Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Bernie, the bolt"

I was working on the computer this morning when I looked up to see a rickety old wheelbarrow full of concrete resting on a thin wooden pallet wobble past the third storey window. I felt momentarily giddy as I tried to fathom a volley of questions such as: "why aren't they using the concrete bucket attachment for the crane?"; "why hasn't the wheelbarrow fallen off yet?"; and ultimately, "where is the wheelbarrow going to fall off?" I rushed to the window and found myself shouting: "up, up, up, left a bit, right a bit, left a bit, left a bit, LEFT A BIT! ....." in a bid to steer the barrow away from my flower garden and towards the staircase where it was supposed to be heading but before I could finish, the wheelbarrow and contents toppled over and crashed on to the lawn, narrowly missing the pergola for my wisteria.

I had to go out for a walk to calm down after that and on my way back I met Top Modèl's brother who'd been trout fishing in the stream at the bottom of our garden and very generously gave me some of his catch to cheer me up after my stressful morning.

I don't like to do too much to trout when cooking it. A whole trout stuffed with fresh thyme and roasted in the oven for 10 minutes, served with roasted lemons, is my preferred method, but when looking for other ways to cook it I found this in an Elizabeth David book, which I like as much for the poetry as the simplicity of the recipe.

les truites à la manière Alsacienne
"A trout, when it is a fairly large one, I prefer cooked au bleu, with the sole accompaniment of a few little curls of butter; but when chance - a happy chance - has filled your fishing basket with only a score or so of small trout, you can make an exquisite dish of them by cooking them in a court-bouillon in which white wine, butter, onion, salt, pepper, parsley, a clove and a little good stock have prepared, for your little fishes, a marvellously aromatic bath.

"Then, when they are cooked, which does not take very long, you simply sprinkle them with butter in which you have cooked a few breadcrumbs until they are golden.

"Here is an exquisite dish, even a naïf dish, but one in every way worthy of the learned gastronome." Gaston Thierry La Table 1932

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