pan fried kidneys …

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As promised, I hereby launch my blog’s new theme … [drum-roll and fanfare] … The 5 minute dinner – dedicated to the mums and dads/guys and gals who slog it out at the office only to come home and face the morose and rather unattractive hunger of children/partners/lovers/pets.

The recipes should be easy to follow and quick to execute – you won’t find any Cordon Bleu methods here, mainly because the author knows of none to share! But what you will find, in cornucopic abundance, is hot air and (if modesty allows him to admit as much) a seasoned palate that enables him to comment with some authority on the flavours and textures of the dishes: this information will be imparted to you readers simply as cooking tips.

Ok, on tonight’s menu we have pan-fried lambs’ kidneys and wild mushrooms, served with a dollop of confit d’ognion and cos lettuce. As offal goes, lamb’s kidneys is probably my least favourite, a hangup of one particular experience where slack preparation resulted in something that I can only described as a bloody lump of piss-flavoured flab. Eeeeeeuuwwwww!

What I did …
Prepare the kidneys by cutting out the renal pyramids – the white lobe-like bits in the centre of the kidneys. Then toss them gently in seasoned flour (paprika, salt & pepper). On a hot non-stick frying pan, pan fry each side until a crust appears, then add a generous dose of muscat – I couldn’t find any Marsala, only an Australian show winning Muscat 😉 Add a tablespoon of crème fraîche (I used Yeo Valley Organic yoghurt with honey, because … you guessed it, no crème fraîche in the fridge. Add wild mushrooms (which I had lying around from our Riverford organic veg boxes). Add some crushed black pepper and cook for another minute and serve on bed of cos lettuce, with a spoonful of the confit.

Tips …
1. Do not wash the kidneys once cut as they absorb a lot of water.
2. Mushrooms are devilishly difficult to marry with food, in terms of flavour and texture. Pick wisely.
3. The cos lettuce has a crunch to it which can fool the diner into thinking that the kidney’s crust is still crispy.

Bon appetit!

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have you been waiting long …

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Yesterday, J & I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary – that’s twice the average shelf-life of a marriage these days. But if one begins to itch at 7 years, surely it is only natural to develop an insatiable rash at 14?! Not so Sherlock. And as I managed to forget to buy SWMBO a card, penitence involved a quick dash into town to procure some floral bribes (see pic above), arranged by Yours Truly. Don’t they look pretty?

I’m not sure that I should celebrate my return to regular blogging with a confession of a latent interest in flower arranging, but somehow one needs a way to break the ice after 8 weeks of radio silence – and needless to say, much has happened in that time – J1 started at secondary school,
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there was that *long* week-end in Champagne/Paris transforming David’s flat into a Pussy Palace,
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and another one in Dublin generally chilling with the in-laws over a pint of Guinness (or four),

and that time when I turned my hand to decking and changed the back garden from this:
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to this:
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and of course the highlight … my milestone birthday party in late September (sorry guys no pics of the stripper as this is strictly a family blog 😉 ) which reunited a number of good friends, including some who diligently visit this rather dusty corner of blogosphere. Life may very well begin at 40, but I rather suspect that brain cell decay begins to accelerate exponentially henceforth to the extent that it becomes more challenging to put pen to paper … well, fingers to keypad. Anyway, that’s my excuse for this barren period in this blog’s history and I’m sticking to it!

But fear not loyal readers, for I have a cunning plan. At the risk of turning myself into a stats whore, I’ve decided to give my blog a mini theme. More will be revealed in the coming days …