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As Oriental as they get.

Globalisation is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing in that it introduces us all to foods and flavours from all points on the compass. It also has a very annoying habit of promoting fake food. Many Brits are shocked when they discover that the most popular Indian dish in Great Britain the ‘classic’ Chicken Tika Masala is English not Indian. Tempura is Portuguese and Sauerkraut hails back to the building of the Great Wall, not a German in sight. Not that any of these are fakes they are just misunderstood. The fakes are in the ranges of foods like the Tex Mex crud of which any Texan would be ashamed or the Oriental sauces that sell themselves by combining fake flavouring with too much sugar. We buy it because it has a picture of a junk  and  some vaguely oriental looking text on the label. Thats globalisation for you.

Lamb with fennel, honey and chilli (1 of 10)For the uninitiated amongst you, a lepidopterist is a butterfly expert. I wouldn’t know a Painted Lady if she landed on my face and a Comma would only give me pause, as it were. I do a pretty passable job of butterflying a leg of lamb but that doesn’t makes me a butterfly expert. As I was feeling fairly lazy when shopping, I bought my leg of lamb butterflied. So, I spent my time thinking about a marinade. This Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Fennel, Chilli and Honey will have you all a flutter.

Should this really be all about the fish? The salmon is nothing spectacular though it was pretty tasty. All that was involved in the prep was to sprinkle it with some piment d’Espelette and whack it under a medium grill. Should it be about the wine? All that was involved there was putting a bottle of Gewurztraminer in the fridge and pulling the cork later. Should it be about the dhal? Perhaps it should. But, the thing of which I am most proud is the ingredients photo. She’s a beauty!

I prepared some home cured, home smoked pork loin a couple of weeks back. It was fantastic and most of the comments I had from the European side of the pond were pretty positive. One of my American friends had to make the point that bacon is made only with pork belly. He had to make the point in the way only an American would. That is he was unequivocal, forthright and definitive. He was certain that bacon can only be made with pork belly. Anything else “just ain’t bacon”. (Put on a Southern drawl while reading that.) So to run with the stereotype, here’s how to prepare good ole’ rootin’ tootin’ American bacon (All Americans use the “good ole’ rootin’ tootin'” type language pretty well all the time.

Fillet steak with bone marrow butter (2 of 6)

Let’s face facts. Not everybody who looks in the mirror likes what they see. Some of us are just sub-standard, below average and generally crappy. That’s the way of the world. If the advertising slogan of l’Oreal was true of us all, it would fail in it’s prime objective, to make the user feel special. If we are all ‘worth it’ then what we are worth is not worth much. But, I didn’t start writing this to have a go at the haircare market. No, I want to show you some real luxury, some delightful, upmarket beef with some very special and rare bone marrow butter. Be honest with yourself. Look yourself square in the mirror. Put away the hair products and decide if you are really “Worth it.”

Black Bean Beef (1 of 3)Back in 2011, I posted a 30 minute recipe for Beef in Black Bean Sauce. Back in 2011, not many of ye paid any attention to anything I cooked or posted about. Shame on you. But, now that you are older and, obviously, wiser (You are reading this are you not?), I am very happy to present you with a simpler, even faster to prepare, Beef in Black Bean Sauce.

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. 

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