Friday, October 9, 2009

Singaporean fish wraps

Help ma boab (quelle surprise)! The roof is finished. While I've been rainbathing in the Azores, BB has been toiling under the relentless Savoyard sun, et voilà - 4,000 slates, €15,000 and three months later ...

The window problem alluded to in his brief email was this: the glass had to be removed from the Velux windows before the brackets could be fixed, then reinserted. So he had to hold the glass with one hand (weighing 70 kg - or two sacks of cement) while trying to disengage two small pins in the hinges with his other three in order to slot the glass back in. All whilst balancing at a precarious angel on the roof!

He then realised that he'd put the copper flashing on incorrectly on the first two windows and had to take all the slates off above them (200) to correct the mistake and put them all back on again. This is his fourth - and last - roof and the relief is palpable. Not bad for someone who's petrified of heights. Windows and doors next.

I came across this recipe for Singaporean fish wraps in a Homes & Gardens magazine recently which uses banana leaves. But since banana trees are hard to come by in the French Alps (unless you grow them in your front garden like Poire) I substituted vine leaves which I picked when we helped Roquin with la vendange (grape harvest) just before I left for the Azores. The result is a kind of light fluffy fish mousse with all those amazing Asian flavours - although I should have blanched the leaves first to make them more pliable because it was a bit like wrestling with live bats, the leaves were so tricky to tie up.

Serves 4-6
25 g fresh ginger
750 g boneless, skinless white fish cut into chunks
2 tsp ground turmeric
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp chilli oil
2 tbsp fish sauce
150 ml coconut cream
fresh banana leaves (to be used as wrapping only)
peanut or corn oil
1 kaffir lime leaf, shredded

1. Peel and finely slice the ginger and put in a food processor with the fish, turmeric, garlic, sugar, chilli oil, fish sauce and coconut cream. Blitz for 30 seconds to form a paste.

2. Brush the banana leaves with oil on one side and cut into rectangles. Place a teaspoon of paste in the centre of each rectangle and top with shreds of kaffir lime leaf. Fold the parcels and secure with string. Cook under a very hot grill for 2 minutes each side.

♫ Cook along to: Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell

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