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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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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.)
ap_aelfwine: (Default)
Short-crust pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 1/2 oz. butter (one stick plus half an ounce; I often use Brummel and Brown yoghurt margarine stuff to make up the half ounce, which may give a bit of extra tenderness)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3ish tablespoons cold water

Cut together the flour, butter, sugar, and salt. When it looks like a bowl of little lumps, add the cold water and cut together until it looks like a lump of dough. Put the lump on plastic wrap, wrap it up, shape the dough into a rough ball, press it into a disk, and stick it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I often make the pastry the night before.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin, flour the disk of dough, and roll it out into a rough oval.

Take a double handfull of blackberries. Mix them with a decent amount of sugar and a little bit of flour--about half a tablespoon of flour, I'd say, too little is better than too much.

Wedge two Granny Smith apples, cut out the cores, then chop them into approximately blackberry-sized pieces. This should equal the volume of blackberries, more or less. Mix the chopped apple with the blackberries, adding a bit more sugar. I usually grate in a bit of nutmeg, cinnamon, and dried ginger as well.

Lay the pastry out on a greased baking sheet--I usually cover the sheet in aluminium foil first, as it saves the sheet from having juices baked on permanently if the filling leaks slightly.

Dump the apple-blackberry mixture in the approximate centre of the pastry, spread it out into an ovalish shape, leaving something like an inch and a half of pastry surrounding. Roll the edges of the pastry up, producing a roughly oval-shaped tart. A sprinkling of sugar on the edges of the crust may help its browning, slightly.

Bake until the crust is lightly browned and the apples are soft--somewhere around twenty-five minutes to half an hour.

Transfer to a platter or cutting board, cool, slice, and serve.

ETA: peaches work as well as apples. The baking time should be less, more like twenty minutes.

This is based essentially on the recipe for galette aux pommes given in Cooking at Home with Jacques and Julia, by Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. When using apples alone, I tend to use a jam-brandy glaze, as they do; I find this unnecessary with berries.


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September 2010

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