Truite en papillote.

I have been following Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen on BBC2 and taking inspiration from her quaint French dishes. I thought I’d try out the truite en papillote, which translates to trout in a parcel.

Ingredients:

Half a lemon

tsp of salt

ground pepper

glug of olive oil

Medium sized rainbow trout (you can ask for this to be gutted, equally you can do this yourself)

Handful of new potatoes (parboiled)

Leek (Rachel Khoo used fennel, but I decided to use leek instead. You can also use red onion if you prefer)

What’s next?

First you need to prepare the rainbow trout. You’ll need to gut it, if it hasn’t been done already, and give it a good clean. I won’t include the picture of DH gutting the fish as some might find it a bit too graphic, but here is the link to it for the brave. Once that has been done, make a large incision on the underside of the fish and place it on some foil. The foil needs to be long enough to wrap around the fish later on.

I was very happy to make use of the zester I bought last year for the next bit. For the marinade, you will need to zest half a lemon, add the salt and pepper, then mix it with a glug of olive oil. Smother it all over and inside the fish.

Now the fish has been prepared, slice the new potatoes and the leek to fit inside the fish. Stuff the fish neatly and any leftovers can be placed around the fish. When it cooks, everything in the foil will soak up the tasty marinade.

Wrap it all up in foil, squeezing both ends to secure the juicy liquids. Rachel Khoo used the traditional method of wrapping the fish up in baking paper and tying it with string, but I think foil is much simpler and you get the same result.

Once wrapped and ready to go, cook in the oven at gas mark 6/200 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. Once cooked, it the fish should be a pale pink colour, flake off easily and oozing with flavour. Your truite en papillote should look something like this..

 

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You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

A paper Easter basket filled with mini Lindor chocolate eggs, made by my little sister.

The Easter holidays are upon us, which usually means time off, free chocolate and some kind of religious festivity. Though I am somewhat excluded from all three, in consideration that I don’t work in the education sector, am an atheist and not much of a chocolate fanatic. DS naturally falls into my latter three, being a baby and not having much of a choice himself.

I am aware that as he grows older, he will gain interest in the things I try to shield him from (i.e. Easter eggs). But the thought of giving my baby boy an Easter egg, or anything else sugary coated, horrifies me. Children have the rest of their adult lives to eat, or do, whatever they like; it seems ridiculous to give a baby chocolate just because it’s mean not to. He doesn’t think it’s mean, because he doesn’t know any better.

DS has only tried chocolate once or twice, because nursery had slipped up, and he is not overly crazed about it. Honestly, he would happily devour an apple and not think I was cruel. My line of thought is that all children are inquisitive and it is our job as parents to guide them down the right path. If we start as we mean to go on, children will trust their routine, take comfort in the rules set and hopefully grow up not being all that phased by the junk that is constantly shoved in their faces.

So now you know my stance on the matter (though you could have probably guessed), rest assured any chocolate presented to DS will not be wasted, it will be thoroughly enjoyed by DH and I.

NomNomNom.

So I’ve decided to show my face again after a month of neglect, only to show you the amazing dinner I had the other day at my Grandma’s house. Where are your usual posts filled with criticisms of the world?, I hear you ask. Unfortunately I am drained of words and inspiration, so I’ll say my hello and goodbyes and leave you with this:

Ho fun with king prawns, chicken, fish balls, spicy fish balls, choi, mushrooms and baby corn.

Chinese cake for dessert, bought from Chinatown.

The Bigger Picture.

So it’s Valentine’s Day, hurrah. An occasion marked by Clintons where you are required to purchase some kind of gift for your loved one. Over lavishing is frowned upon as wasteful but arriving home present-less leaves you in the doghouse. I have always said presents are pointless for Valentines, extravagance is completely unnecessary; I am more for the gesture and effort behind it.

I am usually pretty awful when it comes to Valentines and, admittedly, expect more than I give. This year however, I decided to change my ways and pull out all the stops. Don’t get overexcited or anything – It’s not that amazing; it’s fairly good, I’ll give myself that.

So the idea originated from Not on the High Street; a photo frame with three separate maps in a shape of a heart of where you and your partner met, married and lived. I also did some digging and found a blogger who had a very successful attempt at it. I thought it was very cute and such a personal gift, but unwilling to part with £78, I took it upon myself to get creative.

I bought the wooden frame from Amazon, the map secondhand from Amazon and used plain white A4 paper I had home.

I used autoshape on MS Word for the heart template, adjusted it to fit the A5 frame, printed it and then cut it out. Placing the template on top of the towns where we met, married and lived, I drew carefully around the heart with a pencil.

 After a few rubbings out and redrawing, I cut out the heart shapes on the map.

Once they had all been cut out, I rubbed out the pencil marks that were left around the heart. Using the A4 paper, I halved it into A5 size so it would fit the frame and stuck the heart in the middle. This sounds easier than it actually was; it took quite some time to centre the heart and ensure the space was consistent in all three frames.

After a lot of fiddling about with scissors and glue, whilst trying to keep DS preoccupied, I can proudly say I have actually made something that actually isn’t too bad.

Happy Valentines Day DH :)

Empty Promises.

That is exactly what New Year’s resolutions are. I won’t pretend that going to the gym is something I want to do, or even be fooled in thinking I could keep it up.

It baffles me when one chooses to lose weight, quit smoking, generally be a nicer person at this particular point of the year. I assume we all know how the calendar works, so why do we pick the first of January? Surely choosing a superficial turning point discredits the real objective.

Today did not feel any different from yesterday and I have had no desire to celebrate writing ’12’ instead of ’11’. If anything, I am mourning 2011, for the turning of the year only means I am forever ageing. Oh yes, the pessimist in me strikes again.

This does not mean we should all remain stagnant in reminiscing what’s gone, nor does it mean future goals shouldn’t be set. I have lots of goals and time frames for them, but to suddenly declare them because of the change of date seems all a bit odd to me. My goals are ongoing and do not necessarily start at the beginning of each year.

I like to think my goals are about the bigger picture, not just for me, but my family. To see how many successes we can accumulate in a year, as opposed to limit ourselves trivially to eat less biscuits. Success shouldn’t be measured upon a list made up during the January blues, but something we all work towards in continual progress. Being loosely committable because it’s the trend to make resolutions takes away from the seriousness of your goals; they should be applicable at any given point of the year.

Christmas Cards.

 

28 : 4*

                           DS: Mummy & Daddy

…And that’s me being generous to myself; three of the four I actually received were joint cards with DS, and one was from DS (written by nursery). So really, the ratio should have been in decimal numbers in order to credit DS for the cards he had received but who cares.

This year’s turnout has been pretty disappointing. Not that I particularly look forward to receiving them, but you do tend to notice when the number you receive gets transferred over to your child. I am not alone; generally people are giving/receiving less due to whatever financial worry or the discovery of e-cards.

I am skeptical though, e-cards have been around for years. And those strapped for cash should have anticipated this and bought them in the sales last year. How else do you think I justify buying Paperchase cards? Only fools pay RRP.

I have only dedicated one shelf for our DS’ Christmas cards so they do look a bit squished. What I find most amusing is how the majority of the cards are miniature, as if they represent how small DS is. We obviously did not know that your cards grow with you, so we bought DS the sizeable one on the far right.

Sapin de Noël.

We decided to play by tradition and erect our Christmas tree on the first weekend of December. This required the furniture to be rearranged for it to fit in our tiny house, which had to be done in silence last night to avoid waking a sleeping DS.

I say we put up the tree, but it was mainly DH. I dabbled in a bit of decorating, but building the actual tree was a bit too hands on for me.