A dinner of salvaged things.
Fillet of red mullet, pan-fried in chorizo fat, served with sautee’d pak choi. A cheeky little dish of sea bream (and also one more red mullet), poached in a sauce of tomatoes, gemlik olives, dried chilli, and red wine, served with toasted pain campaillou. Wholemeal hot cross buns, toasted, topped
with Madagascan vanilla ice cream, warm spiced amaretto syrup, and stewed apricots.
There’s a few different kinds of wonderful wrapped up into these three dishes.
Firstly, the fact that a good deal of the ingredients were acquired through salvage. It’s not quite freeganism or anything, but the central principle remains the same: thou shalt not waste. The fish, the bread, the hot cross buns, the olives — all of them were saved from being binned the next morning. I adopted them, and took them home from work: while perfectly good still, they couldn’t be sold, and would’ve been thrown away if not for me.
In short, I cycled home from Kensington in the rain, with a Mulberry satchel filled with tightly packed fish fillets, worrying and hoping in near-equal measure, about whether they’d leak inside my bag or not. The things I do for dinner!
But there’s also something beautiful about the way brined then oil-cured black olives play with white fish and sweetish spicy tomatoes. And about the wonderful wrongness of ice cream, melting slowly over the warmth of toast from below, and heated rivulets of cinnamon’d sweet amaretto, drizzled from above. And of half-fancy food, knocked up almost for free, drunk with two tinnies of Magner’s: the only thing we could get, on the evening of Easter Sunday.