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Smoked duck with orange ginger sauce (14 of 14)Most middle aged (be kind to me, late 50s is middle age) men have some unusual stuff in their garden sheds. More than half a lifetime collecting tools and labour saving implements and lots of redundant technology means that we have little space for that what really matters. When I say “we” I don’t mean me. No. I threw out all that gardening and domestic repair nonsense to make space for the Bradley Digital Six Rack Smoker. Just what every every self respecting old fart needs in his life.

There’s little point in having the latest and greatest six rack smoker if you aren’t going to smoke something. So this weekend, I smoked a brace of duck. For ye who think duck grow in a foil container in the supermarket, a brace is two. I got these in the butcher so using the old world description is good. What better way to serve duck than with some bittersweet sauce. Hence, I concocted Smoked Duck with Orange Sauce.

Thai chicken thighs (9 of 12)When it comes to cooking chicken on the barbecue, low and slow is the way to go. Here in Ireland,  we tend to only have a decent spell of what any reasonable person might call summer every four years or so. When a period of sunshine arrives, we tend to go a bit crazy. Sallow fleshed white men don ‘summer’ shorts (and little else), repair to the garden and swill vast quantities of cheap lager. They then do the only bit of ‘cooking’ they are capable of handling – the botulism fest known as the ‘barbecue’. 

Chicken and bean stewI was going to title this ‘An Idiots Guide to Cooking a Stew‘. But, I reckon the folk over at Dorling Kindersley would sue my idiot carcass all the way to illiteracy and back. They are the rightful owners to the Idiot’s Guides. So, I can’t use the title. Instead, I’m being a bit more general in my descriptor. I’m also being inclusive. Inclusive is good in this day and age. I don’t want to offend any particular minority grouping so I am making the statement that “Any Idiot Can Cook This Italian Chicken and Bean Stew”. Yes, that includes you. 

Chicken wiht 40 cloves of garlic (1 of 1)It’s such a wheeze. Blog posting, I mean. All you have to do is have an idea and start typing. Easy. It’s so simple, particularly when you have a dish called Chicken and 40 Cloves of Garlic. It practically writes itself. All you have to do is type out the various ’40’ related ideas that present themselves and fling in a simple recipe. What could be easier?

Chicken Kiev (11 of 12)

The chicken kiev is of Russian origin. I’m sure the Ukrainian people are not too happy about that. However, I wanted to do an original and I thought the Russian vodka in the shot was appropriate. Sorry, Kiev, if I cause any offence. I could have used a glass of Horilka, a traditional Ukrainian spirit? Matching a dish named for the Ukrainian capital with a Russian vodka is not politically correct in this day and age. But, the kiev has a Russian heritage and that is that.

Pheasant sous vide (5 of 5)If you are one of those people who believe meat comes from the supermarket, I suggest you find something else to read. Unless you happen to be a fan of the Walking Dead and such programming where the content leaves the viewer as zombified as the actors. If you are one such, you might revel in the gore to follow. But, I digress. We are gathered here today to show you how to prepare pheasant for cooking. 

Chicken noodle soup (9 of 11)“Ahhh, what you need is some chicken noodle soup.”. “Chicken noodle soup will sort you out.”. “Chicken broth is what you need.”. So went the advice from various ‘clucking hens’ (well meaning people) while I spent a week in bed, festering with a chest infection. Unfortunately, when one is bed-bound and feeling rotten, the desire to make this elixir of life tends to be absent. So, given that I’m feeling better and am in no need of it, here’s a straightforward recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup.

Duck with apricot and ginger sauce (1 of 8)There is a little bit of a back story to this post. The back story revolves around the plated shot and the arrival of winter. Having been in France in the holliers earlier in the year, I decided that I should do something with duck. The duck we get in Ireland is very different to the delicious, fatty, plump birds one encounters in La Belle F. However, I was not going to be put off by that. Nor was I going to be put off by the second class apricots we get here on this rain sodden outpost. No, I was going to do a great job with reasonably good ingredients. In fairness the duck here is very good, just not as great as that available over there. The apricots though, needed a bit of help. However, I digress….

Smoked Chicken (1 of 1)When I was a kid, some of our country cousins used to refer to Dublin (the grand metropolis that it was and continues to be) as the Big Smoke (Pronounced more like “de big shmoke”).  In our company, they would speak about it with mock reverence; “Oh, your from de big shmoke, are ye? Isn’t it well for ye after all.” Time has passed and those from outside the Pale have their own smoke while Dublin, having banned the burning of smokey fuel is now the Big No Smoke. (Say it as “noo shmoke”, if you want to sound like country Irish). This reversal of fortunes has gone on long enough. Our government is about to ban smokey coal throughout the land. So it is time to re-claim the title of Big Smoke for the capital. 

Quail Sous Vide (1 of 2)Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst led the Suffragette movement in the early part of the 20th century. They and their followers went to extremes to get the vote for women. They chained themselves to railings. They threw bricks through windows. They went on hunger strike. One of them even ended up killing herself under the king’s horse at the Epsom derby in 1913. Those lassies really wanted the right to vote. You now have that right. All I ask is that, if you are in Ireland, you use it with the wisdom that I know you posses. 

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