Terribly sorry that August has been a quiet month. We have had a lot going on and it was really difficult to keep up with this column. I promise to make up for that!
I cannot express how proud I have been to be a Londoner over the past few weeks. The city just came alive to welcome the world to the Olympics. On the eve of the opening ceremony, J myself and a few others went down to Blackheath park to watch the event with about a thousand others. The city council had put up a giant screen and we were able to sit outdoors in the park and have a wonderful picnic. When the red arrows flew into the stadium (which is only a few miles away from us) the crowd in the park went wild because we could see the trail of smoke from the planes. Needless to say, many bottles of wine were consumed that night. What was incredible was the community spirit that the games brought with it, starting from that night. We were all there for a big party and a wonderful celebration. The council left the screen up for the entire period of the Olympics so everyday was one big picnic! Brilliant!
We tried really hard to go to the Olympics but didn’t get any tickets through the ballot. Then early one morning I logged into the London 2012 website and found that I managed to score some tickets to the wheelchair basketball, the athletics and the closing ceremony of the Paralympics. We were thrilled, that was brilliant news!! Last Friday we went to the wheelchair basketball. We got to the North Greenwich arena well in advance of the game anticipating long queues and big crows. We were warned of airport style security checks – I only wish the airports were so well organised and polite! The game was stunning and beyond description. We went to watch Team GB play Australia (unfortunately they lost abysmally). The home crowd would have none of it and cheered Team GB with enthusiasm. The athletes were true inspiration and kept fighting till the end. I never realised that wheelchair basketball would be so violent but you could hear the crash of the chairs as they bumped into each other. It was incredible!
I heard some weird statistics at the start of the games about how there were only a handful of openly gay athletics and that there was a move to ban countries that have homophobic laws. What was really surprising to me was that I didn’t realise that according to the Olympic charter, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is explicitly not allowed. Well, I think considering its the first year the Saudi’s have sent a female athlete, the world is making progress and we will get there soon. However as an aside, on the other hand a friend of mine said that Grindr crashed in the Olympic park on the first day of the games! Just saying…
I cannot wait to go to the closing ceremony, I need to sort out a zoom lens for my camera first. We came home super buzzed that night with all the excitement. I was all fired up to cook a meal of Olympic proportions! I had a lot of fun making this up and we had a lovely dinner washed down with some beautiful crisp sauvignon blanc and my salmon with pinenuts and thyme in a puff pastry.
Salmon with pinenuts and thyme in a puff pastry
Now, don’t be fooled by the name, this is a really simple dish and comes out really spectacularly well. It is quite impressive for dinner parties.
You will need (for two people)
2 salmon filets
1 egg yolk (beaten)
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons of pinenuts
4 cloves of garlic (chopped fine)
1 white onion (diced)
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (savoury)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Zest of one lemon
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and fry the onions and garlic till soft. Add in the thyme and pinenuts and fry for a few minutes. Season. Place the salmon fillets in a bowl and then rub this mixture all over including the lemon zest. Leave for about 20 mins.
Roll out your puff pastry on a clean surface. Cut out two squares so you can wrap each salmon fillet to make a parcel basically like a giant spring roll. Place the salmon with the stuffing mixture in the centre of the square and wrap with the pastry. Brush the beaten egg yolk over the parcel.
Place your parcel in a fan oven for 25 mins at 180 deg C or till golden brown. Serve with a fresh summer salad and a lovely glass of chilled white wine