Pollock from Wards

It has been a raw morning. It snowed for about ten minutes at 9.30. It was beautiful snow. Great big flakes half an inch across. They drifted down slowly. There were only a few of them and they stood out in the hard clear light of the garden. It didn’t stick and after a few minutes it had turned into a thin fine sleet.

I went into  Birkenhead on a shopping trip to buy for new shoes for younger daughter. Before heading into the centre we stopped at the butchers in Oxton for a pound and a half of stewing steak and then at the grocers for onions, celery and potatoes.  All good for a warm stew for Monday night’s supper.

The shoe shopping took an hour and took me into corners of Birkenhead centre I hardly knew were there including a quick five minutes in a deserted House of Fraser. The HMV is in the process of closing down and I found myself wandering through trying to find a bargain with everything 30%. But anything worthwhile had been taken already and the shelves were down to the dregs. It was all a bit depressing.

In all I think we looked at shoes of one sort or other in about 12 shops and of course ended up buying a pair we had seen in the second shop. It was proably better than being at home and supervising revision.

The wandering around shoe shops was broken up by a brief visit to Wards. I am planning on a sustaining fish pie tomorrow and was intending to make it only with haddock – an even mixture smoked and fresh. But next to the fresh haddock they had some great fillets of pollock so I bought that instead. The pollock we catch in Ireland tend to be small and their flesh can be watery. These fillets looked good and firm.

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A quick trip to Wikipedia tells me that a few years ago Sainsbury’s took to renaming pollock colin so that customers would not be embarrassed asking for either because it might be thought they were asking for bollocks or because of its reputation as a cheap fish.

I also learn that year-old fish are traditionally split, salted and dried over a peat hearth in Orkney, where their texture becomes wooden and somewhat phosphorescent.

In Ahakista there are big ones to be had amongst the rocks beyond Carberry Island and part of the fishing competition is measuring up to see who has caught the biggest.

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