the country.” The pride anthem was originally released by the Village People in the late seventies and brought up to date by the Pet Shop Boys in 1993. I have that version on my iPod.  I sang the Ulster Rugby version, with tears in my eyes, along with 18,000 others at my hallowed Leinster Rugby ground, the RDS, to honour Nevin Spence, a very talented Ulster Rugby player who died in a tragic accident on the Spence family farm in 2012. I can claim no association with Horace Greeley.

Beef Brisket Sous Vide My cycling buddy James Lawlor, of the Rathmines butchery of the same name, was wondering if I could come up with any half interesting recipes for brisket (We tend to talk of little else except food when we are out in the mountains). It tends to be a tough enough cut so, it tends to be inexpensive. The dual attraction of tough beef and low price made it an ideal candidate for an experiment in the sous vide bath. 

Cedar Plank Salmon (1 of 1)-4I get conflicted. Various people tell me that I should be earning a decent few quid from the blog. The reality is that is not possible. I write what I like, post to my own schedule and if something gets up my nose, I am happy to share my spleen contents with the world. If one is writing for commercial gain, the spleen venting, nose contents descriptions and haphazard scheduling are all no-nos.

Ancho honey ribs I’m a considerate sort of person. If I’m having a vegetarian over for dinner, I will restrict the number of animals that we slaughter and serve. If there are a group of ‘lads’ I will throw lots of chilli heat into everything and serve gallons of beer, by the neck, so we can behave like teenagers and pretend that our middle-aged stomachs are not in turmoil. If my beloved Mum is coming to our regular Sunday dinner, I tend to respect her desire for moderate heat in everything. Like I say, I’m a considerate kind of guy. I employed such deference last weekend when preparing Ancho Chilli and Honey Pork Ribs. But, it seems, I can’t get everything right.

Spring Lamb ShoulderWe are social animals. Some more social than others. Some more animal. Communication between us can be very complicated. We misunderstand each other and often end up not talking. We take offence. We get petulant and complicate our relationships through our always-on communication that for the best part really does not communicate at all. Look at the things we use to keep our friends close – text, Viber, Snapchat, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and, for some of us, LinkedIn. Despite all the ‘communication’ many of us have never felt more alone, more isolated and out of touch. Not me though. I KNOW how to stay in touch. All I have to do is prepare some very simple Spring Lamb Shoulder and they will arrive at the table, ready to talk. Ready to share stories. Ready to really communicate. 

Chicken Breast Sous Vide (8 of 8)We are being threatened by summer here in Ireland. As with most Irish summers, there is a lot more threat than delivery. Yet, we live in hope. Each year, praying (those of us that still believe in our direct line to God) that the summer will live up to the imagined heights of the dull, uninspiring summers gone before.

You won’t find me on bended knee, praying for some decent weather. No, I am a man of action. If the Powers That Be (Me capitalising that bit is me hedging my bets) refuse to deliver on summer sun, I’m going to do what I can to make things around here as sunny as possible. What better way than with Chicken Breast Sous Vide with Ciabatta and Salad?

Salmon en croute (8 of 9)Salmon en Croute“, such an urbaine sounding title for a very tasty dish. But, let’s just forget the ‘Francification’ and call it ‘salmon in a crust’.  Without the fancy title, the elegant dish becomes pretty ordinary sounding. When it’s sounding ordinary and ‘of the people’, I find I can write about it. Let’s face it, I’m an ordinary guy and I just can’t handle fancy. Though, I hope you can because this is one sophisticated tasting treat.

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