Sant Jakez Scallops

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Scallops “Saint Jacques” style

When we were kids, my sister and I, found that the last weekend in November started to get really exciting. Not only we got to put the fake tree up, and the art work our Father used to do with the wonderful rock like paper, a grotto in and around and at the bottom of the tree for a bit of drama; decorations were out, the fun could start(unlike now, where it starts at the end of August… You people have lost it! Big time!); my mother would sit at the end of the dining table in the living room, and in her majestic teacher’s style would start writing the menu for the 24th and 25th.  Those two days were the only ones, as well as Birthdays, where I was asked what I would like to eat… The golden question… I was kind of the black sheep in the family, it was three against one. My sister could eat a dozen oysters for starters, I could barely see the sight of them. So my Mum designed a menu just for me. I was never a big seafood eater, apart from scallops and langoustines. My favourite dish was “Coquilles Saint Jacques”, the name for scallops in French; Jacques, Seamus, James, Tiago… Diego… Santiago de Compostela, Il Camino and the original pilgrims recognisable with the famous shell around their waist! A symbol often portrayed on bottles of wines, from Languedoc to Northern Spain… All the way to the Citadel…

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The Pizzaiolo (Recipe)

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Chestnut Flour Pizza, with mushrooms and leek, St Tola goat’s cheese and raw cream

First, I would like to dedicate this post to my fellow blogger Julia from “Julia chews the fat”; she inspired me to speak about an important part of my life, the day I became a “Pizzaiolo”, or for you and me, a pizza chef. The story started in autumn 1995, after spending five months in Galway, “Blue eyed girl” and I were coming back to Sligo. “Arnold The Hero” gave us a lift back, the skies were very low like today and my mood wasn’t much higher. Maybe it was the fact that I was leaving the “City of Tribes” for another little bit, maybe it was the fact that he played a cassette of Mano Solo ( son of “Cabu”, one of the cartoonist killed in the Charlie Hebdo murders). Don’t get me wrong, his material is great, just freaking depressing when you are hangover and rain is battering the Western land… Or maybe it was the fact that I had to find a job, no pressure so… A few days later, I saw an ad in one of the Italian restaurants of the town; bold as brass, I jumped in thinking I would have nothing to lose, I had no experience in the food business, or very little. I remembered what one of my peers once said to me: “ If you are in a night club, and you fancy a girl on the dance floor, if you stay on your chair, your chances are virtually none; if you get up your ass, and ask that girl if she would like to dance with you, your chances suddenly jump from 0 to 50%”. That is more or less what I did that day… And I got the dance…

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Butcher Street

Today is Beaujolais Nouveau day, here is a wee story I wrote last year about it!

Hungry Breton

Choice 12 Beaujolais Nouveau Night

I can’t recall anything scarier than being twenty… Seriously, it has to be the most over rated age apart from the fact that you are pretty much completely free from any commitments, bills, jobs… You’re broke, but you’re free. You need to find a place to exercise this freedom, a place of paradox, where one can reflect on ideals, but yet requires the company of similar frightened comrades putting on a brave face, a safe house for your music gigs, a place to drink a few beers at the weekend, a waiting room to that big ugly world out there, and it’s you and your likes that will make a difference, that will change all of this, you know it… Just maybe not right now, perhaps after another coffee at the bar…

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“I am your Indian”

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Super Moon… I Phone + my telescope x 32

I am your Indian, the black moon rambler in a field of rye, your witness cherishing your words. I am your Indian, the Armorican who sees your pain, the sarrazin child who will drink with you the silver chalice of life until the lees will touch our lips. I am your Indian, your scout who listens and feels free by being given a gift; a bond, your ear, your heart. I am your Indian, together and with each other, we will find the unreachable peace.

Franck aka Fanch Ar Moenner

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Mullaghmore, Sligo, yesterday…

Be Well and Keep Happy

Franck

Monkfish Lentils Celeriac

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Monkfish Celeriac and Lentils

Last Friday was my mother’s anniversary, and after 19 years of absence, I still like to make a little something special to mark the occasion. I was on my own, and since we were reaching the end of the week, my fridge and food press (cupboard) looked like a Russian supermarket in the 80’s. I closed the shop and called in to my Friends next door, owners of The Forge restaurant. I knew what I had at home, and wanted to use it before getting my usual Saturday shopping. I fancied a bit of fish, and I know that they have a great supplier. Pauric gave me a nice piece of monkfish for one, we have helped each other for years now, and like a friend of mine said when I was telling her the story: “you know you have great neighbours when you can do things like that”, and she is right, even if I don’t really make a habit of it to be honest. Driving back home, I started to chuckle and thought of a great one liner: “You know when you have socializing issues, when you go to the restaurant next door to get your ingredients and cook your own dinner at home”. There is a bit of truth there, for sure!

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“Tell me a story”

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Behind Benbulben, my hiding place…

Tell me a story…

I want to drown in Morpheus arms with you telling me a story. When St Exupery’s “Little Prince” asked from the Moon for someone to draw him a sheep.

I just want a story, and while you narrate me the wonderful and crazy, when we’ll enter our secret cave, the one where I often hide and seek refuge- in the darkest of nights- perched and snug in and above a horseshoe, protected from the Westerlies… Only then, I will put my hand on your forehead and gently caresse your cheek…

Because no one else more than me… Loves a story told by thee.

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Apatride

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Celtic Wedding – Dublin 2001

Today is a special day, my event horizon, November 6th… How could I ever forget this date that will probably start to fizzle out from now on, like the sleeves of my old favourite woolly jumper from Donegal. November 6th, when I closed the door on childhood and adolescence to start another, like a young flightless guillemot jumping off a bottomless cliff, I had to take the plunge, take control of my life at last and become my own man, sticking my middle finger in the process to all the critics and detractors who discouraged me…

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