Glen Frey did a great job with ‘The Heat Is On’. I find it hard to imagine that I could raise any enthusiasm for the opposite. Imagine a song called ‘The Heat Is Off’. I had received my instructions from Texas (more of that here) and I was going to cook a pretty tongue melting chili concoction for my invited family guests. They were going to enjoy one of the hottest dishes I have ever created. It was going to be hot and great. For sure, the heat was on! That was until I got an early morning call from my mother.
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.
I am suspicious of you. I believe that you are not always totally honest with me. Look me in the eye (Imagine I am there with you.) and tell me that you are always frank with others and with yourself. You are starting to feel a little awkward, aren’t you? We both know the truth. All those “Oooh, I invented it myself” recipes, the unhurried preparation and fun time had with loved ones while you turn out unhurried, perfect plates of food. I think not. I have seen what goes on. I know the realities of the domestic kitchen.
But, I am a nice person. I don’t want to shatter your carefully constructed fallacy filled world so I am letting you choose the post you want. Delusional kitchen happiness follows in purple (as it would be). Reality is in black (as it usually is).
The Irish Food Bloggers Association asked for recipes to appear in their ‘Something for the weekend’ series. I did a short version of this post for the purpose. Here’s the full story.
The Wicklow Hunter is a passionate man. This year, he has taken to growing vegetables and herbs in his expansive spread in the Garden of Ireland. He does not do things by half. So his first crop of vegetables has started to come into season over the past few weeks. Like so many enthusiasts before him, he is discovering that growing the vegetables can be easier than giving them away. In truth, so many urbanites prefer their salad to come in a bag and their vegetables to come out of the freezer. Research confirms that is what we prefer.
During the week, I got a call in the office from the Wicklow Hunter. He enjoys winding people up and one never knows the real truth behind many of his activities. I forgive him a lot as he does his thing with good humour and a twinkle in his eye.
WH: Are you in?
Me: I am, sure did you not just ring?
WH: I did. I have some lamb for you.
Me: Lamb? You don’t keep sheep, do you?
WH: No, this is the best tasting lamb there is. Trespass Lamb.
Prawns, coriander, lime, garlic and a twist of black pepper. For once, I got all the ingredients into the picture.
I remember as a young fellow being slightly flexible with the truth and having my late Dad pull me up on it with “Don’t come the raw prawn with me.” It seemed like a bizarre expression then and still seems like it now, over 40 years later. While I was thinking about an ‘angle’ for this simple barbecue recipe, the expression popped back into my head. That got me looking it up on Google. That took me to the Australian National University and their Meanings and origins of Australian words and idioms. There are some cracking expressions with which the Australians have enriched our language. Read on, Cobber…
Bringing up children is a trial as well as a joy. Their lack of worldly experience gives them a razor-sharp clarity that fades with advancing years and is often gone by the time they’re 10. When our youngest was younger, she possessed this clarity and wielded it without mercy. Often in my wisdom, I told both her and her sister “There is no such thing as a stupid question. Only a stupid answer.” Once, in frustration, I responded to yet another “Are we there yet?” from the back seat of the car with “Don’t ask stupid questions.”
We were sitting looking at the view of Scotsman’s Bay in Dun Laoghaire. “Provenance old man.” said L as we enjoyed one of those barely warm, sunny spring mornings. “Take those apple and sage sausages you enjoy so much. What’s their provenance? You haven’t got a clue, have you?” I had to admit that I had no idea who, how or where they were made. I have faith in my butcher. L is less trusting than I and he chastised me for my naivety. I don’t like having my shortcomings, real or imaginary, exposed. So I resolved to redress the situation by preparing my own range of sausages from scratch.
It’s my own fault. I suggested that as I was cooking for the Wife and myself, I might include my eldest and her boyfriend in the pot. They gratefully accepted my offer. Then they did what great negotiators the world over do when they have a deal over the line. They changed the terms.