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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Post the Sixty-ninth (fnarr fnarr!)

Yes, I did have a snigger at the post number.  I'm of the opinion that when certain things stop being funny, you're officially old.  Chief among them are farts, out-of-context rude words/terms and people falling over. It's a funny old thing, getting old.  I'll be 32 this day week, but I still feel about 19.  If you jumped out from behind a door and asked me when I did my Leaving Cert., I'd say about 3 years ago.  It was 15 years this June.  I've bought a house, been married, been made redundant, been through the breakdown of that marriage, but I still often wonder when I'll start feeling like a grown-up.

Conversely, I've known people who were old their whole lives.  We all have.  I look back now on the parents of certain childhood friends who were always dowdy, fussy and, y'know, ancient, and realise that they were actually only a few years older than I am now.  How does that happen to people???  Are they just born old?  My mum says it about her own mother - she always wore "old lady" clothes, she always had "set" hair, and she would never, ever chillax and have a drink with my granddad, even though they owned a pub.  I can think of several neighbours of my parents off the top of my head who I'd put in the same bracket.

I know they say you're only as old as the man you feel (which would have made me 28 up until very recently), but the older I get, the more I think that age (or youth) is genuinely a state of mind.  And I definitely think a lot of that is down to the attitude of your own elders.  My parents are both in their sixties, and they're two of the coolest people I know.  My dad in particular (as any readers who've ever met him will attest) is possibly the biggest messer I've ever come across.  And his parents were the same.  They died within three months of eachother when my granddad was 77 and Nana was 76 and people go "Sure that's a great age" and I go "No it wasn't".  They had a better social life than I do now.  Anyway, we're straying dangerously into maudlin territory here, which wasn't the aim of this post at all.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I might be (almost) 32, I might be (in the eyes of those more mature than me) coming across as quite pathetic, but d'you know what? I don't care.  I'm not advocating a Peter Pan approach to life, but there are certain things I really, really hope I never grow out of, because the day I do, I'll have grown old.

So here's to eternal youth, even if only in our minds.


Anyway, if, like me, you still think farts are one of the funniest things on the planet, then you'll appreciate this dish.  This is the leftover cod bake recipe, and as I said, I enjoyed it a lot more than the actual bake.  So, if you fed four people with that the first night - sorry.

Cod Bake Fishcakes - serves 2

2 portions of leftover cod bake                        3 eggs
2 tbs flour                                                        Tin of baked beans

1. Crack one of the eggs into the leftover cod bake and mix well.  Add a little leftover seasoning if you think its needed.

2. Sprinkle the flour onto a large plate.  Shape the fish mix into four cakes and dredge in the flour until evenly coated.

3. Heat a good glug of oil in a pan and fry the fishcakes for five minutes, making sure they slide easily if you give the pan a shake before turning over.  Cook the other side for another five minutes, then stand them on their sides for a couple of mintes each to achieve a uniform golden-brown colour.

4. While the fishcakes are cooking, heat the beans with a shedload of black pepper and a dash of Frank's Red Hot Sauce if you have it.  At the same time, poach two eggs*.

5. Divide the beans between two warmed plates, sit the fishcakes on top, and top with the poached eggs.  Marvel at how much better than last night's meal it is.

*Poached eggs seem to be up there with risotto in terms of perceived difficulty - people for some reason think they're nigh-on impossible to make, when they're really ridiculously easy.  So, here's a quick Egg Poaching 101 for you.

1. Never keep your eggs in the fridge.  The "shock" of putting a cold egg into hot water or oil just never ends well.

2. In a wide, shallow pan heat three inches of water with a tablespoon of vinegar and a good pinch of salt.  Bring it to a very gentle simmer - a rollicking boil will just break up the egg when you add it.

3. Crack your egg into a ladle.  Then, very gently slide it into your simmering water.  And then just don't touch it for about two minutes.  It will initially look like it's going fucking everywhere in the water, but it will come back together if you just ignore it.

4. When the white is just set, remove extremely gingerly with a slotted spoon.  Drain on a folded-over kitchen towel, then gently roll onto whatever it is you're serving it on.

Yis can all thank me later...

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