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Bacon loin (9 of 12)I should have got most of you with the fifth word “bacon”. It seems to excite such passions. How often have we heard “Everything tastes better with bacon” Sadly, I have bad news for most of you. Yes, you are labouring under a misconception. What you think is great bacon is not. It pales into insignificance next to this. I know, I have eaten both. Let me tell you why.

Asian Lamb Riblets (1 of 3)It’s a very long time since I studied economics. One of its cornerstones is the law of supply and demand. Simply put, it states that as demand increases the price does likewise. This then encourages new market entrants which increase supply, bringing the price back to where it started. In macroeconomic terms, this works pretty well. In the tiny world of retail that I occupy, this law doesn’t apply. So often, I have my enquiries rebuffed by slovenly sales staff with “No, there’s no demand for them.” or the one that really boils my ageing blood “No, there’s no demand for them any more.”. If I were looking for something like a set of E-180 cassettes or a pair of long johns with a trapdoor, I might not find this so upsetting. But, when I’m looking for lamb ribs in a butcher’s shop, I get pretty irate. “We used to sell them but it’s only the Chinese who eat them now.” was what the spotty youth in fancy dress said to me. 

Bone Marrow Burger (9 of 10)I thought I had it right. I was pretty sure that I couldn’t do any better. When I got my hands on some (rare breed, grass fed) Belted Galloway, coarse ground beef and made burgers with three ingredients, I knew that I had created burger patty perfection. That was another one ticked off the bucket list. I had eaten the perfect burger. Or, at least I thought I had.

Rack of Lamb

It really needs little fecking about.

Sorry for the blunt headline. But, I need your attention. If you are lucky enough to be able to get your hands on a delicious rack of genuine Irish spring lamb, don’t go messing around with it. Cook it simply and serve it with other nice simple fare. Don’t go overboard, spicing, adding heat or generally fecking around with it. The flavour is delicious, delicate and doesn’t need much else. 

A short while ago, my friend Katia, who, amongst other things, administers the Irish Food Bloggers group on Facebook, wrote a very engaging piece about posting while on the bus. She was a bit freaked out by a guy who appeared to be staring her out. She focussed on the posting and all worked out well in the end. “What has this got to do with Cod with Turmeric?” you say. Very little except for the fact that I’m typing this while sitting in a hotel lobby, early for a meeting, and I am totally convinced that the guy opposite me is giving me the glad eye!

Lamb Chump with Cumin (13 of 13)Working in an office, as I do, I observe all kinds of hierarchies. There is the obvious boss, manager, worker that has stood the test of time in most organisations. In this digital age, there is the techno pyramid, with a black clad Head of IT ruling supreme, the workings of the organisation totally dependant on him and his code punching underlings. Outriders to these are the maverick rainmakers. These are guys who write their own rules. They can afford to ignore corporate standards, run up big expenses and never work on Fridays. They bring in business and can do pretty much as they please. While they bring in the business, they don’t bring in their lunch so we can forget them for this exercise.

Duck with mango sauce (8 of 9)I’m a sucker for fruit. I love the taste that makes me feel so alive and that feeling of fresh fruit juice, dribbling through my unkempt beard. One of my absolute favourites is mango. Living here in Ireland, I don’t get that feeling too often as we tend to get a pretty poor substitute for the real thing. The supermarkets conspire with international fruit companies to supply what is oft referred to as ‘market appropriate produce’ to different countries. They also charge ‘what the market will bear’ when setting prices. Hence, we in Ireland end up with mangos that would be more use in a civil disturbance than they are as a fresh fruit. I believe that we overpay for the privilege too. 

Spotted DogThere are many ‘versions’ of the story of St. Patrick. Given the time of year, I thought I should clarify the situation and give you the cold hard facts about the man. The first thing we know is that he was Welsh. This we know by the type of crosier he carried. There are rumours that he might have been a Scotsman but any sheep farmer knows that the Scottish crozier has a very different head to the Welsh. Scottish sheep have a thicker necks than Welsh and as a result, the Scottish crozier has a more open crook, making it useless for snake scooping. St. Patrick hunted snakes with the aid of a dalmatian hound. In fact, the great Irish patron saint named one of the three (for there are only three) traditional Irish foods after the dog.

Beef Short Ribs with Anise (7 of 9)Around these parts, having one’s cake and eating it is deemed not to be possible. The same goes in Italy where they say “Volere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca” – to want the barrel full and the wife drunk. In Hungary, they say “Egy fenékkel nem lehet két lovat megülni” – It is impossible to ride two horses with one butt. I take issue with this defeatism. You can have the best of both worlds, if beef short ribs with a little Oriental twist is your thing. 

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