Sunday, 13 November 2011

"Come on now Jocasta!"

When you love someone you often have to do things you don't really want to do. I'm not really the best person at doing things I don't really want to do, but because I love The Wig I agreed to do something yesterday that I would have paid any amount of money not to do. Yesterday I fought my way through a variety of undersized and oversized dogs, a sea of baby buggies that look like small space stations, what felt like thousands of slow coffee drinking walkers and 2 pretty bad buskers along Broadway Market. Shudder. I stopped enjoying going there long ago when I realised most of the people that bung up the thoroughfare are people that have no concept of any other human beings apart from themselves. Or Insuffrable's as I like to call them.

My favorite little story relating to Broadway Market was told to me by my friend Rob, about our mutual friend Eddy. (Eddy if you read this, I hope I get this right!). Our friend Eddy had lived near the market for a number of years, but as it became more gentrified, and expensive, he began to question if he really still enjoyed living in the area. One day when he was walking along the market he passed a stall selling 'artisan' bread. Two old ladies, hard core local East Enders, stopped by the stall and one of them proclaimed "Bleedin' 'eck! Look at that! Three quid for a loaf of bread!". And almost immediately as he passed these two old dears, a young woman pushed her designer pushchair past him in the other direction, small screaming toddler aboard, squealing "Come on now Jocasta! You know you like Parmesan!". Eddy decided to move out of the area almost immediately.

But like I said, The Wig wanted to go to pick up some food, and who was I to deny him, particularly since at some point down the line I knew I would reap the benefits of this particular shopping trip. There were some good points to the outing, such as the walk through the autumnal leaves in London Fields on the way to the market and then the walk back through the autumnal leaves in London Fields on the way home again.

These flowers cost me £9. I know. A rip off. But after I'd enquired about the price I didn't want the stall holder to think I couldn't afford to pay £9. So I bought them and now they are looking at me from the kitchen work top and quietly mocking me for being an idiot. 

Once we got back home The Wig donned his apron and got cooking. First up, Orange Marmalade.

To make Orange Marmalade: (approx 5 small Kilner jars worth)
Wash 6 large oranges, cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Leave the juice to one side.
Thinly chop the orange peel to the size of shreds you like in your marmalade.
Pour the orange juice into a bowl, add the shredded orange peel and cover with cold water.
Leave to soak for 24 hours (The impatient Wig skipped this part).
Add the water, juice and peel mix to a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours in a covered pan, stirring occasionally.
After 2 hours add 3/4 Kg of granulated sugar and boil for approx 30 mins until setting point is reached.
(Setting point is established by dropping some of the marmalade onto a chilled saucer, waiting a few seconds then pushing with your finger to see if a skin forms. If it does, the marmalade is ready to be decanted into sterilised jars. If setting point is not quite ready, continue to boil and check again after a few minutes).

And that is that! Very easy, very delicious, very cheap and would make great Christmas presents. It will keep for up to 2 years if stored correctly, just don't burn yourself on the boiling liquid. Its like the inside of a volcano and 10 times as sticky.

After the Marmalade, The Wig then proceeded to cook Red Mullet for our tea. Now The Wig definitely likes fish more than me but who am I to turn down a delicious home cooked dinner. All I will say about the Mullet is that it does have rather a lot of long bones inside and was also rather pricey. Ours cost £7.50 per fish from Fin + Flounder.

To make Baked Red Mullet:

Pack the Mullet with lardons and chopped garlic.
Season the fish inside and out then place in a baking tray with vine tomato's, halved shallots and some parsley, bay and sage leaves.
Cook on a medium heat for around 25 minutes.
Voila! Dinner is served (along with some green beans and french fries). Well done Wig.

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