Dear Santa, please give me a set of knives…….

Quick update after my weekend class at Leiths.
After a light warm up (thinly slicing carrots and cucumber for a Thai salad) we moved straight on to filleting and skinning flat fish and round fish. As well as getting used to the different knives we were told to become familiar with our fish. This is Brian the Lemon Sole:

I named my Sea Bass Dave, but my hands were too icky to take a photo with my phone.

All neatly packed to take home then we got started on portioning the chicken:

I’m hooked 🙂

Monday stuff

While pulling together a lot of my recipes and help-docs I’ve written over the years, in the hope that I have enough material to create something useful and interesting to others [watch this space 😉 ] I realised that over the past 2 years I’ve been using more and more US websites and blogs for inspiration, especially in the Paleo/ Primal diet community. There are 2 sites I read religiously (i.e. just on Sundays…. bada bing!)  and a couple I read if I have time, but they are all US based which is odd as I see no reason why the UK shouldn’t have a strong presence in the Paleo food world too. Much as I love my main go-to sites, they do present a few challenges:

1. Confusion over the ingredients. I got past the US weights and measures issue years ago, but I’ve had many a panic over their food descriptions. ‘Grass-fed meat’ (that’s just called ‘meat’ in the UK, btw) and the importance of sourcing non-GMO tomatoes (ours are just fine thanks) wasted quite a lot of research time. Conclusion? We are bloody lucky in the UK for how safe and unadulterated our food really is, and we have some fantastic local producers (apart from that frozen lasagne thing but… really…)

2. Prohibitively expensive ingredients. It may well be avocado season in California but they are still £1 a pop here, and they might still be bland as. Yes, things do improve “in season” but we just don’t get the same glut of pumpkins etc. to bathe in.

3. Biggest problem – taste. There, I said it. Aside from the Californian contributors, and a handful of others who I would follow to the ends of the earth, there is a clear difference in palate. I did not grow up eating fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, beige vegetable in tinned condensed soup ‘casserole’ or marshmallow topped mashed pumpkin, so I do not feel the need to recreate those dishes or indulge those cravings. Taco shells and deep-fried chimichangas are a relatively new discovery for me. Burgers were a once-in-a-blue-moon treat. We didn’t have ice cream cake. Ice cream, for me, came in a single scoop in a glass but never in a 32oz cup. I also didn’t have much by way of cake or biccies either! I know, I know deprived childhood….

This is not a criticism of US food choices, just an explanation as to why so many of the suggestions I saw online just did not turn me on. It just doesn’t fit my taste, my upbringing, my cravings or what’s available for me, and that’s why I’m now doing my own thing.  I’m sure there are many foods the UK population have grown up on “just like Mother used to make” which would make a US audience squirm. Sadly, much of that is actually now “just like Mother used to make, having taken out of the box from Iceland and bunged in the microwave” but that’s another kettle of fish I’ll deal with later.

BTW. Saw a woman walking along the main road to Sainsbury’s this afternoon, wearing an animal print onesie. I appreciate that it’s a Bank Holiday but, really? Is there ever an acceptable time to be wearing one of these in public?? WTF??!! It’s your PJ’s for feck’s sake!!!!