Older
Diary
1st June 2021
Journey's End
Harmony's Bill of Sale
Yes, she's gone, gone, gone.

The day has come at last and I don't whether to laugh or cry. Harmony is sold.😢

On the one hand she was only getting yellower and weedier sitting there unused in North Shields, but on the other hand... well, we had some good times.
I dropped in again to finish emptying her the other day (don't ask!) and I was describing to my boat broker how intimately I knew the boat - even after all this time away, in the pitch dark I could still put my hand on any light switch. Boats have lots of small lights, and lots of small light switches. And I knew them all. Sigh.
Eventually it's going to be a weight off my mind - the berthing fees and the worry about damage every time there's bad weather. I had noticed, last time I visited, that one of her shore lines had almost worn through. (Good job I'd doubled them up 😉)
But until then, every time there's a fresh breeze early on a sunny morning I still keep thinking God, I miss sailing. I should get a boat!

While I was visiting I took some people, who turned out to be the new owners, out for a demonstration and we motored downriver and briefly got the sails up in the bay off South Shields at the mouth of the Tyne. So I did get a last sail on her after all. And the best of it was nothing broke, went wrong, or fell off. Bonus!

So Malcolm and Karen - I wish you all the best sailing. If Harmony brings you only a tenth of the joy I had you'll have struck a bargain!
As for me - perhaps one day I'll move back closer to the sea...


Old Salad Gazpacho Soup
soup salad veg vegan
I had made up a pretty reasonable green salad made from mandolined cabbage, red onion, carrots, chillies, green olives, cornichons, and pimped out with chopped parsley, broccoli florets, capers and a drizzle of fine chardonnay vinegar. Unfortunately I couldn't eat it because one of my teeth has decided to split, and until I get it extracted I can only drink.
Thank God for drink!

So, I turned the salad into a fluid by blending it up with some tomato juice, that I had spare from the Bloody Marys.
It does look a bit brown, but served with paprika, a few sour cream trails and drizzled with expensive olive oil it's really rather nice!
You can add pickled beetroot to redden it, but you do need quite a lot, which starts to affect the flavour.

I had another go at making two of these soups:
  • I blended one with fresh beetroot juice and a splash of balsamic or aged red wine vinegar. You certainly get a fantastic deep blood colour from the beetroot, but the dark musty flavour is a bit overwhelming. You need to avoid overdoing the juice, or cutting it with tomato juice or some other reddish liquid.
  • To get a brighter green gazpacho I added spinach to the second blend and thinned it with Welch's White Grape Pear & Apple juice and a splash of chardonnay vinegar. That worked pretty well, though again it's easy to allow the spinach flavour to dominate.
I bet you could pretty much do this with any old (or not old) vegetable salad. And maybe even one with chicken or cheese in it?

Ingredients
Method
Blend your salad until it's smooth, thinning with the liquid of your choice.
Flavour.
Season.
Serve with a drizzle of fine olive oil, a few torn herbs, a swirl of sour cream or a dollop of yoghurt. As you prefer.
Almost makes me want to keep my split tooth. Almost.

Exotic Chicken and Rice
fowl main
Internet chef John from Food Wishes dot Com has the weirdest lilting accent. I'm not sure if I love it or hate it.
But I did enjoy his exotic chicken.

Serves 4

Ingredients
Method
Add yogurt, lime zest and juice, salt, paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, white pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice for marinade to a large mixing bowl; whisk to combine.
I reduced the salt to 1 teaspoon, increased the coriander to 1 tsp, and added ½ teaspoon of turmeric.

Make one or two slits into each piece of dark chicken meat, down to the bone. Add chicken parts to the yogurt marinade and toss very thoroughly. Wrap in plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours.
You can leave the chicken skin on or off, as you prefer. Or even used boned chicken parts.
Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C/Gas Mark 8. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish.

Grind saffron in a mortar with a pestle. Pour in 1/4 cup chicken broth and stir to combine.
Or just substitute a teaspoon of turmeric for the colour.
Combine unsalted butter and salt in a saucepan; pour in remaining 2 cups chicken broth and chicken broth-saffron mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add basmati rice and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly, and let simmer gently for exactly 15 minutes; do not disturb while cooking. Turn off the heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
Though this uses proportionally rather less water than I'm used to (1.5-to-1 rather than 2-to-1) it does work pretty well leaving the rice fairly firm for casseroling. You need to turn the heat down very low though, and you still might get a little browning on the bottom.
Though 1½ cups of rice is just about right for 3 people, you might find you need more - say 2 cups rice and 3 cups of chicken stock. Which you made by boiling up the remains of the chicken carcass.
While the rice is still hot, transfer it into the prepared casserole dish. Use a fork to fluff the rice while gently spreading into an even layer. Place the chicken pieces, skin-side up, on top of rice. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Not sure about olive oil, which seems an odd flavour here. Maybe vegetable oil, ghee or dot with butter?

Roast in the center of the preheated oven until chicken is no longer pink in the centers and juices run clear, about 45 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone, should read 165°F (74°C).

While chicken is in the oven, mix yogurt, garlic, green onions, mint, cilantro, salt, and water (maybe a splash of chardonnay vinegar or lime juice too!) together for sauce. Reserve in the refrigerator until needed. Serve chicken and rice on a plate and top with sauce.
Went down well. As far as one can tell with a grumpy child who mysteriously refuses to eat anything, but then sneaks back later and wolfs down the lot.
And even though I only used skinless chicken breasts, it really does take ¾ hour at Gas Mark 8! Which can turn the rice a little crunchy around the edges.
It goes well with broccoli florets browned, fried briefly with a turmeric/ginger/mustard powder paste, then dressed with grated creamed coconut.
* The sauce is not optional!

Oven Roast Sausages
DESCRIPTION
main breakfast meat
So if you're too lazy to fry your sausages, don't own a frying pan, or can't be bothered because the Philistines you're cooking for can't tell the difference - you can roast your sausages in the oven.
Despite what some websites might have you believe they certainly won't manage it in 20 minutes at Gas Mark 4 though, so start them off at Gas Mark 5-6/190-200°C/380-400°F, allow 30 minutes, and don't overload the oven dish.
Give them a good greasing with dripping, lard or oil and turn them over every 10 minutes, so you can keep an eye on them. And for Christ's sake don't prick them!

The only real advantage oven-roasting has over pan-frying is that you can more successfully roast frozen sausages. It will take more like 45 minutes, at a slightly lower temperature, and you will need to keep turning them.


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