I have nothing against the Spanish. How could I hold a grudge against the nation that gave us the joys of bull fighting, Torremolinos holidays and jugs of sangria? No, my gripe is with weasel words and how some use them to fool the unwary.
Any of you enthusiastic cooks or chefs reading this know the feeling. My eldest talked me into driving her to T K Maxx so she could get (I could buy) some clothes. I found myself willingly agreeing. That store always has an eclectic mix of cooking stuff. There are often interesting end-of-line items at a decent price. It’s a great place to find something that will make a difference to the cooking. While eldest daughter worked the rails downstairs, sucking the life out of my current account, I was upstairs, spending the princely sum of €3 on my latest culinary treasure, a ravioli cutter.
For those of you that don’t know the story of Richard McGary’s combination of extreme fun and generosity, you need to read about the McGary Chili Challenge. For those of you who do know the story, you will appreciate that there was plenty in that food parcel. Given the continuing downbeat economy in Europe, I need to let you all know that we are very happy to receive such gifts in Ireland. Particularly, if they are as well thought out as Richard’s.
I entered the Irish Blog Awards, as most of you darling people know by now. While perusing the Blog Awards Ireland site and dreaming of the personal gratification and glory that could (might, may, may not, probably won’t, no chance sucker…) be bestowed on my humble blog, I noticed a Glenisk competition. Those who have read my rant on the subject of blog sponsorships / advertising might be forgiven for assuming (ass of u and me) that I did not approve of such things. Let’s get the record straight….
If you have read my piece on hospital food, you should be interested in this post. In some of the comments (online and off) about my best efforts at recreating a 1970s recipe for chicken liver paté, there was an implied criticism. “More like a tureen.” or “Are they pieces of livers in there?” or “Have you ever done a smooth one?” left me with the impression that while you all loved my efforts, you might have had a different view if you had to eat the stuff.
This time, it’s the dismal treatment dished out to the blogging community by some communication business ‘experts’ that has me in a lather. First I’ll rant then I’ll produce the evidence. Some of you might do this stuff professionally. I know that for sure, most of you do it more professionally than I do. Some of you even earn a living from blogging. I don’t. In my other life, I run a communications company. (Go on, click the link.). When it comes to digital strategy, engagement and audience building, we know what we are doing. We also know the value of ‘influencer endorsement’.
There’s an old story about a farmer from Texas visiting Ireland. When he got to his three storey hotel, he tipped back his ten gallon hat and remarked that in Texas they had hotels that reached the sky. He went on a bus tour of Connemara and when he saw the mountains, he said that the mountains in Texas were at least ten times bigger. Just outside Lisdoonvarna, the tour bus broke down and the Texan had to walk into town.
I had laid my hands on a nice piece of smoked salmon. That is, I had fallen victim of subtle retailing tactics. I am a sucker when it comes to buying good food. “Something around one and a half kilos?” Lisa, she of George’s Fish Shop, had suggested to me. Not wanting to look mean or less than masculine, I of course, accented.
This is part 3 in my ‘Meat Reheat’ series where I take older posts and try to improve my efforts. In this case, it is not hard to do better than I did on my first sausage making fiasco.
I have been experimenting with slow cooking. There are many benefits. I get time on my own in the kitchen and if I’m in the kitchen, I am working, right? If things go wrong, I can always do something quick to fill a gap in the menu and bluff my way out of it. If I get it right, the food can taste delicious. Really delicious. The big bonus for us slow cookers has to be financial. Cheaper cuts of meat and things like sausages produce the very best slow cooking results. As the economic devastation continues here in Ireland, such slow cooking must be gathering a following…
A couple of months ago, my good friend P put himself on a gourmet cookery course. This was a major step for him, he being a ‘can’t boil an egg’ kind of guy. P is also what the female of the species would call “A typical man.” He is not big on chit-chat. He hides a veritable candelabra of lights under his bushel. So, while we were supping a pint or three of Guinness in our local, the Galloping Green, it surprised me, in fact it shocked me, when he said that he had cooked a Lamb Tagine as part of his course. The shock was three-fold. Fold one was that he had been on a cookery course. Fold two was that he had admitted to being there. Fold three was that he actually cooked something excellent (his wife told me). My reaction was not what it should have been. I let myself down.