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OK, that’s IT. I’ve had all I am going to take. A few days ago, we got back from holidays, to be greeted by grey skies and rain. The same grey skies and rain we had left behind a couple of weeks earlier. Things didn’t improve either. As I type, it is bucketing down outside. I now suspect that the sun only comes out in the middle of the night. So, as the powers that be refuse to give us any summer, I’m going to make a bit of my own.

They say that God removed a spare rib of Adam’s to make Eve. I find this very difficult to believe. Not because I want to start a fight with the Creationists. That argument is for another time and a different place. Perhaps at Easter on the Galapagos Islands?

I can think of far better things to do with spare ribs. I am not starting to show cannibal tendencies either. For this fine rib recipe, I use pork ribs. I also use this fantastic smoked paprika emblazoned with the Lord’s picture. Perhaps my sub-conscious treats it as a kind of insurance?

Perhaps I am the real fake in all of this. My brain was not in gear while I was buying the fish at the weekend. There is nothing unusual in this as I tend to buy the fish early on a Saturday morning. The ‘end of week’ bottle of wine tends to be still influencing me by the time I get to talk to Han in George’s Fish Shop. In response to my “What’s fresh?”, he put on  a wry smile and refused to rises to the bait. Instead, he reminded me that everything is fresh except the frozen stuff. Then he recommended the Haddock.

Got Ya! My fashion headline did the trick and has roped you into the first paragraph. We had family over recently and I decided to barbecue. The forecast was for rain. This meant that it probably wouldn’t. In Ireland, the weather likes to do its own thing. Like the weather, I like to do my own thing too. Back in the day when I was a youth and interested in my appearance, I did some pretty funky fashion stuff, believing myself to be the coolest thing on the catwalk.

Hermione – One of the many frog adornments in my Mum’s house.

“No” replied the waiter. “It’s these pants, they are a little too tight.”

Now, let’s dispel the myth. The French are not great lovers of frogs legs. Just in the same way as true Italians look down their nose at Spaghetti Bolognese and the British don’t enjoy getting Toad in the Hole when out in restaurants (One needs to be careful how one puts that.).  All stereotypical ‘National’ dishes.

Our European leaders can’t agree on the future of the Euro. Here in Ireland, we were lucky enough to be the first bailout boy of the current financial shambles. The God-like Greeks stepped in and took on the mantle of shame for a while. The poor chaps over in Cyprus were hardly noticed when they asked for a couple of billion to keep the dole queues queueing and civil servants civil. As I write, Spain is attracting the interest and Italy is only a few bond auctions away from the fun.

My friend Michael Houseright asked me to guest post over at The Blissful Adventurer while he was away in Italy last month. I  thought I should throw it up here too. (Visit Michael’s new blog or he will kill me for reposting without telling him.)

My tale begins 127 years ago. The story goes that Giuseppe Cerve came to Ireland from Casalattico in central Italy. He came here with very little, to find a better life for his family. He began selling potatoes cooked in oil from a barrow. We Irish liked it so much that he soon opened Ireland’s first ‘Chipper’ where he began selling fish and chips. An Irish Italian tradition was born.

A rare photo of Giuseppe Cerve’s original Chip Shop. This image from the collection of the late Barbie Borza.

Prawns, coriander, lime, garlic and a twist of black pepper. For once, I got all the ingredients into the picture.

I remember as a young fellow being slightly flexible with the truth and having my late Dad pull me up on it with “Don’t come the raw prawn with me.”  It seemed like a bizarre expression then and still seems like it now, over 40 years later. While I was thinking about an ‘angle’ for this simple barbecue recipe, the expression popped back into my head. That got me looking it up on Google. That took me to the Australian National University and their Meanings and origins of Australian words and idioms. There are some cracking expressions with which the Australians have enriched our language. Read on, Cobber

I have carried the weight of this around for more than a decade and now I have to clear my conscience. We had been holidaying in the Poitou‑Charentes region of France. We had made the short trip into Saintes for the weekly market. I was feeling ambitious and wanted to prepare a butterflied leg of lamb. I circled the market and located the lamb butcher, having previously tried to buy beef from a boucherie chevaline (horse butcher), causing much mirth for the butcher and embarrassment for me. In my dire French, I conveyed that I wanted the joint boned. With much smiling and what I thought was comprehension, the master craftsman set to work.

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