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I had a conversation with my friend, James Lawlor, who runs the butcher shop that bears his name (on the Upper Rathmines Road in leafy south Dublin). It was over the counter while he was putting my weekly order together. He mentioned that he had some Wagyu beef at the end of his 21 day dry ageing process. I am a sucker for a nice Wagyu, so James fetched the side from which to cut the rib that you see in the picture.

If you have a crowd to feed…. What am I saying! Nobody has a crowd to feed these days. I got my chicken thighs on a 3 for 2 offer and ended up with more than I needed. Having said that, we ate this on the day we cooked it, the day after and also froze a few portions that got eaten a few days later.  For simplicity, divide the recipe by three if you are feeding three hungry people, by two if you are feeding four and so on.  Having said all that, I really do have to say “My, my that is one tasty thigh”. This is a really delightful recipe. Don’t be put off by the quantity and diversity of ingredients. It is really easy to prepare and diversity is good.

There are short ribs and then there are short ribs. One can’t blame the average butcher for trying to sell as much of the animal as possible. But, many go too far and end up harming their own businesses by selling bits of the animal that should really be put to other use. The humble short rib or Jacob’s Ladder is such a cut. The very best of the short ribs comes from high up the ribs, towards the front of the animal. As one goes lower and back, the ribs get thinner, the meat gets likewise and the connective tissue to meat ratio goes up. Having said all that, I was stunned by the quality of the short ribs I used for this recipe.

While you and your granny were around in the toilet roll aisle having a punch-up with a tattoo encrusted weightlifter, I was quietly loading up my trolly in the dried goods aisle. Down the far end from the scrum and bloodletting at the pasta, I was at the couscous. There was really no need to stock up as a kilo (2lb) packet costs less than two euro (or $2 for that matter). It can produce enough carbohydrate laden deliciousness to quell the panic in any pandemic fearing hoarder.

This recipe is a celebration of being involved in a great organisation, the ISVA. For me, it’s a huge honour to be included in the Champions of Sous Vide cookbook published by Mike and Jason of the International Sous Vide Association. I decided to celebrate by cooking some delicious Spiced Wicklow Lamb Shanks (in the sous vide, naturally enough). Wicklow lamb really is some of the very best in the world. If you get a chance to try it, do so. This recipe is simplicity itself. I have included a full instructional video for your convenience.

Here’s a little adventure into the worlds of Thai flavours and video. I will be smoking some salmon over the coming couple of weeks and while I was thinking about doing something “different”, I thought doing something with a bit of Thai flavour might be fun. I took the trouble to shoot a bit of footage to show the process. I have been utilising video in my business over the past few months and thought that I might apply it here on the blog too.

While thinking about this recipe, I got to consider my storyline. It should be an easy one to write. Halibut is my favourite fish and right now, I am having a great time with many of the Thai flavours that bring out the very best in fish. With very little thinking done, I hit upon “curry favour”. I could easily bend that around to “favourite curry” and have a play on words. This would be easy.

During our summer holidays, we got to stay on a plum farm in Agen, in the south of France. While we were there, we got to enjoy lots of the truly fine local produce. Our hosts gave me a supply of delicious prunes (dried plums) which I enjoyed so much, I had to get more to try the classic dish of the region Agen Prunes in Armagnac. It would have been rude to not try it given that Agen sits beside Armagnac and it really is a delight. Have mine been successful? Like I say in the headline, I’ll tell you at Christmas. I made them last week (October) and they are now hidden away in a dark press in preserving jars. They are out of sight so they have a good chance of making it to December 25th, by which time, they should be perfect.