Mojitos and Cuban Pulled Pork Rolls

Posted on: 29 April 2011 No comments

If you happen to be a strict practising Jew or Muslim, or if you happen not to eat pig flesh, fuh-ged-about going to Cuba. They smear ham all over their pork and sprinkle bacon on their cornflakes.  However, on my two trips there, this over indulgence in what the Americans call “the other white meat”, presented no problems for me.  It’s just the overall shiteness of the grub in general that irritated me, but I guess that’s what you get in pseudo communist dictatorships. And at least they can still produce food and feed their people, unlike other commie lands like North Korea.

Like many a tourist who finds themself on Cuban soil, I had already experienced many of the exceptionally amazing things they have brought to the world. Such as their outstanding music, the finest cigars on the planet and of course enough daiquiris and mojitos to keep the Castro Dynasty in power for centuries. I had also sampled on many occasion, a Cuban pulled pork sarnie before flying into Havana. I had many in San Fran, a couple of them in NY and one or two in Spain. And yet, I searched high and low to get my hands on one in Cuba and had no joy. This made me decide there and then, that the dish must have been invented on foreign soil by ex pat Cubans. It was either that, or the locals I had been asking just didn’t like the look of my gringo ass. Either way, Cuban pulled pork rolls are fucking deadly and they go down really well with a shitload of mojitos. Hit this link if you want to see how I make my mojitos.  I insist on a wee drop of Angostura bitters at the very end and don’t like huge mint leaves all in my drink so I strain them out.

Mojito.1

And here’s how you make the Cuban pork.  Pretty darn good eatin’ and drinkin’ for the bank holiday in my not so humble opinion.

INGREDIENTS:

- 1 shoulder of pork with the rind removed. Take the bone out too if you want but I like to leave the little bugger in. FXB on Moore Street nearly always have pork shoulders in stock.

FOR THE DRY SPICE MIX:

- 3 tablespoons of sea salt and the same again in sweet paprika

- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder and the same again with mustard powder and brown sugar.

FOR THE SAUCE:

- 2 cloves of garlic chopped up

- 1.5 cups of vinegar, cider vinegar works best

- 1/2 cup of ketchup

- 1/4 cup of brown sugar

- 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika

- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

- 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper

- 1 teaspoon of salt

Pulledpork

METHOD:

Heat your oven up to 150 degrees and pat your pork dry. Combine all the dry spice mix ingredients and rub them all over the meat, like a Baggot St. brasser.

Throw the pork onto a tray and leave it there for a good six hours or so. The consistency of the meat should be crispy on the outside and  fairly flaky on the inside. The inner part of the meat should be at a temperature of 77 degrees, if you happen to be one of those folk who gets anal about these things.

Leave it to rest for about 15 minutes while you blitz all the ingredients for the sauce.  After the meat’s rested, start pulling it all apart with a fork in each hand. The meat will be stringy and yet really tender. Put it all in a bowl and mix some sauce in with it to your own liking.

Pile it on to your bread of choice, a soft bap is nice.  Get stuck into them with a geansaí load of mojitos to wash them all down.

Big Fuck Off Plum Sauce with Chinese Ribs

Posted on: 21 April 2011 No comments

Pregnant teenagers with exposed, sunburnt bellies.

Insane auld fellas sitting on park benches with hankies covering their combovers as they roar nonsensical obscenities at randomers.

Vast swathes of supposedly broke members of the public somehow finding enough money to drink geansaí loads of Bulmers in anywhere that even resembles a beer garden, even if it is a car park or a piss drenched alley that up until the smoking ban was just an area that stored empty kegs.

Yes indeed folks. It may be spring time for Hitler and the rest of the northern hemisphere, but back here in Dublin, it’s the summer.  And by fuck, no matter what happens, we WILL get distastefully inebriated, we WILL cause an awful lot of public disorder, we WILL throw anything or anyone we can find into either of the canals.

A smaller, slightly more civilized minority will do all of the above but may very well cook up a barbie as well.  Should you find yourself in that category, do please read on…

My mate Buckie is going out with a Chinese lad who loves making, nice delicately flavoured steamed and fried dumplings. He accompanies these little treats with a homemade plum dipping sauce that is absolutely savage.  But with Buckie being a bog trotting Paddy, he loves ribs and has been lashing this plum sauce on them.  Anyhoop, Buckie basically had a look at my recipe for Davis Family Ribs, robbed my Uncle Jimmy’s idea of cooking the ribs in cellophane and then barbecuing the bad boys after. And he came back to me with this.

Big Fuck Off Plum Sauce with Chinese Ribs

Plum.1

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE:

1 dozen plums

1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 tsp tabasco sauce

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/2 red onion finely chopped

METHOD FOR PLUM SAUCE:

Slice all the plums so that you can remove all their stones. Chop them all up into little chunks and then stick them all in a small pot with everything else.

Put the pot on a fairly low heat for twenty minutes and stir every now and then.

Pour contents of the pot into a blender and puree until smooth.

INGREDIENTS FOR RIBS:

1 rack of babyback ribs

Before you get started, here are some essential facts about Babyback ribs. Do not get them confused with spare ribs. Babybacks have more meat on them as they are taken from the top of the ribcage between the spine and the spareribs, below the loin muscle. Spare ribs are from the pork belly and have more fat on them. They are the ones that you tend to get from manky Chinese takeaways. Many butchers over here call babybacks, shortback ribs – in case they don’t know what you’re talking about.

1 tablespoon of chinese five spice

1/2 teaspoon of salt

METHOD FOR RIBS:

Mix the salt up with the Chinese five spice.

Place some cellophane over a baking tray. Put the ribs on top of it. Rub the spice mix onto both sides of the ribs. Then wrap them up with some more cellophane until it’s all tight.

Heat your oven to 70 degrees, stick the ribs in right before you go to bed and take them out the following morning.

Let them chill and settle. Later on, when your barbie is ready to go, smother the ribs in some of the plum sauce and grill them til they’re done.  Feel free to leave some more sauce on the table to dip into. I know I do.

Jarlath Regan’s Irish Family Breakfast

Posted on: 15 April 2011 No comments

Word to the wise, one should always exercise caution when having to work with a comedian. While a comic may appear to a be jolly happy creature on stage, there is always a high probability that off stage, he/she can quickly morph into a self obsessed neurotic fucktard. I kept that in mind when I knew I had to go interview a certain funnyman on Tuesday morning. My  guard was up, ready to deal with a potential O.C.D. riddled weirdo nutjob. Thankfully for all parties concerned, within minutes of meeting up with Jarlath Regan, I knew he was a cool dude.

Almost instantly, I sensed a properly honest self deprecation about him. Especially when he described his new book as, “a collection of dumbass advice for dumbass guys who want to get married and is heavily influenced by my own experiences of actually getting married.” The title of this wee gem is Putting A Ring On It – What Not To Do When Getting Married and he’s launching it with a new show in The Sugar Club next Thursday the 21st. While each piece of advice is accompanied by a drawing done by Jarlath, there are less visual vignettes to offer up to the dumbass guys of the world, such as:

- You Should Ask Yourself – Why Am I Asking This Woman To Marry Me? Because She Terrifies Me is Good A Reason As Any

- Encourage Yourself To Get Into Shape, Never Encourage Her To Get Into Shape “It’s Not The Dress That Makes You Look Fat – It’s The Fat”

- On The Wedding Night, The Kinkier The Suggestion, The Less Chance It Will Happen


Book_Launch

And while he may now be branding himself as a Self Help Guru for the socially inept male, let us not forget that Jarlath is first and foremost, a stand up comedian. One that has also done a serious amount of touring, in fact, he even made a TV show about his Edinburgh debut.  According to Jarlath, the touring life means that you pick up little bits of culinary wisdom, especially when it comes to the humble breakfast. He is now an international expert on the most important meal of the day, such as  the subtle differences between a Kiwi and Aussie breakfast and the enormous size of Scottish sausages.

That gives him flawless credentials on how to supply, cook and conduct an Irish Family Breakfast. I challenge any Paddy not to see anything familiar in what follows below!

JARLATH REGAN’S IRISH FAMILY BREAKFAST

bREAK

Step one, go home to parent’s house.

Step two, realize they don’t have the makings of a fry in their fridge.

Step three, go to corner shop, buy two dozen sausages, black pudding (not white pudding), eggs and rashers.

Step four, return to parents house to be told “we’ll never get through all that.”

Step five, heat one large frying pan on a high temperature and one small pan on a low heat.

Step six, search cupboards for cooking oil.

Step seven, settle for butter and add to pans.

Step eight, regret using butter.

Step nine, return to shop to get oil and white pudding (on request of disappointed father).

Step ten, with the oil added to the pans now at the temperature of the earth’s core, add the rashers.

Step eleven, shield eyes and lower pan heat to minimum setting available.

Step twelve, drain excess water from pan then flip rashers and unwrap other ingredients.

Step thirteen, prepare a bed of paper towels next to the pan for soakage.

Step fourteen, remove crispy rashers from pan and dry on paper towel bed for ten minutes.

Step fifteen, repeat steps ten through fourteen for pudding and sausages.

Step sixteen arrange your 24 dry sausages, puddings and rashers in a circle on the biggest plate you can find.

Step seventeen, ask each family member “how would you like your egg?”

Step eighteen, cook eggs for exactly the same amount of time regardless of the directions your family gives you.

Step nineteen, place an egg on each person’s plate giving the illusion that they were cooked to their specifications.

Step twenty, call the family to the table four to five times – start to get pissed off.

Step twenty one, place all dirty dishes in the sink without any intention to clean them, serve breakfast and tuck in.

Step twenty two, listen to your father’s genuine surprise that we got through all the food. Agree that “a fry is nice every once in a while”.

Don’t forget, you can catch up with Jarlath in person, next Thursday in The Sugar Club, Leeson Street. Doors are at 8.30.

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