Another trip to Eyemouth that ended up in Pittenweem.
Seems to be something of a habit!
So once again we missed out on a nice dinner at the Churches Hotel
but we did get a decent fish supper from the Pittenweem fish shop.
And to the naked chick who flashed me from that upstairs window - if you're really about 14, I'm sorry I looked.
Otherwise I'll see you next year!
Due to tidal considerations we had to leave port at the crack of dawn, so we got a very nice sunrise over the Isle of May,
and later a very nice steak lunch on the way back upriver.
Mind you, I think I'm figuring out why Scottish steak has always proved so very disappointingly inferior to American steaks.
It's because they're always so bloody thin! What's wrong with you people?
Some of the best cow meat in the world and you slice it like you were re-soling flip-flops.
I mean, I know that you Scots have a racial tendency to frugality, but the place is covered
in cow meat.
Cut it like you mean it for God's sake!
Having said that, the lardy effect of bucket-loads of American grain feed might also have something to do with it,
pumping in all that delicious fatty marbling.
Particularly as we Brits are now mortally afraid of hanging our lean meats to improve their flavour,
preferring instead to wrap them in plastic as soon as possible.
To cook up your very nice steak lunch, first get the steaks out of the fridge in plenty of time to bring them up to cabin temperature,
then rub them with a pinch or two each of salt and leave to rest.
Chop the onions and start them caramelising for your peperonata
, then lightly scrub some potatoes,
quarter them as necessary, and set them to boil in heavily salted water in a pressure cooker.
Slice your mushrooms and get them sweating up for a nice mustard mushroom sauce
then begin heating up a dry frying pan as hot as you're skipper will let you to fry the steaks in.
Pat the steaks dry and clean of salt, then rub them with pepper and olive oil.
When the potatoes come to the boil, put on the pressure lid and cook them for 10-15 minutes, while you fry the steaks for 1 minute per side,
plus a minute for every centimetre of thickness.
So twenty seconds per side for a good Scottish steak then. Don't overfill the pan.
Set the steaks aside in tin foil to rest while you finish off the sauces and the potatoes.
Mustard Mushroom Sauce
Quite a nice simple sauce - though crème fraîche might be a good alternative to the cream,
and you could add a dash of sherry to the mushrooms too, if you had any aboard.
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- a few tablespoons cream
- 2 egg yolks
Clean the mushrooms, and slice them into the thickness of 2 pound coins.
Sweat them gently in the butter
until their juice is drawn out,
then stir through the mustard and add a generous amount of cream.
Simmer gently until the sauce thickens.
Season and serve.
If you like you can beat two egg yolks with a little cream and use these to thicken the sauce more.
Don't overheat though, or you'll have Mustard Mushroom Scrambled Eggs.
Fried peppers, onions and tomatoes
A proper peperonata needs a good long, slow cooking so that the peppers and onions are soft enough to crush between your fingers.
Unfortunately skippers rarely have time for such niceties, so I've speeded this recipe up. A bit.
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- a dash of sugar
- 2 red/yellow peppers thinly sliced
- a couple of pinches of dried herbs
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- orange juice
- salt & pepper
Peel and finely chop the onion, and leave gently frying in butter while you prepare the peppers.
Give them the odd stir and don't let them burn, but you want them to caramelize nice and evenly.
Add a pinch or two of sugar if you like to help things along.
Core and slice the peppers. When the onions are nicely browned add them to the pan along with some dried herbs. Oregano would be nice.
Fry until softened.
Chop the tomatoes quite small and add to the pan.
Stir through until they collapse and their juice evaporates.
Lubricate with a splash or two of orange juice, season, and serve.