Fish

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a brace of wild trout recently and decided to cook them in an Oriental style. This caused a bit of a of stir (not a stir fry) at home. The rational used by my detractor (the Wife) was that as they were such a fine pair of fish, they could be let stand on their own merits and there was little need to “Mess around with them with all those ingredients”. Under normal circumstances, I would be the last person to go against the views of the Wife. But, I really wanted to make the most of these delightful ingredients. I pressed ahead and hoped against hope that I would turn out a delicious dish. Wild trout is a delicate fish and needs to be treated in the same way as one might treat an argument against the instincts of the Wife. That is, proceed with caution.

This post is a bit of an experiment. I have noticed that when I post on a Friday, I get a bit of a bounce on the numbers. As my posting schedule (to call it a schedule is an insult to German train efficiency) has become a bit erratic of late, I thought I should try Friday again. If you are reading this on another day, the recipe is equally valid. It is not the first sous vide halibut I have done. It is the simplest and in my opinion, the tastiest by far.

Here’s a little adventure into the worlds of Thai flavours and video. I will be smoking some salmon over the coming couple of weeks and while I was thinking about doing something “different”, I thought doing something with a bit of Thai flavour might be fun. I took the trouble to shoot a bit of footage to show the process. I have been utilising video in my business over the past few months and thought that I might apply it here on the blog too.

While thinking about this recipe, I got to consider my storyline. It should be an easy one to write. Halibut is my favourite fish and right now, I am having a great time with many of the Thai flavours that bring out the very best in fish. With very little thinking done, I hit upon “curry favour”. I could easily bend that around to “favourite curry” and have a play on words. This would be easy.

A few years ago I wrote a brief blog post on things a blogger should not do. The stand-out advice I gave was to never start a post with some drivel like “Ooooh, sorry peeps, I haven’t posted in ages, I’ve been super-busy with my new fashion line.” My point being that the Internet doesn’t care. You don’t care and neither do I. So instead of raking my consciousness with guilt, I’m giving you a steamed cod recipe and no apology for not posting last week.

“Ray Spines”, sounds like the name an author might inflict on a dodgeball insurance salesman who wears a Hawaiian shirt and a pork pie hat. His long suffering wife would have to be called Barb and he would have a minor role in a particularly gruesome murder mystery. That’s one Ray Spines for you. My ray spines are a different kettle of fish. Let me back the boat up a bit.

I apologise for the dumb-assed headline. Had I listened to my own advice when I was younger, I probably would have the wit to write a better one. There is no doubt that an education is a gift that, like youth, is often wasted on the young (with apologies to Oscar Wilde). There is bad news for any of us who would have been more interested in what was going on out the window than on the blackboard. Lifetime learning is now the order of the day. So, when I attended a cookery demonstration by one of Ireland’s most accomplished chefs and all round nice guy, Derry Clarke, I should have had my brain engaged.

The philosophers amongst us may start to waffle on about the unattainability of perfection. They may rub their chins (in a sage-like fashion) and let us know that it is what is removed and what is tolerated that brings us close to attaining this Nirvana. Yet, when I decided to wrap a simple fish cake in smoked salmon, I came as they say, pretty damn close.

There are things that I love about food descriptions and things that I hate. In Oriental cookery, many of the descriptions are truly evocative and allude to history and culture in equal measure. Great examples include “General Tso’s Chicken”. This evokes thoughts of the great Zuo Zongtang, a Qing dynasty statesman and military leader. That’s as far as it goes as there is no known connection to him or the dish in his home province of Hunan. This dish is punching above it’s cultural weight as it really is just a sweet, sticky American chicken with rice. Then we have “Man and Wife Beef”, “Squirrel Fish” and the classic “100 Year Old Egg”. Great names all. But, sometimes possibly going wide of the trade descriptions act.

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