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Fillet steak sous vide (9 of 10)

A properly cooked fillet steak is a joy to enjoy. Cooking a fillet (tenderloin) is not difficult either. Simply sear it on either side and throw the pan into a hot oven for a few minutes and the job is practically done. You can complicate the process and clog your arteries by finishing it (and yourself too) with butter. I have never seen the need to do this. A good fillet is a good fillet. Right? 

A deal better than my presentation. Sous vide Pork Fillet

A deal better than my presentation. Sous vide Pork Fillet

Regular readers will know that I do a bit of cycling. The day that I post this, I will be taking part in the 2015 Paris2Nice Cycle to raise funds for an Irish national suicide charity. It involves 75 cyclists from Ireland riding over 700 kilometres, with a number of us taking on the dreaded Mont Ventoux as part of the exercise. This is the 5th year of Paris2Nice and, to date, the endeavours have raised well over two million euro for a number of worthy causes.

Mokkfish in pea soup (12 of 14)It’s your own fault. I didn’t write it. You didn’t see it, because it isn’t there. Yet planted in your mind is the inappropriate image. The awful picture of something that I didn’t compose and certainly didn’t intend. No. this is a food blog. I try to elevate your standards, not drag them into the gutter.

Pork Knuckle (4 of 4)I ask the question, not because I am a racist. But, instead, in a pathetic attempt to get your attention (and your vote) for my candidature in the Blog Awards Ireland 2015.  A few weeks ago, I begged you to vote for my entry in the Cono Sur Blogger competition. Many of you tried and failed (It is restricted to Irish based voters). I have forgiven you foreigners for your inadequacy and realise that there is a wider question to be answered. Should you be allowed to vote in Irish elections at all? 

Rib steak How many of them have you read? The recipe for the ‘perfect steak’. Every (male) idiot who ever owned a barbecue believes that he holds some mystical secret that makes his steak better than every other. They (you, if the cap fits) are almost all wrong. I have seen grown men squeezing the base of their thumbs and then poking their flaming steaks in an effort to prove perfect doneness. Most don’t know what they are doing. If I try that approach, I mess up the arthritis in my talon-like hands. I can prove nothing except that I can inflict some pain on myself. Blokes with fat hands only demonstrate that the steak is as thick as themselves. 

Wine edition

So much wine. So much choice. So little room in the car.

While we were on our summer holiday, staying near St. Emilion in the Bordeaux region, the topic of bringing home a few bottles arose. We had driven to France, so it would be churlish to return empty-handed to Ireland. We Irish suffer penal and recently hiked taxes on our wine purchases. This has led to the wine choice on our little island being reduced along with both the quality and value for money. With that in mind, here’s my personal guide to buying wine in France. 

Coffee and orange beef cheeks (7 of 7)One of the great deciders in life is how we deal with anticipation. I often feel that the joy of expectation can, in itself, be a greater pleasure than a desire satisfied. So too, can the dread of a potential negative outcome be far worse than the eventual reality. Keeping a balance between these two extremes can also be difficult. I tend to lean on the side of the optimists. That way, I get the pleasure of anticipation and, when things turn out well, the additional pleasure of having things go my way. 

Quail Sous Vide (1 of 2)Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst led the Suffragette movement in the early part of the 20th century. They and their followers went to extremes to get the vote for women. They chained themselves to railings. They threw bricks through windows. They went on hunger strike. One of them even ended up killing herself under the king’s horse at the Epsom derby in 1913. Those lassies really wanted the right to vote. You now have that right. All I ask is that, if you are in Ireland, you use it with the wisdom that I know you posses. 

Mushroom ravioliAnybody who reads this blog regularly will know that vegetarian stuff is a bit of a rarity (usually an accident, in fact). Given that I like to discommode myself occasionally, and to try different things, it seemed reasonable to go veg for a change.  So I got to thinking of salting some cabbage or frying some carrots, or whatever it is you vegetarians get up to when you are working up an appetite. Nothing inspiring came to mind. Eventually, I had a notion that I should try some ravioli. I hadn’t prepared it in a while. I could easily make it a vegetarian dish.

Steamed Monkfish Oriental Style (9 of 9)It’s a while since I have posted something from further east than Howth (A fishing port on the far side of Dublin Bay). This is a slight variation on a classic, served in some of the best Oriental restaurants around. It is not dished up in the average Chinese where the height of culinary ambition matches the diners’ desire for a gooey sauce and a slice of pineapple with their sweet and sour chicken balls. This dish has finesse. It has class and refinement. It does not go well with beer and it will never become a post-pub favourite in the way that chicken chow mein or prawn curry with fried rice have. This is a good thing.

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