Last weekend, eldest daughter roped me into walking the dog with her. As we made our way, throwing the ball and trying to get the mutt to retrieve, the conversation fell, as it so often does, to food. Eldest put it to me that, despite my best efforts, she had an ongoing hankering for fish fingers and beans. I accused her of idiocy or some such but the thought stuck with me.
Later in the morning we found ourselves in the queue in George’s Fish Shop. (Recently voted an Irish Times top 50 retailer. This accolade does not impress me as I had been enjoying it as a reasonably well-kept secret without the queues.) Fine chunky haddock was on special and a plan began to form.
Everything you will need for a traditional supper.
No trip to the south coast of France can be complete without a stop in the covered market at Les Halles in Narbonne. The place buzzes with life and anybody with an interest in food will spend a couple of hours there without noticing. Let’s start with a few pictures:
I grew up beside the sea at Seapoint, just south of Dublin city. From the age of four, my father gave me an interest in fishing and seafood. Sadly, there has been little point in my taking the fishing rods out over the past 20 years. The disastrous mismanagement of our coastal fisheries over the long-term has led to there being very little fish of any sort left within a decent beach cast of the Irish east coast.
I was reading about speed reading today. By working at it, you can really improve your performance. Skim over sentences. Pay attention only to the important words. Let the meaning flow and you will rapidly learn to read and absorb information at a far quicker pace. I want you to try this while reading this post. To assist, I am going to put the important words in bold. Now, speed read on…
Gratuitous meat picture of sorts. Fish meat this time.
Picture the scene. Saturday evening and the Wife is getting a bit fidgety, sticking her head around the kitchen door and asking when we will be eating. I am with her long enough that I should know the signs. I have bought a couple of nice pieces of plaice and plan to do something. Something that I should photograph as I do it. My mind is on the cooking and not where it should be. On her plaintive questions…..
OK, that’s IT. I’ve had all I am going to take. A few days ago, we got back from holidays, to be greeted by grey skies and rain. The same grey skies and rain we had left behind a couple of weeks earlier. Things didn’t improve either. As I type, it is bucketing down outside. I now suspect that the sun only comes out in the middle of the night. So, as the powers that be refuse to give us any summer, I’m going to make a bit of my own.
Perhaps I am the real fake in all of this. My brain was not in gear while I was buying the fish at the weekend. There is nothing unusual in this as I tend to buy the fish early on a Saturday morning. The ‘end of week’ bottle of wine tends to be still influencing me by the time I get to talk to Han in George’s Fish Shop. In response to my “What’s fresh?”, he put on a wry smile and refused to rises to the bait. Instead, he reminded me that everything is fresh except the frozen stuff. Then he recommended the Haddock.
Prawns, coriander, lime, garlic and a twist of black pepper. For once, I got all the ingredients into the picture.
I remember as a young fellow being slightly flexible with the truth and having my late Dad pull me up on it with “Don’t come the raw prawn with me.” It seemed like a bizarre expression then and still seems like it now, over 40 years later. While I was thinking about an ‘angle’ for this simple barbecue recipe, the expression popped back into my head. That got me looking it up on Google. That took me to the Australian National University and their Meanings and origins of Australian words and idioms. There are some cracking expressions with which the Australians have enriched our language. Read on, Cobber…
I ask the question because I need something to hang this on. My piece of tuna is the shape (and nearly the size) of a baby grand. However, the answer does not lie there. I have been faffing around with this post for over a month now. I have procrastinated, prevaricated and generally beaten about the bush. It is not within me to just cook some food, photograph it and post it. I have to say something. The zing in this thing was the salsa verde. I followed a Jamie Oliver recipe pretty closely and it turned out very well. Then it would, would it not? He is one of the chefs who really is inventive and thoughtful. More than I can say about me and my bush beating. I will fill you in on the piano bit later.
Bringing up children is a trial as well as a joy. Their lack of worldly experience gives them a razor-sharp clarity that fades with advancing years and is often gone by the time they’re 10. When our youngest was younger, she possessed this clarity and wielded it without mercy. Often in my wisdom, I told both her and her sister “There is no such thing as a stupid question. Only a stupid answer.” Once, in frustration, I responded to yet another “Are we there yet?” from the back seat of the car with “Don’t ask stupid questions.”