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Poultry

Chicken Liver PatéThere is an old saying about poor cooking: “Tastes like hospital food.” I suspect that this really doesn’t have currency nowadays. Generally speaking, the food served in Irish hospitals appears to be a pretty good mix of carbs, proteins and other goodness designed to keep the patients in reasonable health until they depart the hospital or the world. This was not always the case.

My late father was, amongst many other things, a pathologist. For some years, he operated from a lab in the basement of the Richmond Hospital in Dublin city centre. In my 20th year, I got an attack of acute appendicitis. This was back in the 70s when this meant being rushed to the hospital and having a large incision in the gut to remove the offending and offensive organ.

Roast chickenI’ll admit it. There is a dumb-assed competitive streak in me that most men will, and no women can, understand. I leave my eldest daughter out of this as she is the only female I know who has a peppering of this lunacy. When she’s with me, every flight of stairs is an opportunity for a race, every doorway a chance to get through first and even getting groceries in the supermarket is a test of speed and endurance as tins of beans and fresh vegetables are thrown into the trolley as she runs by to finish her list before I do mine.

I’m not  a big man. I stand about 5′ 8″ in my socks (not a sight you would want to see). When I married the Wife a good few years ago, I was smart enough to be sure that I married somebody smaller than me. That way, she would represent no physical danger. As I have matured over the years, I realise that there are more ways to be threatened by the Wife than with simple physical violence. Red Cooked Chicken Ingredients

“Bllllpppppp.” (The sound of me blowing my nose). Not the best way for you to start reading this post. Not the most pleasant way for me to be writing it. The Wife and the Mother both need feeding this evening and I am completely under the weather. It could even be the dreaded Man Flu. Bllllpppppp. Uggghhhh.” I need to get plenty of garlic, lemon and rosemary into me to beat off the devastation that this Man Flu is wreaking on my system.

Garlic Chicken

Barbecue litThere are plenty of topics on which I flip and I flop.
The cork v screwcap
On the one hand, the screwcap keeps the wine in perfect condition and allows you re-seal the bottle. On the other hand, you would have difficulty making a cool notice board from 500 screwcaps and I rarely find the need to re-seal a bottle.

There are few advantages to getting into the second half of the game of life. One is that the children are now adults. Despite their constant infantile behaviour their willingness to let us go on holidays without them matches up with our willingness to leave them behind. This year, we drove to the south of France on our first child free summer holiday in over 20 years.

I’ve got you deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart that you’re really a part of me
I’ve got you under my skin

This sounds like a strange way to sing one’s way into a story. Go with it. You remember the standard, written by Cole Porter, made famous by Old Blue Eyes. Now sing along…

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 need to be careful how I phrase this. There are two old steamers in the kitchen. They have been there for years and they have even been a big influence on the lives of my children. I think it’s time they came out of the closet. 

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