The Unthanks & Gurnard

When I went to Wards this morning I had been planning on Red Mullet for supper. Last week they had some beautiful looking ones on the counter. They were big enough for one fish to feed two. It was just going to be the two of us eating this evening and one of those would have been perfect.

The were no Red Mullet to be had  but there were a couple of Red Gunard. Gunard is an ugly brute of a fish. It has a thick hard head which looks as if it could carry out some serious battering and its colour is rawer than a Red Mullet’s and has the the look of a skinned animals head.

But behind the thick head are two good tasty fillets and the head will add a good deal of flavour to a fish soup.

The early part of the evening was spent watching The Unthanks sing Songs of the Shipyards in The Epstein Theatre. The Epstein Theatre used to be The Neptune Theatre on the 2nd floor of Hanover House. It was perfectly suited to The Unthanks, deep greens and dark wood and a closed air of Victoriana. They were dressed in black so as not to distract from the film behind them which moved from the black and white of the early pat of the twentieth century to the optimism of the 1950’s and the harsh colours and decline of the 70’s and 80’s. There was a hiss in the theatre as a picture of Margaret Thatcher came on the screen.

The music unfolded slowly with the images. Perhaps the most striking pictures were those of tight red terraced houses along the Tyne and great ships growing slowly at the end of the streets and the boats being let go with the crack of a bottle into the river.

We were home by 9.00 to eat the Gunard. I put a pan of water on to boil for linguini and got the fish ready. The oven was put on very hot. I greased a baking tray with olive oil, laid out the fillets, seasoned them with salt and pepper and scattered over some tomatoes from the greenhouse, pine kernels and basil. Before it went into the oven I squeezed over half a lemon.

The fish were ready by the time the pasta was cooked.

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