Beat Depression, Make Some Beef Bourgignon – Chewable Prozac….

Posted on: 26 November 2010 7 comments

There has never been a better time for some serious comfort food.  Not just that wee lift you get from a mid morning Kit Kat, but the kind of grub that makes you feel like you just had sex with a dozen Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. The kind of food that has been dipped in heroin, lightly steamed in liquid cocaine and slow roasted in an lsd oven, served by another dozen Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders – who have also been dipped in heroin.

The point being, Ireland is fucked.


Completely and utterly kaput, beyond repair. What does one do at this point in time? Here are your options:

- GTFO as my auld fella would say, it stands for:  Get The Fuck Out. Anywhere but Ireland is good at this time of year.

- Hit the streets and protest! This is all well and good until some communist/worker’s party wankbag comes along and starts pelting the police with cheese or even worst still, starts ranting on a microphone. Too many demonstrations in Ireland are organized by freeloading unions  or oddball commie types who represent about 2o people in the whole country, ie themselves. This is the main reason why Irish people aren’t out protesting. Because most of the time they are staged or hijacked by these aforementioned losers.

- Bury your head in gargle.

- Bury your head in drugs. But only after you run out of gargle.

- Bury your head in gargle, then some drugs and when you really hit rock bottom, get a big fuck off pot and make some beef bourgiginon. Nothing edible, will ever lift your body, mind and hole – like a load of beef and bacon stewed in red wine. It is the ultimate bit of comfort food. Chewable, succulent, rib sticking prozac. I fucking love it.

Ask any chef what their favourite dish of all time is and most of them will have Beef Bourgignon in their replies. That’s because after working their hoops off in a sweaty kitchen, they intrinsically know that only extremely soothing food will sort them out.




- 4 Pounds of round steak, cut either into strips or cubed. Whatever you prefer.

- 1.5 cups of smoked bacon lardons

- 1 bottle of a fresh red Beaujolais. It has to be no more than a year old. Some people think they’re dead smart by using older wines in a bourgignon. These are usually people who call themselves foodies, I call them  stuck up, ill informed muppets. Don’t use a wine any older than a couple of years as it will leave an acrid taste.

- 1 litre of a quality beef stock. The Kallo brand is handy if you want a quick one.

- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano

- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme

- 3 tablespoons of plain flour

- 1/2 tablespoon of freshly ground pepper

- 10 shallots

- roughly 30 button mushrooms, remove stems

- 3 tablespoons of brandy

- 1 tablespoon  of tomato puree

- Bits of butter and olive oil will be needed.


- Heat your oven to 180 degrees.

- Grease a large pot with some olive oil. Fry the bacon lardons until brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and put aside.

- Fry the beef in batches until browned, don’t overcrowd the pot. You need the beef to be evenly cooked and coloured.

- Dust the flour onto the beef and mix it all around with a wooden spoon. Make sure the flour evenly coats the meet. The flour will thicken the liquid later.

- Put the bacon back into the pot along with the wine, beef stock, oregano, thyme, pepper and tomato puree. Stir it all round. Bring it up to a boil, then lash on the lid and bang it in the oven for 1.5 hours.

- While that’s cooking, you need to fry the mushrooms and shallots. After you’ve trimmed the stems off the mushrooms, give them a wipe with a paper towel to remove any dirt. Heat a pan on a low flame with a tablespoon of butter and a little drop of olive oil. Place the mushrooms in with a little bit of fresh thyme and black pepper, again don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches if you have to. Set aside when they’e done.

- In the same pan, drop in the brandy and put it on a high heat. Gently place your peeled shallots in. You need to flambé them at this point, if you don’t feel comfortable with naked flame then just reduce the brandy by continuing to heat it so the alcohol eventually evaporates. To flambé, tilt the brandy gently towards a gas cooker flame or a lit match. Take care here, move your head back when you bring the flame to it. Slowly swirl the pan around til the flame goes, then you bang in a knob or two of butter, put the pan on a low heat and cover for 15 minutes to braise the shallots. Take the lid off, turn them round and repeat.

- After the beef has been cooking for 1.5 hours, take it out of the oven and place the mushrooms in. Cook for another half hour.  Then you need to test the softness of the beef. If it’s really tender, it’s good to go. If not, then cook a little longer. When you’re happy, carefully mix the shallots in and gently stir. Some people like to put the shallots in earlier but then they have a tendency to break up a little. This way, they stay intact. Take the lid off and let it rest before you serve.


Some rice for stodge, or mashed potato if you prefer. For side vegetables, I like to steam thinly sliced carrots and parsnips,  green beans are nice too. For drinks, ideally the same Beaujolais you cooked with.

Bodytonic Brandy Steak by Eoin Cregan. Happy Birthday Twisted Pepper!

Posted on: 19 November 2010 2 comments

Four Star Pizza are going out of business and the government are handing out free cheese. I still can’t get my head round that one.  Nobody wants the bleedin’ cheese!  In fact, every time Mary Harney (or practically any other Minister for that matter) walks outside, they get pelted with it.  So if they give any more to the public, it’ll just be lobbed back at them.  But if they donated the cheese to Four Star, they might be able to save a few jobs.

It doesn’t even matter what kind of cheese it is. The Four Star customers are not well regarded for their sensitive palattes. Moldovan Yak variety would surely suffice. None of this is in jest by the way.   Every job is sacred and should be protected accordingly. I take my hat off to anyone who can remain in business in Direland at the moment, with or without complimentary state dairy products. And I was especially happy to see the Bodytonic boys celebrate The Twisted Pepper’s second birthday. A truly unique Dublin establishment, independently owned and operated with great vibes.


What started off as an Abbey St. dance club, has now become a daytime café with exceedingly good coffee, a live music and comedy venue, exhibition space and av centre with six different areas.


Opening up just when Ireland was being flushed down the economic toilet bowl must have been hard enough. To be still trading now is testimony to the fact that they’ve worked their hoops off and had lads like Eoin Cregan staying creative with the booking and promoting of events. There’s always a fantastic variety of shows and I’m gutted that I missed Grooverider last Friday as part of the birthday weekender, massive fan of his.  But Eoin’s talents don’t end in the club, he is the resident epicurean within the Bodytonic crew and to help celebrate The Twisted Pepper’s 2nd year running, he has given me a fantastic steak recipe that incoporates a chive butter and a  glug of brandy.  Last year he shared a wicked meatball recipe with me so I can personally testify that he knows his grub.  Nice one Eoin! Thanks for your time this week.



This is a shot of Eoin rollin’ with the tea cosies in NY

I came across this recipe one day when looking for something relatively simple, fast and cheap (ok well except for the brandy) to do. It turned out to be delicious and I cook it quite regularly now. When I first cooked it my girlfriend thought I had been slaving away for hours with this dish, especially with the fancy chive bundles you use to decorate.

Serves 4

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 15 mins


4 fillet or sirloin beef steaks (roughly 115-175g each)

45ml / 3 tbsp olive oil

15ml / 1 tbsp black & white peppercorns (coarsely crushed)

1 garlic clove (halved)

50g butter

30ml / 2 tsp brandy

250ml jellied beef stock

salt and ground black pepper

tied chive bundles (to garnish)

boiled new potatoes (to serve)

For the Chive Butter

50g butter

45ml / 3 tbsp snipped fresh chives


1. Make the chive butter

Beat the butter until soft, add the chives and season with salt and pepper. Beat until well mixed, then shape into a roll, wrap in foil and chill

(you can also start boiling the potatoes at this point, 10-12 mins is good)

2. The Steak

Brush the steaks with a little olive oil and press crushed peppercorns on both sides. Rub the cut surface of the garlic over a frying pan. Melt the butter (not the chive butter!) in the remaining olive oil. When hot add the steaks and fry quickly, allowing 4mins on each side for medium rare. Lift out with tongs, place on a serving plate and keep hot while you make the sauce.

3. Le Sauce

Add the brandy and stock to the pan, boil rapidly until reduced by half, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice the chive butter and put a piece on top of each steak. Spoon a little sauce on to each plate. Garnish each steak with a chive bundle, and your dinner will look like that of a pro ;)

Feel free to serve with a simple vegetable accompaniment, I like to have mushrooms cooked in a separate pot in a little butter.

Light some candles and enjoy your dinner!

Deep Fried Chewits and Refreshers Wrapped In Shoestring Pastry

Posted on: 12 November 2010 1 comment

Epiphany would be too strong a word. It was more like a sudden realization and it came to me during a Kraftwerk gig in Kilmainham. After observing Ze Germanz roll out their amazing set, it dawned on me that every single sound that came from the stage was 100% synthesized. All of the music was completely devoid of any organic instrumentation. And yet,  it was fucking deadly.

From that point on, I knew that  something could be totally artificial yet still brilliant. Like Wham bars. Apart from a little bit of corn syrup, do Wham bars contain anything that could be described as natural? Probably not. But I still love them, even though they were responsible for more of my teenage dental bills than any other  sugar riddled product.

Years later and my palate has matured somewhat.  My junk food has to have a little more distinction in it’s flavour,  I now far prefer Refreshers and Chewits.

refresher chewsChewit.Image.1

This used to be a guilty pleasure for me. But not since that Kraftwerk gig.  I no longer have any shame in consuming anything that is unnatural or simulated. Of course there’s nowt wrong with these little bad boys, but there’s also nowt wrong with fucking around with them either. That’s why this week, I give you:

Deep Fried Chewits and Refreshers Wrapped In Shoestring Pastry

I know a lot of you will turn your noses up at the very mention of deep fried junk food. You’re probably the same people who would have no issue with shoving a load of gack up your noses or smoking a quarter ounce of crappy Dublin hash. To you I say, don’t knock it til ya give it a lash! This is a dessert that actually ticks all the boxes, it’s light, crispy on the outside and has a wickedly gooey,  sweet centre.


(I know my mobile phone takes terrible photos and my food styling leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m actively trying to resolve these issues at present)


- 1 packet of shoe string filo pastry. You can get this in Anatolia Turkish Food store on Great Strand Street behind The Italian Quarter (otherwise known as Wallaceville). It is normally used for Baklava, a honey based Turkish and Arabic sweet.

- 1 packet of Blackcurrant chewits and 1 packet of small refreshers (not the ones you get for 10 cent)

- 6 egg whites, lightly whisked


- Turn your deep fryer on to 190 degrees.

- Untangle the pastry as best as you can. Then cut it in half and lay it out flat and as straight as you can.

- Brush the egg whites onto the pastry and let it sit for about 15 minutes to allow the egg to settle into the pastry.

- Unwrap the chewits and refreshers. Take some of the pastry and roll each sweet in it one half at a time (ie front and back and then top and bottom).  When one half of the sweet is covered push the pastry down onto it to firm it up. Then repeat until it is all covered.

- Drop the sweets into the hot oil, no more than 3 0r 4 at a time.

- When they turn golden brown on both sides, remove and then serve.


- A few dollops of ice cream.  Drizzle some berry coulis if you have it.


15 August 2014


21 July 2014


30 May 2014

Little J’s Slow Cooked Ribs

25 April 2014

Jason & Brenda Byrne’s Veggie Chilli

21 March 2014

Omar’s Jamaican Stew Chicken

21 February 2014