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.
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.
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.