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garlic Tag

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

I have carried the weight of this around for more than a decade and now I have to clear my conscience. We had been holidaying in the Poitou‑Charentes region of France. We had made the short trip into Saintes for the weekly market. I was feeling ambitious and wanted to prepare a butterflied leg of lamb. I circled the market and located the lamb butcher, having previously tried to buy beef from a boucherie chevaline (horse butcher), causing much mirth for the butcher and embarrassment for me. In my dire French, I conveyed that I wanted the joint boned. With much smiling and what I thought was comprehension, the master craftsman set to work.

Yes, I do have a son. This my come as a surprise to some of you. It would be a surprise for the Wife if I had not come clean on the matter with her. Before I get into that, I’ll bet you know the parable of the prodigal son. I’ll also bet you that you have never referred to somebody as being “prodigal”. You have never rolled down the car window and shouted; “Ohi, You. You Prodigal. Move that heap.” Or perhaps, you ladies, behind a gloved hand, over a double frappachino laté, whispered to a friend; “She is sooooo prodigal. I don’t know how her parents put up with her.” Admit it to yourself. You probably don’t even know the exact meaning of the word.

I want you to imagine my youngest daughter. She is an innocent thing who likes small animals and fluffy things. She loves Disney cartoons. One of her favourites is Bambi. She finds the various scenes of innocence touching. When she watches it, she will be heard to say things like “Ahhh, so pretty.” and “Ohhhh, aren’t the chipmunks so cute.”

I am telling you all this because I recently suggested that I cook a rabbit stew for the family. This led to the following unfortunate conversation:

My love of Oriental cooking came from a period in my working life when I ate in Chinese restaurants at least once a week. I have spent over 30 years in advertising and during the late 80s and early 90s, I would dine out, often in excellent Chinese restaurants including  the Orchid Szechuan on Dublin’s Pembroke Road or in the Imperial on Wicklow Street (great for Dim Sum). In those days, it was perfectly normal enjoy a three course meal with wine (often lots of wine) for lunch on an almost daily basis. Those habits have been diminished by time, social convention and economic change but my love of oriental fare and cooking have not been eroded.

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