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Poultry

Kung Pao Chicken (14 of 14)I have cooked Kung Pao Chicken previously. I have even shared the results of one venture here. There seem to be more versions and variations on the Kung Pao theme than there are woks in Schezwan Provence. So, I thought it safe to post a different version for your delight. This one leans towards the rising sun (It comes up in the East around here). It favours more of the ‘authentic’ than other versions around the place and it is truly fantastic and tasty.

Chicken and Sobrasada Casserole (12 of 12)Those of you who know me reasonably well know that I do a bit of cycling. Some who know me better would also be aware that I am generally bright spirited and positive in my approach to living. Only those of ye that know me very, very well would also know that I do suffer occasionally from visits by the ‘Black Dog’ of depression.

Pheasant with LeeksWe are a frugal enough lot. We have always tried to be practical but not at the expense of acceptable comfort. For example, we don’t buy the luxury quilted, balsam infused toilet tissues. Nor do we go with squares of old newspaper hanging from a string. We try to maintain a balance between raw practicality and the better things in life. If one overindulges in such luxuries as quilted toilet tissue, they become the norm and any change in financial circumstances can come as an uncomfortable shock to the system. Having said that, in recent times, we do find ourselves having more meals for two as family spread their wings and abandon us on weekends. The thought of cooking pheasant for six or eight brings a lump to my throat. But, when it’s just the Wife and I dining, it’s game on (pun intended). 

Poussin with garlic (8 of 8)One of the great pleasures of the week is ‘Family Dinner’. We have this every Sunday evening. All are welcome and there is shame felt by any family member who “can’t make it”, no matter what the excuse. For over 20 years, my Mum has joined us for this weekly occasion. Her place is, rightly, at the head of the table and she has dispenses great wit, wisdom and example to the younger generations.

Time to get the shirt monogramed. Freshly pressed or what!

Time to get the shirt monogrammed. Freshly pressed or what!

Many years ago, to maintain my razor-sharp weekday appearance and to keep the dry-cleaning bills to a minimum, I invested in a trouser press. The device keeps a nice sharp crease on the suit pants and I only need to think about dry-cleaning when my lunch spills out of it’s glass. To set up a bit of contrast and to keep a good self-image during the working week, I sloth my way around in old jeans or tracksuits at the weekend.

Pad Thai (1 of 15)One of the time-of-times in a sad superstitious old man’s life is approaching. My youngest is preparing to emigrate. She has finished the formal part of her education and wants to spread her wings. This is not a lucky time for me. So I suspect that it’s appropriate that number thirteen in this series is a meal that she has begged me to cook as one of her departure treats. It’s my take on seafood-free Pad Thai or ‘Dad Thai’ to take it for my own. The ingredients are all in the photo above. For superstition’s sake, there are fourteen.

Duck Breast and Plum Sauce (8 of 8)We were blown away by the range, price and incredible freshness of the produce in the French markets we had visited on this retreat. On one such early morning visit, I found myself in a state of some trepidation, wondering what to buy for that evening’s meal. The apprehensiveness was brought on by a decision made about ten hours previously. Saying “Yes” to the voice in my head; “Will I open another bottle of Rosé?” was not a good idea. An excess of wine, no matter how pleasant, is of no assistance to decision-making. I couldn’t make a choice. The lamb looked nice. But, what to have with it? The beef looked lovely. But they cut it in such a strange way. The fish also looked excellent but, which fish? How might I cook it? What would I serve alongside?  Too many decisions.

Soy Braised ChickenThis is one of the easiest oriental dish I have ever cooked. The only difficulty is in carving the chicken. The oriental style of bird slicing involves chopping through flesh and bone. This requires a fair deal of heavy-handed work. This is best for authenticity but, those weak-willed amongst you can carve it in a western fashion. On the positive side of things, this will feed five to six people and they will all want you to cook it again and again. I have never tasted it cold. If you prepare it right, neither will you.

Duck with redcurrant sauce (13 of 13)You can keep a secret, can’t you? Good. Then I’ll let you in on something. Just do me one favour, keep it under your hat and whatever you do, DON’T TELL THE WIFE. She’ll kill me. Anybody who knows me knows I am motivated by getting value. So when I saw nice looking 2 kilogram ducks in a local supermarket at a paltry €8 per duck, I had to get one.

With the bird secured, I got to contemplating the sauce. Orange? No. Been there, done that. Plum? No. Ditto. Redcurrant? Hmmmmm, that sounds nice and they have a lovely colour. Let’s go for it! So began the road to familial deception and an evening of half-truths and ducking the truth, if you will pardon the awful pun.

Chicken and pancetta pie (16 of 18) My blog has got incredibly popular of late. This is a good thing, right? Sadly, no. Very wrong. It’s not my regular visitors and friends at all points in the free and not so free world that have me exercised. It’s those hard-hearted, vexatious, spotty people who spend their time spamming my virtual home here on WordPress. I checked today and have 475 spam comments in the darned efficient spam catcher used by WP. That means that of the time I spend here on the Internet, more of it is spent clearing out the dross and less is spent on the stuff you are here to see.

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