Monday, 4 June 2012

Monday Dinner

Tonight's traditional non-traditional Irish dinner is:
  • baked mackerel with baby button mushrooms
  • rocket salad topped with striped green tomato
  • for dessert we have Irish soda bread with cracked anise
It's traditional because well... we make this stuff all the time.  Our r├ępertoire des repas, shall we say?  (Don't mind me, I don't speak a word of French.)  It's non-traditional because the Irish are not really known for their salads.  Yeah sure it's the land of a thousand greens, but I don't think they were talking about salad greens.  n'est–ce pas?

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.


  1. Let me know when you start to run low on your Spice Tin rubs!

  2. I love Penzey spices! One of my favorites is the fajita seasoning. I Always stock up before the Holidays.
    Those are really lovely tomatoes. Beat they taste great with the rocket green.
    Do you still call is cilantro or do you now call it coriander?

    1. I still call it cilantro. Also, I have to pronounce the 'z' in words like chorizo and coraz├│n. That's how they taught us in high school Spanish class. Several of my coworkers are from Spain and they pronounce the 'z' like 'th' so the words come out as choritho and corathon. I guess I have a Mexican accent! haha