Sunday, 11 March 2012

Wrapped in Warmth... at Last

Doesn't the sun, blue skies and warmth just make you feel a whole load better? The picture above is looking toward the south bank of the River Humber this afternoon. Welcome to new follower Peter Rubinstein. I don't know anything about you Peter, but you are very welcome anyway. The flowers are late and sparse in the garden this year which is a little disappointing but the daffodils are out on the grass verges, the the buds are showing quite clearly in the bushes and some of the trees. Indeed, I've noticed cherry blossom around although my cherry tree is nowhere near producing yet.

The fish in the ponds are eating wheatgerm now, pretty low protein stuff, nothing too rich - it just gets them going and I've decided to put some salt in the water in the next couple of weeks to aid their health. 

Normally as you know, I'm a fairly positive person, glass half full - that sort of thing, but last night we had some Norwegian smoked haddock and I am so disappointed.  Our normal smoked haddock from the supermarkets (we don't have a fishmonger round us) is yellow. This is from a dye I understand rather than a true smoking unless anyone can tell me different.  This Norwegian haddock is just off white (see the picture below) and did not have a strong odour, even when cooking which is quite a refreshing change. I cooked it for exactly the same time, around five minutes in gentle simmering water and it tasted of - nothing. It was meaty and flaked beautifully but was without any taste, so much so, my two lads who loved smoked haddock couldn't eat it and it took me years to get them to eat fish.

Next time I guess it will be okay in a kedgeree, a recipe I've seen the Hairy Bikers (TV chefs for those who don't know) use with rice and eggs and a touch of optional spiciness, normally a breakfast dish. Kedgeree was introduced to the UK by the way of returning colonials from India in Victorian times, but the recipe goes back to around 1340.

You live and learn. I was sat in the garden this afternoon enjoying the sun and the cat playing around my feet with twigs - she's still like a kitten sometimes. I saw a huge bird of prey swirling in circles up above us climbing high on the thermals and I have little idea what it was but we do have red kites in the area, what a magnificent sight. I just couldn't capture a photograph of it. Talking of birds, although the crows are now nesting in trees nearby that they have never used before, which is a delightful sight, the little birds have not used the bird boxes as they have in past years although there seem to be plenty of the little fellows around.  Perhaps there's still plenty of time. 

I did notice today that the grass will almost certainly need a high cut imminently; the first of the year. I know this is strange, but I love cutting the grass, not only is it exercise, but the fresh air and the resulting look to the garden is very satisfying indeed. 

I'm back to the healthy eating and exercise will follow very shortly. I'm not using the 'D' word any more (of or relating to a food regimen designed to promote weight loss in a person) and after a fortnight - I already feel better.  Thanks to my friends for their encouragement. I must mean it this time - there are biscuits and chocolate goodies around the huge office I now work in and so far, I've resisted it all.

I hope you've had a great weekend and have a safe and successful week ahead!

Chat soon



  1. We did our second cut of the grass this year today. It's more like a swamp than a garden though.
    Good luck with the healthy eating. I've been doing well since November. I'm walking about 4km a day which helps a lot.

  2. When we went to Norway a few years ago, I have to say I wasn't too impressed with the fish. The Norwegians love it but I like my fresh haddock -- not that we get any down here. I do think that healthy eating and some exercise is good for me -- better than the D word which has you thinking about food all the time. So glad you are all having a nice break in the weather over there. We have had almost no winter so far this year and lots of sunshine,'tho rather chilly winds for us and definitely cold nights -- again cold for us.

  3. Oh Rare, I am at this moment making real butter form our real raw milk and wish you were here to serve you a real meal. I too get more and more discouraged about supermarket food and this year hubby and I plan to grow ALL our own food to last us one year. We'll see how it goes. The processed and packaged and shipped way too far otems are sucking up our money and our health. But as always thanks fo the great post. you always relax me

  4. That 'supermarket yellow' dyed fish that passes for Finny nowadays is salted and uses a preservative, nitrate, which is fine in sausages and bacon, but in fish? Dear me no....

    Haddock doesn't salt well anyway. Did you know they grow up to 4 feet long? Must get a bigger plate(I did a stint in a fishmongers in Sheffield's Castle Market).

    Try braising the proper stuff gently in some healthy full fat milk with unsalted butter for 20 mins, with a pinch of black pepper, and then thicken the sauce. Keep an eye on it, or it'll try and climb out to join it's mates in the pond.

    Like Donna, Bear and I fed up with supermarket food and are going to grow try to what we can. Again :)

  5. Hi Val
    Well done on your walking - I haven't got a dog but am determined to walk more as the warmer wether gets here.

    Hi ChrisJ
    It sounds like a real strange weather time for you. There are certianly a lot of changes around for most of us. Last two years - tons of snow - this year - nothing hardly at all - two days worth.

    Hi Donna
    It sounds absolutely delicious and I wish you absolutely every best wish for your project of growing all your own food. Thanks for the kind remarks.

    Hi Wheelie
    Of course a lot of people in the UK only know cod, haddock is peculiar preferences for local areas and I can remember years ago haddock being the poor relation of the two.