Untitled events

Last week the first daffodils were out and this Saturday morning I have been down to end of the garden were we have a small pond that has been mostly taken over by reeds. Somehow a couple of goldfish have managed to survive in there for the last four or five years but I couldn’t see them this morning. Instead there was a large bulbous mass of frog spawn. Good to see that at least one of the frogs we had in the garden last year has been able to survive the cats.

Almost directly opposite the kitchen window there is a stone wall that is about eight feet tall. It is crumbling around the edges and every year I have to cut back the buddleia which seems able to penetrate every spare crack. There is an hole in the wall and over the last few days a couple of blue tits have been eyeing it up. It is just about out of reach of the cats although one year a cat did manage to position itself on the top of the wall directly above the hole and it came within a flick of its claw to putting to an end that years family until a sharp stone sent it on its way.

The weekend after

The Saturday after the Saturday of the party and Ireland now seems a very long way from Birkenhead.


When we left on Monday morning the sun was out and water looked pale and white across the bay. In the car we listened to the playlist that I had put together for the party and decided that it would be good to have another party sometime soon to give people a proper opportunity to listen to the playlist. We got to Dublin at least an hour early and so there was time to go in to the City, park up near The Liffey and find ourselves in Dublin’s oldest pub for a conciliatory pint of Guinness and a corn-beef sandwich.

The playlist is still on in the car shuffling out my favourite songs. It can be debilitating  to be driving along and have three or four songs come in a row each of which is guaranteed to make me go weak at the knees.

There are still clues to last week. I haven’t yet got round to putting the pink shirt I wore for fishing in the wash and it is still available for to take in its scent, a mixture of damp sea and the results of me using it to wipe my hands on it having gutted some mackerel.


There is a stuffed mackerel on a chair looking for a home and a seemingly endless pile of the pictures of mackerel drawn by the kids.

In order to make creative use of my time I have been looking up recipes for crab tart. I just need to find the crabs!


Morito’s Barberry Vodka

For the last few months there has been a half packet of dried barberries on the side in the kitchen.

I finally got round to doing something with them today. I had spotted the recipe in the Morito cookbook soon after I had bought it but had never got round to remembering to buy a half bottle of vodka when I had the opportunity to do so.

I remembered today. It took five minutes to pour out a nip of vodka, chop up the dried barberries and then push them into the bottle. It has already taken on a pale pink.

It should be ready by the end of the month. Nicely timed for when we get back from Ireland and will be in need of cheering up.

For lunch we had ham sandwiches and the only big red tomato from the greenhouse (along with some other red tomatoes that came from a better greenhouse).

Listening to thunder and a slowed down funky country Don’t Be Cruel. 

Fideos with Clams

I need to do more exercise. I woke up this morning with a stiff right shoulder.

This came first of all from using a balloon whisk to whip the cream for the Blueberry Syllabub and then later using the same whisk to make a thick garlic flavoured Alioli to go with the pan of Fideos with Clams I made for supper.

The recipe for both came from the Morito cookbook.

Fideo is basically a paella made with pasta instead of rice. You can buy the pasta to make it with from Lunya but it doesn’t have to be anything special. I have in the past made it with macaroni, and broken up angel hair pasta would work just as well.

I made a fish stock with a massive hake’s head from Wards. I also bought from them 25 carpet clams and five large prawns.

I started cooking by frying chopped onions, garlic, green pepper, a leek and tomatoes in olive oil until they were soft and golden. They were seasoned with a couple of bay leaves, sprigs of thyme, saffron and lemon zest. I tipped the cooked vegetables out of the pan, added more oil and fried the fideo until they just started to brown, then tipped the vegetables back in, gave it a stir and poured in the stock.

Rather than cooking it on the hob I put the pan into a hot oven but not before tucking the clams in.

Whilst that cooked I made the alioli. Two egg yolks into a large metal bowl and then drip drip dripping in a mixture of olive and sunflower oil all the while beating fiercely with the balloon whisk. It took about ten minutes of solid beating until it all came together, a pale yellow mayonnaise into which I stirred a couple of garlic cloves that had been crushed up in sea salt.

At the last moment I fried the prawns in hot oil with more garlic, salt and pepper and laid them around the pan of fideos.

We spooned it onto our plates dolloping the alioli on top. We ate it with a salad made with some of the golden beetroot that are growing in the garden, it looked like a blaze of sunshine.

Listening to Rod Stewart.