Saturday, 6 June 2015

Salmon on a board

Food, like music, is something that can instantly transport me to a time or place, intricately associated with feelings - usually happy ones, I have to say - I don't have many bad memories associated with food (apart from tripe).

My memories of 2 trips to the States, for example, are chiefly those of the $10 lobster dinners, corn dogs, and frozen margaritas the Husband and I enjoyed on our first proper holiday together to New Orleans, and of a fabulous salad with deliciously cold white wine my friends and I ate on a roof top garden in Manhattan - very Sex and the City, although we were none of us searching for love, only enjoying each others company for a long weekend...

France is enmeshed with a series of memories for me - lusciously ripe peaches and tomatoes purchased from road side stalls on the south west Mediterranean coast, the freshest tower of fruits de mer eaten in a restaurant on a harbour wall somewhere on the Cherbourg peninsula - the crabs being fished to order out of the sea, snails eaten in various guises, the first - and only - meat fondue I've ever had, at the age of 16, the day after I arrived for an exchange visit with a family that I am still in touch with nearly 30 years later... And salmon, nailed to a board and cooked over a fire, Finnish style, when I was an au pair in my late teens, early 20s.

The salmon always fascinated me. The family I was helping out had moved to an old farmhouse that was being renovated. The kitchen was out of action and we were BBQ-ing most days. The father of the family, Bruno, would appear home from work with various delicacies, and one evening, announced we would be having saumon Finlandais. I can't remember what it tasted like (unusual) but the mere fact that it was cooked in such an unconventional manner and was edible, amazed me. At that point, I hadn't done much in the way of camping...

So it's always been on my mind to recreate this, and it turns out the Husband wanted to try it too, and eager to create some memories (not necessarily food-related) for the kids, we headed down to our local beach, Mwnt, for some late afternoon bodyboarding and a cookout on the beach. I'd like to say we caught our fish but we didn't, but you can't have everything, can you...

















And literally, all you do is get a decent piece of wood - we had some oak board, nail your piece of salmon to it,



and wedge it next to your fire while it cooks.



You can always cook some sausages while you're waiting...






I'd love to be able to include beautiful shots here of the food on the beach, perfectly styled, but this is what really happened, - beach food, that we ate...




And another food memory - 6 months pregnant with Blue, in Winchester with the Husband's amazing Great Aunt visiting from Australia, eating juicy cherries in the Cathedral grounds on a blazing hot day. Every time I've eaten cherries since, I've thought of that moment. But we had cherries this evening, after the salmon, bought from a local market garden, Glebelands, this morning. We ate them as the sun finally dropped behind the 'mwnt' itself...





I think perhaps cherries will trigger a new memory from now on.

12 comments:

  1. This looks so good, thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. :-) you should try it - it was fab and the kids loved the fish too

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  2. What a wonderful blog post. Good memories are so special. That salmon rocks! I love it.

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    1. Thanks Dom - it was a bit sandy, but delicious nonetheless :-)

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  3. Love your photos of the beach, how beautiful x

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  4. Great way of cooking Salmon. I just can't wait to try it. Fab x

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  5. Memory is such a powerful thing isn't it? I get food triggers from time to time, and smell triggers. I walked past someone wearing my Mum's old perfume recently, and it transported me back to being about 7 again! Love the salmon idea. So simple, but I bet it tastes amazing! (:

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    1. It was a little bit sandy, as you might expect, but beyond that it was lovely. Smell isn't so powerful for me - although there are certain lavender hand soaps that still make me retch as violently as they did when I was pregnant!!

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