Jul. 1st, 2009

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I thought this was cool. Two reports on the same story, here, each giving a slightly different perspective.

Fossil Feathers Revealing Extinct Moa's True Colors

Scientists 'rebuild' giant moa using ancient DNA
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Last night, we were intending to eat supper quickly. Mother'd planned on doing something we often do in such circumstance, a frozen "shrimp scampi" thing that makes a meal if one combines it with sautéed tomatoes and zucchini and then adds pasta.

When I got home, she had the pasta water on the boil and the vegetables laid out for cutting. We then discovered that there was no such packet of shrimp scampi in the freezer.


We pulled regular frozen shrimp out of the freezer. There were no fresh onions or garlic handy (bad us!), so out came frozen onions and frozen garlic purée in little cubes, along with some frozen basil purée. About a double handfull of the frozen onions, three cubes of the garlic, two cubes of the basil. Mother went about defrosting the shrimp in the sink, whilst I put the onions, garlic, and basil (separate bowls) in the microwave to defrost.

I halved and sliced two zucchini, quartered and sliced about five plum tomatoes. I probably should have quartered the zucchini.

Sautéed (at high temperature, borderline stirfrying in a mix of grapeseed and olive oil) the onion and garlic, after pressing water out of the onion, with a few grinds of black pepper. Probably got them a little too brown, because I was distracted.

Scooped them out of the pan, threw in the zucchini. On reflection, I should've done the shrimp at this point instead. Softened the zucchini with red pepper and black, reserved the lot in a bowl.

Then the shrimp. Till pink, with red pepper, black pepper, and a little bit of fennel seed. Next time I'll increase the fennel seed, slightly.

Out with the shrimp, and in with the tomatoes and the zucchini. Got them heating, and threw in the basil purée. I should really have used more basil--I was concerned it would be as strong as dried. On reflection, that was a foolish assumption. Also more red and black pepper. Had meant to throw in white wine, but it seemed liquid enough with the tomatoes, etc, so I didn't. Threw in the onion and garlic.

Added the shrimp. Smelling it, and thinking about how much red pepper I'd used, I squeezed in half a lemon to reduce the heat--it wouldn't have been a concern if it were my father and myself alone, but my mother can't take so much hot pepper. On reflection, this may have been unneccessary, but it's hard to say.

Reduced the liquid a bit further. Added the pasta (farfalle, cooked just to the edge of al dente, so it wouldn't suffer with being heated a bit more in the pan). Served three comfortably, with a little bit left over for lunch.

Took slightly longer than Plan A, but I still made the session and managed to get in a couple hours of good tunes. (Despite the twit with the spoons, who was apparently both visiting from away and related to somebody and therefore wasn't shut up. It's probably just as well that I don't know Con Fada Ó Drisceóil's "The Spoons Murder" well enough to sing it.)
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Haddock baked in cider (Theodora Fitzgibbon. Irish Traditional Food. (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1991), 55)

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
4 large fillets haddock
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Sprig of fennel or lemon thyme, or a bay leaf
2 shallots or 1 small onion, sliced
4 lemon slices
1/2 pint dry cider

Lightly grease an ovenproof dish with some of the butter. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper and roll the fish fillets in the mixture. Lay the floured fillets in the dish, then add the herbs, shallot or onion, and the lemon slices. Pour cider in the dish and dot the fish with the remaining butter. Cover with foil and bake gently at 180 C, 350 F, Mark 4 for half an hour. Take of the foil and glaze for a few minutes under a hot grill, but not long enough for it to dry up. Serves 4.
I used to make this with hake, living in Cork City. (Yes, I learnt to cook in Ireland. It's not nearly as funny as it sounds.) I've not cooked it in years. Should remedy that, someday. Although hake can't be got here, there's haddock, I think.


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September 2010

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