I apologise for the dumb-assed headline. Had I listened to my own advice when I was younger, I probably would have the wit to write a better one. There is no doubt that an education is a gift that, like youth, is often wasted on the young (with apologies to Oscar Wilde). There is bad news for any of us who would have been more interested in what was going on out the window than on the blackboard. Lifetime learning is now the order of the day. So, when I attended a cookery demonstration by one of Ireland’s most accomplished chefs and all round nice guy, Derry Clarke, I should have had my brain engaged.
When I go out to buy the ingredients for our meals, I tend to not have a hard and fast list for the meats and fish. I like to see what looks good and choose the best available ingredients (subject to affordability and availability). When it comes to the fish, haddock tends to get overlooked. It is not a particularly fashionable fish. Fashion plays a role in all these things.
Vanity. It has the potential to be the undoing of the best of us. I work hard to be both selfless and self-aware. However, I was wearing a skimpy tee-shirt (it was a hot day) in the middle of a French market. I heard a clear (too clear for my finely tuned Irish ear) English accent. “Ooooohhh. Look at those muscles. They are wonderful.” I blushed, as one of a fine physique and a self-deprecating attitude should. However, the owner of the sharp voice pushed by us and went to the seafood stall. I followed, somewhat crestfallen, joined the queue and bought a kilo for myself.
Just what the world doesn’t need, another risotto recipe. Could I suggest that if you want a simple prawn risotto recipe, go back and search again. This one is not simple and needs lots of work. This extreme recipe produces an extreme result. It is worth the trouble. But, it is trouble. So if you want something nice and simple, it’s been nice knowing you. If you want something really, really delicious, get your sleeves rolled up.
I grew up beside the sea at Seapoint, just south of Dublin city. From the age of four, my father gave me an interest in fishing and seafood. Sadly, there has been little point in my taking the fishing rods out over the past 20 years. The disastrous mismanagement of our coastal fisheries over the long-term has led to there being very little fish of any sort left within a decent beach cast of the Irish east coast.