Thursday, December 31, 2009

I wanted ...I bought.... I made

World's biggest pork chop?

New Year already - hope yours was fabulous and 2010 is full of great food. The vast feasting that is xmas is over which is probably good but seems a shame nonetheless. I really like to eat!

Perhaps an occasional frugal dish in the next few weeks may be in order, lower in calories and perhaps a little lighter just to kind of show willing though it won't last. Far too greedy, me. More exercise perhaps.

Saturday we are back to Borough though if past years are anything to go by there won't be vast amounts there. We are out in the evening to see Fiona Shaw perform The Waste Land then home to cauliflower soup from the freezer so Sunday is the starting point. I have food chain in the morning so something easy for dinner, pasta perhaps lentils with smoked bacon and herbs topped with a poached egg, so very very good. Monday I have some meatballs in the freezer made up so I'm thinking nice with chickpeas and cucumber roast chicken, pork and sage stuffing, cauliflower cheese, gravy, the works! and great lunches all week from the leftovers, Tuesday I fancy beef stew with lots of mash and boiled veg, Wednesday Chinese - I've been missing it still am as we had chick pea soup and crusty bread, Thursday perhaps roasted pork chop and more lovely veg, Friday warm camembert and crusty bread rest of the soup with duck fat toast- don't want to be too good!

Borough Market bore a strong resemblance to the Marie Celeste Saturday morning. Only a few traders were there and most had very little to sell. At the Ginger Pig I bought the last chicken in the shop - and it was only 9am. The butchers all looked exhausted from the hectic pace of the season of consumption! I also bought some shin beef to make stew and bacon to go in it - spent £27.40

Booths was quiet too and I bought only potatoes and carrots for £2.30

A cottage tin loaf from Rhodes - who had a mountain of bread and no customers - £1.50

Apples from Chegworth - £1.30

Could have got a bargain at Gastronomica with 10 mozzarella for £10 but sadly could think of nothing to do with immediately !

There was no milk at Neals Yard so bought nothing there either!

Spent a mere £32.50 though will need more in the week...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nut Roast

I made nut roast for our Sunday roast this week. I'm not sure I've ever consciously eaten one before though I have known of their existence for the longest time. In my mind they are a joyless attempt to create the pleasure it is to eat a proper roast - so you can't say I'm not honest about my prejudices!
Not sure why I feel so negatively about something I'd never tried though I'm not the only one if this thread on the Guardian's food blog is anything to go by. I think it's to do with the idea that if you don't eat meat, for whatever reason, you should be attempting to emulate the meat eating experience which for some reason infuriates me. It is too ridiculous and almost always wrong as well as disgusting. Textured vegetable protein anyone? Quorn sausages - a tasty construct made with mycoprotein, onion & a savoury flavouring - yummmm. Nut roast somehow slips effortlessly into this category. I guess I think it's good to eat vegetables, so there's no need to pretend they're bacon.

One of my favourite meals in the whole world is steak and salad but it’s not the only thing I want to eat. For me eating is a kind of never ending adventure and, probably because of that, I finally let nut roast into my life. The recipe came from one in the Guardian a few years ago and sounded promising – good nuts and lots of herbs and plenty of dairy in the form of both eggs and cheeses. All of which I can eat till the cows come home.

I had some cheddar in the fridge that needed using and also most of a blue castella that I bought in Waitrose the other day because there was a time when I really liked blue castella. Fortunately that time is now passed but it is still a mild and inoffensive blue and so would be fine to cook with. I assembled all the requisite ingredients and set to with the man at my side to grate and stir. (We make a fine team).

It took far longer to make than I was expecting but then that is common with me, even when I have previously made something. It looked interesting and smelt great all the way so I took that as a good sign, though the note at the end about making a vegan version replacing all dairy with mashed tofu I read with less pleasure.

About to go into the oven it was a big thing – solid and heavy but fragrant and attractively speckled. I was looking forward to it, but not with roast veg as they seemed far too dense to be a good accompaniment. Have to say, with sprouts it worked a treat and other boiled or steamed vegetables would be lovely, especially with a generous slick of gravy. But I must confess I used some leftover roast chicken gravy from the freezer rather than the suggested sherry one – but if it’s as good as the nut roast turned out to be, it’s definitely worth making.

It was good – it tasted a lot like a very fine stuffing, moist and textured with the crushed nuts and brown rice and rich with eggs and cheeses. Damned fine in lunchboxes too with nothing more than a pea shoot salad. Let me recommend this as an occasional roast dinner – or even a centrepiece for a veggie feast. My only caveat would be to be light handed with the dried herbs or lose them all together, they are a bit redolent of chicken stuffing of the 1970's, and simply use more fresh parsley.

Cheese, cashew and walnut roast
175g (6oz) onion, finely diced
175g (6oz) chopped mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red pepper, finely diced
2-3 sticks celery, finely diced
1 tbsp mixed herbs250g (9oz) cooked brown rice (about 100g/3½oz before cooking)
110g (4oz) walnuts, finely chopped
110g (4oz) cashew pieces
5 medium eggs
175g (6oz) cottage cheese
340g (12oz) grated cheese (including cheddar, smoked cheddar and red Leicester)
50ml (2 fl oz) chopped fresh herbs (including parsley, rosemary and thyme)
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

1. Sauté the onion and celery in olive oil until they begin to go transparent.
2. Add the mushrooms, garlic, red pepper, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Cook until mixture is soft, stirring regularly to avoid burning.
3. Combine the cooked ingredients with all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
4. Line a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin with baking parchment. The simplest way to do this is to use two pieces that will cross over on the base of the tin - a narrow one for the length of the tin and a wide one for the width. Fill to, at most, 7cm (3 inches) deep. Fold over paper, to help prevent drying out. If the mixture is too deep, the outside may get rather leathery before the inside is properly set. Avoid using ordinary, old-fashioned greaseproof paper as it lacks the non-stick properties of silicone parchment and this is a very sticky mixture. If you have to use it, make sure it is generously buttered.
5. Bake at 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) for 1-1½ hours until firm. A knife inserted will come out wet but relatively clean showing that the eggs have set. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for five to 10 minutes before turning out and serving. Garnish with roughly chopped parsley. Carve into generous slices. Can also be served cold.
Note: For a dairy-free version you can omit the cheese, and also the eggs if necessary. Instead add 250g of crumbled tofu to the mixture.

I shall include the sherry gravy as it would make a nice accompaniment if you like gravy with your roast!

A rich vegetarian gravy to accompany nut roast, freshly cooked local veggies and roast potatoes. You should be able to find yeast flakes available at your local health food store, but they can be left out if necessary.

Serves six to eight.

600ml (1 pint) stock
3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
4 tbsp plain white flour
1 tsp dried marjoram
50ml (2 fl oz) sunflower oil
20g (¾ oz) butter
2 tbsp soy sauce/tamari
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
50ml (2 fl oz ) medium sherry
2 cloves crushed garlic
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Place the nutritional yeast flakes, dried marjoram and flour in a saucepan large enough to hold the total volume of liquid in the recipe (about 1litre). Turn the heat on and stir these dry ingredients briefly with a wooden spoon until they get hot and begin to give off a nutty, toasty smell.
2. Add the oil and butter and continue to cook, stirring regularly, for two minutes.
3. Whisk in the stock and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. If stock is not available, add water and season with additional vegetable stock powder/cubes after you have added the soy sauce or tamari (other wise it may be too salty). The water your carrots have been boiled in will make a good stock if you can get your timing right.
4. Add the soy/tamari, mustard, garlic and pepper and sherry. Cook for a further two minutes. Thin if necessary. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve hot.
Note: For a wheat-free version cornflour or arrowroot can be used as a substitute for white flour.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pot Roast Beef with onions, vinegar and cream

Rather startlingly winter has arrived. Snow is forecast tomorrow and there were a few tiny flakes Saturday while we waited for the bus. Snow!

Time for long slow cooked beef, transforming cheap collagen rich cuts of meat into toothsome joy, and warming the kitchen as it cooks. In prescient fashion I had already planned a pot roast, using chuck steak - a very cheap cut from the shoulder that really can't be cooked dry or fast but responds well to liquid and low flame and love.

I found a recipe from Anna del Conte's Classic Food of Northern Italy that uses barding and vinegar for tenderness and onions and cream for an extraordinary depth of flavour. I started Saturday and cooked the meat in the oven for about 2 hours then turned off the heat and left the pan in to continue cooking in its own stored heat. Left it in the fridge next day so could lift off the fat before reheating for an unctuously rich repast.

Made mash and sprouts to go with, and best of all had sandwiches with the leftovers in the week.

Beef Braised with Onions, Vinegar & Cream

450g small white onions or pickling onions, peeled but leave the root on so they don't collapse
75g smoked pancetta
needles from 2 rosemary sprigs, about 20cm long
1.5kg piece of boneless beef, chuck ideally or brisket or silverside, rolled and tied
60g unsalted butter
1 tbspn olive oil
150ml red wine vinegar - best you have
300ml single cream

Chop the pancetta and rosemary needles very finely using a stick blender or processor. Season with salt and pepper.

Make deep incisions in the meat along the grain and push into it some of the pancetta rosemary paste (called a battuto), pushing it well in with a chopstick or some such. When you have done one end, turn the meat over adn lard from the other end, so that the whole length of the piece will be larded. Pat the meat with salt and pepper all aover and with any leftovere battuto.

Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.

Heat the butter and oil in a flameproof dish. When the butter foam begins to subsdie add the meat and brown on all sides. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, then pour over the vinegar and boil briskly for a further 3 - 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the cream. When it is nearly boiling add it to the casserole with some salt and pepper. Cover the casserole dish tightly, sealing the top with a layer of foil before putting the lid on. Cook in the oven for 1 hour then turn the heat down to 150C/300f/Gas2 amd continue to cook for another 2 hours. Turn the heat off but leave the pan in the oven overnight, undisturbed.

Next morning put the pan in the fridge to solidfy the fat making it easy to remove before reheating. Keep it to roast potatoes...

This was a splendid dinner Sunday night, the meat meltingly tender and the sauce rich and unctuous ladled over mash potatoes. The rest of the meat was brilliant sliced into sandwiches and the rest of the onion sauce will make a rich base for a meat pie.

Friday, December 11, 2009

This Week I Wanted...I Bought...I Made

Hmmm. Starts to be a challenge now as Borough is so excrutiatingly busy on the Saturday before xmas that I know already I won't go. It is an oddity that when I most want to be shopping there it's simply too horrible. But, obviously, I want my xmas feast to be from there so some planning now is called for. I can get early things like morcilla and carrots and bits from Brindisa, order a shoulder of pork from Ginger Pig to collect Wednesday or Thursday as the centrepiece of our xmas feast, need carcasses for this week to make some stock and work out when/ how to acquire vegetables and cheeses because you cannot have xmas without cheeses.

And then there is also the week ahead. Home over the weekend seafood platter Saturday night with crusty bread to get us in the mood for xmas then lovely braised beef and winter veg Sunday we are out Monday Tuesday Wednesday so need something homey for Thursday! Thinking lamb might be nice for Sunday roast, back to fish theme for Saturday night unless we are out then too. Would like noodles Thursday night roasted one of gigantic pork chops with carrot and turnip mash and sprouts or pasta perhaps, sausages Friday night plan to make some cheese straws as a test and will follow with either omelette or simple pasta.

The good news is that Interflora sent me a Duchy Originals Christmas hamper Friday - a great way to get into this particular weekend. I like hampers - they always offer such promise and a well constructed one somehow gives more than the sum of its parts. Opened this one to find lots of favourites, like chocolate dipped ginger biscuits and cheese biscuits, always useful tea and jam and a bottle of elderflower cordial that will be a treat in the summer. I was less certain about the pickles but the man was delighted - lovely with cheeses! But we both fell squealing upon the packet of lemon sherberts - turns out they were a common childhood favourite for us both. Still learning things about my man... We are catching the train to Suffolk on the weekend and we shall sit sucking sherberts all the way!

Wasn't as bad as I was expecting first thing at Borough. At the Ginger Pig I ordered pork shoulder for xmas from Charlie who was so cold he was shivering, bought a piece of chuck steak to make an Italian supper but what caught my eye was a pile of the biggest pork chops I have ever seen, with a sign saying 4 for £10. Total bargain. The four I bought weighed 3.5 kilos. I have frozen them separately and plan to roast them one at a time for midweek suppers. Spent £33.20 including deposit for xmas.

Then to Brindisa where we had a nice time choosing lovely treats for friends and family.

Smoked salmon from the Irish stall, hummed and hahed about buying a side for xmas but think it may be too much food - £5

At Booths I bought potatoes and sprouts, a cucumber and an avocado and lots of little white onions - £3.80

Then to Shellseekers for sweet little prawns and a dressed crab - £11.80 - which I managed to leave behind on the counter. Didn't realise till I was home again and so went back to find an absolutely heaving market and the nice people at Shellseekers had put my stuff aside till my return

From Wild Beef I needed eggs but they also had 3 packs of coarse mince for £10 so spent £11.50
A chicken carcass from Wyndhams - their last - 75p

Bought brightly coloured organic carrots - £1.17

Apples from Chegworth - £1.65 then realised it would be a good idea to buy juice for xmas day so got 3 bottles for £7.50

At a small spanish stall out the back I bought a jar of onion relish and a tub of salted marcona almonds and the man was much taken with a tin of smoked sardines - £12.00

Chocolates from L'Artisan du Chocolat - £2

Bought a lovely piece of Pecorino from Gastronomica - £12 and was pleased to find they will be open over xmas and new year

At Neals Yard I bought milk and cream and a raisin and walnut loaf - £9.80

And then I had run out of money! Spent £112.17 - and it's not over yet...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

White Bean Soup with Garlic, Parsley and Chorizo

It's the time of year when I decide soup is a necessity, that it simply matches the season in the way that salad goes so well with the warmth of summer. There are many obvious flaws with this - not least the expectation of warmth in an English summer or these days lots of cold in an English winter. I tend to eat salad all year round, soup less frequently but certainly not specifically in the winter.

In the spirit of this latest random culinary decision the week before last the man was ill and asked for chicken noodle soup. I used fresh egg noodles and stock from the freezer, chicken thighs crisped with garlic and ginger before the flesh was stripped off, finished with wilted spinach and fresh coriander - perfect sicky boy comfort.
Last week I found a recipe for cauliflower soup finished with yoghurt that took my fancy which was not bad. But not good enough to make again.

This week I needed a good one and the Moro Cookbook offered Sopa de habicuelas. In English it is white beans, chorizo, garlic, parsley and that combination of pork and beans in every form seriously does it for me. Joy of joy it was better in real life than I thought it would be.
The cooked beans are blended to the consistency of double cream and that's the base. Actually soaked them overnight Saturday and cooked and blended them Sunday then left them in the fridge till I needed them Wednesday. Easy. Could freeze them at this point too, if you wanted.

But the fabulousness derives from the deep flavour and little bursts of texture that come from the fried garlic and parsley. The final triumph is the crisped chorizo and the drizzle of its rendered fat.

White Bean Soup with Garlic, Parsley and Chorizo

375g dried cannellini, planchada or other white beans, soaked overnight in cold water
Bouquet garni of celery leaves, parsley, rosemary, thyme and bay tied in string for easy retrieval
800ml bean liquor or, if not enough, made up with water
6 tbspns olive oil
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tspn hot paprika
6 tbspns finely chopped flat leaf parsley
200g chorizo, preferably cooking, preferably spicy, diced into 1 cm cubes

Drain the beans and put them into a large saucepan. Add the bouquet garni and cover with cold water by 2 cm. Bring to the boil, skim all the white foam, then simmer very gently for about an hour, but check after 40 minutes and if softening, add about a tablespoon of salt. Continue to simmer till the beans are tender.

Discard the bouquet garni and blend the beans in their liquor with an electric stick till the beans are smooth and have the consistency of double (heavy) cream. If too thick, add a little water till you have the consistency you want.

At this point the beans can be decanted to a bowl and refrigerated for a few days till you want soup.

In a large saucepan, heat 5 tablespoons of the olive oil over a lowish heat. When the oil is hot add the garlic and quickly fry for maybe 30 seconds till it just begins to colour. Add 4 tablespoons of the chopped parsley, reduce the heat and stir till the garlic is golden brown and the parsley translucent dark green and the whole lot is wonderfully fragrant.

Stir in the paprika and then add the bean purée. Bring to a gentle simmer and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a small frying pan on a high flame, heat the remaining olive oil and fry the chorizo until just slightly crisp.
Ladle the soup into deep bowls, add the crispy chorizo and chopped parsley. Swirl the paprika oil from the chorizo pan on top for an amazing bowl of soup.

Beautiful to look at, smells great, tastes amazing. I really liked this soup!

Friday, December 04, 2009

This week I wanted...I bought...I made

I have some dal left and I found an interesting sounding recipe for meatballs so I'm thinking Indian feast Saturday night - the man declared he wanted spaghetti with chilli and garlic so simple it was Saturday. Sunday is food chain so something simple, soup perhaps went for the balls with dal and cucumber raita and very fine it was. Monday I am out but the man is not so he shall have a lovely pie, Tuesday Vicki is round so I am thinking roast chicken dinner with cauliflower cheese and leeks and deep orange sweet potatoes, lovely and easy post work, Wednesday I have a hair appointment so the rest of the soup actually cooked the beans on Sunday and puréed them so made bean and chorizo soup when I got in, Thursday we are out but not late and everywhere decent is booked solid - they really do mean it in October when they put up signs saying book now for xmas so we went home for the rest of the soup and Friday, omelette and salad and duck fat toast! perhaps.

Was bleak when we set out but didn't stay that way. The entire roof has gone from the old market - it just gapes.
Ginger Pig was nice and quiet, bought a chicken Tuesday dinner, some pork mince little packs in the freezer for noodles and things and lamb mince kofta Sudnay night with leftovers for lunchboxes, Charlie told me he likes lamb fat the most, know where he's coming from but I'm not sure I can divide my pleasure in fats into a ranking, love them all! Told him about rending the fat from chicken skin into crispy bits of delight, one he hadn't tried. But I am sure he will. Spent £27.80

At Booths the leeks were big thick things so bought yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, cucumber and clementines for £6.50

Had eggs already so bought porridge oats at Wild Beef - £2

From Ted's Veg I bought skinny leeks, a cauliflower and onions for £3.80

From the Gastronomica shop - yay! - bought burratta for breakfast on toast treat - £4

Even bigger yay! is that Chegworth are back with a small shop next to the Gastronomica shop. Didn't need apples but it is so nice to know they are back

A couple of pies from Mrs Elizabeth King, am trying a chicken and leek for a change - £5

From Neals Yard I bought milk and yoghurt for £5.80

And that was all! Spent £54.90 in a hurry as it was foodchain and lots to do.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Scallops Baked in their Shells

On Saturday I had such an adventure! The nice people at Miele (pronounced Mee-la, which is the first thing I learned on the day) invited me to the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham, and having never been to Birmingham I said yes. After a pleasant trip up on the train I met up with the others, Cara from gourmet chick - Kit from the cooking forum and Jan from what do I want to cook today and Lauren and Cherry who were our hosts for the day.

Starting point was obviously the Miele stand attached to a working kitchen with seating in front for an audience to watch chefs create masterpieces. It was where I was expecting to be sitting when Michelin starred chef Martin Blunos worked his magic for what my itinerary listed as a Miele experience. Which prospect obviously delighted me. But if I'd read the email with a little more attention I might have realised before that moment that I was actually going to be up there on the stage, with the chef, making the same dish as him. In front of the audience. Oh.

Asked to be back at the Miele Kitchen by about 12.15 we had a bit of a wander round the show, an achievement as the show was sold out and I swear all 24,000 of them were there at 11am! Some stalls were interesting and some struck me as odd - why would Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs have a stand with a display of fake Duracell here? With sharpened elbows I managed to sample a couple of cheeses but mostly the scrum was too dense to get close. Can't say it was fun.

Dragging my feet a little with fear at the idea of cooking before strangers I somehow ended up back at the kitchen on time. Brave as a brave thing, I donned my apron and checked out the array of ingredients laid out on the bench. Scallops. Mmmm - yum. Panic over, I decided I could do this, with or without an audience. Thane Prince set the ball rolling then Martin Blunos came out to much applause and told all of us we were to make scallops baked in the shell, the edges sealed with puff pastry. Which sounded so good, and which, weirdly, I had once intended to make a version of as the fish course for a dinner for my father's birthday but they never happened because the fishmonger kept his scallops on the half shell. No idea what he'd done with the other halves.

Professional chefs are extraordinarily quick with a knife. It's brilliant to watch and difficult to emulate. We tried though, and somehow ended up with matchsticks of leeks, carrots and celery, and our lovely scallops sliced neatly into 3, roe removed. Though if I'm honest my matchsticks were a wee bit fatter than his. We followed everything he did with the help of the Miele kitchen workers and finished up with a really pretty presentation of baked scallops.

Professional chefs, particularly by the time they are collecting Michelin stars, are not just quick but hugely knowledgeable not just about what to cook, but also how best to do it. The tiny, but probably crucial things I learned from Martin Blunos for this dish are that the scallops should be sliced thinly before being put back into the shells so that they will cook through in the same time it takes for the pastry seal to puff into a golden ruff. Before you put the sealed shells onto the baking tray make a halo of crushed foil for them to sit on so that the butter sauce does not leak out ruining both the scallops and the pastry. To make them impressive to serve, mountain salt or seaweed onto the plate first to make the sit proudly till they are open making it easy to dip the pastry into the lovely sauce, thereby providing maximum pleasure while eating.

Scallops Baked in their Shells

For each person you need

3 fat diver caught scallops, and both sides of the shell
100g butter puff pastry
1 small carrot
1 small leek
1 stick of celery
1/2 tspn coriander seeds
1/2 tspn black onion seeds
1/2 tspn cumin seeds
olive oil
1 tbspn noilly prat or dry white wine
100ml fish stock
1 egg yolk
50g butter

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cut a 4cm piece from the end of the peeled carrot and slice it very finely into matchsticks. Do the same with 4cm pieces of leek and celery, and keep each pile separate.

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of three separate pans then add a scant half teaspoon of the seeds, a different one in each pan. Cook for a minute or two till fragrant, then add the carrot to the pan with coriander, the leek to the pan with black onion seeds and the celery to the pan with the cumin. Add a splash of wine and stock to each pan and cook gently till the vegetables are softened.

Take the orange roe from the edge of each scallop, removing and discarding the membrane that attaches it to the flesh at the same time. Put the roe into a blender with the egg yolk and blitz briefly till you have a smooth intensely coloured wash.

Flour a board and roll out the pastry into an oblong roughly 30cm by 12cm then cut inot three matching long strips, long enough to wrap around each scallop shell.

When the vegetables are softened add about a teaspoon of diced butter to each pan, then shake the pans to and fro to emulsify the liquids to make a sauce.

Make three 'donuts' with foil on a baking tray on which to rest the finished scallops.

Scrunch a tea towel onto the bench then place three half shells on it so that they sit flat. Spoon leeks into one, carrots into another and celery into the third. Make a little rosette of the scallop slices on top of each of the vegetables, then spoon over the corresponding butter sauce.

With a pastry brush make a generous ring of the egg roe wash around the outside edge of one of the empty scallop shells. Then - and this is as tricky as it gets - make a ring of the wash around the outside of the shell that is holding the leeks and scallops. Take one of the strips of pastry and, putting the two shells together, seal all the way round the shell. Put the finished shell onto one of the foil rings on the tray. Repeat this with the other two scallops.

Carefully put the tray into the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes, till the pastry is puffed and golden.

Serve on a bed of salt crystals.

Let your guests prise each scallop open, scoff the scallops, dipping bits of ripped pastry into the lovely liquor pooled in the shell.

Obviously the other thing Michelin chefs have is a brigade of helpers to do the washing up! It was lovely to have a succession of flavours to go with the scallops but to make it at home I think I would have a single shell atop a hillock of salt as a delicate fish course, just to tantalise.