Jubilee weekend June 2012
Two Handed Soup and a Sandwich
So what could be better than spending the day alone in a small boat with your ex-partner? Especially an ex-partner with whom being in a small boat was the source of constant friction when you were together?
Exactly - so that's what Rachel and I did today, entering a 707 in the yacht clubs's two-handed race. Rachel helmed.
It's best to let Rachel helm. She sulks otherwise.

Being such a special occasion and all, I thought I'd try baking rye bread and making up some pastrami sandwiches for our lunch. Possibly I made this decision at Valvolla and Crolla's olive oil tasting, (yes they do olive oil tastings) where I found myself hugely excited by their display of fine meats.

I also happened to be browsing Tattie Shaws just down the road and they had some horseradish, which I figured that would go nicely with the pastrami (it's beef after all), so I made up a batch of creamed horseradish mostly following the version in Nose To Tail Eating.
Which is a terrific little book by the way, and grows on me more every time I use it.

The rye bread was good - very good actually for a first attempt, the horseradish sauce excellent (be warned though - grating horseradish makes your eyes bleed), but the sandwiches were just a bit meh.
They were a somewhat dried out by the time we ate them, for one thing. I should probably have been more generous with the horseradish sauce, sandwiches do tend to lose much of their flavour marinating in a not-so-dry bag for a morning. Fortunately I still have half a rye loaf left to experiment with.

Later it occurred to me that I should really have fed Rachel with Rachel sandwiches - the female equivalent of the famous Reuben sandwich.
A Reuben, for those of you not lucky enough to have lived in New York City, is a grilled sandwich of rye bread with corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian or Thousand Island dressing. Best served with a gherkin.
Americans have a simplified system of cheese classification. Not for them the rich complexities of bries, cheddars, goudas, blue cheeses or curds. They have Swiss (yellow with holes in it - tastes of Styrofoam), Muenster (white with an orange rind - tastes of Styrofoam), String (orange and runny - tastes of Styrofoam) and American (orange and turgid - tastes of Styrofoam).
A Rachel on the other hand, substitutes pastrami for the corned beef, and coleslaw for the sauerkraut.

So anyway, I made a more humble and more ordinary pastrami on rye. I rather fancied that slices of pickled beetroot might work well instead of gherkin, so I gave them a shot, under-lathered on some horseradish cream and topped off with a rockety/watercressy salad.

In anticipation of a gloriously sunny day I also decided to make up a flask of chilled cucumber, mint and fennel soup, together with a plastic container of brandy-marinating raisins.
I have at least learned from bitter experience not to add ice cubes to chilled soup to keep it cool - since they just lurk stubbornly unmelting in wait for unwary drinkers with sensitive fillings.

I think Rachel was impressed with my ridiculous efforts, though she did ask somewhat archly exactly how much cream there was in her soup, but unfortunately it turns out that during a two-handed race there is no free time to sample fancy sandwiches or novelty soups. It wasn't until after the race that I had the chance to show them off.
Rachel reckoned that we'd have been better off just stuffing a couple of flapjacks in our pockets.


Cucumber, Mint and Fennel Chilled Soup
soup veg
I was a bit disappointed with my recent chilled cucumber soup so I thought I'd try this one. It's rather nice, but very rich.

Serves 6-8

Either mix all the ingredients bar the raisins together coarsely or blitz until really smooth, it's up to you. Personally, I as in Simon Rimmer prefer it smooth. Chill thoroughly.

Serve really well chilled in shot glasses or espresso cups, with a few room-temperature boozy raisins on top of each.
Pretty rich and creamy - you should definitely serve it in small quantities.
Even if you process the lot, it's still a good idea to finely slice the fennel and finely chop egg first. It cuts down on the stringiness.

Comments (3)

Newest first Oldest first

  1. Oh, you don't really need to soak the beans for Fasolia - but it does take a bit longer cooking otherwise. Probably approaching two hours.

    #3 – 16 July, 2012 at 2:13 pm

  2. Ooooh my first comment!

    Yes you're allowed to answer back now, but only if you follow the community guidelines.

    I'll tell you what they are when you break them, but the first one is that you can only be nice to me.

    #2 – 16 July, 2012 at 2:09 pm

  3. Rachel's avatar Rachel

    Really! Are we really allowed to answer back now. I bet you'll censor all comments. I wanted to make fasolia today so checked here for the recipie. Takes bloody ages though so left it for another day.

    #1 – 15 July, 2012 at 11:11 pm

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