These are my favourite local butchers, Anton and Paul from O'Connell's Butchers on Little Catherine Street with their award winning spiced beef, and the award
Christmas has come and the goose did get fat, along with me, myself and I. I poured myself into my
newly tumble-dried jeans yesterday and exclaimed that, once again, the drier had dried them too much and they had shrunk. Anything but admit that I may have had one too many mince-pies, just enough Ditty's Oat Cakes with Gorgonzola (as one too many is never enough), perhaps an extra slab of chocolate mousse cake…. Isn't that what Christmas is all about? For me, a mad food lover with the appropriate wage of a food writer (think about it, I'm no AA Gill) Christmas time this year has brought all manner of extra goodies. I'm like Santa Claus on his/her birthday. I received so many foodie gifts form foodie makers so my fridge is bursting with ham, spiced beef, preserves, puddings and pies. To all of you generous friends and cooks I say, hic! And thank you.XXXXXX
As a fresh ending to old year and a start to a new one I have a request for readers. I need to come up with a menu of three courses, to cook in winter, and I'm baffled. There are rules, no steak (no bother), no monkfish, no rack of lamb (as per ref one), scallops are out and, and that's it. See, I love to cook starters, small and teasing, they are easy. Asparagus with a soft boiled egg is sexy and simple, grilled quail the same. For deserts I do a good tart, or the aforementioned choccy mousse cake. I love punchy food, spicy, robust, gamey and wild. Give me boar, mallard, pheasant, keep the chicken (though one of my favourite ever meals is a good roast chicken with all the fun bits). Suggestions on a comment please……….
In search of inspiration I've started watching various Irish Food TV Programmes. The Restaurant has caught my eye and I've endured the bizzare yet intriguing set up that makes this format a success. Celebrities are chosen for their love of food and fame, they suggest a menu and the team of expert chefs make the food according to the celebrity wishes. These people don't actually cook the food, they hang around the food. I watched tonight as cheerful journalist and nihilist Kevin Meyers took on another journalist called Tracy Piggott. They both make food that I would eat happily, Kevin cooked lobster ravioli, fillet steak with foie gras and a tarte tatin. Tracey made a shellfish risotto served with truffle shavings and Desmond cheese, too busy anyone? Cheese, fish and rice? Hurl. She also made a yummy looking Vension ragu pie and a figgy tart. I love figs but hers burned and the chef wanted to do a runner. The paying customers, who come to these things to show their knowledge of food, were highly critical of the cold risotto, never mind the cheese. The steak did well and the tatin wiped the floor with the figs. The critics, a star studded usual suspect line up off Tom Doorley, Paulo Tulio and guest Gary Rhodes, were professionally kind. Many comments were edited out, as ever. I began to get excited when I thought that Tracey's warming venison pie might win on the basis that it was "brave "honest" and all that as well as clearly yummy. Having watched Masterchef, the judges always say that if you want to impress then cook lobster with champagne and cream, fillet mignon with foie gras and truffles and a desert of golden virgins in double cream. Sadly the latter always wins. So if I spent a thousand euro on ingredients does it make the beast meal? Or does it feed already over- sated bellies of restaurant goers. It seems we still equate decadence and over-indulgence with a good meal. I am baffled….. please advise