Competition is the life blood of commerce. However, many Irish retail businesses have suffered a perfect storm over the past few years. None more so than the independent butchers. While there are huge problems, it’s not all bad. And for those of us interested in real food, there might just be a nice fatty lining to the meaty retail cloud.
Pretty well every quotation about failure makes a virtue of it. None of us set out to hash things up. So, why celebrate it? When I set about preparing beef cheeks sous vide, making a bags of it was far from my objective. But, with the beef in a bag, a bags was made and I’m not overjoyed.
Steak night is a great concept. Particularly if one can get one’s hands on top quality meat. We are lucky in that respect. But, steak night would be no fun if we just cooked and ate a steak. We needed a bit of experimentation as we did with part 1. For part 2, we decided to check out the merits of Feather Blade steak both flash fried and sous vide.
I hope I won’t offend you. But really, meatloaf? How dull and dreary can a slab of mince meat be? It’s so often overcooked, grey, crumbly and tasteless. Yet, so many of you go all dreamy and wistful at the mention of the hateful lump of meat. This is a bit of nostalgia that needs to updated. I need to improve your meatloaf for you. Many ‘traditional’ recipes require no more than some beef, some lamb, some sawdust, a chopped onion, salt and pepper (OK, the chopped onion is optional. You need the sawdust to get the traditional gritty texture.).
Dutch Courage – I know, I know. You will be assuming that I’ve been at the wine again. Perhaps having a couple of ‘swifties’ while the beef cooks. That warm glow of a nice glass or three of red while a meal cooks can be a delight. But, no, on this occasion, it was not me gathering the Dutch Courage.
I had the particular pleasure of dining out at a fundraiser hosted by a friend of mine Aidan Sheeran, who is cycling from Paris to Nice (in France). He is doing this to raise funds for Pieta House, a very worthy cause and one dear to his heart. I would encourage you to hop over to his fundraising page and be generous. In a fit of selfishness and malevolence, I am putting the link at the bottom of this post in the vain hope that it might get you to read all the way through.
A properly cooked fillet steak is a joy to enjoy. Cooking a fillet (tenderloin) is not difficult either. Simply sear it on either side and throw the pan into a hot oven for a few minutes and the job is practically done. You can complicate the process and clog your arteries by finishing it (and yourself too) with butter. I have never seen the need to do this. A good fillet is a good fillet. Right?
One of the great deciders in life is how we deal with anticipation. I often feel that the joy of expectation can, in itself, be a greater pleasure than a desire satisfied. So too, can the dread of a potential negative outcome be far worse than the eventual reality. Keeping a balance between these two extremes can also be difficult. I tend to lean on the side of the optimists. That way, I get the pleasure of anticipation and, when things turn out well, the additional pleasure of having things go my way.
My cycling buddy James Lawlor, of the Rathmines butchery of the same name, was wondering if I could come up with any half interesting recipes for brisket (We tend to talk of little else except food when we are out in the mountains). It tends to be a tough enough cut so, it tends to be inexpensive. The dual attraction of tough beef and low price made it an ideal candidate for an experiment in the sous vide bath.