It’s the May bank holiday weekend in London and after the week I have had, its been a welcome break, only, J is away this weekend to visit his family so I am home alone. Well, I love him very much, but its good for us to have a break occasionally. It works well to recharge the batteries and keep the flame going. So my friend K and I decided that we would explore the English countryside together and booked ourselves into a gorgeous 1700’s farmhouse in Kent.
Armed with our Lonely planet, we set off on Saturday afternoon. Motorway driving is incredible fun especially when you are cruising at ‘ridiculous miles an hour’ blaring camp Bollywood classics. I have to say that the English countryside never fails to amaze me. Whether it is wet with rain or a couple of minutes of sunshine, it is gorgeous. Quaint little villages, beautiful undulating fields dotted with sheep, amazing manor houses and incredible yellow rapeseed farms. It’s a wonderful and refreshing change from the crazy hustle-bustle of London.
The most beautiful part of the English countryside, apart from the village pubs are the little tea shops with English cream teas! Yum! There is nothing like warm scones, clotted cream and fresh raspberry jam. Last night we drove from London to the Kent Weald which was gorgeous, something out of Pride and Prejudice. Then this morning we drove to one of the oldest towns in England, Rye and then explored the countryside before ending up in Brighton. Our friend JE had just finished the Stonewall Equality Walk for LGBT rights. We went to say hello to the political gays (some hotties there I will add!) and then headed back to London after a quick bevvie (non alcoholic for me!) Incredible weekend!
K is one of my best friends, he knows me so well, in fact sometimes better than I know myself! Whenever we get drunk together and go completely nostalgic, we end up scrounging around for some Old Monk rum ( I always have a steady supply) and listen to old Bollywood music (much to J’s irritation). K has been my dearest friend ever since I arrived in London. You know when you have a connection with certain friends, no matter what they will always be there for you! You can fight, argue and disagree but at the end of the day, nothing will change the connection and love that you have! It felt like that this weekend and it was so lovely. Cherish your friends, you never know how life will end up.
This recipe has nothing to do with this anecdote. I got side tracked! I promise to tell you the story one day – it was a good ‘date night’ meal. Made J very happy, if you know what I mean (evil grin)!
Steamed Salmon with Rosemary Potatoes and Garlic Creamed Spinach. (Serves 2)
I suggest you prepare the salmon first. When you toss it in the oven, start up the potatoes and spinach. You should have them done by the time the fish is ready to come out of the oven. I promise you an orgy of aromas!
2 salmon fillets ( if you can’t get Salmon use fillets of any meaty fish. In India, I will suggest King Fish)
1-2 (depending on your spice resistance) fresh birdseye red chillies finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
0.5 inch of ginger finely chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley finely chopped
4-5 spring onions diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of olive oil
This is the fun bit. Put all the ingredients except the salmon in a bowl and mix well. Then rub all over the salmon, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour. Place the salmon, coated with the marinate in the middle of a rectangle of kitchen foil. Fold the foil in half and crimp the end to give you a sold of foil pasty like in the pictures here. I learnt this trick at the Billingsgate cookery school. The parcels are fantastic for steaming the flavours. Make sure you crimp edges but leave enough air inside. Place under a grill at 180 deg for 30 mins. When you open the parcels before you serve, you should see this white creamy liquid on the fish, that will suggest the fish is cooked.
Step one: Place fish on the foil
Step Two: Crimp ends
Step three: Place under the grill
For the potatoes you will need :
250 gms of baby new potatoes.
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped rosemary. (I don’t use the dried stuff, its disgusting! If you cant find rosemary you can use parsley as well)
2 tablespoons of salted butter
A good glug of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the potatoes with the skin on till you can put a fork through it. Drain the water and chuck in the butter, rosemary or parsley, salt and pepper and mix well. Voila!
For the spinach you will need:
250 gms of Spinach
3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
3 tablespoons of single cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Now what I do is when I am boiling the potatoes, I put my collander full of spinach on top of the pot with the potatoes so it will steam the spinach. This way you can do everything simultaneously and wont waste time during date night! Don’t forget to cover the collander with a lid so the spinach wilts. Leave it for about 10 -15 minutes. Then in a frying pan, heat a tablespoon of oil and fry the garlic till golden brown. Reduce the flame, chuck in the spinach and the seasoning. Put the stove off and mix in the cream. That’s it!