April, 2017
Presto Pesto and Other Stories.
King's Lynn Across the Ouse.

Professor Nick eating Lincoln red beef and drinking Cornish pastis & tonic.
There aren't that many places on the Wash that a yacht with a keel (or a mast) can sail into. Like its namesake across the Atlantic, Boston used to be a great fishing and trading port, but it no longer offers harbour for boats that can't drop their masts. Fosdyke and Wisbech are a long way inland, and I'm not even sure they're accessible for yachts. Which pretty much leaves King's Lynn, which offers a rather nice pontoon in the heavily tidal river Ooze Ouse in a spot with just enough water to keep my boat afloat at low water. The meandering passage from the wash across shallow mud flats into the river is just short enough make it in over a high tide. So I decided to pay a visit.

King's Lynn is also close enough to Cambridge to visit with my old friend Professor Nick. Bonus.
Nick invited me back to his place in Cambridge to spend the night and catch up with his lovely wife Belgium and his precocious children, though he didn't go so far as to offer me his washing machine to do all my smelly laundry.
Still, we had a gay old time revisiting our old university haunts, drinking 'til it hurt, and marvelling at the hordes of hipster douche-bags infesting the bars with lumberjack flannel and jihadi beards.

Back in King's Lynn, Nick and I went for lunch and discovered a completely a completely brilliant little restaurant - Richard and Lucy Golding's Market Bistro, which now seems, sadly, to have closed :( so good I had to revisit later to eat the rest of the menu.
It's a small place, and some of their tables are a little cramped, but they more than make up for it with their locally sourced, brilliantly inventive and incredibly thorough food. Their attention to detail is astonishing - I couldn't understand why the black pudding served with their rare breed pork collar course was so succulent , until they explained that they had taken a local black pudding, pureéd it, calcified it, reverse spherified it, then floured and deep-fried it to serve.
And this is just one of the four side dishes that come with the meat, bear in mind.
Now that's dedication!

Richard's chefery inspired me to attempt to reproduce both his luxurious spring cabbage with truffled cheese (an optional side dish) and his throwaway amuse bouche - goats cheese and onion marmalade tuile. With mixed success :)
So delicious.

Unfortunately next week I will be mostly eating pesto...

Pesto Salmon en Croûte
fish main
I made mine with a ½kg salmon fillet using a jar The Shame, The Shame! of roasted red pepper pesto, but a sun-dried tomato based version would be equally good.
Or green pesto - that will work too, though be careful not to overdo it.

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Skin the side of salmon and check for bones with your fingers. Remove any you find with fish tweezers.
Cut the salmon in half across its width.
Roll out a large enough sheet of puff pastry to wrap the salmon and lay one half of the salmon, skinned-side down, in the centre.
Season the salmon and smear with pesto, about a ½ inch thickness. Cover with a generous grating of parmesan. Lay the second piece of salmon on top skinned-side up, but reversed so that fat ends mate with thin ends, giving an even thickness all along the length.
Fold over the puff pastry and seal the salmon in you can brush on a little milk or beaten egg to help if you like. Turn over the salmon parcel, and cut a few slits in the pastry to release any steam.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Put the parcel to chill, loosely covered, for 15 minutes to help the pastry to crisp, if you can be bothered. Especially if you aren't ready to cook it yet.
If you like you can cut small fish shapes out of any leftover pastry and use them to decorate the salmon parcel. You can also brush it with beaten egg, which will give it a golden glaze when cooked.
Lay the salmon parcel on an oiled baking sheet, seam-side down, and bake for about 30 minutes until cooked. You want the pastry to turn colour without overcooking the salmon. Use a skewer to test the middle of the fish - it should feel warm for medium salmon, piping hot when the fish is well done or overdone, as I would call it. You may have to adjust the oven temperature to get the pastry and fish ready at the same time.
I served mine with creamed spinach and dill salad potatoes (potatoes boiled, quartered, seasoned, and mixed with sour cream, mayonnaise, chopped dill. Probably a little mustard would work too).
If you'd like (and you will), serve with cauliflower with creamy pesto sauce, or with just the sauce made by heating a pint of double cream and stirring in the juice of a lemon, 4 tbsps red pesto and 4 tbsps chopped basil.
Ve hav vays of making you eat red pesto.

Cauliflower with Creamy Pesto Sauce
side veg
I've got a jar of red pesto to use up - can you tell?

Serves 4

Break the cauliflower into florets and simmer until tender.
Press or purée the garlic and mix with the cream. Heat to a simmer, then add the pesto.
Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and lemon juice.
Pour over the cauliflower (or make the whole thing in one pot).
Yep, more pesto used.

Fantasy Cabbage Rolls
main meat
As transcribed from a bag of Nishiki sushi rice.
Sounds a bit mundane (not to mention un-roll-like) for it's exuberant title. Wonder how it would turn out.

Serves 5

Heat large frying pan over high heat.
Add beef; sauté 3 to 4 minutes, or until nicely browned.
Add onion and garlic; sauté 1 minute longer.
Mix in tomatoes (undrained), breaking up with a spoon, rice, soy sauce, oregano, basil, pepper and 1-1¼ cups water.
Arrange cabbage on top. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
Cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.
Stir cabbage into beef mixture.
Cover and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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