Friday, 4 July 2008

Fish tale

The Doctor was not best pleased the other day when he arrived home from work to find that, having promised to buy something for supper, I had ended up with two whole sea bass. Not scaled, not gutted, not filleted, just, you know, with the eyes, fins and everything still there.

I helpfully provided him with a Rick Stein recipe book I mysteriously seem to own (where did I get it - and when?) that tells you how to prepare fish. He spent the next 15 minutes elbow deep in a washing-up bowl full of scales, blood and guts, armed with a lethally sharp Global knife. Which is probably not what he expected after a tough day at the hospital– while he’s not actually a surgeon, I’m sure he sees enough gore to be going on with during his daily travails.

So why the fishy blunder? It all resulted from shopping with the Littleboys on the Northcote Road. For those readers who are not local, this road, perhaps the spiritual heart of Nappy Valley, is a mecca for upmarket boutiques aimed at the pregnant, child-wielding or just plain Desperate Housewifey (latest shop opening up there is a branch of Cath Kidston). Consequently, money simply flows from your purse – whether it’s the expensive groceries, upmarket kids’ clothes or the extortionate birthday cards that does it – and the whole experience feels vaguely unreal.

We had to shop for various presents, a sunhat and wellies for Littleboy 2 (yes, I know that seems a strange combo in midsummer, but they are for Norway) and various other items. So by the time we reached the posh fish restaurant that doubles as a fishmonger, my wallet was a lot lighter and the Littleboys were bored. Littleboy 1 decided he would quite like to swing like a monkey on the metal bead curtain in the doorway of the shop, grab the lemons and potatoes on display and throw them around, and beat up his brother at the same time.

So I wasn’t concentrating at all on what I was doing. I’m sure I asked for fillets to begin with, but by the time the clueless guy running the counter had established that no, they didn’t have the lemon sole they were actually advertising outside, and yes, there was mackerel but only for the restaurant…. Well, I was fairly Desperate myself. And, aside from nearly fainting at the price of the sea bass, I didn’t actually notice what he did with them (ie nothing) or look at what was in the bag till we reached home.

Anyway, The Doctor now knows how to prepare a sea bass. So on balance I reckon I have equipped him with another useful life skill. And yes, they were worth it - absolutely delicious.

My next udpate will be post-Norway, so watch this space for how to gut and pickle a herring….


Anonymous said...

The virtues of having a doctor in the house. First time I tried to cook a whole fish was at University. Someone had told me the microwave was brilliant for cooking fish - so I bunged in my trout. A couple of minutes later comes a bang and a pop. The next hour was spent scraping fish brains from the window and chasing a loose eyeball [fish's not mine] around the kitchen floor.
A salutory lesson.

GoneBackSouth said...

Respect to the Doctor for rising to the challenge and being a good sport. If it had been me I would have put the fish, eyes-n-all, straight in the freezer and nipped to Waitrose for an oven-ready fish pie.

Tara@From Dawn Till Rusk said...

Taking the children to the fresh fish counter is a great form of cheap entertainment in this house. They LOVE it. "What is THAT mummy?" they saw in awe and amazement at the whole monkfish/salmon/lobster on display. Of course when they play up it's also the best threat going "the monkfish won't be happy if you hit your sister like that, buddy. Just think about it . . ."

Frog in the Field said...

I adore whole sea bass, but would have got Darling Husband to gut it.
In fact Darling Husbands' best friend often turns up here with fresh trout he's just caught. He internally adjusts it in my sink, feeds the cts and then drops them inthe freezer before he goes...very handy!

The Dotterel said...

It's a bit like knowing someone who has an allotment (instead of having one yourself). A fisherman friend (keen and skilled) does the same for us - fresh trout, hours out of water and ready to cook - mmmm!) PS: thanks for the blogroll (my first - I'm so excited). Only problem is, it doesn't work (I know, how sad - I've tried it; I've also had some friends try, and forced some other blogs to put it on to test it and I think it's 'their' fault - bloggers, that is - but try getting any help from them!) Could you change the link to the dotterel site (where people can navigate back if they so wish)? Thanks. (I'm really, really excited by all this - does it show?)

The Dotterel said...

Of course, I mean 'Blogspot'. It's their fault: a technical hitch but I can't make head nor tail of the helpdesk.