Tag Archives: Meat

Family Get-Togethers

A magical, wondrous, creature, roasted and almost ready to eat
A magical, wondrous, creature, roasted and almost ready to eat

Every family has get-togethers from time to time and there’s usually an occasion to be celebrated as there was in our case, this weekend. One of my nieces was confirmed and so the get together was on, a feast had to be organised.

Thankfully early faith in great weather on the day meant a pig had been ordered and the Argentine Barbecue was checked and approved for use. I say Argentine Barbecue because the design and technique was passed on to one brother-in-law by an Argentine Polo player although it has me stumped.

I googled, I wikipedia’d and I haven’t been able to find any information about this particular style of barbecue. So if anyone has some more details please share them in the comments below.

Slow Roasting Irish Pork
Slow Roasting Irish Pork

The Human Grazer

Go back into the dim dark past of man as a species, back to when the homosapien had just evolved. What you find is a race of hunter-gatherers, wandering and grazing the land as he goes and occasionally finding and killing an animal for the meat and skins.

Now fast forward to today and what you find is a species that has moved to a largely sedentary lifestyle, eats 3 meals a day and has meat most if not every day. I am generalising a bit, ignoring the vegetarian/vegan types and completely ignoring those with special dietary requirements but are any of us surprised that there is an epidemic of obesity in the western world at the moment?

As a species the physical demands on us are the lowest they have ever been throughout history, food is the most plentiful to us that it’s ever been and our nature is to make the most of this abundance of food by eating and storing the energy as fat.

This would be fine if food wasn’t always available to us, our nature is to over-eat when food is available to “survive” the leaner periods, but as we have an abundance of food this leaner period never comes and as a species we get more and more obese.

If we go back to freshly evolved man for a minute and think about him wandering through the country side, picking berries and fruit as he passes them, essentially grazing the land, while hunting. He wasn’t sitting down to 3 meals a day, he was gathering food and eating it as he became hungry, possibly having a meal of meat once or twice a week.

We on the other hand have those 3 times a day when we load up on food and while it’s a social construct that I happen to like and enjoy it’s actually widely accepted that in order to keep our metabolic rate at it’s most efficient we should all be eating less just more often.

This is something I learned when I was morbidly obese myself and my doctor was trying to help me understand what I needed to do in order to lose the weight. I never got to the point of eating every 4 hours and only at these intervals like he had suggested but I grew to understand that while it’s okay to be a little hungry and to eat a little less, you can also gain weight by over doing this, due to your metabolism slowing down, this is our natural defence against famine kicking in.

The best way to achieve this goal of eating less and remaining healthy that I’ve found is to remove as much processed food as possible from your diet. By cooking your own meals from fresh ingredients you have much better control over what’s in your food and as a general rule fresh ingredients have much higher levels of nutrients and vitamins than processed foods. (High quality frozen and tinned fruit and veg can be the exception to this rule as they’re picked when they are at their best and the process of freezing or tinning them preserves them).

So with fresh ingredients it’s easier to get the nutritional value that your body needs, without overdoing the calorie intake.

The Unholy Trinity

If you’re a meat eater, I reckon there is a fairly good chance that you’re going to like barbecued meat. Now I don’t mean meat grilled over flames I mean hot, juicy, sticky BBQ ribs, wings, drumsticks, pork chops and the like.

BBQ Ribs... Nuff Said
Image by Kevin.Fai via Flickr

Most of us, I think it’s safe to say have bought a jar of BBQ sauce and followed the instructions and been somewhat disappointed with the results, I know I have.

BBQ is probably the best loved gift that Soul Food has given us and I for one would not like to live in a world where it didn’t exist. I guess it’s a primal thing, man likes to eat his meat off the bone and use his hands doing it. It’s one of life’s great pleasures, it’s fun and there is nothing else like it, that’s why I’ve saved this unholy trinity of recipes to wrap up this month of Soul Food recipes.

Why an unholy trinity?

Like someone once sang “everything good is bad”.

The secret to really great BBQ is actually not the sauce, although it is essential, no the real secret is in the preparation of the meat, which is why the first recipe is a fantastic rub that flavours the meat and gives it a wonderful colour.

The second recipe is the sauce which is used like a glaze to give that sweet, sticky, yum, yum, yummy outer layer.

The final recipe is the mother of all BBQ dishes, BBQ back ribs. Now, I know what you might be thinking, “it sounds like a lot of work” well remember what I was saying up above about disappointing results from packets and bottles? Trust me it’s more than worth the effort, in fact if you like BBQ and you don’t try this once I have no problem saying that you are missing out, big time.

Ah and just in case you’re worried I will be doing some recipes for the barbeque (type with flames) in the coming weeks.

Movie Review: Food, Inc.

I recently watched Food Inc. partly out of curiosity, partly out of my fascination with all things food and partly to see if I was on the right track with my move to home cooked meals from fresh ingredients and boy was it an eye opener. So many questions, so few answers…

This film, one would assume, has it’s facts straight, otherwise some of the monster food companies would be suing it out of existence. But it’s not just about the facts, the film is very well made and the way the facts are revealed is not designed to shock but to educate us.

After watching it I know I will be paying a lot more attention to where my fresh food comes from and how it’s produced, be it meat, poultry, fish or fruit and veg. We all need to be more aware of these things so that we can all make better choices for us and our families.

If you eat you need to see this film!

I would love to hear from Irish farmers and slaughterhouses about the conditions in their operations so as ever the comment form is open below.

Recipe: Just Peachy Chicken

Just Peachy Chicken with Mashed Potato and buttered corn
Just Peachy Chicken with Mashed Potato and buttered corn

Ingredients;

2 Chicken Breasts
1 Teaspoon of Lemon pepper
half a teaspoon of Salt
1 400g Can of Peaches
1 tablespoon of Lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of Soy sauce

Serves 2

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Peaches are always in plentiful supply in the southern US states so it’s no surprise that they’re in a lot of Soul Food recipes. This is a great tasting and easy to make dish. I love the way the Pepper on the chicken bounces off the peaches, it’s like a party on your taste buds :)

Oh and if you can’t find lemon pepper in the spices section of your super market it’s not that difficult to make from scratch. You can find instructions here.

Heat your oven to 180 C. Rinse the chicken breasts and pat them dry with some kitchen roll. Place them in a baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon pepper and salt. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the lemon pepper mixture and let stand for at least 20 minutes or, even better, overnight in the fridge.

Drain the syrup from the peaches into a small bowl. Stir the lemon juice and soy sauce into the syrup and pour it over the chicken pieces.

Pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes and turn the chicken about half way through. Then add the peach slices and cook for another 10 -15 minutes or until the chicken is done.

This is great served with some Mashed Potatoes and a lightly buttered corn on the cob. Oh and I almost forgot here’s a great track to play in the background while cooking this recipe…