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Free Range Eggs smallBack when Adam was a boy (the early 1950s) the British were encouraged to ‘Go to work on an egg’. This was a great advertising campaign built around a fantastic piece of copywriting. Having Tony Hancock in front of the camera helped a bit too.

In my business life, I have had the dubious pleasure of writing copy for various Easter advertisements featuring ‘Eggstravaganza’ in the headline. This usually followed up with ‘eggciting offers’ ‘cracking deals’ and other eggscrutiating word plays. 

Rib of BeefI’m an Irishman and proud of it. I am married to an English lady. These are both good things on a number of levels: She has put up with me for over 20 years. We have two mostly wonderful daughters. Because of her origins, I can get away with stuff others can not. I can talk in slightly derogatory and jocular tones about ‘The Brits’ and excuse myself by admitting to being happily married to one.

My eldest is very competitive. Some say, too competitive. When she started her travel blog, Shallow Pockets Travel, I helped her out where I could. I learned a lot by the process. In fact, that is what prompted me to start this blog. My experience previously was restricted to our company blog.

For a time, all went along well. Eldest daughter (ED) enthused about her latest post and numbers of hits and so forth. I offered fatherly encouragement to her endeavor. Meanwhile, I quietly worked away cooking, photographing, writing and posting in my free time. All was well in our little blogosphere and in our home. Or was it?

Squid & Prawn Risotto2I had a post written and ready to go. Ready to go that is except that I needed a top quality rib joint to prepare, roast, photograph and serve to my review group (mother, wife, eldest & youngest daughters). Then all I had to do was add in the recipe bit and the photos to the meat of my writing, as it were. They were looking forward to something special. They are a loving bunch but to my personal chagrin they have got used to getting their own way on the food front…

I want you to imagine my youngest daughter. She is an innocent thing who likes small animals and fluffy things. She loves Disney cartoons. One of her favourites is Bambi. She finds the various scenes of innocence touching. When she watches it, she will be heard to say things like “Ahhh, so pretty.” and “Ohhhh, aren’t the chipmunks so cute.”

I am telling you all this because I recently suggested that I cook a rabbit stew for the family. This led to the following unfortunate conversation:

Cha Shao Beef cooked smallIn the fairytale, Beauty falls in love with the Beast, without knowing that inside the outer ugliness was the handsome prince of her dreams. It is a bit like my Cha Shao Roast Beef, crispy and crusty on the outside with lean deliciousness within.

The Beast, on the other hand, saw Beauty and immediately fell deeply in love with her and her obvious charms. It’s a bit like that with me and Bill Granger‘s wonderful Mango Pudding. It was love at first bite.

The earliest records of the Chinese cooking Peking Duck go back to the 14th century. They say that in more recent times, Henry Kissinger enjoyed the Peking Duck so much that he went to China a second time. On that trip he set up the historic visit by President Richard Nixon and the rest as they say, is history. Tricky Dickey subsequently suffered severe reputational damage when he tried to suppress the reporting of goings on in the Watergate Building. His good name, like the origins of Peking Duck is now ancient history. My worry is with more recent and personal concerns – my own culinary reputation.

Before I start, I have to be clear. I have nothing against hunting. We need hunting in our countryside to keep various animal populations in check. Also, I don’t have issue where there is an element of real skill and hunters are killing for the table. Having said all that….

We went to my better half’s parents’ house in Tipperary last weekend. The house overlooks Lough Derg. Just across from the house is an island. Brave men from the city pay big bucks to get in touch with their inner hunter by visiting the island and shooting pheasant. The pheasant are accustomed to people on the island and are pretty tame by local account. When groups of high paying city folk come down, dressed like country squires in padded green giléts and fresh green wellington boots to ‘hunt’, the beaters have been known to have difficulty getting the birds into the air to meet their fate.

I am a Dubliner, born and bred inside the Pale. I am proud of my roots, my history and most things Dublin. Some of our country cousins can begrudge us the privileges we enjoy from living in the ‘Big Smoke’. We have, amongst other attractions, the Luas electric tram system, an airport with two terminals, the Guinness Brewery and the boat to England.

It is traditional and reasonable for us Jackeens, as the Culchies like to call us, to suffer some inter-county hostility. Some of the rural dwellers believe that Cork is the real capital of the country. Others think that Galway is the cultural axis on which the world revolves. I refute these and many other illegitimate claims against our capital city. I am well brought up and I will not mention Dublin being the All Ireland Football Champions at present. That would be churlish.

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