I dined last night on my own and it was so good I ate the whole lot with a fork straight from the frying pan. With no one around to disapprove of my unladylike behaviour, when I had finished I even ran my finger around the edge of the pan to scrape up any little bits that had escaped my fork.
There, I have confessed, so now I feel totally absolved of any perceived greediness.
Normally if I am cooking supper for myself, for speed I will have something very basic but delicious like a fresh herb omelette or garlicky mushrooms on toast, but as yesterday was market day in Diss (Friday), I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to buy some fish from the very good fish stall, perched (no pun intended) at the very top of the market square.
To be honest I felt a bit uncomfortable buying one mackerel and found myself rambling mindlessly to the fishmonger about the reasons why I was only buying one solitary fish, worried that he might assume I was splitting the mackerel into three and thereby think me mean.
I have a thing about meanness. It is a trait I find very difficult to come to terms with in anyone, for whatever reason they may have had in the past to warrant such a quirk in their personality.
Thankfully, I have rarely found a mean cook. A gastronome’s desire to share food with anyone who would care to sit at their table, whether it be spread with a princely feast or the remnants of a loaf of bread and an end of cheese is universal. Around the globe, the ungrudging generosity of people who love their food seems to be ingrained in the soul.
People who love and respect all aspects of their food, from how it is grown or reared, to how it is cooked and eaten will happily sit round a table with total strangers to share not just the edible goods, but share stories, recipes, knowledge and information, with an enthusiasm and passion normally reserved for just old friends.
To be able to extend a bountiful hand is a joy that cannot be explained. It lifts the spirit of the giver and the receiver, breaks down invisible barriers and restores a faith in human kindness. To me, nothing can replace the hours I have spent discussing food and cooking with friends, family and colleagues. It is something I cherish, the agreements and disagreenent alike. Food is such an important part of life it deserves to be talked about just as much as the vagaries of the British weather, and probably even more so.
I will share my food with anyone who takes a remote piece of interest, and I wouldn’t let even the meanest of people go hungry, although they wouldn’t get my last maltester.
- Knob of butter
- 1 Tablespoon Golden Caster Sugar
- 50g Fresh Redcurrants
- 100g Cooked Quinoa
- 1 Tablespoon Capers
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon olive or rapeseed oil.
- 1 Mackerel, filleted (or 2 mackerel fillets)
- Sea salt and Black Pepper
- Watercress to serve
- In a small pan, heat the butter and sugar until melted.
- Add the redcurrants, cook for a minute or so then squash with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add the quinoa, capers and parsley and cook for the further 2 minutes.
- In a separate pan, heat the oil then fry the mackerel fillets for about two minutes on either side until cooked. Remove the fish from the pan onto a warmed plate.
- Quickly add the quinoa mixture to the pan that had fish in, scraping off any bits that had stuck to the bottom.
- Serve with watercress.