Every now and then, something great comes along within the realm of what’s on offer to eat and drink in Ireland. Either somebody will have a killer concept that they may have properly innovated or even just ripped off from abroad, and we all go apeshit. The Aussie Barbecue right around the corner from The Bernard Shaw, is most definitely NOT one of those places. Had a bit of a head on me the other day and was in the mood for some half daycent hangover food. Thought I’d give the recently opened down under joint a go, as char grilled protein was on my mind and I couldn’t shift it. Whiskey will do that to you. I ordered their ribs and this is what I got.
Usually when I take a photo of a meal, it’s because how wicked I think it looks on my plate and I deem it worthy of an auld share of some sort. This shot I took because I couldn’t believe how utterly shite my grub appeared. Firstly, I don’t know how she got in there, but Helen Keller was obviously put in charge of butchering. That would be the only viable explanation as to why such a wonderful piece of meat would be so horribly brutalized. Never in my life have I ever seen such a fucked up way to cut and serve pigflesh, specifically, the bone removed and served separately and none of the fat that sits on top of the meat was trimmed. There was also a long piece of membrane that ran inside the bigger cut of meat that looked like a stretched out poodle mickey, literally had no idea what the fuck it was.
But at the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding. So I got stuck in anyway, but it was muck. The bits that should have been tender were burnt and dry and the bits that should have been really unctuous were covered in fat and gristle. I asked for some of their “secret Aussie sauce” to see what that could do. It tasted like a poor man’s KFC juice that was just flavoured with vinegar. In all fairness though, what the fuck was I thinking? The hangover meal is a sacred experience and it’s golden rule is that you should NEVER experiment with something you haven’t had before. You crave comfort, a dish that gives you a reassuring fuzziness and a medicinal optimism that says, “stop moaning, you’re grand. A few bloody Marys and you’ll be rockin’.” If you haven’t eaten something before you don’t know if that’s gonna kick in or not. For the record, the waitress who served me was really cool and on the ball and their chips were spot on, especially at only €2.50. So it aint like the place is without merits and doesn’t have the potential to improve.
Later that night, I made one of my old reliables. Just the kind of scram that I should have had earlier. Ed Hick’s Italian Sausages cooked into a creamy pasta sauce with some nice local Swiss chard from McNally Family Farm.
HICK’S ITALIAN SAUSAGE WITH SWISS CHARD AND PENNE
Come on people! Just buy me the posh camera please. These iphone shots are just shite now.
1 packet of Hick’s Italian Sausages
Enough penne for 3 healthy servings
1 medium sized onion, diced
5 cloves of freshly crushed garlic
6 leaves of fresh swiss chard, end of stalks trimmed, you can get it at most Farmer’s Markets
Olive oil to fry with
150 ml of cream
Heat up some olive oil in pot and boil up some salted water in another pot.
Start squeezing out little meatballs out of the sausages. Try to keep them uniformed in shape. If you keep some water handy you can throw some on your hands to roll the balls into shape. The water stops the meat from sticking to your hands.
After you’ve got all the meatballs ready, start frying them off in batches. When that’s done, take them out with a slotted spoon and put them aside.
If it’s needed, throw in a little more olive oil into the pot and fry off the onion til it’s soft on a low heat. While you do that, blanch the chard in the pot with the boiling water for no more than 20 seconds. Take it out but keep the water in the pot and run the chard leaves under a cold tap to stop them from cooking. You then roll all the leaves together and gently push the water out of them. Once that’s done and they’re more dry, you slice them up into manageable pieces and put them aside.Then lash in the garlic in with the onions and fry it very gently. Put the meatballs back in that pot and pour in the cream on a low heat with a quick stir.
Cook off your pasta but keep two ladles of the starchy water the pasta was cooked in and pour that in with your meat. Then you stir in your pasta with the swiss chard on a medium heat. When it’s all nicely combined, you’re ready to serve. Lash on a load of parmesan or pecorino and get stuck in.
If you’re still reading this, don’t go away! My mates and partners in crime at For Food’s Sake, Aisling and Luca, they’ve opened up a wicked cafe! It’s called Fumbally and it’s the corner of Clanbrassil St and Fumbally Lane, oddly enough. It’s open Mon -Fri from 8am til 5pm. They serve up some wicked arancini, deadly breakfast options, a fantastic falafel and their porchetta roll is quite simply, the best sarnie you can get in the city centre.
On Thursday morning, they had local resident and funny dude David O’Doherty in there doing a morning comedy show. Apparently, he wanted to conduct an experiment. Could he make a load of punters laugh at 8.30 in the morning before they go to work. He got a great result. I am most certainly not a morning person and he had me in stitches. Nice one. He then asked everyone to make a contribution to the Fighting Words charity. Double nice one.