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Irish food blogger Tag

I have cooked hundreds of lamb shanks in my time. There is a bevy of recipes here on the blog for all sorts of lamb shank delights. This one is a revelation. In some ways it is very simple, in others it is the result of planning and a bit of work that many of you are not going to do. You can, of course, cut some corners. If you do, you are on your own as I will have cut you loose and want no part of your second rate cookery. If you do follow along, you will enjoy an Oriental lamb shank treat.

Many of you will read this and think “Does he live fifty five kilometres from a steak restaurant?” Others of you, on the far side of the Atlantic may think “Does he live 55 miles from a steak house?” And some of you might even, quite cruelly in my opinion, think “Is the old fool trying to lie about his age while overcooking a bit of meat?” No, this is a pretty pathetic introduction to a post about cooking a great quality rib eye steak for myself and the Wife using the sous vide. 

I should start this post with some grovelling apology for my long absence from the blog. That ain’t happening. I’m here now with some good stuff in time for you to try it ahead of Christmas and the New Year. That will just have to be good enough for you. “Why the sassy attitude?” I can hear your muse. Well, I could blame the virus, the lockdown or life in general. But, it is none of those. The trusty Bradley smoker died a death, electrical rather than virus fault. That means I have to get my act together to prepare some Christmas gifts for a few (very few if the truth were known) close friends. So, not being particularly creative, I decided to do the next best thing to home smoked salmon, home cured Gravadlax. 

I like to post my cooking victories here. I love that people see me as a cut above when it comes to home cooking. Having sous vide in the armoury really helps in that perception. This was a delicious crumble. It was elegant, flavoursome and had the perfect balance of softness to crunchiness. The addition of the Grand Marnier added a layer of sophistication that I could use to elevate my reputation. But, I have to be at peace with myself when I go to bed at night.

So this post really should be titled “Don’t forget to photograph the sauce”. That is as close to an admission of stupidity as I am going to get. You will note one or two pouring shots further down. One of peppercorns and one of smoked paprika. The sharp eyed amongst you will notice that they are both poured into the same pan and they are both going into the pan empty. The truth is, I was playing around with a couple of lighting approaches. I wanted to be able to really freeze the stuff mid-air. A blur in a pour is a failure. So, I spent about an hour getting the two shots, picking peppercorns off the floor and out from under the fridge as well as cleaning the oven dish repeatedly. I think I got there in the end. However, I should have spent my time thinking about what I was doing. I was preparing Smoked Bourbon Beef Short Ribs and that needs a sauce. It had one. It was delicious. But, I don’t have a picture to prove it. Damn!

There is a lot of China bashing going on right now. This may be because of fear of the Covid 19 virus or it may be because of fear of a Chinese ascendency in a globalised world, or both. For now, sitting here in Ireland, half way between the US of A and China, I really don’t care which is the cause, give it a rest please. We are here to try a delightful dish inspired by the flavours of Sichuan, particularly the Sichuan peppercorn. It really is not a peppercorn. It doesn’t add any heat to dishes. But, it adds a fantastic flavour combined with a lip numbing effect. Lovely! So, with the politics out of the way, let’s get on with the cooking.

“What is the old fool on about now?” “What’s with the +1?” I can hear you thinking to yourself. Give me a chance to explain. We have all heard people saying “It tasted even better the second day”. At least you should have heard that if you ever made a decent curry or spiced stew. If you haven’t been subjected to such praise, perhaps you don’t know how to cook in the first place. Then all the better for you because I am suggesting that when you cook this delightful spicy lamb and apricot stew, you leave it for 24 hours, reheat and enjoy. It really is so much the better for the day of melding flavours.

This post is a bit of an experiment. I have noticed that when I post on a Friday, I get a bit of a bounce on the numbers. As my posting schedule (to call it a schedule is an insult to German train efficiency) has become a bit erratic of late, I thought I should try Friday again. If you are reading this on another day, the recipe is equally valid. It is not the first sous vide halibut I have done. It is the simplest and in my opinion, the tastiest by far.

If you are looking for elegance, look somewhere else. If you are looking for subtlety pass by, my friend.  This dish is not such a preparation, it’s like being hit in the face with the all ingredients from an Oriental grocery store, all at once. Don’t get me wrong, it is delicious and you won’t regret making it. Just be prepared for a flavour explosion in your face.

If you have a crowd to feed…. What am I saying! Nobody has a crowd to feed these days. I got my chicken thighs on a 3 for 2 offer and ended up with more than I needed. Having said that, we ate this on the day we cooked it, the day after and also froze a few portions that got eaten a few days later.  For simplicity, divide the recipe by three if you are feeding three hungry people, by two if you are feeding four and so on.  Having said all that, I really do have to say “My, my that is one tasty thigh”. This is a really delightful recipe. Don’t be put off by the quantity and diversity of ingredients. It is really easy to prepare and diversity is good.

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