Thursday, 22 October 2015

leaves and vegetable mould

"Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself"
Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Indian Summer Salad :: Oak Smoked Peppered Mackerel Sunshine Salad with Blackcurrant Syrup and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil Dressing...

Oak smoked Peppered Mackerel Salad with Blackcurrant Syrup and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil Dressing

Ingredients for two people:

  • Two fillets of smoke mackerel
  • One medium sized plum tomato
  • Half a medium sized red onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • Ten or so radishes, topped, tailed and sliced finely.
  • A similar number of green olives
  • A handful of pomegranate seeds (about half a cup)
  • Two boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • Half a yellow bell pepper, deseeded and finely sliced
  • A small red chilli sliced finely
  • Blackcurrant or any other sweet/sour/fruity syrup. Blackberry, pomegranate or cranberry would be good examples. I make my syrup with the blackcurrants plus a sweetener usually either honey or maple syrup. Adjust to your taste. I like it quite sour. Once cleaned and de-stalked I cook them in a saucepan until the liquid reduces. I then strain the liquid to make a clear syrup. I love this for salad dressings or with pancakes, breakfast cereal, ice cream etc.
  • Toasted pumpkin seed oil.

  1. Wash and prepare all the fruit and vegetables.
  2. Break the leaves off the lettuce and place in a serving dish.
  3. Add the sliced tomatoes,bell pepper, radish and olives.
  4. Toss and then top with the sliced onions. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds and chopped chilli. 
  5. Finally remove the skin from the fish, break it up into largish chunks and place on top of the salad along with the egg quarters. 
  6. Serve the salad and then trickle with the dressing. 
I love the combination of the salty/peppery fish with the cool crunchy radish and lettuce, the heat of chilli and sweet/sour nutty flavoured dressing. This works perfectly for me in the same way that sweet sour plum sauce works with unctuous duck but you may like to use and alternative dressing. 

n.b. COOKS NOTE...I had a mini blackcurrant syrup eruption after a bottle that I stored in a slightly warm cupboard exploded! I think it must have fermented. It's best kept in the fridge...

Bye for now,
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Saturday, 5 September 2015

If I ran away to the circus...

"I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to"
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

A surprise invitation. Mentioned long ago in passing, I'd dreamed about going...but we'd moved away and it seemed out of the question...Then it was happening. I packed my rucksack and checked the timetables, synchronised train times and met at the country station and we danced into the wilderness.

Afternoons we listened to writers spin their tales, spied actors  and musicians, ate the tastiest concoctions from Budha Bowls or tiny light felafel or marmite crumpets and drank gallons of afternoon tea, ginger-beer and flower potions.

It was magical...and as the sun subsided, out came the nymphs and fairies and painted soldiers and sailers and sea creatures and the sweetest insect  of a singer lamenting the dead bees...