Reindeer and rainy day ribs

This morning while dog and I waited for the rain to lift, one of those rambling chains of thought and random googling led me to the website of Cyphers, a long-running literary journal edited by a group of Irish notables who have attracted the likes of Eamon Grennan (one of my poetry heroes). My search had begun with the name Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, one of the editors, whose 2001 collectionThe Girl Who Married the Reindeer, published by the excellent Gallery Books (they publish Grennan as well) I happened upon in our very own Munro’s Books. It’s a wistful book, speaks well of loss and transition, and paints a good picture:

In Her Other Ireland

It’s a small town. The wind blows past
The dunes, and sands the wide street.
The flagstones are wet, in places thick with glass,
Long claws of scattering light.
The names are lonely, the shutters blank —
No one’s around when the wind blows…

This is the time of year when I start eyeing the barbecue and readying myself for an annual cook-out. I don’t do much barbecuing, because (or consequently?) I have a smallish charcoal bbq which is a lot of bother. So I found some nice looking ribs and that got me to thinking about Texas bbq, and I found a helpful site that suggests you can parboil them in seasoned water for a speedier finish. It had started raining anyway, so I tried it: parboiled the ribs for about half an hour in water flavoured with onion, garlic, cloves and bay leaves; assembled a sauce with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, green pepper, garlic, cloves, bay leaves, fig balsamic, chipotle chiles,brown sugar, soya sauce, Worcestershire and some home made plum chutney; cooked the ribs for about 1.5 hours in a 325 oven, and they were falling apart in loads of lovely spice. Not Texas bbq of course, but good ribs.

Perhaps I’ll have to have some authentic Arkansas barbecue when I’m in London, at Bubba’s, in Spitalfields Market, if I can pass up the awesome lamb burgers they serve there. The choice has been made for me in the past, as they only buy small quantities of Welsh lamb for the burgers, and they tend to run out when the market is busy. Which seems to be all the time.

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