- baked mackerel with baby button mushrooms
- rocket salad topped with striped green tomato
- for dessert we have Irish soda bread with cracked anise
My awesomer half made her brilliant soda bread. She makes it a little more rich than I do; she likes to add a couple eggs and butter. My recipe is more the simplicity-is-elegance version. There are only 4 ingredients when I make it, (flour, buttermilk, salt and baking soda.) Sometimes I add a magic fifth element which is anise seed. Perhaps my amazing culinary prowess is rubbing off on her, because she added a bit of cracked anise too.
The anise gives it a lovely herbal quality, a bit like liquorice and a bit like Ouzo if you're into Greek food. So anyway, we like mackerel. The meat can be a bit oily and the smell is a bit strong, but the flesh is quite lovely and it de-bones easily. The fish themselves are beautiful. They have sort of a blue tiger-stripe going on, like they came from that movie Avatar.
Speaking of stripey things, check out these amazing tomatoes! We have a guilty pleasure in town. It's called Fallon & Byrne. That's kind of like the Irish version of Dean & Deluca, an upscale grocery store. Check it out, don't these rock?
The mackerel was dusted generously with Fox Point Seasoning, a superior blend of salt and dried shallots (plus some other goodies) from Penzeys. Wait, what? You haven't heard of Penzeys? They are purveyors of herbs and spices from Wisconsin. They are serious about quality and honest with their prices. It's a good store.
I can't end this blog post in good conscience without mentioning the good folks at The Spice Tin in Murphys, California. Their shop is SO MUCH FUN. We bought the anise seed and a ton of other stuff there, the last time we were in California. They also do blends like Penzen's but they specialize in jerks and rubs for meat. I get the feeling their owner is one of these guys who treats BBQ-ing like a martial art. Seriously, their spice kung fu is righteous. Our favorites are Murphys Rub and One Trick Pony.