Friday, August 18, 2006

Salmon therapy

A wonderful Highland culinary moment at the neighbour’s today, the elderly ones who live in a bricked up mobile home with bouncy floors and who stick to brandy and gin when they’re off the drink. There they were, sitting before daytime TV with teacup-drams to hand, completely absorbed in a cookery program demonstrating the finer points of Italian cuisine while immersed in the steamy hell of a value chicken in its third hour of boiling. They have only one recipe, and it involves taking a cut of meat (topside or brisket usually) and boiling it for four to five hours in a pan with a couple of carrots and some onions. The meat is then eaten on Day 1 with a watery gravy and tatties (possibly some neeps too if the weather’s cold) and the rest made into a broth with some lentils for Day 2&3. Plenty of the cheapest table salt money can buy too. I love this place.

Tonight we had an uncle round to help eat the grilse he’d donated. It was about five pounds in weight and ultra fresh, so I poached it whole in a fish kettle and served it seventies style on a bed of leaves replete with lemon scales and curly parsley. With it we stuffed our faces on soft Maris Pipers roasted with olive oil, garlic, rosemary and salt and, added later, olives and mini plum tomatoes; and a green salad fresh from the garden coated in a sharp anchovy and lemon dressing. It was well-seasoned, in your face food that was all laid out on the table for us to pass between each other and dig into. It was very satisfying to sit back and watch the meal make everyone happy, primarily because it provided a great way to avoid conversation. Food as it should be. Now I face the less than trivial prospect of sourcing a kilo of flagolets for Gladstone’s ample thigh, not to mention a stinking morning of bone-roasting.

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